Ben Creisler | 26 Jul 17:32 2014

Beware big-clawed "killer" anteaters

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

Don't mess with big-clawed critters--ground sloths, chalicotheres,
therizinosaurs, Deinocheirus, etc.....

Vidal Haddad Jr,  Guilherme C. Reckziegel,  Domingos G. Neto &  Fábio
L. Pimentel (2014)
Human Death Caused by a Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga trydactila) in Brazil.
Wilderness & Environmental Medicine (advance online publication)
doi: 10.1016/j.wem.2014.04.008

The fatal outcome of a defensive attack by a giant anteater
(Myrmecophaga trydactila) is reported. The attack occurred while the
victim was hunting, and his dogs cornered the adult anteater, which
assumed an erect, threatening position. The hunter did not fire his
rifle because of concern about accidentally shooting his dogs. He
approached the animal armed with a knife, but was grabbed by its
forelimbs. When his sons freed him, he had puncture wounds and severe
bleeding in the left inguinal region; he died at the scene.
Necroscopic examination showed femoral artery lesions and a large
hematoma in the left thigh, with death caused by hypovolemic shock. A
similar case is cited, and recommendations are made that boundaries
between wildlife and humans be respected, especially when they
coinhabit a given area.

News article:
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 26 Jul 17:15 2014

Titanosaurian teeth from Lo Hueco site (Cretaceous, Spain)

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A new online paper:

Verónica Díez Díaz, Francisco Ortega & José L. Sanz (2014)
Titanosaurian teeth from the Upper Cretaceous of "Lo Hueco" (Cuenca, Spain).
Cretaceous Research 51: 285–291
DOI: 10.1016/j.cretres.2014.07.003

The Upper Cretaceous fossil site of “Lo Hueco” (Cuenca, Spain) has
yielded two morphotypes of sauropod teeth referable to Titanosauria.
One (“Lo Hueco” morphotype A) is composed of robust spatulate crown
teeth. These teeth exhibit the same morphology and microwear patterns
in the apical facet as teeth described from the Massecaps site (Upper
Cretaceous of southeastern France). The second morphotype (“Lo Hueco”
morphotype B) comprises gracile spatulate teeth similar to those of
the French titanosaur genus Atsinganosaurus. However, further analysis
of skeletal and cranial elements from “Lo Hueco” and its association
with the described dental morphotypes will be needed to establish the
degree of proximity between the Iberian and French taxa.

The presence of at least two more titanosaurian taxa in the Iberian
Peninsula, besides the well-known species Lirainosaurus astibiae,
corroborates the increase in the known diversity of the sauropod
faunae from the Upper Cretaceous of the Ibero-Armorican Island
suggested by previous studies on the biota of “Lo Hueco”. In addition,
the microwear differences found in the apical wear facets of the two
morphotypes could be explained as due to different diets. The absence
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 26 Jul 04:38 2014

Otozoum (E. Jurassic dinosaur(?) ichnogenus) from Namibia

Ben Creisler
bcreislerF <at>

A new online paper:

Simone D'Orazi Porchetti, Helke B. Mocke, Marianna Latiano and
Alexander Wagensommer (2014)
First record of Otozoum from Namibia.
Lethaia (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1111/let.12088

The first incontrovertible Otozoum moodii of Gondwana is described
from the Etjo Formation (Waterberg Plateau, Namibia). Distinct Otozoum
trackways and isolated footprints are reported from the Omuramba
Omambonde tracksite, in the Otjozondjupa Region (North–central
Namibia). Previously known only from North America, Europe and
possibly Lesotho, the occurrence of Otozoum is a definitive time
constraint for an Early Jurassic age of the Etjo Formation. The
presence of Otozoum in the hyperarid facies and specifically in
interdune setting of the Etjo Formation is in accordance with previous
claims of environmental selectivity for this ichnomorph.

John Bois | 26 Jul 01:25 2014

would like a pdf if possible

Many thanks in advance!

Elis Newham, Roger Benson, Paul Upchurch & Anjali Goswami (2014)
Mesozoic mammaliaform diversity: The effect of sampling corrections on
reconstructions of evolutionary dynamics.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2014.07.017

John Bois

Ben Creisler | 26 Jul 01:04 2014

Mesozoic mammaliaform diversity

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A new online paper:

Elis Newham, Roger Benson, Paul Upchurch & Anjali Goswami (2014)
Mesozoic mammaliaform diversity: The effect of sampling corrections on
reconstructions of evolutionary dynamics.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2014.07.017


We quantitatively examine Mesozoic mammaliaform taxonomic diversity.
Sampling biases significantly influence observed diversity in many
Mesozoic intervals.
We accounted for biases using subsampling and modelling approaches.
Sampling-corrected diversity shows peaks in the Late Jurassic and
Latest Cretaceous.
However results also suggest that uneven spatial sampling drives many
apparent patterns.


