Chapter

Postcranial Skeletal Pneumaticity in Sauropods and Its Implications for Mass Estimates

Mathew J. Wedel

in The Sauropods

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780520246232
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932333 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520246232.003.0008
Postcranial Skeletal Pneumaticity in Sauropods and Its Implications for Mass Estimates

Show Summary Details

Preview

This chapter explores the axial skeleton from the perspective of pneumaticity and “efficiency of design.” It estimates that eusauropod vertebrae are in most cases between 50% and 60% air. Pneumatic ribs are part of a growing list of pneumatic characters that evolved in parallel in diplodocids and titanosauriforms, along with complex vertebral chambers and pneumatic caudal vertebrae. Furthermore, the characteristics of a single pneumatic bone are covered. The problem of estimating the masses of sauropods is used as an example of how information about postcranial skeletal pneumaticity (PSP) may be applied to a paleobiological question. Pneumatic diverticula were present in the vertebrae of most sauropods and in the ribs of some. Vertebral laminae and fossae were clearly associated with pneumatic diverticula in most eusauropods, but it is not clear whether this was the case in more basal forms.

Keywords: postcranial skeletal pneumaticity; axial skeleton; sauropods; eusauropod; pneumatic bone; mass estimates; pneumatic diverticula; vertebral laminae; fossae

Chapter.  16340 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.