STL Science Center

STL Science Center

09 January 2013

Calling For Help

A special angle of the position of the mounted skeleton.
Appalachiosaurus, like so many other incomplete skeletons, is a cry for more findings. The legs tell us a good amount of information about the locomotion of Appalachiosaurus and they also tell us a great deal about how those legs were developing compared to other tyrannosaurs; both where they came from and where they were going to in terms of development. A few things that would really help us understand and draw more information overall about the tyrannosaurs (of North America I mean here) would be a discovery of an Appalachiosaurus with more of its skull, at least one hand- arm optional- and some more of its torso including vertebral elements as well as ribs and/or gastralia. Some of the diagnostic characters that would help to assign it solidly in the tyrannosauria are missing because we are missing those elements of its skeleton, additionally, it is always nice to have a nearly complete skeleton of any animal available to study rather than a skeleton that is less than 50% complete. That does not mean that Appalachiosaurus is not going to pass on any great secrets in its current state, just that it would pass on more if it were more complete. That may seem like something that really did not need to be said separately like that, but it can be amazing how many times someone just does not think of some simple truth like that when trying to look at the bigger picture in front of them. One thing, in addition to the cladistic analysis performed using what elements of the skeleton are present, that we can, or Carr et al. did, say for certain is that there was some type of injury which this animal survived to its tail. Two of the vertebrae that were found from the caudal region were fused together, indicating an injury which caused, through healing, the vertebrae to fuse to one another when healing the injury.

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