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Sample records for abundant fossil record

  1. Abundance Is Not Enough: The Need for Multiple Lines of Evidence in Testing for Ecological Stability in the Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Handley, John C.; Brett, Carlton E.

    2013-01-01

    The fossil record is the only source of information on the long-term dynamics of species assemblages. Here we assess the degree of ecological stability of the epifaunal pterioid bivalve assemblage (EPBA), which is part of the Middle Devonian Hamilton fauna of New York—the type example of the pattern of coordinated stasis, in which long intervals of faunal persistence are terminated by turnover events induced by environmental change. Previous studies have used changes in abundance structure within specific biofacies as evidence for a lack of ecological stability of the Hamilton fauna. By comparing data on relative abundance, body size, and predation, indexed as the frequency of unsuccessful shell-crushing attacks, of the EPBA, we show that abundance structure varied through time, but body-size structure and predation pressure remained relatively stable. We suggest that the energetic set-up of the Hamilton fauna's food web was able to accommodate changes in species attributes, such as fluctuating prey abundances. Ecological redundancy in prey resources, adaptive foraging of shell-crushing predators (arising from predator behavioral or adaptive switching in prey selection in response to changing prey abundances), and allometric scaling of predator-prey interactions are discussed as potential stabilizing factors contributing to the persistence of the Hamilton fauna's EPBA. Our study underscores the value and importance of multiple lines of evidence in tests of ecological stability in the fossil record. PMID:23690981

  2. Two Years of Plankton Tows in a Seasonal Upwelling Region: Foraminiferal Abundances and Implications for the Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davis, C. V.; Hill, T. M.; Jahncke, J.

    2014-12-01

    Planktic foraminifera have a long history of use as paleoceaographic proxies due to their environmental sensitivity, cosmopolitan distribution and extensive fossil record. The seasonal, spatial and water mass affinities of foraminifera species have implications for the interpretation of fossil assemblages and the interpretation of shell geochemistry. Two years (2012-2014) of shallow (<200 m) plankton tows, taken along the continental shelf inside the California Current system, offer new insights into the spatial and seasonal dynamics of planktic foraminifera in an upwelling regime. Tows along with intensive hydrologic monitoring by CTD casts and discrete bottle sampling (temperature, salinity, oxygen, thermocline depth, carbonate saturation state) have spanned two complete seasonal upwelling-relaxation cycles. We present the results from these tows as well as preliminary models linking environmental drivers and foraminifera assemblages in this highly dynamic environment. Species abundances appear to be highly seasonal, in keeping with water column structure, with a seasonal upwelling to relaxation trade off between the non-spinose foraminifers Neogloboquadrina pachyderma and Neogloboquadrina incompta. We focus on the implications of species seasonality and hydrologic affinities to the interpretation of the fossil record in upwelling regions.

  3. Extinction and the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, ,. J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1994-01-01

    The author examines evidence of mass extinctions in the fossil record and searches for reasons for such large extinctions. Five major mass extinctions eliminated at least 40 percent of animal genera in the oceans and from 65 to 95 percent of ocean species. Questions include the occurrence of gradual or catastrophic extinctions, causes, environment, the capacity of a perturbation to cause extinctions each time it happens, and the possibility and identification of complex events leading to a mass extinction.

  4. Organic molecules as chemical fossils - The molecular fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Eglinton, G.

    1983-01-01

    The study of biochemical clues to the early earth and the origin of life is discussed. The methods used in such investigation are described, including the extraction, fractionation, and analysis of geolipids and the analysis of kerogen. The occurrence of molecular fossils in the geological record is examined, discussing proposed precursor-product relationships and the molecular assessment of deep sea sediments, ancient sediments, and crude petroleums. Alterations in the molecular record due to diagenesis and catagenesis are considered, and the use of microbial lipids as molecular fossils is discussed. The results of searches for molecular fossils in Precambrian sediments are assessed.

  5. The fossil record of the sixth extinction.

    PubMed

    Plotnick, Roy E; Smith, Felisa A; Lyons, S Kathleen

    2016-05-01

    Comparing the magnitude of the current biodiversity crisis with those in the fossil record is difficult without an understanding of differential preservation. Integrating data from palaeontological databases with information on IUCN status, ecology and life history characteristics of contemporary mammals, we demonstrate that only a small and biased fraction of threatened species (< 9%) have a fossil record, compared with 20% of non-threatened species. We find strong taphonomic biases related to body size and geographic range. Modern species with a fossil record tend to be large and widespread and were described in the 19(th) century. The expected magnitude of the current extinction based only on species with a fossil record is about half of that of one based on all modern species; values for genera are similar. The record of ancient extinctions may be similarly biased, with many species having originated and gone extinct without leaving a tangible record. PMID:26932459

  6. Reconciling molecular phylogenies with the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Morlon, Hélène; Parsons, Todd L; Plotkin, Joshua B

    2011-09-27

    Historical patterns of species diversity inferred from phylogenies typically contradict the direct evidence found in the fossil record. According to the fossil record, species frequently go extinct, and many clades experience periods of dramatic diversity loss. However, most analyses of molecular phylogenies fail to identify any periods of declining diversity, and they typically infer low levels of extinction. This striking inconsistency between phylogenies and fossils limits our understanding of macroevolution, and it undermines our confidence in phylogenetic inference. Here, we show that realistic extinction rates and diversity trajectories can be inferred from molecular phylogenies. To make this inference, we derive an analytic expression for the likelihood of a phylogeny that accommodates scenarios of declining diversity, time-variable rates, and incomplete sampling; we show that this likelihood expression reliably detects periods of diversity loss using simulation. We then study the cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), a group for which standard phylogenetic inferences are strikingly inconsistent with fossil data. When the cetacean phylogeny is considered as a whole, recently radiating clades, such as the Balaneopteridae, Delphinidae, Phocoenidae, and Ziphiidae, mask the signal of extinctions. However, when isolating these groups, we infer diversity dynamics that are consistent with the fossil record. These results reconcile molecular phylogenies with fossil data, and they suggest that most extant cetaceans arose from four recent radiations, with a few additional species arising from clades that have been in decline over the last ~10 Myr. PMID:21930899

  7. Reconciling molecular phylogenies with the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Morlon, Hélène; Parsons, Todd L.; Plotkin, Joshua B.

    2011-01-01

    Historical patterns of species diversity inferred from phylogenies typically contradict the direct evidence found in the fossil record. According to the fossil record, species frequently go extinct, and many clades experience periods of dramatic diversity loss. However, most analyses of molecular phylogenies fail to identify any periods of declining diversity, and they typically infer low levels of extinction. This striking inconsistency between phylogenies and fossils limits our understanding of macroevolution, and it undermines our confidence in phylogenetic inference. Here, we show that realistic extinction rates and diversity trajectories can be inferred from molecular phylogenies. To make this inference, we derive an analytic expression for the likelihood of a phylogeny that accommodates scenarios of declining diversity, time-variable rates, and incomplete sampling; we show that this likelihood expression reliably detects periods of diversity loss using simulation. We then study the cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), a group for which standard phylogenetic inferences are strikingly inconsistent with fossil data. When the cetacean phylogeny is considered as a whole, recently radiating clades, such as the Balaneopteridae, Delphinidae, Phocoenidae, and Ziphiidae, mask the signal of extinctions. However, when isolating these groups, we infer diversity dynamics that are consistent with the fossil record. These results reconcile molecular phylogenies with fossil data, and they suggest that most extant cetaceans arose from four recent radiations, with a few additional species arising from clades that have been in decline over the last ∼10 Myr. PMID:21930899

  8. Insect diversity in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Labandeira, C. C.; Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1993-01-01

    Insects possess a surprisingly extensive fossil record. Compilation of the geochronologic ranges of insect families demonstrates that their diversity exceeds that of preserved vertebrate tetrapods through 91 percent of their evolutionary history. The great diversity of insects was achieved not by high origination rates but rather by low extinction rates comparable to the low rates of slowly evolving marine invertebrate groups. The great radiation of modern insects began 245 million years ago and was not accelerated by the expansion of angiosperms during the Cretaceous period. The basic trophic machinery of insects was in place nearly 100 million years before angiosperms appeared in the fossil record.

  9. Expected anomalies in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Fischer, Mareike; Steel, Mike

    2008-01-01

    The problem of intermediates in the fossil record has been frequently discussed ever since Darwin. The extent of 'gaps' (missing transitional stages) has been used to argue against gradual evolution from a common ancestor. Traditionally, gaps have often been explained by the improbability of fossilization and the discontinuous selection of found fossils. Here we take an analytical approach and demonstrate why, under certain sampling conditions, we may not expect intermediates to be found. Using a simple null model, we show mathematically that the question of whether a taxon sampled from some time in the past is likely to be morphologically intermediate to other samples (dated earlier and later) depends on the shape and dimensions of the underlying phylogenetic tree that connects the taxa, and the times from which the fossils are sampled. PMID:19204808

  10. Adaptation, plant evolution, and the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, A. H.; Niklas, K. J.

    1987-01-01

    The importance of adaptation in determining patterns of evolution has become an important focus of debate in evolutionary biology. As it pertains to paleobotany, the issue is whether or not adaptive evolution mediated by natural selection is sufficient to explain the stratigraphic distributions of taxa and character states observed in the plant fossil record. One means of addressing this question is the functional evaluation of stratigraphic series of plant organs set in the context of paleoenvironmental change and temporal patterns of floral composition within environments. For certain organ systems, quantitative estimates of biophysical performance can be made on the basis of structures preserved in the fossil record. Performance estimates for plants separated in time or space can be compared directly. Implicit in different hypotheses of the forces that shape the evolutionary record (e.g. adaptation, mass extinction, rapid environmental change, chance) are predictions about stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental trends in the efficacy of functional performance. Existing data suggest that following the evolution of a significant structural innovation, adaptation for improved functional performance can be a major determinant of evolutionary changes in plants; however, there are structural and development limits to functional improvement, and once these are reached, the structure in question may no longer figure strongly in selection until and unless a new innovation evolves. The Silurian-Devonian paleobotanical record is consistent with the hypothesis that the succession of lowland floodplain dominants preserved in the fossil record of this interval was determined principally by the repeated evolution of new taxa that rose to ecological importance because of competitive advantages conferred by improved biophysical performance. This does not seem to be equally true for Carboniferous-Jurassic dominants of swamp and lowland floodplain environments. In these cases

  11. Fossil Signatures Using Elemental Abundance Distributions and Bayesian Probabilistic Classification

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hoover, Richard B.; Storrie-Lombardi, Michael C.

    2004-01-01

    Elemental abundances (C6, N7, O8, Na11, Mg12, Al3, P15, S16, Cl17, K19, Ca20, Ti22, Mn25, Fe26, and Ni28) were obtained for a set of terrestrial fossils and the rock matrix surrounding them. Principal Component Analysis extracted five factors accounting for the 92.5% of the data variance, i.e. information content, of the elemental abundance data. Hierarchical Cluster Analysis provided unsupervised sample classification distinguishing fossil from matrix samples on the basis of either raw abundances or PCA input that agreed strongly with visual classification. A stochastic, non-linear Artificial Neural Network produced a Bayesian probability of correct sample classification. The results provide a quantitative probabilistic methodology for discriminating terrestrial fossils from the surrounding rock matrix using chemical information. To demonstrate the applicability of these techniques to the assessment of meteoritic samples or in situ extraterrestrial exploration, we present preliminary data on samples of the Orgueil meteorite. In both systems an elemental signature produces target classification decisions remarkably consistent with morphological classification by a human expert using only structural (visual) information. We discuss the possibility of implementing a complexity analysis metric capable of automating certain image analysis and pattern recognition abilities of the human eye using low magnification optical microscopy images and discuss the extension of this technique across multiple scales.

  12. An overview of the dinosaur fossil record from Chile

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rubilar-Rogers, David; Otero, Rodrigo A.; Yury-Yáñez, Roberto E.; Vargas, Alexander O.; Gutstein, Carolina S.

    2012-08-01

    In Chile, the record of dinosaurs in Jurassic and Cretaceous sediments is often restricted to footprints, with few skeletal remains. Tetanuran theropods are known in the Upper Jurassic, and bones of titanosaur sauropods in the Late Cretaceous, including partial skeletons (e.g. Atacamatitan chilensis Kellner et al.). Also from the late Cretaceous, an ornithopod vertebra, a pair of theropod teeth and one tarsometatarsus of a gaviiform bird (Neogaeornis wetzeli Lambrecht) have been reported. The Cenozoic fossil record comprises abundant and well-preserved marine birds from Eocene and Miocene units, with a specially abundant record of Sphenisciformes and less frequently, Procellariiformes. There is an excellent Miocene-Pliocene record of other birds such as Odontopterygiformes, including the most complete skeleton ever found of a pelagornithid, Pelagornis chilensis Mayr and Rubilar-Rogers. Fossil birds are also known from Pliocene and Pleistocene strata. A remarkable collection of birds was discovered in lacustrine sediments of late Pleistocene age associated to human activity. The perspectives in the study of dinosaurs in Chile are promising because plenty of material stored in institutional collections is not described yet. The record of Chilean dinosaurs is relevant for understanding the dynamics and evolution of this group of terrestrial animals in the western edge of Gondwana, while Cenozoic birds from the Region may contribute to the understanding of current biogeography for instance, the effect of the emergence and establishment of the Humboldt Current.

  13. The eukaryotic fossil record in deep time

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Butterfield, N.

    2011-12-01

    Eukaryotic organisms are defining constituents of the Phanerozoic biosphere, but they also extend well back into the Proterozoic record, primarily in the form of microscopic body fossils. Criteria for identifying pre-Ediacaran eukaryotes include large cell size, morphologically complex cell walls and/or the recognition of diagnostically eukaryotic cell division patterns. The oldest unambiguous eukaryote currently on record is an acanthomorphic acritarch (Tappania) from the Palaeoproterozoic Semri Group of central India. Older candidate eukaryotes are difficult to distinguish from giant bacteria, prokaryotic colonies or diagenetic artefacts. In younger Meso- and Neoproterozoic strata, the challenge is to recognize particular grades and clades of eukaryotes, and to document their macro-evolutionary expression. Distinctive unicellular forms include mid-Neoproterozoic testate amoebae and phosphate biomineralizing 'scale-microfossils' comparable to an extant green alga. There is also a significant record of seaweeds, possible fungi and problematica from this interval, documenting multiple independent experiments in eukaryotic multicellularity. Taxonomically resolved forms include a bangiacean red alga and probable vaucheriacean chromalveolate algae from the late Mesoproterozoic, and populations of hydrodictyacean and siphonocladalean green algae of mid Neoproterozoic age. Despite this phylogenetic breadth, however, or arguments from molecular clocks, there is no convincing evidence for pre-Ediacaran metazoans or metaphytes. The conspicuously incomplete nature of the Proterozoic record makes it difficult to resolve larger-scale ecological and evolutionary patterns. Even so, both body fossils and biomarker data point to a pre-Ediacaran biosphere dominated overwhelming by prokaryotes. Contemporaneous eukaryotes appear to be limited to conspicuously shallow water environments, and exhibit fundamentally lower levels of morphological diversity and evolutionary turnover than

  14. Exopaleontology and the search for a fossil record on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farmer, Jack D.; Desmarais, D. J.

