David Hone

David Hone
Queen Mary, University of London | QMUL · School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

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124
Publications
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Publications

Publications (124)
Article
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The Late Cretaceous dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex was recently split into three species based on the premise that variation in the T. rex hypodigm is exceptional, indicating cryptic species and “robust” and “gracile” morphs. The morphs are based on proportional ratios throughout the skeleton. The species are claimed to be stratigraphically separate, w...
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Spinosaurids are among the most distinctive and yet poorly-known of large-bodied theropod dinosaurs, a situation exacerbated by their mostly fragmentary fossil record and competing views regarding their palaeobiology. Here, we report two new Early Cretaceous spinosaurid specimens from the Wessex Formation (Barremian) of the Isle of Wight. Large-sca...
Article
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Mammalian carnivores show a higher degree of prey bone utilization relative to non-avian theropod dinosaurs, with this major ecological difference reflected in the frequency and morphology of tooth marks in modern and Cenozoic assemblages relative to Mesozoic ones. As such, prey bone utilization (i.e., gnawing, bone-breaking, osteophagy) may repres...
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The tails of non-avialan dinosaurs varied considerably in terms of overall length, total number of vertebrae, and gross form and function. A new dataset confirms that there is little or no consistent relationship between tail length and snout-sacrum length. Consequently, attempts to estimate one from the other are likely to be very error-prone. Pat...
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Socio-sexual selection is predicted to be an important driver of evolution, influencing speciation, extinction and adaptation. The fossil record provides a means of testing these predictions, but detecting its signature from morphological data alone is difficult. There are, nonetheless, some specific patterns of growth and variation which are expec...
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The giant theropod Spinosaurus was an unusual animal and highly derived in many ways, and interpretations of its ecology remain controversial. Recent papers have added considerable knowledge of the anatomy of the genus with the discovery of a new and much more complete specimen, but this has also brought new and dramatic interpretations of its ecol...
Article
The anurognathids are an enigmatic and distinctive clade of small, non‐pterodactyloid pterosaurs with an unusual combination of anatomical traits in the head, neck, wings and tail. They are known from very limited remains and few have been described in detail, and as a result, much of their biology remains uncertain. This is despite their importanc...
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Tyrannosaurus rex is the most famous dinosaur in the world: beloved by paleontologists and the public alike (especially kids). How T. rex lived is one of the most hotly debated topics in dinosaur research. T. rex was the largest predator in its ecosystem with a powerful and (possibly) poisonous bite. It has been suggested, however, that T. rex was...
Article
Rhamphorhynchus muensteri is one of the best‐known flying reptiles, represented by >130 well‐preserved fossil specimens, from hatchlings to full adults. The life history of this pterosaur remains controversial as to when in ontogeny they took flight. Here, we assess the growth of these animals based on the lengths of numerous key elements. We show...
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Despite strong evidence for sexual selection in various display traits and other exaggerated structures in large extinct reptiles, such as dinosaurs, detecting sexual dimorphism in them remains difficult. Their relatively small sample sizes, long growth periods, and difficulties distinguishing the sexes of fossil specimens mean that there are littl...
Article
Animal flight is ecologically important and has a long evolutionary history. It has evolved independently in many distantly related clades of animals. Powered flight has evolved only three times in vertebrates, making it evolutionarily rare. Major recent fossil discoveries have provided key data on fossil flying vertebrates and critical insights re...
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A new genus and species of istiodactylid pterosaur, Luchibang xingzhe gen. et sp. nov., from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation of China is erected based on a near complete specimen lacking only the posterior of the skull and the tail. The holotype individual is skeletally immature and already bigger than most istiodactylids suggesting a large w...
Article
Azhdarchid pterosaurs have been known since 1972 from upper Campanian deposits of Alberta, Canada. Originally represented by only very fragmentary remains tentatively assigned to the genus Quetzalcoatlus, additional material uncovered over the years has revealed that the taxonomic identity of the Alberta pterosaur material is at odds with this in t...
