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Re: Non-dinosaur papers and news items



> NEWS STORY IN GERMAN
>
> Five-fingered Micromelerpeton skeletons from Permian under study
>
> Temnospondyls typically have four digits (fingers) of their forefeet
> and five toes on their hindfeet, the same as most living salamanders.
> However, some specimens of the Permian temnospondyl Micromelerpeton
> have five "fingers" on their forefeet. Excellent specimens with five
> "fingers" are being studied at the paleontological museum in
> Nierstein, Germany. Click to enlarge the photo of a specimen, although
> the toes are a bit hard to count.
>
> http://www.allgemeine-zeitung.de/region/oppenheim-nierstein-guntersblum/vg-nierstein-oppenheim/nierstein/12686092.htm

As the multiply cited Florian Witzmann sits across the table from me right now, 
let me point out a few things he's unhappy about... many of the quotations are 
out of context or otherwise edited so they promote the museum in Nierstein, 
he's a specialist on scales and gill bars and a few other things but not on 
extremities, and he's not trying to answer the question of how 
*Micromelerpeton* is related to today's salamanders -- that would be me, in the 
sense that they're all in my large phylogenetic analysis.

There are specimens that have 5 fingers on one hand but the usual 4 on the 
other. Similarly confusing is the fact that 5-fingered hands have not been 
described from any other temnospondyl -- sure, *Micromelerpeton* is known from 
an unusually large amount of complete skeletons, but the branchiosaurids are 
even better known, and every single one of them appears to have 4 per hand. 
There does not seem to be a prepollex in any of the *M.* specimens, and there 
don't seem to be duplicated digits either.

One 5-fingered individual of an extant newt has been described; Florian is 
currently trying to get the paper, which was published in a terrarium journal.