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The growth trajectory and adult size of Lesothosaurus diagnosticus (Dinosauria: Ornithischia): taxonomic implications

AutorKnoll, Fabien ; Padian, Kevin; Ricqlès, Armand de
Fecha de publicación12-sep-2007
EditorSociety of Vertebrate Paleontology
CitaciónJournal of Vertebrate Paleontology 27 (Suppl. to 3) : 100A (2007)
ResumenQuestions about the taxonomic status, diversity and pace of evolution of basal ornithischian dinosaurs persist in part because some historically important taxa have been based on incomplete material of uncertain ontogenetic status. We analyzed the bone tissues of small (~1 m length) specimens of Lesothosaurus and determined that they represent young individuals that were rapidly growing. In contrast, a larger (~2 m length) individual that has been referred alternatively to Lesothosaurus and to "cf. Stormbergia & Lesothosaurus" shows the onset of adult histological features. We infer that these and other specimens referred to the two taxa are most reasonably interpreted as representing ontogenic stages of a single taxon that reached maturity in approximately four years. Of the two character states that are supposed to distinguish the two taxa, one is probably best adscribed to teratological and preservational differences, and the other to ontogenic change; there seems, therefore, no compelling reason to separate Stombergia from the senior taxon Lesothosaurus. Diagnoses of taxa that are based on supposedly unique combinations of character states can be problematic: they often cannot account for possibly polarity errors that result from comparing individuals that differ in ontogenic stage but may belong to the same taxon. For this reason it is important to base taxonomic diagnoses on specimens with well-defined ontogenic stages, preferably adults. This is one of a very few examples so far where bone histology has been used to determine taxonomic questions.
DescripciónPoster contributed to the 67th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP), Austin, TX, Oct 17-20, 2007.-- Published in the JVP 2007, 27(3) Book of abstracts.
Versión del editorhttp://www.vertpaleo.org/publications/jvp/JVPabstracts2007.pdf
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