Article
In a recent paper, the contention that spinosaurine theropods were semi-aquatic was supported by Arden et al., (2019) and they provided a hypothetical sequence of acquisition of traits that had evolved in line with this lifestyle. However, we find that the presented traits were either loosely defined and/or are clearly distinct from those traits se...
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A cervical vertebra of the large, pelagic pterodactyloid pterosaur Pteranodon sp. from the Late Cretaceous Niobrara Formation of Kansas, USA is significant for its association with a tooth from the large lamniform shark, Cretoxyrhina mantelli . Though the tooth does not pierce the vertebral periosteum, the intimate association of the fossils—in whi...
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Bite marks on bones can provide critical information about interactions between carnivores and animals they consumed (or attempted to) in the fossil record. Data from such interactions is somewhat sparse and is hampered by a lack of records in the scientific literature. Here, we present a rare instance of feeding traces on the frill of a juvenile c...
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The 'positive allometry hypothesis' predicts that ornaments and weapons of sexual selection will scale steeply when among-individual variation in trait size is compared with variation in overall body size. Intuitive and striking, this idea has been explored in hundreds of contemporary animal species and sparked controversy in palaeobiology over the...
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Feathers are remarkable evolutionary innovations that are associated with complex adaptations of the skin in modern birds. Fossilised feathers in non-avian dinosaurs and basal birds provide insights into feather evolution, but how associated integumentary adaptations evolved is unclear. Here we report the discovery of fossil skin, preserved with re...
Article
Bite marks on the bones of dinosaurs are relatively rare for non‐tyrannosaur dominated faunas, and few have been described in detail. Here, we describe a femur of a young diplodocoid sauropod in the Carnegie Quarry (Late Jurassic Morrison Formation) at Dinosaur National Monument that shows extensive bite marks to the proximal part of the bone. This...
Article
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Establishing the origin and function of unusual traits in fossil taxa provides a crucial tool in understanding macroevolutionary patterns over long periods of time. Ceratopsian dinosaurs are known for their exaggerated and often elaborate horns and frills, which vary considerably between species. Many explanations have been proposed for the origin...
Article
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Pterosaurs were the first vertebrates to evolve powered flight and occupied the skies of the Mesozoic for 160 million years. They occurred on every continent, evolved their incredible proportions and anatomy into well over 100 species, and included the largest flying animals of all time among their ranks. Pterosaurs are undergoing a long-running sc...
Article
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In fossilised vertebrates, the presence of soft tissues is the most obvious way to determine aspects of anatomy and functional morphology; however, occurrences are rare and other lines of evidence must be sought to indicate its extent and strength. For example, pterosaurs possessed a large wing membrane that enabled powered flight but other tissues...
Article
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The spinosaurids represent an enigmatic and highly unusual form of large tetanuran theropods that were first identified in 1915. A recent flurry of discoveries and taxonomic revisions of this important and interesting clade has added greatly to our knowledge. Spinosaur body fossils are however generally rare and most species are known from only lim...
Article
Evidence for sexual dimorphism is extremely limited in the non-avian dinosaurs despite their high diversity and disparity, and despite the fact that dimorphism is very common in vertebrate lineages of all kinds. Using body-size data from both Alligator mississippiensis and Rhea americana, which phylogenetically bracket the dinosaurs, we demonstrate...
Article
After being inaccessible for a number of years, the holotype and other specimens of the dsungaripterid pterodactyloid pterosaur Noripterus complicidens are again available for study. Numerous taxa assigned to the Dsungaripteridae have been described since the erection of Noripterus, but with limited comparisons to this genus. Based on the informati...
Article
There has been considerable debate about whether the controversial tyrannosauroid dinosaur ‘Nanotyrannus lancensis’ from the uppermost Cretaceous of North America is a valid taxon or a juvenile of the contemporaneous Tyrannosaurus rex. In a recent Cretaceous Research article, Schmerge and Rothschild (2016) brought a new piece of evidence to this di...
Article
Analysis of numerous trace fossils reveals ‘nest scrape displays’ made by dinosaurs that are analogous to those left by modern birds.