    1994-01-01

    Although present Martian surface conditions appear unfavorable for life as we know it, there is compelling geological evidence that the climate of early Mars was much more Earth-like, with a denser atmosphere and abundant surface water. The fact that life developed on the Earth within the first billion years of its history makes it quite plausible that life may have also developed on Mars. If life did develop on Mars, it is likely to have left behind a fossil record. This has led to the development of a new subdiscipline of paleontology, herein termed 'exopaleontology', which deals with the exploration for fossils on other planets. The most important factor enhancing microbial fossilization is the rapid entombment of microorganisms by fine-grained, stable mineral phases, such as silica, phosphate, or carbonate. The oldest body fossils on Earth are preserved in this way, occurring as permineralized cells in fine-grained siliceous sediments (cherts) associated with ancient volcanic terranes in Australia and South Africa. Modern terrestrial environments where minerals may precipitate in the presence of microorganisms include subaerial thermal springs and shallow hydrothermal systems, sub-lacustrine springs and evaporitic alkaline lakes, zones of mineralization within soils where 'hardpans' (e.g. calcretes, silcretes) form, and high latitude frozen soils or ground ice.

  15. The fossil record and macroevolutionary history of the beetles

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Dena M.; Marcot, Jonathan D.

    2015-01-01

    Coleoptera (beetles) is the most species-rich metazoan order, with approximately 380 000 species. To understand how they came to be such a diverse group, we compile a database of global fossil beetle occurrences to study their macroevolutionary history. Our database includes 5553 beetle occurrences from 221 fossil localities. Amber and lacustrine deposits preserve most of the beetle diversity and abundance. All four extant suborders are found in the fossil record, with 69% of all beetle families and 63% of extant beetle families preserved. Considerable focus has been placed on beetle diversification overall, however, for much of their evolutionary history it is the clade Polyphaga that is most responsible for their taxonomic richness. Polyphaga had an increase in diversification rate in the Early Cretaceous, but instead of being due to the radiation of the angiosperms, this was probably due to the first occurrences of beetle-bearing amber deposits in the record. Perhaps, most significant is that polyphagan beetles had a family-level extinction rate of zero for most of their evolutionary history, including across the Cretaceous–Palaeogene boundary. Therefore, focusing on the factors that have inhibited beetle extinction, as opposed to solely studying mechanisms that may promote speciation, should be examined as important determinants of their great diversity today. PMID:25788597

  16. The fossil record and macroevolutionary history of the beetles.

    PubMed

    Smith, Dena M; Marcot, Jonathan D

    2015-04-22

    Coleoptera (beetles) is the most species-rich metazoan order, with approximately 380 000 species. To understand how they came to be such a diverse group, we compile a database of global fossil beetle occurrences to study their macroevolutionary history. Our database includes 5553 beetle occurrences from 221 fossil localities. Amber and lacustrine deposits preserve most of the beetle diversity and abundance. All four extant suborders are found in the fossil record, with 69% of all beetle families and 63% of extant beetle families preserved. Considerable focus has been placed on beetle diversification overall, however, for much of their evolutionary history it is the clade Polyphaga that is most responsible for their taxonomic richness. Polyphaga had an increase in diversification rate in the Early Cretaceous, but instead of being due to the radiation of the angiosperms, this was probably due to the first occurrences of beetle-bearing amber deposits in the record. Perhaps, most significant is that polyphagan beetles had a family-level extinction rate of zero for most of their evolutionary history, including across the Cretaceous-Palaeogene boundary. Therefore, focusing on the factors that have inhibited beetle extinction, as opposed to solely studying mechanisms that may promote speciation, should be examined as important determinants of their great diversity today. PMID:25788597

  17. Rates of speciation in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1998-01-01

    Data from palaeontology and biodiversity suggest that the global biota should produce an average of three new species per year. However, the fossil record shows large variation around this mean. Rates of origination have declined through the Phanerozoic. This appears to have been largely a function of sorting among higher taxa (especially classes), which exhibit characteristic rates of speciation (and extinction) that differ among them by nearly an order of magnitude. Secular decline of origination rates is hardly constant, however; many positive deviations reflect accelerated speciation during rebounds from mass extinctions. There has also been general decline in rates of speciation within major taxa through their histories, although rates have tended to remain higher among members in tropical regions. Finally, pulses of speciation appear sometimes to be associated with climate change, although moderate oscillations of climate do not necessarily promote speciation despite forcing changes in species' geographical ranges.

  18. The Quaternary fossil-pollen record and global change

    SciTech Connect

    Grimm, E.C. . Research and Collections Center)

    1993-03-01

    Fossil pollen provide one of the most valuable records of vegetation and climate change during the recent geological past. Advantages of the fossil-pollen record are that deposits containing fossil pollen are widespread, especially in areas having natural lakes, that fossil pollen occurs in continuous stratigraphic sequences spanning millennia, and that fossil pollen occurs in quantitative assemblages permitting a multivariate approach for reconstructing past vegetation and climates. Because of stratigraphic continuity, fossil pollen records climate cycles on a wide range of scales, from annual to the 100 ka Milankovitch cycles. Receiving particular emphasis recently are decadal to century scale changes, possible from the sediments of varved lakes, and late Pleistocene events on a 5--10 ka scale possibly correlating with the Heinrich events in the North Atlantic marine record or the Dansgaard-Oeschger events in the Greenland ice-core record. Researchers have long reconstructed vegetation and climate by qualitative interpretation of the fossil-pollen record. Recently quantitative interpretation has developed with the aid of large fossil-pollen databases and sophisticated numerical models. In addition, fossil pollen are important climate proxy data for validating General Circulation Models, which are used for predicting the possible magnitude future climate change. Fossil-pollen data also contribute to an understanding of ecological issues associated with global climate change, including questions of how and how rapidly ecosystems might respond to abrupt climate change.

  19. Special Creation and the Fossil Record: The Central Fallacy.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Miller, Kenneth R.

    1982-01-01

    Fossil records are used to point out two major flaws in the scientific creationist theory: (1) factual evidence does not support the theory, and (2) the creationists' own characterization of the fossil record contradicts their theory. Claims that creationists avoid discussing specifics about their model because of weaknesses. (DC)

  20. Aragonite and the fossil record: are we overlooking something?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balthasar, Uwe

    2016-04-01

    Aragonite and calcite are the two most common minerals from which marine organisms secrete their skeletons, yet their potential to preserve in the fossil record is very different. While calcite is generally very stable, aragonite dissolves relatively easily either during diagenesis or even pre-burial. While the complete loss of aragonitic shells is generally acknowledged, the original contribution of aragonite to commonly preserved calcareous fossils is generally overlooked, particularly in groups with no recent representatives. Palaeozoic brachiopods and stromatoporoid sponges, for example, are traditionally considered to have been made of calcite. However, EBSD work on stromatoporoids shows a complex early diagenesis during which the skeletal walls recrystallised first and served as the nucleation surface for the cements infilling the open galleries between the walls. This suggests that the original mineral composition of the skeletal walls had a high diagenetic potential which makes a stable low-magnesium calcite composition unlikely. Equally, the biggest subphylum of brachiopods, Rhynchonelliformea, is traditionally considered to have shells that are exclusively made of low-magnesium calcite. However, a survey of the shell thickness of 176 Ordovician-Silurian brachiopod valves reveals that the calcitic remains of some of the larger shells (particularly of pentamerids) are far too thin with several specimens exhibiting the irregular internal margins typical of dissolution, thus suggesting a bimineralic composition with an outer calcite and an inner aragonite layer. These examples indicate that existing estimates of Phanerozoic aragonite and calcite skeletal mineralogy are not only biased by the complete dissolution of shells, but we probably overestimate the abundance of original calcite composition in the fossil record.

  1. The FORCLIM Eco-Physiological Growth Model for Planktic Foraminifera: a new Tool to Reconstruct Ecological Niches, Abundance and Potential Depth and Season of Growth for Fossil Foraminifera Species in Ocean Sediment Records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lombard, F.; Labeyrie, L.; Michel, E.; Lea, D.; Spero, H. J.; Forclim, M. O.

    2007-12-01

    Paleocean hydrological reconstructions derived from planktic foraminifera isotopic ratios (δ18O and δ13C) or trace element ratio (Mg/Ca) are poorly constrained, for lack of precise knowledge on seasonality and water depth of test formation. This is particularly limiting for reconstruction of the thermocline characteristics. Various calibrations have been published, based on statistical correlation with core tops fossil fauna, sediment traps or plankton net collection. We present here what we think is the first eco-physiological model reproducing the growth of different foraminifera species in function of environmental parameter. By reproducing the main physiological rates of foraminifera (nutrition, respiration, symbiotic photosynthesis), this model estimates their growth in function of temperature, light availability and food concentration. The model is now calibrated for the species Neogloboquadrina pachyderma (dextral and sinistral forms), Neogloboquadrina dutertrei, Globigerina bulloides, Globigerinoides ruber, Globigerinoides sacculifer, Globigerinella siphonifera and Orbulina universa. Most of the model parameters are derived from newly performed experimental observations or from published data and only the influence of food concentration (in a Chl a basis) was calibrated with field observations. Using satellite data, the model predict the seasonal distribution of dominant foraminifer species over 576 field observations worldwide with efficiency higher than 60%. Moreover, the growth rate estimated for each foraminifera species can be used as an abundance indicator which allows prediction of the season and water depth at which most of the population has developed. This offers larges perspectives for both actual understanding of foraminifera role in the carbon/carbonate ocean cycle and for better quantification of paleoceanographic proxies. Forclim is a program supported by the Agence Nationale pour la Recherche and Institut National des Sciences de l

  2. Estimating times of extinction in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Wang, Steve C; Marshall, Charles R

    2016-04-01

    Because the fossil record is incomplete, the last fossil of a taxon is a biased estimate of its true time of extinction. Numerous methods have been developed in the palaeontology literature for estimating the true time of extinction using ages of fossil specimens. These methods, which typically give a confidence interval for estimating the true time of extinction, differ in the assumptions they make and the nature and amount of data they require. We review the literature on such methods and make some recommendations for future directions. PMID:27122005

  3. NGST: Exploring the Fossil Record of Galaxy Formation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rich, R. Michael

    1998-01-01

    During this grant period the investigator has accomplished the following: developed and researched the science case for high resolution optical imaging with NGST (Next Generation Space Telescope); presented to the ASWG (Ad-Hoc Science Working Group) on the use of NGST to image and measure the proper motions of white dwarf stars that could account for the MACHO events toward the LMC (Large Magellanic Cloud); wrote proposals for the Design Reference Mission. Three proposals have been written on the following topics: Measuring the faint end of the white dwarf luminosity function to get an independent measure of the age of the oldest stars, measurement of the stellar luminosity function over the full range of age, abundance, and population type, and deep imaging of Local Group halos to measure the relative ages of the oldest stars in the Milky Way and other galaxies; he has introduced simulations of crowded field stellar photometry on a hypothetical population in the M31 halo. Using a physically correct luminosity function and a surface brightness of 24.5 mag/sq. arcsec, NGST imaging in 10 hours easily measures the turnoff and reaches 3 mags down the main sequence in the halo of M31; and has delivered talks at the NGST workshop in Liege, and at the meeting in Paris entitled "Connecting the Distant Universe with the Local Fossil Record".

  4. A fossil record of galaxy encounters.

    PubMed

    Elbaz, David; Cesarsky, Catherine J

    2003-04-11

    The cosmic infrared background (CIRB) is a record of a large fraction of the emission of light by stars and galaxies over time. The bulk of this emission has been resolved by the Infrared Space Observatory camera. The dominant contributors are bright starburst galaxies with redshift z approximately 0.8; that is, in the same redshift range as the active galactic nuclei responsible for the bulk of the x-ray background. At the longest wavelengths, sources of redshift z >/= 2 tend to dominate the CIRB. It appears that the majority of present-day stars have been formed in dusty starbursts triggered by galaxy-galaxy interactions and the buildup of large-scale structures. PMID:12690183

  5. Absolute measures of the completeness of the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Foote, M.; Sepkoski, J. J. Jr; Sepkoski JJ, J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1999-01-01

    Measuring the completeness of the fossil record is essential to understanding evolution over long timescales, particularly when comparing evolutionary patterns among biological groups with different preservational properties. Completeness measures have been presented for various groups based on gaps in the stratigraphic ranges of fossil taxa and on hypothetical lineages implied by estimated evolutionary trees. Here we present and compare quantitative, widely applicable absolute measures of completeness at two taxonomic levels for a broader sample of higher taxa of marine animals than has previously been available. We provide an estimate of the probability of genus preservation per stratigraphic interval, and determine the proportion of living families with some fossil record. The two completeness measures use very different data and calculations. The probability of genus preservation depends almost entirely on the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic records, whereas the proportion of living families with a fossil record is influenced largely by Cenozoic data. These measurements are nonetheless highly correlated, with outliers quite explicable, and we find that completeness is rather high for many animal groups.

  6. Evidence for Evolution from the Vertebrate Fossil Record.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gingerich, Philip D.

    1983-01-01

    Discusses three examples of evolutionary transition in the vertebrate fossil record, considering evolutionary transitions at the species level. Uses archaic squirrel-like Paleocine primates, the earliest primates of modern aspect, as examples. Also reviews new evidence on the origin of whales and their transition from land to sea. (JN)

  7. Giving the early fossil record of sponges a squeeze.

    PubMed

    Antcliffe, Jonathan B; Callow, Richard H T; Brasier, Martin D

    2014-11-01

    Twenty candidate fossils with claim to be the oldest representative of the Phylum Porifera have been re-analysed. Three criteria are used to assess each candidate: (i) the diagnostic criteria needed to categorize sponges in the fossil record; (ii) the presence, or absence, of such diagnostic features in the putative poriferan fossils; and (iii) the age constraints for the candidate fossils. All three criteria are critical to the correct interpretation of any fossil and its placement within an evolutionary context. Our analysis shows that no Precambrian fossil candidate yet satisfies all three of these criteria to be a reliable sponge fossil. The oldest widely accepted candidate, Mongolian silica hexacts from c. 545 million years ago (Ma), are here shown to be cruciform arsenopyrite crystals. The oldest reliable sponge remains are siliceous spicules from the basal Cambrian (Protohertzina anabarica Zone) Soltanieh Formation, Iran, which are described and analysed here in detail for the first time. Extensive archaeocyathan sponge reefs emerge and radiate as late as the middle of the Fortunian Stage of the Cambrian and demonstrate a gradual assembly of their skeletal structure through this time coincident with the evolution of other metazoan groups. Since the Porifera are basal in the Metazoa, their presence within the late Proterozoic has been widely anticipated. Molecular clock calibration for the earliest Porifera and Metazoa should now be based on the Iranian hexactinellid material dated to c. 535 Ma. The earliest convincing fossil sponge remains appeared at around the time of the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary, associated with the great radiation events of that interval. PMID:24779547

  8. Testing New Proxies for Photosymbiosis in the Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tornabene, C.; Martindale, R. C.; Schaller, M. F.

