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New Papers and a Baby

Hi All -

   A few new things:

Carpenter, K., and Everhart, M.J. 2007. Skull of the ankylosaur Niobrarasaurus coleii (Ankylosauria: Nodosauridae) from the Smoky Hill Chalk (Coniacian) of western Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 110(1/2):1-9. doi: 10.1660/0022-8443(2007)110[1:SOTANC]2.0.CO;2.

ABSTRACT: The skull of the nodosaurid Niobrarasaurus coleii (Mehl) is redescribed as the result of the discovery of additional material, including the partially crushed braincase. The bone surface shows moderate remodeling, but not to the point of sutural obliteration. The snout section suggests a long, narrow skull more similar to Pawpawsaurus than the broader Edmontonia. Nevertheless, the skull differs from other nodosaurs in the ornamentation of the bone surface and trapezoidal outline of the occipital condyle in posterior view.

Cole, V.B. 2007. Field notes regarding the 1930 discovery of the type specimen of Niobrarasaurus coleii, Gove County, Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 110(3/4):132-134. doi: 10.1660/0022-8443(2007)110[132:FNRTDO]2.0.CO;2.

ABSTRACT: In 1930, Virgil B. Cole, an oil field geologist, collected the partial skeleton of a dinosaur (Ankylosauria; Nodosauridae) from the lower Smoky Hill Chalk in southeastern Gove County, Kansas. Cole described the discovery and collection of the specimen in a hand written letter (February 25, 1930) to Dr. Mehl on stationary from the hotel in Dighton, Kansas where he was staying at the time. The remains were shipped to Cole's alma mater (University of Missouri-Columbia) where they were examined and described by Mehl (1931, 1936) and given the name Hierosaurus coleii. Cole's letter and other field notes were curated with the specimen at the University of Missouri-Columbia and then transferred to the Sternberg Museum of Natural History with the specimen in 2002 (Everhart, 2004). The following is a verbatim copy of Cole's letter and two field drawings. (Michael J. Everhart, Transactions Co-editor).

Shimada, K., and Parris, D.C. 2007. A long-snouted Late Cretaceous crocodyliform, Terminonaris cf. T. browni, from the Carlile Shale (Turonian) of Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 110(1/2):107-115. doi: 10.1660/0022-8443(2007)110[107:ALLCCT]2.0.CO;2.

ABSTRACT: We describe the first record of Terminonaris cf. T. browni Osborn, 1904 (Reptilia: Crocodyliformes) from the Fairport Chalk Member of the Carlile Shale (Upper Cretaceous: lower Middle Turonian) in Russell County, Kansas. The specimen is a partial rostrum consisting of fused nasals with parts of co-ossified maxillae. This new fossil record is significant because it is the geologically youngest Terminonaris specimen, the first Terminonaris specimen from Kansas, the sixth known specimen of the genus, and the southernmost occurrence in North America. Because Terminonaris is thought to have been a nearshore inhabitant, its occurrence in the Fairport Chalk, which is an offshore deposit, suggests that the specimen was transported for a long distance before its deposition.

...and a few slightly oder things from the same journal that I don't recall seeing here previously:

Shimada, K., and Fernandes, M.V. 2006. Ichthyornis sp. (Aves: Ichthyornithiformes) from the lower Turonian (Upper Cretaceous) of western Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 109(1/2):21-26. doi: 10.1660/0022-8443(2006)109[21:ISAIFT]2.0.CO;2.

ABSTRACT: FHSM VP-2139 is the proximal end of a right carpometacarpus of the Late Cretaceous toothed seabird, Ichthyornis (Aves: Ichthyornithiformes), housed in the Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Hays Kansas. The specimen was found near the contact between the Carlile and Greenhorn Formations in southern Ellis County, Kansas. The specimen marks the oldest record of Ichthyornis in Kansas, and this report represents the first detailed account of this specimen. The estimated total "skeletal length" (from the beak tip to the pygostyle tip) and "skeletal wingspan" (between the right and left phalangeal tips) of the bird individual are 24 cm and 43 cm, respectively. The bird specimen is paleoecologically intriguing, because it occurred in an offshore deposit which formed during the maximum transgressive phase of the Greenhorn Cyclothem.

Everhart, M.J., and Ewell, K. 2006. Shark-bitten dinosaur (Hadrosauridae) caudal vertebrae from the NIobrara Chalk (upper Coniacian) of western Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 109(1/2):27-35. doi: 10.1660/0022-8443(2006)109[27:SDHCVF]2.0.CO;2.