Article
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Identification of the ontogenetic status of an extinct organism is complex, and yet this underpins major areas of research, from taxonomy and systematics to ecology and evolution. In the case of the non-avialan dinosaurs, at least some were reproductively mature before they were skeletally mature, and a lack of consensus on how to define an 'adult'...
Article
The leading edge and shape of the pterosaur wing is constrained by the skeleton. Although it has long been known that at least some pterosaurs had posteriorly curved distal wing phalanges, affecting the shape of the wingtip, this has been little studied despite that this may have profound effects on flight performance. Here we examine the evidence...
Article
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Despite being known for nearly two centuries, new specimens of the derived non-pterodactyloid pterosaur Rhamphorhynchus continue to be discovered and reveal new information about their anatomy and palaeobiology. Here we describe a specimen held in the collections of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Alberta, Canada that shows both preserva...
Article
The horned, ceratopsid dinosaurs can be easily split into two major groups based on their cranial structures, but now a new discovery shows that at least one genus 'switched sides' and convergently evolved the form of the other clade. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Article
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The Lujiatun Unit (Yixian Formation) yields some of the most spectacular vertebrate fossils of the Jehol Group (Lower Cretaceous) of NE China. Specimens are preserved both articulated and three-dimensional, unlike the majority of Jehol fossils, which are near two-dimensional compression fossils. The site has been referred to as the ‘Chinese Pompeii...
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Monodominant bonebeds are a relatively common occurrence for non-avian dinosaurs, and have been used to infer associative, and potentially genuinely social, behavior. Previously known assemblages are characterized as either mixed size-classes (juvenile and adult-sized specimens together) or single size-classes of individuals (only juveniles or only...
Article
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Background Southwestern Henan Province in central China contains many down-faulted basins, including the Xixia Basin where the Upper Cretaceous continental sediments are well exposed. The Majiacun Formation is a major dinosaur-bearing stratigraphic unit that occurs in this basin. Methodology/Principal Findings A new basal hadrosauroid dinosaur, Zh...
Article
Reconstructing the possible behaviours of long extinct species, and especially those with no close living relatives, are naturally fraught with difficulty: data are often limited and hard to interpret. However, the field of palaeoethology has not been helped by a poor understanding of the range and plasticity of the behaviour of extant organisms, c...
Article
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The Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota of northeastern China has become famous over the last two decades as a source of feathered avialan and non-avialan theropods, preserved alongside an array of other fossil vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants. Still more recently, a rich assemblage referred to in this paper as the Daohugou Biota has begun to emerge...
Article
The highly pneumatic skeleton of the extinct flying pterosaurs suggests that they would float high up on open water, but in a posture rather different to that of birds. However, the exact posture of the body and head remains unknown and would be critical for an ocean going pterosaur forced onto the waters' surface or animals that alighted to feed....
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We present an annotated and illustrated catalogue of all original fossils, casts, and sculpted replicas of pterosaur specimens from the Upper Jurassic Solnhofen limestones of southern Germany that are housed at Carnegie Museum of Natural History (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.). The museum obtained its substantial Solnhofen pterosaur fossil colle...
Article
The hypothesis that the exaggerated structures in various non-avialan dinosaurs (e.g. horns, crests, plates) primarily functioned in species recognition, allowing individuals of a species to recognize one another, is critically examined. While multifunctionality for many such structures is probable given extant analogues, invoking species recogniti...
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Here we report a new oviraptorid taxon based on a specimen collected from the Upper Cretaceous Wulansuhai Formation of Bayan Mandahu, Linhe, China. This new taxon is distinguishable from other oviraptorid species by the following unique features: the ventral extremity of the large and elongate external naris is located below the mid-height of the p...
Article
In their letter in response to our article in TREE [1], Padian and Horner [2] make three main points, the two most relevant concerning firstly the definition of sexual selection itself and secondly, the issue of how we might test for its presence in fossils organisms. Their third point pertains to species recognition and is addressed by Mendelson a...
Article
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The distribution of species body size is critically important for determining resource use within a group or clade. It is widely known that non-avian dinosaurs were the largest creatures to roam the Earth. There is, however, little understanding of how maximum species body size was distributed among the dinosaurs. Do they share a similar distributi...
