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Bunch o' New Refs

Hi All -

Lots of new things out, only a few of which pertain directly to dinosaurs but some of which at least have direct dinosaurian implications...

Jalil, N.-E., and Peyer, K. 2007. A new rauisuchian (Archosauria, Suchia) from the Upper Triassic of the Argana Basin, Morocco. Palaeontology 50(2):417-430. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4983.2007.00640.x.

ABSTRACT: In the 1970s the Upper Triassic strata of the Argana Basin yielded archosaurian remains that were tentatively attributed to the rauisuchian Ticinosuchus. Restudy of this material together with new remains reveal new anatomical data and show that it in fact belongs to a new taxon, Arganasuchus dutuiti gen. et sp. nov. The systematics of the Rauisuchia are still unresolved; nevertheless, a monophyletic suprageneric group can be defined within the probable non-monophyletic rauisuchians. Arganasuchus dutuiti differs from all adequately known rauisuchians in three autapomorphies: acetabular rim on pubis runs anteroventrally parallel to pubic shift rather than being terminal and perpendicular to it; large contribution of pubis to acetabular depression; palatal process of maxillary low and confluent with interdental crest, rather than separated from it by a large area. The maxilla of Arganasuchus resembles those of Batrachotomus and Fasolasuchus in having a Y-shaped rather than a U-shaped form. As in rauisuchids, Arganasuchus dutuiti has short cervical vertebrae and a dorsal border of the proximal extremity of the pubis that is convex in lateral view. It shares one derived character state with Batrachotomus and Postosuchus (a tear-shaped and anteriorly orientated rugosity on the lateral side of the pubis, lying on a deep, longitudinal depression) and one more derived character state with Batrachotomus (narrow ante-acetabular part of the pubis; hence, the anterior border of the proximal extremity of the pubis is almost contiguous with the actabular rim).

Danilov, I.G., and Parham, J.F. 2007. The type series of 'Sinemys' wuerhoensis, a problematic turtle from the Lower Cretaceous of China, includes at least three taxa. Palaeontology 50(2):431-444. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4983.2006.00632.x.

ABSTRACT: We re-examine the type series of 'Sinemys' wuerhoensis Yeh (at least 20 specimens, including several shells and skulls on three slabs of matrix and one isolated skull) from the Early Cretaceous Tugulu Group of China. Our study shows that the type series of 'S.'wuerhoensis is actually a chimera made up of at least three distinct taxa. The holotype of this taxon should be assigned to the basal eucryptodire genus Xinjiangchelys Yeh. As there are no characters that distinguish 'S.'wuerhoensis from Xinjiangchelys species, we consider it to be a nomen dubium. This new assignment of 'S.'wuerhoensis expands the temporal range of Xinjiangchelys from the Late Jurassic into the Early Cretaceous in Asia. The majority of the paratypes of 'S.'wuerhoensis (several shells in dorsal and ventral aspect and skulls) are referred to the basal eucryptodire genus Ordosemys Brinkman and Peng. We establish a new name for these specimens, Ordosemys brinkmania sp. nov. One additional specimen in the type series of 'S.'wuerhoensis, a skull, is referred to cf. Pantrionychia Joyce, Parham and Gauthier indet.

Christiansen, P. 2007. Long-bone geometry in columnar-limbed animals: allometry of the proboscidean appendicular skeleton. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 149(3):423-438. doi: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.2007.00249.x.

ABSTRACT: Limb-bone allometry was investigated for 19 species of proboscideans, spanning almost the entire phylogenetic spectrum. More archaic proboscideans ('gompthotheres') have substantially thicker long-bone diaphyses relative to length than elephantids, as has been suggested previously, but contrary to previous suggestions it could not be confirmed that Mammuthus had more massive long-bone diaphyses on average than extant Elephas and Loxodonta. When correcting for phylogeny, the circumference of the limb bones to their length in proboscideans as a group generally scale with negative allometry, becoming stouter with increased length, as would be expected from limb mechanics. Few slopes were, however, statistically significantly negatively allometric. Correcting for phylogeny produced better correlations than traditional regression analyses, in contrast to most other studies where the reverse is the case. Intraspecific analyses of extant Elephas and Loxodonta, in addition to Mammuthus primigenius, Mammut americanum, and Gomphotherium productum, also resulted in negatively allometric regression slopes, frequently conforming to the theory of elastic similarity, as could be expected from the columnar posture of proboscideans. At present the reasons for the more massive limbs of gomphotheres s.l. are not fully understood.

