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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..
http://mkirkaldy.tripod.com/dmlpictures/id10.html
Comments/jibes/insults would be appreciated.

"Never before has so much time been spent by so many for such little 
money"

DARREN NAISH 
PALAEOBIOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
UNIVERSITY OF PORTSMOUTH
Burnaby Building
Burnaby Road                           email: darren.naish@port.ac.uk
Portsmouth UK                          tel (mobile): 0776 1372651     
P01 3QL                                tel (office): 023 92842244