Paul H. | 24 Oct 01:23 2014

Was There a Sixth Prehistoric Mass Extinction?

'Missing' disaster led to all-time worst extinction
by Jeff Hecht, Newc Scientist, October 23, 2014

Have we missed a mass extinction? Extra catastrophic 
event may have occurred 8 million years before the 
‘Great Dying’, claim experts by Ellie Zolfgharifard,
Daily Mail, Oct. 23, 2014

The talk is:

Bond, D. P. G., Wignall, P. B., M. M. Joachimski, 
and others, 2014, Catastrophic Middle Permian 
Extinction and Extraordinary Recovery in High 
Latitudes. Geological Society of America Abstracts 
with Programs. vol. 46, no. 6, p.170,


Paul Henrich
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Ben Creisler | 23 Oct 23:35 2014

Dinosaur extinction: impact and volcanism? + other news

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A number of recent news items:

Dinosaur extinction: impact and volcanism?


Did tenrec-like hibernation spare mammals in dino extinction?


Phil Currie on Deinocheirus

Dimetrodon ate sharks


(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 23 Oct 21:22 2014

Petrified Forest finds + Second Ischigualasto" Triassic site in Argentina + other news, blogs

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A number of recent news and blog items:

Paleontology finds in the Petrified Forest National Park last summer

"Unearthed from a layer dated at 220 million years old, the animal was
once thought to be a type of dinosaur (from partial remains found
elsewhere) but is now believed to be an ancestor of both crocodiles
and dinosaurs. About 500 bones of at least six different individuals
of different sizes were found at the site. The adult was not large —
about 6 feet long, standing about 3 feet off the ground."


"Second Ischigualasto" Triassic fossil site found in San Juan Province
in Argentina. In May, in an area of 80 square meters, researchers
found 113 specimens, including 12 new species unknown to science;
finds so far include pterosaurs, synapsids, and sauropodomorphs. (in


(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 23 Oct 20:11 2014

Kulindadromeus "feathers" questioned by Theagarten Lingham-Soliar

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

In the new issue of Science:

Theagarten Lingham-Soliar (2014)
Comment on “A Jurassic ornithischian dinosaur from Siberia with both
feathers and scales”
Science  346 (6208): 434
DOI: 10.1126/science.1259983

Godefroit et al. (Reports, 25 July 2014, p. 451) reported scales and
feathers, including “basal plates,” in an ornithischian dinosaur.
Their arguments against the filaments being collagen fibers are not
supported because of a fundamental misinterpretation of such
structures and underestimation of their size. The parsimonious
explanation is that the filaments are support fibers in association
with badly degraded scales and that they do not represent early
feather stages.


Pascal Godefroit, Sofia M. Sinitsa, Danielle Dhouailly, Yuri L.
Bolotsky, Alexander V. Sizov, Maria E. McNamara, Michael J. Benton,
and Paul Spagna (2014)
Response to Comment on "A Jurassic ornithischian dinosaur from Siberia
with both feathers and scales".
Science 346 (6208): 434
DOI: 10.1126/science.1260146
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 22 Oct 21:36 2014

Haplocheirus (alvarezsauroid theropod) skull anatomy

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A new paper. The AMNH open access link is not yet posted.

Jonah N. Choiniere, James M. Clark, Mark A. Norell, and Xing Xu (2014)
Cranial Osteology of Haplocheirus sollers Choiniere et al., 2010
(Theropoda: Alvarezsauroidea)
American Museum Novitates Number 3816 :1-44. 2014

The basalmost alvarezsauroid Haplocheirus sollers is known from a
single specimen collected in Upper Jurassic (Oxfordian) beds of the
Shishugou Formation in northwestern China. Haplocheirus provides
important data about the plesiomorphic morphology of the theropod
group Alvarezsauroidea, whose derived members possess numerous
skeletal autapomorphies. We present here a detailed description of the
cranial anatomy of Haplocheirus. These data are important for
understanding cranial evolution in Alvarezsauroidea because other
basal members of the clade lack cranial material entirely and because
derived parvicursorine alvarezsauroids have cranial features shared
exclusively with members of Avialae that have been interpreted as
synapomorphies in some analyses. We discuss the implications of this
anatomy for cranial evolution within Alvarezsauroidea and at the base
of Maniraptora.