    2015-12-01

    Photosymbiosis is a mutualistic relationship that many corals have developed with dinoflagellates called zooxanthellae. The dinoflagellates, of the genus Symbiodinium, photosynthesize and provide corals with most of their energy, while in turn coral hosts live in waters where zooxanthellae have optimal exposure to sunlight. Thanks to this relationship, symbiotic corals calcify faster than non-symbiotic corals. Photosymbiosis is therefore considered the evolutionary innovation that allowed corals to become major reef-builders through geological time.This relationship is extremely difficult to study. Zooxanthellae, which are housed in the coral tissue, are not preserved in fossil coral skeletons, thus determining whether corals had symbionts requires a robust proxy. In order to address this critical question, the goal of this research is to test new proxies for ancient photosymbiosis. Currently the project is focused on assessing the nitrogen (δ15N) isotopes of corals' organic matrices, sensu Muscatine et al. (2005), as well as carbon and oxygen (δ13C, δ18O) isotopes of fossil coral skeletons. Samples from Modern, Pleistocene, Oligocene and Triassic coral skeletons were analyzed to test the validity of these proxies. Coral samples comprise both (interpreted) symbiotic and non-symbiotic fossil corals from the Oligocene and Triassic as well as symbiotic fossil corals from the Modern and Pleistocene to corroborate our findings with the results of Muscatine et al. (2005). Samples were tested for diagenesis through petrographic and scanning electron microscope (SEM) analyses to avoid contamination. Additionally, a novel technique that has not yet been applied to the fossil record was tested. The technique aims to recognize dinosterol, a dinoflagellate biomarker, in both modern and fossil coral samples. The premise of this proxy is that symbiotic corals should contain the dinoflagellate biomarker, whereas those lacking symbionts should lack dinosterol. Results from this

  9. The avian fossil record in Insular Southeast Asia and its implications for avian biogeography and palaeoecology

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Excavations and studies of existing collections during the last decades have significantly increased the abundance as well as the diversity of the avian fossil record for Insular Southeast Asia. The avian fossil record covers the Eocene through the Holocene, with the majority of bird fossils Pleistocene in age. Fossil bird skeletal remains represent at least 63 species in 54 genera and 27 families, and two ichnospecies are represented by fossil footprints. Birds of prey, owls and swiftlets are common elements. Extinctions seem to have been few, suggesting continuity of avian lineages since at least the Late Pleistocene, although some shifts in species ranges have occurred in response to climatic change. Similarities between the Late Pleistocene avifaunas of Flores and Java suggest a dispersal route across southern Sundaland. Late Pleistocene assemblages of Niah Cave (Borneo) and Liang Bua (Flores) support the rainforest refugium hypothesis in Southeast Asia as they indicate the persistence of forest cover, at least locally, throughout the Late Pleistocene and Holocene. PMID:24688871

  10. Earth's early fossil record: Why not look for similar fossils on Mars?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Awramik, Stanley M.

    1989-01-01

    The oldest evidence of life on Earth is discussed with attention being given to the structure and formation of stromatolites and microfossils. Fossilization of microbes in calcium carbonate or chert media is discussed. In searching for fossil remains on Mars, some lessons learned from the study of Earth's earliest fossil record can be applied. Certain sedimentary rock types and sedimentary rock configurations should be targeted for investigation and returned by the Martian rover and ultimately by human explorers. Domical, columnar to wavy laminated stratiform sedimentary rocks that resemble stromatolites should be actively sought. Limestone, other carbonates, and chert are the favored lithology. Being macroscopic, stromatolites might be recognized by an intelligent unmanned rover. In addition, black, waxy chert with conchoidal fracture should be sought. Chert is by far the preferred lithology for the preservation of microbes and chemical fossils. Even under optimal geological conditions (little or no metamorphism or tectonic alteration, excellent outcrops, and good black chert) and using experienced field biogeologists, the chances of finding well preserved microbial remains in chert are very low.

  11. Diversity dynamics: molecular phylogenies need the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Quental, Tiago B; Marshall, Charles R

    2010-08-01

    Over the last two decades, new tools in the analysis of molecular phylogenies have enabled study of the diversification dynamics of living clades in the absence of information about extinct lineages. However, computer simulations and the fossil record show that the inability to access extinct lineages severely limits the inferences that can be drawn from molecular phylogenies. It appears that molecular phylogenies can tell us only when there have been changes in diversification rates, but are blind to the true diversity trajectories and rates of origination and extinction that have led to the species that are alive today. We need to embrace the fossil record if we want to fully understand the diversity dynamics of the living biota. PMID:20646780

  12. The Completeness of the Fossil Record of Mesozoic Birds: Implications for Early Avian Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Brocklehurst, Neil; Upchurch, Paul; Mannion, Philip D.; O'Connor, Jingmai

    2012-01-01

    Many palaeobiological analyses have concluded that modern birds (Neornithes) radiated no earlier than the Maastrichtian, whereas molecular clock studies have argued for a much earlier origination. Here, we assess the quality of the fossil record of Mesozoic avian species, using a recently proposed character completeness metric which calculates the percentage of phylogenetic characters that can be scored for each taxon. Estimates of fossil record quality are plotted against geological time and compared to estimates of species level diversity, sea level, and depositional environment. Geographical controls on the avian fossil record are investigated by comparing the completeness scores of species in different continental regions and latitudinal bins. Avian fossil record quality varies greatly with peaks during the Tithonian-early Berriasian, Aptian, and Coniacian–Santonian, and troughs during the Albian-Turonian and the Maastrichtian. The completeness metric correlates more strongly with a ‘sampling corrected’ residual diversity curve of avian species than with the raw taxic diversity curve, suggesting that the abundance and diversity of birds might influence the probability of high quality specimens being preserved. There is no correlation between avian completeness and sea level, the number of fluviolacustrine localities or a recently constructed character completeness metric of sauropodomorph dinosaurs. Comparisons between the completeness of Mesozoic birds and sauropodomorphs suggest that small delicate vertebrate skeletons are more easily destroyed by taphonomic processes, but more easily preserved whole. Lagerstätten deposits might therefore have a stronger impact on reconstructions of diversity of smaller organisms relative to more robust forms. The relatively poor quality of the avian fossil record in the Late Cretaceous combined with very patchy regional sampling means that it is possible neornithine lineages were present throughout this interval but

  13. First record of Podocarpoid fossil wood in South China

    PubMed Central

    Li, Long; Jin, Jian-Hua; Quan, Cheng; Oskolski, Alexei A.

    2016-01-01

    A new species of fossil conifer wood, Podocarpoxylon donghuaiense sp. nov., is described from the late Eocene of Nadu Formation in Baise Basin of the Guangxi Province, South China. This fossil wood is characterized by distinct growth rings, circular to oval tracheids in cross section, 1–2-seriate opposite pits on radial tracheid walls, uniseriate (rarely biseriate) rays, smooth end walls of ray parenchyma cells, and the absence of resin ducts, suggesting its affinity to Podocarpaceae. The new species is distinctive from other Cenozoic woods ascribed to this family by the combination of distinctive growth rings, the absence of axial parenchyma, the occurrence of bordered pits on tangential tracheid walls, and the occurrence of 3–4 cuppressoid or taxodioid pits on cross-fields. This represents the first record of podocarpoid fossil wood in South China and provides fossil evidence for the early dispersal and diversification of Podocarpaceae in eastern Asia as well as for mild temperate seasonal climate in this region during the late Eocene. PMID:27571780

  14. First record of Podocarpoid fossil wood in South China.

    PubMed

    Li, Long; Jin, Jian-Hua; Quan, Cheng; Oskolski, Alexei A

    2016-01-01

    A new species of fossil conifer wood, Podocarpoxylon donghuaiense sp. nov., is described from the late Eocene of Nadu Formation in Baise Basin of the Guangxi Province, South China. This fossil wood is characterized by distinct growth rings, circular to oval tracheids in cross section, 1-2-seriate opposite pits on radial tracheid walls, uniseriate (rarely biseriate) rays, smooth end walls of ray parenchyma cells, and the absence of resin ducts, suggesting its affinity to Podocarpaceae. The new species is distinctive from other Cenozoic woods ascribed to this family by the combination of distinctive growth rings, the absence of axial parenchyma, the occurrence of bordered pits on tangential tracheid walls, and the occurrence of 3-4 cuppressoid or taxodioid pits on cross-fields. This represents the first record of podocarpoid fossil wood in South China and provides fossil evidence for the early dispersal and diversification of Podocarpaceae in eastern Asia as well as for mild temperate seasonal climate in this region during the late Eocene. PMID:27571780

  15. Mass extinctions in the fossil record of late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic tetrapods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benton, Michael J.

    The fossil record of tetrapods is very patchy because of the problems of preservation in terrestrial sediments, and because vertebrates are rarely very abundant. However, the fossil record of tetrapods has the advantages that it is easier to establish a phylogenetic taxonomy than for many invertebrate groups (many characters; fast evolution), and there is the potential for more detailed ecological analyses (greater knowledge of modern tetrapod ecology). The diversity of tetrapods increased during the Devonian, the Carboniferous, and the Permian, but it remained generally constant during the Triassic, the Jurassic, and the Early Cretaceous. Overall diversity then began to increase in the Late Cretaceous, and continued to do so during the Tertiary. The rapid radiation of modern tetrapod groups — frogs, salamanders, lizards, snakes, turtles, crocodiles, birds and mammals — was hardly affected by the celebrated end-Cretaceous extinction event.

  16. The hominin fossil record: taxa, grades and clades

    PubMed Central

    Wood, Bernard; Lonergan, Nicholas

    2008-01-01

    This paper begins by reviewing the fossil evidence for human evolution. It presents summaries of each of the taxa recognized in a relatively speciose hominin taxonomy. These taxa are grouped in grades, namely possible and probable hominins, archaic hominins, megadont archaic hominins, transitional hominins, pre-modern Homo and anatomically modern Homo. The second part of this contribution considers some of the controversies that surround hominin taxonomy and systematics. The first is the vexed question of how you tell an early hominin from an early panin, or from taxa belonging to an extinct clade closely related to the Pan-Homo clade. Secondly, we consider how many species should be recognized within the hominin fossil record, and review the philosophies and methods used to identify taxa within the hominin fossil record. Thirdly, we examine how relationships within the hominin clade are investigated, including descriptions of the methods used to break down an integrated structure into tractable analytical units, and then how cladograms are generated and compared. We then review the internal structure of the hominin clade, including the problem of how many subclades should be recognized within the hominin clade, and we examine the reliability of hominin cladistic hypotheses. The last part of the paper reviews the concepts of a genus, including the criteria that should be used for recognizing genera within the hominin clade. PMID:18380861

  17. Maturation experiments reveal bias in the fossil record of feathers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNamara, Maria; Field, Daniel

    2016-04-01

    The evolutionary history of birds and feathers is a major focus in palaeobiology and evolutionary biology. Diverse exceptionally preserved birds and feathered dinosaurs from Jurassic and Cretaceous biotas in China have provided pivotal evidence of early feathers and feather-like integumentary features, but the true nature of many of these fossil soft tissues is still debated. Interpretations of feathers at intermediate developmental stages (i.e. Stages II, III and IV) and of simple quill-like (Stage I) feathers are particularly controversial. This reflects key uncertainties relating to the preservation potential of feathers at different evolutionary-developmental stages, and to the relative preservation potential of diagnostic features of Stage I feathers and hair. To resolve these issues, we used high pressure-high temperature autoclave experiments to simulate the effects of burial on modern feathers from the Black Coucal (Centropus grilii) and Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), and on human hair. Our results reveal profound differences in the recalcitrance of feathers of different types during maturation: Stage I and Stage V feathers retain diagnostic morphological and ultrastructural details following maturation, whereas other feather types do not. Further, the morphology and arrangement of certain ultrastructural features diagnostic of Stages III and IV, e.g. barbules, are preferentially lost during maturation. These results indicate a pervasive bias in the fossil record of feathers, whereby preservation of feathers at Stages I and V is favored. Critical stages in the evolution of feathers, i.e. Stages II, III and IV, are less likely to be preserved and more likely to be misinterpreted as feathers at earlier developmental stages. Our discovery has major implications for our understanding of the fidelity of the fossil record of feathers and provides a framework for testing the significance of putative examples of fossil feathers at different developmental

  18. Disentangling rock record bias and common-cause from redundancy in the British fossil record.

    PubMed

    Dunhill, Alexander M; Hannisdal, Bjarte; Benton, Michael J

    2014-01-01

    The fossil record documents the history of life, but the reliability of that record has often been questioned. Spatiotemporal variability in sedimentary rock volume, sampling and research effort especially frustrates global-scale diversity reconstructions. Various proposals have been made to rectify palaeodiversity estimates using proxy measures for the availability and sampling of the rock record, but the validity of these approaches remains controversial. Targeting the rich fossil record of Great Britain as a highly detailed regional exemplar, our statistical analysis shows that marine outcrop area contains a signal useful for predicting changes in diversity, collections and formations, whereas terrestrial outcrop area contains a signal useful for predicting formations. In contrast, collection and formation counts are information redundant with fossil richness, characterized by symmetric, bidirectional information flow. If this is true, the widespread use of collection and formation counts as sampling proxies to correct the raw palaeodiversity data may be unwarranted. PMID:25187994

  19. Fossil steroids record the appearance of Demospongiae during the Cryogenian period.

    PubMed

    Love, Gordon D; Grosjean, Emmanuelle; Stalvies, Charlotte; Fike, David A; Grotzinger, John P; Bradley, Alexander S; Kelly, Amy E; Bhatia, Maya; Meredith, William; Snape, Colin E; Bowring, Samuel A; Condon, Daniel J; Summons, Roger E

    2009-02-01

    The Neoproterozoic era (1,000-542 Myr ago) was an era of climatic extremes and biological evolutionary developments culminating in the emergence of animals (Metazoa) and new ecosystems. Here we show that abundant sedimentary 24-isopropylcholestanes, the hydrocarbon remains of C(30) sterols produced by marine demosponges, record the presence of Metazoa in the geological record before the end of the Marinoan glaciation ( approximately 635 Myr ago). These sterane biomarkers are abundant in all formations of the Huqf Supergroup, South Oman Salt Basin, and, based on a new high-precision geochronology, constitute a continuous 100-Myr-long chemical fossil record of demosponges through the terminal Neoproterozoic and into the Early Cambrian epoch. The demosponge steranes occur in strata that underlie the Marinoan cap carbonate (>635 Myr ago). They currently represent the oldest evidence for animals in the fossil record, and are evidence for animals pre-dating the termination of the Marinoan glaciation. This suggests that shallow shelf waters in some late Cryogenian ocean basins (>635 Myr ago) contained dissolved oxygen in concentrations sufficient to support basal metazoan life at least 100 Myr before the rapid diversification of bilaterians during the Cambrian explosion. Biomarker analysis has yet to reveal any convincing evidence for ancient sponges pre-dating the first globally extensive Neoproterozoic glacial episode (the Sturtian, approximately 713 Myr ago in Oman). PMID:19194449

