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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
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).
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
Jerry D. Harris
Director of Paleontology
Dixie State College
225 South 700 East
St. George, UT 84770 USA
Phone: (435) 652-7758
Fax: (435) 656-4022
"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
-- D. Graur & W. Martin (_Trends
in Genetics_ 20, 2004)