Ben Creisler | 29 May 05:24 2015

Dakotadon (non-hadrosauriform) revised

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A new open access paper in Peerj Preprints:

Clint A. Boyd & Darrin C. Pagnac (2015)
Insight on the anatomy, systematic relationships, and age of the Early
Cretaceous ankylopollexian dinosaur Dakotadon lakotaensis.
PeerJ PrePrints 3:e1384

Knowledge regarding the early evolution within the dinosaurian clade
Ankylopollexia drastically increased over the past two decades, in
part because of an increase in described taxa from the Early
Cretaceous of North America. These advances motivated the recent
completion of extensive preparation and conservation work on the
holotype and only known specimen of Dakotadon lakotaensis, a basal
ankylopollexian from the Lakota Formation of South Dakota. That
specimen (SDSM 8656) preserves a partial skull, lower jaws, a single
dorsal vertebra, and two caudal vertebrae. That new preparation work
exposed several bones not included in the original description and
revealed that other bones were previously misidentified. The presence
of extensive deformation in areas of the skull is also noted that
influenced inaccuracies in prior descriptions and reconstructions of
this taxon. In addition to providing an extensive re-description of D.
lakotaensis, this study reviews previously proposed diagnoses for this
taxon, identifies three autapomorphies, and provides an extensive
differential diagnosis. Dakotadon lakotaensis is distinct from the
only other ankylopollexian taxon known from the Lakota Formation,
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 28 May 23:43 2015

Bony ancestors of sharks + Cretaceous Arctic cold snap (free pdfs)

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

Recent open access papers that may be of interest:

John A. Long , Carole J. Burrow, Michal Ginter, John G. Maisey, Kate
M. Trinajstic, Michael I. Coates, Gavin C. Young & Tim J. Senden
First Shark from the Late Devonian (Frasnian) Gogo Formation, Western
Australia Sheds New Light on the Development of Tessellated Calcified
PLoS ONE 10(5): e0126066.


Living gnathostomes (jawed vertebrates) comprise two divisions,
Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fishes, including euchondrichthyans with
prismatic calcified cartilage, and extinct stem chondrichthyans) and
Osteichthyes (bony fishes including tetrapods). Most of the early
chondrichthyan (‘shark’) record is based upon isolated teeth, spines,
and scales, with the oldest articulated sharks that exhibit major
diagnostic characters of the group—prismatic calcified cartilage and
pelvic claspers in males—being from the latest Devonian, c. 360 Mya.
This paucity of information about early chondrichthyan anatomy is
mainly due to their lack of endoskeletal bone and consequent low
preservation potential.

Methodology/Principal Findings
(Continue reading)

Mallison, Heinrich | 28 May 21:24 2015

Re: Mesothermy in dinosaurs, comments in Science

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Ben Creisler | 28 May 20:38 2015

Mesothermy in dinosaurs, comments in Science

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

Comments on a recent study in Science. The full texts are currently in
open access on line:


M. D. D’Emic (2015)
Comment on “Evidence for mesothermy in dinosaurs”.
Science 348(6238):  982
DOI: 10.1126/science.1260061

Full text:

Grady et al. (Reports, 13 June 2014, p. 1268) suggested that nonavian
dinosaur metabolism was neither endothermic nor ectothermic but an
intermediate physiology termed “mesothermic.” However, rates were
improperly scaled and phylogenetic, physiological, and temporal
categories of animals were conflated during analyses. Accounting for
these issues suggests that nonavian dinosaurs were on average as
endothermic as extant placental mammals.


Nathan P. Myhrvold (2015)
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 28 May 05:45 2015

Morrison Formation dinosaur track review

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A new online paper:

Martin G. Lockley, Richard T. McCrea & Lisa G. Buckley (2015)
A review of dinosaur track occurrences from the Morrison Formation in
the type area around Dinosaur Ridge
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (advance online publication)


New Morrison Formation dinosaur track reports from Dinosaur Ridge, Colorado
Dinosaur track erosion and rescue from Morrison Formation type section
Dinosaur Ridge
Review of Late Jurassic dinosaur tracks known from Morrison Formation
type section
Morrison Formation type section dinosaur tracks placed in regional context


Although the type section of the Morrison Formation, near Denver
Colorado, now also well-known as Dinosaur Ridge, has since 1877 been
world-famous as the source of iconic Late Jurassic dinosaurs like
Stegosaurus, Apatosaurus and Diplodocus, little detailed information
has been published on fossil footprints from the formation this area.
Late Jurassic (Morrison) footprints were not reported from the type
section at Dinosaur Ridge until the early1990s. Since then other
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 28 May 01:16 2015

Laser-simulated fluorescence shows new details of fossils and possible fakes

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

New in PLoS ONE:

Thomas G. Kaye , Amanda R. Falk, Michael Pittman, Paul C. Sereno,
Larry D. Martin, David A. Burnham, Enpu Gong, Xing Xu & Yinan Wang
Laser-Stimulated Fluorescence in Paleontology.
PLoS ONE 10(5): e0125923.

Fluorescence using ultraviolet (UV) light has seen increased use as a
tool in paleontology over the last decade. Laser-stimulated
fluorescence (LSF) is a next generation technique that is emerging as
a way to fluoresce paleontological specimens that remain dark under
typical UV. A laser’s ability to concentrate very high flux rates both
at the macroscopic and microscopic levels results in specimens
fluorescing in ways a standard UV bulb cannot induce. Presented here
are five paleontological case histories that illustrate the technique
across a broad range of specimens and scales. Novel uses such as
back-lighting opaque specimens to reveal detail and detection of
specimens completely obscured by matrix are highlighted in these
examples. The recent cost reductions in medium-power short wavelength
lasers and use of standard photographic filters has now made this
technique widely accessible to researchers. This technology has the
potential to automate multiple aspects of paleontology, including
preparation and sorting of microfossils. This represents a highly
cost-effective way to address paleontology's preparatory bottleneck.
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 27 May 20:35 2015

Eretmorhipis, new hupehsuchian from Lower Triassic of China

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

New in PLoS ONE:

Xiao-hong Chen, Ryosuke Motani , Long Cheng, Da-yong Jiang & Olivier
Rieppel (2015)
A New Specimen of Carroll’s Mystery Hupehsuchian from the Lower
Triassic of China.
PLoS ONE 10(5): e0126024.

