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Episode 374: Was a brand new ankylosaur deaf?


    Episode 374 is all about Spinophorosaurus, a sauropod from the Center Jurassic of Niger that was initially thought to have a Stegosaurus-like spiky tail.

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    On this episode, we focus on:


    • Stegouros, the ankylosaur we mentioned had an “axe-like tail”, is healthier described as a macuahuitl tail supply
    • A brand new sauropodomorph, Issi saaneq, was present in what’s now Greenland supply
    • A brand new examine confirmed the ankylosaur Struthiosaurus had a poor sense of listening to and doubtless moved slowly supply
    • The Mace Brown Museum of Pure Historical past in Charleston, South Carolina is providing a brand new paleontology scholarship supply
    • Frisco, Texas is constructing a brand new library, and it’ll embrace a life-sized mannequin of a T. rex skeleton supply
    • Sir David Attenborough has a brand new documentary popping out later this yr, known as “Dinosaurs: The Ultimate Day” supply

    The dinosaur of the day: Spinophorosaurus

    • Basal sauropod that lived within the Center Jurassic in what’s now Niger (Irhazer Shale)
    • Appeared like different sauropods, cumbersome with an extended neck and tail, on 4 legs (had a considerably upright posture)
    • Three specimens discovered
    • Probably the most full identified basal sauropods
    • Subadult estimated to be round 43 ft (13 m) lengthy, and the paratype estimated to be about 46 ft (14 m) lengthy
    • Estimated to weigh about 7 metric tons
    • Had a brief, deep, broad braincase
    • Had spatulate (spoon formed) enamel
    • Had 13 neck vertebrae
    • Neck vertebrae just like Jobaria and Cetiosaurus
    • Had small air-filled inside chambers within the dorsal vertebrae
    • Air sacs are identified in a lot later sauropods
    • Had a inflexible backbone
    • Neural spines have been wrinkled
    • Had a strong pelvis
    • Had a robust, inflexible tail
    • Tail had greater than 37 caudal vertebrae
    • Chevrons within the entrance of the tail have been blade-like
    • Chevrons behind the tail have been rod-like
    • Initially thought to have spiked osteoderms on the finish of the tail
    • Proper supposed osteoderm was bigger than the left and a little bit completely different in form, in order that they in all probability didn’t type a pair
    • Tail spikes, once they have been considered spikes, have been considered massive and bony close to the tip of the tail, organized in an analogous option to Shunosaurus (a sauropod that lived across the similar time in what’s now China)
    • In 2012, Emanuel Tschopp and others discovered that the tail spikes have been considerably L-shaped and extra just like the L-shaped bones discovered on the Howe Quarry within the Morrison Formation than the tail spikes of Shunosaurus. Additionally they weren’t as rugose/wrinkled in comparison with different dinosaurs’ osteoderms. The L-shaped components of Spinophorosaurus have been a bit broader than the L-shaped components from Howe Quarry, and had a triangular define. And so they discovered damaged edges, so it’s potential the pair have been the identical measurement. Final, they have been discovered under the scapula (shoulder blade), so prompt they have been clavicles
    • Sort species is Spinophorosaurus nigerensis
    • Described in 2009 by Kristian Remes and others
    • Genus identify means “backbone bearing lizard”, based mostly on what was considered spiked osteoderms on the tip of the tail (later considered clavicles)
    • Species identify refers back to the Republic of Niger
    • A pair people collected in 2006 and 2007 on the Rural Group of Aderbissinat
    • A juvenile was later additionally assigned to Spinophorosaurus
    • A lot of dinosaurs have been present in Niger within the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies
    • Paul Sereno excavated there between 1999 and 2003 and located Jobaria and Afrovenator
    • In 2003, the PALDES mission (Paleontología y Desarrollo – “Palaeontology and improvement”) excavated the realm, with the purpose of mixing paleontological analysis with a developmental program (enhancing infrastructure, training, and selling tourism)
