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Article: Cranial and appendicular ontogeny of Bactrosaurus johnsoni, a hadrosauroid dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of northern China

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 54
Part: 4
Publication Date: July 2011
Page(s): 773 792
Author(s): Albert Prieto-Márquez
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How to Cite

PRIETO-MÁRQUEZ, A. 2011. Cranial and appendicular ontogeny of Bactrosaurus johnsoni, a hadrosauroid dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of northern China. Palaeontology54, 4, 773–792.

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The juvenile anatomy of various cranial and appendicular elements of the hadrosauroid dinosaur Bactrosaurus johnsoni is described in detail. Growth changes are documented from juvenile to adult stages for each skeletal element available. In the studied skull, ontogenetic trends consist of: development of features on the ventral surface of the frontal; reduction in the slope of the posteromedial process of the premaxilla; a posterior shift of the dorsal process of the maxilla; development of concavities on the medial surface of the prefrontal; increased robustness and development of the ventral flange of the jugal; decreased curvature of the long axis of the quadrate; increased ventral deflection of the dentary; and changes in the length/width proportions and depth of the anterior surface of the predentary. In the appendicular skeleton, the majority of ontogenetic variation from juvenile to adult occurs in the limb bones, including increased robustness of the deltopectoral crest of the humerus; relative shortening of the ulna; increased development of the fourth trochanter and mediolateral widening of the distal end of the femur; increased expansion of the cnemial crest of the tibia; and the increased prominence of articular protuberances and flanges of the metatarsals. A survey of the phylogenetically informative characters present in B. johnsoni indicates that several characters concerning the frontal, maxilla, jugal, quadrate, predentary, dentary, scapula, humerus and ilium are affected by ontogeny. Nevertheless, the majority of phylogenetic characters are not ontogenetically variable, suggesting that a substantial amount of the information provided by juvenile and subadult specimens for phylogenetic inference is reliable in basal hadrosauroids.
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