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Passerine evolutionary dates and other recent non-dino papers

From: Ben Creisler

A number of recent papers on non-dino topics:

Gerald Mayr (2013)
The age of the crown group of passerine birds and its evolutionary
significance – molecular calibrations versus the fossil record.
Systematics and Biodiversity (advance online publication)

Based on calibrations of molecular phylogenies and biogeographic
considerations, it has been argued that the basal divergences of crown
group Passeriformes occurred in the late Cretaceous, following the
break-up of eastern Gondwana. Some implications of this hypothesis
have, however, not yet been adequately addressed. In particular, a
Cretaceous divergence of crown group passerines would imply an
unprecedented evolutionary stasis for more than 80 million years in
one of the most species-rich group of endothermic vertebrates. The
temporal distribution and phylogenetic affinities of northern
hemispheric fossils further conflicts with current hypotheses on the
historical biogeography of passerines, and is in better concordance
with a Cenozoic divergence of crown group Passeriformes.


Donald B. Brinkman, Chong-Xi Yuan, Qiang Ji, Da-Qing Li, Hai-Lu You (2013)
A new turtle from the Xiagou Formation (Early Cretaceous) of Changma
Basin, Gansu Province, P. R. China.
Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1007/s12549-013-0113-0

Changmachelys bohlini gen. et sp. nov., from the Lower Cretaceous
Xiagou Formation, Changma Basin, north-western Gansu Province, adds to
our understanding of the diversity and distribution of Early
Cretaceous turtles in Asia. Changmachelys bohlini is similar to Early
Cretaceous turtles from Asia included in “Macrobaenidae” in having a
low domed carapace and a reduced, cruciform plastron with buttresses
that do not extend onto the costals. With a carapace that exceeds 34
cm in length, it is one of the largest Early Cretaceous
“macrobaenids”. Despite the addition of this new taxon and new
characters to previous phylogenetic analyses, the relationships of
“macrobaenid” turtles remain poorly resolved. In addition to adding to
the diversity of “macrobaenid” turtles in the Early Cretaceous of
Asia, Changmachelys bohlini is of interest because each of the four
available specimens documents a distinct stage of ontogenetic
development of the shell. In the carapace, the dermal portions of the
costals are unossified in the most juvenile specimen but peripherals
are present. In contrast with the late ossification of the dermal bone
of the carapace, the plastron ossifies relatively early.


Susan E. Evans, Marc E. H. Jones and Ryoko Matsumoto (2012)
A new lizard skull from the Purbeck Limestone Group (Lower Cretaceous)
of England.
Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France 183(6): 517-524
doi: 10.2113/gssgfbull.183.6.517

[Purbicella ragei]

The Purbeck Limestone Group of England has yielded a rich assemblage
of Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous (Berriasian) vertebrate fossils,
including one of the most diverse Early Cretaceous lizard assemblages
on record. Here we describe the first articulated lizard skull from
Purbeck. The specimen was rediscovered in the collections of the
British Geological Survey, having been excavated at least a century
ago. Although originally assigned to the Purbeck genus Paramacellodus,
with which it shares maxillary and some dental characters, the new
Purbeck skull differs from other Purbeck genera, including
Paramacellodus, in frontal, pterygoid and maxillary morphology. It is
here assigned to a new genus and species. Cladistic analysis groups it
with Lacertoidea, unlike Paramacellodus, Becklesius and Parasaurillus
which group with scincids and cordyliforms.


J.-Sébastien Steyer, Sophie Sanchez, Pierre J. Debriette, Andrea M.F.
Valli, François Escuille, Burkhard Pohl, Roger-Paul Dechambre, Renaud
Vacant, Christopher Spence and Gaël de Ploëg (2012)
A new vertebrate Lagerstätte from the Lower Permian of France
(Franchesse, Massif Central): palaeoenvironmental implications for the
Bourbon-l'Archambault basin.
Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France 183(6): 509-515
doi: 10.2113/gssgfbull.183.6.509

A new vertebrate locality from the Lower Permian (Cisuralian) of the
Bourbon-l'Archambault basin (Massif Central, France) is reported and
its associated flora and fauna preliminarily described. This locality
corresponds to a mass mortality assemblage deposited in an aquatic
environment. Interestingly, it has yielded hundreds of exceptionally
well preserved seymouriamorph specimens, all referred to
Discosauriscus austriacus. This exquisite assemblage corresponds to
the first seymouriamorph Lagerstätte and the first record of D.
austriacus outside the Boskovice basin in Czechia. It enlarges the
geographical distribution of the species during the Early Permian, and
has new palaeoenvironmental implications regarding the Palaeozoic
Bourbon-l'Archambault basin.


Jocelyn Falconnet (2012)
First evidence of a bolosaurid parareptile in France (latest
Carboniferous-earliest Permian of the Autun basin) and the
spatiotemporal distribution of the Bolosauridae.
Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France 183(6): 495-508
doi: 10.2113/gssgfbull.183.6.495

A new species of Bolosauridae, Belebey augustodunensis, is described
from fragmentary cranial material collected in the late
Gzhelian-Asselian beds of the Autun basin, central France. Be.
augustodunensis is one of the oldest bolosaurids and represents the
first occurrence of the family in France. The dentition of this
species is unique within Bolosauridae in exhibiting a progressive
shift from a mesio– to a disto-lingual orientation of the tooth apex
and lingual facet. Other features show that Be. augustodunensis
belongs to the genus Belebey, although it lacks several
specializations known in other species of the genus. A review of the
valid bolosaurid taxa increases their stratigraphic and geographic
distribution, in addition to the description of Be. augustodunensis.
The distributions and diversification of Bolosauridae are briefly


Bruce Rubidge (2013)
The roots of early mammals lie in the Karoo: Robert Broom's foundation
and subsequent research progress.
Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa (advance online publication)

Robert Broom (1866–1951) was the first palaeontologist to live in
South Africa. Having trained as a medical doctor in Scotland he came
to South Africa in 1897 and practised medicine while pursuing
palaeontology as a hobby. As a pioneering palaeontologist, with no
bounds to his infectious enthusiasm, he made an enormous contribution
to a wide variety of fields of palaeontological endeavour. The reason
why he specifically came to South Africa was to explore the
evolutionary origin of mammals by undertaking research on the
therapsid fossil record from the rocks of the Karoo. It was in this
field that he published most of his scientific papers. Despite the
then lack of large comparative collections and good fossil preparation
facilities, Broom not only laid the foundations of therapsid taxonomy,
biology, diversity and biostratigraphy. He also contributed
substantially to developing and promoting – both locally and
internationally – expertise in the science of palaeontology in South
Africa. This paper acknowledges the pioneering research foundation
laid by Robert Broom in the Karoo, and highlights the subsequent
increase in our knowledge of therapsids, their biology, and our
understanding of the origins of mammals.