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Analyzing taphonomic deformation of ankylosaur skulls using retrodeformation and finite element analysis

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Taphonomic deformation can make the interpretation of vertebrate fossil morphology difficult. The effects of taphonomic deformation are investigated in two ankylosaurid dinosaur taxa, Euoplocephalus tutus (to investigate effects on our understanding of intraspecific variation) and Minotaurasaurus ramachandrani (to investigate the validity of this genus). The ratio of orbit maximum rostrocaudal length to perpendicular height is used as a strain ellipse, which can be used to determine if ankylosaur skull fossils have been dorsoventrally compacted during fossilization and diagenesis. The software program Geomagic is used to retrodeform three-dimensional (3D) digital models of the ankylosaur skulls. The effects of sediment compaction are modeled using finite element analysis, and the resulting strain distributions are compared with the retrodeformed models as a test of the retrodeformation method. Taphonomic deformation can account for a large amount of intraspecific variation in Euoplocephalus, but finite element analysis and retrodeformation of Minotaurasaurus shows that many of its diagnostic features are unlikely to result from deformation.

  • Date created
    2012
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3DB7VR4T
  • License
    © 2012 Arbour & Currie. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Arbour, V.M., and Currie, P.J. (2012). Analyzing taphonomic deformation of ankylosaur skulls using retrodeformation and finite element analysis. PLoS ONE, 7(6): e39323. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039323.