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Titanosaur paleobiology

Ben Creisler

A new advance paper:

Rodolfo A. García, Leonardo Salgado, Mariela S. Fernández, Ignacio A.
Cerda, Ariana Paulina Carabajal, Alejandro Otero, Rodolfo A. Coria &
Lucas E. Fiorelli (2014)
Paleobiology of titanosaurs: reproduction, development, histology,
pneumaticity, locomotion and neuroanatomy from the South American
fossil record.
Ameghiniana (advance online publication)

Much of the current paleobiological knowledge on titanosaur sauropods
was attained in just the last fifteen years, in particular that
related to reproductive and developmental biology. In recent years it
has also been progress on other poorly explored topics, such as
pneumaticity, architecture and locomotion, and reconstruction
endocasts and associated structures. Some titanosaurs laid numerous,
relatively small Megaloolithidae eggs (with diameters ranging from 12
to 14 cm) in nests dug on the ground and, as is known from the South
American records, probably eggs of multispherulitic morphotype. During
ontogeny, certain titanosaurs displayed some variations in cranial
morphology, some of them likely associated with the differing feeding
habits between hatchlings and adults. The osseous tissue of some adult
titanosaurs was rapidly and cyclically deposited showing a greater
degree of remodeling than in other sauropods. Saltasaurines, in
particular, show evidence of postcranial skeletal pneumaticity in both
axial and appendicular skeleton, providing clues about soft tissue
anatomy and the structure of the respiratory system. Titanosaurs like
all sauropods were characterized by being fully quadrupedal, although
some appendicular features and putative trackways indicate that their
stance was not as columnar as in other sauropods. These anatomical
peculiarities are significantly developed in saltasaurines, a derived
group of titanosaurs. Compared with other sauropods, some titanosaurs
seem to have had very poor olfaction but would have been capable of
capturing sounds in a relatively wide range of high frequencies,
although not to the extent of living birds.