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Hippo tracks as insight into sauropods + other news and non-dino stuff

From: Ben Creisler

Some recent papers and news items (dino and non-dino) that may be of interest:

Hippo swimming tracks could help understand sauropod tracks



Matthew R. Bennett & Sarita A. Morse & Peter L. Falkingham (2014)
Tracks made by swimming Hippopotami: An example from Koobi Fora
(Turkana Basin, Kenya).
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2014.04.021
Here the authors report an ichnological surface close to Koobi Fora
(Kenya) dating to 1.4 Ma. The surface is marked by hominin tracks, as
well as traces from large animals. A southern excavation of the
surface some 70 m from the hominin tracks displays a diverse range of
animal track typologies, most of which appear to have been made by a
four digit animal moving via punting or bottom walking in a shallow
water body. Due to the track morphology and the associated fossil
record, the non-hominin tracks are interpreted as being made by
hippopotami, potentially including pygmy species or juveniles. The
track typologies are interpreted using modern analogue observations of
hippopotami sub-aquatic locomotion. This work provides important
environmental context for adjacent hominin tracks and provides the
first recorded description of fossilized swim tracks made by mammals.
The site has implications for the interpretation of swim tracks in the
geological record particularly the widespread and controversial tracks
made by sauropods and other dinosaurs.

We describe animal tracks at the Koobi Fora (GaJi10; Kenya) footprint site.
The animal tracks at GaJi10 are predominantly subaqueous.
They contrast with the terrestrial tracks found at Ileret (FwJj14E).
We describe the first recorded example of swim tracks made by hippopotami.
We explore how these tracks may help interpret the swim traces made by


Mary Higby Schweitzer explains why studying dinosaurs matters


Damage to fossils and other material at Natural History Museum in London


Giant Dakosaurus tooth from England (paper already posted on DML)



Ichthyosaur graveyard --news stories about recent paper already posted
on the DML


Achim G. Reisdorf, Gail S. Anderson, Lynne S. Bell, Christian Klug,
Annette Schmid-Röhl, Hans-Joachim Röhl, Michael Jung, Michael Wuttke,
Michael W. Maisch, Mark Benecke, Daniel Wyler, Roman Bux, Peter
Fornaro & Andreas Wetzel (2014)
Reply to “Ichthyosaur embryos outside the mother body: not due to
carcass explosion but to carcass implosion” by van Loon (2013)
Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments (advance on line publication)
DOI: 10.1007/s12549-014-0162-z


Mesozoic flea from Australia may have fed on birds and feathered dinosaurs

Diying Huang (2014)
Tarwinia australis (Siphonaptera: Tarwiniidae) from the Lower
Cretaceous Koonwarra fossil bed: Morphological revision and analysis
of its evolutionary relationship.
Cretaceous Research (advance online publication)
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cretres.2014.03.018

Tarwinia australis, from the Lower Cretaceous Koonwarra fossil bed,
Victoria, South Australia, is the first described Mesozoic flea. It
was suggested to have a unique morphology that differs from all other
known Mesozoic giant fleas by having a laterally-flattened body and
peculiar tibial ctenidia. It represents an extinct family,
Tarwiniidae, among the three major Mesozoic monster flea groups.
Re-examination of the holotype reveals that this Southern Hemisphere
ferocious bloodsucker bears different morphological details from those
described previously. Tarwinia australis definitely bears elongate
siphonate mouthparts and a relatively compact antenna with 15
flagellomeres. Its legs are slender, elongate, and armed with
pseudocombs-like ctenidia on all tibiae. The abdomen is covered with
posteriorly-directed setal rows, and with a posteriorly-located
pygidium and exposed male genitalia. It differs from pseudopulicids
mainly on the basis of characters of tibial ctenidia that probably
indicate a very different host association.

Stephanie K. Drumheller & Christopher A. Brochu (2014)
A Diagnosis of Alligator mississippiensis Bite Marks with Comparisons
to Existing Crocodylian Datasets.
Ichnos 21(2): 131-146

Crocodylians are known to consume and modify bones, but actualistic
observations of their bite marks have been limited to forensic case
studies and surveys of two taxa: Crocodylus niloticus and Crocodylus
porosus. To further explore patterns of crocodylian bite mark
expression, we conducted a survey of traces left by Alligator
mississippiensis. We compared the results to pre-existing crocodylian
datasets regarding the potentially diagnostic traits of bisected
marks, hook scores, and a lack of furrows. Mark type did not correlate
with vital statistics of the sampled animals or collections protocol.
Bisected marks were found in rates similar to those seen in one
previous survey of C. niloticus, and rates of hook scoring and bone
breakage were higher. These traces were all present in higher rates
than those reported in C. porosus. Unlike results seen in Crocodylus,
furrows were identified in the A. mississippiensis samples. Hook
scores were also identified, but recent surveys of non-crocodylian
taxa have shown that these features are not unique to crocodylians and
instead are related to inertial feeding strategies. The presence and
rate of bisected marks found in this study bolster the interpretation
that these traces are a clade-wide phenomenon and a useful diagnostic
indicator for Crocodylia.