[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

NEWS ON PACHYOPHIID SNAKES, ETC.



Some new stuff I encountered while foraging...

Hedenstrom, A. 1999. How birds become airborne. _Trends in Ecology 
and Evolution_ 14: 375-6.

Is inspired by Garner et al's recent paper on the 'leaping predator 
theory' (my main problem is their reliance on _Caudipteryx_ as a step 
in the transitory sequence - if, as many of us think, _Caudipteryx_ 
is not a close relative of birds, its use in the scenario is 
erroneous). Ref for this, incidentally, is _Proc. R. Soc. London B_ 
266: 1259-66.

Lee, M. S. Y., Caldwell, M. W. and Scanlon, J. D. 1999. A second 
primitive marine snake: _Pachyophis woodwardi_ from the Cretaceous of 
Bosnia-Herzegovina_. _Journal of Zoology_ 248: 509-520.

According to the authors, the first look at this basal snake since 
Nopsca described it in 1923. Close similarities to _Pachyrhachis_ 
result in the creation of a new basal snake clade, the Pachyophiidae. 
_Pachyophis_ is even more aquatically adapted with denser bones, a 
more laterally compressed body and more teeth (all the better to 
catch fishies with).

Other stuff in recent _J. Zool._ that may be of interest to some is a 
fantastic paper on cranial morphology (soft and hard tissues) of 
giant anteaters (following Tom Holtz's recent considerations of where 
xenarthrans fit in the 'new' therian tree and just how one calculates 
the mass of extinct xenarthrans and pangolins, perhaps we should set 
up a xenarthran-pangolin discussion group:)). AND two impressive 
works on social behaviour, ecophysiology and ecology of the 
_Cordylus_ lizards. Look for an armadillo zonure with its tail in its 
mouth (it's on the cover).

While on the subject of lizards, varanids do not, strictly speaking, 
vocalise to my knowledge (the only exception is a _V. niloticus_ that 
calls loudly on Degoba - - Star Wars fans will know what I am talking 
about. The call was certainly dubbed in afterwards). However, they do 
do a lot of huffing, puffing and hissing - the last time I spoke 
about this issue with the lizard experts they were careful to 
distinguish the two (huffing, puffing and hissing is just loud 
exhalation, and not true vocalisation).

WWD: have already read the book and have three of the animals 
used in the series sitting in an office downstairs (an 
ornithocheirid, _Ophthalmosaurus_ and the temnospondyl 
_Koolasuchus_).

DARREN NAISH 
PALAEOBIOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
School of Earth, Environmental & Physical Sciences
UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH
Burnaby Building
Burnaby Road                           email: darren.naish@port.ac.uk
Portsmouth UK                          tel: 01703 446718
P01 3QL                               [COMING SOON: 
http://www.naish-zoology.com]