ISSN 1002-1027  CN 11-2952/G2

Acta scientiarum naturalium Universitatis Pekinensis

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Advances in the Study of Psittacosaurids and the Appilcation of CT Scan

ZHOU Changfu1, GAO Keqin1, DU Xiangke2, QI Weiwei2, ZHANG Sen2   

  • Received:2005-05-30 Online:2006-03-20 Published:2006-03-20

Abstract: Psittacosaurids, with a confined distribution during the Early Cretaceous in East Asia, have an important bearing on understanding the origin and evolution of ceratopsian dinosaurs. Recent discovery of abundant psittacosaur fossils from the Lower Cretaceous fossil beds in western Liaoning of China provides the material for detailed study of the osteology and paleobiology of psittacosaurs. This paper furnishes a review of recent advances in the study of psittacosaurs, with comments and discussion on the taxonomic diversity, temporal and geographical distributions, and the phylogenetic relationships of psittacosaurids. This study shows that the validity of the taxon name of Hongshanosaurus houi is highly questionable, as the naming of the genus and species is based on a juvenile and distorted specimen that cannot be clearly distinguished from other specimens of the genus Psittacosaurus; further investigation is needed to clarify its taxonomic status. Low-Resolution X-ray CT scan of a well-preserved psittacosaur skull is performed, and three-dimensional reconstruction of the skull image is achieved for the first time of a psittacosaur. LRXCT scan reveals important palatal structures of the psittacosaur specimen, and hence, provides new information on understanding the anatomy and paleobiology of psittacosaurs.