Ben Creisler | 3 Mar 04:59 2015

Dunhuangia, new enantiornithine bird from Lower Cretaceous Changma Basin, China

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A new paper:

Min Wang, Daqing Li, Jingmai K. O'Connor, Zhonghe Zhou & Hailu You (2015)
Second species of enantiornithine bird from the Lower Cretaceous
Changma Basin, northwestern China with implications for the taxonomic
diversity of the Changma avifauna.
Cretaceous Research 55: 56-65


We describe a new enantiornithine specimen Dunhuangia cuii, gen. et
sp. nov., from Lower Cretaceous Changma Basin, northwestern China.
Dunhuangia cuii represents the second enantiornithine to be named from
ornithuromorph dominated Changma avifauna.
Phylogenetic analysis place Dunhuangia cuii in a derived position with


We report on a new enantiornithine bird, Dunhuangia cuii, gen. et sp.
nov., from the Lower Cretaceous Xiagou Formation of the Changma Basin,
northwestern China. Although the material is incomplete, Dunhuangia
cuii preserves unique coracoidal and sternal morphologies that
distinguish it from other known enantiornithines; this specimen
represents only the second enantiornithine reported from the Changma
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 1 Mar 06:38 2015

Thrinaxodon (Therapsida) cranial morphology ontogeny

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A recent online paper not yet mentioned:

Sandra C. Jasinoski, Fernando Abdala and Vincent Fernandez (2015)
Ontogeny of the Early Triassic Cynodont Thrinaxodon liorhinus
(Therapsida): Cranial Morphology.
The Anatomical Record (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1002/ar.23116

The cranial morphology of 68 Thrinaxodon liorhinus specimens, ranging
in size from 30 to 96 mm in basal skull length, is investigated using
both qualitative and quantitative analyses. From this comprehensive
survey, we determined that nine cranial features, including five in
the temporal region, separated the sample into four ontogenetic
stages. A bivariate analysis of 60 specimens indicated that the skull
generally increased in size isometrically, with the exception of four
regions. The orbit had negative allometry, a result consistent with
other ontogenetic studies of tetrapods, whereas the length of the
snout, palate, and temporal region showed positive allometry. The last
trend had strong positive allometry indicating that during ontogeny
the length of the sagittal crest increased at a much faster rate than
the rest of the skull. The large number of changes in the temporal
region of the skull of Thrinaxodon may indicate a greater development
of the posterior fibres of the temporalis musculature from an early
ontogenetic stage. For example, the posterior sagittal crest developed
much earlier in ontogeny than the anterior crest that formed in
adults, and bone was deposited dorsally creating a unified posterior
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 1 Mar 04:46 2015

Avian sternum and dinosaur gastralia: functional significance for respiratory apparatus

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A new online paper:

Markus Lambertz & Steven F. Perry (2015)
Remarks on the evolution of the avian sternum, dinosaur gastralia, and
their functional significance for the respiratory apparatus.
Zoologischer Anzeiger - A Journal of Comparative Zoology (advance
online publication)

The sternum is a central part of the avian skeleton and, among other
functions, it serves as a key element of their locomotor apparatus by
providing the origin site for the primary flight musculature.
Understanding the evolutionary history of the sternum is critical for
understanding the origin of active flight: a fundamental
characteristic of one of the most diverse extant tetrapod lineages. It
recently has been proposed that the sternal elements in extinct basal
bird radiations may not be homologous and that the stem species of
Aves lacked a sternum. Here we show that sternal elements were indeed
present in the stem line throughout the evolutionary transformation
from non-avian theropod dinosaurs to modern birds. We further
demonstrate a trade-off between sternal elements and gastralia, dermal
bones of the belly wall that at least partially overlapped with the
respiratory functions of the sternum. As long as gastralia were
present and functioned in ventilation, the sternum could become
completely reduced such as possibly in Troodontidae, Archaeopteryx and
Sapeornis. However, once gastralia became lost in Neornithes, even the
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 28 Feb 07:17 2015

Fossil record of dinosaurs in Mexico published + Tenontosaurus munched by Deinonychus pack + more

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A number of recent news and blog items:

National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) publishes "The
fossil record of dinosaurs in Mexico" [Instituto Nacional de
Antropología e Historia (INAH) publicó “El registro fósil de los
dinosaurios en México] (in Spanish)


Jack Horner explains Tenontosaurus munched on by Deinonychus pack


Excavating, preparing, and assembling dinosaur bones from Wyoming
(Diplodocus, Allosaurus) for an exhibit  at the Scuderie del Castello
di Miramare, Trieste, Italy (with video) (in Italian)


(Continue reading)

Jose Ignacio Ruiz-Omeñaca | 27 Feb 18:18 2015

Re: Large Ornithopod Dinosaur Tracks Ichnotaxonomic Review

After several days of inability, the PDF file of this announced
article is available today

Congrats to Ignacio Diaz-Martinez and his co-authors !!!

> Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2015 11:13:05 -0800
> From: Ben Creisler <bcreisler <at>>
> To: dinosaur <at>
> Subject: Large Ornithopod Dinosaur Tracks Ichnotaxonomic Review
> Ben Creisler
> bcreisler <at>
> New in PLoS ONE:
> Ignacio Díaz-Martínez, Xabier Pereda-Suberbiola, Félix Pérez-Lorente &
> José Ignacio Canudo (2015)
> Ichnotaxonomic Review of Large Ornithopod Dinosaur Tracks: Temporal
> and Geographic Implications.
> PLoS ONE 10(2): e0115477
> doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115477
> Background
> Large ornithopod tracks are known from the Upper Jurassic to the
> uppermost Cretaceous rocks of all continents but Antarctica. They
> include the tracks historically called Iguanodon footprints,
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 27 Feb 17:46 2015

Mesozoic turtle papers: Proterochersis + Bauruemys

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

Two new papers in PeerJ preprints:

Tomasz Szczygielski (2015)
New data on the oldest turtles: revision and reconsideration of
PeerJ PrePrints 3:e1059

Background. The origin of turtles, their earliest evolution and the
homologies of the elements building their shell are still enigmatic
and remain an object of ongoing discussion and research. Although the
oldest fully shelled turtle – Proterochersis robusta from the Lower
Stubensandstein (Norian) of Germany – was described more than a
century ago, until recently it was mostly ignored by researchers. This
is surprising, not only because of its notable stratigraphic position,
but also due to the critical significance of this taxon in two
competing hypotheses of turtle interrelationships. The divergence time
of two main branches of Testudines crown group depends on whether
Proterochersis is a basal pleurodire or a stem turtle. Methods. A
detailed study of the German material of Proterochersis and
Murrhardtia was performed by the author and the available specimens
were compared with still growing collection of proterochersid remains
from the Norian location in Poręba (Poland). Results. Two
controversial taxa from Germany, Proterochersis intermedia and
Murrhardtia staeschei are proved to be the synonyms of P. robusta.
Establishment of another two proterochersid taxa is proposed and new
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 27 Feb 07:01 2015

Azhdarchid pterosaur paleoenvironments in Late Cretaceous of Kazakhstan (free pdf)

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A recent paper not yet mentioned, in open-access Zookeys:

Alexander Averianov, Gareth Dyke, Igor Danilov & Pavel Skutschas (2015)
The paleoenvironments of azhdarchid pterosaurs localities in the Late
Cretaceous of Kazakhstan.
Zookeys 483: 59–80
doi: 10.3897/zookeys.483.9058

Five pterosaur localities are currently known from the Late Cretaceous
in the northeastern Aral Sea region of Kazakhstan. Of these, one is
Turonian-Coniacian in age, the Zhirkindek Formation (Tyulkili), and
four are Santonian in age, all from the early Campanian Bostobe
Formation (Baibishe, Akkurgan, Buroinak, and Shakh Shakh). All so far
collected and identifiable Late Cretaceous pterosaur bones from
Kazakhstan likely belong to Azhdarchidae: Azhdarcho sp. (Tyulkili);
Aralazhdarcho bostobensis (Shakh Shakh); and Samrukia nessovi
(Akkurgan). These latter two taxa, both from the Bostobe Formation
might be synonyms. Azhdarcho sp. from the Zhirkindek Formation lived
in a tropical-to-subtropical relatively humid climate on the shore of
an estuarine basin connected to the Turgai Sea. Known fossils were
collected in association with brackish-water bivalves and so the
overall paleoenvironment of this pterosaur was likely an estuarine
marsh as indicated by the dominance of conifers and low relative
counts of ferns and angiosperms. Aralazhdarcho bostobensis, from the
Bostobe Formation, lived on a coastal fluvial plain along the Turgai
Sea. This paleoenvironment was either floodplain (Akkurgan, Buroinak,
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 27 Feb 04:26 2015

Piscivorous dinosaur overabundance (Theropoda: Spinosauridae) in mid-Cretaceous of North Africa

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A new paper:

Madani Benyoucef, Emilie Läng, Lionel Cavin, Kaddour Mebarki, Mohammed
Adaci & Mustapha Bensalah (2015)
Overabundance of piscivorous dinosaurs (Theropoda: Spinosauridae) in
the mid-Cretaceous of North Africa: The Algerian dilemma.
Cretaceous Research 55: 44-55

The informally called 'Continental intercalaire' is a series of
continental and brackish deposits that outcrops in several regions of
North Africa. The age of the series is not well-constrained, but its
upper part, visible in the 'Kem Kem beds' in Morocco and in Bahariya
in Egypt, is regarded as early Cenomanian in age. Spinosaurid remains
are an important component of this series, but records of this
dinosaur are surprisingly rare in Algerian localities of the
'Continental intercalaire'. Here, we describe a vertebrate assemblage
from two localities, Kénadsa and Menaguir, situated in the Guir basin,
Western Algeria. The assemblage comprises hybodont sharks,
sarcopterygian fishes, ray-finned fishes, turtles, crocodiles and
dinosaurs. Among the latter, only teeth of theropods have been
recovered and 94% belong to Spinosaurus. The assemblage is
taxonomically very similar to the Moroccan and Egyptian assemblages
mentioned above. This study: 1) suggests a likely early Cenomanian age
for the Guir basin deposits containing the assemblage; 2) provides a
new evidence of the homogeneity of the early Cenomanian vertebrate
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 27 Feb 01:48 2015

Oviraptor and its eggs + Turtles from Niobrara chalk + more

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A number of news and blog items:

Oviraptor discovery, eggs, and embryos


Turtles from Niobrara chalk


Jurassica Museum model revealed

Frozen baby woolly rhino from Siberia


(Continue reading)

Mickey Mortimer | 26 Feb 14:36 2015

Lingham-Soliar compares BADists to evil and accuses us of fraud

So I don't think my full blog post would be allowed on the DML, but here's a link to it- . 
In it, you'll see Theagarten has compared BAD to the Inquisition, Nazi Germany, Apartheid, and more.  He
also directly accuses Xu, Prum and Zhao of fraud.  And in a supposedly scholarly book to boot.

Mickey Mortimer

Ben Creisler | 26 Feb 02:37 2015

Fossil calibration database + fossil market and museums + more

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A number of recent news and blog items:

Fossil calibration database


Fossil market impacts science but museums also buy fossils


Eromanga Natural History Museum delayed

Australian fossil site threatened by yacht club expansion


(Continue reading)