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Skeletal trauma with implications for intratail mobility in Edmontosaurus annectens from a monodominant bonebed, Lance Formation (Maastrichtian), Wyoming USA

Bethania C. T. Siviero, Elizabeth Rega, William K. Hayes, Allen M. Cooper, Leonard R. Brand and Art V. Chadwick
Skeletal trauma with implications for intratail mobility in Edmontosaurus annectens from a monodominant bonebed, Lance Formation (Maastrichtian), Wyoming USA
Palaios (April 2020) 35 (4): 201-214

Abstract

This study presents evidence of pre-mortem traumatic injury and its sequalae on multiple Edmontosaurus annectens skeletal elements recovered from a largely monodominant Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) bonebed. The sample consists of 3013 specimens excavated and prepared from two quarries, of which 96 elements manifest one or more macroscopic bone abnormalities and 55 specimens display pathology attributable to physical trauma. Evidence of traumatic pathology is strongly associated (P<.05) with body region, occurring disproportionately in the caudal vertebrae. Pre-mortem fractures with subsequent bone remodeling and hypertrophic ossification of caudal neural spines are present principally in the middle and mid-distal regions of the tail, while fractures of the vertebral centra are present primarily in the distal tail region. Other skeletal regions, such as chevrons, phalanges of the manus and ribs display unambiguous evidence of healed trauma, but with less frequency than the tail. These findings, in combination with current understanding of hadrosaurian tail biomechanics, indicate that intervertebral flexibility within the middle and mid-distal region of the tail likely rendered these caudal vertebrae more susceptible to the deleterious effects of repeated mechanical stress and subsequent trauma, potentially accompanying running locomotion and other high-impact herd interactions. Healed fractures within the region are also suggestive of accumulated injuries due to a combination of tail usage in defense and possibly accidental bumping/trampling associated with gregarious behavior.


ISSN: 0883-1351
Serial Title: Palaios
Serial Volume: 35
Serial Issue: 4
Title: Skeletal trauma with implications for intratail mobility in Edmontosaurus annectens from a monodominant bonebed, Lance Formation (Maastrichtian), Wyoming USA
Affiliation: Loma Linda University, Department of Earth and Biological Sciences, Loma Linda, CA, United States
Pages: 201-214
Published: 202004
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 50
Accession Number: 2020-072160
Categories: Vertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 plate, 2 tables, sketch map
N43°25'00" - N43°25'00", W104°15'00" - W104°15'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Western University of Health Sciences, USA, United StatesSouthwestern Adventist University, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2020, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 2020
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