  20. Late Paleocene fossils from the Cerrejon Formation, Colombia, are the earliest record of Neotropical rainforest.

    PubMed

    Wing, Scott L; Herrera, Fabiany; Jaramillo, Carlos A; Gómez-Navarro, Carolina; Wilf, Peter; Labandeira, Conrad C

    2009-11-01

    Neotropical rainforests have a very poor fossil record, making hypotheses concerning their origins difficult to evaluate. Nevertheless, some of their most important characteristics can be preserved in the fossil record: high plant diversity, dominance by a distinctive combination of angiosperm families, a preponderance of plant species with large, smooth-margined leaves, and evidence for a high diversity of herbivorous insects. Here, we report on an approximately 58-my-old flora from the Cerrejón Formation of Colombia (paleolatitude approximately 5 degrees N) that is the earliest megafossil record of Neotropical rainforest. The flora has abundant, diverse palms and legumes and similar family composition to extant Neotropical rainforest. Three-quarters of the leaf types are large and entire-margined, indicating rainfall >2,500 mm/year and mean annual temperature >25 degrees C. Despite modern family composition and tropical paleoclimate, the diversity of fossil pollen and leaf samples is 60-80% that of comparable samples from extant and Quaternary Neotropical rainforest from similar climates. Insect feeding damage on Cerrejón fossil leaves, representing primary consumers, is abundant, but also of low diversity, and overwhelmingly made by generalist feeders rather than specialized herbivores. Cerrejón megafossils provide strong evidence that the same Neotropical rainforest families have characterized the biome since the Paleocene, maintaining their importance through climatic phases warmer and cooler than present. The low diversity of both plants and herbivorous insects in this Paleocene Neotropical rainforest may reflect an early stage in the diversification of the lineages that inhabit this biome, and/or a long recovery period from the terminal Cretaceous extinction. PMID:19833876

  1. At the origin of animals: the revolutionary cambrian fossil record.

    PubMed

    Budd, Graham E

    2013-09-01

    The certain fossil record of animals begins around 540 million years ago, close to the base of the Cambrian Period. A series of extraordinary discoveries starting over 100 years ago with Walcott's discovery of the Burgess Shale has accelerated in the last thirty years or so with the description of exceptionally-preserved Cambrian fossils from around the world. Such deposits of "Burgess Shale Type" have been recently complemented by other types of exceptional preservation. Together with a remarkable growth in knowledge about the environments that these early animals lived in, these discoveries have long exerted a fascination and strong influence on views on the origins of animals, and indeed, the nature of evolution itself. Attention is now shifting to the period of time just before animals become common, at the base of the Cambrian and in the preceding Ediacaran Period. Remarkable though the Burgess Shale deposits have been, a substantial gap still exists in our knowledge of the earliest animals. Nevertheless, the fossils from this most remarkable period of evolutionary history continue to exert a strong influence on many aspects of animal evolution, not least recent theories about developmental evolution. PMID:24396267

  2. At the Origin of Animals: The Revolutionary Cambrian Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Budd, Graham E

    2013-01-01

    The certain fossil record of animals begins around 540 million years ago, close to the base of the Cambrian Period. A series of extraordinary discoveries starting over 100 years ago with Walcott’s discovery of the Burgess Shale has accelerated in the last thirty years or so with the description of exceptionally-preserved Cambrian fossils from around the world. Such deposits of “Burgess Shale Type” have been recently complemented by other types of exceptional preservation. Together with a remarkable growth in knowledge about the environments that these early animals lived in, these discoveries have long exerted a fascination and strong influence on views on the origins of animals, and indeed, the nature of evolution itself. Attention is now shifting to the period of time just before animals become common, at the base of the Cambrian and in the preceding Ediacaran Period. Remarkable though the Burgess Shale deposits have been, a substantial gap still exists in our knowledge of the earliest animals. Nevertheless, the fossils from this most remarkable period of evolutionary history continue to exert a strong influence on many aspects of animal evolution, not least recent theories about developmental evolution. PMID:24396267

  3. Delayed biological recovery from extinctions throughout the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Kirchner, J W; Weil, A

    2000-03-01

    How quickly does biodiversity rebound after extinctions? Palaeobiologists have examined the temporal, taxonomic and geographic patterns of recovery following individual mass extinctions in detail, but have not analysed recoveries from extinctions throughout the fossil record as a whole. Here, we measure how fast biodiversity rebounds after extinctions in general, rather than after individual mass extinctions, by calculating the cross-correlation between extinction and origination rates across the entire Phanerozoic marine fossil record. Our results show that extinction rates are not significantly correlated with contemporaneous origination rates, but instead are correlated with origination rates roughly 10 million years later. This lagged correlation persists when we remove the 'Big Five' major mass extinctions, indicating that recovery times following mass extinctions and background extinctions are similar. Our results suggest that there are intrinsic limits to how quickly global biodiversity can recover after extinction events, regardless of their magnitude. They also imply that today's anthropogenic extinctions will diminish biodiversity for millions of years to come. PMID:10724168

  4. Patterns of generic extinction in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.; Boyajian, G. E.

    1988-01-01

    Analysis of the stratigraphic records of 19,897 fossil genera indicates that most classes and orders show largely congruent rises and falls in extinction intensity throughout the Phanerozoic. Even an ecologically homogeneous sample of reef genera shows the same basic extinction profile. The most likely explanation for the congruence is that extinction is physically rather than biologically driven and that it is dominated by the effects of geographically widespread environmental perturbations influencing most habitats. Significant departures from the congruence are uncommon but important because they indicate physiological or habitat selectivity. The similarity of the extinction records of reef organisms and the marine biota as a whole confirms that reefs and other faunas are responding to the same history of environmental stress.

  5. The fossil record of evolution: Data on diversification and extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J., Jr.

    1991-01-01

    Understanding of the evolution of complex life, and of the roles that changing terrestrial and extraterrestrial environments played in life's history, is dependent upon synthetic knowledge of the fossil record. Paleontologists have been describing fossils for more that two centuries. However, much of this information is dispersed in monographs and journal articles published throughout the world. Over the past several years, this literature was surveyed, and a data base on times of origination and extinction of fossil genera was compiled. The data base, which now holds approximately 32,000 genera, covers all taxonomic groups of marine animals, incorporates the most recent taxonomic assignments, and uses a detailed global time framework that can resolve originations and extinctions to intervals averaging three million years in duration. These data can be used to compile patterns of global biodiversity, measure rates of taxic evolution, and test hypotheses concerning adaptive radiations, mass extinctions, etc. Thus far, considerable effort was devoted to using the data to test the hypothesis of periodicity of mass extinction. Rates of extinction measured from the data base have also been used to calibrate models of evolutionary radiations in marine environments. It was observed that new groups, or clades of animals (i.e., orders and classes) tend to reach appreciable diversity first in nearshore environments and then to radiate in more offshore environments; during decline, these clades may disappear from the nearshore while persisting in offshore, deep water habitats. These observations have led to suggestions that there is something special about stressful or perturbed environments that promotes the evolution of novel kinds of animals that can rapidly replace their predecessors. The numerical model that is being investigated to study this phenomenon treats environments along onshore-offshore gradients as if they were discrete habitats. Other aspects of this

  6. Extinction, diversity and survivorship of taxa in the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Newman, M. E. J.; Sibani, P.

    1999-01-01

    Using data drawn from large-scale databases, a number of interesting trends in the fossil record have been observed in recent years. These include the average decline in extinction rates throughout the Phanerozoic, the average increase in standing diversity, correlations between rates of origination and extinction, and simple laws governing the form of survivorship curves and the distribution of the lifetimes of taxa. In this paper we derive a number of mathematical relationships between these quantities and show how these different trends are interrelated. We also derive a variety of constraints on the possible forms of these trends, such as limits on the rate at which extinction may decline and limits on the allowed difference between extinction and origination rates at any given time.

  7. Cyclicity in the fossil record mirrors rock outcrop area

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Andrew B; McGowan, Alistair J

    2005-01-01

    In a recent article, Rohde & Muller (Rohde & Muller 2005 Nature 434, 208–210) identified a strong 62 Myr cyclicity in the history of marine diversity through the Phanerozoic. The data they presented were highly convincing, yet they were unable to explain what process might have generated this pattern. A significant correlation between observed genus-level diversity (after removal of long-term trends) and the amount of marine sedimentary rock measured at a surface outcrop in Western Europe is demonstrated. This suggests that cyclicity originates from long-term changes in sedimentary depositional and erosional regimes, and raises the strong possibility that the cyclicity apparent in the record of marine fossils is not a biological signal but a sampling signal. PMID:17148228

  8. Evolutionary speed limits inferred from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Kirchner, James W

    2002-01-01

    The dynamics of extinction and diversification determine the long-term effects of extinction episodes. If rapid bursts of extinction are offset by equally rapid bursts of diversification, their biodiversity consequences will be transient. But if diversification rates cannot accelerate rapidly enough, pulses of extinction will lead to long-lasting depletion of biodiversity. Here I use spectral analysis of the fossil record to test whether diversification rates can accelerate as much as extinction rates, over both short and long spans of geological time. I show that although the long-wavelength variability of diversification rates equals or exceeds that of extinctions, diversification rates are markedly less variable than extinction rates at wavelengths shorter than roughly 25 million years. This implies that there are intrinsic speed limits that constrain how rapidly diversification rates can accelerate in response to pulses of extinction. PMID:11780116

  9. The fossil record of evolution: Data on diversification and extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J., Jr.

    1986-01-01

    Synoptic studies of the fossil record of complex life on Earth indicate increasingly that extinction, and especially mass extinction, were extremely important driving forces in the history of life. Analysis of a new compilation of geologic ranges for 25,000 genera of marine animals suggests that extinction events were much more frequent in occurrence and variable in magnitude than previously suspected. At least 30 well documented and potential mass extinctions were identified in the dataset. The most recent event, distributed over 260 to 0 ma. exhibit a stationary periodicity of 26.1 + or - 1 ma, implicating a cosmological forcing mechanism. Earlier events, especially in the 575 to 450 ma interval, are more frequent, possibly indicating either a breakdown of periodicity in the more distant past; and as yet undemonstrated diminution of the period length; or frequent aperiodic terrestrial perturbations of a less stable biota superimposed upon the cosmological periodicity.

  10. A 300-million-year record of atmospheric carbon dioxide from fossil plant cuticles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Retallack, Gregory J.

    2001-05-01

    To understand better the link between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and climate over geological time, records of past CO2 are reconstructed from geochemical proxies. Although these records have provided us with a broad picture of CO2 variation throughout the Phanerozoic eon (the past 544Myr), inconsistencies and gaps remain that still need to be resolved. Here I present a continuous 300-Myr record of stomatal abundance from fossil leaves of four genera of plants that are closely related to the present-day Ginkgo tree. Using the known relationship between leaf stomatal abundance and growing season CO2 concentrations, I reconstruct past atmospheric CO2 concentrations. For the past 300Myr, only two intervals of low CO2 (<1,000p.p.m.v.) are inferred, both of which coincide with known ice ages in Neogene (1-8Myr) and early Permian (275-290Myr) times. But for most of the Mesozoic era (65-250Myr), CO2 levels were high (1,000-2,000p.p.m.v.), with transient excursions to even higher CO2 (>2,000p.p.m.v.) concentrations. These results are consistent with some reconstructions of past CO2 (refs 1, 2) and palaeotemperature records, but suggest that CO2 reconstructions based on carbon isotope proxies may be compromised by episodic outbursts of isotopically light methane. These results support the role of water vapour, methane and CO2 in greenhouse climate warming over the past 300Myr.

  11. A 300-million-year record of atmospheric carbon dioxide from fossil plant cuticles.

    PubMed

    Retallack, G J

    2001-05-17

    To understand better the link between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and climate over geological time, records of past CO2 are reconstructed from geochemical proxies. Although these records have provided us with a broad picture of CO2 variation throughout the Phanerozoic eon (the past 544 Myr), inconsistencies and gaps remain that still need to be resolved. Here I present a continuous 300-Myr record of stomatal abundance from fossil leaves of four genera of plants that are closely related to the present-day Ginkgo tree. Using the known relationship between leaf stomatal abundance and growing season CO2 concentrations, I reconstruct past atmospheric CO2 concentrations. For the past 300 Myr, only two intervals of low CO2 (<1,000 p.p.m.v.) are inferred, both of which coincide with known ice ages in Neogene (1-8 Myr) and early Permian (275-290 Myr) times. But for most of the Mesozoic era (65-250 Myr), CO2 levels were high (1,000-2,000 p.p.m.v.), with transient excursions to even higher CO2 (>2,000 p.p.m.v.) concentrations. These results are consistent with some reconstructions of past CO2 (refs 1, 2) and palaeotemperature records, but suggest that CO2 reconstructions based on carbon isotope proxies may be compromised by episodic outbursts of isotopically light methane. These results support the role of water vapour, methane and CO2 in greenhouse climate warming over the past 300 Myr. PMID:11357126

  12. Dynamics of origination and extinction in the marine fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Alroy, John

    2008-01-01

    The discipline-wide effort to database the fossil record at the occurrence level has made it possible to estimate marine invertebrate extinction and origination rates with much greater accuracy. The new data show that two biotic mechanisms have hastened recoveries from mass extinctions and confined diversity to a relatively narrow range over the past 500 million years (Myr). First, a drop in diversity of any size correlates with low extinction rates immediately afterward, so much so that extinction would almost come to a halt if diversity dropped by 90%. Second, very high extinction rates are followed by equally high origination rates. The two relationships predict that the rebound from the current mass extinction will take at least 10 Myr, and perhaps 40 Myr if it rivals the Permo-Triassic catastrophe. Regardless, any large event will result in a dramatic ecological and taxonomic restructuring of the biosphere. The data also confirm that extinction and origination rates both declined through the Phanerozoic and that several extinctions in addition to the Permo-Triassic event were particularly severe. However, the trend may be driven by taxonomic biases and the rates vary in accord with a simple log normal distribution, so there is no sharp distinction between background and mass extinctions. Furthermore, the lack of any significant autocorrelation in the data is inconsistent with macroevolutionary theories of periodicity or self-organized criticality. PMID:18695240

  13. Fossil Crinoids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hess, Hans; Ausich, William I.; Brett, Carlton E.; Simms, Michael J.

    2003-01-01

    Crinoids have graced the oceans for more than 500 million years. Among the most attractive fossils, crinoids had a key role in the ecology of marine communities through much of the fossil record, and their remains are prominent rock forming constituents of many limestones. This is the first comprehensive volume to bring together their form and function, classification, evolutionary history, occurrence, preservation and ecology. The main part of the book is devoted to assemblages of intact fossil crinoids, which are described in their geological setting in twenty-three chapters ranging from the Ordovician to the Tertiary. The final chapter deals with living sea lilies and feather stars. The volume is exquisitely illustrated with abundant photographs and line drawings of crinoids from sites around the world. This authoritative account recreates a fascinating picture of fossil crinoids for paleontologists, geologists, evolutionary and marine biologists, ecologists and amateur fossil collectors.

