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Permanent link (DOI): https://doi.org/10.7939/R39K46485

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Intraspecific Variation in the Armoured Dinosaurs (Dinosauria: Ankylosauria) Open Access

Descriptions

Other title
Subject/Keyword
ontogeny
ankylosaur
nodosaur
histology
dinosaur
Type of item
Thesis
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Burns, Michael Edward
Supervisor and department
Currie, Philip (Biological Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Erickson, Gregory (Biomedical Sciences, The Florida State University)
Brinkman, Don (Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology)
Murray, Alison (Biological Sciences)
Proctor, Heather (Biological Sciences)
Department
Department of Biological Sciences
Specialization
Systematics and Evolution
Date accepted
2015-07-27T13:23:47Z
Graduation date
2015-11
Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Doctoral
Abstract
Here I assess sources of intraspecific morphological variability in the armoured dinosaurs (Dinosauria: Ornithischia: Ankylosauria), approached from the viewpoints of ontogenetic allometry, fossil bone histology, and individual variation. Juvenile specimens of Pinacosaurus grangeri Gilmore, 1933, demonstrate strong positive allometry in features of their forelimbs, a trend lacking in the hindlimb. This is likely related to an increase in weight-bearing of the anterior body with ontogeny. Although postcrania can provide useful taxonomic characters, the effects of ontogenetic allometry should be considered. Bone histology indicates that juvenile ankylosaurs experienced rapid growth, followed by a decline in growth rates. It is likely that this decline was more prolonged than in other dinosaurian taxa, possibly related to the mineralization of osteoderms later in ontogeny. Although it is not possible to construct a growth-dynamic curve for ankylosaurs given the current data, the rough ontogenetic stage of an individual may be assessed histologically. A specimen-based parsimony analysis is supported as a repeatable method to make falsifiable taxonomic hypotheses, including explicit a priori character weighting, and delimit species. It provides for a revision of Upper Cretaceous Nodosauridae, a group for which the degree of intraspecific morphological diversity has been difficult to distinguish from taxonomic variation. In addition to Edmontonia spp. and Panoplosaurus mirus, Denversaurus schlessmani Bakker, 1988, is likely valid. It also allows for most currently-known specimens to be referred to species. Endocranial anatomy is conservative and, although not useful at the species-level, may inform deeper evolutionary relationships within the Ankylosauria.
Language
English
DOI
doi:10.7939/R39K46485
Rights
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Burns, M.E., T.A. Tumanova, and P.J. Currie. 2014. Postcrania of juvenile Pinacosaurus grangeri (Ornithischia: Ankylosauria) from the Upper Cretaceous Alagteeg Formation, Alag Teeg, Mongolia: implications for ontogenetic allometry in ankylosaurs. Journal of Paleontology 89: 168–182.

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