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Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2007 Jan;290(1):32-47.

Novel reconstruction of the orientation of the pectoral girdle in sauropods.

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Naturhistorisches Museum Basel, Basel, Switzerland.


The orientation of the scapulocoracoid in sauropod dinosaurs is reconstructed based on comparative anatomical investigations of pectoral girdles of extant amniotes. In the reconstruction proposed here, the scapula of sauropods stands at an angle of at least 55 degrees to the horizontal plane in mechanical coherence with the sternal apparatus including the coracoids. The coracoids are oriented cranioventrally to the rib cage and the glenoid is directed mediolaterally, which allows the humerus to swing in a sagittal plane. The inclination of the scapula to the horizontal plane is reconstructed for Diplodocus (60-65 degrees), Camarasaurus (60-65 degrees), and Opisthocoelicaudia (55-65 degrees). The inclination of the scapulocoracoid has consequences for the overall body posture in Camarasaurus and Opisthocoelicaudia, where the dorsal contour would have ventrally declined toward the sacrum. Scapulocoracoid mobility depends on the arrangement of clavicles, the reconstruction of a coracosternal joint, and the reconstructed musculature of the shoulder girdle. In a crocodylian model of the shoulder musculature, m. serratus profundus and superficialis form a muscular sling, which suspends the trunk from the shoulder girdle and would allow a certain mobility of the scapulocoracoid. An avian model of the shoulder musculature would also mean suspension by means of the m. serratus complex, but indicates a closer connection of the scapula to the dorsal ribs, which would lead to more restricted movements of the scapulocoracoid in sauropods.

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