Field of Science

New in Palaeotologia Electronica: The Digital Plateosaurus.

The new issue of Palaeontologia Electronica is now available online including this article:

Mallison, H. 2010. The digital Plateosaurus I: body mass, mass distribution and posture assessed using CAD and CAE on a digitally mounted complete skeleton. Palaeontologia Electronica Vol. 13, Issue 2; 8A: 26p; http://palaeo-electronica.org/2010_2/198/index.html

Abstract - Plateosaurus from the late Triassic of Central Europe is one of the best known dinosaurs. Despite the large number of finds, including complete and articulated skeletons, its posture and locomotion capabilities are still being debated. While recent assessments of the range of motion of the forelimb indicate that Plateosaurus was incapable of manus pronation, and thus an obligate biped, practically all other possible alternatives have been suggested in the literature. Here, I present evidence, derived from a detailed mounting of a 3D digital skeleton and a computer-aided engineering assessment of a digital 3D model of the living animal, that Plateosaurus was indeed an obligate biped. The position of the center of mass is assessed in several variations of the basic model to account for differing interpretations of soft tissue amounts. All models allow a stable bipedal pose with a subhorizontal back that is consistent with the requirements of both slow and rapid locomotion. Quadrupedal models, in contrast, suffer from locomotion restrictions due to highly uneven limb lengths and a limited motion range in the forelimb, and result in a smaller feeding envelope.

4 comments:

  1. Extremely cool. I was hoping my PE submission would be in print this issue, but my own lack of diligence in getting revisions back has pushed it back to the Fall/Winter...

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  2. This same issue also had an interesting paper by Torsten Scheyer:

    Scheyer, TM (2010). NEW INTERPRETATION OF THE POSTCRANIAL SKELETON AND OVERALL BODY SHAPE OF THE PLACODONT CYAMODUS HILDEGARDIS PEYER, 1931 (REPTILIA, SAUROPTERYGIA). Palaeontologia Electronica, 13(2): 15A: 15p; http://palaeo-electronica.org/2010_2/232/index.html

    Abstract- The enigmatic cyamodontoid placodont Cyamodus hildegardis from the Besano Formation (Middle Triassic) of the Alpine area of Switzerland and northern Italy has previously been reconstructed with a broad, laterally expanded main armour (carapace) and a separate smaller pelvic shield, lending this species a fairly sprawling appearance. A re-examination and a literature review of the postcranial dermal armour and endoskeletal elements of the three best preserved articulated specimens of the species leads to new interpretations of the dermal armour and associated underlying postcranial bones, as well as a new life reconstruction. The carapace of C. hildegardis, carrying a series of similar-sized, enlarged lateral armour plates, is rounder and less laterally expanded than previously hypothesised. The separate pelvic shield, also carrying a smaller set of lateral armour plates that decrease in size with an anteroposterior gradient, covers mainly the pelvic girdle and the base of the tail. The rather short tail is armoured by four series of armour plates that show a simple anteroposterior gradient of size reduction in keeping with an equivalent size reduction in the caudal vertebrae. Until further fossils are recovered, the internal organisation of dermal plates within the two armour shields of C. hildegardis remains little known.

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  3. Thanks for noticing ;)

    I have put up a post on the PE blog just now, which is intended to expand a bit on the paper - why did I do that stuff, what is it good for, who are the other people involved... It's gonna take more than one post though, I'm afraid.
    Check it out at
    http://www.palaeo-electronica.org/blog/

    :)

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  4. Nick,

    can't say what happened to your paper; it must have gone throgh Daniela (the other style editor).

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