Recent years have witnessed an explosion of new fossil discoveries and
analyses documenting the unappreciated ecological and morphological
diversity of Mesozoic Mammaliaformes. In contrast, the taxonomic
diversity dynamics through the first 165 million years of mammal
evolution have not yet been rigorously analysed, leaving patterns of
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 25 Jul 17:17 2014

Simbirskiasaurus and Pervushovisaurus (Cretaceous ichthyosaurs) reassessed

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A new online paper:

Valentin Fischer, Maxim S. Arkhangelsky, Darren Naish, Ilya M.
Stenshin, Gleb N. Uspensky and Pascal Godefroit (2014)
Simbirskiasaurus and Pervushovisaurus reassessed: implications for the
taxonomy and cranial osteology of Cretaceous platypterygiine
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1111/zoj.12158

The ichthyosaur fossil record is interspersed by several hiatuses,
notably during the Cretaceous. This hampers our understanding of the
evolution and extinction of this group of marine reptiles during the
last 50 million years of its history. Several Cretaceous ichthyosaur
taxa named in the past have subsequently been dismissed and referred
to the highly inclusive taxon Platypterygius, a trend that has created
the impression of low Cretaceous ichthyosaur diversity. Here, we
describe the cranial osteology, reassess the stratigraphic age, and
evaluate the taxonomy and phylogenetic relationships of two Cretaceous
ichthyosaurs from western Russia: Simbirskiasaurus birjukovi from the
early Barremian and Pervushovisaurus bannovkensis from the middle
Cenomanian, both formerly regarded as nomina dubia, and allocated to
Platypterygius sp. and Platypterygius campylodon, respectively. We
show that Simbirskiasaurus birjukovi and Pervushovisaurus bannovkensis
are valid platypterygiine ophthalmosaurids, notably characterized by a
peculiar narial aperture. The cranial anatomy and phylogenetic
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 25 Jul 07:00 2014

Mosasaurs from Germany + Prognathodon from Netherlands

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

Two recent online papers not yet mentioned:

Sven Sachs, Jahn J. Hornung and Mike Reich (2014)
Mosasaurs from Germany – a brief history of the first 100 years of research.
Netherlands Journal of Geosciences  (advance online publication)

In Germany, mosasaur remains are very rare and only incompletely
known. However, the earliest records date back to the 1830s, when
tooth crowns were found in the chalk of the Isle of Rügen. A number of
prominent figures in German palaeontology and geosciences of the 19th
and 20th centuries focused on these remains, including, among others,
Friedrich von Hagenow, Hermann von Meyer, Andreas Wagner, Hanns Bruno
Geinitz and Josef Pompeckj. Most of these works were only short notes,
given the scant material. However, the discovery of fragmentary
cranial remains in Westphalia in 1908 led to a more comprehensive
discussion, which is also of historical importance, as it illustrates
the discussions on the highly controversial and radical universal
phylogenetic theory proposed by Gustav Steinmann in 1908. This theory
saw the existence of continuous lines of descent, evolving in
parallel, and did not regard higher taxonomic units as monophyletic
groups but as intermediate paraphyletic stages of evolution. In this
idea, nearly all fossil taxa form part of these lineages, which extend
into the present time, and natural extinction occurs very rarely, if
ever. In Steinmann's concept, mosasaurs were not closely related to
squamates but formed an intermediate member in a anagenetic chain from
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 24 Jul 23:14 2014

Blood-sucking bugs from the Cretaceous of China

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A new online paper that may be on interest:

Yunzhi Yao, Wanzhi Cai, Xing Xu, Chungkun Shih, Michael S. Engel,
Xiaoting Zheng, Yunyun Zhao & Dong Ren (2014)
Blood-Feeding True Bugs in the Early Cretaceous.
Current Biology (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.06.045


A new family of true bugs is described from the Early Cretaceous of China
This extends the geological record of such lineages by approximately
30 million years
One specimen appears to have died immediately following a blood meal
These new bugs represent the earliest evidence of hematophagy in true bugs


Blood-feeding insects, as vectors of disease for humans and livestock
alike, have garnered significant interest, but our understanding of
their early evolution is hindered by the scarcity of available
material and the difficulty in distinguishing early hematophages from
non-blood-feeding relatives. Here, we report a new family of true bugs
including two new genera and species from the Early Cretaceous Yixian
Formation in Northeastern China. By utilizing geochemical methods for
determining their diets and combining morphological and taphonomic
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 24 Jul 20:17 2014

Kulindadromeus, basal ornithischian from Siberia with both feathers and scales

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

Here's the much anticipated official paper about the "feathered"
ornithischian Kulindadromeus from Siberia. The supplemental material
is free. The nomenclatural issues will be a headache after the Russian
paper a few weeks ago...

