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The Sauropods

Evolution and Paleobiology

Kristina Curry Rogers

Publication Year: 2005

Sauropod dinosaurs were the largest animals ever to walk the earth, and they represent a substantial portion of vertebrate biomass and biodiversity during the Mesozoic Era. The story of sauropod evolution is told in an extensive fossil record of skeletons and footprints that span the globe and 150 million years of earth history. This generously illustrated volume is the first comprehensive scientific summary of sauropod evolution and paleobiology. The contributors explore sauropod anatomy, detail its variations, and question the myth that life at large size led to evolutionary stagnation and eventual replacement by more "advanced" herbivorous dinosaurs. Chapters address topics such as the evolutionary history and diversity of sauropods; methods for creating three-dimensional reconstructions of their skeletons; questions of sauropod herbivory, tracks, gigantism, locomotion, reproduction, growth rates, and more. This book, together with the recent surge in sauropod discoveries around the world and taxonomic revisions of fragmentary genera, will shed new light on "nature's greatest extravagances."

Published by: University of California Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iii-v


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p. vii-vii

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p. ix-ix

This volume was developed from a symposium dedicated to Jack McIntosh presented at the 2001 Society of Vertebrate Paleontology annual meeting, which we convered with Dan Chure. We thank Jack McIntosh for allowing us to organize a symposium in his honor. We also ...

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Introduction: Monoliths of theMesozoic

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pp. 1-25

George Gaylord Simpson (1987:71) expressed his impressions of the well known North American sauropod Diplodocus in the form of a poem to his mother, written while he was studying Mesozoic mammals at Oxford University: ...

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1 • Overview of Sauropod Phylogeny and Evolution

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pp. 15-49

This year marks the one hundred sixty-fourth anniversary of Richard Owen’s (1841) description of the first sauropod—Cetiosaurus, the “whale lizard”—on the basis of vertebrae and limb elements from localities across England. Although these remains “had been examined by Cuvier and pronounced to be cetaceous” (Buckland ...

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2 • Titanosauria: A Phylogenetic Overview

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pp. 50-103

Titanosaur body fossils have been recovered from every landmass except Antarctica and are present in Upper Jurassic to Upper Cretaceous strata. Their unique, wide-gauge trackways extend their record back still farther, to the Middle Jurassic (Santos et al. 1994; Wilson and Carrano 1999; Day et al., ...

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3 • Phylogenetic and Taxic Perspectives on Sauropod Diversity

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pp. 104-124

The Sauropoda represent one of the most diverse and geographically widespread dinosaurian radiations. After their origin during the Late Triassic, sauropods increased rapidly in diversity, and acquired a nearly global distribution by the Middle Jurassic. Diversity appears to peak in the Late ...

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4 • Sauripodomorph Diversity Through Time: Macroevolutionary and Paleoecological Implications

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pp. 125-156

Sauropodomorph dinosaurs were incredibly successful animals, by any standard. They attained high levels of alpha-taxonomic diversity, with more than 100 valid genera known currently (Galton 1990; McIntosh 1990; Galton and Upchurch 2004; Upchurch et al. 2004) and were the dominant animals, in terms of numerical abundance and ...

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5 • Structure and Evolution of a Sauropod Tooth Battery

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pp. 157-177

During the Jurassic, sauropod dinosaurs rose to predominance among vertebrate herbivores, in terms of both species diversity and biomass (e.g., Romer 1966; McIntosh 1990). Their perceived decline on northern landmasses during the Cretaceous has been linked to the evolution of tooth batteries in ornithischian ...

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6 • Digital Reconstructions of Sauropod DInosaurs and Implications for Feeding

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pp. 178-200

In recent years, sauropods have been interpreted primarily as quadrupedal herbivores, with sympatric taxa differentiated in their feeding behavior presumably according to their dentition and feeding height in a quadrupedal stance (e.g., Fiorillo 1998; Upchurch and Barrett 2000). In order to generate ...

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7 • Postcranial Pneumaticity in Sauropods and its Implications for Mass Estimates

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pp. 201-228

One of the signal features of sauropods, and one of the cornerstones of our fascination with them, is their apparent efficiency of design. The presacral neural spines of all sauropods have a complex of bony ridges or plates known as vertebral laminae (fig. 7.1; abbreviations used in the figures are listed ...

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

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pp. 229-251

Sauropod dinosaur locomotion, like that of many extinct groups, has historically been interpreted in light of potential modern analogues. As these analogies—along with our understanding of them—have shifted, perspectives on sauropod locomotion have followed. Thus early paleontologists focused on the “whalelike” aspects of these presumably aquatic taxa (e.g., Osborn 1898), reluctantly relinquishing such ideas as further discoveries began to ...

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9 • Steps in Understanding Sauropod Biology: The Importance of Sauropods Tracks

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pp. 252-284

Sauropod tracks are spectacular and have captured public imagination since they were first recognized and described in the first half of the twentieth century. Roland T. Bird publicized the bathtub-sized tracks in the Glen Rose Formation (Texas) at sites such as Paluxy River and Davenport Ranch in Natural History (Bird 1939, 1944) soon after he had first ...

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10 • Nesting Titanosaurs from Auca Mahuevo and Adjacent Sites: Understanding Sauropod Reproductive Behavior and Embryonic Development

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pp. 285-302

Thousands of sauropod egg clutches, some containing eggs with exquisitely preserved embryonic bone and integument, have been discovered in the Late Cretaceous nesting site of Auca Mahuevo (Chiappe et al. 1998, 2000, 2001, 2004; Dingus et al. 2000; Chiappe and Dingus, 2001; Coria et al. 2002) and adjacent localities in northwestern Patagonia, ...

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11 • Sauropod Histology: Microscopic Views on the Lives of Giants

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pp. 303-326

Sauropod hatchlings may have been only a meter long from head to tail (Chiappe et al. 1998, 2001) and weighed in at less than 10 kg (Breton et al. 1985; Weishampel and Horner 1994), while many adult sauropods attained sizes rivaling those of extant whales (Appenzeller 1994; Seebacher 2001; Erickson et al. 2001). This range of sizes ...

A Conversation with Jack McIntosh

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pp. 327-333

List of Contributors

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p. 335-335


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pp. 337-349

E-ISBN-13: 9780520932333
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520246232

Page Count: 358
Publication Year: 2005