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The cranial pneumatic sinuses of the tyrannosaurid Alioramus (Dinosauria, Theropoda) and the evolution of cranial pneumaticity in theropod dinosaurs. (American Museum novitates, no. 3790)

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dc.contributor.author Leone Gold, Maria Eugenia.
dc.contributor.author Brusatte, Stephen.
dc.contributor.author Norell, Mark.
dc.date.accessioned 2013-12-10T15:48:06Z
dc.date.available 2013-12-10T15:48:06Z
dc.date.issued 2013-12-05
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2246/6462
dc.description 46 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 26 cm en_US
dc.description.abstract Archosaurs and mammals exhibit skeletal pneumaticity, where bone is infilled by air-filled soft tissues. Some theropod dinosaurs possess extensively pneumatic skulls in which many of the individual bones are hollowed out by diverticula of three main cranial sinus systems: the paranasal, suborbital, and tympanic sinuses. Computed tomography (CT scanning) permits detailed study of the internal morphology of cranial sinuses. But only a few theropod specimens have yet been subjected to this type of analysis. We present CT scans of the remarkably preserved and disarticulated skull bones of the long-snouted tyrannosaurid theropod Alioramus. These scans indicate that Alioramus has extensive cranial pneumaticity, with pneumatic sinuses invading the maxilla, lacrimal, jugal, squamosal, quadrate, palatine, ectopterygoid, and surangular. Pneumaticity is not present, however, in the nasal, postorbital, quadratojugal, pterygoid, or angular. Comparisons between Alioramus and other theropods (most importantly the closely related Tyrannosaurus) show that the cranial sinuses of Alioramus are modified to fill the long-snouted skull of this taxon, and that Alioramus has an extreme degree of cranial pneumaticity compared to other theropods, which may be the result of the juvenile status of the specimen, a difference in feeding style between Alioramus and other theropods, or passive processes. Based on these comparisons, we provide a revised terminology of cranial pneumatic structures and review the distribution, variation, and evolution of cranial pneumaticity within theropod dinosaurs. This review illustrates that most theropods possess a common "groundplan" in which the maxilla and lacrimal are pneumatized, and that various theropods modify this groundplan by pneumatizing numerous other bones of the skull. Tyrannosaurids are very pneumatic compared to other theropods, particularly in the development of extensive ectopterygoid, quadrate, and palatine sinuses, as well as a pneumatic invasion into the surangular. Tyrannosauroids seem to retain many cranial sinuses, such as the jugal and nasal recesses, which are primitive for coelurosaurs but lost or apomorphically modified in taxa more closely related to birds. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher American Museum of Natural History. en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries American Museum novitates, no. 3790. en_US
dc.subject Alioramus altai. en_US
dc.subject Alioramus. en_US
dc.subject Paranasal sinuses. en_US
dc.subject Facial bones. en_US
dc.subject Skull. en_US
dc.subject Tyrannosauridae. en_US
dc.subject Saurischia. en_US
dc.subject Dinosaurs. en_US
dc.subject Reptiles. en_US
dc.title The cranial pneumatic sinuses of the tyrannosaurid Alioramus (Dinosauria, Theropoda) and the evolution of cranial pneumaticity in theropod dinosaurs. (American Museum novitates, no. 3790) en_US
dc.title.alternative Cranial pneumaticity of the tyrannosaurid Alioramus. en_US


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  • American Museum Novitates
    Novitates (Latin for "new acquaintances"), published continuously and numbered consecutively since 1921, are short papers that contain descriptions of new forms and reports in zoology, paleontology, and geology. New numbers are published at irregular intervals.

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