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  • Journal article
    Chiarenza A, Mannion P, Lunt D, Farnsworth A, Jones L, Kelland S-J, Allison Pet al., 2019,

    Ecological niche modelling does not support climatically-driven dinosaur diversity decline before the Cretaceous/Paleogene mass extinction

    , Nature Communications, Vol: 10, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 2041-1723

    In the lead-up to the Cretaceous/Paleogene mass extinction, dinosaur diversity is argued to have been either in long-term decline, or thriving until their sudden demise. The latest Cretaceous (Campanian–Maastrichtian [83–66 Ma]) of North America provides the best record to address this debate, but even here diversity reconstructions are biased by uneven sampling. Here we combine fossil occurrences with climatic and environmental modelling to quantify latest Cretaceous North American dinosaur habitat. Ecological niche modelling shows a Campanian-to-Maastrichtian habitability decrease in areas with present-day rock-outcrop. However, a continent-wide projection demonstrates habitat stability, or even a Campanian-to-Maastrichtian increase, that is not preserved. This reduction of the spatial sampling window resulted from formation of the proto-Rocky Mountains and sea-level regression. We suggest that Maastrichtian North American dinosaur diversity is therefore likely to be underestimated, with the apparent decline a product of sampling bias, and not due to a climatically-driven decrease in habitability as previously hypothesised.

  • Journal article
    Tennant JP, Mannion PD, Upchurch P, 2016,

    Evolutionary relationships and systematics of Atoposauridae (Crocodylomorpha: Neosuchia): implications for the rise of Eusuchia

    , Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, Vol: 177, Pages: 854-936, ISSN: 1096-3642

    Atoposaurids are a group of small-bodied, extinct crocodyliforms, regarded as an important component of Jurassic and Cretaceous Laurasian semi-aquatic ecosystems. Despite the group being known for over 150 years, the taxonomic composition of Atoposauridae and its position within Crocodyliformes are unresolved. Uncertainty revolves around their placement within Neosuchia, in which they have been found to occupy a range of positions from the most basal neosuchian clade to more crownward eusuchians. This problem stems from a lack of adequate taxonomic treatment of specimens assigned to Atoposauridae, and key taxa such as Theriosuchus have become taxonomic ‘waste baskets’. Here, we incorporate all putative atoposaurid species into a new phylogenetic data matrix comprising 24 taxa scored for 329 characters. Many of our characters are heavily revised or novel to this study, and several ingroup taxa have never previously been included in a phylogenetic analysis. Parsimony and Bayesian approaches both recover Atoposauridae as a basal clade within Neosuchia, more stemward than coelognathosuchians, bernissartiids, and paralligatorids. Atoposauridae is a much more exclusive clade than previously recognized, comprising just three genera (Alligatorellus, Alligatorium, and Atoposaurus) that were restricted to the Late Jurassic of western Europe, and went extinct at the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary. A putative Gondwanan atoposaurid (Brillanceausuchus) is recovered as a paralligatorid. Our results exclude both Montsecosuchus and Theriosuchus from Atoposauridae. Theriosuchus is polyphyletic, forming two groupings of advanced neosuchians. Theriosuchus (restricted to Theriosuchus pusillus, Theriosuchus guimarotae, and Theriosuchus grandinaris) spanned the Middle Jurassic to early Late Cretaceous, and is known from Eurasia and North Africa. Two Cretaceous species previously assigned to Theriosuchus (‘Theriosuchus’ ibericus and ‘Theriosuchus’ sympiest

  • Journal article
    Bates KT, Mannion PD, Falkingham PL, Brusatte SL, Hutchinson JR, Otero A, Sellers WI, Sullivan C, Stevens KA, Allen Vet al., 2016,

