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Transmitted light and scanning electron imaging of sectioned specimens of Conularia and Paraconularia, prepared using HCl etching and critical point drying, revealed that their periderm is composed of extremely thin (approximately 0.5–3 μm), variably distinct microlamellae that are alternately organic poor and organic rich. Organic-rich microlamellae are cross-connected by slender strands of organic matter originally embedded in calcium phosphate, which in etched specimens has been dissolved. Microlamellae may be organized in thicker (approximately 5–75 μm) layers, or macrolamellae, that vary in color and organic matter content, possibly owing to changes in the ambient paleoenvironment. Thickening of the periderm to form transverse ribs and internal carinae was achieved through gradual thickening of individual microlamellae. In the core of the transverse ribs and internal carinae the distinction between organic-rich and organic-poor microlamellae may be reduced, owing to organic material becoming dominant over (former) mineral matter or vice versa. Combined with observations of plicated aperture closure in thin-walled conulariids, including Archaeoconularia slateri (Reed, 1933) (Upper Ordovician, Scotland) showing smooth folding of midline carinae through angles greater than 90°, these results suggest a structure and original flexibility in the organic-rich biocomposite forming the conulariid periderm that supports its homology to the chitinous lamellar periderm of coronate scyphozoans.
Clusters of associated colony fragments discovered weathering out of bedding planes in the Upper Ordovician of the Cincinnati, Ohio, region provide a rare opportunity to quantify intracolony variation in ramose stenolaemate bryozoans. Sixteen colonies were reassembled as completely as possible from 198 fragments, and the following colony-level characters were measured: colony dimensions, branch link length and diameter, and branch order. Results indicate that branch link length and diameter systematically decrease as colonies grow via branch bifurcation. Branching ratio (i.e., the number of distal first-order branches divided by the number of immediately proximal second-order branches) appears to be more genetically than environmentally controlled and to be consistent among orders of stenolaemates and perhaps across the phylum. Colonies with endozones mined out by endoskeletozoans result in broken branches as opposed to pristine growing tips. This varies stratigraphically, perhaps in response to the distribution of the boring animals. The rarity of borers and the systematic proximal increase in branch diameter in these colonies suggest the zooids in the proximal portions of the colonies were alive at the time of colony death. If the time and effort can be invested in reassembling colonies, these morphometric data can then be applied to taxonomic, phylogenetic, and paleoenvironmental studies.
Zigzagopora wigleyensis n. gen. n. sp. is an Upper Ordovician (Sandbian, early Caradoc) cyclostome bryozoan from the Arbuckle Mountains of Oklahoma, USA. It has runner-type colonies characterized by a mostly uniserial, geniculate arrangement of monomorphic zooids that bud alternately left and right, producing a zig-zag pattern of growth. This new genus has calcified interior walls and non-pseudoporous exterior walls. It is thus most likely affiliated with the paleotubuliporine family Sagenellidae, despite superficial similarities with the corynotrypid cyclostomes with which it co-occurs.
From the Santiago Ixtaltepec area, in Oaxaca State, southern Mexico, 11 species of productoid brachiopods, including a new genus and five new species, are described. Semicostella sp., Antiquatonia sp., Keokukia? sp., Inflatia inflata, Reticulatia cf. R. huecoensis, Buxtonia websteri, Weberproductus donajiae n. gen. n. sp., Dictyoclostus transversum n. sp., Inflatia coodzavuii n. sp., Buxtonia inexpletucosta n. sp., and Flexaria magna n. sp. were collected from eight stratigraphic levels of the Ixtaltepec Formation. The presence of Semicostella sp., Keokukia? sp. and Inflatia inflata in the basal strata, Units 1 to 3, of the formation indicate a Viséan-Serpukhovian (Late Mississippian) age. Reticulatia cf. R. huecoensis and Buxtonia websteri, found in Units 6 to 8, confirm the Pennsylvanian age for upper strata of the Ixtaltepec Formation. Inflatia and Flexaria are present in the uppermost beds of the formation so it is possible to extend their upper stratigraphic range to the Middle Pennsylvanian. All these taxa also occur in the United States Midcontinent, suggesting that during the Carboniferous the epicontinental sea extended at least to central Mexico.
