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Complex neuroanatomy in the rostrum of the Isle of Wight theropod Neovenator salerii

Complex neuroanatomy in the rostrum of the Isle of Wight theropod Neovenator salerii
Complex neuroanatomy in the rostrum of the Isle of Wight theropod Neovenator salerii
The discovery of large, complex, internal canals within the rostra of fossil reptiles has been linked with an enhanced tactile function utilised in an aquatic context, so far in pliosaurids, the Cretaceous theropod Spinosaurus, and the related spinosaurid Baryonyx. Here, we report the presence of a complex network of large, laterally situated, anastomosing channels, discovered via micro-focus computed tomography (μCT), in the premaxilla and maxilla of Neovenator, a mid-sized allosauroid theropod from the Early Cretaceous of the UK. We identify these channels as neurovascular canals, that include parts of the trigeminal nerve; many branches of this complex terminate on the external surfaces of the premaxilla and maxilla where they are associated with foramina. Neovenator is universally regarded as a ‘typical’ terrestrial, predatory theropod, and there are no indications that it was aquatic, amphibious, or unusual with respect to the ecology or behaviour predicted for allosauroids. Accordingly, we propose that enlarged neurovascular facial canals shouldn’t be used to exclusively support a model of aquatic foraging in theropods and argue instead that an enhanced degree of facial sensitivity may have been linked with any number of alternative behavioural adaptations, among them defleshing behaviour, nest selection/maintenance or social interaction.
2045-2322
Barker, Chris Tijani
38e55dfa-2358-4f84-9a1f-e2d0c60ea8c2
Naish, Darren
aa6bd7f8-86e4-4965-bd94-20b1573b194d
Newham, Elis
30b25d76-7f4e-47e8-9547-7a0d13619c08
Katsamenis, Orestis L.
8553e7c3-d860-4b7a-a883-abf6c0c4b438
Dyke, Gareth
600ca61e-b40b-4c86-b8ae-13be4e331e94
Barker, Chris Tijani
38e55dfa-2358-4f84-9a1f-e2d0c60ea8c2
Naish, Darren
aa6bd7f8-86e4-4965-bd94-20b1573b194d
Newham, Elis
30b25d76-7f4e-47e8-9547-7a0d13619c08
Katsamenis, Orestis L.
8553e7c3-d860-4b7a-a883-abf6c0c4b438
Dyke, Gareth
600ca61e-b40b-4c86-b8ae-13be4e331e94

Barker, Chris Tijani, Naish, Darren, Newham, Elis, Katsamenis, Orestis L. and Dyke, Gareth (2017) Complex neuroanatomy in the rostrum of the Isle of Wight theropod Neovenator salerii. Scientific Reports, 7 (1). (doi:10.1038/s41598-017-03671-3).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The discovery of large, complex, internal canals within the rostra of fossil reptiles has been linked with an enhanced tactile function utilised in an aquatic context, so far in pliosaurids, the Cretaceous theropod Spinosaurus, and the related spinosaurid Baryonyx. Here, we report the presence of a complex network of large, laterally situated, anastomosing channels, discovered via micro-focus computed tomography (μCT), in the premaxilla and maxilla of Neovenator, a mid-sized allosauroid theropod from the Early Cretaceous of the UK. We identify these channels as neurovascular canals, that include parts of the trigeminal nerve; many branches of this complex terminate on the external surfaces of the premaxilla and maxilla where they are associated with foramina. Neovenator is universally regarded as a ‘typical’ terrestrial, predatory theropod, and there are no indications that it was aquatic, amphibious, or unusual with respect to the ecology or behaviour predicted for allosauroids. Accordingly, we propose that enlarged neurovascular facial canals shouldn’t be used to exclusively support a model of aquatic foraging in theropods and argue instead that an enhanced degree of facial sensitivity may have been linked with any number of alternative behavioural adaptations, among them defleshing behaviour, nest selection/maintenance or social interaction.

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Accepted/In Press date: 11 May 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 16 June 2017
Published date: 16 June 2017
Organisations: Engineering Mats & Surface Engineerg Gp, Ocean and Earth Science, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, Education Hub

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 411626
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/411626
ISSN: 2045-2322
PURE UUID: 7fad1bf6-2c5f-4f96-9744-990f92b44e01
ORCID for Orestis L. Katsamenis: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4367-4147

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Date deposited: 21 Jun 2017 16:31
Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 01:37

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