    Temporal and phylogenetic evolution of the sauropod dinosaur body plan

    , Royal Society Open Science, Vol: 3, ISSN: 2054-5703

    The colossal size and body plan of sauropod dinosaurs are unparalleled in terrestrial vertebrates. However, to date, there have been only limited attempts to examine temporal and phylogenetic patterns in the sauropod bauplan. Here, we combine three-dimensional computational models with phylogenetic reconstructions to quantify the evolution of whole-body shape and body segment properties across the sauropod radiation. Limitations associated with the absence of soft tissue preservation in fossils result in large error bars about mean absolute body shape predictions. However, applying any consistent skeleton : body volume ratio to all taxa does yield changes in body shape that appear concurrent with major macroevolutionary events in sauropod history. A caudad shift in centre-of-mass (CoM) in Middle Triassic Saurischia, associated with the evolution of bipedalism in various dinosaur lineages, was reversed in Late Triassic sauropodomorphs. A craniad CoM shift coincided with the evolution of quadrupedalism in the Late Triassic, followed by a more striking craniad shift in Late Jurassic–Cretaceous titanosauriforms, which included the largest sauropods. These craniad CoM shifts are strongly correlated with neck enlargement, a key innovation in sauropod evolution and pivotal to their gigantism. By creating a much larger feeding envelope, neck elongation is thought to have increased feeding efficiency and opened up trophic niches that were inaccessible to other herbivores. However, we find that relative neck size and CoM position are not strongly correlated with inferred feeding habits. Instead the craniad CoM positions of titanosauriforms appear closely linked with locomotion and environmental distributions, potentially contributing to the continued success of this group until the end-Cretaceous, with all other sauropods having gone extinct by the early Late Cretaceous.

  • Journal article
    Tennant JP, Mannion PD, Upchurch P, 2016,

    Environmental drivers of crocodyliform extinction across the Jurassic/Cretaceous transition

    , Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, Vol: 283, ISSN: 0080-4649

    Crocodyliforms have a much richer evolutionary history than represented by their extantdescendants, including several independent marine and terrestrial radiations during the Mesozoic.However, heterogeneous sampling of their fossil record has obscured their macroevolutionarydynamics, and obfuscated attempts to reconcile external drivers of these patterns. Here, we presenta comprehensive analysis of crocodyliform biodiversity through the Jurassic/Cretaceous (J/K)transition using subsampling and phylogenetic approaches, and apply maximum likelihood methodsto fit models of extrinsic variables to assess what mediated these patterns. A combination offluctuations in sea level and episodic perturbations to the carbon and sulphur cycles was primarilyresponsible for both a marine and non-marine crocodyliform biodiversity decline through the J/Kboundary, primarily documented in Europe. This was tracked by high extinction rates at theboundary and suppressed origination rates throughout the Early Cretaceous. The diversification ofEusuchia and Notosuchia likely emanated from the easing of ecological pressure resulting from thebiodiversity decline, which also culminated in the extinction of the marine thalattosuchians in thelate Early Cretaceous. Through application of rigorous techniques for estimating biodiversity, ourresults demonstrate that it is possible to tease apart the complex array of controls on diversificationpatterns in major archosaur clades.

  • Journal article
    Tennant JP, Mannion PD, Upchurch P, Sutton M, Price Get al., 2016,

    Biotic and environmental dynamics through the Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous transition: evidence for protracted faunal and ecological turnover