The trilobite fauna of the middle Silurian (Telychian to possibly earliest Sheinwoodian) Tomcat Creek limestone in the Broken River Province of north Queensland is dominated by the suborder Illaenina, including illaenimorphs (Illaeninae and Bumastinae) and members of the Scutelluidae. Scutelluidae are most diverse, with eight genera, of which Dolabrapex, Iotoryx, Perizostra, and Quintonia are new. Perizostra is the first scutelluid with a cephalon that may be described as of phacomorph appearance. Illaenimorphs are represented by three genera, including Opsypharus, which is regarded as a senior synonym of Paracybantyx but distinct from Failleana with which it has been placed in synonymy by some authors. Thirteen species are new: Cybantyx? ergodes, Opsypharus pandanensis, Australoscutellum talenti, Dolabrapex acomus, Illaenoscutellum psephos, Iotoryx clarksoni, Japonoscutellum mawsonae, J. drakton, J. fractum, Kosovopeltis avita, Perizostra campbelli, Quintonia arata, and Q. pavo. A species of Stenoparia is placed in open nomenclature. The species of Australoscutellum, Illaenoscutellum, and possibly Kosovopeltis are the oldest known representatives of those genera. These genera and Japonoscutellum are also common in faunas from limestones of Wenlock to Ludlow age in central western New South Wales, reflecting the similarity in lithofacies. The monotypic Late Ordovician genus Craigheadia, which has been regarded as a scutelluid, belongs to the Lichidae and is probably a junior synonym of Leiolichas.
The mechanism that guides the formation of exceptionally preserved fossils with soft tissues variously displayed is a paramount challenge to paleontology. The key question for exceptional preservation is the nature of the slowdown of decay and acceleration of soft tissue mineralization. Here we report the experimental formation of subfossils of the brine shrimp Artemia salina (Crustacea, Branchiopoda), which were produced during 14 months of aging in a kaolinite clay sediment. EDS/SEM elemental analyses showed that the subfossils were preserved as thin clay-organic replicas that displayed fine anatomical details. Decomposition in the clay-colloidal solution established highly heterogeneous acidic conditions, with the lowest pH typically found in the vicinity of the buried organisms, and visually manifested in patchy coloration of the sediment. Elevated acidity is likely what ultimately slowed the decay. An acidic environment increases the rate of clay destruction and, consequently, the diffusion rate decline. As a result, the acidic products quickly accumulate around a buried body; this in turn inhibits bacterial proliferation, accelerates the acidic hydrolysis of clay and, accordingly, the release of tanning and mineralizing agents. The subfossils remained stable under experimental high pressure and temperature. These model subfossils exhibit features that are typical of some Lagerstätten fossils preserved in fine-grained sediments.
A new species of the Lower Jurassic genus DorsettiaWhalley, 1985 is described from the Lower Jurassic Badaowan Formation of the Junggar Basin, northwestern China, as Dorsettia sinica new species. It provides additional morphological characters for this genus and is the earliest Jurassic dragonfly in China after the end-Triassic extinction. The occurrence of Dorsettia in England and northwestern China indicates that the end-Triassic extinction probably did not have a drastic influence on damsel-dragonflies, or that the dispersal of damsel-dragonflies was relatively quick during the earliest Jurassic.
A new fossil species of Dermestidae (Insecta: Coleoptera), preserved in Late Cretaceous (Turonian) amber from New Jersey, is described as Attagenus (Aethriostoma) turonianensis n. sp. The specimen is fossilized in translucent amber, but 3D imaging using propagation phase-contrast X-ray synchrotron microtomography allowed detailed classification and description. This species is the oldest representative of the subfamily Attageninae and the third fossil species described in the family from the entire Mesozoic. Dermestidae comprise beetle species that typically feed on carcasses, although some Recent species of AttagenusLatreille, 1802 are known to feed on plant debris, which is highly abundant in amber deposit sediments. This new species is evidence for diversification in the family during the Early Cretaceous as well as long morphological conservation of diagnostic features of the genus Attagenus from the Late Cretaceous. Analyzing the taxa from Mesozoic ambers that show stasis, the small size of the specimens together with a specific ecology could explain the stability of these lineages.
Moore and Strimple described the Morrowan (Lower Pennsylvanian, Bashkirian) crinoid Zenocrinus zeus, and noted significant differences in the number and arrangement of plates in the posterior interray between the holotype and the paratype, the only known specimens. A reexamination of the type specimens allowed for a reconciliation of these discrepancies. The new interpretation of Z. zeus necessitates a revision of the diagnosis, and a new plate diagram is proposed. Additional morphological features of the species are described, including the presence of a generating columnal between the column proxistele and mesistele, and a ratcheting profile for the exterior surfaces of calyx ray plates.
Despite a rich and varied record, Mesozoic stalked crinoids are relatively rare in the Western Interior Seaway of North America compared to those found in Northern Europe. A unique example of Mesozoic stalked crinoid is described from cold methane seeps (hydrocarbon seep mounds also called “tepee buttes”) from the Upper Cretaceous (upper Campanian) of the Northern Great Plains of the United States; the first crinoids to be described from such an environment. The Late Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway has never before yielded any identifiable stalked crinoid remains. Nevertheless, there have been significant studies on both free living and stalked crinoids from other locations in the Upper Cretaceous of North America that provide a good basis for comparison. Lakotacrinus brezinai n. gen. n. sp. is characterized by a tapering homeomorphic column with through-going tubuli, lacking any attachment disc. The arms are unbranched and pinnulate, with muscular and syzygial articulations. The unique morphology of the column justifies the establishment of Lakotacrinidae new family. A new suborder Lakotacrinina n. subord., is also proposed as there exists no corresponding taxon within the Articulata that can accommodate all the characteristics of this new genus. This new crinoid shares many features with other members of the articulates, including bathycrinids, bourgueticrinids and guillecrinids within the Order Comatulida, as currently defined in the revised Treatise of Invertebrate Paleontology. Reconstructing the entire crinoid using hundreds of semi-articulated and disarticulated (well preserved) fossils, reveals a unique paleoecology and functional morphology specifically adapted to living within this hydrocarbon seep environment.
