Ben Creisler | 20 Dec 04:47 2014
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Oldest USA Cretaceous bird tracks found in Utah

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at> gmail.com

A new online paper:

Martin G. Lockley, Lisa G. Buckley, John R. Foster, James I. Kirkland
& Donald D. Deblieux (2014)
First report of bird tracks (Aquatilavipes) from the Cedar Mountain
Formation (Lower Cretaceous), eastern Utah.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (advance online publication)
doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2014.12.014
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018214006099

Highlights

First report of bird tracks from the Lower Cretaceous Cedar Mountain
Formation, Utah.
First bivariate and multivariate analysis of multiple Cretaceous avian
ichnotaxa.
Statistical support for validity of most well-known Cretaceous avian ichnotaxa.
Oldest evidence of birds from Cretaceous of USA.

Abstract

More than 130 footprints representing ~ 43 trackways of birds (avian
theropods) and two non-avian theropods occur as seven separate
assemblages on loose blocks recovered from the Poison Strip Member of
the Cedar Mountain Formation, near the Stikes Quarry locality in
eastern Utah. Six of assemblages, four with bird tracks and two with
small non avian theropod tracks, are inferred to originate from the
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 20 Dec 01:59 2014
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T. rex tooth went into space on Orion capsule test + other news

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at> gmail.com

A number of recent news and blog items:

T. rex tooth from Colorado gets ride into space on Orion space capsule (video)

http://www.9news.com/story/news/weird/2014/12/18/t-rex-tooth-found-in-colorado-travels-to-space/20613879/

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Tyrannosaurus rex (Tristan) jaw gets hospital CT scan for pathologies
in Pennsylvania

http://www.dailyitem.com/news/local-pupils-among-first-in-world-to-touch-nearly-complete/article_795811a0-866f-11e4-8a1b-a7e57629560e.html

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Nizar Ibrahim named 2015 TED fellow, the first paleontologist in the
history of the program

http://sciencelife.uchospitals.edu/2014/12/19/nizar-ibrahim-named-2015-ted-fellow/

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Taking apart the Smithsonian Diplodocus

http://nmnh.typepad.com/smithsonian_fossils/2014/12/taking-the-fossil-halls-apart-diploducus.html

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(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 19 Dec 17:15 2014
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Dinosaur coprolites and urolites from Brazil (free pdf)

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at> gmail.com

A new online paper in open access:

P.R.F. Souto & M.A. Fernandes (2014)
Fossilized Excreta Associated to Dinosaurs in Brazil.
Journal of South American Earth Sciences (advance online publication)
doi:10.1016/j.jsames.2014.11.010
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0895981114001643

This work provides an updated register of the main occurrences of
fossilized excreta (coprolites and urolites) associated with dinosaurs
found in the Brazil. The goal is to provide a relevant guide to the
interpretation of the environment in the context of Gondwana. In four
geographic areas, the excreta are recovered from Cretaceous
sedimentary deposits in outcrops of the Bauru and São Luis basins and
the Upper Jurassic aeolian deposits of the Parana Basin in the state
of São Paulo. The coprolites were analyzed by X-ray diffraction and
X-ray fluorescence methods. The results of these analyses reveal
compositions that differ from the surrounding matrix, indicating a
partial substitution of the organic material due to the feeding habits
of the producers. Additionally, we describe the urolite excavations in
epirelief and hyporelief, the result of gravitational flow the impact
from urine jets on sand. These are associated with ornithopod and
theropod dinosaur footprints preserved in the aeolian flagstones of
the Botucatu Formation, Parana Basin.

Ben Creisler | 19 Dec 04:32 2014
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New abelisaurid from Argentina

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at> gmail.com

A new online paper:

Federico A. Gianechini, Sebastián Apesteguía, Walter Landini, Franco
Finotti, Rubén Juárez Valieri & Fabiana Zandonai (2015)
New abelisaurid remains from the Anacleto Formation (Upper
Cretaceous), Patagonia, Argentina.
Cretaceous Research 54: 1–16
doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2014.11.009
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195667114002201

Highlights

We describe new theropod remains from Anacleto Fm. (Campanian), Patagonia.
The specimen (MPCN-PV 69) is phylogenetically related with abelisaurids.
MPCN-PV 69 probably represents a new abelisaurid taxon.
Abelisaurus could be morphologically and phylogenetically linked to
Brachyrostra.

