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Paleoenvironments for three theropod clades

Ben Creisler

New in open access PLoS ONE:

Marcos A. F. Sales, Marcel B. Lacerda, Bruno L. D. Horn, Isabel A. P.
de Oliveira & Cesar L. Schultz (2016)
The "χ" of the Matter: Testing the Relationship between
Paleoenvironments and Three Theropod Clades.
PLoS ONE 11(2): e0147031.

The view of spinosaurs as dinosaurs of semi-aquatic habits and
strongly associated with marginal and coastal habitats are deeply
rooted in both scientific and popular knowledge, but it was never
statistically tested. Inspired by a previous analysis of other
dinosaur clades and major paleoenvironmental categories, here we
present our own statistical evaluation of the association between
coastal and terrestrial paleoenvironments and spinosaurids, along with
other two theropod taxa: abelisaurids and carcharodontosaurids. We
also included a taphonomic perspective and classified the occurrences
in categories related to potential biases in order to better address
our interpretations. Our main results can be summarized as follows: 1)
the taxon with the largest amount of statistical evidence showing it
positively associated to coastal paleoenvironments is Spinosauridae;
2) abelisaurids and carcharodontosaurids had more statistical evidence
showing them positively associated with terrestrial paleoenvironments;
3) it is likely that spinosaurids also occupied spatially inland areas
in a way somehow comparable at least to carcharodontosaurids; 4)
abelisaurids may have been more common than the other two taxa in
inland habitats.