Paläontologische Zeitschrift

, Volume 84, Issue 2, pp 293–300 | Cite as

The position of the claws in Noasauridae (Dinosauria: Abelisauroidea) and its implications for abelisauroid manus evolution

Research Paper

Abstract

In this note we reassess the position of putative pedal phalanges of some South American noasaurid theropods (Abelisauroidea). Noasaurids were considered as to be distinctive abelisauroids with a peculiar “sickle claw” on the second toe of the foot, convergently developed with that of deinonychosaurians. Among noasaurids, the Argentinean species Noasaurus leali (latest Cretaceous) and Ligabueino andesi (Early Cretaceous) are known from incomplete specimens, including dissarticulated non-ungueal phalanges, and, in N. leali, a claw. A detailed overview of these elements indicates that the supposed raptorial claw of the second pedal digit of N. leali actually belongs to the first or second finger of the manus, and the putative pedal non-ungual phalanges of both genera also pertain to the manus. Thus, the new interpretations of noasaurid pedal morphology blur the distinctions between Noasauridae and Velocisauridae proposed by previous authors. Finally, we suggest, on the basis of phalangeal and metacarpal morphology, that abelisaurids probably lost their manual claws by means of the loss of function of the HOXA11 and HOXD11 genes. Thus Noasauridae differs from Abelisauridae in retaining plesiomorphic long forelimbs with well developed claws, as occurs plesiomorphically in most basal theropods (e.g., Coelophysis).

Keywords

Abelisauroidea Noasauridae Phalanges Cretaceous Argentina 

Abbreviations

FMNH PR

Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, USA

MACN-PV-N

Colección de Paleontología de Vertebrados, Provincia de Neuquén, Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”, Buenos Aires, Argentina

PVL

Colección de Paleontología de Vertebrados, Instituto Miguel Lillo, Tucumán, Argentina

Kurzfassung

In der vorliegenden Studie wird eine Neubewertung der mutmaßlichen Position der Zehenglieder südamerikanischer noasaurider Theropoden (Abelisauroidea) präsentiert. Noasauride werden als unverwechselbare Abelisauroide mit einer besonderen “Sichelkralle” am zweiten Zeh des Fußes, die konvergent zu der der Deinonychosaurier entstand ist, betrachtet. Die beiden argentinischen Arten Noasaurus leali (oberste Kreide) und Ligabueino andesi (Unterkreide), die beide zu den Noasauriden gehören, sind nur durch unvollständigen Exemplaren einschließlich nicht-ungualer Zehenglieder und einer Kralle von N. leali belegt. Eine ausführliche Untersuchung dieser Elemente deutet darauf hin, dass die angeblich räuberische Kralle der zweiten Zehe von N. leali tatsächlich zum ersten oder zweiten Finger der Hand gehört. Ebenso gehören auch die nicht-ungualen Zehenglieder beider Taxa zur Hand. Die unterschiedliche Fußmorphologie, wie sie von verschiedenen Autoren vorgeschlagen wurde, beeinträchtigt die Unterscheidung zwischen Noasauriden und Velocisauriden. Wir vermuten auf Grund der Phalangen- und Metacarpaliamorphologie, dass der Verlust der Funktion der HOXA11- und HOXD11-Gene möglicherweise für das Fehlen von Fingerkrallen bei den Abelisauriden verantwortlich ist. Somit unterscheiden sich die Noasauriden von den Abelisauriden durch den Besitz der plesiomorphen langen Vorderextremitäten mit gut-entwickelten Krallen, wie es auch bei basalen Theropoden (z.B. Coelophysis) der Fall ist.

Schlüsselwörter

Abelisauroidea Noasauridae Phalangen Kreide Argentinien 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratorio de Anatomía Comparada y Evolución de los VertebradosMuseo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”Buenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Fundación de Historia Natural “Félix de Azara”, Departamento de Ciencias Naturales y AntropologíaCEBBAD, Universidad MaimónidesBuenos AiresArgentina

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