Two regional composite sections in the Frasnian, Upper Devonian, of New York State result from graphic correlation of conodont species. The first extends from Frasnian conodont zones 3 to 7, the second from Frasnian zones 11 to 13c (we prefer this terminology to “Montagne Noire” or “MN” zonation as the zone-defining species occur throughout the Devonian tropics). Key beds, widely traceable bases of prominent black shales, have been used with only a few exceptions to position the lines of correlation (LOC) in the graphs. Other key beds, not used for positioning, fall exactly on the LOC supporting the hypothesis of their synchrony. Fifty-five conodont species in the New York regional composites are compared with their ranges in the global Frasnian Composite Standard proving no major discrepancies. The taxonomy of Ancyrodella nodosa Ulrich and Bassler, widely misidentified in the past, has been clarified through restudy of the type specimens, resulting in its distinction from A. hamata Ulrich and Bassler (= A. buckeyensis Stauffer). A new species of Polygnathellus Bassler, which is restricted to Frasnian Zone 4, is kept in open nomenclature because the rarity of specimens is insufficient to determine the extent of intraspecifc variation and whether one or two species are represented in our New York and Western Australian collections.
New ornithischian remains reported here (MPEF-PV 3826) include two complete metatarsi with associated phalanges and caudal vertebrae, from the late Toarcian levels of the Cañadón Asfalto Formation. We conclude that these fossil remains represent a bipedal heterodontosaurid but lack diagnostic characters to identify them at the species level, although they probably represent remains of Manidens condorensis, known from the same locality. Histological features suggest a subadult ontogenetic stage for the individual. A cluster analysis based on pedal measurements identifies similarities of this specimen with heterodontosaurid taxa and the inclusion of the new material in a phylogenetic analysis with expanded character sampling on pedal remains confirms the described specimen as a heterodontosaurid. Finally, uncommon features of the digits (length proportions among nonungual phalanges of digit III, and claw features) are also quantitatively compared to several ornithischians, theropods, and birds, suggesting that this may represent a bipedal cursorial heterodontosaurid with gracile and grasping feet and long digits. In particular, the elongated non-terminal pedal phalanges and morphology of digit III resemble features present in arboreal birds, a unique condition found so far among ornithischians.
The Pleistocene fossil sloth Australonyx aquae De Iuliis, Cartelle, and Pujos, 2009 (Mammalia, Xenarthra, Megalonychidae) was described from the intertropical region of Brazil. However, its mandible was not known and only cursory descriptions of the ear ossicles were included. The mandible was subsequently recognized among the remains originally collected from the type locality, and belongs to the holotype individual. As a particularly important skeletal element for specific recognition, it requires description to complement our understanding of this species. The ossicles, usually poorly represented in the fossil record, require further description to allow differentiation from those of other sloths. Comparisons of the mandible and ossicles are conducted with homologous elements of the contemporaneous and sympatric Ahytherium aureumCartelle, De Iuliis, and Pujos, 2008, the only other megalonychid sloth known from intertropical Brazil, and reinforce the distinction between these two species detailed in their initial descriptions. Comparisons with other sloths (e.g., Acratocnus, Megalonyx, Neocnus) also reveal differences with Au. aquae in such features as form and size of the caniniform tooth, angular process, and mandibular condyle. Differences among the malleus and incus of Au. aquae and several species of other sloth clades reveal clade level distinctions among Megatheriidae, Nothrotheriidae, and Megalonychidae. A well-preserved skull from the Brazilian state of Rondônia is noted as probably belonging to Au. aquae. This skull cannot be assigned formally to this species because it is not deposited in a recognized institution, but it does extend considerably the known range of the species.
Anderson, D. K., 2015. New specimens and neotype designation of Thisbemys brevicrista (Rodentia, Ischyromyidae) from the middle Eocene clarify the distinction between T. corrugatus and T. plicatus: Journal of Paleontology, v. 89, p. 318–330.
Values reported in Table 2 (p. 320) in the above article were erroneously submitted prior to applying an instrument conversion factor. The values reported in Table 2 (p. 320) (except those for KUVP 14233) need to be adjusted downward by 15%. For example, the 4.25 reported for DMNH 6992 M1L should be 3.61.