External and internal structure of ankylosaur (Dinosauria; Ornithischia) osteoderms

  • Author / Creator
    Burns, Michael
  • Here I assess the use of osteoderms in systematics with comparative material from fossil and extant tetrapod taxa. Putative differences among three groups (ankylosaurid, nodosaurid, and polacanthid) were evaluated. Archosaur osteoderms have cortices surrounding a cancellous core. Ankylosaurs are united by a superficial cortex distinguishable from the core, lack of Sharpey’s fibers, and mineralized structural fibers. Nododsaurids lack a deep cortex and have dense superficial cortical fibres. Ankylosaurid osteoderms are thinner than those of other ankylosaurs. Polacanthids (and some nodosaurids and ankylosaurids) have a cancellous core. Cortical thickness overlaps among groups, so a thick cortex is not diagnostic for polacanthids. Modified elements diverge histologically from the primitive condition for specific functions. Haversian bone in the core is not indicative of any group. Some shapes and superficial textures are diagnostic for specific taxa. Parsimony analyses show support for the Ankylosauridae and Nodosauridae, but not a monophyletic polacanthid clade.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Biological Sciences
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Currie, Philip (Biological Sciences)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Vickaryous, Matt (Biomedical Sciences, University of Guelph)
    • Caldwell, Michael (Biological Sciences)
    • Begg, David (Anatomy)