Abstract

For fossil assemblages, quantitative size and shape studies are often complicated by diagenetic distortion. Different vertebrate elements, although subjected to similar burial stresses, exhibit deformations based upon their original shapes; this hypothesis is tested here by quantitatively comparing deformed humeri and femora from the Danek Bonebed (a monodominant Edmontosaurusregalis bonebed from the upper Campanian Horseshoe Canyon Formation in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) with samples of undeformed humeri and femora from modern and fossil assemblages. Analyses suggest that at the Danek Bonebed a strong relationship exists between element length and circumference despite being distorted by crushing deformation. Major and minor axes of the midshaft cross section, however, were not uniformly distorted. Although their anatomical position did not change, the major axis became longer relative to the minor axis in distorted specimens. A regression based on the undeformed humeri was not able to accurately predict circumference in the Danek humeri. Further study might quantify the deformation of other bones in the Danek Bonebed and could be extended to other assemblages and genera. Caution should be taken when conducting studies in which diagenetic crushing may have altered morphological features of fossil vertebrate remains.

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