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, 8 (1), 9730

Ceratosaur Palaeobiology: New Insights on Evolution and Ecology of the Southern Rulers

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Ceratosaur Palaeobiology: New Insights on Evolution and Ecology of the Southern Rulers

Rafael Delcourt. Sci Rep.

Erratum in

Abstract

Ceratosaur theropods ruled the Southern Hemisphere until the end of the Late Cretaceous. However, their origin was earlier, during the Early Jurassic, a fact which allowed the group to reach great morphological diversity. The body plans of the two main branches (Noasauridae and new name Etrigansauria: Ceratosauridae + Abelisauridae) are quite different; nevertheless, they are sister taxa. Abelisaurids have lost the ability to grasp in the most derived taxa, but the reduced forelimb might have had some display function. The ontogenetic changes are well known in Limusaurus which lost all their teeth and probably changed the dietary preference at maturity. The results presented here suggest that abelisaurids had different soft tissues on the skull. These tissues might have been associated with evolution of a strong cervicocephalic complex and should have allowed derived taxa (e.g. Majungasaurus and Carnotaurus) to have low-displacement headbutting matches. The ability to live in different semi-arid environment plus high morphological disparity allowed the ceratosaurs to become an evolutionary success.

Conflict of interest statement

The author declares no competing interests.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
The hypothetical phylogenetic relationships of ceratosaurs based on current topologies. The main source is from Wang et al.. The phylogenetic position of Chenanisaurus is from Longrich et al. and the Ligabueino, Austrocheirus, Majungasaurinae and Brachyrostra are from Filippi et al..
Figure 2
Figure 2
The anatomy of ceratosaurs, showing the variety of cranial morphology in the group. Right lateral side of the skulls of (A) Ceratosaurus (USNM 4735), (B) Skorpiovenator (MMCH-PV 48) and (C) Carnotaurus (MACN-CH 894) (scale bar: 10 cm). Left maxilla of (D) Noasaurus (PVL 4061; Fundación Miguel Lillo, Tucumán, Argentina); reconstruction of the skull of (E) Masiakasaurus and left lateral side of the skull of (F) Limusaurus (IVPP 20093 V; Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Beijin, China) (scales bar: 5 cm).
Figure 3
Figure 3
Limbs elements and skin impression of ceratosaurs. (A) Pectoral and forelimb of Deltadromeus (SGM-Din 2; Ministère de l'Énergie et des Mines, Rabat, Morocco); (B) forelimb of Carnotaurus (MACN-CH 894); (C) distal articulated tibia, fibula, astragalus and calcaneum of Eoabelisaurus (MPEF-Pv 3990; Museo Paleontológico ‘Egidio Feruglio’, Trelew, Argentina); (D) articulated tibia, fibula, astragalus and calcaneum of Xenotarsosaurus (UNPSJB PV 194/1; Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia ‘San Juan Bosco’, Chubut, Argentina) and (E) caudal skin impression of Carnotaurus (MACN-CH 894). Scale bar: 5 cm. Abbreviations: a, astragalus; c, coracoid; ca, calcaneum; cn, cnemial crest; dc, deltopectoral crest; f, fibula; he, humeral head; mc, metacarpals; r, radio; rb, rib; sc, scapula; sk, skin impression; t, tibia; u, ulna.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Skin structures inferred for abelisaurids. Dorsal surface of the skull of (A) Rugops (MNN IGU1), (C) Carnotaurus (MACN-CH 894) and dorsal surface of the fused nasal of (B) Abelisaurus (MPCA 11908). Scales bar: 5 cm.
Figure 5
Figure 5
Details of the skin structures inferred for abelisaurids. Right side of the skull of (A) Carnotaurus (MACN-CH 894) and left side of the skull of (B) Majungasaurus (FMNH PR 2100 – cast), both in dorsolateral view. Right side of the nasal of (C) Rugops (MNN IGU1) and left side of the nasal of Abelisaurus (MPCA 11908), both in dorsolateral view. Detail of the right frontal horn of (E) Carnotaurus (MACN-CH 894) and left side of nasal horn of (F) Ceratosaurus (USNM 4735). Arrowhead pointing rostrally without scale.
Figure 6
Figure 6
Hypothetical reconstruction of two abelisaurids showing the soft tissues on the head inferred from osteological morphology of the skull. On the top, Carnotaurus; on the bottom, Pycnonemosaurus. Art by Maurilio Oliveira.

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