A new specimen of an enigmatic hupehsuchian genus is reported. The
genus was first recognized by Robert L. Carroll and Zhi-ming Dong in
1991, who refrained from naming it because of the poor quality of the
only specimen known at the time. After more than two decades, we
finally report a second specimen of this genus, which remained
unprepared until recently. The new specimen preserves most of the
skeleton except the skull, allowing us to erect a new genus and
species, Eretmorhipis carrolldongi. The new species shares many
characters with Parahupehsuchus longus, including the strange axial
skeleton that forms a bony body tube. However, the body tube is short
in the new species, being limited to the pectoral region. The
vertebral count and limb morphology considerably differ between the
new species and P. longus. The forelimb of E. carrolldongi is markedly
larger than its hind limb as in Hupehsuchus nanchangensis but unlike
in P. longus. The new species is unique among hupehsuchians in a list
of features. It has manual and pedal digits that spread radially,
forming manus and pes that are almost as wide as long. The third-layer
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 27 May 18:14 2015

Crocodyliformes evolutionary history (free pdf) + oldest therapsid + more papers

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A number of recent (and not so recent) non-dino papers:

Mario Bronzati, Felipe C. Montefeltro & Max C. Langer (2015)
Diversification events and the effects of mass extinctions on
Crocodyliformes evolutionary history.
Royal Society Open Science 2015 2 140385
DOI: 10.1098/rsos.140385

Free pdf:

The rich fossil record of Crocodyliformes shows a much greater
diversity in the past than today in terms of morphological disparity
and occupation of niches. We conducted topology-based analyses seeking
diversification shifts along the evolutionary history of the group.
Our results support previous studies, indicating an initial radiation
of the group following the Triassic/Jurassic mass extinction, here
assumed to be related to the diversification of terrestrial
protosuchians, marine thalattosuchians and semi-aquatic lineages
within Neosuchia. During the Cretaceous, notosuchians embodied a
second diversification event in terrestrial habitats and eusuchian
lineages started diversifying before the end of the Mesozoic. Our
results also support previous arguments for a minor impact of the
Cretaceous/Palaeogene mass extinction on the evolutionary history of
the group. This argument is not only based on the information from the
fossil record, which shows basal groups surviving the mass extinction
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 27 May 08:46 2015

Preparing Thescelosaurus skeleton + Protoceratops sexes + Helicoprion in Alaska

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

Some recent items:

Jack Horner on preparing Thescelosaurus skeleton (video)


Travel Channel show to feature Jack Horner and Museum of the Rockies


Can We Easily Distinguish Male and Female Protoceratops?


Helicoprion exhibit with Ray Troll art at Alaska SeaLife Center

(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 27 May 02:36 2015

Variation in theropod dinosaur skull evolution rates significant in oviraptorosaurs

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A new online paper:

J. A. F. Diniz-Filho, D. M. C. C. Alves, F. Villalobos, M. Sakamoto,
S. L. Brusatte and L. M. Bini (2015)
Phylogenetic eigenvectors and non-stationarity in the evolution of
theropod dinosaur skulls.
JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1111/jeb.12660

Despite the longstanding interest in non-stationarity of both
phenotypic evolution and diversification rates, only recently have
methods been developed to study this property. Here, we propose a
methodological expansion of the Phylogenetic Signal Representation
(PSR) curve based on phylogenetic eigenvectors to test for
non-stationarity. The PSR is built by plotting the coefficients of
determination R2 from Phylogenetic Eigenvector Regression (PVR) models
increasing the number of phylogenetic eigenvectors against the
accumulated eigenvalues. The PSR curve is linear under a stationary
model of trait evolution (i.e., the Brownian motion model). Here we
describe the distribution of shifts in the models R2 and used a
randomization procedure to compare observed and simulated shifts along
the PSR curve, which allowed detecting non-stationarity in trait
evolution. As an applied example, we show that the main evolutionary
pattern of variation in the theropod dinosaur skull was
non-stationary, with a significant shift in evolutionary rates in
derived oviraptorosaurs, an aberrant group of mostly toothless,
(Continue reading)

soledad.esteban | 26 May 16:04 2015

Course 3D Model Generation in Biosciences, Nov 3-6, Barcelona, Spain.

Dear Colleagues,
Registration is open for the course "3D Model Generation in Biosciences", November 3-6, 2015.
Instructors: Josep Fortuny (Institut catalá de Paleotologia M.C., Spain) and Sergio Llácer (Institut
catalá de Paleotologia M.C., Spain).
The goal of this course is to explain how you can work with a range of technologies with the aim of obtaining a
3D model from different sources. By the end of the course participants should be able to work in an
autonomous way to develop high quality digitalizations of samples with the most commonly used
techniques and also be able to edit and manipulate the digital models that are produced.
This course will be held in the Sabadell facilities of the Institut Catalàde Paleontologia (Barcelona,
Spain) and is co-organized by Transmitting Science and the Institut Catalá de Paleontologia M.
Crusafont. Place are limited and will be covered by strict registration order.
For further information:
Please feel free to distribute this information between your colleagues if you consider it appropriate.
With best regards
Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno
Transmitting Science