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The Evolution of Early Theropod Hands

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The evolution of theropod hands has taken quite a journey from the late Triassic to the late Cretaceous.   This paper tries to explore the evolution of early theropods Coelophysis bauri and Megapnosaurus rhodesiensis



The origin of the avian hand, with its reduced and fused carpals and digits, from the five-fingered hands and complex wrists of early dinosaurs represents one of the major transformations of manus morphology among tetrapods. Much attention has been directed to the later part of this transition, from four- to three-fingered taxa. However, earlier anatomical changes may have influenced these later modifications, possibly paving the way for a later frameshift in digit identities. We investigate the five- to four-fingered transition among early dinosaurs, along with changes in carpus morphology. New three-dimensional reconstructions from computed tomography data of the manus of the Triassic and Early Jurassic theropod dinosaurs Coelophysis bauri and Megapnosaurus rhodesiensis are described




The evolution of the manus of early theropod dinosaurs is characterized by high inter- and intraspecific variation


Daniel E. Barta, Sterling J. Nesbitt, Mark A. Norell

First published: 8 November 2017

DOI: 10.1111/joa.12719










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