Tuesday, 10 May 2011
A Stunning Juvenile Tyrannosaurid
Awesome material backed up by stunning digital rendering by the Witmer Lab. Here’s the abstract:
A juvenile skull of the tyrannosaurid Tarbosaurus bataar found in the Bugin Tsav locality in the Mongolian Gobi Desert is described. With a total length of 290 mm, the present specimen represents one of the smallest skulls known for this species. Not surprisingly, it shows various characteristics common to juvenile tyrannosaurids, such as the rostral margin of the maxillary fenestra not reaching that of the external antorbital fenestra and the postorbital lacking the cornual process. The nasal bears a small lacrimal process, which disappears in adults. Lacking some of the morphological characteristics that are adapted for bearing great feeding forces in adult individuals, this juvenile specimen suggests that T. bataar would have changed its dietary niches during ontogeny. The numbers of alveoli in the maxilla (13) and dentary (14 and 15) are the same as those in adults, suggesting that they do not change ontogenetically in T. bataar and thus are not consistent with the hypothesis that the numbers of alveoli decreases ontogenetically in tyrannosaurids.
Tsuihiji, Takanobu , Watabe, Mahito , Tsogtbaatar, Khishigjav , Tsubamoto, Takehisa , Barsbold, Rinchen , Suzuki, Shigeru , Lee, Andrew H. , Ridgely, Ryan C. , Kawahara, Yasuhiro and Witmer, Lawrence M.(2011) 'Cranial osteology of a juvenile specimen of Tarbosaurus bataar (Theropoda, Tyrannosauridae) from the Nemegt Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Bugin Tsav, Mongolia', Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 31: 3, 497 — 517 DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2011.557116