Pascal Godefroit, Sofia M. Sinitsa, Danielle Dhouailly, Yuri L.
Bolotsky, Alexander V. Sizov, Maria E. McNamara, Michael J. Benton &
Paul Spagna (2014)
A Jurassic ornithischian dinosaur from Siberia with both feathers and scales.
Science 345( 6195): 451-455
DOI: 10.1126/science.1253351

Middle Jurassic to Early Cretaceous deposits from northeastern China
have yielded varied theropod dinosaurs bearing feathers. Filamentous
integumentary structures have also been described in ornithischian
dinosaurs, but whether these filaments can be regarded as part of the
evolutionary lineage toward feathers remains controversial. Here we
describe a new basal neornithischian dinosaur from the Jurassic of
Siberia with small scales around the distal hindlimb, larger
imbricated scales around the tail, monofilaments around the head and
the thorax, and more complex featherlike structures around the
humerus, the femur, and the tibia. The discovery of these branched
integumentary structures outside theropods suggests that featherlike
structures coexisted with scales and were potentially widespread among
the entire dinosaur clade; feathers may thus have been present in the
earliest dinosaurs.
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 23 Jul 22:41 2014

Tyrannosaurid trackways show gregarious behavior and walking gait

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

New in PLoS ONE:

Richard T. McCrea, Lisa G. Buckley, James O. Farlow, Martin G.
Lockley, Philip J. Currie, Neffra A. Matthews & S. George Pemberton
A ‘Terror of Tyrannosaurs’: The First Trackways of Tyrannosaurids and
Evidence of Gregariousness and Pathology in Tyrannosauridae.
PLoS ONE 9(7): e103613.

The skeletal record of tyrannosaurids is well-documented, whereas
their footprint record is surprisingly sparse. There are only a few
isolated footprints attributed to tyrannosaurids and, hitherto, no
reported trackways. We report the world’s first trackways attributable
to tyrannosaurids, and describe a new ichnotaxon attributable to
tyrannosaurids. These trackways are from the Upper Cretaceous
(Campanian - Maastrichtian) of northeastern British Columbia, Canada.
One trackway consists of three tridactyl footprints, and two adjacent
trackways consist of two footprints each. All three trackways show
animals bearing southeast within an 8.5 meter-wide corridor.
Similarities in depth and preservation of the tyrannosaurid tracks
indicate that these three trackways were made by track-makers walking
concurrently in the same direction. These trackways add significantly
to previous osteology-based hypotheses of locomotion and behavior in
Tyrannosauridae by providing ichnologic support for gregariousness in
tyrannosaurids, and the first record of the walking gait of
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 23 Jul 20:32 2014

Oldest avian eggshell from Japan + other avian papers

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A number of recent papers:

Takuya Imai & Yoichi Azuma (2014)
The oldest known avian eggshell, Plagioolithus fukuiensis, from the
Lower Cretaceous (upper Barremian) Kitadani Formation, Fukui, Japan.
Historical Biology (advance online publication)

Fossil record of Early Cretaceous birds may be geographically biased,
and eggs and eggshells predating the Late Cretaceous were unknown.
Here, we report the oldest known bird eggshell (FPDM-V-0009175)
collected from the upper Barremian Kitadani Formation in Katsuyama
City, Fukui, Japan. The Kitadani Formation likely represents fluvial
environments. Thin-section and scanning electron microscope analyses
revealed diagnostic characters of FPDM-V-0009175, including thin (0.44
mm) shell, smooth external surface, non-branching and narrow pore
canals with relatively constant width, three structural layers,
oblique crystal orientation from vertical in the external layer, and
mammillary to continuous to external layer thickness ratio of
1:1:0.44. These characters allow assignment of FPDM-V-0009175 to a new
oogenus and oospecies, Plagioolithus fukuiensis, and suggest it
belonging to a bird. The three-layered eggshell structure is seen in
extant and extinct birds, Plagioolithus fukuiensis, and non-avian
theropods. Therefore, such structure may be plesiomorphic among
theropods, appearing in the late Barremian or earlier. As the first
bird body fossil from the Mesozoic of Japan, Plagioohlithus fukuiensis
(Continue reading)