  14. Fossil Crinoids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hess, Hans; Ausich, William I.; Brett, Carlton E.; Simms, Michael J.

    1999-10-01

    Crinoids have graced the oceans for more than 500 million years. Among the most attractive fossils, crinoids had a key role in the ecology of marine communities through much of the fossil record, and their remains are prominent rock forming constituents of many limestones. This is the first comprehensive volume to bring together their form and function, classification, evolutionary history, occurrence, preservation and ecology. The main part of the book is devoted to assemblages of intact fossil crinoids, which are described in their geological setting in twenty-three chapters ranging from the Ordovician to the Tertiary. The final chapter deals with living sea lilies and feather stars. The volume is exquisitely illustrated with abundant photographs and line drawings of crinoids from sites around the world. This authoritative account recreates a fascinating picture of fossil crinoids for paleontologists, geologists, evolutionary and marine biologists, ecologists and amateur fossil collectors.

  15. 'Citizen science' recording of fossils by adapting existing computer-based biodiversity recording tools

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGowan, Alistair

    2014-05-01

    Biodiversity recording activities have been greatly enhanced by the emergence of online schemes and smartphone applications for recording and sharing data about a wide variety of flora and fauna. As a palaeobiologist, one of the areas of research I have been heavily involved in is the question of whether the amount of rock available to sample acts as a bias on our estimates of biodiversity through time. Although great progress has been made on this question over the past ten years by a number of researchers, I still think palaeontology has not followed the lead offered by the 'citizen science' revolution in studies of extant biodiversity. By constructing clearly structured surveys with online data collection support, it should be possible to collect field data on the occurrence of fossils at the scale of individual exposures, which are needed to test competing hypotheses about these effects at relatively small spatial scales. Such data collection would be hard to justify for universities and museums with limited personnel but a co-ordinated citizen science programme would be capable of delivering such a programme. Data collection could be based on the MacKinnon's Lists method, used in rapid conservation assessment work. It relies on observers collecting lists of a fixed length (e.g. 10 species long) but what is important is that it focuses on getting observers to ignore sightings of the same species until that list is complete. This overcomes the problem of 'common taxa being commonly recorded' and encourages observers to seek out and identify the rarer taxa. This gives a targeted but finite task. Rather than removing fossils, participants would be encouraged to take photographs to share via a recording website. The success of iSpot, which allows users to upload photos of plants and animals for other users to help with identifications, offers a model for overcoming the problems of identifying fossils, which can often look nothing like the examples illustrated in

  16. New Palaeogene horntail wasps (Hymenoptera, Siricidae) and a discussion of their fossil record.

    PubMed

    Wedmann, Sonja; Pouillon, Jean-Marc; Nel, André

    2014-01-01

    The phylogenetic placement of siricid hymenopterans and especially the relationships among Siricidae are not resolved, and are in need of further investigation. The fossil record helps to illuminate the evolutionary history of this group. In this paper, Xoanon? eocenicus sp. nov. is newly described from the Eocene Fossillagerstätte Grube Messel (Germany). Although several characters of the wing venation of this fossil are similar to the extant genus Xoanon, there remain some doubts concerning the generic placement. A newly found fossil is attributed to Urocerus ligniticus (Piton, 1940) from the Paloecene Fossillagerstätte Menat (France) and provides more morphological information on this species. An overview of the fossil record of Siricidae in the strict sense is given and the state of knowledge on the different fossils is reviewed. PMID:25283896

  17. The Future of Fossil Fuels: A Century of Abundance or a Century of Decline?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nelder, C.

    2012-12-01

    Horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and other advanced technologies have spawned a host of new euphoric forecasts of hydrocarbon abundance. Yet although the world's remaining oil and gas resources are enormous, most of them are destined to stay in the ground due to real-world constraints on price, flow rates, investor appetite, supply chain security, resource quality, and global economic conditions. While laboring under the mistaken belief that it sits atop a 100-year supply of natural gas, the U.S. is contemplating exporting nearly all of its shale gas production even as that production is already flattening due to poor economics. Instead of bringing "energy independence" to the U.S. and making it the top oil exporter, unrestricted drilling for tight oil and in the federal outer continental shelf would cut the lifespan of U.S. oil production in half and make it the world's most desperate oil importer by mid-century. And current forecasts for Canadian tar sands production are as unrealistic as their failed predecessors. Over the past century, world energy production has moved progressively from high quality resources with high production rates and low costs to lower quality resources with lower production rates and higher costs, and that progression is accelerating. Soon we will discover the limits of practical extraction, as production costs exceed consumer price tolerance. Oil and gas from tight formations, shale, bitumen, kerogen, coalbeds, deepwater, and the Arctic are not the stuff of new abundance, but the oil junkie's last dirty fix. This session will highlight the gap between the story the industry tells about our energy future, and the story the data tells about resource size, production rates, costs, and consumer price tolerance. It will show why it's time to put aside unrealistic visions of continued dependence on fossil fuels, face up to a century of decline, and commit ourselves to energy and transportation transition.

  18. Contemporaneous Trace and Body Fossils from a Late Pleistocene Lakebed in Victoria, Australia, Allow Assessment of Bias in the Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Camens, Aaron Bruce; Carey, Stephen Paul

    2013-01-01

    The co-occurrence of vertebrate trace and body fossils within a single geological formation is rare and the probability of these parallel records being contemporaneous (i.e. on or near the same bedding plane) is extremely low. We report here a late Pleistocene locality from the Victorian Volcanic Plains in south-eastern Australia in which demonstrably contemporaneous, but independently accumulated vertebrate trace and body fossils occur. Bite marks from a variety of taxa are also present on the bones. This site provides a unique opportunity to examine the biases of these divergent fossil records (skeletal, footprints and bite marks) that sampled a single fauna. The skeletal record produced the most complete fauna, with the footprint record indicating a markedly different faunal composition with less diversity and the feeding traces suggesting the presence, amongst others, of a predator not represented by either the skeletal or footprint records. We found that the large extinct marsupial predator Thylacoleo was the only taxon apparently represented by all three records, suggesting that the behavioral characteristics of large carnivores may increase the likelihood of their presence being detected within a fossil fauna. In contrast, Diprotodon (the largest-ever marsupial) was represented only by trace fossils at this site and was absent from the site's skeletal record, despite its being a common and easily detected presence in late Pleistocene skeletal fossil faunas elsewhere in Australia. Small mammals absent from the footprint record for the site were represented by skeletal fossils and bite marks on bones. PMID:23301008

  19. Gaps in the Rock and Fossil Records and Implications for the Rate and Mode of Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Smith, Grant Sackett

    1988-01-01

    Examines three types of gaps in the fossil record: real gaps, imaginary gaps, and temporary gaps. Reviews some recent evidence concerning evolution from the paleontological record of microfossils, invertebrates, and vertebrates in order to make some general conclusions regarding the manner in which life evolved on earth. (CW)

  20. Integrating developmental biology and the fossil record of reptiles.

    PubMed

    Skawiński, Tomasz; Tałanda, Mateusz

    2014-01-01

    Numerous new discoveries and new research techniques have influenced our understanding of reptile development from a palaeontological perspective. They suggest for example that transition from mineralized to leathery eggshells and from oviparity to viviparity appeared much more often in the evolution of reptiles than was previously thought. Most marine reptiles evolved from viviparous terrestrial ancestors and had probably genetic sex determination. Fossil forms often display developmental traits absent or rare among modern ones such as polydactyly, hyperphalangy, the presence of ribcage armour, reduction of head ornamentation during ontogeny, extreme modifications of vertebral count or a wide range of feather-like structures. Thus, they provide an empirical background for many morphogenetic considerations. PMID:26154335

  1. Discriminating signal from noise in the fossil record of early vertebrates reveals cryptic evolutionary history

    PubMed Central

    Sansom, Robert S.; Randle, Emma; Donoghue, Philip C. J.

    2015-01-01

    The fossil record of early vertebrates has been influential in elucidating the evolutionary assembly of the gnathostome bodyplan. Understanding of the timing and tempo of vertebrate innovations remains, however, mired in a literal reading of the fossil record. Early jawless vertebrates (ostracoderms) exhibit restriction to shallow-water environments. The distribution of their stratigraphic occurrences therefore reflects not only flux in diversity, but also secular variation in facies representation of the rock record. Using stratigraphic, phylogenetic and palaeoenvironmental data, we assessed the veracity of the fossil records of the jawless relatives of jawed vertebrates (Osteostraci, Galeaspida, Thelodonti, Heterostraci). Non-random models of fossil recovery potential using Palaeozoic sea-level changes were used to calculate confidence intervals of clade origins. These intervals extend the timescale for possible origins into the Upper Ordovician; these estimates ameliorate the long ghost lineages inferred for Osteostraci, Galeaspida and Heterostraci, given their known stratigraphic occurrences and stem–gnathostome phylogeny. Diversity changes through the Silurian and Devonian were found to lie within the expected limits predicted from estimates of fossil record quality indicating that it is geological, rather than biological factors, that are responsible for shifts in diversity. Environmental restriction also appears to belie ostracoderm extinction and demise rather than competition with jawed vertebrates. PMID:25520359

  2. Assessing the fidelity of the fossil record by using marine bivalves

    PubMed Central

    Valentine, James W.; Jablonski, David; Kidwell, Susan; Roy, Kaustuv

    2006-01-01

    Taxa that fail to become incorporated into the fossil record can reveal much about the biases of this record and provide the information needed to correct such biases in empirical analyses of the history of life. Yet little is known about the characteristics of taxa missing from the fossil record. For the marine Bivalvia, which have become a model system for macroevolutionary and macroecological analysis in the fossil record, 308 of the 1,292 living genera and subgenera (herein termed “taxa”) are not recorded as fossils. These missing taxa are not a random sample of the clade, but instead tend to have small body size, reactive shell structures, commensal or parasitic habit, deep-sea distribution, narrow geographic range, restriction to regions exposing few Neogene marine sediments, or recent date of formal taxonomic description in the neontological literature. Most missing taxa show two or more of these features and tend to be concentrated in particular families. When we exclude the smallest taxa (<1 cm) and deep-sea endemics, date of published description and geographic range become the strongest predictors of the missing taxa; other factors are statistically insignificant or have relatively small effects. These biases might influence a variety of analyses including the use of fossil data in support of phylogenetic analyses, molecular clock calibrations, and analyses of spatial and temporal dynamics of clades and biotas. Clade inventories such as these can be used to develop protocols that minimize the biases imposed by sampling and preservation. PMID:16617108

  3. The fossil record of ecdysis, and trends in the moulting behaviour of trilobites.

    PubMed

    Daley, Allison C; Drage, Harriet B

    2016-03-01

    Ecdysis, the process of moulting an exoskeleton, is one of the key characters uniting arthropods, nematodes and a number of smaller phyla into Ecdysozoa. The arthropod fossil record, particularly trilobites, eurypterids and decapod crustaceans, yields information on moulting, although the current focus is predominantly descriptive and lacks a broader evolutionary perspective. We here review literature on the fossil record of ecdysis, synthesising research on the behaviour, evolutionary trends, and phylogenetic significance of moulting throughout the Phanerozoic. Approaches vary widely between taxonomic groups, but an overall theme uniting these works suggests that identifying moults in the palaeontological record must take into account the morphology, taphonomy and depositional environment of fossils. We also quantitatively analyse trends in trilobite ecdysis based on a newly generated database of published incidences of moulting behaviour. This preliminary work reveals significant taxonomic and temporal signal in the trilobite moulting fossil record, with free cheek moulting being prevalent across all Orders and throughout the Phanerozoic, and peaks of cephalic moulting in Phacopida during the Ordovician and rostral plate moulting in Redlichiida during the Cambrian. This study and a review of the literature suggest that it is feasible to extract large-scale evolutionary information from the fossil record of moulting. PMID:26431634

  4. Methods for the quantitative comparison of molecular estimates of clade age and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Clarke, Julia A; Boyd, Clint A

    2015-01-01

    Approaches quantifying the relative congruence, or incongruence, of molecular divergence estimates and the fossil record have been limited. Previously proposed methods are largely node specific, assessing incongruence at particular nodes for which both fossil data and molecular divergence estimates are available. These existing metrics, and other methods that quantify incongruence across topologies including entirely extinct clades, have so far not taken into account uncertainty surrounding both the divergence estimates and the ages of fossils. They have also treated molecular divergence estimates younger than previously assessed fossil minimum estimates of clade age as if they were the same as cases in which they were older. However, these cases are not the same. Recovered divergence dates younger than compared oldest known occurrences require prior hypotheses regarding the phylogenetic position of the compared fossil record and standard assumptions about the relative timing of morphological and molecular change to be incorrect. Older molecular dates, by contrast, are consistent with an incomplete fossil record and do not require prior assessments of the fossil record to be unreliable in some way. Here, we compare previous approaches and introduce two new descriptive metrics. Both metrics explicitly incorporate information on uncertainty by utilizing the 95% confidence intervals on estimated divergence dates and data on stratigraphic uncertainty concerning the age of the compared fossils. Metric scores are maximized when these ranges are overlapping. MDI (minimum divergence incongruence) discriminates between situations where molecular estimates are younger or older than known fossils reporting both absolute fit values and a number score for incompatible nodes. DIG range (divergence implied gap range) allows quantification of the minimum increase in implied missing fossil record induced by enforcing a given set of molecular-based estimates. These metrics are used

  5. The fossil record of evolution: Analysis of extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1986-01-01

    There is increasing evidence that events in space have had direct effects on Earth history and on the history of life on Earth. Nowhere is this more evident than in mass extinction. The biosphere has undergone repeated devastation caused by relatively short-lived environmental stress, with species kill rates up to 80 and 95%. For five of the mass extinctions, geochemical or other evidence was reported suggesting large body impact as the cause of the environmental stress producing the extinctions. It was argued on statistical ground that the major extinction events are uniformly periodic in geological time. If it is true that large body impact is a principal cause of mass extinctions and if the periodicity is real, than a cosmic driving mechanism is inescapable. Paleontological data sets were developed which detail the ranges in geological time of about 4,000 families and 25,000 genera of fossil marine organisms. Analyses to date have concentrated on the most recent 250 million years. Associated with these studies are analyses of other aspects of Earth history which may have signatures indicative of extraterrestrial effects.

  6. Completeness of the fossil record: Estimating losses due to small body size

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cooper, Roger A.; Maxwell, Phillip A.; Crampton, James S.; Beu, Alan G.; Jones, Craig M.; Marshall, Bruce A.

