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New paleo papers



Not dinosaurs, but extremely interesting nonetheless:

Budd, G.E. (2002)  A palaeontological solution to the arthropod head
problem.  Nature 417: 271-275.

Uses fossil arthropods (including Burgess Shale and Chengjiang species) to
propose homologies between the appendages on the heads of lopopods
(onychophorans and the like) and crown-group arthropods (chelicerates,
insects, myriapods, crustaceans).  Features a nice cladogram of arthropod
higher-order relationships.


Soares, D. (2002)  Neurology: An ancient sensory organ in crocodilians.
Nature 417: 241-242 (2002)  
 
Abstract: 'Crocodilians hunt at night, waiting half-submerged for land-bound
prey to disturb the water surface. Here I show that crocodilians have
specialized sensory organs on their faces that can detect small disruptions
in the surface of the surrounding water, and which are linked to a
dedicated, hypertrophied nerve system. Such 'dome' pressure receptors are
also evident in fossils from the Jurassic period, indicating that these
semi-aquatic predators solved the problem of combining armour with tactile
sensitivity many millions of years ago.'




Tim