Philip J. Currie

Philip J. Currie
University of Alberta | UAlberta · Department of Biological Sciences

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498
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Publications

Publications (498)
Article
Counts of the number of skeletal specimens of “adult” megaherbivores and large theropods from the Morrison and Dinosaur Park formations—if not biased by taphonomic artifacts—suggest that the big meat‐eaters were more abundant, relative to the number of big plant‐eaters, than one would expect on the basis of the relative abundance of large carnivore...
Article
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Dromaeosaurids are poorly known in Europe and their fossil records are mostly postcranial remains. To date, the French faunal records of the family Dromaeosauridae include two taxa: Pyroraptor olympius and Variraptor mechinorum. Nevertheless, their taxonomic validity and phylogenetic relationships as dromaeo-saurids are controversial. Here, we repo...
Article
A total of 227 theropod teeth have so far been recovered from the upper Campanian Laño site (northern Iberian Peninsula). The teeth were studied for their qualitative and quantitative features. From the theropod sample found at Laño, seven morphotypes attributed to five taxa are identified: a medium to large abelisaurid (Arcovenator sp.) and four s...
Article
Modern birds are typified by the presence of feathers, complex evolutionary innovations that were already widespread in the group of theropod dinosaurs (Maniraptoriformes) that include crown Aves. Squamous or scaly reptilian-like skin is, however, considered the plesiomorphic condition for theropods and dinosaurs more broadly. Here, we review the m...
Article
Michael Benton and colleagues reminisce about the discovery of Sinosauripteryx, the first feathered dinosaur.
Article
Small herbivorous dinosaurs of the clades Pachycephalosauridae and Thescelosauridae occur in multiple Cretaceous formations in North America, their coexistence likely made possible by differences in feeding style. Fossils of these taxa are generally rare, but isolated pachycephalosaurid and thescelosaurid teeth are common at microfossil sites, and...
Article
Intraspecific aggression, or agonism, is a widespread intrasexual selective behavior important to understanding animal behavioral ecology and reproductive systems. Such behavior can be studied either by direct observation or inferred from wound/scar frequency in extant species but is difficult to document in extinct taxa, limiting understanding of...
Article
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For sheer complexity, braincases are generally considered anatomically conservative. However, recent research on the braincases of tyrannosaurids have revealed extensive morphological variations. This line of inquiry has its root in Dale Russell’s review of tyrannosaurids in which he established Daspletosaurus torosus — a large tyrannosaurine from...
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The Nemegt Formation of the Gobi Desert of Mongolia has produced one of the most abundant and diverse oviraptorosaur records globally. However, the caenagnathid component of this fauna remains poorly known. Two caenagnathid taxa are currently recognized from the Nemegt Formation: Elmisaurus rarus and Nomingia gobiensis . Because these taxa are know...
Article
The Dinosaur Park Formation (DPF) of Alberta, Canada, has produced one of the most diverse dinosaur faunas, with the record favouring large-bodied taxa, in terms of number and completeness of skeletons. Although small theropods are well documented in the assemblage, taxonomic assessments are frequently based on isolated, fragmentary skeletal elemen...
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The question why non-avian dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago (Ma) remains unresolved because of the coarseness of the fossil record. A sudden extinction caused by an asteroid is the most accepted hypothesis but it is debated whether dinosaurs were in decline or not before the impact. We analyse the speciation-extinction dynamics for six k...
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Recent studies have identified numerous pathologies in the cranial domes of pachycephalosaurid dinosaurs. These studies utilized CT images of domes to identify secondary woven bone and sclerosis associated with the pathologies. These features were critical for diagnosing post-traumatic osteomyelitis, which supported the head-butting behaviour hypot...
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A new articulated postcranial specimen of an indeterminate ankylosaurid dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous (middle-upper Campanian) Baruungoyot Formation from Hermiin Tsav, southern Gobi Desert, Mongolia includes twelve dorsal vertebrae, ribs, pectoral girdles, forelimbs, pelvic girdles, hind limbs, and free osteoderms. The new specimen shows that...
Article
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Locomotion is a fundamental aspect of palaeobiology and often investigated by comparing osteological structures and proportions. Previous studies document a stepwise accumulation of avian-like features in theropod dinosaurs that accelerates in the clade Maniraptora. However, the soft tissues that influenced the skeleton offer another perspective on...