    , Biological Reviews, Vol: 92, Pages: 776-814, ISSN: 1469-185X

    The Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous interval represents a time of environmental upheaval and cataclysmic events, combined with disruptions to terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Historically, the Jurassic/Cretaceous (J/K) boundary was classified as one of eight mass extinctions. However, more recent research has largely overturned this view, revealing a much more complex pattern of biotic and abiotic dynamics than has previously been appreciated. Here, we present a synthesis of our current knowledge of Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous events, focusing particularly on events closest to the J/K boundary. We find evidence for a combination of short-term catastrophic events, large-scale tectonic processes and environmental perturbations, and major clade interactions that led to a seemingly dramatic faunal and ecological turnover in both the marine and terrestrial realms. This is coupled with a great reduction in global biodiversity which might in part be explained by poor sampling. Very few groups appear to have been entirely resilient to this J/K boundary ‘event’, which hints at a ‘cascade model’ of ecosystem changes driving faunal dynamics. Within terrestrial ecosystems, larger, more-specialised organisms, such as saurischian dinosaurs, appear to have suffered the most. Medium-sized tetanuran theropods declined, and were replaced by larger-bodied groups, and basal eusauropods were replaced by neosauropod faunas. The ascent of paravian theropods is emphasised by escalated competition with contemporary pterosaur groups, culminating in the explosive radiation of birds, although the timing of this is obfuscated by biases in sampling. Smaller, more ecologically diverse terrestrial non-archosaurs, such as lissamphibians and mammaliaforms, were comparatively resilient to extinctions, instead documenting the origination of many extant groups around the J/K boundary. In the marine realm, extinctions were focused on low-latitude, shallow marine shel

  • Journal article
    Dean D, Mannion PD, Butler RJ, 2016,

    Preservational bias controls the fossil record of pterosaurs

    , Palaeontology, Vol: 59, Pages: 225-247, ISSN: 1475-4983

    Pterosaurs, a Mesozoic group of flying archosaurs, have become a focal point for debates pertaining to the impact of sampling biases on our reading of the fossil record, as well as the utility of sampling proxies in palaeo-diversity reconstructions. The completeness of the pterosaur fossil specimens themselves potentially provides additional information that is not captured in existing sampling proxies, and might shed new light on the group's evolutionary history. Here we assess the quality of the pterosaur fossil record via a character completeness metric based on the number of phylogenetic characters that can be scored for all known skeletons of 172 valid species, with averaged completeness values calculated for each geological stage. The fossil record of pterosaurs is observed to be strongly influenced by the occurrence and distribution of Lagerstätten. Peaks in completeness correlate with Lagerstätten deposits, and a recovered correlation between completeness and observed diversity is rendered non-significant when Lagerstätten species are excluded. Intervals previously regarded as potential extinction events are shown to lack Lagerstätten and exhibit low completeness values: as such, the apparent low diversity in these intervals might be at least partly the result of poor fossil record quality. A positive correlation between temporal patterns in completeness of Cretaceous pterosaurs and birds further demonstrates the prominent role that Lagerstätten deposits have on the preservation of smaller bodied organisms, contrasting with a lack of correlation with the completeness of large-bodied sauropodomorphs. However, we unexpectedly find a strong correlation between sauropodomorph and pterosaur completeness within the Triassic–Jurassic, but not the Cretaceous, potentially relating to a shared shift in environmental preference and thus preservation style through time. This study highlights the importance of understanding the relationship

  • Journal article
    Benson RBJ, Butler RJ, Alroy J, Mannion PD, Carrano MT, Lloyd GTet al., 2016,

    Near-stasis in the long-term diversification of Mesozoic tetrapods

    , PLOS Biology, Vol: 14, ISSN: 1545-7885

    How did evolution generate the extraordinary diversity of vertebrates on land? Zero species are known prior to ~380 million years ago, and more than 30,000 are present today. An expansionist model suggests this was achieved by large and unbounded increases, leading to substantially greater diversity in the present than at any time in the geological past. This model contrasts starkly with empirical support for constrained diversification in marine animals, suggesting different macroevolutionary processes on land and in the sea. We quantify patterns of vertebrate standing diversity on land during the Mesozoic–early Paleogene interval, applying sample-standardization to a global fossil dataset containing 27,260 occurrences of 4,898 non-marine tetrapod species. Our results show a highly stable pattern of Mesozoic tetrapod diversity at regional and local levels, underpinned by a weakly positive, but near-zero, long-term net diversification rate over 190 million years. Species diversity of non-flying terrestrial tetrapods less than doubled over this interval, despite the origins of exceptionally diverse extant groups within mammals, squamates, amphibians, and dinosaurs. Therefore, although speciose groups of modern tetrapods have Mesozoic origins, rates of Mesozoic diversification inferred from the fossil record are slow compared to those inferred from molecular phylogenies. If high speciation rates did occur in the Mesozoic, then they seem to have been balanced by extinctions among older clades. An apparent 4-fold expansion of species richness after the Cretaceous/Paleogene (K/Pg) boundary deserves further examination in light of potential taxonomic biases, but is consistent with the hypothesis that global environmental disturbances such as mass extinction events can rapidly adjust limits to diversity by restructuring ecosystems, and suggests that the gradualistic evolutionary diversification of tetrapods was punctuated by brief but dramatic episodes of radiation.

