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New non-dino papers: crocodiian genomes, bird eggshell structure evolution, Owen and sea serpent

From: Ben Creisler

A few new papers not directly linked to dinosaurs or the Mesozoic, but
maybe of interest to DML members:

John A St John, Edward L Braun, Sally R Isberg, Lee G Miles, Amanda Y
Chong, Jaime Gongora, Pauline Dalzell, Christopher Moran, Bertrand
Bed’Hom and Arkhat Abzhanov, et al.(2012)
Sequencing three crocodilian genomes to illuminate the evolution of
archosaurs and amniotes.
Genome Biology 13(1): 415,
DOI: 10.1186/gb-2012-13-1-415

The International Crocodilian Genomes Working Group (ICGWG) will
sequence and assemble the American alligator (Alligator
mississippiensis), saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) and Indian
gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) genomes. The status of these projects
and our planned analyses are described.


Österström, O. and Lilja, C. (2012)
Evolution of avian eggshell structure.
Journal of Morphology 273: 241–247
doi: 10.1002/jmor.11018

Data are presented suggesting that birds have evolved eggs with shells
containing different structures (numbers of mammillae per unit of
inner eggshell surface area, i.e., mammillary densities) to cope up
with different calcium requirements imposed by different growth rates
and modes of development. Precocial bird species grow slowly, but have
high mammillary density, while altricial bird species grow rapidly,
but have low mammillary density. These results suggest an adaptation
associated with growth rate and mode of development and show,
moreover, that the mammillary layer is indicative of the breeding
biology of the bird.


Brian Regal (2012)
Richard Owen and the sea-serpent.
Endeavour (advance online publication)

The well known naturalist, Richard Owen, had a career long engagement
with monstrous creatures. In the 1830s he famously christened large
fossil reptiles, Dinosauria. He investigated fossil marine reptiles as
well as the giant moa. He also looked into the sea-serpents and sea
monsters then drawing wide public attention. He actively collected
letters and analyzed correspondence on the topic, consulted with the
admiralty on reports of Royal Navy encounters and sightings, and
commented in the public press. He concluded that such reports were
based upon misidentifications of whales and other large marine
mammals, and not run-ins with mythological creatures. His work on the
sea-serpent shows that rather than discount the idea out of hand, a
number of high profile naturalists were intrigued by monsters and
attempted to understand what they were. His work is key to
understanding the skepticism over monsters held by modern mainstream
science. This skepticism opened the field to later amateur