One distinctive trait was the slight heart shape of Mnyamawamtuka's tail vertebrae
, which "perhaps played a role in stiffening the tail from side-to-side," O'Connor said.
The fossil reveals some features that modern snakes don't have, like V-shaped spurs of bone on the bottom of the tail vertebrae
. These bone spurs most likely protected an artery along the tail, and may also have been used by snakes for stability when they became limbless millions of years ago.
"One of the ways captorhinids could do this was by having breakable tail vertebrae
," Aaron LeBlanc, a PhD student at the University of Toronto and lead author of the new study, (https://www.utoronto.ca/news/escape-artist-ancient-reptile-captorhinus-could-detach-its-tail-elude-predators) said in a statement .
When fully extended, the uropatagium displayed subdermal bleeding and bruising along almost the entire length of the tail vertebrae
(from the anus to approximately 5 mm from the tip of the tail; Fig.
Closer comparison of the shin bone, upper jawbone, teeth, and partial tail vertebrae
suggest to the authors that it may warrant a new species name, Torvosaurus gurneyi.
For DCL (cm), we measured two lengths following the contour of the backbone: (1) from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail, and (2) from the tip of the nose to the last tail vertebrae
. We used measurements to the base of the tail in BF estimation (Farley and Robbins, 1994), while those to the tip of the last tail vertebrae
were used for BM estimation.
The tail had a heavy club at the end made from plates fused to the last few tail vertebrae
.a This basic information is just the beginning, however.
AIt sounds drastic but in a similar case I ended up amputating one tail vertebrae
and surrounding scar tissue, finding healthy skin further up to stitch together to allow the tip to heal.
In fact, to get the animals into these upright poses, the original mounters had to break and dislocate the tail vertebrae
! You can see the bony tendons along the backbone of the ROM's Gryposaurus, which is still partially enclosed in the sandstone blocks in which it was collected.
They dug into the hillside and uncovered a few tail vertebrae
and fragments of a tail spike of a stegosaur.
However, a few participants roaming the hills about 150 m away have found some fragments of bone, tracked them back to their hillside source, and dug out what appear to be a few tail vertebrae
and fragments of a spike from a stegosaur.
Tail breaks occur at fracture planes in the tail vertebrae
, and are due to muscle contractions and the grabbing force of the predator.