  • Journal article
    McPhee BW, Mannion PD, de Klerk WJ, Choiniere JNet al., 2015,

    High diversity in the sauropod dinosaur fauna of the Early Lower Cretaceous Kirkwood Formation of South Africa: Implications for the Jurassic–Cretaceous transition

    , Cretaceous Research, Vol: 59, Pages: 228-248, ISSN: 1095-998X

    The Kirkwood Formation of South Africa has long been recognised as having the potential to fill an important gap in the Mesozoic terrestrial fossil record. As one of the few fossil-bearing deposits from the lowermost Cretaceous, the Kirkwood Formation provides critical information on terrestrial ecosystems at the local, subcontinental (southern Gondwana), and global scale during this poorly sampled time interval. However, until recently, the dinosaurian fauna of the Kirkwood Formation, especially that pertaining to Sauropoda, has remained essentially unknown. Here we present comprehensive descriptions of several relatively well-preserved sauropod vertebrae collected from exposures throughout the formation. We identify at least four taxonomically distinct groups of sauropod, comprising representatives of Diplodocidae, Dicraeosauridae, Brachiosauridae, and a eusauropod that belongs to neither Diplodocoidea nor Titanosauriformes. This represents the first unequivocal evidence of these groups having survived into the earliest Cretaceous of Africa. The taxonomic composition of the Kirkwood Formation shows strong similarities to Upper Jurassic deposits, and raises questions regarding the taxonomic decline across the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary that has been previously inferred for Sauropoda. Investigation of the sauropod fossil record of the first three geological stages of the Cretaceous suggests that reconstruction of sauropod macroevolutionary patterns is complicated by a combination of sampling bias, an uneven and poorly dated rock record, and spatiotemporal disparity in the global disappearance of certain sauropod groups. Nonetheless, the close ecological relationship consistently observed between Brachiosauridae and Diplodocidae, as well as their approximately synchronous decline, suggests some equivalence in response to the changing faunal dynamics of the Early Cretaceous.

  • Journal article
    Maidment SCR, Brassey C, Barrett PM, 2015,

    The postcranial skeleton of an exceptionally complete individual of the plated dinosaur Stegosaurus stenops (Dinosauria: Thyreophora) from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of Wyoming, U.S.A.

    , PLOS One, Vol: 10, ISSN: 1932-6203

    Although Stegosaurus is one of the most iconic dinosaurs, well-preservedfossils are rare and as a consequence there is still much that remains unknownabout the taxon. A new, exceptionally complete individual affords theopportunity to describe the anatomy of Stegosaurus in detail for the first time inover a century, and enables additional comparisons with other stegosauriandinosaurs. The new specimen is from the Red Canyon Ranch Quarry, near ShellWyoming, and appears to have been so well preserved because it was buriedrapidly in a pond or body of standing water immediately after death. The quarryis probably located in the middle part of the Morrison Formation, which isbelieved to be Tithonian in age in this area. The specimen is referable toStegosaurus stenops based on the possession of an edentulous anterior portion ofthe dentary and elevated postzygapophyses on the cervical vertebrae. Newinformation provided by the specimen concerns the morphology of thevertebrae, the iliosacral block and dermal armor. Several aspects of itsmorphology indicate the individual was not fully skeletally mature at the time ofdeath, corroborating a previous histological study.

  • Journal article
    Bates K, Maidment SC, Schachner ER, Barrett PMet al., 2015,

    Comments and corrections on 3D modeling studies of locomotor muscle moment arms in archosaurs.

