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Sexual dimorphism in tails of two oviraptorosaur dinosaurs? (free pdf)
A new paper in open access:
W. Scott Persons IV, Gregory F. Funston, Philip J. Currie & Mark A.
A possible instance of sexual dimorphism in the tails of two
Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 9472
The hypothesis that oviraptorosaurs used tail-feather displays in
courtship behavior previously predicted that oviraptorosaurs would be
found to display sexually dimorphic caudal osteology. MPC-D 100/1002
and MPC-D 100/1127 are two specimens of the oviraptorosaur Khaan
mckennai. Although similar in absolute size and in virtually all other
anatomical details, the anterior haemal spines of MPC-D 100/1002
exceed those of MPC-D 100/1127 in ventral depth and develop a hitherto
unreported “spearhead” shape. This dissimilarity cannot be readily
explained as pathologic and is too extreme to be reasonably attributed
to the amount of individual variation expected among con-specifics.
Instead, this discrepancy in haemal spine morphology may be
attributable to sexual dimorphism. The haemal spine form of MPC-D
100/1002 offers greater surface area for caudal muscle insertions. On
this basis, MPC-D 100/1002 is regarded as most probably male, and
MPC-D 100/1127 is regarded as most probably female.