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Data from: Body size evolution in Titanosauriformes (Sauropoda, Macronaria)

Cite this dataset

de Souza, Lucila M.; Santucci, Rodrigo M. (2014). Data from: Body size evolution in Titanosauriformes (Sauropoda, Macronaria) [Dataset]. Dryad.


Titanosauriformes is a conspicuous and diverse group of sauropod dinosaurs that inhabited almost all land masses during Cretaceous times. Besides the diversity of forms, the clade comprises one of the largest land animals found so far, Argentinosaurus, as well as some of the smallest sauropods known to date, Europasaurus and Magyarosaurus. They are therefore good candidates for studies on body size trends such as the Cope's rule, the tendency towards an increase in body size in an evolutionary lineage. We used statistical methods to assess body size changes under both phylogenetic and nonphylogenetic approaches to identify body size trends in Titanosauriformes. Femoral lengths were collected (or estimated from humeral length) from 46 titanosauriform species and used as a proxy for body size. Our findings show that there is no increase or decrease in titanosauriform body size with age along the Cretaceous and that negative changes in body size are more common than positive ones (although not statistically significant) for most of the titanosauriform subclades (e.g. Saltasaridae, Lithostrotia, Titanosauria and Somphospondyli). Therefore, Cope's rule is not supported in titanosauriform evolution. Finally, we also found a trend towards a decrease of titanosauriform mean body size coupled with an increase in body size standard deviation, both supporting an increase in body size variation towards the end of Cretaceous.

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