    2006-04-01

    Size bias in the fossil record limits its use for interpreting patterns of past biodiversity and ecological change. Using comparative size frequency distributions of exceptionally good regional records of New Zealand Holocene and Cenozoic Mollusca in museum archive collections, we derive first-order estimates of the magnitude of the bias against small body size and the effect of this bias on completeness of the fossil record. Our database of 3907 fossil species represents an original living pool of 9086 species, from which ˜36% have been removed by size culling, 27% from the smallest size class (<5 mm). In contrast, non-size-related losses compose only 21% of the total. In soft rocks, the loss of small taxa can be reduced by nearly 50% through the employment of exhaustive collection and preparation techniques.

  7. Experimental analysis of decay biases in the fossil record of lobopodians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murdock, Duncan; Gabbott, Sarah; Purnell, Mark

    2016-04-01

    If fossils are to realize their full potential in reconstructing the tree of life we must understand how our view of ancient organisms is obscured by taphonomic filters of decay and preservation. In most cases, processes of decay will leave behind either nothing or only the most decay resistant body parts, and even in those rare instances where soft tissues are fossilized we cannot assume that the resulting fossil, however exquisite, represents a faithful anatomical representation of the animal as it was in life.Recent experiments have shown that the biases introduced by decay can be far from random; in chordates, for example, the most phylogenetically informative characters are also the most decay-prone, resulting in 'stemward slippage'. But how widespread is this phenomenon, and are there other non-random biases linked to decay? Intuitively, we make assumptions about the likelihood of different kinds of characters to survive and be preserved, with knock-on effects for anatomical and phylogenetic interpretations. To what extent are these assumptions valid? We combine our understanding of the fossil record of lobopodians with insights from decay experiments of modern onychophorans (velvet worms) to test these assumptions. Our analysis demonstrates that taphonomically informed tests of character interpretations have the potential to improve phylogenetic resolution. This approach is widely applicable to the fossil record - allowing us to ground-truth some of the assumptions involved in describing exceptionally preserved fossil material.

  8. Phanerozoic marine biodiversity dynamics in light of the incompleteness of the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Lu, Peter J.; Yogo, Motohiro; Marshall, Charles R.

    2006-01-01

    Long-term evolutionary dynamics have been approached through quantitative analysis of the fossil record, but without explicitly taking its incompleteness into account. Here we explore the temporal covariance structure of per-genus origination and extinction rates for global marine fossil genera throughout the Phanerozoic, both before and after corrections for the incompleteness of the fossil record. Using uncorrected data based on Sepkoski’s compendium, we find significant autocovariance within origination and extinction rates, as well as covariance between extinction and origination, not one, but two, intervals later, corroborating evidence for the unexplained temporal gap found by past studies. However, these effects vanish when the data are corrected for the incompleteness of the fossil record. Instead, we observe significant covariance only between extinction and origination in the immediately following intervals. The gap in the response of the biosphere to extinction in the uncorrected fossil record thus appears to be an artifact of the incompleteness of the fossil record, specifically due to episodic variation in the probability that taxa will be preserved, on time scales comparable to the temporal resolution of Sepkoski’s data. Our results also indicate that at that temporal resolution (the stage/substage of duration ≈5 million years), changes in origination and extinction do not persist for longer than one interval, except that elevated origination rates immediately after extinction may last for more than a single interval. Thus, although certain individual cases may deviate from the overall pattern, we find that in general the biosphere’s response to perturbation is immediate geologically and usually short-lived. PMID:16477008

  9. Phanerozoic marine biodiversity dynamics in light of the incompleteness of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Lu, Peter J; Yogo, Motohiro; Marshall, Charles R

    2006-02-21

    Long-term evolutionary dynamics have been approached through quantitative analysis of the fossil record, but without explicitly taking its incompleteness into account. Here we explore the temporal covariance structure of per-genus origination and extinction rates for global marine fossil genera throughout the Phanerozoic, both before and after corrections for the incompleteness of the fossil record. Using uncorrected data based on Sepkoski's compendium, we find significant autocovariance within origination and extinction rates, as well as covariance between extinction and origination, not one, but two, intervals later, corroborating evidence for the unexplained temporal gap found by past studies. However, these effects vanish when the data are corrected for the incompleteness of the fossil record. Instead, we observe significant covariance only between extinction and origination in the immediately following intervals. The gap in the response of the biosphere to extinction in the uncorrected fossil record thus appears to be an artifact of the incompleteness of the fossil record, specifically due to episodic variation in the probability that taxa will be preserved, on time scales comparable to the temporal resolution of Sepkoski's data. Our results also indicate that at that temporal resolution (the stage/substage of duration approximately = 5 million years), changes in origination and extinction do not persist for longer than one interval, except that elevated origination rates immediately after extinction may last for more than a single interval. Thus, although certain individual cases may deviate from the overall pattern, we find that in general the biosphere's response to perturbation is immediate geologically and usually short-lived. PMID:16477008

  10. Impact Theory of Mass Extinctions and the Invertebrate Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alvarez, Walter; Kauffman, Erle G.; Surlyk, Finn; Alvarez, Luis W.; Asaro, Frank; Michel, Helen V.

    1984-03-01

    There is much evidence that the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary was marked by a massive meteorite impact. Theoretical consideration of the consequences of such an impact predicts sharp extinctions in many groups of animals precisely at the boundary. Paleontological data clearly show gradual declines in diversity over the last 1 to 10 million years in various invertebrate groups. Reexamination of data from careful studies of the best sections shows that, in addition to undergoing the decline, four groups (ammonites, cheilostomate bryozoans, brachiopods, and bivalves) were affected by sudden truncations precisely at the iridium anomaly that marks the boundary. The paleontological record thus bears witness to terminal-Cretaceous extinctions on two time scales: a slow decline unrelated to the impact and a sharp truncation synchronous with and probably caused by the impact.

  11. Impact theory of mass extinctions and the invertebrate fossil record

    SciTech Connect

    Alvarez, W.; Kauffman, E.G.; Surlyk, F.; Alvarez, L.W.; Asaro, F.; Michel, H.V.

    1984-03-16

    There is much evidence that the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary was marked by a massive meteorite impact. Theoretical consideration of the consequences of such an impact predicts sharp extinctions in many groups of animals precisely at the boundary. Paleontological data clearly show gradual declines in diversity over the last 1 to 10 million years in various invertebrate groups. Reexamination of data from careful studies of the best sections shows that, in addition to undergoing the decline, four groups (ammonites, cheilostomate bryozoans, brachiopods, and bivalves) were affected by sudden truncations precisely at the iridium anomaly that marks the boundary. The paleontological record thus bears witness to terminal-Cretaceous extinctions on two time scales: a slow decline unrelated to the impact and a sharp truncation synchronous with and probably caused by the impact. 50 references, 4 figures.

  12. Testing the Molecular Clock Using the Best Fossil Record: Case Studies from the Planktic Foraminifera

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steel, B. A.; Kucera, M.; Darling, K.

    2004-12-01

    Criticism of molecular clock studies often centres on inadequate calibration and a perceived lack of correlation between reproductive isolation and recognisable morphological evolution. Since many major groups (e.g. birds, mammals, reptiles) have a poor fossil record, it is often difficult to test and refute these limitations. Planktic foraminifera represent an exception to this rule. Deep-sea sediments are super-abundant in foraminifera, and large numbers of specimens and occurrences are easily garnered from Ocean Drilling Programme cores. Planktic foraminifera therefore represent an ideal model group with which to test and refine molecular clock studies. Since the 1990AƒAøAøâ_sA¬Aøâ_zAøs, genetic sequences (principally 18S r-RNA) have been extracted from living planktic foraminifera, and a large genetic library has developed. Our study attempts to contextualise and test molecular data, particularly AƒAøAøâ_sA¬A<Å"molecular clockAƒAøAøâ_sA¬Aøâ_zAø dates, utilising material from two ODP cores (Site 926A (Atlantic) and 806 (Pacific), to examine the evolutionary history of two sibling-species complexes (Globigerinella siphonifera and Globigerinoides ruber, both common shallow-water species and both of considerable palaeoceanographic utility). Recent genetic studies have suggested that these two AƒAøAøâ_sA¬A<Å"super-speciesAƒAøAøâ_sA¬Aøâ_zAø in fact consist of a number of isolated forms, with contrasting ecologies and longevities, which in Recent and sub-Recent sediments can be distinguished either on the basis of pore ultrastructure (Gl. siphonifera) or test colouration (Gs. ruber). In both cases, molecular clock estimates are indicative of ancient (7-11 Ma) intra-species cryptic divergences, which seem to be considerably older than fossil dates. In particular, the calculated molecular split between the two forms of Gs. ruber (AƒAøAøâ_sA¬A<Å"whiteAƒAøAøâ_sA¬Aøâ_zAø and AƒAøAøâ_sA¬A<Å"pinkA

  13. Extant-only comparative methods fail to recover the disparity preserved in the bird fossil record.

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Jonathan S

    2015-09-01

    Most extant species are in clades with poor fossil records, and recent studies of comparative methods show they have low power to infer even highly simplified models of trait evolution without fossil data. Birds are a well-studied radiation, yet their early evolutionary patterns are still contentious. The fossil record suggests that birds underwent a rapid ecological radiation after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, and several smaller, subsequent radiations. This hypothesized series of repeated radiations from fossil data is difficult to test using extant data alone. By uniting morphological and phylogenetic data on 604 extant genera of birds with morphological data on 58 species of extinct birds from 50 million years ago, the "halfway point" of avian evolution, I have been able to test how well extant-only methods predict the diversity of fossil forms. All extant-only methods underestimate the disparity, although the ratio of within- to between-clade disparity does suggest high early rates. The failure of standard models to predict high early disparity suggests that recent radiations are obscuring deep time patterns in the evolution of birds. Metrics from different models can be used in conjunction to provide more valuable insights than simply finding the model with the highest relative fit. PMID:26257156

  14. Fossil DNA as a Recorder of Ancient Microbial Communities and Palaeoenvironments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coolen, M. J.; Boere, A.; Abbas, B.; Muyzer, G.; Overmann, J.; Wakeham, S. G.; Volkman, J. K.; Sinninghe Damste, J. S.

    2005-12-01

    Fossilized organic components provide an archive of ancient aquatic microbial communities and, hence, can be used to reconstruct climate-induced environmental changes and their impacts on biodiversity. However, the interpretation of these data is complicated by the limited source specificity of some traditional biomarkers, such as lipids and pigments. The ultimate biomarkers are genes encoding for ribosomal RNA (rDNA), which sequences provide information at the species level by phylogenetic comparison but until recently was only applied to identify extant species within environmental samples. With the exception of excellent preservation conditions prevailing in permafrost sediments (3), it was generally believed that DNA becomes rapidly degraded within fossil records. However, we have recently shown that especially in the presence of hydrogen sulfide, DNA can survive in the Holocene fossil record (1, 2). In this presentation we will show how, and to what extent, fossil DNA extracted from Holocene sediments of stratified lakes (the Canadian Mahoney Lake and the Antarctic Ace Lake) and the deep-sea (Black Sea) can be used as a novel proxy to reconstruct the ancient palaeodepositional environments and evolution of past microbial communities. In addition, we will discuss the fate of fossil DNA; quantitative stratigraphic analysis of lipid biomarkers and rDNA from the same biological precursors revealed information on the survival of fossil DNA in comparison to lipid biomarkers. It was shown that most of the DNA was degraded before dead cells reach the bottom but the remaining part was found to be well protected and even less prone to diagenetic alteration compared to certain lipid biomarkers. Base-pair compositions did not change during the Holocene, however, the fossil DNA became fragmented after several thousands of years of deposition but without significantly biasing the qualitative and quantitative molecular biological analysis of at least 10-ka-old fossil DNA

  15. Towards a morphological metric of assemblage dynamics in the fossil record: a test case using planktonic foraminifera.

    PubMed

    Hsiang, Allison Y; Elder, Leanne E; Hull, Pincelli M

    2016-04-01

    With a glance, even the novice naturalist can tell you something about the ecology of a given ecosystem. This is because the morphology of individuals reflects their evolutionary history and ecology, and imparts a distinct 'look' to communities--making it possible to immediately discern between deserts and forests, or coral reefs and abyssal plains. Once quantified, morphology can provide a common metric for characterizing communities across space and time and, if measured rapidly, serve as a powerful tool for quantifying biotic dynamics. Here, we present and test a new high-throughput approach for analysing community shape in the fossil record using semi-three-dimensional (3D) morphometrics from vertically stacked images (light microscopic or photogrammetric). We assess the potential informativeness of community morphology in a first analysis of the relationship between 3D morphology, ecology and phylogeny in 16 extant species of planktonic foraminifera--an abundant group in the marine fossil record--and in a preliminary comparison of four assemblages from the North Atlantic. In the species examined, phylogenetic relatedness was most closely correlated with ecology, with all three ecological traits examined (depth habitat, symbiont ecology and biogeography) showing significant phylogenetic signal. By contrast, morphological trees (based on 3D shape similarity) were relatively distantly related to both ecology and phylogeny. Although improvements are needed to realize the full utility of community morphometrics, our approach already provides robust volumetric measurements of assemblage size, a key ecological characteristic. PMID:26977067

  16. Fossilized embryos are widespread but the record is temporally and taxonomically biased

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Donoghue, P.C.J.; Kouchinsky, A.; Waloszek, Dieter; Bengtson, S.; Dong, X.-P.; Val'Kov, A.K.; Cunningham, J.A.; Repetski, J.E.

    2006-01-01

    We report new discoveries of embryos and egg capsules from the Lower Cambrian of Siberia, Middle Cambrian of Australia and Lower Ordovician of North America. Together with existing records, embryos have now been recorded from four of the seven continents. However, the new discoveries highlight secular and systematic biases in the fossil record of embryonic stages. The temporal window within which the embryos and egg capsules are found is of relatively short duration; it ends in the Early Ordovician and is roughly coincident with that of typical "Orsten"-type faunas. The reduced occurrence of such fossils has been attributed to reducing levels of phosphate in marine waters during the early Paleozoic, but may also be owing to the increasing depth of sediment mixing by infaunal metazoans. Furthermore, most records younger than the earliest Cambrian are of a single kind - large eggs and embryos of the priapulid-like scalidophoran Markuelia. We explore alternative explanations for the low taxonomic diversity of embryos recovered thus far, including sampling, size, anatomy, ecology, and environment, concluding that the preponderance of Markuelia embryos is due to its precocious development of cuticle at an embryonic stage, predisposing it to preservation through action as a substrate on which microbially mediated precipitation of authigenic calcium phosphate may occur. The fossil record of embryos may be limited to a late Neoproterozoic to early Ordovician snapshot that is subject to dramatic systematic bias. Together, these biases must be considered seriously in attempts to use the fossil record to arbitrate between hypotheses of developmental and life history evolution implicated in the origin of metazoan clades. ?? 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  17. Diversity-dependence brings molecular phylogenies closer to agreement with the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Etienne, Rampal S; Haegeman, Bart; Stadler, Tanja; Aze, Tracy; Pearson, Paul N; Purvis, Andy; Phillimore, Albert B

    2012-04-01

    The branching times of molecular phylogenies allow us to infer speciation and extinction dynamics even when fossils are absent. Troublingly, phylogenetic approaches usually return estimates of zero extinction, conflicting with fossil evidence. Phylogenies and fossils do agree, however, that there are often limits to diversity. Here, we present a general approach to evaluate the likelihood of a phylogeny under a model that accommodates diversity-dependence and extinction. We find, by likelihood maximization, that extinction is estimated most precisely if the rate of increase in the number of lineages in the phylogeny saturates towards the present or first decreases and then increases. We demonstrate the utility and limits of our approach by applying it to the phylogenies for two cases where a fossil record exists (Cetacea and Cenozoic macroperforate planktonic foraminifera) and to three radiations lacking fossil evidence (Dendroica, Plethodon and Heliconius). We propose that the diversity-dependence model with extinction be used as the standard model for macro-evolutionary dynamics because of its biological realism and flexibility. PMID:21993508

  18. Unlocking the early fossil record of the arthropod central nervous system

    PubMed Central

    Edgecombe, Gregory D.; Ma, Xiaoya; Strausfeld, Nicholas J.

