Paläontologische Zeitschrift

, Volume 89, Issue 4, pp 983–993 | Cite as

Cranial ontogenetic variation in Mapusaurus roseae (Dinosauria: Theropoda) and the probable role of heterochrony in carcharodontosaurid evolution

  • Juan Ignacio CanaleEmail author
  • Fernando Emilio Novas
  • Leonardo Salgado
  • Rodolfo Aníbal Coria
Research Paper


The carcharodontosaurid theropod Mapusaurus roseae (Cenomanian of Neuquén Province, Argentina) is represented by at least seven disarticulated individuals from a monospecific bonebed, all of different sizes and presumably different stages of maturity. We report a series of anatomical differences between repeated skull bones of Mapusaurus, which we interpret as produced by peramorphic heterochronic processes. The materials analyzed include maxillae, lacrimals, dentaries, and isolated teeth. Most of the differences were recorded in the maxilla, the most noticeable change being the reduction of the pneumaticity. We found that some of the synapomorphic characters of derived carcharodontosaurids appear to be the result of peramorphic heterochronies, as in the strongly ornamented facial bones, and the single opening in the anteroventral corner of the antorbital fossa in the maxilla.


Heterochrony Peramorphosis Mapusaurus Carcharodontosauridae 


Der carcharodontosauride Theropode Mapusaurus rosae (aus dem Cenoman der Provinz Neuquén, Argentinien) ist durch mindestens 7 disartkulierte Individuen verschiedener Größe und vermutlich unterschiedlicher ontogenetischer Stadien aus einem monospezifischen Bonebed repräsentiert. Wir beschreiben eine Reihe anatomischer Unterschiede zwischen mehrfach vorkommenden Schädelknochen von Mapusaurus, die wir als Ergebnis peramorphischer Heterochronie-Prozesse interpretieren. Die untersuchten Elemente umfassen Maxillae, Lacrimale, Dentale und isolierte Zähne. Die größten Änderungen finden sich im Maxillare, wobei besonders die Reduktion der Pneumatisierung auffällt. Wir stellen fest, dass einige der apomorphen Merkmale fortschrittlicher Carcharodontosauriden auf Heterochronie zurückzuführen sind, darunter die stark ornamentierten Schädelknochen und das Vorhandensein nur einer Öffnung im anteroventralen Teil der Fossa antorbitalis im Maxillare.


Heterochronie Peramorphose Mapusaurus Carcharodontosauridae 



We are grateful to Mike Getty (Utah Museum of Natural History, USA), Paul Sereno (DINOLAB, University of Chicago, USA), Vince Schneider (North Carolina Science Museum, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA) for the access to materials under their care. We thank Nathan Smith (Howard University, Washington, USA) for their comments on the manuscript and English grammar, and Oliver Rauhut for the German translation of abstract and keywords. Finally, we also thank Thomas Carr and an anonymous reviewer who made useful comments that greatly improved the manuscript. Visit to USA collections by JIC was possible thanks to a Jurassic Foundation grant.

Supplementary material

12542_2014_251_MOESM1_ESM.docx (73 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 72 kb)


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Copyright information

© Paläontologische Gesellschaft 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan Ignacio Canale
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Fernando Emilio Novas
    • 1
    • 3
  • Leonardo Salgado
    • 1
    • 4
  • Rodolfo Aníbal Coria
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.CONICET: Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y TécnicasBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Museo Municipal “Ernesto Bachmann”NeuquénArgentina
  3. 3.Laboratorio de Anatomía Comparada y Evolución de los VertebradosMuseo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”Buenos AiresArgentina
  4. 4.Universidad Nacional DE Río Negro–Sede Alto Valle, UNRNGeneral RocaArgentina
  5. 5.Subsecretaria de Cultura de NeuquénNeuquénArgentina

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