    • In 2005, Ulrich Joger and Edgar Sommer have been exploring the realm, and locals advised them about some massive bones in a brand new locality. They discovered a rounded bone tip popping out of the floor, which turned out to be an entire femur of the holotype of Spinophorosaurus (additionally discovered a shoulder blade and a vertebra). Fossils have been in exhausting, brittle siltstone, and eliminated with gentle blows from hammers
    • Labored with extra locals and located a lot of the specimen in two days, which was largely full (in a dying pose)
    • In a photograph of the holotype on the dig website, it appears just like the fossil dig websites at museums, the place you sweep away filth and there’s a (practically) full dinosaur
    • They didn’t have the proper gear or permits, in order that they coated the fossils with particles to guard it and went again to Germany, with plans to do a full excavation by way of the Braunschweig museum
    • Acquired a allow in 2006, and the plan was in change, the museum would construct a brand new college within the space
    • Additionally acquired sponsors, and the mission was known as “Projeckt Dino”
    • Across the similar time, the PALDES workforce from Spain was working within the space
    • The mayor of Aderbissinat, Mohamed Echika, had given them permission to excavate the skeleton Joger and Sommer had been engaged on, and the skeleton ended up being shipped to Spain, with out the German workforce understanding (they discovered an empty dig website)
    • The German workforce ended up discovering the paratype specimen
    • Troublesome excavation, not sufficient water (some folks serving to to dig fainted); temperatures acquired to 109–113 °F (43–45 °C)
    • After practically per week, all however two of the folks on the workforce have been sick with diarrhea and circulation issues
    • Not a lot shade when digging
    • Additionally a number of sandstorms, that have been described as peeling their pores and skin
    • Staff completed on April 3, and Echika advised them about what occurred to the primary skeleton. To make up for it, he led them to a different fossil website, the place they discovered the again finish of presumably a Jobaria skeleton, however they needed to go away it within the discipline till the following season (the PALDES workforce cancelled their plans to excavate, after the outbreak of the Tuareg rebel from 2007 to 2009)
    • Labored along with the native Aderbissinat neighborhood, comprised of individuals of varied cultures (Tuareg, Hausa, and Fulani folks)
    • Dig was organized by a neighborhood Tuareg associate Ahmad Bahani and Tuareg Chief and Mayor of the village Tadibene Mohammed Echika
    • Dig occurred throughout a civil struggle, and so they have been protected by Mayor Mohammed Echika and the military
    • Additionally plenty of snakes, scorpions, monitor lizards, whereas digging (one individual on website was a herpetologist in order that they knew what to do if bitten by a venomous snake). At night time they used flashlights and went snake looking
    • Additionally discovered petrified wooden, conifers, crocodile enamel, and fish scales (space was swampy and moist when Spinophorosaurus lived)
    • Each the German (Braunschweig Museum) and Spanish (Elche museum) groups labored collectively to explain the dinosaur
    • Took 2.5 years to arrange the paratype
    • Paratype was about 70% full, so the holotype helped fill within the remaining items
    • Between the 2 specimens, a lot of the bones within the skeleton are identified
    • No forearms or palms discovered
    • Holotype features a braincase, elements of the cranium, and a lot of the skeleton
    • Paratype features a partial cranium and incomplete skeleton
    • Specimens managed by the Musée Nationwide d’Histoire Naturelle, Niamey, Niger (returned after being on exhibit briefly and 3D printing the skeleton)
    • First sauropod to have skeleton 3D printed
    • In 2012, Adrián Páramo and Francisco Ortega described a small sauropod that was discovered close to the 2 Spinophorosaurus specimens. Had 14 vertebrae, together with all of the neck vertebrae and a few again vertebrae, which have been smaller in comparison with the opposite specimens and likewise elements weren’t fused, so thought of to be a juvenile Spinophorosaurus
    • Dinosaur tracks discovered close to the Spinophorosaurus skeletons, together with six footprints from a medium sized sauropod and 120 two-toed theropod footprints (presumably by swimming theropods, which can be why one toe didn’t go away a mark)