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Pedal claw geometry can be used to predict behaviour in extant tetrapods and has frequently been used as an indicator of lifestyle and ecology in Mesozoic birds and other fossil reptiles, sometimes without acknowledgement of the caveat that data from other aspects of morphology and proportions also need to be considered. Variation in styles of meas...
Data
Literature used to obtain phylogenies for separate bird orders. (DOCX)
Data
Switched species list (see methods section for more details). (DOCX)
Data
Species used from the Livezey & Zusi (2007) phylogeny for independent contrasts. (DOCX)
Data
Citations for squamate masses. (DOCX)
Data
Species used from the Ericson et al., (2006) phylogeny for independent contrasts. (DOCX)
Data
List of fossil specimen pedal claws used. (XLSX)
Data
List of extant specimens used for the digit comparison analysis. (XLSX)
Data
List of extant species used – asterisk in the source column denotes a specimen with only the ungual bone. ‘Λ’ denotes specimens measured following the same methodology detailed in the ‘Methods’ section (although printouts rather than ImageJ were used) but the data were taken from Miller (2005). (XLSX)
Article
: In the years since the first description of a pterosaur specimen in 1784, pterosaur research has inevitably advanced considerably. However the last decade has arguably seen a much greater increase in our knowledge than the preceding two centuries. Since the turn of the new millennium, more than 40 new pterosaur genera and species have been descri...
Article
A new anurognathid pterosaur specimen from the Middle Jurassic Tiaojishan Formation of Qinglong, northern Hebie Province is described. The new specimen is referred to Dendrorhynchoides, based on the general morphology of the skeleton, but it represents a new species, named here as Dendrorhynchoides mutoudengensis sp. nov.. It is characterized by th...
Conference Paper
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The evolution of powered flight in birds remains a contentious issue in vertebrate paleontology. The small dromaeosaurid dinosaur Microraptor gui preserves evidence of extensive, lift-generating feathers on each manus and forearm, but also preserves evidence of lift-generating feathers associated with the hindlimbs, effectively forming a pair of "...
Conference Paper
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Microraptoran dinosaurs may have experienced intrinsic difficulties with pitch control because they retained a trunk of typical dromaeosaurid proportions, as opposed to the shortened trunk of ornithurine birds. As a result, any appreciable forward sweep of the wings could bring the center of lift in front of the center of gravity, resulting in a po...
Article
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Many fossil animals bear traits such as crests or horns that probably functioned as sexually selected signals or weapons. Interpretations of these structures as functioning in mate choice or intrasexual contests are often controversial, with interpretations based on biomechanics or physiology being favoured by many. Although testing hypotheses base...
Article
Estimating the mass of an extinct organism is naturally difficult. Practicality and simplicity means that often some linear measurement is used as a proxy. In the case of non-avian dinosaurs, the total length of the animal (from the snout to the tip of the tail) is sometimes used for this purpose. However, the total length of the tail is unknown in...
Article
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The 'Solnhofen Limestone' beds of the Southern Franconian Alb, Bavaria, southern Germany, have for centuries yielded important pterosaur specimens, most notably of the genera Pterodactylus and Rhamphorhynchus. Here we describe a new genus of non-pterodactyloid pterosaur based on an extremely well preserved fossil of a young juvenile: Bellubrunnus r...
Article
Stomach contents preserved in fossil specimens provide direct evidence for the diet of extinct animals. Such exceptional fossils remain rare for predatory non-avian dinosaurs and each can add significantly to our understanding of trophic interactions between various taxa. Here we present evidence for the dromaeosaurid theropod Velociraptor scavengi...
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We re-examine the partial skeleton of the enigmatic small feathered theropod Yixianosaurus longimanus from the Lower Yixian Formation, China. A phylogenetic analysis recovers Yixianosaurus as a basal maniraptoran, in a polytomy with Alvarezsaurus, Therizinosauria, Alvarezsauroidea excluding Alvarezsaurus, and a well-resolved clade of derived manira...