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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..
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.
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
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."