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Cloudy With A Chance Of New Papers

Provini, P., Zhou, Z.-H., and Zhang, F.-C. 2009. A new species of the basal
bird Sapeornis from the Early Cretaceous of Liaoning, China. Vertebrata
PalAsiatica 47(3):194-207.

ABSTRACT: A new species of the avian Sapeornis is described based on a
specimen discovered from the Early Cretaceous lacustrine Jiufotang Formation
in Dapingfang, Chaoyang, Liaoning Province, Northeast China. The new species
Sapeornis angustis is relatively small compared to the type species, S.
chaoyangensis, and distinguishable from the latter in possessing 5-6
sacrals, a distinct narrow humeral deltoid crest with a less acute
dorso-distal process, narrower furcular rami, a shorter hypocleidum, a
relatively longer Metacarpal I and a shorter pubic symphysis. Like in
Archaeopteryx and other known specimens of Sapeornis, the new species
preserves no uncinate process or sternum, suggesting that both structures
are ossified in a late stage of development and none of the known specimens
of Archaeopteryx and Sapeornis is fully adult. The discovery of a new
species of Sapeornis provides more anatomical information about this basal
avian, and documents the trend of size increase and some morphological
specializations in its evolutionary history. Furthermore, it also adds to
our understanding of the differentiation and diversity of birds in the Early
Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystem. 

Lingham-Soliar, T. 2009. Dinosaur protofeathers: pushing back the origin of
feathers into the Middle Triassic? Journal of Ornithology. doi:

ABSTRACT: Reports of primordial feathers (protofeathers) in dinosaurs have
received widespread interest. Recently, it was proposed that a novel
protofeather in the theropod dinosaur Beipiaosaurus completes the
transitional series in the evolution of the feather and provides the first
evidence of filamentous feathers as display in nonavian theropods. A more
far-reaching evolutionary ramification is the claim that these structures
push the origin of monofilamentous integumentary structures into the Middle
Triassic or earlier. I discuss problems with the analyses within the broader
context of studies concerning the hypothesis of protofeathers, and show that
affinity between the integumentary structures in Beipiaosaurus and feathers
is improbable. The scientific methodology is questioned by its failure to
make phenomena perceivable by objective means, by questionable
rationalizations in critical issues, and by lack of consideration of
exceptions to the postulated thesis. The notion that primordial feathers
occurred in a clade more inclusive than the Coelurosauria and that it is
supported by the presence of integumental structures in Psittacosaurus is
analyzed and rejected.

Modesto, S.P., and Botha-Brink. 2009. Problems of correlation of South
African and South American tetrapod faunas across the Permian-Triassic
boundary. Journal of African Earth Sciences. doi:

ABSTRACT: The best record of continental tetrapod faunas crossing the
Permo-Triassic boundary (PTB) is found in the Karoo Basin of South Africa.
Similar records are not known elsewhere among the former Gondwanan land
masses, but it was recently proposed on the basis of palaeontological
evidence that the Buena Vista Formation of Uruguay preserves a South
American record of continental PTB tetrapods. The Buena Vista Formation was
previously correlated to the Lower Triassic (Olenekian) Sanga do Cabral
Formation of Brazil on the basis of lithostratigraphic evidence, but recent
collecting in the former unit has produced a tetrapod fauna that is distinct
to that documented for the latter. The unequivocal tetrapod fossils that
have been described thus far from the Buena Vista Formation include
indeterminate mastodonsaurid temnospondyls, a plagiosauroid temnospondyl,
and a procolophonid reptile. The temnospondyls belong to Triassic groups,
whereas the procolophonid is allied most closely with Early Triassic taxa
from the Karoo Basin. We conclude that there is no compelling
palaeontological evidence for placing any part of the Buena Vista Formation
in the Permian. A precise placement of the Buena Vista Formation in the
Triassic on the basis of its tetrapod fauna is not possible at this time.
Accordingly, the Karoo Basin of South Africa remains the only Gondwanan
basin that records a PTB tetrapod fauna.

Shang, Q.-H., and Li, C. 2009. On the occurrence of the ichthyosaur
Shastasaurus in the Guanling Biota (Late Triassic), Guizhou, China.
Vertebrata PalAsiatica 47(3):178-193.

ABSTRACT: A completely articulated ichthyosaur skeleton from the Guanling
biota, Guizhou is described. The well preserved postcranial skeleton
demonstrates that Guizhouichthyosaurus tangae, a large Triassic
ichthyosaurid species previously described from Guizhou, should be referred
to Shastasaurus. Enough materials were found to make possible a satisfactory
determination of the systematic position of the large Guanling ichthyosaur
species, although both the genus Shastasaurus and the family Shastasauridae
have long been hard to define due to the fragmentary nature of the type
specimens. The postcranial characters of Shastasaurus tangae are described
in detail based on the new skeleton, the holotype of Guizhouichthyosaurus
tangae and other associated Guanling large ichthyosaur materials. The trunk
is very long, with more then 60 presacral vertebrae and a ventrally bent
tail. The scapula is broad sickle-shaped. The humerus is anteriorly notched,
with a short shaft. The radius is nearly rectangular, with a small notch in
the anterior edge, and a very slightly concave posterior edge. The ulna is
much smaller than the radius, with a slightly concave anterior edge and
bluntly rounded posterior and distal edges. The forefin and hindfin have
four principal digits. 

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

"Education is the only thing people
shell out a lot of money for...and
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