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Ankylosaurian epidermal and dermal integumentary structures



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


A new online paper:


Victoria M. Arbour, Michael E. Burns, Phil R. Bell & Philip J. Currie (2013)
Epidermal and dermal integumentary structures of ankylosaurian dinosaurs.
Journal of Morphology (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1002/jmor.20194
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jmor.20194/abstract


Ankylosaurian dinosaurs are most notable for their abundant and
morphologically diverse osteoderms, which would have given them a
spiky appearance in life. Isolated osteoderms are relatively common
and provide important information about the structure of the
ankylosaur dermis, but fossilized impressions of the soft-tissue
epidermis of ankylosaurs are rare. Nevertheless, well-preserved
integument exists on several ankylosaur fossils that shows osteoderms
were covered by a single epidermal scale, but one or many
millimeter-sized ossicles may be present under polygonal, basement
epidermal scales. Evidence for the taxonomic utility of ankylosaurid
epidermal scale architecture is presented for the first time. This
study builds on previous osteological work that argues for a greater
diversity of ankylosaurids in the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta
than has been traditionally recognized and adds to the hypothesis that
epidermal skin impressions are taxonomically relevant across diverse
dinosaur clades.