Abstract

New theropod remains with abelisaurid affinities from the Upper
Cretaceous (Anacleto Formation, lower Campanian), NW Patagonia,
Argentina, are here described. The specimen (MPCN-PV 69) consists of a
partial premaxilla, fragmentary vertebrae, proximal portion of both
humeri, distal portion of the pubis, and an incomplete pedal ungual.
Characters linking with Abelisauridae are a premaxilla with a
subquadrangular body, externally ornamented, and paradental plates
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 18 Dec 17:34 2014
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Camarasaurus pedal pathologies from digging with claws

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at> gmail.com

A new advance online paper in open access Acta Palaeontologica Polonica:

Emanuel Tschopp, Oliver Wings, Thomas Frauenfelder, and Bruce M.
Rothschild (2014)
Pathological phalanges in a camarasaurid sauropod dinosaur and
implications on behaviour.
Acta Palaeontologica Polonica (in press)
doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.4202/app.00119.2014
http://app.pan.pl/article/item/app001192014.html

Several types of pathological bony overgrowth are known from various
dinosaur taxa but, except for stress fractures, are rarely reported
from appendicular elements. Herein we describe pathological manual and
pedal phalanges of a camarasaurid sauropod (SMA 0002), which show
features rarely recognised in non-avian dinosaurs. They include
lateral osteophytes and smoothing of phalangeal articular surfaces, a
deep pit, proximal enthesophytes in pedal unguals, distal overgrowth
associated with a fracture, and a knob-like overgrowth lateral to the
distal condyles of a pedal phalanx. Their causes were assessed by
means of visual examination, CT scans, and bone histology, where
possible. The lateral osteophytes are interpreted as symptoms of
osteoarthritis. The ossified tendon insertions in the unguals are most
probably the result of prolonged, heavy use of the pedal claws,
possibly for scratchdigging. The distal overgrowth is interpreted to
have developed due to changed stress regimes, and to be the cause for
the fracture. The deep pit represents most likely a case of
osteochondrosis, whereas the knob-like overgrowth likely represents a
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 17 Dec 22:26 2014
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Alberta's dinosaur badlands in Smithsonian

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at> gmail.com

In the January 2015 Smithsonian magazine, visiting Alberta's dinosaur country:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/want-excite-inner-dinosaur-fan-pack-bags-for-alberta-180953654/?no-ist

Ben Creisler | 17 Dec 21:17 2014
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Evolution and history of digital mobility in synapsids

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at> gmail.com

New in PLoS ONE:

Susanna B. Kümmell & Eberhard Frey (2014)
Range of Movement in Ray I of Manus and Pes and the Prehensility of
the Autopodia in the Early Permian to Late Cretaceous Non-Anomodont
Synapsida.
PLoS ONE 9(12): e113911.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113911
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0113911

The mobility of ray I was analysed in seventy-eight Early Permian to
Late Cretaceous specimens of non-mammalian Synapsida and one extant
mammal. In all non-mammaliamorph Synapsida investigated, ray I formed
a digital arcade. The first phalanx was maximally extendable to the
zero position in the metapodiophalangeal joint I. Metapodiale I was
the functional equivalent to a basal phalanx of digits II–V. In
contrast, there was no digital arcade in ray I in Mesozoic
Mammaliamorpha. Phalanx 1 I was dorsally extendable and metapodiale I
was functionally part of the metapodium. During the propulsion phase,
autopodial rotation occurred in the majority of Synapsida with
abducted limb posture. Regarding ray I, the reduction of autopodial
rotation can be estimated, e.g., from the decrease of lateral rotation
and medial abduction of the first phalanx in the metapodiophalangeal
joint I. Autopodial rotation was high in Titanophoneus and reduced in
derived Cynodontia. In Mammaliamorpha the mobility of the first ray
suggests autopodial rolling in an approximately anterior direction.
Most non-mammaliamorph Therapsida and probably some Mesozoic
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 17 Dec 21:04 2014
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Eohupehsuchus, new short-necked hupehsuchian from Lower Triassic of China

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at> gmail.com

New in PLoS ONE:

Xiao-hong Chen, Ryosuke Motani, Long Cheng, Da-yong Jiang & Olivier
Rieppel (2014)
A Small Short-Necked Hupehsuchian from the Lower Triassic of Hubei
Province, China.
PLoS ONE 9(12): e115244.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115244
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0115244

