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Ornithomimosaurian skull retrodeformation and muscular reconstruction (free pdf)

Ben Creisler

A new paper in open access Peerj:

Andrew R. Cuff & Emily J. Rayfield (2015)
Retrodeformation and muscular reconstruction of ornithomimosaurian
dinosaur crania.
PeerJ 3:e1093
doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1093

Ornithomimosaur dinosaurs evolved lightweight, edentulous skulls that
possessed keratinous rhamphothecae. Understanding the anatomy of these
taxa allows for a greater understanding of “ostrich-mimic” dinosaurs
and character change during theropod dinosaur evolution. However,
taphonomic processes during fossilisation often distort fossil
remains. Retrodeformation offers a means by which to recover a
hypothesis of the original anatomy of the specimen, and 3D scanning
technologies present a way to constrain and document the
retrodeformation process. Using computed tomography (CT) scan data,
specimen specific retrodeformations were performed on
three-dimensionally preserved but taphonomically distorted skulls of
the deinocheirid Garudimimus brevipes Barsbold, 1981 and the
ornithomimids Struthiomimus altus Lambe, 1902 and Ornithomimus
edmontonicus Sternberg, 1933. This allowed for a reconstruction of the
adductor musculature, which was then mapped onto the crania, from
which muscle mechanical advantage and bite forces were calculated pre-
and post-retrodeformation. The extent of the rhamphotheca was varied
in each taxon to represent morphologies found within modern Aves. Well
constrained retrodeformation allows for increased confidence in
anatomical and functional analysis of fossil specimens and offers an
opportunity to more fully understand the soft tissue anatomy of
extinct taxa.