ABSTRACT: The Niobrara Chalk in western Kansas was deposited on the eastern shelf of the Late Cretaceous Western Interior Sea during Coniacian through early Campanian time, hundreds of miles from the nearest land. As might be expected, the remains of terrestrial animals, including dinosaurs, are extremely rare in this marine environment. The first dinosaur (Claosaurus agilis) collected by Marsh from the Smoky Hill Chalk Member of the Niobrara Chalk in 1871 was also the only hadrosaur known from this formation. All other dinosaur remains collected there since 1871 have been identified as nodosaurs. Here we report the discovery of an articulated series of nine hadrosaur caudal vertebrae (FHSM VP-15824) from the Smoky Hill Chalk (Upper Coniacian) of southeastern Gove County, Kansas. The presence of non-serrated bite marks on four of the vertebrae and the partially digested appearance of the proximal and distal ends of the series suggest that the vertebrae had been scavenged from the floating carcass of a dinosaur by a large shark, most likely Cretoxyrhina mantelli. The specimen represents the earliest known occurrence (Upper Coniacian) of the Hadrosauridae in the Smoky Hill Chalk, and preserves the earliest evidence of scavenging on dinosaur remains by a shark in the Western Interior Sea.

Also (thanks to SP for pointing this one out!), there's a poster now uploaded to the new _Nature_ Precedings web site (http://precedings.nature.com/) that can be downloaded for free:

da Silva Marinho, T. 2007. Functional aspects of titanosaur osteoderms. Poster presentation, III Jornada Fluminense de Paleontologia, 10 December 2006, Nature Precedings. http://precedings.nature.com/documents/508/version/1. doi: 10.1038/npre.2007.508.1.

Not sure if that's an appropriate citation format for such a thing, but that's how I've put it into EndNote (I also put in a "Retrieved" date, but cut that out here); the DOI number makes it citeable, if nothing else. This is the first time I've heard about or been to this site, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, I'm all for free distribution of information; on the other, I'm not certain that a site like this isn't going to end up a catch-all for not only useful (even if not peer-reviewed) information, such as poster presentations and, ostensibly, PowerPoint presentations, but also for all kinds of random, nonsensical crap. The site says that uploaded material will be screened by their "professional curation team for relevance and quality, but are not subjected to peer review," and given _Nature_'s general reputation for quality, I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt and presume that they'll have Earth scientists, if not actual paleontologists, dealing with incoming paleo material. The purpose of the site (http://precedings.nature.com/about) is to be "a place for researchers to share documents, including presentations, posters, white papers, technical papers, supplementary findings, and manuscripts. It provides a rapid way to disseminate emerging results and new theories, solicit opinions, and record the provenance of ideas. It also makes such material easy to archive, share and cite. The whole service is free of charge...This service is intended to provide a more rapid and informal communication system than that enabled by scientific journals, and in this sense is complementary to them. Many of the findings you read here may be preliminary or speculative, and remain to be confirmed. Please bear this in mind when deciding how seriously to take them." That last part is what worries me in terms of quality of stuff there...by no means am I saying that anything on the site is necessarily garbage, but that it might inadvertently give legitimacy TO garbage by serving as a "publication" of sorts. The site also says that "Nature Precedings hosts manuscripts that may be submitted to any journal of any publisher." This also worries me; I get the feeling that some people (and probably an increasing number of people over time) will put stuff there and claim it IS published -- heck, it's got a DOI number and is citeable, so why not? Except for the peer-review process, of course, but there's no requirement in a publication that it must be peer-reviewed (peer-review isn't even a qualification of the ICZN to name something); hence, back to my concern about garbage being there and being "legitimized." They do also say "Content that we consider to be non-scientific or pseudoscientific will not be posted. We will only post genuine contributions from qualified scientists. This will usually require submitters to have a recognised academic affiliation," so at least we won't have to worry about cr**tionist crap getting put there and "legitimized." Suffice to say that I will sit back and watch this site for a while to see how it fleshes out before I even think about putting anything there...

I'm not the only one with thoughts on the matter; The Ethical Palaeontologist has also voiced in on the issue (http://www.juliaheathcote.com/blog.htm) and brought up the worthwhile subject of copyright (of, for example, pictures pilfered from articles and/or web pages that are used in PowerPoint presentations -- I use glute-loads of these!).

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


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