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The New Papers Before Christmas
...not that I for a moment think that others won't be out between now and
Evans, S.E., Wang, Y., and Jones, M.E.H. 2007. An aggregation of lizard
skeletons from the Lower Cretaceous of China. Senkenbergiana Lethaea
ABSTRACT: Many fossil taxa are known only from single specimens, making it
difficult to gauge levels of intraspecific, and particularly ontogenetic,
variation. Here we report on an aggregation of the Early Cretaceous lizard
Dalinghosaurus longidigitus from deposits of the Yixian Formation, China. A
single block from the Lujiatun Bed contains parts of at least sixteen
three-dimensional skeletons ranging from hatchling to young adult.
Taphonomic features suggest the animals were probably part of a natural
aggregation caught up and transported by a localised mudslide during a
volcanic eruption. The most complete specimens on the block add new
information on jaw, palate and braincase morphology for this derived lizard.
Dalinghosaurus is now represented by a sample of nearly thirty individuals
from hatchling to skeletally mature adult, permitting a discussion of
skeletal ontogeny. While the narrow fused frontal, flange-like angular
process, strong conical teeth and long feet remain constant features
throughout development, there are marked changes in cranial sculpture
pattern through ontogeny and more minor changes in skull morphology and limb
Sterli, J., and Joyce, W.G. 2007. The cranial anatomy of the Early Jurassic
turtle Kayentachelys aprix. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 52(4):675-694.
ABSTRACT: The fossil turtle Kayentachelys aprix is known from Early Jurassic
sediments of the Kayenta Formation, Arizona, USA. The detailed description
of this taxon's cranium offered in this paper demonstrates that this turtle
presents a mixture of primitive and derived character states. Among others,
the presence of an interpterygoid vacuity, a basipterygoid process, a
prootic that is exposed in ventral view, and a foramen posterius canalis
carotici interni that is formed entirely by the basisphenoid are generally
considered primitive for turtles. On the other hand, the presence of an
undivided apertura narium, a well developed cavum tympani, an incipient
cavum postoticum, and an unpaired vomer are considered to be derived.
Kayentachelys aprix has previously been hypothesized to be the oldest stem
cryptodiran turtle because of the presence of a flat, vertical plate on the
processus pterygoideus externus, and the presence of a processus trochlearis
oticum. However, the presence of these characters cannot be confirmed in the
available specimens. Other putative stem-cryptodiran characters, such as the
prefrontal-vomer contact and the presence of an epipterygoid, are herein
corroborated as being symplesiomorphies, because they generally appear to be
present in basal turtles.
Skutschas, P.P. 2007. New specimens of albanerpetontid amphibians from the
Upper Cretaceous of Uzbekistan. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 52(4):819-821.
ABSTRACT: The albanerpetontid fossil record in Asia was limited to five
dentaries of unidentified genus from the Upper Cretaceous Khodzhakul (lower
Cenomanian) and Bissekty (Turonian) formations, Kyzylkum Desert, Uzbekistan.
Here I describe two fragmentary frontals fromthe Khodzhakul local fauna as
the first unequivocal record of the genus Albanerpeton in Asia.
Agnolin, F.L. 2007. Brontornis burmeisteri Moreno & Mercerat, un
Anseriformes (Aves) gigante del Mioceno Medio de Patagonia, Argentina.
Revista del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales, n.s. 9(1):15-25.
Natarajan, L.C., Melott, A.L., Rothschild, B.M., and Martin, L.D. 2007. Bone
cancer rates in dinosaurs compared with modern vertebrates. Transactions of
the Kansas Academy of Science 110(3/4):155-158. doi:
ABSTRACT: Data on the prevalence of bone cancer in dinosaurs is available
from past radiological examination of preserved bones. We statistically test
this data for consistency with rates extrapolated from information on bone
cancer in modern vertebrates, and find that there is no evidence of a
different rate. Thus, this test provides no support for a possible role of
ionizing radiation in the K-T extinction event.
Merriam, D.F. 2007. The Cretaceous basal conglomerate in Kansas.
Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 110(3/4):179-186. doi:
ABSTRACT: The basal Cretaceous conglomerate, consisting of material derived
from the east and northeast, was deposited by westward flowing streams on an
eroded surface of Paleozoic rocks. The unnamed stratigraphic unit, composed
of pebble- and cobble-size material, is exposed locally along the outcrop
belt from Clay County southwestward to Kiowa County.
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
STORIES IN SIX WORDS OR LESS:
"Machine. Unexpectedly, I'd invented
-- Alan Moore
"Easy. Just touch the match to"
-- Ursula K. Le Guin
"Batman Sues Batsignal: Demands
-- Cory Doctorow