AMNH link
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 22 Oct 20:29 2014

Aerodactylus, new name for Jurassic pterosaur from Germany

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

New in PLoS ONE:

Steven U. Vidovic & David M. Martill (2014)
Pterodactylus scolopaciceps Meyer, 1860 (Pterosauria,
Pterodactyloidea) from the Upper Jurassic of Bavaria, Germany: The
Problem of Cryptic Pterosaur Taxa in Early Ontogeny.
PLoS ONE 9(10): e110646.

The taxonomy of the Late Jurassic pterodactyloid pterosaur
Pterodactylus scolopaciceps Meyer, 1860 from the Solnhofen Limestone
Formation of Bavaria, Germany is reviewed. Its nomenclatural history
is long and complex, having been synonymised with both P. kochi
(Wagner, 1837), and P. antiquus (Sömmerring, 1812). The majority of
pterosaur species from the Solnhofen Limestone, including P.
scolopaciceps are represented by juveniles. Consequently, specimens
can appear remarkably similar due to juvenile characteristics
detracting from taxonomic differences that are exaggerated in later
ontogeny. Previous morphological and morphometric analyses have failed
to separate species or even genera due to this problem, and as a
result many species have been subsumed into a single taxon. A hypodigm
for P. scolopaciceps, comprising of the holotype (BSP AS V 29 a/b) and
material Broili referred to the taxon is described. P. scolopaciceps
is found to be a valid taxon, but placement within Pterodactylus is
inappropriate. Consequently, the new genus Aerodactylus is erected to
accommodate it. Aerodactylus can be diagnosed on account of a unique
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 22 Oct 19:13 2014

Deinocheirus, mystery dinosaur revealed at last

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

Online at the Nature site:

Yuong-Nam Lee, Rinchen Barsbold, Philip J. Currie, Yoshitsugu
Kobayashi, Hang-Jae Lee, Pascal Godefroit, François Escuillié &
Tsogtbaatar Chinzorig (2014)
Resolving the long-standing enigmas of a giant ornithomimosaur
Deinocheirus mirificus.
Nature (advance online publication)

The holotype of Deinocheirus mirificus was collected by the 1965
Polish–Mongolian Palaeontological Expedition at Altan Uul III in the
southern Gobi of Mongolia1. Because the holotype consists mostly of
giant forelimbs (2.4 m in length) with scapulocoracoids2, for almost
50 years Deinocheirus has remained one of the most mysterious
dinosaurs. The mosaic of ornithomimosaur and non-ornithomimosaur
characters in the holotype has made it difficult to resolve the
phylogenetic status of Deinocheirus3, 4. Here we describe two new
specimens of Deinocheirus that were discovered in the Nemegt Formation
of Altan Uul IV in 2006 and Bugiin Tsav in 2009. The Bugiin Tsav
specimen (MPC-D 100/127) includes a left forelimb clearly identifiable
as Deinocheirus and is 6% longer than the holotype. The Altan Uul IV
specimen (MPC-D 100/128) is approximately 74% the size of MPC-D
100/127. Cladistic analysis indicates that Deinocheirus is the largest
member of the Ornithomimosauria; however, it has many unique skeletal
features unknown in other ornithomimosaurs, indicating that
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 22 Oct 18:25 2014

Re: Serendipaceratops confirmed as Australian Early Cretaceous ceratopsian (free pdf)

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

Now officially published and free in open access:

Thomas H. Rich, Benjamin P. Kear, Robert Sinclair, Brenda
Chinnery,Kenneth Carpenter, Mary L. McHugh & Patricia Vickers-Rich
Serendipaceratops arthurcclarkei Rich & Vickers-Rich, 2003 is an
Australian Early Cretaceous ceratopsian.
Alcheringa 38: 456–479


On Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 8:19 AM, Ben Creisler <bcreisler <at>> wrote:
> From: Ben Creisler
> bcreisler <at>
> A new new online paper:
> Thomas H. Rich, Benjamin P. Kear, Robert Sinclair, Brenda Chinnery,
> Kenneth Carpenter, Mary L. McHugh & Patricia Vickers-Rich (2014)
> Serendipaceratops arthurcclarkei Rich & Vickers-Rich, 2003 is an
> Australian Early Cretaceous ceratopsian.
> Alcheringa (advance online publication)
> DOI:10.1080/03115518.2014.894809
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 22 Oct 17:50 2014

Post-natal parental care in Cretaceous choristodere Philydrosaurus from China

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A new online paper:

Junchang Lü, Yoshitsugu Kobayashi, D. Charles Deeming & Yongqing Liu (2014)
Post-natal parental care in a Cretaceous diapsid from northeastern China.
Geosciences Journal (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1007/s12303-014-0047-1

Post-natal parental care seems to have evolved numerous times in
vertebrates. Among extant amniotes, it is present in crocodilians,
birds, and mammals. However, evidence of this behavior is extremely
rare in the fossil record and is only reported for two types of
dinosaurs, and a varanopid 'pelycosaur'. Here we report new evidence
for post-natal parental care in Philydrosaurus, a choristodere, from
the Yixian Formation of western Liaoning Province, China. We review
the fossil record of reproduction in choristoderes, and this
represents the oldest record of post-natal parental care in diapsids
to our knowledge.

Ben Creisler | 21 Oct 18:41 2014

Allosaurus "thagomized" in pubic boot by Stegosaurus + other news

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

Some recent news and blog items:

Allosaurus "thagomized" in pubic boot by Stegosaurus tail spike



BAKKER, Robert T., ZOEHFELD, K. Weidner, and MOSSBRUCKER, Matthew T.

Were carnivorous dinosaurs active predators, killing their own prey,
or scavengers depending upon carcasses found dead, or a mixture of
both? Today, large herbivores -- buffalo, rhinos, hippos -- often
fight back, damaging the attackers. Many dinosaurian herbivores
carried horns or spikes or other potentially dangerous weapons. Such
armament may have functioned in defense, courtship displays and
intraspecific combat. If dinosaurian predators regularly attacked
well-armed herbivores, we would expect to find predator skeletons with
wounds that can be attributed to particular herbivores.
We have analyzed an adult allosaur skeleton from the Brushy Basin
Member of the Morrison Formation, Late Jurassic, Albany County,
Wyoming. A stab wound penetrated through the lower pubis, piercing the
(Continue reading)

Ben Creisler | 21 Oct 17:20 2014

Tyrannosauridae and Carnotaurinae (Theropoda) forelimb evolution and malformations in teratology

Ben Creisler
bcreisler <at>

A recent online paper:

Geoffrey Guinard (2014)
Introduction to Evolutionary Teratology, with an Application to the
Forelimbs of Tyrannosauridae and Carnotaurinae (Dinosauria:
Evolutionary Biology (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1007/s11692-014-9296-1

Conceptualisation of evolution requires new inclusions, as evidenced
by contributions brought by evolutionary developmental biology—the
evo-devo connection. Integration of teratology in an evolutionary
framework fits in this continuity. It highlights the production of
developmental anomalies (more or less drastic) over evolutionary
times, which become integral parts of groups and taxa. Originating in
Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire’s work, the contemporary independent
formulation of evolutionary teratology allows a better understanding
of some anatomical structures. The limbs of tetrapods are a promising
field of study as some changes in their shapes, proportions and
compositions are close to malformations observed in teratology. The
forelimbs condition of Tyrannosauridae and Carnotaurinae is a good
example. They are theropod dinosaurs characterised by different
anterior micromelias, codified following an anatomical nomenclature.
An association with the knowledge from developmental biology helps to
discern possible productive mechanisms of such micromelias, including
the influence of developmental rates, Hox genes, growth factors and
(Continue reading)