The late Cretaceous tyrannosaurid Alioramus altai is known from a single specimen whose articulated braincase exhibits a nearly unique combination of preservational quality, subadult stage of growth, and morphological complexity. We use a detailed physical preparation combined with high-resolution computed tomography to provide an expanded description of this braincase that includes details of the neurocranium and its dermal roof, pneumatic recesses and sinuses, cranial endocast, and inner ear cavities. A few notable features include a highly developed rostral tympanic recess marked by three pneumatic fenestrae, a highly pneumatic paroccipital process with both rostral and caudal pneumatic foramina, a prootic fossa housing external foramina for the trigeminal and facial nerves, a well-developed superficial lamina of the prootic, an expanded vestibular cavity, and an osseous labyrinth that is plesiomorphic in appearance. These observations, set within the currently available comparative context, elucidate numerous neuroanatomical transformations within Tyrannosauroidea and clarify where more data and work are needed. We expand the discussion for the 21 characters from the neurocranium utilized in a recent revision of tyrannosauroid phylogeny, including a listing of which tyrannosauroid taxa can be scored for the primitive and derived states of each character.
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Vol. 2013 • No. 376