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CAECILIANS & EREMOPEZUS
New ish of _Palaeontology_ (44, pt 2) arrived today. Two new papers
that will certainly be of interest to some.
Evans, S. E. and Sigogneau-Russell, D. 2001. A stem-group caecilian
(Lissamphibia: Gymnophiona) from the Lower Cretaceous of North
Africa. pp. 259-273.
_Rubricacaecilia monbaroni_ is closer to crown-group caecilians for
which (relevant to previous messages from Mickey Mortimer and
myself on this list) Apoda Oppel 1811 is used. _Rubricacaecilia_ is
closer to Apoda than is _Eocaecilia_.
Rasmussen, D. T., Simons, E. L., Hertel, F. and Judd, A. 2001.
Hindlimb of a giant terrestrial bird from the upper Eocene, Fayum,
Egypt. pp. 325-337.
Wow. _Eremopezus_ Andrews 1904 has been traditionally regarded as
an aepyornithid (even though little evidence links any supposed African
aepyornithid with _Aepyornis_ - this issue fully discussed in the paper)
but the new material described here shows that it's something else.
While larger than _Rhea_, it was not graviportal, nor as cursorial as
ostriches or rheas. The size and proportions of the trochleae indicate
fairly prehensile toes most like those of _Balaeniceps_ and
_Sagittarius_ so it's regarded as a giant ?predator/omnivore, perhaps
analogous with some phorusrhacoids. Rasmussen et al. conclude that
_Eremopezus_ wasn't a ratite, but that it belonged to an endemic
African clade of uncertain affinities.
IoW dino book finally sent to the editor today.
And my Denver SVP photos can now be seen, with hilarious captions,
on Mary's website at..
Comments/jibes/insults would be appreciated.
"Never before has so much time been spent by so many for such little
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