Chapter

The Evolution of Sauropod Locomotion: Morphological Diversity of a Secondarily Quadrupedal Radiation

Matthew T. Carrano

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/9780520246232.003.0009
The Evolution of Sauropod Locomotion: Morphological Diversity of a Secondarily Quadrupedal Radiation

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This chapter uses a phylogenetic framework to address the morphological and functional diversity observed in the secondarily quadrupedal sauropods. It interprets the resultant patterns in light of the evolution of body size and quadrupedalism, and mentions several sauropod locomotor specializations. The three large in-groups (diplodocoids, basal macronarians, and titanosaurians) are discussed in greater detail, to illustrate a portion of the smaller-scale diversity evident in sauropod locomotor morphology. All sauropods show evidence of reduction in the lower-limb muscle attachments. Features associated with the acquisition of obligate quadrupedalism—including a relatively long forelimb and supportive manus—are already present in the primitive sauropod Vulcanodon, but the transition is completed in successively more derived basal sauropods. Aspects of sauropod limb morphology are unique to the clade, including the development of a columnar, tightly arched manus with a reduced phalangeal count.

Keywords: sauropods; diplodocoids; basal macronarians; titanosaurians; quadrupedalism; locomotor; limb; manus; forelimb

Chapter.  9583 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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