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PROG. PALAEO. '98



Just returned from Progressive Palaeontology '98, a seminar organised 
by the Palaeontological Association. There were a few tetrapod talks, 
so it's worth reporting on. The abstracts volume is..

AILLUD, G. and HYLTON, M. (eds) 1998. _Progressive Palaeontology 
1998: Progamme and Abstracts_. Uni. of Plymouth (Plymouth), pp. 19.

Yes Tracy I will send you a copy.

16 talks covered diverse topics like cycadophyte leaves, conodonts, 
bryozoans, theropods, pterosaurs, arthropods, graptolites and 
crinoids. No fish.. that's odd. Anyway..

THEROPODS

Gareth Dyke (Bristol) spoke about the neornithine radiation and the 
importance of the London Clay (Lower Eocene) fauna. Gareth asserts 
that the LCF is the most diverse known from the Tertiary. He spoke 
about the problems associated with assigning fossil birds to extant 
taxa, the problem that extant (traditional) taxa are often poorly 
defined, and conflicting views on how the early radiation of 
neornithines got underway. 

No mention of my favourite birds, the lovely little Sandcoeliformes 
(an 'in' joke..).

Stig Walsh gave an overview of a new Neogene (probably 
Pliocene) bone-bed in Chile. It's full of cetaceans, pinnipeds and 
scombroids. Theropods are in abundance in the form of penguins, 
including _Spheniscus_ very closely related to some of the living 
ones, apparently cormorants, ?sulids and other coastal avifauna. 

Darren Naish spoke about MIWG 6214, a little Wealden theropod femur, 
previously undescribed. It lacks the wing-like lesser trochanter and 
extensor groove seen primitively in tetanurans (apparently even in 
juvenile ones).. and therefore most resembles non-tetanurans like 
herrerasaurids!! Do I have a Lazarus taxon on my hands? MIWG 6214 is 
different from other Wealden theropod femora, and therefore has 
implications for theropod diversity in the Wealden.

PTEROSAURS

Lorna Steel reviewed pterosaur head crests. She showed photos of a 
new tapejarid that has a very tall soft-tissue crest very different 
from that of _Tapejara imperator_. Pterosaur crests differ a lot in 
morphology and probably, correspondingly, in function. Plus of 
course, as she pointed out at the end, crests need not have a single 
function. 

I was wondering if pteranodont crests housed an air sac (yup, 
pterosaurs really were pneumatic) but apparently they are so 
transversely narrow as to make this impossible. Anyone have any 
thoughts on this matter?

---------------------------------------------------------------

To change the subject, someone in Spain has s-mailed this to me..

CANUDO, J.I.,TORRES, R.R., BARCO, J.L., BESCOS, G.C. 
and RUIZ-OMENACA, J.I. New fossil remains of Sauropoda (Saurischia) 
in the Aptian of Spain (Teruel). No publication details with it, no 
date, no nothin'.

This is a brief description of a partial articulated skeleton. They 
have quite a lot of data on taphonomy and palaeoenvironment but I 
can't be bothered to write any of that out. Regarding anatomy, 
here's what they say...

Caudal verts are platicoelous-amphicoelous, so I suppose this is not 
a titanosaur. Chevrons are closed, ilium is 'dorso-ventrally expanded 
in comparison to other sauropods' (viz., 'tall'). They draw attention 
to the fact that the ilium is arranged so that the cranial end is 
higher than the caudal, but this is no big deal and is pretty 
universal in sauropods. Pubis is straight and distally expanded, 
ischium is straight 'but rotated laterally'. Fib longer than tib, 
femora are long... the complete one is 1.3 m! This is a big boy. 
There is no attempt to identify the animal and I don't know enough 
about character distribution in sauropods to be of use here.

"Windows NT crashed.
  I am the Blue Screen of Death.
  No one hears your screams."

DARREN NAISH
darren.naish@port.ac.uk