    , PeerJ, Vol: 3, ISSN: 2167-8359

    In a number of recent studies we used computer modeling to investigate the evolution of muscle leverage (moment arms) and function in extant and extinct archosaur lineages (crocodilians, dinosaurs including birds and pterosaurs). These studies sought to quantify the level of disparity and convergence in muscle moment arms during the evolution of bipedal and quadrupedal posture in various independent archosaur lineages, and in doing so further our understanding of changes in anatomy, locomotion and ecology during the group's >250 million year evolutionary history. Subsequent work by others has led us to re-evaluate our models, which revealed a methodological error that impacted on the results obtained from the abduction-adduction and long-axis rotation moment arms in our published studies. In this paper we present corrected abduction-adduction and long axis rotation moment arms for all our models, and evaluate the impact of this new data on the conclusions of our previous studies. We find that, in general, our newly corrected data differed only slightly from that previously published, with very few qualitative changes in muscle moments (e.g., muscles originally identified as abductors remained abductors). As a result the majority of our previous conclusions regarding the functional evolution of key muscles in these archosaur groups are upheld.

  • Journal article
    Mannion PD, Benson RBJ, Carrano MT, Tennant JP, Judd J, Butler RJet al., 2015,

    Climate constrains the evolutionary history and biodiversity of crocodylians

    , Nature Communications, Vol: 6, ISSN: 2041-1723

    The fossil record of crocodylians and their relatives (pseudosuchians) reveals a rich evolutionary history, prompting questions about causes of long-term decline to their present-day low biodiversity. We analyse climatic drivers of subsampled pseudosuchian biodiversity over their 250 million year history, using a comprehensive new data set. Biodiversity and environmental changes correlate strongly, with long-term decline of terrestrial taxa driven by decreasing temperatures in northern temperate regions, and biodiversity decreases at lower latitudes matching patterns of increasing aridification. However, there is no relationship between temperature and biodiversity for marine pseudosuchians, with sea-level change and post-extinction opportunism demonstrated to be more important drivers. A ‘modern-type’ latitudinal biodiversity gradient might have existed throughout pseudosuchian history, and range expansion towards the poles occurred during warm intervals. Although their fossil record suggests that current global warming might promote long-term increases in crocodylian biodiversity and geographic range, the 'balancing forces' of anthropogenic environmental degradation complicate future predictions.

  • Journal article
    Jordan N, Allison PA, Hill J, Sutton MDet al., 2015,

    Not all aragonitic molluscs are missing: taphonomy and significance of a unique shelly lagerstatte from the Jurassic of SW Britain

    , Lethaia, Vol: 48, Pages: 540-548, ISSN: 1502-3931

    The Blue Lias Formation at Lyme Regis (Dorset, UK) includes an exceptional pavement of abundant large ammonites that accumulated during a period of profound sedimentary condensation. Ammonites were originally composed of aragonite, an unstable polymorph of calcium carbonate, and such fossils are typically prone to dissolution; the occurrence of a rich association of aragonitic shells in a condensed bed is highly unusual. Aragonite dissolution occurs when pore-water pH is reduced by the oxidization of hydrogen sulphide close to the sediment-water interface. Evidence suggests that, in this case, the oxygen concentrations in the overlying water column were low during deposition. This inhibited the oxidation of sulphides and the associated lowering of pH, allowing aragonite to survive long enough for the shell to be neomorphosed to calcite. The loss of aragonite impacts upon estimates of past biodiversity and carbonate accumulation rates. The preservational model presented here implies that diagenetic loss of aragonite will be greatest in those areas where dysoxic-anoxic sediment lies beneath an oxic waterbody but least where the sediment and overlying water are oxygen depleted. Unfortunately, this implies that preservational bias through aragonite loss will be greatest in those biotopes which are typically most diverse and least where biodiversity is lowest due to oxygen restriction.

