The Hypothetical Noasaur

I suggested once that I would produce a reconstruction of a noasaurid skull, based on new material from the Maeverano Formation of Madagascar (Masiakasaurus knopfleri), but I haven’t got around to it. While catching a recording of TVs latest pseudo-scientific Time Travel show, Terra Nova, I went ahead and sketched this:

Don’t mind the lines, it’s from my notebook, where I frequently pen out technical concepts before attempting more rigorous designs. Here we have the general outlines of two noasaurids (as shown in the lettering), and to the right was a stippled drawing placing “flesh” to bone, and including a full-lipped facial design, rather than the commonly-used near-lipless design typically used to depict the Madagascan noasaurid. So here, you can’t really tell how odd the teeth are. This isn’t an attempt to claim the lips were really that long, or would have been useful in covering up the whole tooth row.

Rather, it’s to point out something odd: We might infer, from the shape of the maxilla and the dentary, that the tooth row should generally follow one another, and that teeth should occlude, if at all possible, or at least interlock as in fishing animals like crocodilians and pterosaurs. Because of this, when one reconstructs the jaws of Masiakasaurus knopfleri, one might get a slight downturn of the rostrum, to match the downturn in the dentary, where long anterior teeth would “interlock” with the dentary. In Noasaurus leali, however, the maxilla (which is all that is preserved of the jaws) is somewhat more dow-ncurved than in its Madagascan relative; instead, the Argentinian noasaurid would have an even more down-turned rostrum, and would have been weirder than its far more easterly relative.

Food for thought.

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2 Responses to The Hypothetical Noasaur

  1. pilsator says:

    Nice drawing! Looking forward for more about this – and, of course, the publication of the North African noasaurid alluded to by Sereno et al. :)

  2. Luis says:

    I reached similar conclusions in my 2007 research. Can be seen here:

    Of course, I gave the skull some artistic license (the subnarial gap, just trying to make it more…eh…interesting), but it’s basically a downturned upper jaw.

    I still haven’t had the time to track down the new paper on Masiakasaurus, but a new reconstruction of Noasaurus is at hand. However, I really don’t think much is gonna change, because according to the measurements, it should all still be the same. And surely what’s left of Noasaurus won’t change either XD

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