Abstract

Documenting variation in theropod dinosaurs is usually hindered by the lack of a large sample size and specimens representing several ontogenetic stages. Here, variation within 140 disassociated and seven in situ tyrannosaur teeth from the Upper Cretaceous (lower Maastrichtian) monodominant Albertosaurus sarcophagus (Theropoda: Tyrannosauridae) bonebed is documented. This sample represents the largest data set of teeth from one population of A. sarcophagus containing both adult and juvenile specimens. Tooth variation was assessed using multivariate analyses (principal component, discriminant, and canonical variate analyses). Heterodonty in the teeth of A. sarcophagus contributes to the large amount of variation in the data set. Premaxillary teeth are significantly different from maxillary and dentary teeth, but there is no quantifiable difference between a priori identified maxillary and dentary teeth. Juvenile and adult teeth of A. sarcophagus show apparent quantitative differences that are size dependent on closer investigation, suggesting a cautious approach when interpreting multivariate analyses to identify novel tooth morphologies. Multivariate analyses on teeth of A. sarcophagus and published tooth data from other North American tyrannosaurid species reveals species-level clusters with little separation. The degree of separation among tooth clusters may reveal a phylogenetic signal in tyrannosaurid teeth.

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