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Euhelopus (Sauropoda) skull atlas and redescription



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


New in PLoS ONE:

Stephen F. Poropat & Benjamin P. Kear (2013)
Photographic Atlas and Three-Dimensional Reconstruction of the
Holotype Skull of Euhelopus zdanskyi with Description of Additional
Cranial Elements.
PLoS ONE 8(11): e79932.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079932
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0079932

Background

Euhelopus zdanskyi is one of relatively few sauropod taxa known from
an almost complete skull and mandible. Recent phylogenetic analyses
suggest that Euhelopus is a somphospondylan titanosauriform, and that
it is a member of the clade (Euhelopodidae) which is the sister taxon
to the hugely successful, dominantly Cretaceous sauropod group
Titanosauria.

Methodology/Principal Findings

The skull elements of Euhelopus were CT scanned at Uppsala Akademiska
Sjukhuset. Three-dimensional models of the elements were constructed
from the DICOM data using Mimics 14.0, InVesalius 3.0, and GeoMagic
Studio 2012, the skull was rearticulated in Rhinoceros 4.0, and the
final version was rendered in GeoMagic Studio 2012.

Conclusions/Significance

The fact that relatively complete sauropod skulls are so rare in the
fossil record, particularly among titanosauriforms, means that the
skulls that are known should be as thoroughly described and
well-illustrated as possible. This contribution supplements previous
descriptions of the cranial elements of Euhelopus, one of the few
euhelopodid taxa for which cranial material is known, by presenting a
comprehensive photographic atlas of the skull elements to facilitate a
better understanding of their morphology. We describe several elements
which have been overlooked in past studies of Euhelopus, and also
provide as accurate a reconstruction of the skull as possible (in the
absence of the braincase), the most significant components of which
are the articulations of the palate and the mandible.