Friday, January 08, 2016

How the Forelimb of Triassic Cynodont Trucidocynodon riograndensis Worked

Functional morphology and biomechanics of the cynodont Trucidocynodon riograndensis from the Triassic of Southern Brazil: Pectoral girdle and forelimb


Veiga De Oliveira et al


Non-mammalian cynodonts provide insights on several points about mammalian evolution, such as the postural change and locomotory advances within the group. Unfortunately, complete skeletons of Triassic cynodonts are not very common and where more complete specimens are found they can offer a global vision on some traits not available from partial specimens. This is the case of the cynodont Trucidocynodon riograndensis, from the Triassic of Brazil, that has its forelimbs and locomotory properties presented in this paper. The movements between interclavicle and clavicle must have been limited, as such as those occurring between the latter and the scapulocoracoid although the long acromion process of this should have permitted a greater degree of freedom. Some of the more significant movements were those on the shoulder joint, in which the maximum adduction should have been circa 35º relative to the parasagittal plane and the greater abduction circa 55º. The maximum adduction occurred when the humerus was in the more retracted position during stride and the variation in the adduction/abduction should have been significant to the limb posture during its recovery stroke. The long olecranon and the distal overlapping between radius and ulna suggest the predominance of simple flexion/extension on the forearm without significant pronation/supination. The poorly preserved hand suggests that Trucidocynodon could have evolved a slight semidigitigrad condition in its forelimbs. All these features places Trucidocynodon as an important actor on the evolution of the mammalian locomotory properties indicating that some features, as the possibility of greater humeral adduction, evolved early in cynodont lineage.

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