Stegosauria: a historical review of the body fossil record and phylogenetic relationships

Abstract

The first partial skeleton of a stegosaurian dinosaur was discovered in a brick pit in Swindon, UK in 1874. Since then, numerous stegosaurian remains have been discovered from Europe, North America, Africa and Asia, and continue to be discovered regularly. Stegosaurs are known from the Middle Jurassic to the Early Cretaceous; no definitive evidence of the clade is known from younger deposits. New discoveries are improving our understanding of stegosaur biology and showing that stegosaurs were more morphologically diverse than was previously realized. A new phylogeny, which includes all valid stegosaurian taxa, largely agrees with previous studies and shows the European Dacentrurinae was sister taxon to Stegosaurus. Poor resolution at the base of Stegosauria is probably due to the fragmentary nature of many of the Chinese taxa.

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Fig. 1

Abbreviations

CAMSM:

The Sedgwick Museum, University of Cambridge, UK

CV:

Chongqing Museum of Natural History, P. R. China

HMNH:

Hayashibara Museum of Natural History, Okayama, Japan

IGB:

Institute of Geology, National Academy of Sciences of Kyrgyz Republic, Biskek, Kyrgyzstan

IVPP:

Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology, Beijing, P. R. China

LHNB(CN):

Laboratório de História Natural da Batalha, Portugal

MHBR:

Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle du Havre, Brun Collection, Le Havre, France

ML:

Museum of Lourinhã, Portugal

NHMUK:

The Natural History Museum, London, UK

OUMNH:

Oxford University Museum of Natural History, UK

SGP:

Sino-German Project, material currently housed in Museum of Palaeontology, Tübingen, Germany

SMA:

Sauriermuseum, Aathal, Switzerland

TuvIKOPR:

Tuvinian Institute of Complex Development of Natural Resources, Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Kyzyl, Russia

USNM:

United States National Museum, Washington DC, USA

YORYM:

Yorkshire Museum, UK

YPM:

Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

ZDM:

Zigong Dinosaur Museum, Sichuan, P. R. China

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Acknowledgments

Much of this manuscript is derived from my PhD thesis, carried out at the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, and funded by a Domestic Research Studentship from the Board of Graduate Studies. I thank David Norman (University of Cambridge) for supervision, and Paul Barrett (NHMUK) and Paul Upchurch (UCL) for help and advice. Thanks also to Richard Butler, Hilary Ketchum, Laura Porro, Roger Benson and other members of the Palaeobiology research group at the University of Cambridge for many hours of discussion. Discussions with Nicolai Christiansen and Octávio Mateus (University of Lisbon) greatly improved the phylogenetic analysis. Comments from examiners Catherine Forster and Jenny Clack, and reviewers Peter Galton and Xabier Pereda-Suberbiola greatly improved drafts of this manuscript.

Funding for data collection was provided by the Geological Society of London, Universities’ China Committee in London, the Cambridge Philosophical Society, the Worts Travelling Scholars scheme, the Cambridge European Trust Vacation Scholarships, the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, and Clare Hall. Many people allowed me access to specimens in their care: Carl Mehling (American Museum of Natural History); Mike Palmer (Buckinghamshire County Museum, Aylesbury, UK); Sandra Chapman (NHMUK); Roger Clark (Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, UK); Brooks Britt and Rod Scheetz (Brigham Young University); Mike Dorling, Dan Pemberton and Matt Lowe (CAMSM); Amy Henrici (Carnegie Museum); Zhou Shiwu and Wei Guangbiao (CV); Dan Chure and Scott Madsen (Dinosaur National Monument, Jensen, Utah, USA); Ken Carpenter and Logan Ivy (Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Colorado, USA); Heather Finlayson and Scott Sroka (Utah Field House, Vernal, USA); Xu Xing and Zhou Zhonghe (IVPP); Tom Rich and Eve Almond (Melbourne Museum, Australia); Dave Unwin (Museum fur Naturkunde, Berlin, Germany); J. Brandao and J. Pachucka (Museu do Instituto Geologico e Miniero, Lisbon, Portugal); Janet Gillette (Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, USA); Phil Jeffries (OUMNH); Jens Koppka (Sektion Geologische Wissenshaffen Grifswald, Germany); Kirby Siber and staff (SMA); Anna Debeer and Mark Lowen (University of Utah Natural History Museum, Salt Lake City, USA); Mike Brett-Surman and Matt Carrano (USNM); Walter Joyce and Dan Brinkman (YPM); G.-Z. Peng (ZDM). I also thank Peter Galton, Jerry Harris, Ralph Molnar, Raffa Royo-Torres, He Xinlu, George Olshevsky and Tracy Ford for providing reprints. Jimin Yu (Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge) kindly translated Ouyang (1992). Mike Benton provided translations of Hennig (1915, 1916, 1924, and 1936). Translations of Dong et al. (1983), Lapparent and Zbyszewski 1957), Piveteau (1926), and Huene (1901) were obtained courtesy of the Polyglot Paleontologist website (http://www.uhmc.sunysb.edu/anatomicalsci/paleo).

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Correspondence to Susannah C. R. Maidment.

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Maidment, S.C.R. Stegosauria: a historical review of the body fossil record and phylogenetic relationships. Swiss J Geosci 103, 199–210 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00015-010-0023-3

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Keywords

  • Dinosauria
  • Ornithischia
  • Stegosauria
  • Phylogeny