Pol, D., and Norell, M.A. 2007. Uncertainty in the age of fossils and the stratigraphic fit to phylogenies. Systematic Biology 55(3):512-521. doi: 10.1080/10635150600755446.

ABSTRACT: The ages of first appearance of fossil taxa in the stratigraphic record are inherently associated to an interval of error or uncertainty, rather than being precise point estimates. Contrasting this temporal information with topologies of phylogenetic relationships is relevant to many aspects of evolutionary studies. Several indices have been proposed to compare the ages of first appearance of fossil taxa and phylogenies. For computing most of these indices, the ages of first appearance of fossil taxa are currently used as point estimates, ignoring their associated errors or uncertainties. The effect of age uncertainty on measures of stratigraphic fit to phylogenies is explored here for two indices based on the extension of ghost lineages (MSM* and GER). A solution based on randomization of the ages of terminal taxa is implemented, resulting in a range of possible values for measures of stratigraphic fit to phylogenies, rather than in a precise but arbitrary stratigraphic fit value. Sample cases show that ignoring the age uncertainty of fossil taxa can produce misleading results when comparing the stratigraphic fit of competing phylogenetic hypotheses. Empirical test cases of alternative phylogenies of two dinosaur groups are analyzed through the randomization procedure proposed here.

These aren't technically OUT yet (= not in paper) -- available in on-line first format, though:

Kundrát, M. 2007. Avian-like attributes of a virtual brain model of the oviraptorid theropod Conchoraptor gracilis. Naturwissenschaften. doi: 10.1007/s00114-007-0219-1.

ABSTRACT: An almost complete adult endoneurocranium of Conchoraptor gracilis Barsbold 1986 (Oviraptoridae; ZPAL MgD-I/95), discovered at the Hermiin Tsav locality (the Upper Cretaceous) in Mongolia, is analyzed. A virtual model of the endoneurocranial cavity was derived from CT scans and represents the most complete maniraptoran endocast to date. It displays reduced olfactory bulbs, large cerebral hemispheres in contact with the expanded cerebellum, an epiphysial projection, optic lobes displaced latero-ventrally, presumptive cerebellar folia, enlarged cerebellar auricles, and a deep medulla oblongata with a prominent ventral flexure. Contrary to Archaeopteryx, the shortened olfactory tract and cerebellum overtopping cerebral hemispheres of Conchoraptor resemble conditions in modern birds. Calculating brain mass relative to body mass indicates that Conchoraptor falls within the range of extant birds, whereas Archaeopteryx occupies a marginal position. Most of the endoneurocranial attributes, however, have a less birdlike appearance in Conchoraptor than do corresponding structures in Archaeopteryx and modern birds in which 1) postero-laterally expanded hemispheral domains broadly overlap the optic lobes, 2) the epiphysis projects to the posterior cerebrum, 3) lateral extension of the optic lobes substantially decreases a brain length-to-width ratio, 4) optic lobe and anterior hindbrain are superposed in lateral view, and 5) cerebellar and midbrain compartments are in distinct superposition. The endoneurocranial characteristics of Conchoraptor, taken together, suggest that the animal had a keen sense of vision, balance, and coordination. The data presented in this study do not allow an unambiguous assessment whether the avian-like endoneurocranial characteristics of the flightless Conchoraptor evolved convergently to those of avian theropods, or indicate a derivation of oviraptorosaurs from volant ancestors.

Evans, S.E., and Wang, Y. 2007. A juvenile lizard specimen with well-preserved skin impressions from the Upper Jurassic/Lower Cretaceous of Daohugou, Inner Mongolia, China. Naturwissenschaften. doi: 10.1007/s00114-006-0214-y.

ABSTRACT: Lizards are now relatively well known from the Yixian Formation of northeastern China. In this study, we describe a juvenile lizard from a fossil horizon at Daohugou, Inner Mongolia. These beds predate the Yixian Formation, and are probably Late Jurassic or earliest Cretaceous in age. The new specimen thus documents the first lizard material from the Daohugou locality and is the earliest lizard skeleton from China. Comparisons with developmental stages of modern lizards suggest the Daohugou lizard is a hatchling. Although tiny, the specimen is notable in preserving exquisite skin impressions showing the variation in scalation across the body, the shape and position of the cloacal outlet, and details of the manus and pes. These are the earliest recorded lepidosaurian skin traces. In its general proportions and the possession of paired frontals, the small Daohugou lizard resembles both the Yixian taxon Yabeinosaurus tenuis and the questionable Jeholacerta formosa, but it differs from the latter in scalation and, based on other characters, may be distinct from both.

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)