Fenglu Han, Catherine A. Forster, Xing Xu & James M. Clark (2017)
Postcranial anatomy of Yinlong downsi (Dinosauria: Ceratopsia) from the Upper Jurassic Shishugou Formation of China and the phylogeny of basal ornithischians.
Journal of Systematic Palaeontology (advance online publication)
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Ceratopsia includes some of the best-known ornithischian dinosaurs. Many species are erected based on cranial elements alone, and the postcranial skeletons are either missing or undescribed in many taxa. Here we provide the first detailed postcranial description of Yinlong downsi based on the holotype and eight other well-preserved skeletons. Yinlong downsi from the early Late Jurassic Shishugou Formation of the Wucaiwan area, Xinjiang, China, represents one of the most basal ceratopsians. The detailed study of the postcranial skeleton reveals one feature unique to it among ceratopsians: a blade-like prepubic process of the pubis with an elongate notch near its ventral margin. The postcranial material of Yinlong shares some unique features with that of the ornithischian Stenopelix valdensis from the Early Cretaceous of Germany, and provides further evidence that the latter is a basal ceratopsian. A comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of basal ornithischians was built based on 72 taxa and 380 characters. Most of the characters are illustrated for the first time in order to clarify character states. The new ornithischian phylogeny confirms that Yinlong belongs to Chaoyangsauridae. Chaoyangsaurids and Psittacosaurus form a monophyletic group that is sister to all other ceratopsians. The new phylogeny also supports Stenopelix valdensis as a basal ceratopsian, and Mosaiceratops to be close to Coronosauria. Additionally, the new phylogeny agrees with other recent analyses that place heterodontosaurids as the most basal ornithischians rather than with marginocephalians. Furthermore, Isaberrysaura, which has been hypothesized to be a basal ornithopod, is recovered as one of the most basal stegosaurs for the first time. The former ‘hypsilophodontid’ taxa are recovered within Ornithopoda rather than outside Cerapoda, and Jeholosauridae is shown to be valid in this analysis.