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A characteristic fauna of dinosaurs and other vertebrates inhabited the end-Cretaceous European archipelago, some of which were dwarves or had other unusual features likely related to their insular habitats. Little is known, however, about the contemporary theropod dinosaurs, as they are represented mostly by teeth or other fragmentary fossils. A n...
Article
Three distinct but overlapping dinosaur-dominated faunas characterize the Upper Cretaceous Djadokhta, Baruungoyot and Nemegt formations of the Nemegt Basin of Mongolia. Documented faunal differences cannot be explained easily by temporal succession, but can be understood in the light of physical processes controlling life, death, and burial of taxa...
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Abstract: Tyrannosaurids were the apex predators of Late Cretaceous Laurasia and their status as dominant carnivores has garnered considerable interest since their discovery, both in the popular and scientific realms. As a result, they are well studied and much is known of their anatomy, diversity, growth, and evolution. In contrast, little is know...
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We review the distinguished and varied career of our friend and colleague, palaeontologist Dr. Dale A. Russell, following the recent news of his death. Dale relished his work, and approached his research—whether it be on mosasaur systematics, dinosaur extinction, or the evolution of animal intelligence—with great gusto. A deep and contextual thinke...
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Late Cretaceous trends in Asian dinosaur diversity are poorly understood, but recent discoveries have documented a radiation of oviraptorosaur theropods in China and Mongolia. However, little work has addressed the factors that facilitated this diversification. A new oviraptorid from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia sheds light on the evolution of t...
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The Cretaceous birds of Alberta are poorly known, as skeletal elements are rare and typically consist of fragmentary postcranial remains. A partial avian coracoid from the upper Campanian Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta, Canada can be referred to the Ornithurae, and is referred to here as Ornithurine G (cf. Cimolopteryx). Its structure is simila...
Article
Microraptorine dromaeosaurids are characterized by a lateral pubic tubercle or process on the midshaft of the pubis. Initially proposed as a tubercle for muscle attachment, this structure has since received little attention beyond identifying its presence or absence in theropods. Examination of this tubercle reveals inconsistencies in texture and t...
Article
In recent years, several papers have claimed that soft tissue can preserve within bone matrix of extinct vertebrates, some dating back over 100 million years. Work conducted on specimens from Montana suggested sediment type may influence preservation of original tissues and proteins. An alternative hypothesis is that soft tissue preservation may be...
Article
Caenagnathids were oviraptorosaur theropods characterized by elongate hind limbs that are proposed as adaptations for either wading or enhanced cursoriality. A lack of well preserved pelvic material, however, has thus far prevented reconstruction of both the hind limb and girdle for verification of these hypotheses. Here we describe an abundance of...
Article
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The taxonomy of caenagnathids from the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta, Canada, has remained problematic because of incomplete, partial skeletons that do not overlap anatomically. This is particularly problematic for referring mandibular remains, which are the most abundant caenagnathid fossils recovered, but cannot be confidently tied to taxa k...
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Avimimids were unusual, birdlike oviraptorosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of Asia. Initially enigmatic, new information has ameliorated the understanding of their anatomy, phylogenetic position, and behaviour. A monodominant bonebed from the Nemegt Formation of Mongolia showed that some avimimids were gregarious, but the site is unusual in the appa...
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Despite being known from every continent, the geological record of pterosaurs, the first group of vertebrates to develop powered flight, is very uneven, with only a few deposits accounting for the vast majority of specimens and almost half of the taxonomic diversity. Among the regions that stand out for the greatest gaps of knowledge regarding thes...
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Hadrosaurian dinosaurs were abundant in the Late Cretaceous of North America, but their habitats remain poorly understood. Cretaceous amber is also relatively abundant, yet it is seldom found in direct stratigraphic association with dinosaur remains. Here we describe an unusually large amber specimen attached to a Prosaurolophus jaw, which reveals...
Article
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Daspletosaurus is a large tyrannosaurine found in upper Campanian deposits of Alberta and Montana. Although several large subadult and adult individuals of this taxon are known, only one juvenile individual, TMP 1994.143.1, has been identified. This specimen has played a key role in the idea that juvenile tyrannosaurid individuals are difficult to...
Article
The ceratopsid Styracosaurus albertensis is an important component of the herbivorous dinosaur fauna preserved in the Campanian-aged Dinosaur Park Formation in Alberta, Canada. A new skull (UALVP55900) exhibits previously unobserved variability and asymmetry in this species. As in the type, the right lateral parietal bar bears seven epiossification...
