Hadrosaur-like vascularisation in the dentary of an early diverging iguanodontian dinosaur

Rotatori, F. M., Quaranta M., Bertozzo F., Hübner T., Camilo B., Mateus O., & Moreno-Azanza M. (2023).  Hadrosaur-like vascularisation in the dentary of an early diverging iguanodontian dinosaur. Historical Biology. 1-6.: Taylor & Francis


ABSTRACTVirtual palaeontology is a growing field, leading palaeontologists to better understand the microanatomy of many extinct species. The application of techniques such as CT and μCT-scanning allows the researchers to study micro-anatomical features in a non-invasive way and make inferences on the palaeobiology of animals. Dinosaurs have been extensively studied using these techniques, with particular focus on the microanatomy of the cranium, whereas relatively little is known of other cranial elements, such as the lower jaw. Here, we aim to fill this gap, describing the microanatomy of the specimen ML 768, an isolated dentary belonging to a dryosaurid iguanodontian dinosaur from the Upper Jurassic of Lourinhã Fm. The dentary ML 768 was subjected to μCT-scanning, and subsequently the data were segmented in Avizo and rendered in Blender. We identified functional and replacement teeth, recognising remnants of old replacement cycles. Furthermore, we mapped a rich neurovascular network present in the dentary and compared it with reference literature. We found that the high vascularisation is shared with other cerapodan dinosaurs with high tooth replacement rates, although homoeostasis may have also played a role in the development of this condition. Further evidence is needed to appreciate the macroevolutionary significance of these findings.



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