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      Specializations of the mandibular anatomy and dentition of Segnosaurus galbinensis (Theropoda: Therizinosauria)


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          Definitive therizinosaurid cranial materials are exceptionally rare, represented solely by an isolated braincase and tooth in the North American taxon Nothronychus mckinleyi, the remarkably complete skull of the Asian taxon Erlikosaurus andrewsi, and the lower hemimandibles of Segnosaurus galbinensis. To date, comprehensive descriptions of the former taxa are published; however, the mandibular materials of S. galbinensis have remained largely understudied since their initial description in 1979. Here we provide a comprehensive description of the well-preserved hemimandibles and dentition of S. galbinensis (MPC-D 100/80), from the Upper Cretaceous Bayanshiree Formation, Gobi Desert, Mongolia. The subrectangular and ventrally displaced caudal hemimandible, extreme ventral deflection of the rostral dentary, and edentulism of the caudal dentary of S. galbinensis are currently apomorphic among therizinosaurians. Unique, unreported dental traits including lingually folded mesial carinae, development of a denticulated triangular facet on the distal carinae near the cervix, and extracarinal accessory denticles, suggest a highly specialized feeding strategy in S. galbinensis. The presence of triple carinae on the distalmost lateral tooth crowns is also unique, although may represent an abnormality. Contrasted with the simplistic dentition of the contemporaneous therizinosaurid E. andrewsi, the dentition of S. galbinensis is indicative of niche partitioning in food acquisition, processing, or resources among known therizinosaurids inhabiting Asian ecosystems in the Late Cretaceous. Although not quantitatively correlated with diet, this suite of specializations is otherwise unique among theropod dinosaurs and supports derived inferences of facultative or obligate herbivory in therizinosaurids, ultimately adding novel information to our understanding of ecomorphology in theropods.

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          Saurischian monophyly and the origin of birds

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            A proposal for a standard terminology of anatomical notation and orientation in fossil vertebrate dentitions

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              Complex dental structure and wear biomechanics in hadrosaurid dinosaurs.

              Mammalian grinding dentitions are composed of four major tissues that wear differentially, creating coarse surfaces for pulverizing tough plants and liberating nutrients. Although such dentition evolved repeatedly in mammals (such as horses, bison, and elephants), a similar innovation occurred much earlier (~85 million years ago) within the duck-billed dinosaur group Hadrosauridae, fueling their 35-million-year occupation of Laurasian megaherbivorous niches. How this complexity was achieved is unknown, as reptilian teeth are generally two-tissue structures presumably lacking biomechanical attributes for grinding. Here we show that hadrosaurids broke from the primitive reptilian archetype and evolved a six-tissue dental composition that is among the most sophisticated known. Three-dimensional wear models incorporating fossilized wear properties reveal how these tissues interacted for grinding and ecological specialization.

                Author and article information

                PeerJ Inc. (San Francisco, USA )
                29 March 2016
                : 4
                : e1885
                [1 ]Paleontology Research Lab, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences , Raleigh, North Carolina, United States of America
                [2 ]Department of Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University , Raleigh, North Carolina, United States of America
                [3 ]Institute of Paleontology and Geology, Mongolian Academy of Sciences , Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
                [4 ]Hokkaido University Museum, Hokkaido University , Sapporo, Japan
                © 2016 Zanno et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.

                : 14 December 2015
                : 12 March 2016
                Financial support provided by the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and a North Carolina State University Transformative Initiatives Award to LEZ. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

                cretaceous,dinosaur,theropod,anatomy,ecomorphology,therizinosaur,dentition,evolution,dietary specializations,herbivory


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