  • Journal article
    Dean CD, Sutton MD, Siveter DJ, Siveter DJet al., 2015,

    A novel respiratory architecture in the Silurian mollusc Acaenoplax

    , PALAEONTOLOGY, Vol: 58, Pages: 839-847, ISSN: 0031-0239
  • Journal article
    Siveter DJ, Briggs DE, Siveter DJ, Sutton MDet al., 2015,

    A 425-million-year-old Silurian pentastomid parasitic on ostracods

    , Current Biology, Vol: 25, Pages: 1632-1637, ISSN: 0960-9822

    Pentastomids (tongue worms) are worm-like arthropods known today from ∼140 species [1]. All but four are parasitic on vertebrates. Their life cycle typically involves larval development in an intermediate host followed by maturation in the respiratory tract of a definitive terrestrial host. Fossil pentastomids are exceedingly rare and are known only from isolated juveniles [2-6]. The identity of the possible hosts of fossil pentastomids and the origin of their lifestyle have generated much debate. A new, exceptionally preserved species, described based on adults from 425-million-year-old marine rocks, is the only known fossil pentastomid associated with a host, in this case a species of ostracod crustacean. The pentastomids are preserved near eggs within the ostracod and also, uniquely for any fossil or living pentastomid, are attached externally to the host. This discovery affirms the origin of pentastomids as ectoparasitic on marine invertebrates. The terrestrialization of pentastomids may have occurred in parallel with the vertebrate invasion of land.

  • Journal article
    Bertazzo S, Maidment S, Kallepitis C, Fearn S, Stevens MM, Xie HNet al., 2015,

    Fibres and cellular structures preserved in 75-million–year-old dinosaur specimens

    , Nature Communications, Vol: 6, ISSN: 2041-1723

    Exceptionally preserved organic remains are known throughout the vertebrate fossil record, and recently, evidence has emerged that such soft tissue might contain original components. We examined samples from eight Cretaceous dinosaur bones using nano-analytical techniques; the bones are not exceptionally preserved and show no external indication of soft tissue. In one sample, we observe structures consistent with endogenous collagen fibre remains displaying ~67 nm banding, indicating the possible preservation of the original quaternary structure. Using ToF-SIMS, we identify amino-acid fragments typical of collagen fibrils. Furthermore, we observe structures consistent with putative erythrocyte remains that exhibit mass spectra similar to emu whole blood. Using advanced material characterization approaches, we find that these putative biological structures can be well preserved over geological timescales, and their preservation is more common than previously thought. The preservation of protein over geological timescales offers the opportunity to investigate relationships, physiology and behaviour of long extinct animals.

  • Journal article
    Upchurch P, Mannion PD, Taylor MP, 2015,

    The Anatomy and Phylogenetic Relationships of "Pelorosaurus" becklesii (Neosauropoda, Macronaria) from the Early Cretaceous of England.

    , PLOS One, Vol: 10, Pages: e0125819-e0125819, ISSN: 1932-6203

    The sauropod dinosaur "Pelorosaurus" becklesii was named in 1852 on the basis of an associated left humerus, ulna, radius and skin impression from the Early Cretaceous (Berriasian-Valanginian) Hastings Beds Group, near Hastings, East Sussex, southeast England, United Kingdom. The taxonomy and nomenclature of this specimen have a complex history, but most recent workers have agreed that "P." becklesii represents a distinct somphospondylan (or at least a titanosauriform) and is potentially the earliest titanosaur body fossil from Europe or even globally. The Hastings specimen is distinct from the approximately contemporaneous Pelorosaurus conybeari from Tilgate Forest, West Sussex. "P." becklesii can be diagnosed on the basis of five autapomorphies, such as: a prominent anteriorly directed process projecting from the anteromedial corner of the distal humerus; the proximal end of the radius is widest anteroposteriorly along its lateral margin; and the unique combination of a robust ulna and slender radius. The new generic name Haestasaurus is therefore erected for "P." becklesii. Three revised and six new fore limb characters (e.g. the presence/absence of condyle-like projections on the posterodistal margin of the radius) are discussed and added to three cladistic data sets for Sauropoda. Phylogenetic analysis confirms that Haestasaurus becklesii is a macronarian, but different data sets place this species either as a non-titanosauriform macronarian, or within a derived clade of titanosaurs that includes Malawisaurus and Saltasauridae. This uncertainty is probably caused by several factors, including the incompleteness of the Haestasaurus holotype and rampant homoplasy in fore limb characters. Haestasaurus most probably represents a basal macronarian that independently acquired the robust ulna, enlarged olecranon, and other states that have previously been regarded as synapomorphies of clades within Titanosauria. There is growing

