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NEW CRETACEOUS VERTEBRATES VOLUME



Just caught hold of a stupendous, must-see volume for all interested 
in fossil reptiles: 'Cretaceous Fossil Vertebrates'. It may have been 
out for a while (i.e. a few weeks), but this is the first I've seen 
of it, at least at the published end of things. Pal. Ass, have also 
been advertising it for quite a while in newsletters and promotional 
leaflets: amusingly, the volume was attributed entirely to Dave 
Unwin, making it look as if he had the monumental task himself of 
individually compiling 'Cretaceous Fossil Vertebrates'. 

UNWIN, DAVID M. (ed) 1999. _Cretaceous Fossil Vertebrates_. Special 
Papers in Palaeontology No. 60, The Palaeontological Association 
(London), pp. 219.

There is one paper on shark teeth and another on a teleost, but all 
seven of the others concern reptiles, of these two are on crocs and 
two on dinosaurs. They are as follows...

EVANS, S.E. and BARBADILLOS, L.J. A short-limbed lizard from the 
Lower Cretaceous of Spain. pp. 73-85.

Yet another one! Yes, it's a new Barremian genus from Las Hoyas: 
_Hoyalacerta sanzi_. In contrast to the other recently described new 
genus, _Scandensia_ (which is noted and cited as in press in 
this paper), _H. sanzi_ is short-legged with an elongate body. The 
skull is shallow with numerous teeth and there is no body armour. In 
cladograms it falls out among other basal lizards including 
_Bavarisaurus_ and _Eichstaettisaurus_.

GARDNER, J.D. and CIFELLI, R.L. Primitive snakes from the Cretaceous 
of Utah. pp. 87-100. 

Anilioids were present in the Cedar Mountain Fm. in the form of the 
controversial genus _Coniophis_: a remarkable discovery that, not 
only provides info on more very early snakes, but also extends the 
New World record of snakes back 10 Ma. As the authors note, 
_Coniophis_ is probably not monophyletic but should be used until 
someone works out the variation and phylogeny of the anilioids. Much 
data and discussion on the early branching within, and biogeography 
of, snakes.

EVANS, S.E. and MANABE, M. A choristoderan reptile from the Lower 
Cretaceous of Japan. pp. 101-119.

Not much longer and my collection of choristodere papers will require 
a box file of its own. _Shokawa ikoi_, a life restoration adorns the 
cover, is a new, diminutive (c. 250 mm snout-vent) taxon from the 
Valanginian of Japan. _Shokawa_ is particularly notable in breaking 
the mould: choristoderes are famous for being conservative, but this 
one has a long neck of 16 verts. Skull unknown unfortunately, but the 
photos they provide of the material show that preservation is 
amazing._Shokawa_ has pachyostotic ribs and gastralia and a rather 
deep tail, so it seems to have been quite aquatic. Evans and Manabe 
further suggest that it would have resembled a pachypleurosaur when 
alive: in fact, I first identified the restoration on the cover as 
that of a pachypleurosaur. I don't feel so bad now:)

SALISBURY, S.W., WILLIS, P.M.A., PEITZ, S. and SANDER, P.M. The 
crocodilian _Goniopholis simus_ from the Lower Cretaceous of 
north-western Germany. pp. 121-148.

Like that of Wealden dinosaurs, goniopholidid (or goniopholid.. I've 
seen both) taxonomy is a bit of a mess and this paper sorts some of 
it out: Steve S is undertaking a larger study on the taxonomy and 
evolution of the group. The _G. simus_ skull is given a good, well 
illustrated description and lots of attention is paid to the 
intricate structure of goniopholidid skull fenestrae, foraminae and 
other features. The status of some _Goniopholis_ species is examined 
and it's noted that some of the American _Goniopholis_ species may 
prove referrable to _Eutretauranosuchus_. Two specimens from 
Bernissart, previously assigned to _G. simus_, are found to represent 
a new species (not named here), and there's also biogeographical 
stuff about the Wealden and some of its constituent taxa - something 
I must read more carefully as it mentions some of the Wealden 
dinosaurs.

BUCKLEY, G.A. and BROCHU, C.A. An enigmatic new crocodile from the 
Upper Cretaceous of Madagascar, pp. 149-175.

_Mahajangasuchus insignis_ is a new mesoeucrocodylian from the 
Maevarano Fm. (Campanian?) of NW Madagascar, treated here to a nicely 
complete description. It's a seemingly broad-skulled croc that the 
authors differentiate from other 'trematochampsids' (a problematic 
group to which a great deal of taxa have been referred) on the basis 
of a very short mandibular symphysis - a peculiar character which, 
they note, recalls the condition of the bizarre nettosuchids (a 
really weird group of South American 'duckbilled' crocs). _M. 
insignis_  does share some features of the skull with 
Buffetaut's_Trematochampsa_ and _Hamadasuchus_ and in all analyses, 
_M. insignis_ fell into a clade that also included peirosaurids and 
_Trematochampsa_. Quite a bit of discussion on biogeography and a 
nice life restoration by Carolyn  McKee-Freese.

PEREDA SUPERBIOLA, X. and BARRETT, P.M. A systematic review of 
ankylosaurian dinosaur remains from the Albian-Cenomanian of England. 
pp. 177-208.

Note the absence of a hyphen in Pereda Superbiola (but a hyphen is 
used in citations in the text). This is brilliant, and much needed: a 
detailed historical and descriptive review of a lot of material which 
finds that  all _Acanthopholis_ species are invalid. Bad luck 
Seeley._Anoplosaurus curtonotus_ is provisionally regarded as a 
primitive nodosaurid (not as an ornithopod), and a lectotype is 
designated for it. None of the abundant material described here and  
by previous authors is definitely ankylosaurid, and it's suggested 
that there was only one species of nodosaurid in England during 
Albian-Cenomanian times. 

WRIGHT, J.L. Ichnological evidence for the use of the forelimb in 
iguanodontid locomotion. pp. 209-219.

New (well, newly discovered:)) iguanodont trackways from the Purbeck 
Limestone Group (Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary) of Dorset show 
crescent-shaped handprints. However, at least some trackways show, 
bizarrely, the hand prints *outside* of the footprints, so Wright 
concludes that, occasionally, iguanodonts 'placed their hands on the 
ground outside the line of tracks made by their feet, with the dorsal 
surface of the manus facing outwards parallel to the trackway 
midline' (p. 217). Wright notes that the posture we are used to 
seeing quadrupedal iguanodont in - with the dorsal surface of the 
manus pointing forward - is problematical because it means twisting 
of the forearm and dislocation, and she argues for (and provides) a 
new reconstruction. It doesn't mean that iguanodonts had sprawling 
forelimbs.

"Baby when I saw you the first time"

DARREN NAISH
darren.naish@port.ac.uk