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Scoring cursorial limb proportions in carnivorous dinosaurs (free pdf)



Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

A new paper:

W. Scott Persons IV & Philip J. Currie (2016)
An approach to scoring cursorial limb proportions in carnivorous
dinosaurs and an attempt to account for allometry.
Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 19828 (2016)
doi:10.1038/srep19828
http://www.nature.com/articles/srep19828



>From an initial dataset of 53 theropod species, the general
relationship between theropod lower-leg length and body mass is
identified. After factoring out this allometric relationship, theropod
hindlimb proportions are assessed irrespective of body mass.
Cursorial-limb-proportion (CLP) scores derived for each of the
considered theropod taxa offer a measure of the extent to which a
particular species deviates in favour of higher or lower running
speeds. Within the same theropod species, these CLP scores are found
to be consistent across multiple adult specimens and across disparate
ontogenetic stages. Early theropods are found to have low CLP scores,
while the coelurosaurian tyrannosauroids and compsognathids are found
to have high CLP scores. Among deinonychosaurs, troodontids have
consistently high CLP scores, while many dromaeosaur taxa, including
Velociraptor and Deinonychus, have low CLP scores. This indicates that
dromaeosaurs were not, overall, a particularly cursorily adapted
group. Comparisons between the CLP scores of Tyrannosaurus and
specimens referred to the controversial genus Nanotyrannus indicate a
strong discrepancy in cursorial adaptations, which supports the
legitimacy of Nanotyrannus and the previous suggestions of ecological
partitioning between Nanotyrannus and the contemporaneous
Tyrannosaurus.