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In recent years dinosaurs have captured the attention of the public at an unprecedented scale. At the heart of this resurgence in popular interest is an increased level of research activity, much of which is innovative in the field of palaeontology. For instance, whereas earlier palaeontological studies emphasized basic morphologic description and taxonomic classification, modern studies attempt to examine the role and nature of dinosaurs as living animals. More than ever before, we understand how these extinct species functioned, behaved, interacted with each other and the environment, and evolved. Nevertheless, these studies rely on certain basic building blocks of knowledge, including facts about dinosaur anatomy and taxonomic relationships. One of the purposes of Dinosaur Systematics is to unravel some of the problems surrounding dinosaur systematics and to increase our understanding of dinosaurs as a biological species. Dinosaur Systematics presents a current overview of dinosaur systematics using various examples to explore what is a species in a dinosaur, what separates genders in dinosaurs, what morphological changes occur with maturation of a species, and what morphological variations occur within a species.
List of contributors
Foreword: Charles Mortran Sternberg and the Alberta Dinosaurs L. S. Russell
1. Introduction: On systematics and morphological variation K. Carpenter and P. J. Currie
Part I. Methods: Clades and grades in ornithischian systematics P. A. Sereno
2. Shape analysis in the study of dinosaur morphology R. E. Chapman
Part II. Sauropodomorpha: Morphometric study of Plateosaurus from Trossingen D. B. Weishampel and R. E. Chapman
3. Species determination in Sauropod Dinosaurs with tentative suggestions for their classification J. S. McIntosh
Part III. Theropods: Variation in theory and in theropods R. E. Molnar
Variation in Coelophysis bauri E. H. Colbert
4. Morphological variation in small theropods and its meaning in systematics: evidence from Syntarsus rhodesiensis of the Early Jurassic M. A. Raath
5. Therapod teeth from the Judith River Formation of southern Alberta, Canada P. J. Currie, J. K. Rigby and R. E. Sloan
6. The systematic position of Baryonyx walkeri A. J. Charig and A. C. Milner
7. Variation in Tyrannosaurus rex K. Carpenter
Part IV. Footprints: A name for the trace of an act: approaches to the nomenclature and classification of fossil vertebrate footprints W. A. S. Sarjeant
Part V. Summary and Prospectus: P. J. Currie and K. Carpenter.
"[...] presents a diverse array of original research on numerous dinosaur taxa, provides an excellent source of references, and is abundantly illustrated [...] succeeds in 'developing a better understanding of dinosaurs as biological species' (p. 309) and provides solid empirical evidence for ontogenetic and dimorphic variation in a broad range of dinosaurs."
- Sandra J. Carlson, GSA Today
" [...] contains many stimulating contributions and some of them (e.g. Chapter 18) are the best examples of the [...] palaeontological problems and frustrations [...] should be accessible at any reference library."
- Makoto Manabe, Geological Magazine
" [...] does contain a number of useful contributions to dinosaurian systematics that will be of interest to every serious student of this topic. It should encourage all researchers to pay more attention to the historically neglected problem of morphological variation in non-avian dinosaurs and to adopt explicitly cladistic approaches for sorting our dinosaurian interrelationships."
- Hans-Dieter Sues, American Paleontologist
" [...] a collection of papers on all aspects of dinosaur reproduction and development for the professional reader and advanced student [...] this long-awaited book sets out to review and summarize today's knowledge of one of the most exciting areas of dinosaur studies [...] The work is an essential addition to the dinosaur literature and is the only compact reference work covering reproductive biology."
- Nature, July, 1994