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Stenopelix

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Stenopelix

Stenopelix
Temporal range: Early Cretaceous, 127Ma
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Slabs of the holotype and interpretive drawings
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Ornithischia
Clade: Marginocephalia
Suborder: Ceratopsia
Genus: Stenopelix
Meyer, 1857
Species: † S. valdensis
Binomial name
Stenopelix valdensis
Meyer, 1857

Stenopelix (meaning "narrow pelvis") is a genus of small ornithischian dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Germany. It was perhaps a basal ceratopsian from the Barremian Stage of the Cretaceous period, sometime between 130 and 125 million years ago.[1] The genus is based on a partial skeleton lacking the skull, and its classification is based on characteristics of the hips.

Contents

  • Discovery and species 1
  • Paleobiology 2
  • Classification 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5

Discovery and species

In 1855, in a Geowissenschaftliches Zentrum der Universität Göttingen.

In 1857, based on this fossil, Christian Erich Hermann von Meyer named the type species Stenopelix valdensis.[3] The generic name is derived from Greek stenos, "narrow", and pelyx, "pelvis". The specific name refers to the Wealden Formation. The holotype, GZG 741/2 (earlier GPI 741-1, 2), found in the Obernkirchen Sandstein Formation, consists of the impressions of an almost complete skeleton, lacking the skull and the neck.

Paleobiology

Stenopelix was a small herbivorous animal. The preserved rump and tail have a combined length of just 97 centimetres; the femur is fourteen centimetres long. The species can be distinguished by several details of the pelvis. The aft part of the ilium uniformly tapers ending in a rounded point. The shaft of the ischium is thickest in the middle and there shows a distinctive kink.

Classification

Restoration

The classification of Stenopelix is controversial and has ever been problematic because of the lacking skull. Prior to the 1960s, it was often assigned to some ornithopod group. In 1974 Teresa Maryańska suggested it to be a pachycephalosaur, one of the oldest known, due to the apparent exclusion of the pubis from the acetabulum, and the presence of strong caudal ribs. Peter Galton in 1982 showed that the "pubis" was actually part of the acetabulum, and the so-called "caudal ribs" were sacral ribs. The curvature of the ischium and absence of an obturator foramen were not characteristics seen in other pachycephalosaurs. Galton concluded Stenopelix to be ceratopian.[4]

However, exact cladistic analyses by Paul Sereno have resulted in a position in the Pachycephalosauria. But paleontologists Richard Butler and Robert Sullivan nonetheless view the species as being Marginocephalia incertae sedis, rejecting the presumed synapomorphies with the Pachycephalosauria as incorrect identifications or lacking cogency because of a possible presence in ceratopsian groups.[5] In 2011, cladistic analysis performed by Butler et al. showed that Stenopelix is a basal member of the Ceratopsia, and its sister taxon is Yinlong.[6]

Notes

  1. ^ Holtz, Thomas R. Jr. (2011) Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages, Winter 2010 Appendix.
  2. ^ *Hermann Schmidt, 1969, "Stenopelix valdensis H. v. Meyer, der kleine Dinosaurier des norddeutschen Wealden", Palaeontologische Zeitschrift 43(3/4): 194-198
  3. ^ *Meyer, H. von, 1857, "Beiträge zur näheren Kenntis fossiler Reptilien", Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paläontologie 1857: 532–543
  4. ^ *H.-D. Sues and P. M. Galton, 1982, "The systematic position of Stenopelix valdensis (Reptilia: Ornithischia) from the Wealden of north-western Germany", Palaeontographica Abteilung A 178(4-6): 183-190
  5. ^ *R. J. Butler and R. M. Sullivan, 2009, "The phylogenetic position of Stenopelix valdensis from the Lower Cretaceous of Germany and the early fossil record of Pachycephalosauria", Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 54(1): 21-34
  6. ^ Richard J. Butler, Jin Liyong, Chen Jun,  

References

  • Stenopelix at Thescelosaurus (scroll down to Marginocephalia i.s.)
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