  • Journal article
    Bates KT, Falkingham PL, Macaulay S, Brassey C, Maidment SCRet al., 2015,

    Downsizing a giant: re-evaluating Dreadnoughtus body mass

    , Biology Letters, Vol: 11, ISSN: 1744-957X

    Estimates of body mass often represent the founding assumption on which biomechanicaland macroevolutionary hypotheses are based. Recently, a scalingequation was applied to a newly discovered titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur(Dreadnoughtus), yielding a 59 300 kg body mass estimate for this animal.Herein, we use a modelling approach to examine the plausibility of this massestimate for Dreadnoughtus. We find that 59 300 kg for Dreadnoughtus ishighly implausible and demonstrate that masses above 40 000 kg requirehigh body densities and expansions of soft tissue volume outside the skeletonseveral times greater than found in living quadrupedal mammals. Similarresults from a small sample of other archosaurs suggests that lower-end massestimates derived from scaling equations are most plausible for Dreadnoughtus,based on existing volumetric and density data from extant animals. Althoughvolumetric models appear to more tightly constrain dinosaur body mass, thereremains a clear need to further support these models with more exhaustive datafrom living animals. The relative and absolute discrepancies in mass predictionsbetween volumetric models and scaling equations also indicate aneed to systematically compare predictions across a wide size and taxonomicrange to better inform studies of dinosaur body size.

  • Journal article
    Martin-Short R, Hill J, Kramer SC, Avdis A, Allison PA, Piggott MDet al., 2015,

    .Tidal resource extraction in the Pentland Firth, UK: Potential impacts on flow regime and sediment transport in the Inner Sound of Stroma

    , RENEWABLE ENERGY, Vol: 76, Pages: 596-607, ISSN: 0960-1481
  • Journal article
    Brassey CA, Maidment SCR, Barrett PM, 2015,

    Body mass estimates of an exceptionally complete Stegosaurus (Ornithischia: Thyreophora): comparing volumetric and linear bivariate mass estimation methods

    , Biology Letters, Vol: 11, ISSN: 1744-957X

    Body mass is a key biological variable, but difficult to assess from fossils.Various techniques exist for estimating body mass from skeletal parameters,but few studies have compared outputs from different methods. Here, weapply several mass estimation methods to an exceptionally complete skeletonof the dinosaur Stegosaurus. Applying a volumetric convex-hullingtechnique to a digital model of Stegosaurus, we estimate a mass of 1560 kg(95% prediction interval 1082–2256 kg) for this individual. By contrast,bivariate equations based on limb dimensions predict values between 2355and 3751 kg and require implausible amounts of soft tissue and/or highbody densities. When corrected for ontogenetic scaling, however, volumetricand linear equations are brought into close agreement. Our results raise concernsregarding the application of predictive equations to extinct taxa withno living analogues in terms of overall morphology and highlight the sensitivityof bivariate predictive equations to the ontogenetic status of thespecimen. We emphasize the significance of rare, complete fossil skeletonsin validating widely applied mass estimation equations based on incompleteskeletal material and stress the importance of accurately determiningspecimen age prior to further analyses.

  • Conference paper
    Balikova D, Maidment S, Muxworthy AR, 2015,

    The age of the Morrison Formation (Western Interior, USA): A Magnetostratigraphic Approach (poster)

    , Magnetic Interactions 2015

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