STL Science Center

STL Science Center

18 June 2013

Heterodontosaurus on the Newsstand

Artist uncredited
Heterodontosaurus has been dormant for a while in research circles it appears. While the 1970's have given us literature resources concerning Heterodontosaurus, not much has been published since that time about this genus specifically. There have been other studies done on other heterodontosaurids, but we are not interested in that today. Of particular note today is a 1976 article on a skeleton of Heterodontosaurus which describes a great deal of the anatomy of the dinosaur as it was a complete skeleton. Complete skeletons, I do not think we really need to mention, are few and far between for dinosaurs in the grand scheme of things, and such a find and the paper detailing it are therefore of great importance to the science. However, the article was published in Nature and, while Nature is a premier publication even now, that means that your options for procuring the article pretty much come down to going to a library big enough to have old copies of a myriad of different magazines or shelling out some money (you can buy the article for $32 or "rent" it for $2.99). The naming article written by Crompton and Charig is also published in Nature and can therefore be obtained in the same fashion. Interestingly, both articles consider Heterodontosaurus to be a Late Triassic rather than Early Jurassic dinosaur.

More recently two articles have been published, still a small number considering the research done on other organisms, that detail cranial anatomy as well as morphology. These are good papers and, the paper on juvenile cranial anatomy I can say for certain, because it is a JVP article so I could access it and read it, is quite informative and not a bad read at all. The other paper, focusing on morphology and cranial anatomy is available through Wiley's publication of the Zoological Journal of the Linnaen Society. The article was published in 2011 and was inspired by notes and illustrations of Alan Charig that were passed on to the lead author David Norman after Charig's passing in 1997. That makes it a touching story behind an interesting anatomical discussion I think.

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