Postcranial paleoneurology of the Diapsida

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Abstract

The relationships between the size of the spinal cord and the size of the neural canal, and between gross spinal cord anatomy and locomotor style, were documented in a wide range of living diapsids. Observed relationships were used to make predictions about spinal cord anatomy and about limb use and position in related fossil taxa. In particular, the data suggest that the brachial plexus, and therefore the cervical/dorsal vertebral transition, of the theropod dinosaurs studied was located considerably posterior to its presently accepted location, and that the forelimbs of the giant carnosaurs Tyrannosaurus rex and Carnotaurus sastrei were of biologically insignificant use. Neural canal measurements support previous interpretations of locomotor style in extinct crocodilians, and can be used to predict limb placement in plesiosaurs.

Ancillary