Sauropoda

Tschopp, E., Mateus O., Marzola M., & Norell M. (2018).  Indications for a horny beak and extensive supraorbital connective tissue in diplodocid sauropods. Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. 229.: Society of Vertebrate Paleontologytschopp_et_al_2018_svp_abstract.pdf
Tschopp, E., Mateus O., & Norell M. (2018).  Complex Overlapping Joints between Facial Bones Allowing Limited Anterior Sliding Movements of the Snout in Diplodocid Sauropods. American Museum NovitatesAmerican Museum Novitates. 1 - 16., 2018: American Museum of Natural History Abstracttschopp_et_al_2018.pdfWebsite

ABSTRACT Diplodocid sauropods had a unique skull morphology, with posteriorly retracted nares, an elongated snout, and anteriorly restricted, peglike teeth. Because of the lack of extant analogs in skull structure and tooth morphology, understanding their feeding strategy and diet has been difficult. Furthermore, the general rarity of sauropod skulls and the fragility of their facial elements resulted in a restricted knowledge of cranial anatomy, in particular regarding the internal surface of the facial skull. Here, we describe in detail a well-preserved diplodocid skull visible in medial view. Diagnostic features recognized in other skulls observable in lateral view, such as the extended contribution of the jugal to the antorbital fenestra, are obliterated in medial view due to extensive overlapping joints between the maxilla, jugal, quadratojugal, and the lacrimal. These overlapping joints permitted limited anterior sliding movement of the snout, which likely served as a kind of ?shock-absorbing? mechanism during feeding. Diplodocid skulls therefore seem to have evolved to alleviate stresses inflicted on the snout during backward movements of the head, as would be expected during branch-stripping or raking.ABSTRACT Diplodocid sauropods had a unique skull morphology, with posteriorly retracted nares, an elongated snout, and anteriorly restricted, peglike teeth. Because of the lack of extant analogs in skull structure and tooth morphology, understanding their feeding strategy and diet has been difficult. Furthermore, the general rarity of sauropod skulls and the fragility of their facial elements resulted in a restricted knowledge of cranial anatomy, in particular regarding the internal surface of the facial skull. Here, we describe in detail a well-preserved diplodocid skull visible in medial view. Diagnostic features recognized in other skulls observable in lateral view, such as the extended contribution of the jugal to the antorbital fenestra, are obliterated in medial view due to extensive overlapping joints between the maxilla, jugal, quadratojugal, and the lacrimal. These overlapping joints permitted limited anterior sliding movement of the snout, which likely served as a kind of ?shock-absorbing? mechanism during feeding. Diplodocid skulls therefore seem to have evolved to alleviate stresses inflicted on the snout during backward movements of the head, as would be expected during branch-stripping or raking.

Tschopp, E., Brinkman D., Henderson J., Turner M. A., & Mateus O. (2018).  Considerations on the replacement of a type species in the case of the sauropod dinosaur Diplodocus Marsh, 1878. Geology of the Intermountain West. 5, 245-262.tschoppetal2018.pdf
Correia, T., Barcelos L., Nunes T., Riff D., & Mateus O. (2017).  On a titanosaur scapula from the Marília Formation (Upper Cretaceous, Bauru Group) in Campina Verde Town. XXV Congresso Brasileiro de Paleontologia Boletim de Resumos. 77. Abstractthiago_abstract_brazil_2017.pdf

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Tschopp, E., Tschopp F. A., & Mateus O. (2017).  Overlap Indices: Tools to quantify the amount of anatomical overlap among groups of incomplete terminal taxa in phylogenetic analyses. Acta Zoologica. 99(2), 169-176. Abstracttschopp_et_al-2017-acta_zoologica_overlap_indices_tools_to_quantify_the_amount.pdfWebsite

Phylogenetic analyses of morphological data are often characterized by missing data due to incomplete operational taxonomic units, as in fossils. This incomplete knowledge derives from various reasons, including—in the case of fossils—the numerous filters an organism has to pass through during taphonomy, fossilization, weathering and collecting. Whereas several methods have been proposed to address issues raised by the inclusion of incomplete terminal taxa, until recently no tool existed to easily quantify the amount of anatomical overlap within a particular clade. The Overlap Indices provide such values and might prove useful for comparative cladistics. We herein describe these new indices and their applications in detail and provide an example file for their calculation. A case study of diplodocid sauropod dinosaurs shows how the Overlap Indices will help to explore and quantify, which one of a number of conflicting tree topologies is supported by more anatomical traits, which skeletal regions are underrepresented in a particular phylogenetic matrix, and which taxon would improve character state score completeness.

