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A densely feathered ornithomimid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous Dinosaur Park Formation, Alberta, Canada

Published on Mar 1, 2016in Cretaceous Research2.12
· DOI :10.1016/J.CRETRES.2015.10.004
Aaron J. van der Reest3
Estimated H-index: 3
(U of A: University of Alberta),
Alexander P. Wolfe50
Estimated H-index: 50
(U of A: University of Alberta),
Philip J. Currie53
Estimated H-index: 53
(U of A: University of Alberta)
Sources
Abstract
A recently discovered articulated partial skeleton of Ornithomimus from the Upper Cretaceous Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta, Canada is remarkable in the extent and quality of preservation of integumentary structures including feathers. It is the first ornithomimid to preserve a tail bearing extensive plumaceous feathers that are slightly more elongate in comparison to those present on the remainder of the body. However, the underside of the tail and the hind limb distal to the middle of the femur appear devoid of plumage. Overall, the plumage pattern in Ornithomimus is similar to that of Struthio camelus (ostrich) and other large palaeognaths, indicating a probable function in thermoregulation. The specimen also preserves the body outline around the legs, including a skin contour anterior to the femur, analogous to skin webs in extant birds. Whereas the knee web of birds bridges the knee to the abdomen, in Ornithomimus it spans from the mid-femoral shaft to the abdomen, and is herein referred to as an anterior femoral web. This is the first report of such soft tissue structures in non-avian theropods. It may indicate that the resting position of the femur was positioned more anteroventrally in ornithomimids than in most theropods, and in that sense may have been transitional to the situation in modern birds.
  • References (20)
  • Citations (13)
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References20
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#1Xing Xu (LYU: Linyi University)H-Index: 47
#2Xiaoting Zheng (LYU: Linyi University)H-Index: 18
Last. Yanhong Pan (CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 15
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#1Yuong-Nam Lee (Geological Museum)H-Index: 3
#1Yuong-Nam LeeH-Index: 15
Last. Tsogtbaatar Chinzorig (Mongolian Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 6
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#1Thomas M. Cullen (Carleton University)H-Index: 6
#2Michael J. Ryan (Carleton University)H-Index: 19
Last. Yoshitsugu Kobayashi (Hokkaido University)H-Index: 16
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Bonebeds can provide a wealth of anatomical, taphonomic, and ontogenetic information about the specimens preserved within them, and can provide evidence for inferred behavior. The material described here represents the first known bonebed of ornithomimids in North America, and the fourth record of an ornithomimosaur bonebed in the world. Partial skeletons representing three individuals are preserved in this assemblage, each comprising primarily portions of the posterior postcrania (pelvis, hind ...
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#1Darla K. Zelenitsky (U of C: University of Calgary)H-Index: 7
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Previously described feathered dinosaurs reveal a fascinating record of feather evolution, although substantial phylogenetic gaps remain. Here we report the occurrence of feathers in ornithomimosaurs, a clade of non-maniraptoran theropods for which fossilized feathers were previously unknown. The Ornithomimus specimens, recovered from Upper Cretaceous deposits of Alberta, Canada, provide new insights into dinosaur plumage and the origin of the avian wing. Individuals from different growth stages...
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Recent discoveries in Asia have greatly increased our understanding of the evolution of dinosaurs’ integumentary structures, revealing a previously unexpected diversity of “protofeathers” and feathers. However, all theropod dinosaurs with preserved feathers reported so far are coelurosaurs. Evidence for filaments or feathers in noncoelurosaurian theropods is circumstantial and debated. Here we report an exceptionally preserved skeleton of a juvenile megalosauroid, Sciurumimus albersdoerferi n. g...
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Iridescent feather colors involved in displays of many extant birds are produced by nanoscale arrays of melanin-containing organelles (melanosomes). Data relevant to the evolution of these colors and the properties of melanosomes involved in their generation have been limited. A data set sampling variables of extant avian melanosomes reveals that those forming most iridescent arrays are distinctly narrow. Quantitative comparison of these data with melanosome imprints densely sampled from a previ...
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The troodontids and dromaeosaurs are the dinosaur groups most closely related to birds. Anchiornis huxleyi from the Jurassic of China was thought to have been a stem-group bird — on the way to accumulating bird-like traits but retaining significant characteristics from earlier forebears. But the discovery of a new and spectacular specimen shows instead that it was a troodontid. As such, it is a very early member of that group (antedating Archaeopteryx) and exhibits a rich plumage, especially on ...
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#1Nicholas R. Longrich (U of C: University of Calgary)H-Index: 21
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