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News: THE SEARCH FOR ATLANTIS IN CUBA
A Report by Andrew Collins
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Tyrannosaurus


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Author Topic: Tyrannosaurus  (Read 3301 times)
Manetho
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« on: July 23, 2007, 01:32:55 pm »

Sexual dimorphism

As the number of specimens increased, scientists began to analyze the variation between individuals and discovered what appeared to be two distinct body types, or morphs, similarly to some other theropod species. As one of these morphs was more solidly built, it was termed the 'robust' morph while the other was termed 'gracile.' Several morphological differences associated with the two morphs were used to analyze sexual dimorphism in Tyrannosaurus rex, with the 'robust' morph usually suggested to be female. For example, the pelvis of several 'robust' specimens seemed to be wider, perhaps to allow the passage of eggs.[31] It was also thought that the 'robust' morphology correlated with a reduced chevron on the first tail vertebra, also ostensibly to allow eggs to pass out of the reproductive tract, as had been erroneously reported for crocodiles.[32]

In recent years, evidence for sexual dimorphism has been weakened. A 2005 study reported that previous claims of sexual dimorphism in crocodile chevron anatomy were in error, casting doubt on the existence of similar dimorphism between T. rex genders.[33] A full-sized chevron was discovered on the first tail vertebra of "Sue," an extremely robust individual, indicating that this feature could not be used to differentiate the two morphs anyway. As T. rex specimens have been found from Saskatchewan to New Mexico, differences between individuals may be indicative of geographic variation rather than sexual dimorphism. The differences could also be age-related, with 'robust' individuals being older animals.[1]

Only a single T. rex specimen has been conclusively shown to belong to a specific gender. Examination of "B-rex" demonstrated the preservation of soft tissue within several bones. Some of this tissue has been identified as medullary tissue, a specialized tissue grown only in modern birds as a source of calcium for the production of eggshell during ovulation. As only female birds lay eggs, medullary tissue is only found naturally in females, although males are capable of producing it when injected with female reproductive hormones like estrogen. This strongly suggests that "B-rex" was female, and that she died during ovulation.[29] Recent research has shown that medullary tissue is never found in crocodiles, which are thought to be the closest living relatives of dinosaurs, aside from birds. The shared presence of medullary tissue in birds and theropod dinosaurs is further evidence of the close evolutionary relationship between the two.
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