Wednesday, May 12, 2021

[Paleontology • 2021] Pelecanimimus polyodon (Ornithomimosauria: Macrocheiriformes) • Postcranial Anatomy and the Evolution of the Specialized Manus in Ornithomimosaurs and Sternum in Maniraptoriforms


Pelecanimimus polyodon  
Pérez-Moreno, Sanz, Buscalioni, Moratalla, Ortega & Rasskin-Gutman, 1994

in Cuesta, Vidal, ... et Sanz, 2021.
Pelecanimimus polyodon was discovered in 1993 in the Spanish Barremian fossil site of Las Hoyas, being the first ornithomimosaur described from Europe. So far, there has been no detailed description of the holotype of Pelecanimimus, which is composed of the anterior-half of an articulated skeleton. Here we report a new, detailed, revised and more accurate osteological description of its postcranial skeleton, comparing this new data to information about Ornithomimosauria from the last three decades. This osteological and phylogenetic analysis of Pelecanimimus shows several ornithomimosaur synapomorphies and a unique combination of characters that emend its original diagnosis. Pelecanimimus diverged early in Ornithomimosauria and reveals an enlargement trend of the manus, shared with derived ornithomimosaurians, due to a long metacarpal I and elongated distal phalanges. This evolutionary novelty, and other synapomorphies, has led to the definition of a new clade, Macrocheiriformes, including Pelecanimimus and more derived ornithomimosaurs. Pelecanimimus has the only ossified sternal plates among ornithomimosaurs and the first evidence of uncinate processes in a non-maniraptoran theropod, indicating a convergent appearance of these structures in Coelurosauria. The character combination in an early-diverging ornithomimosaur like Pelecanimimus found in this analysis provides a key step in the evolution of the manus and pectoral girdle in Ornithomimosauria.

Keywords: Early Cretaceous, Las Hoyas, osteology, phylogeny, Spain

Elena Cuesta, Daniel Vidal, Francisco Ortega, Masateru Shibata and José L. Sanz. 2021. Pelecanimimus (Theropoda: Ornithomimosauria) Postcranial Anatomy and the Evolution of the Specialized Manus in Ornithomimosaurs and Sternum in Maniraptoriforms. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. zlab013. DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlab013