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The Curious New Papers of Benjamin Button

See what happens when I have to do all the stuff I actually get paid to
do?!?  I get waaaaaay behind in posting new paper notices...and others have
beaten me to the punch on many good 'uns (for which I'm actually very
glad!).  But here's some I haven't seen listed previously (note that some
are 2008, not 2009):

You, H.-L., Li, D.-Q., Zhou, L.-Q., and Ji, Q. 2008. Daxiatitan binglingi: a
giant sauropod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of China. Gansu Geology

ABSTRACT: A new sauropod dinosaur, Daxiatitan binglingi gen. et sp. nov.,
discovered from the Lower Cretaceous Hekou Group of Lanzhou Basin, Gansu
Province, northwestern China, is unique in having neomorphic structures in
its femur, with the femoral distal condyles beveled ~10° dorsolaterally with
respect to femoral shaft and the femoral distal condyles directed
caudomedially-craniolaterally in distal view, implying a strongly outwardly
walking style. The enormous cervical vertebrae of Daxiatitan mark it among
the largest dinosaurs in China. Cladistic analysis recovers Daxiatitan as a
basal titanosaurian sauropod.

Xing, L., Wu, J., Lu, Y., Lü, J., and Ji, Q. 2009. Aerodynamic
characteristics of the crest with membrane attachment of Cretaceous
pterodactyloid Nyctosaurus. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition)

Xing, L., Harris, J.D., Toru, S., Masato, F., and Dong, Z.-M. 2009.
Discovery of dinosaur footprints from the Lower Jurassic Lufeng Formation of
Yunnan Province, China and new observations on Changpeipus. Geological
Bulletin of China 28(1):16-29.

Umazano, A.M., Bellosi, E.S., Visconti, G., Jalfin, G.A., and Melchor, R.N.
2009. Sedimentary record of a Late Cretaceous volcanic arc in central
Patagonia: petrography, geochemistry and provenance of fluvial
volcaniclastic deposits of the Bajo Barreal Formation, San Jorge Basin,
Argentina. Cretaceous Research. doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2008.12.015.

ABSTRACT: The Upper Cretaceous Bajo Barreal Formation (San Jorge Basin,
Argentina) is a fluvial succession mostly composed of channel sandstones
interbedded with thicker floodplain deposits dominated by tuffaceous strata.
The goal of this contribution is to infer the provenance of the unit through
combined petrographical and geochemical data of channel sandstones, primary
tuffs and tuffo-psammites (reworked, no-mixed tuffs). Channel sandstones are
dominantly litharenites and feldspathic litharenites with abundant
participation of volcanic lithic fragments with different textures
(porphyritic, eutaxitic, felsitic, pilotaxitic, trachytic and
vitric-vitrophyric), pumice and plagioclase. K-feldspar, quartz and
sedimentary rock fragments are scarce. QFLu diagram and several provenance
indicators including dominance and textural types of rock fragments,
K-feldspar/plagioclase ratio and inclusion-free quartz grains indicate a
provenance from felsic to intermediate, pyroclastic-rich, arc-related
volcanic rocks. This interpretation agrees with the values of various
elemental ratios of trace elements such as La/Sc, Th/Sc, Cr/Th, Eu/Eu* and
(La/Lu)N and discriminant functions based on major elements.
     Pyroclastic floodplain strata are commonly pumice-rich, occasionally
glass shard-rich, vitric tuffs suggesting an origin from plinian-like
eruptions. Subordinate components include volcanic lithic fragments, quartz,
orthoclase and plagioclase. Zr/Ti versus Nb/Y and SiO2 versus K2O diagrams,
as well as a multi-element diagram of selected trace elements shows that the
pyroclastic rocks were originated from medium-K content, intermediate, arc
related magmatic source.
     Considering the palaeoflow direction towards the east and south-east
and presence of subduction processes along the western margin of Patagonia
during the Late Cretaceous, it is interpreted that Bajo Barreal Formation
constitutes the sedimentary record (distal facies of volcano-flanking fan or
apron) of this coeval volcanic arc. Channel sandstones probably were mostly
derived from the Divisadero Formation volcanic rocks because of similar
petrographical features and REE pattern. In contrast, pyroclastic tuffaceous
floodplain deposits would be derived from vents located over the actual
outcrops of the Patagonian Batholith.

Salgado, L., Canudo, J.I., Garrido, A.C., Ruiz-Omeñaca, J.I., Garcia, R.A.,
de la Fuente, M.S., Barco, J.L., and Bollati, R. 2009. Upper Cretaceous
vertebrates from El Anfiteatro area, Río Negro, Patagonia, Argentina.
Cretaceous Research. doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2009.01.001.

ABSTRACT: The first vertebrate remains from the Upper Cretaceous locality El
Anfiteatro (northern Río Negro, Patagonia, Argentina) are described. Fossil
remains were recovered in beds of Cerro Lisandro, Portezuelo, and Plottier
Formations. From the Cerro Lisandro Formation, remains of large fishes,
dipnoans, titanosaur sauropod dinosaurs, and a variety of theropod dinosaurs
(cf. Carcharodontosauridae, cf. Spinosauridae, cf. Abelisauria and
Coelurosauria indet.) are reported. The Plottier Formation, in turn, has
yielded remains of Chelidae turtles, crocodyliforms, titanosaur sauropods,
theropods (cf. Carcharodontosauridae, Coelurosauria indet., cf.
Unenlagiinae), and ornithopods. To date, the Portezuelo Formation has been
the less prolific of all. Except for the record of a possible spinosaurid in
the Cerro Lisandro Formation, the rest of the evidence obtained from El
Anfiteatro is congruent with the record of other Patagonian sites where the
Limayan and Neuquenian tetrapod associations were established.

Zeigler, K.E., Kelley, S., and Geissman, J.W. 2008. Revisions to
stratigraphic nomenclature of the Upper Triassic Chinle Group in New Mexico:
new insights from geologic mapping, sedimentology, and
magnetostratigraphic/paleomagnetic data. Rocky Mountain Geology

ABSTRACT: Upper Triassic strata, termed the Chinle Formation or Group,
reveal a complex sedimentologic history, which has led to numerous
modifications to the lithostratigraphic nomenclature for this unit. Recent
revisions to Chinle nomenclature in New Mexico are based on local
stratigraphic section inspection. The utility of some stratigraphic
subdivisions, especially at formation rank, are problematic when mapping
units away from type areas. New magnetostratigraphic records for the Chinle
Group, as well as 1:24,000-scale mapping, stratigraphic section logs, and
sedimentologic analyses support the following revisions to current
nomenclature of the Chinle: (1) formally raising Chinle strata to group
status in New Mexico; (2) abandoning the term Zuni Mountains Formation for
lower Chinle strata in the Chama Basin; (3) including the lower member of
the Salitral Formation in the Shinarump Formation; and (4) reassigning
strata termed Rock Point Formation in the Chama Basin to the Moenave
Formation. Sedimentologic and basin-analysis interpretations utilized in
earlier studies of the Chinle should be resurrected. The revised
stratigraphic nomenclature for the Chinle Group and sedimentologic analyses,
both old and new, greatly expands our understanding of depositional changes
in the Chinle Basin of northern New Mexico. The trunk stream for Chinle
deposition in New Mexico coursed westward through the site of the modern
Sierra Nacimiento of north-central New Mexico during Shinarump time (?late
Carnian or early Norian), then moved northward to flow to the west in the
area of the modern Chama Basin. In addition, north-central New Mexico was
probably a topographic high during the time of Owl Rock and Rock Point
deposition in the late Norian, and thus no uppermost Triassic (late Norian
to early Rhaetian) strata were deposited in the area of the modern Chama

Milner, A.C., and Walsh, S.A. 2009. Avian brian evolution: new data from
Palaeogene birds (Lower Eocene) from England. Zoological Journal of the
Linnean Society 155(1):198-219. doi: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.2008.00443.x.

ABSTRACT: Investigation of how the avian brain evolved to its present state
is informative for studies of the theropod?bird transition, and as a
parallel to mammalian brain evolution. Neurological anatomy in fossil bird
species can be inferred from endocranial casts, but such endocasts are rare.
Here, we use computed tomographic analysis to determine the state of brain
anatomy in two marine birds from the Lower Eocene London Clay Formation of
England. The brains of Odontopteryx (Odontopterygiformes) and Prophaethon
(Pelecaniformes) are remarkably similar to those of extant seabirds, and
probably possessed similar somatosensory and motor capabilities. Each
virtual endocast exhibits a degree of telencephalic expansion comparable to
living avian species. However, the eminentia sagittalis (wulst), a feature
characteristic of all living birds, is poorly developed. Our findings
support the conclusion that much of the telencephalic expansion of modern
birds was complete by the end of the Mesozoic, but that overall
telencephalic volume has increased throughout the Cenozoic through dorsal
expansion of the eminentia sagittalis. We suggest that improvements in
cognition relating to telencephalic expansion may have provided neornithine
avian clades with an advantage over archaic lineages at the
Cretaceous?Tertiary boundary, explaining their survival and rapid
diversification in the Cenozoic.

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

"I have made this letter longer
than usual because I lack the
time to make it shorter."
                      -- Blaise Pascal