Project 4131: T. Aureliano, A. M. Ghilardi, B. A. Navarro, M. A. Fernandes, F. Ricardi-Branco, M. J. Wedel. 2021. EXQUISITE AIR SAC HISTOLOGICAL TRACES IN A HYPERPNEUMATIZED NANOID SAUROPOD DINOSAUR FROM SOUTH AMERICA. Scientific Reports. 11 (24207):n/a.
View: CT scan of posterior dorsal vertebra


This study reports the occurrence of pneumosteum (osteohistological structure related to an avian-like air sac system) in a nanoid (5.7-meter-long) saltasaurid titanosaur from Upper Cretaceous Brazil. We corroborate the hypothesis of the presence of an air sac system in titanosaurians based upon vertebral features identified through external observation and computed tomography. This is the fifth non-avian dinosaur taxon in which histological traces of air sacs have been found. We provided a detailed description of pneumatic structures from external osteology and CT scan data as a parameter for comparison with other taxa. The camellate pattern found in the vertebral centrum of this taxon and other titanosaurs shows distinct architectures. This might indicate whether cervical or lung diverticula pneumatized different elements. A cotylar internal plate of bones sustains radial camellae in a condition similar to Alamosaurus and Saltasaurus. Moreover, circumferential camellae near the cotyle might be an example of convergence between diplodocoids and titanosaurs. Finally, we also register for the first time pneumatic foramina and fossae connecting camellate structures inside the neural canal in Titanosauria and the second published case in non-avian dinosaurs. The extreme pneumaticity observed in this nanoid titanosaur contrasts with previous assumptions that this feature correlates with the evolution of gigantic sizes in sauropodomorphs. This study reinforces that even small-bodied sauropod clades could present a hyperpneumatized postcranial skeleton, a character inherited from their large-bodied ancestors.

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Project DOI: 10.7934/P4131,
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MorphoBank Project 4131
  • Creation Date:
    23 November 2021
  • Publication Date:
    17 December 2021
  • Project views: 1622

    Authors' Institutions

    • Universidade de Sao Paulo (USP, University of Sao Paulo)

    • Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP)

    • Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos

    • Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN)

    • Western University of Health Sciences


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    Tito Aureliano
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