Dedicated readers of the blog likely remember that one of the core research goals of this project is to examine the bipedal/quadrupedal transition in ornithischian dinosaurs. Of course, ornithischians weren’t the only group to experience such locomotor changes during their evolution! A new paper on the bipedal/quadrupedal transition in sauropodomorphs (the saurischian dinosaur group including animals like Plateosaurus, Apatosaurus, and Brachiosaurus) has just appeared on Proceedings of the Royal Society B‘s FirstCite. This paper, headed up by Adam Yates, details the anatomy of Aardonyx, an early sauropodomorph from the Early Jurassic of South Africa. The authors posit that the new critter was a habitual biped, although it had many features that presaged the anatomy of later quadrupedal forms.
If you haven’t contributed data to the Open Dinosaur Project yet, and are looking for something to do, this might be a good one! The supplementary information (freely available) is chock-full of measurements.
Yates, A. M., Bonnan, M. F., Neveling, J., Chinsamy, A., and M. G. Blackbeard. In press. A new transitional sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Early Jurassic of South Africa and the evolution of sauropod feeding and quadrupedalism. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.1440. Published online 10 November 2009. [subscription required for full access]