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More New Papers LIVES!

First up: the turtles:

Joyce, W.G., Jenkins, F.A., Jr., and Rowe, T. 2006. The presence of cleithra in the basal turtle Kayentachelys aprix; pp. 93-103 in Danilov, I.G. and Parham, J.F. (eds.), Fossil Turtle Research, Volume 1. Russian Journal of Herpetology 13 (suppl.).

ABSTRACT: A morphological review of all available Kayentachelys aprix material reveals the presence of cleithra, a primitive dermal component of the pectoral girdle. These structures are homologous with the equivalently placed «epiplastral processes» of other basal turtles, thus revealing the unambiguous retention of cleithra in the turtle stem lineage. The occurrence of cleithra in primitive turtles calls into question their placement within crown Sauria, as reacquisition and subsequent loss of cleithra within the turtle stem lineage is thereby implied. Fossil evidence reveals that cleithra were lost twice within the turtle crown group.

Joyce, W.G., and Karl, H.-V. 2006. The world's oldest fossil turtle: fact versus fiction; pp. 104-111 in Danilov, I.G. and Parham, J.F. (eds.), Fossil Turtle Research, Volume 1. Russian Journal of Herpetology 13 (suppl.).

ABSTRACT: Priscochelys hegnabrunnensis is a fossil vertebrate previously described from a single fragment from the Middle Triassic (lower Ladinian) of Hegnabrunn, Germany. A morphological review of the type specimen confi rms the identity of this taxon as a turtle, as opposed to a placodont, based on the lack of distinct bony sutures and the presence of irregularly sized, conical scutes that exhibit highly distinct sulci. The apparent presence of a larger number of supramarginals relative to Proganochelys quenstedti indicates that this taxon may be the most basal known turtle to date. The habitat preferences of Priscochelys hegnabrunnensis remain uncertain, given that the available material was found mixed with marine and terrestrial faunas.

Then, the various and sundry basal diapsids:

Dalla Vecchia, F.M. 2005. Resti di Tanystropheus, saurotterigi e 'rauisuchi' (Reptilia) nel Triassico Medio della Val Aupa (Moggio Udinese, Udine). Gortania 27:25-48.

ABSTRACT: Isolated and scattered skeletal remains of reptiles are reported from several different levels of the informal lithostratigraphic unit known as "torbiditi d'Aupa" (late Anisian, Middle Triassic) of the Aupa Valley (Moggio Udinese, Udine Province, Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, NE Italy). They are mostly referred to the bizarre protorosaurian Tanystropheus and consist of cervical, dorsal, sacral and caudal vertebrae, ribs, teeth, a clavicle and an ilium. Less common are the bones referable to the sauropterygians: a fragment of an armour from a cyamodontoidean placodont, a centrum of a caudal vertebra and two ilei of indeterminate eusauropterygians, a Nothosaurus tooth and a large neural arch and a femur possibly referable to this latter genus. Reptiles better suited to life in the open sea, like the ichthyosaurians, are absent. A calcaneum and a dorsal osteoderm belong to terrestrial archosaurians, probably "rauisuchians". Tanystropheus remains prevail over those of sauropterygians like in the middle part of the basinal Grenzbitumenzone (Upper Anisian) of Mt. S. Giorgio (Switzerland and Italy) where also "rauisuchians" were found. The "torbiditi d'Aupa" were considered a deep marine unit made of turbidite layers. The relative abundance of coastal reptiles with limited swimming capabilities like Tanystropheus is unusual for such a depositionary environment suggesting that at least a part of the "torbiditi d'Aupa" did not originate in a deep turbiditic basin.

Up next, the new pterosaur:

Averianov, A.O. 2007. New records of azhdarchids (Pterosauria, Azhdarchidae) from the Late Cretaceous of Russia, Kazakhstan, and central Asia. Paleontological Journal 41(2):189-197. doi: 10.1134/S0031030107020098.

ABSTRACT: A review of 12 azhdarchid localities in Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan is given. New records of unidentifiable azhdarchids from the Khodzhakul (Cenomanian), Tyul'keli (Turonian-Coniacian), Kansai (Santonian), Malaya Serdoba, and Beloe Ozero (Campanian) localities and a new taxon, Aralazhdarcho bostobensis gen. et sp. nov. (Shakh-Shakh, Santonian-Campanian), are described.

Then, finally, the birdies:

Feduccia, A., Martin, L.D., and Tarsitano, S. 2007. Archaeopteryx 2007: quo vadis? Auk 124(2):373-380.

(In case you're wondering, its really more of the same boilerplate this trio has been pushing for a couple of decades now, applied in many ways to "microraptors" -- which are birds, of course [!] -- in comparison to _Archaeopteryx_, with some emphasis on the Thermopolis specimen. Lots of assertions, little data to back them up, and no point-by-point discussions of the numerous things they've already said that have been rebutted elsewhere. >>>SIGH<<<)

Jerry D. Harris
Director of Paleontology
Dixie State College
Science Building
225 South 700 East
St. George, UT  84770   USA
Phone: (435) 652-7758
Fax: (435) 656-4022
E-mail: jharris@dixie.edu
and     dinogami@gmail.com

"Trying to estimate the divergence times
of fungal, algal or prokaryotic groups on
the basis of a partial reptilian fossil and
protein sequences from mice and humans
is like trying to decipher Demotic Egyptian with
the help of an odometer and the Oxford
English Dictionary."
-- D. Graur & W. Martin (_Trends
in Genetics_ 20[2], 2004)