FORELIMB POSTURE IN CHILESAURUS DIEGOSUAREZI (DINOSAURIA, THEROPODA) AND ITS BEHAVIORAL AND PHYLOGENETIC IMPLICATIONS

Nicolás Roberto Chimento, Federico Lisandro Agnolin, Fernando Emilio Novas, Martin Daniel Ezcurra, Leonardo Salgado, Marcelo Isasi, Manuel Suarez, Rita De la Cruz, David Rubilar-Rogers, Alexander Vargas

Abstract


Many dinosaur skeletons show evidence of behavior, including feeding, predation, nesting, and parental care. The resting posture of the forelimbs has been studied in some theropod species, in relation to the acquisition of flight in advanced maniraptoran theropods. Chilesaurus diegosuarezi is a bizarre tetanuran recently described from the Toqui Formation (latest Tithonian) of southern Chile that is represented by multiple well-preserved and articulated specimens. The aim of the present work is to analyze the forelimb posture of four articulated specimens of Chilesaurus: SNGM-1935 (holotype), SNGM-1936, SNGM-1937, SNGM-1938; focusing on its anatomical description, and phylogenetic and behavioral implications. All the preserved specimens of Chilesaurus show strongly ventrally flexed arms with the hands oriented backwards, an arraignment that closely resembles those in dinosaur specimens previously described as preserving resting posture, such as Mei long, Sinornithoides youngi, and Albinykus baatar. As a result, it seems that individuals of Chilesaurus have been in passive activity (e.g. feeding, resting) when they were buried quickly, allowing their fossilization in life position and preserving the forelimb resting posture. The arraignment of the forelimb bones in Chilesaurus could show the first evidences of the structures linked to the muscles that flex the forearms, features related with the acquisition of flying control in advanced maniraptorans.

Keywords


Forelimb resting posture; soft tissue; flexion; flight evolution

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