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Re: Docofossor and Agilodocodon, new Jurassic docodont mammaliaforms from China

And additional video with the press release:


(Also subject line typo fix...)

On Thu, Feb 12, 2015 at 11:32 AM, Ben Creisler <bcreisler@gmail.com> wrote:
> Ben Creisler
> bcreisler@gmail.com
> New in Science magazine:
> Docofossor
> Zhe-Xi Luo, Qing-Jin Meng, Qiang Ji, Di Liu, Yu-Guang Zhang, and April
> I. Neander (2015)
> Evolutionary development in basal mammaliaforms as revealed by a docodontan.
> Science  347(6223): 760-764
> DOI: 10.1126/science.1260880
> http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/760.abstract
> Free supplementary information:
> http://www.sciencemag.org/content/suppl/2015/02/11/347.6223.760.DC1/1260880-Luo-SM.pdf
> A new Late Jurassic docodontan shows specializations for a
> subterranean lifestyle. It is similar to extant subterranean golden
> moles in having reduced digit segments as compared to the ancestral
> phalangeal pattern of mammaliaforms and extant mammals. The reduction
> of digit segments can occur in mammals by fusion of the proximal and
> intermediate phalangeal precursors, a developmental process for which
> a gene and signaling network have been characterized in mouse and
> human. Docodontans show a positional shift of thoracolumbar ribs, a
> developmental variation that is controlled by Hox9 and Myf5 genes in
> extant mammals. We argue that these morphogenetic mechanisms of modern
> mammals were operating before the rise of modern mammals, driving the
> morphological disparity in the earliest mammaliaform diversification.
> ***
> Agilodocodon
> Qing-Jin Meng, Qiang Ji, Yu-Guang Zhang, Di Liu, David M. Grossnickle,
> and Zhe-Xi Luo (2015)
> An arboreal docodont from the Jurassic and mammaliaform ecological
> diversification.
> Science 347(6223): 764-768
> DOI: 10.1126/science.1260880
> http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/764.abstract
> A new docodontan mammaliaform from the Middle Jurassic of China has
> skeletal features for climbing and dental characters indicative of an
> omnivorous diet that included plant sap. This fossil expands the range
> of known locomotor adaptations in docodontans to include climbing, in
> addition to digging and swimming. It further shows that some
> docodontans had a diet with a substantial herbivorous component,
> distinctive from the faunivorous diets previously reported in other
> members of this clade. This reveals a greater ecological diversity in
> an early mammaliaform clade at a more fundamental taxonomic level not
> only between major clades as previously thought.
> *****
> News stories:
> http://www.livescience.com/49792-mammal-ancestors-images.html
> http://news.sciencemag.org/evolution/2015/02/found-two-sophisticated-mammals-thrived-during-age-dinosaurs
> http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn26965-jurassic-fossils-reveal-varied-life-of-early-mammals.html#.VNz-NPnF_To