Lallensack, J. N., Klein H., Milàn J., Wings O., Mateus O., & Clemmensen L. B. (2017).  Sauropodomorph dinosaur trackways from the Fleming Fjord Formation of East Greenland: Evidence for Late Triassic sauropods. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 62(4), 833-843. Abstractlallensack_et_al_2017_-_sauropodomorph_tracks_greenland.pdf

The Late Triassic (Norian–early Rhaetian) Fleming Fjord Formation of central East Greenland preserves a diverse fossil fauna, including both body and trace fossils. Trackways of large quadrupedal archosaurs, although already reported in 1994 and mentioned in subsequent publications, are here described and figured in detail for the first time, based on photogrammetric data collected during fieldwork in 2012. Two trackways can be referred to Eosauropus, while a third, bipedal trackway may be referred to Evazoum, both of which have been considered to represent sauropodomorph dinosaur tracks. Both the Evazoum and the Eosauropus trackways are distinctly larger than other trackways referred to the respective ichnogenera. The trackmaker of the best preserved Eosauropus trackway is constrained using a synapomorphy-based approach. The quadrupedal posture, the entaxonic pes structure, and five weight-bearing digits indicate a derived sauropodiform trackmaker. Other features exhibited by the tracks, including the semi-digitigrade pes and the laterally deflected unguals, are commonly considered synapomorphies of more exclusive clades within Sauropoda. The present trackway documents an early acquisition of a eusauropod-like pes anatomy while retaining a well-developed claw on pedal digit IV, which is reduced in eusauropods. Although unequivocal evidence for sauropod dinosaurs is no older than the Early Jurassic, the present trackway provides evidence for a possible Triassic origin of the group.

Tschopp, E., & Mateus O. (2016).  Diplodocus Marsh, 1878 (Dinosauria, Sauropoda): proposed designation of D. carnegii Hatcher, 1901 as the type species. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature. 73(1), 17-24. Abstracttschopp_mateus_2016_-_case_3700_-_diplodocus_type.pdf

The purpose of this application, under Articles 78.1 and 81.1 of the Code, is to replace Diplodocus longus Marsh, 1878 as the type species of the sauropod dinosaur genus Diplodocus by the much better represented D. carnegii Hatcher, 1901, due to the undiagnosable state of the holotype of D. longus (YPM 1920, a partial tail and a chevron). The holotype of D. carnegii, CM 84, is a well-preserved and mostly articulated specimen. Casts of it are on display in various museums around the world, and the species has generally been used as the main reference for studies of comparative anatomy or phylogeny of the genus. Both species are known from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of the western United States. The genus Diplodocus is the basis for the family-level taxa diplodocinae Marsh, 1884, diplodocidae Marsh, 1884, diplodocimorpha Marsh, 1884 (Calvo & Salgado, 1995) and diplodocoidea Marsh, 1884 (Upchurch, 1995). It is also a specifier of at least 10 phylogenetic clades. With the replacement of D. longus by D. carnegii as type species, Diplodocus could be preserved as a taxonomic name with generally accepted content. Taxonomic stability of the entire clade diplodocoidea, and the proposed definitions of several clades within Sauropoda, could be maintained.