Article
A new carcharodontosaurid taxon, Lajasvenator ascheriae gen. et sp. nov. is described. The new taxon is based on two specimens: MLL-PV-Pv-005 is a partial skeleton represented by a portion of the snout, partially articulated presacral vertebral series, four articulated caudal vertebra and fragments of the pelvic girdle; MLL-PV-Pv-007 includes the a...
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Full-text available
Preserved labile tissues (e.g., skin, muscle) in the fossil record of terrestrial vertebrates are increasingly becoming recognized as an important source of biological and taphonomic information. Here, we combine a variety of synchrotron radiation techniques with scanning electron and optical microscopy to elucidate the structure of 72 million-year...
Article
Dinosaur Provincial Park has been a popular site for palaeontological digs for many years. Over time, the many quarries and bone beds uncovered have had their locations marked on large paper topography maps. Unfortunately, many dig sites have been lost due to poor documentation. Some sites have been abandoned for years. The high erosion levels of t...
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The fossil record of caenagnathid oviraptorosaurs consists mainly of their fused, complexly sculptured dentaries, but little is known about the growth and development of this diagnostic structure. Previous work has suggested that the ridges and grooves on the occlusal surface are either the vestiges of teeth and their alveoli or were adaptations to...
Article
Over the last two decades, paleontologists have pieced together the early evolutionary history of feathers. Simple hair‐like feathers served as insulating pelage, but the first feathers with complex branching structures and a plainer form evolved for the purpose of sexual display. The evolution of these complex display feathers was essential to the...
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Several published censuses have noted the presence of two tyrannosaurids, Daspletosaurus sp. and Albertosaurus sarcophagus, within the Upper Cretaceous Horseshoe Canyon Formation of Alberta. Although A. sarcophagus is known from more than a dozen major discoveries in these strata, Daspletosaurus sp. is known from just a single problematic skeleton...
Preprint
Full-text available
Preserved labile tissues (e.g. skin, muscle) in the fossil record of terrestrial vertebrates are increasingly becoming recognized as an important source of biological and taphonomic information. Here, we combine a variety of synchrotron radiation techniques with scanning electron and optical microscopes to elucidate the structure of 72 million-year...
Preprint
Preserved labile tissues (e.g. skin, muscle) in the fossil record of terrestrial vertebrates are increasingly becoming recognized as an important source of biological and taphonomic information. Here, we combine a variety of synchrotron radiation techniques with scanning electron and optical microscopes to elucidate the structure of 72 million-year...
Article
Here we describe an extremely large and relatively complete (roughly 65%) skeleton of Tyrannosaurus rex (RSM P2523.8). Multiple measurements (including those of the skull, hip, and limbs) show that RSM P2523.8 was a robust individual with an estimated body mass exceeding all other known T. rex specimens and representatives of all other gigantic ter...
Article
Full-text available
Synopsis Tyrannosaurid dinosaurs had large preserved leg muscle attachments and low rotational inertia relative to their body mass, indicating that they could turn more quickly than other large theropods. Methods To compare turning capability in theropods, we regressed agility estimates against body mass, incorporating superellipse-based modeled m...
Article
The femoral fourth trochanter is the attachment site of the caudofemoralis musculature, which is the primary hindlimb retractor in most non‐avian dinosaurs. Early ornithischian dinosaurs are uniquely characterized by a fourth trochanter with a prominent pendant process. Throughout the evolution of ornithischians, the fourth trochanter repeatedly co...
Article
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Hagfish depart so much from other fishes anatomically that they were sometimes considered not fully vertebrate. They may represent: ( i ) an anatomically primitive outgroup of vertebrates (the morphology-based craniate hypothesis); or ( ii ) an anatomically degenerate vertebrate lineage sister to lampreys (the molecular-based cyclostome hypothesis)...
Article
A new peirosaurid crocodyliform from the Upper Cretaceous (Santonian) of South America, Barrosasuchus neuquenianus gen. et sp. nov. is here described. Barrosasuchus is distinguished by a combination of features that include: presence of a foramen at the mid-point of the dorsal surface of the mandibular symphysis; quadratojugal dorsally broad, exten...
Article
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Caenagnathid elements are exceptionally rare in the Horseshoe Canyon Formation (HCF), and a small tibia constitutes only the fourth record from the formation. The tibia is elongate and gracile, with a semi-circular cross-section. A representative survey of Late Cretaceous, North American theropod tibiae suggests that cross-sectional shape can be us...