    • A lot of similarities between Spinophorosaurus and Center Jurassic Eurasian sauropods, like Shunosaurus and mamenchisaurids (similarities within the vertebrae and humerus), and plenty of variations between Spinophorosaurus and Decrease and Center Jurassic South Gondwanan sauropods (form of neural spines, humerus, vertebrae)
    • Spinophorosaurus helps present that options considered in derived sauropods present in East Asia are extra like ancestral traits (plesiomorphic) in eusauropods, so there could also be a connection between sauropods from the Jurassic in North Africa, Europe, and East Asia
    • Essential sauropod improvement might have occurred in what’s now North Africa
    • Space was close to the equator and moist in the summertime, with plenty of crops
    • In 2012, Fabien Knoll and others appeared on the braincase of Spinophorosaurus
    • Didn’t have decreased vestibular apparatuses, sensory equipment within the inside ear, which can imply it was necessary for imaginative and prescient and coordinating actions between the eyes, head, and neck
    • Benjamin Jentgen-Ceschino and others in 2018 reported a in all probability pathology in Spinophorosaurus as a consequence of damage
    • Discovered Spinophorosaurus had quick rising bone tissue
    • In 2015, Vidal and others made a 3D mannequin to review how Spinophorosaurus moved and located it couldn’t transfer its tail a lot (had overlapping chevrons, like dromaeosaurs and ankylosaurs)
    • In 2020, Daniel Vidal and others checked out similarities between giraffe and sauropod necks as they grew up
    • Appeared on the specimens of Spinophorosaurus (they have been completely different ages), in addition to an grownup and new child giraffe
    • CT scanned all of the bones
    • Each Spinophorosaurus and giraffes get extra versatile necks as they develop
    • Discovered {that a} subadult Spinophorosaurus may transfer its neck greater than Plateosaurus and different beforehand analyzed sauropods, “enabling its neck to have interaction in many alternative postures unattainable by different sauropods”
    • Discovered Spinophorosaurus was in all probability a excessive browser, like giraffes, based mostly on the comparatively lengthy humerus, and slender snout, and having an total vary of movement just like a giraffe. However discovered, that Spinophorosaurus was as versatile within the neck as a giraffe as a result of it had nearly twice the variety of neck vertebrae of a giraffe (not as a lot flexibility in between vertebrae as a giraffe)
    • Primarily based on its skeleton, may “browse on vegetation at practically thrice the peak of its shoulders”
    • To drink water, Spinophorosaurus would wanted to have splayed like a giraffe
    • Discovered Spinophorosaurus to have a extra vertical posture than earlier than, with its tall shoulders and an elevated neck “effectively above shoulder stage”
    • Primarily based partially on having the 20° wedged sacrum (vertebrae between the hips)
    • Spinophorosaurus’s snout was about 16.4 ft (5 m) above the bottom
    • SVPow agreed with Vidal and others about their reconstruction, and the way Spinophorosaurus had wedged sacrum so it had a extra inclined torso and neck
    • Which means the tail and torso are usually not parallel with one another
    • Nonetheless, additionally talked about that bones are usually not sufficient to point out how vertebrae articulated, and fashions want to include intervertebral cartilage (which Vidal and others talked about, however mentioned that since we don’t actually know the way a lot cartilage there was, so it’s possible we received’t ever know)
    • In 2018, Vidal and others examined hypothetical mating postures to see if Spinophorosaurus carried out a “cloacal kiss”, “backwards mating”, or the male mounting from behind. Discovered the male may mount the feminine from behind whereas resting its entrance legs on the again (tail was versatile sufficient to get out of the best way), however they may not carry out a “cloacal kiss” except they did “backwards mating” the place they method one another backwards and have their tail flexed sideways
    • A mannequin of Spinophorosaurus exterior the Braunschweig Museum is nicknamed “Namu”, after the museum’s identify

    Enjoyable Truth: There are a whole lot of methods of prey species to extend their odds of surviving, however predator satiation is perhaps essentially the most attention-grabbing.


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