Field of Science

Significance of Skeletal Variation in the Late Triassic Dinosauriform Silesaurus opolensis

Piechowski, P., Tałanda, M., and J. Dzik. 2014. Skeletal variation and ontogeny of the Late Triassic Dinosauriform Silesaurus opolensis. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 34:1383-1393 DOI:10.1080/02724634.2014.873045

Abstract -
A principal component analysis (PCA) performed for a set of 24 measurements on 33 femora and 15 measurements on 20 ilia of Silesaurus opolensis from the early Late Triassic of Krasiejów, southern Poland, shows that this sample is highly variable but probably monospecific. Most of the morphological variation is concentrated in the muscle attachments and proportions of bones, which significantly change in both size and position during ontogeny. Despite the small sample size, femora of smaller individuals have less flattened shafts and a more sinusoidal appearance. In many large specimens, proximal parts of muscle tendons are ossified at their attachment site on femora and remain attached to the bone in the largest specimens. The specimens with attached ossifications are interpreted as mature females that were statistically larger than proposed males. It is suggested that ossifications developed in females under calcitonin control. The intrapopulation variability of ilia is high, but less dependant on ontogeny. The population represented by a few specimens from the lower level at Krasiejów may represent a different stage in the evolution of the species than that from the upper horizon.

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