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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
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
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.
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
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
"Baby when I saw you the first time"