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WALRUS WHALES, PLETHODONTIDS etc
Have just spent the day playing with the type specimen of
_Neovenator_ at Dinosaur Isle Visitor Centre, Isle of Wight.
I would like to see the full description of this specimen
(produced by Steve Hutt in 1999) published - it will
definitely help flesh out some details of the allosauroid tree
- but this may take some time. The pathologies seen on the
specimen (and on the _Iguanodon atherfieldensis_ found
with it) are absolutely incredible, more on this soon.
For those who haven't visited, Dinosaur Isle has a life-sized
model of _Eotyrannus_, one of the Dorling Kindersley
caudipterid models, the world's only mounted skeleton of
_Neovenator_ and MIWG.7306, the huge
_Sauroposeidon_-like cervical vertebra I have been working
on (with Dave Martill and Dave Cooper). They are also
prepping our Oxford Clay pliosaur skull (weren't not sure
yet if it's _Liopleurodon_ or _Simolestes_). To be honest,
the museum doesn't have as much stuff to see as it might
but is still worth a visit.
> de MUIZON, C. & D.P. DOMNING. 2002. The anatomy of _Odobenocetops_
> (Delphinoidea, Mammalia), the walrus-like dolphin from the Pliocene of
> Peru and its palaeobiological implications. Zoological Journal of the
> Linnean Society 134: 423-452.
> This is the infamous "whalerus": a cetacean convergent on walrus
> morphology: downward pointing tusks, for instance. A new species, _O.
> leptodon_, is named.
Well, no, it was actually named in a _Comptes Rendu_
paper in 1999 (_CR des Sceances de l'Academie des
Sciences, Series II_ 303, 1401-1404): the new paper is the
complete description. To fans of odontocete evolution, _O.
leptodon_ is shown to be further significant in that (unlike
_O. peruvianus_) it still had a small melon.
Correspondingly, it apparently had less well developed
binocular vision than _O. peruvianus_.
Also of interest in the same issue of ZJLS are....
Deban, S. M. & Marks, S. B. 2002. Metamorphosis and
evolution of feeding behaviour in salamanders of the family
Plethodontidae. _ZJLS_ 134, 375-400.
Documents in detail the transition plethodontids undergo
from suction-feeding, narrow-gaping larvae to prehensile-
tongued, wide-gaping adults. These two feeding styles
require conflicting morphological apparatus: various
solutions have been evolved to get round this. One way is to
delete the larval stage altogether, another is to have
neotenous adults that suction feed like ancestral larvae.
Needless to say this is a massive over simplification.
Georges, A., Adams, M. & McCord, W. 2002.
Electrophoretic delineation of species boundaries within the
genus _Chelodina_ (Testudines: Chelidae) of Australia,
New Guinea and Indonesia. _ZJLS_ 134, 401-422.
School of Earth & Environmental Sciences
University of Portsmouth
Burnaby Road email:
Portsmouth UK tel: 023 92846045
PO1 3QL www.palaeobiology.co.uk