Article
A new dicraeosaurid sauropod, Pilmatueia faundezi gen. et sp. nov. from the Mulichinco Formation (Valanginian, Lower Cretaceous, Neuquén Basin, Argentina) is based on isolated skeletal remains collected from a single stratigraphic level, relatively close to each other, with unquestionable dicraeosaurid features in the axial elements. Pilmatueia fau...
Preprint
Full-text available
Synopsis: Tyrannosaurid dinosaurs had larger than predicted preserved leg muscle attachments and low rotational inertia relative to their body mass, indicating that they could turn more quickly than other large theropods. Methods: To compare turning capability in theropods, we regressed agility estimates against body mass, incorporating superellips...
Preprint
Full-text available
Synopsis: Tyrannosaurid dinosaurs had larger than predicted preserved leg muscle attachments and low rotational inertia relative to their body mass, indicating that they could turn more quickly than other large theropods. Methods: To compare turning capability in theropods, we regressed agility estimates against body mass, incorporating superellips...
Poster
La morfología del oído interno de los tiranosáuridos se conoce en tres especies: Tyrannosaurus rex Osborn, Gorgosaurus libratus Lambe y Alioramus altai Kurzanov. El oído interno es una estructura importante para el estudio de los sentidos de animales extintos debido a su rol en el balance, equilibrio y audición. Utilizando tomografías computadas, s...
Article
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A correction to this article has been published and is linked from the HTML and PDF versions of this paper. The error has been fixed in the paper.
Article
The teeth of putatively carnivorous dinosaurs are often blade-shaped with well-defined serrated cutting edges (Figure 1). These ziphodont teeth are often easily differentiated based on the morphology and density of the denticles [1, 2]. A tearing function has been proposed for theropod denticles in general [3], but the functional significance of de...
Preprint
Eggs and eggshell are generally rare in the Upper Cretaceous rocks of Alberta, despite being relatively abundant nearby in Montana. Palaeontologists and other people have been prospecting the Horseshoe Canyon Formation for more than a 130 years, but eggshell fragments have only just been recovered. The fragments are unornamented with angusticanalic...
Article
Full-text available
Eggs and eggshell are generally rare in the Upper Cretaceous rocks of Alberta, despite being relatively abundant nearby in Montana. Palaeontologists and other people have been prospecting the Horseshoe Canyon Formation for more than a 130 years, but eggshell fragments have only just been recovered. The fragments are unornamented with angusticanalic...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract: UALVP 56200, originally identified as a partial pelvis of an azhdarchid pterosaur, is a badly broken tyrannosaurid squamosal. Previous conclusions presented about myology and locomotion in azhdarchids are unsubstantiated and should be disregarded. UALVP 56200 is briefly redescribed as a squamosal, and provides insights on the extent of cr...
Data
Supplementary Figure 3. 1,2. 3D reconstruction of the braincase of Murusraptor (MCF-PVPH 411) in dorsal and lateral views, showing the position of the skull roof. 3–7, virtually isolated parietals and frontals. 3, dorsal view; 4, ventral view; 5, anteroventral view; 6, Isolate frontal in posterolateral view; 7, isolate parietal in anterolateral vie...
Data
Supplementary Figure 5. 1–3. 3D reconstruction of the braincase of Murusraptor (MCF-PVPH 411) showing location of basicranium. 1, right lateral view; 2, posterior view; 3, ventral view. 4–7. Isolated basicranium. 4, right lateral view; 5, posterior view; 6, ventral view; 7, anterolateral view. Abbreviations: bt, basal tuber; btp, basipterygoid proc...
Data
Supplementary Figure 4. 3D reconstruction of the braincase of Murusraptor (MCF-PVPH 411). 1,2 shows the location of left and right prootic respectively; 7,8, shows the location of the supraoccipital. 3–6, virtually isolated prootics. 3. Left prootic in lateral view; 4, right prootic in lateral view; 5, left prootic in medial view; 6, right prootic...
Data
Supplementary Figure 2. 3D reconstruction of the braincase of Murusraptor (MCF-PVPH 411). 1, dorsal view; 2, ventral view; 3, right lateral view; 4, left lateral view, 5, posterior view and 6, anterior view. Individual bones are identified with different colors. Exoccipital-opisthotic, laterosphenoid-orbitosphenoid and elements of the basicranium (...