Functional niche partitioning in Therizinosauria provides new insights into the evolution of theropod herbivory

  title={Functional niche partitioning in Therizinosauria provides new insights into the evolution of theropod herbivory},
  author={Stephan Lautenschlager},
Dietary specialization is generally considered to be a crucial factor in driving morphological evolution across extant and extinct vertebrates. The ability to adapt to a specific diet and to exploit ecological niches is thereby influenced by functional morphology and biomechanical properties. Differences in functional behaviour and efficiency can therefore allow dietary diversification and the coexistence of similarly adapted taxa. Therizinosauria, a group of secondarily herbivorous theropod… 

Incremental growth of therizinosaurian dental tissues: implications for dietary transitions in Theropoda

A significant reduction in the rate of enamel apposition is recorded contrasted with increased relative enamel thickness between early and later diverging therizinosaurians that coincides with anatomical evidence for increased specializations to herbivory in the clade.

Cranial Musculature in Herbivorous Dinosaurs: A Survey of Reconstructed Anatomical Diversity and Feeding Mechanisms

Cranial muscle reconstructions in herbivorous dinosaurs are reviewed and informative anatomical characters are compared across 142 dinosaur genera, revealing many combinations of anatomical traits influencing a diversity of feeding mechanisms.

Was the Devonian placoderm Titanichthys a suspension feeder?

The results conform to the hypothesis that Titanichthys was a suspension feeder with jaws ill-suited for biting and crushing but well suited for gaping ram feeding.

Skeletal completeness of the non‐avian theropod dinosaur fossil record

Non‐avian theropods were a highly successful clade of bipedal, predominantly carnivorous, dinosaurs. Their diversity and macroevolutionary patterns have been the subject of many studies. Changes in

The Plantigrade Segnosaurians: Sloth Dinosaurs or Bear Dinosaurs?

  • A. G. Sennikov
  • Geography, Environmental Science
    Paleontological Journal
  • 2021
This article considers the unusual Macropodosaurus gravis tracks from the Early Cretaceous (Albian) locality of Shirkent-1 (Tajikistan). The trackmaker was bipedal and plantigrade. Through a

The diet of early birds based on modern and fossil evidence and a new framework for its reconstruction

Birds are some of the most diverse organisms on Earth, with species inhabiting a wide variety of niches across every major biome. As such, birds are vital to our understanding of modern ecosystems.

Palate evolution in early‐branching crocodylomorphs: Implications for homology, systematics, and ecomorphology

The phylogenetic findings corroborate previous research showing that non‐crocodyliform crocodylomorphs are paraphyletic, with the exclusion of the clade Hallopodidae, and find a potential association between secondary palate development and dietary shifts, particularly with regard to hypothesized origins of herbivory.

Cephalic biomechanics underpins the evolutionary success of trilobites

Arthropods (i.e. insects, spiders, crustaceans, myriapods and others), are the most successful Phanerozoic animals. The group is characterized by the possession of a segmented body, jointed limbs and

Morphological and functional diversity in therizinosaur claws and the implications for theropod claw evolution

  • S. Lautenschlager
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2014
Results indicate that maniraptoriform dinosaurs deviated from the plesiomorphic theropod ungual morphology resulting in increased functional diversity and parallels modifications of the cranial skeleton in derived theropods in response to dietary adaptation, suggesting that dietary diversification was a major driver for morphological and functional disparity in theropid evolution.

Decoupled form and function in disparate herbivorous dinosaur clades

The parallel occurrence of a suite of morphologically convergent craniodental characteristics in three herbivorous, phylogenetically disparate dinosaur clades provides an ideal test case and demonstrates the value of quantitative biomechanical approaches when evaluating form/function relationships in extinct taxa.

A new North American therizinosaurid and the role of herbivory in ‘predatory’ dinosaur evolution

It is suggested that hypercarnivory in paravian dinosaurs is a secondarily derived dietary specialization and provide a potential mechanism for the invasion of novel morpho- and ecospace early in coelurosaurian evolution—the loss of obligate carnivory and origin of dietary opportunism.

No evidence for directional evolution of body mass in herbivorous theropod dinosaurs

This work reconstructs body mass in the three major subclades of non-avian theropod dinosaurs whose ecomorphology is correlated with extrinsic evidence of at least facultative herbivory in the fossil record, and suggests that the hypothesis can be extrapolated to herbivorous lineages across geological time scales.

The roles of herbivory and omnivory in early dinosaur evolution

  • P. BarrettR. ButlerS. Nesbitt
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • 2010
Consideration of diversity patterns and relative abundance suggests that the ability to eat plants might have been a major factor promoting sauropodomorph success, but that it was less important in the early evolution of Ornithischia.

Paleobiology of Herbivorous Dinosaurs

Isotopic, taphonomic, and anatomical evidence implies that niche partitioning reduced competition between sympatric herbivores, via morphological differentiation, dietary preferences, and habitat selection.

Extreme Ontogenetic Changes in a Ceratosaurian Theropod

Evolution of Herbivory in Terrestrial Vertebrates: Perspectives from the Fossil Record

  • R. Emry
  • Environmental Science, Geography
  • 2001
This book represents the first comprehensive overview of the evolution of herbivory in land-dwelling amniote tetrapods in recent years and will be the definitive reference source on this topic for evolutionary biologists and vertebrate paleontologists.

Feeding height stratification among the herbivorous dinosaurs from the Dinosaur Park Formation (upper Campanian) of Alberta, Canada

No good evidence is found that feeding height stratification played an important role in facilitating niche partitioning among the herbivorous dinosaurs of Laramidia, and consideration of other feeding height proxies may help to alleviate problems of underdetermination.

A taxonomic and phylogenetic re-evaluation of Therizinosauria (Dinosauria: Maniraptora)

Time calibration of ingroup relationships indicates a pre-Turonian dispersal event is needed to account for the presence of therizinosaurids in the Late Cretaceous of North America and Asia; this conclusion supports previous hypotheses of a Laurasian faunal interchange event during the Albian.