Hupehsuchia is a group of enigmatic Triassic marine reptiles that is
known exclusively from two counties in Hubei Province, China. One of
the common features of the group was a modestly long neck with nine to
ten cervical vertebrae. We report a new species of Hupehsuchia,
Eohupehsuchus brevicollis gen. et sp. nov., which for the first time
shows a short neck in this group, with six cervicals. The
configuration of the skull roof in Eohupehsuchus is also unique among
Hupehsuchia, with narrow frontals and posteriorly shifted parietals,
warranting recognition of a new species. The taxon superficially
resembles Nanchangosaurus in retaining hupehsuchian plesiomorphies,
such as low neural spines and small body size. However, its limbs are
well-developed, unlike in Nanchangosaurus, although the latter genus
is marginally larger in body length. Thus, the individual is unlikely
to be immature. Also, Eohupehsuchus shares a suite of synapomorphies
with Hupehsuchus, including the second and third layers of dermal
ossicles above the dorsal neural spines. A phylogenetic analysis
suggests that the new species is not the most basal hupehsuchian
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 17 Dec 19:13 2014
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Dinosaur extinction timeline + other news

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at> gmail.com

Some recent news and blog items:

Dinosaur extinction timeline updated

http://blogs.agu.org/geospace/2014/12/17/updated-geological-timeline-extinction-dinosaurs/

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K-Pg asteroid almost wiped out mammals

http://www.ed.ac.uk/news/2014/asteroidmammals-171214

http://phys.org/news/2014-12-asteroid-dinosaurs-mammals.html

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Weighing dinosaurs and elephants with a computer

http://pfalkingham.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/weighing-dinosaurs-and-other-animals-with-meshlab/

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Another blogger's personal list of top 10 Mesozoic vertebrate stories
(mainly dinosaurs) for 2014

http://lordofstamps.deviantart.com/journal/My-Top-Ten-Paleontological-Stories-of-2014-500698883

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(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 17 Dec 17:24 2014
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Dongusuchus (Middle Triassic archosauriform from Russia) osteology and systematics

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at> gmail.com

A new online paper:

Grzegorz Niedźwiedzki, Andrey Sennikov & Stephen L. Brusatte (2014)
The osteology and systematic position of Dongusuchus efremovi
Sennikov, 1988 from the Anisian (Middle Triassic) of Russia.
Historical Biology (advance online publication)
DOI:10.1080/08912963.2014.992017
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08912963.2014.992017#.VJGtkF4AOA

European Russia has yielded several fragmentary but potentially
important archosauriform specimens from the Middle Triassic, but these
have been only briefly described in the literature. One of these
puzzling taxa is Dongusuchus efremovi Sennikov, 1988, described from
the Donguz Svita. We present a redescription of Dongusuchus efremovi,
which includes the first photographic atlas and thorough anatomical
description of the holotype and referred specimens. This taxon is
shown to be a gracile, probably fast-running species with elongate and
slender limbs. A phylogenetic analysis recovers Dongusuchus efremovi
as an early-diverging, non-archosaurian archosauriform. Previous work
had suggested that this taxon was a ‘rauisuchid’. The gracile
proportions of the femur and somewhat wedge-shaped head, however, are
unusual for basal archosauriforms and are similar to the plesiomorphic
state in crocodile and avian-line crown archosaurs. Several
Early-Middle Triassic basal archosauriforms and early members of the
crocodile and avian lineages were gracile with elongate, slender
limbs. This suggests that the limb morphology of Dongusuchus efremovi
may be plesiomorphic for Archosauria and proximal clades.
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 16 Dec 20:27 2014
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Sinosaurus (theropod from Early Jurassic of China) braincase anatomy (free pdf)

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at> gmail.com

A new paper (in open access at the link):

Xing Lida,  Ariana Paulina-Carabajal,  Philip J. Currie,  Xu Xing,
Zhang Jianping,  Wang Tao, Michael E. Burns &  Dong Zhiming (2014)
Braincase Anatomy of the Basal Theropod Sinosaurus from the Early
Jurassic of China.
Acta Geologica Sinica 88(6):1653-1664 (English Edition)
http://www.geojournals.cn/dzxben/ch/reader/view_abstract.aspx?file_no=201406002&flag=1

The neuroanatomy of the mid-sized theropod Sinosaurus triassicus from
the Lower Jurassic Lufeng Formation, Lufeng Basin in Yunnan Province,
China was studied using X-ray computed tomography. The braincase is
characterized by a large supraoccipital knob that is capped by a
posterior projection of the parietal and two external foramina for the
caudal middle cerebral vein, which is completely enclosed by the
supraoccipital. The basicranium has well defined, short basipterygoid
processes that project ventral to the basal tubera. The basisphenoid
is expanded, projects posteroventrally, and is pierced by four
pneumatic recesses. The endocranial morphology resembles that observed
in other basal theropods—in particular some allosauroids—and has a
strongly marked pontine flexure and a large dorsal expansion. The
inner ear morphology is also similar to that observed in other basal
theropods, with slender semicircular canals. The anterior semicircular
canal is 20% larger than the posterior semicircular canal, and the
angle formed between them is less than 90° when seen in dorsal view.

(Continue reading)


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