Project C4: Bodyplan Evolution
|Title||Evolution of the sauropod body plan, with special emphasis on limbs and girdles|
|Principal Investigator||Dr. Oliver Rauhut|
|Researcher||Regina Fechner, Kristian Remes, David Hone|
To understand the origin and evolution of gigantism in sauropods, a detailed knowledge of the interrelationships of their closest relatives and basal forms is essential. Within the framework of a phylogenetic analysis of the interrelationships of basal saurischian dinosaurs, the evolution of key complexes of their anatomy can also be investigated. The limbs and limb girdles that had to support the mass of gigantic sauropods are one of these key complexes. Thus, this project, the phylogenetic relationships of basal saurischians, including “prosauropods”, basal theropods, and basal sauropods, are analysed and osteological data from a wide variety of saurischian taxa are used in combination with myological and osteological data from modern relatives to reconstruct the evolutionary history of sauropod limbs. In combination with data from other projects of the Research Unit, the results will used to identify possible “key adaptations”, preadaptations, and correlations between evolutionary changes and body size.