    2015-01-01

    Extant panarthropods (euarthropods, onychophorans and tardigrades) are hallmarked by stunning morphological and taxonomic diversity, but their central nervous systems (CNS) are relatively conserved. The timing of divergences of the ground pattern CNS organization of the major panarthropod clades has been poorly constrained because of a scarcity of data from their early fossil record. Although the CNS has been documented in three-dimensional detail in insects from Cenozoic ambers, it is widely assumed that these tissues are too prone to decay to withstand other styles of fossilization or geologically older preservation. However, Cambrian Burgess Shale-type compressions have emerged as sources of fossilized brains and nerve cords. CNS in these Cambrian fossils are preserved as carbon films or as iron oxides/hydroxides after pyrite in association with carbon. Experiments with carcasses compacted in fine-grained sediment depict preservation of neural tissue for a more prolonged temporal window than anticipated by decay experiments in other media. CNS and compound eye characters in exceptionally preserved Cambrian fossils predict divergences of the mandibulate and chelicerate ground patterns by Cambrian Stage 3 (ca 518 Ma), a dating that is compatible with molecular estimates for these splits. PMID:26554038

  19. Unlocking the early fossil record of the arthropod central nervous system.

    PubMed

    Edgecombe, Gregory D; Ma, Xiaoya; Strausfeld, Nicholas J

    2015-12-19

    Extant panarthropods (euarthropods, onychophorans and tardigrades) are hallmarked by stunning morphological and taxonomic diversity, but their central nervous systems (CNS) are relatively conserved. The timing of divergences of the ground pattern CNS organization of the major panarthropod clades has been poorly constrained because of a scarcity of data from their early fossil record. Although the CNS has been documented in three-dimensional detail in insects from Cenozoic ambers, it is widely assumed that these tissues are too prone to decay to withstand other styles of fossilization or geologically older preservation. However, Cambrian Burgess Shale-type compressions have emerged as sources of fossilized brains and nerve cords. CNS in these Cambrian fossils are preserved as carbon films or as iron oxides/hydroxides after pyrite in association with carbon. Experiments with carcasses compacted in fine-grained sediment depict preservation of neural tissue for a more prolonged temporal window than anticipated by decay experiments in other media. CNS and compound eye characters in exceptionally preserved Cambrian fossils predict divergences of the mandibulate and chelicerate ground patterns by Cambrian Stage 3 (ca 518 Ma), a dating that is compatible with molecular estimates for these splits. PMID:26554038

  20. Contrasting behavioral and feeding strategies recorded by tidal-flat bivalve trace fossils from the Upper Carboniferous of eastern Kansas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mangano, M.G.; Buatois, L.A.; West, R.R.; Maples, C.G.

    1998-01-01

    Upper Carboniferous tidal-flat deposits near Waverly, eastern Kansas (Stull Shale Member, Kanwaka Shale Formation), host abundant and very well-preserved trace fossils attributed to the activity of burrowing bivalves. Thin shell lenses with an abundant bivalve fauna area associated with the ichnofossil-bearing beds and afford an unusual opportunity to relate trace fossils to their makers. Two distinctive life and feeding strategies can be reconstructed on the basis of trace fossil analysis and functional morphology. Lockeria siliquaria hyporeliefs commonly are connected with vertical to inclined, truncated endichnial shafts in the absence of horizontal locomotion traces. These structures record vertical and oblique displacement through the sediment, and suggest relatively stable domiciles rather than temporary resting traces as typically considered. Crowded bedding surfaces displaying cross-cutting relationships between specimens of L. siliquaria and differential preservation at the top (concave versus convex epireliefs) record a complex history of successive events of colonization, erosion, deposition, and recolonization (time-averaged assemblages). Irregujlar contours of some large hypichnia indicate the cast of the foot, while other outlines closely match the anterior area of Wilkingia, its suggested tracemaker. Relatively stable, vertical to inclined life positions and dominanit vertical mobility suggest a filter-feeding strategy. Moreover, the elongate shell and pallial sinus of Wilkingia providfe a strong independent line of evidence for an opisthosiphonate, moderately deep-tier inhabitant. Wilingia may represent a pioneer attempt at siphon-feeding in the late Paleozoic, preceding the outcome of the Mesozoic infaunal radiation. A second strategy is represented by Lockeia ornata and association locomotionm and locomotion/feding structures. Lockeia ornata is commonly connected with chevron locomotion traces that record the bifurcated foot of a protobranch

  1. Paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic control on early diagenetic processes and fossil record in Cretaceous continental sandstones of Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garcia, Antônio J. V.; da Rosa, Átila A. S.; Goldberg, Karin

    2005-08-01

    The Early Cretaceous, pre-rift continental rock sequences of northeastern Brazil (Rio do Peixe, Araripe, Recôncavo-Tucano, and Sergipe-Alagoas basins), deposited in a wide intracontinental basin (Afro-Brazilian Depression), and the Late Cretaceous, post-rift continental deposits of the Paraná Basin (Bauru Group, Minas Gerais) reflect the controlling processes related to the Brazilian record of nonmarine fossil vertebrates. These sequences were deposited in braided fluvial, eolian, and lacustrine environments in a semi-arid to arid climate. Sedimentary and diagenetic processes ascribed to paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental conditions are among the major factors that control fossil preservation in fluvial deposits. The pre-rift successions contain a rare record of a dinosaur fauna that lived near more humid highlands in the northern portion of the Afro-Brazilian Depression, relative to its southern counterpart, where hardly any fossil remains would have been preserved in the adverse climatic conditions. The Afro-Brazilian Depression is interpreted as a large pathway for dinosaurs before the breakup of Gondwana. Conversely, abundant dinosaur remains (bones, eggs, and teeth) and other vertebrates (turtles, crocodiles, frogs, and fish) are found in the Bauru Group in the Paraná Basin. In this unit, the seasonal paleoclimate provided sufficient conditions for the maintenance of bodies of water that served as nesting and living sites for various vertebrate forms. Paleoclimatic conditions are assumed to account for the different preservation of bones in the Paraná Basin relative to the Afro-Brazilian Depression, because the latter was subject to more arid conditions, and the humid environment was restricted to the northern margin.

  2. Fossil invertebrates records in cave sediments and paleoenvironmental assessments: a study of four cave sites from Romanian Carpathians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moldovan, O. T.; Constantin, S.; Panaiotu, C.; Roban, R. D.; Frenzel, P.; Miko, L.

    2015-06-01

    Fossil invertebrates from cave sediments have been recently described as a potential new proxy for paleoenvironment and used in cross-correlations with alternate proxy records from cave deposits. Here we present the results of a fossil invertebrates study in four caves from two climatically different regions of the Romanian Carpathians, to complement paleoenvironmental data previously reported. Oribatid mites and ostracods are the most common invertebrates in the studied cave sediments. Some of the identified taxa are new for science, and most of them are indicative for either warm/cold stages or dry/wetter oscillations. In two caves the fossil invertebrates records indicate rapid climate oscillations during times known for a relatively stable climate. By corroborating the fossil invertebrates' record with the information given by magnetic properties and sediment structures, complementary data on past vegetation, temperatures, and hydraulic regimes could be gathered. This paper analyses the potential of fossil invertebrate records as a paleoenvironmental proxy, potential problems and pitfalls.

  3. An Analytical Approach for Estimating Fossil Record and Diversification Events in Sharks, Skates and Rays

    PubMed Central

    Guinot, Guillaume; Adnet, Sylvain; Cappetta, Henri

    2012-01-01

    Background Modern selachians and their supposed sister group (hybodont sharks) have a long and successful evolutionary history. Yet, although selachian remains are considered relatively common in the fossil record in comparison with other marine vertebrates, little is known about the quality of their fossil record. Similarly, only a few works based on specific time intervals have attempted to identify major events that marked the evolutionary history of this group. Methodology/Principal Findings Phylogenetic hypotheses concerning modern selachians’ interrelationships are numerous but differ significantly and no consensus has been found. The aim of the present study is to take advantage of the range of recent phylogenetic hypotheses in order to assess the fit of the selachian fossil record to phylogenies, according to two different branching methods. Compilation of these data allowed the inference of an estimated range of diversity through time and evolutionary events that marked this group over the past 300 Ma are identified. Results indicate that with the exception of high taxonomic ranks (orders), the selachian fossil record is by far imperfect, particularly for generic and post-Triassic data. Timing and amplitude of the various identified events that marked the selachian evolutionary history are discussed. Conclusion/Significance Some identified diversity events were mentioned in previous works using alternative methods (Early Jurassic, mid-Cretaceous, K/T boundary and late Paleogene diversity drops), thus reinforcing the efficiency of the methodology presented here in inferring evolutionary events. Other events (Permian/Triassic, Early and Late Cretaceous diversifications; Triassic/Jurassic extinction) are newly identified. Relationships between these events and paleoenvironmental characteristics and other groups’ evolutionary history are proposed. PMID:22957091

  4. Camellia nanningensis sp. nov.: the earliest fossil wood record of the genus Camellia (Theaceae) from East Asia.

    PubMed

    Huang, Lu-Liang; Jin, Jian-Hua; Quan, Cheng; Oskolski, Alexei A

    2016-09-01

    A new species Camellia nanningensis was described on the basis of well-preserved mummified wood from the upper Oligocene Yongning Formation of Nanning Basin in Guangxi Province, South China. This represents the most ancient fossil wood assigned to Camellia, and the earliest fossil record of the family Theaceae in China. This fossil material shows that Camellia occurred in China as early as the late Oligocene, suggesting more ancient radiation of this genus than estimated by molecular dating. PMID:27379410

  5. Towards a morphological metric of assemblage dynamics in the fossil record: a test case using planktonic foraminifera

    PubMed Central

    Hsiang, Allison Y.; Elder, Leanne E.; Hull, Pincelli M.

    2016-01-01

    With a glance, even the novice naturalist can tell you something about the ecology of a given ecosystem. This is because the morphology of individuals reflects their evolutionary history and ecology, and imparts a distinct ‘look’ to communities—making it possible to immediately discern between deserts and forests, or coral reefs and abyssal plains. Once quantified, morphology can provide a common metric for characterizing communities across space and time and, if measured rapidly, serve as a powerful tool for quantifying biotic dynamics. Here, we present and test a new high-throughput approach for analysing community shape in the fossil record using semi-three-dimensional (3D) morphometrics from vertically stacked images (light microscopic or photogrammetric). We assess the potential informativeness of community morphology in a first analysis of the relationship between 3D morphology, ecology and phylogeny in 16 extant species of planktonic foraminifera—an abundant group in the marine fossil record—and in a preliminary comparison of four assemblages from the North Atlantic. In the species examined, phylogenetic relatedness was most closely correlated with ecology, with all three ecological traits examined (depth habitat, symbiont ecology and biogeography) showing significant phylogenetic signal. By contrast, morphological trees (based on 3D shape similarity) were relatively distantly related to both ecology and phylogeny. Although improvements are needed to realize the full utility of community morphometrics, our approach already provides robust volumetric measurements of assemblage size, a key ecological characteristic. PMID:26977067

  6. Developmental palaeontology in synapsids: the fossil record of ontogeny in mammals and their closest relatives

    PubMed Central

    Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R.

    2010-01-01

    The study of fossilized ontogenies in mammals is mostly restricted to postnatal and late stages of growth, but nevertheless can deliver great insights into life history and evolutionary mechanisms affecting all aspects of development. Fossils provide evidence of developmental plasticity determined by ecological factors, as when allometric relations are modified in species which invaded a new space with a very different selection regime. This is the case of dwarfing and gigantism evolution in islands. Skeletochronological studies are restricted to the examination of growth marks mostly in the cement and dentine of teeth and can provide absolute age estimates. These, together with dental replacement data considered in a phylogenetic context, provide life-history information such as maturation time and longevity. Palaeohistology and dental replacement data document the more or less gradual but also convergent evolution of mammalian growth features during early synapsid evolution. Adult phenotypes of extinct mammals can inform developmental processes by showing a combination of features or levels of integration unrecorded in living species. Some adult features such as vertebral number, easily recorded in fossils, provide indirect information about somitogenesis and hox-gene expression boundaries. Developmental palaeontology is relevant for the discourse of ecological developmental biology, an area of research where features of growth and variation are fundamental and accessible among fossil mammals. PMID:20071389

  7. The fossil record, function, and possible origins of shell color patterns in Paleozoic marine invertebrates

    SciTech Connect

    Kobluk, D.R. ); Mapes, R.H. )

    1989-02-01

    Fossil invertebrate shells and carapaces displaying preserved original color patterns are among the rarest fossils. The fossil record of color patterns extends into the Middle Cambrian where the trilobite Anomocare displays a fan-like array of stripes on the pygidium. About 180 Paleozic genera are known with patterns, including trilobites, cephalopods, gastropods, brachiopods, bivalves, crinoids, and crustaceans. Based upon an analysis of these taxa, it appears that patterns and pigments in middle and late Paleozoic invertebrates may have served several functions such as warning displays, light screening, camouflage, or waste disposal. However, the presence of color patterns in fossil invertebrates in the early Paleozoic may have developed prior to the evolution of vision sufficiently sophisticated to see them. This suggests that camouflage and warning displays were not the original functions of color patterns, and that in the earliest Paleozoic they may not have been functional. The authors propose a hypothesis that involves three developmental phases in the evolution of invertebrate color patterns: (1) the incorporation of metabolic by-products, perhaps some pigmented and some not pigmented, into shells and carapaces as a means of disposal of dietary or metabolic wastes, (2) use of these pigments and patterns as an environmental adaptation, such as light screening, and (3) display during and following the evolution of vision in predators sufficiently sophisticated to see the patterns.