Tschopp, E., Mateus O., & Benson R. B. J. (2015).  A specimen-level phylogenetic analysis and taxonomic revision of Diplodocidae (Dinosauria, Sauropoda). PeerJ. 3, e857., 4 Abstracttschopp_et_al_2015_brontosaurus_peerj-857.pdfWebsite

Diplodocidae are among the best known sauropod dinosaurs. Several species were described in the late 1800s or early 1900s from the Morrison Formation of North America. Since then, numerous additional specimens were recovered in the USA, Tanzania, Portugal, and Argentina, as well as possibly Spain, England, Georgia, Zimbabwe, and Asia. To date, the clade includes about 12 to 15 nominal species, some of them with questionable taxonomic status (e.g., ‘\textit{Diplodocus}’ \textit{hayi} or \textit{Dyslocosaurus polyonychius}), and ranging in age from Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous. However, intrageneric relationships of the iconic, multi-species genera \textit{Apatosaurus} and \textit{Diplodocus} are still poorly known. The way to resolve this issue is a specimen-based phylogenetic analysis, which has been previously implemented for \textit{Apatosaurus}, but is here performed for the first time for the entire clade of Diplodocidae.The analysis includes 81 operational taxonomic units, 49 of which belong to Diplodocidae. The set of OTUs includes all name-bearing type specimens previously proposed to belong to Diplodocidae, alongside a set of relatively complete referred specimens, which increase the amount of anatomically overlapping material. Non-diplodocid outgroups were selected to test the affinities of potential diplodocid specimens that have subsequently been suggested to belong outside the clade. The specimens were scored for 477 morphological characters, representing one of the most extensive phylogenetic analyses of sauropod dinosaurs. Character states were figured and tables given in the case of numerical characters.The resulting cladogram recovers the classical arrangement of diplodocid relationships. Two numerical approaches were used to increase reproducibility in our taxonomic delimitation of species and genera. This resulted in the proposal that some species previously included in well-known genera like \textit{Apatosaurus} and \textit{Diplodocus} are generically distinct. Of particular note is that the famous genus \textit{Brontosaurus} is considered valid by our quantitative approach. Furthermore, “\textit{Diplodocus}” hayi represents a unique genus, which will herein be called \textit{Galeamopus} gen. nov. On the other hand, these numerical approaches imply synonymization of “\textit{Dinheirosaurus}” from the Late Jurassic of Portugal with the Morrison Formation genus \textit{Supersaurus}. Our use of a specimen-, rather than species-based approach increases knowledge of intraspecific and intrageneric variation in diplodocids, and the study demonstrates how specimen-based phylogenetic analysis is a valuable tool in sauropod taxonomy, and potentially in paleontology and taxonomy as a whole.

Mateus, O., Mannion P. D., & Upchurch P. (2014).  Zby atlanticus, a new turiasaurian sauropod (Dinosauria, Eusauropoda) from the Late Jurassic of Portugal. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 34(3), 618-634. Abstractmateus_et_al_2014_zby_atlanticus.pdfWebsite

Here we describe a new partial sauropod skeleton from the late Kimmeridgian (Late Jurassic) of the Lourinhã Formation, central west Portugal. The closely associated specimen comprises a complete tooth (with root), a fragment of cervical neural arch, an anterior chevron, and an almost complete right pectoral girdle and forelimb. The new sauropod, Zby atlanticus, n. gen. et sp., can be diagnosed on the basis of four autapomorphies, including a prominent posteriorly projecting ridge on the humerus at the level of the deltopectoral crest. Nearly all anatomical features indicate that Zby is a non-neosauropod eusauropod. On the basis of several characters, including tooth morphology, extreme anteroposterior compression of the proximal end of the radius, and strong beveling of the lateral half of the distal end of the radius, Zby appears to be closely related to Turiasaurus riodevensis from approximately contemporaneous deposits in eastern Spain. However, these two genera can be distinguished from each other by a number of features pertaining to the forelimb. Whereas previously described Late Jurassic Portuguese sauropods show close relationships with taxa from the contemporaneous Morrison Formation of North America, it appears that turiasaurians were restricted to Europe. All adult sauropods recovered in the Late Jurassic of Portugal thus far are very large individuals: it is possible that the apparent absence of small- or medium-sized adult sauropods might be related to the occupation of lower-browsing niches by non-sauropods such as the long-necked stegosaur Miragaia longicollum.

Holwerda, F., Tschopp E., & Mateus O. (2014).  Sauropod body fossils in Europe: overview and current issues. XII EAVP Meeting XII Annual Meeting of the European Association of Vertebrate Palaeontologists – Abstract Book. p.77., Torino 24-28 June 2014holwerda_et_al_2014_sauropods_europe_eavp.pdf