  8. Developmental palaeontology in synapsids: the fossil record of ontogeny in mammals and their closest relatives.

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    2010-04-22

    The study of fossilized ontogenies in mammals is mostly restricted to postnatal and late stages of growth, but nevertheless can deliver great insights into life history and evolutionary mechanisms affecting all aspects of development. Fossils provide evidence of developmental plasticity determined by ecological factors, as when allometric relations are modified in species which invaded a new space with a very different selection regime. This is the case of dwarfing and gigantism evolution in islands. Skeletochronological studies are restricted to the examination of growth marks mostly in the cement and dentine of teeth and can provide absolute age estimates. These, together with dental replacement data considered in a phylogenetic context, provide life-history information such as maturation time and longevity. Palaeohistology and dental replacement data document the more or less gradual but also convergent evolution of mammalian growth features during early synapsid evolution. Adult phenotypes of extinct mammals can inform developmental processes by showing a combination of features or levels of integration unrecorded in living species. Some adult features such as vertebral number, easily recorded in fossils, provide indirect information about somitogenesis and hox-gene expression boundaries. Developmental palaeontology is relevant for the discourse of ecological developmental biology, an area of research where features of growth and variation are fundamental and accessible among fossil mammals. PMID:20071389

  9. Large-scale heterogeneity of the fossil record: implications for Phanerozoic biodiversity studies.

    PubMed

    Smith, A B

    2001-03-29

    Patterns of origination, extinction and standing diversity through time have been inferred from tallies of taxa preserved in the fossil record. This approach assumes that sampling of the fossil record is effectively uniform over time. Although recent evidence suggests that our sampling of the available rock record has indeed been very thorough and effective, there is also overwhelming evidence that the rock record available for sampling is itself distorted by major systematic biases. Data on rock outcrop area compiled for post-Palaeozoic sediments from Western Europe at stage level are presented. These show a strongly cyclical pattern corresponding to first- and second-order sequence stratigraphical depositional cycles. Standing diversity increases over time and, at the coarsest scale, is decoupled from surface outcrop area. This increasing trend can therefore be considered a real pattern. Changes in standing diversity and origination rates over time-scales measured in tens of millions of years, however, are strongly correlated with surface outcrop area. Extinction peaks conform to a random-walk model, but larger peaks occur at just two positions with respect to second-order stratigraphical sequences, towards the culmination of stacked transgressive system tracts and close to system bases, precisely the positions where taxonomic last occurrences are predicted to cluster under a random distribution model. Many of the taxonomic patterns that have been described from the fossil record conform to a species-area effect. Whether this arises primarily from sampling bias, or from changing surface area of marine shelf seas through time and its effect on biodiversity, remains problematic. PMID:11316484

  10. Microbe-like inclusions in tree resins and implications for the fossil record of protists in amber.

    PubMed

    Thiel, V; Lausmaa, J; Sjövall, P; Ragazzi, E; Seyfullah, L J; Schmidt, A R

    2016-07-01

    During the past two decades, a plethora of fossil micro-organisms have been described from various Triassic to Miocene ambers. However, in addition to entrapped microbes, ambers commonly contain microscopic inclusions that sometimes resemble amoebae, ciliates, microfungi, and unicellular algae in size and shape, but do not provide further diagnostic features thereof. For a better assessment of the actual fossil record of unicellular eukaryotes in amber, we studied equivalent inclusions in modern resin of the Araucariaceae; this conifer family comprises important amber-producers in Earth history. Using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), we investigated the chemical nature of the inclusion matter and the resin matrix. Whereas the matrix, as expected, showed a more hydrocarbon/aromatic-dominated composition, the inclusions contain abundant salt ions and polar organics. However, the absence of signals characteristic for cellular biomass, namely distinctive proteinaceous amino acids and lipid moieties, indicates that the inclusions do not contain microbial cellular matter but salts and hydrophilic organic substances that probably derived from the plant itself. Rather than representing protists or their remains, these microbe-like inclusions, for which we propose the term 'pseudoinclusions', consist of compounds that are immiscible with the terpenoid resin matrix and were probably secreted in small amounts together with the actual resin by the plant tissue. Consequently, reports of protists from amber that are only based on the similarity of the overall shape and size to extant taxa, but do not provide relevant features at light-microscopical and ultrastructural level, cannot be accepted as unambiguous fossil evidence for these particular groups. PMID:27027519

  11. The earliest fossil record of Panorpidae (Mecoptera) from the Middle Jurassic of China

    PubMed Central

    Ding, He; Shih, Chungkun; Bashkuev, Alexei; Zhao, Yunyun; Ren, Dong

    2014-01-01

    Abstract The early history of Panorpidae (Mecoptera) is poorly known due to sparse fossil records. Up to date, only nine fossil species have been described, all from the Paleogene, except the Early Cretaceous Solusipanorpa gibbidorsa Lin, 1980. However, we suggest S. gibbidorsa is too incompletely preserved to permit even family classification. A new genus with two new species, Jurassipanorpa impunctata gen. et sp. n. and Jurassipanorpa sticta sp. n., are described based on four well-preserved specimens from the late Middle Jurassic Jiulongshan Formation of Daohugou, Inner Mongolia, China. These two new species are the earliest fossil records of Panorpidae. The new genus is erected based on a combination of forewing characters: both R1 and Rs1 with two branches, 1A reaching posterior margin of wing distad of the forking of Rs from R1, and no crossveins or only one crossvein between veins of 1A and 2A. In all four specimens, long and robust setae ranging from 0.09 to 0.38 mm in length and pointing anteriorly, are present on anal veins of forewings. The function of these setae is enigmatic. PMID:25152669

  12. Direct and indirect fossil records of megachilid bees from the Paleogene of Central Europe (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wedmann, Sonja; Wappler, Torsten; Engel, Michael S.

    2009-06-01

    Aside from pollen and nectar, bees of the subfamily Megachilinae are closely associated with plants as a source of materials for nest construction. Megachilines use resins, masticated leaves, trichomes and other plant materials sometimes along with mud to construct nests in cavities or in soil. Among these, the leafcutter bees ( Megachile s.l.) are the most famous for their behaviour to line their brood cells with discs cut from various plants. We report on fossil records of one body fossil of a new non-leafcutting megachiline and of 12 leafcuttings from three European sites—Eckfeld and Messel, both in Germany (Eocene), and Menat, France (Paleocene). The excisions include the currently earliest record of probable Megachile activity and suggest the presence of such bees in the Paleocene European fauna. Comparison with extant leafcuttings permits the interpretation of a minimal number of species that produced these excisions. The wide range of size for the leafcuttings indirectly might suggest at least two species of Megachile for the fauna of Messel in addition to the other megachiline bee described here. The presence of several cuttings on most leaves from Eckfeld implies that the preferential foraging behaviour of extant Megachile arose early in megachiline evolution. These results demonstrate that combined investigation of body and trace fossils complement each other in understanding past biodiversity, the latter permitting the detection of taxa not otherwise directly sampled and inferences on behavioural evolution.

  13. Systematics, phylogeny, and taphonomy of ghost shrimps (Decapoda): a perspective from the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Klompmaker, Adiël A.

    2016-01-01

    Ghost shrimps of Callianassidae and Ctenochelidae are soft-bodied, usually heterochelous decapods representing major bioturbators of muddy and sandy (sub)marine substrates. Ghost shrimps have a robust fossil record spanning from the Early Cretaceous (~ 133 Ma) to the Holocene and their remains are present in most assemblages of Cenozoic decapod crustaceans. Their taxonomic interpretation is in flux, mainly because the generic assignment is hindered by their insufficient preservation and disagreement in the biological classification. Furthermore, numerous taxa are incorrectly classified within the catch-all taxon Callianassa. To show the historical patterns in describing fossil ghost shrimps and to evaluate taphonomic aspects influencing the attribution of ghost shrimp remains to higher level taxa, a database of all fossil species treated at some time as belonging to the group has been compiled: 250 / 274 species are considered valid ghost shrimp taxa herein. More than half of these taxa (160 species, 58.4%) are known only from distal cheliped elements, i.e., dactylus and / or propodus, due to the more calcified cuticle locally. Rarely, ghost shrimps are preserved in situ in burrows or in direct association with them, and several previously unpublished occurrences are reported herein. For generic assignment, fossil material should be compared to living species because many of them have modern relatives. Heterochely, intraspecific variation, ontogenetic changes and sexual dimorphism are all factors that have to be taken into account when working with fossil ghost shrimps. Distal elements are usually more variable than proximal ones. Preliminary results suggest that the ghost shrimp clade emerged not before the Hauterivian (~ 133 Ma). The divergence of Ctenochelidae and Paracalliacinae is estimated to occur within the interval of Hauterivian to Albian (133–100 Ma). Callichirinae and Eucalliacinae likely diverged later during the Late Cretaceous (100–66 Ma

  14. Keratin Durability Has Implications for the Fossil Record: Results from a 10 Year Feather Degradation Experiment.

    PubMed

    Moyer, Alison E; Zheng, Wenxia; Schweitzer, Mary H

    2016-01-01

    Keratinous 'soft tissue' structures (i.e. epidermally derived and originally non-biomineralized), include feathers, skin, claws, beaks, and hair. Despite their relatively common occurrence in the fossil record (second only to bone and teeth), few studies have addressed natural degradation processes that must occur in all organic material, including those keratinous structures that are incorporated into the rock record as fossils. Because feathers have high preservation potential and strong phylogenetic signal, in the current study we examine feathers subjected to different burial environments for a duration of ~10 years, using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and in situ immunofluorescence (IF). We use morphology and persistence of specific immunoreactivity as indicators of preservation at the molecular and microstructural levels. We show that feather keratin is durable, demonstrates structural and microstructural integrity, and retains epitopes suitable for specific antibody recognition in even the harshest conditions. These data support the hypothesis that keratin antibody reactivity can be used to identify the nature and composition of epidermal structures in the rock record, and to address evolutionary questions by distinguishing between alpha- (widely distributed) and beta- (limited to sauropsids) keratin. PMID:27384819

  15. Keratin Durability Has Implications for the Fossil Record: Results from a 10 Year Feather Degradation Experiment

    PubMed Central

    Moyer, Alison E.; Zheng, Wenxia; Schweitzer, Mary H.

    2016-01-01

    Keratinous ‘soft tissue’ structures (i.e. epidermally derived and originally non-biomineralized), include feathers, skin, claws, beaks, and hair. Despite their relatively common occurrence in the fossil record (second only to bone and teeth), few studies have addressed natural degradation processes that must occur in all organic material, including those keratinous structures that are incorporated into the rock record as fossils. Because feathers have high preservation potential and strong phylogenetic signal, in the current study we examine feathers subjected to different burial environments for a duration of ~10 years, using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and in situ immunofluorescence (IF). We use morphology and persistence of specific immunoreactivity as indicators of preservation at the molecular and microstructural levels. We show that feather keratin is durable, demonstrates structural and microstructural integrity, and retains epitopes suitable for specific antibody recognition in even the harshest conditions. These data support the hypothesis that keratin antibody reactivity can be used to identify the nature and composition of epidermal structures in the rock record, and to address evolutionary questions by distinguishing between alpha- (widely distributed) and beta- (limited to sauropsids) keratin. PMID:27384819

  16. MicroRNAs resolve an apparent conflict between annelid systematics and their fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Sperling, Erik A.; Vinther, Jakob; Moy, Vanessa N.; Wheeler, Benjamin M.; Sémon, Marie; Briggs, Derek E. G.; Peterson, Kevin J.

    2009-01-01

    Both the monophyly and inter-relationships of the major annelid groups have remained uncertain, despite intensive research on both morphology and molecular sequences. Morphological cladistic analyses indicate that Annelida is monophyletic and consists of two monophyletic groups, the clitellates and polychaetes, whereas molecular phylogenetic analyses suggest that polychaetes are paraphyletic and that sipunculans are crown-group annelids. Both the monophyly of polychaetes and the placement of sipunculans within annelids are in conflict with the annelid fossil record—the former because Cambrian stem taxa are similar to modern polychaetes in possessing biramous parapodia, suggesting that clitellates are derived from polychaetes; the latter because although fossil sipunculans are known from the Early Cambrian, crown-group annelids do not appear until the latest Cambrian. Here we apply a different data source, the presence versus absence of specific microRNAs—genes that encode approximately 22 nucleotide non-coding regulatory RNAs—to the problem of annelid phylogenetics. We show that annelids are monophyletic with respect to sipunculans, and polychaetes are paraphyletic with respect to the clitellate Lumbricus, conclusions that are consistent with the fossil record. Further, sipunculans resolve as the sister group of the annelids, rooting the annelid tree, and revealing the polarity of the morphological change within this diverse lineage of animals. PMID:19755470

  17. First Quaternary Fossil Record of Caecilians from a Mexican Archaeological Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wake, Thomas A.; Wake, Marvalee H.; Lesure, Richard G.

    1999-07-01

    A single vertebra from an Early Formative period archaeological site in coastal Chiapas, México, is identified as belonging to the amphibian Dermophis mexicanus (Duméril and Bibron) 1841 (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Caeciliidae). The vertebra was recovered from deposits dated to approximately 1200-1350 B.C. The specimen represents the first Quaternary fossil record for gymnophiones. Its presence suggests the possible role of the species as a bioturbator. Its recovery is further evidence of the utility of fine-grained archaeological recovery techniques.

  18. Preservation of key biomolecules in the fossil record: current knowledge and future challenges.

    PubMed Central

    Bada, J L; Wang, X S; Hamilton, H

    1999-01-01

    preservation in the fossil record. PMID:10091249

  19. Evolutionary timescale of monocots determined by the fossilized birth-death model using a large number of fossil records.

    PubMed

    Eguchi, Satoshi; Tamura, Minoru N

    2016-05-01

    Although the phylogenetic relationships between monocot orders are sufficiently understood, a timescale of their evolution is needed. Several studies on molecular clock dating are available, but their results have been biased by their calibration schemes. Recently, the fossilized birth-death model, a type of Bayesian dating method, was proposed, and it does not require prior calibration and allows the use all available fossils. Using this model, we conducted divergence-time estimations of monocots to explore their evolutionary timeline without calibration bias. This is the first application of this model to seed plants. The dataset contained the matK and rbcL chloroplast genes of 118 monocot genera covering all extant orders. We employed information from 247 monocot fossils, which exceeded previous dating analyses that used a maximum of 12 monocot fossils. The crown group of monocots was dated to approximately the Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous periods, and most extant monocot orders were estimated to diverge throughout the Early Cretaceous. Our results overlapped with the divergence time of insect lineages, such as beetles and flies, suggesting an association with pollinators in early monocot evolution. In addition, we proposed three new orders based on divergence time: Orchidales separated from Asparagales and Tofieldiales and Arales separated from Aslimatales. PMID:27061096

  20. Biology in the Anthropocene: Challenges and insights from young fossil records.

    PubMed

    Kidwell, Susan M

    2015-04-21

    With overwhelming evidence of change in habitats, biologists today must assume that few, if any, study areas are natural and that biological variability is superimposed on trends rather than stationary means. Paleobiological data from the youngest sedimentary record, including death assemblages actively accumulating on modern land surfaces and seabeds, provide unique information on the status of present-day species, communities, and biomes over the last few decades to millennia and on their responses to natural and anthropogenic environmental change. Key advances have established the accuracy and resolving power of paleobiological information derived from naturally preserved remains and of proxy evidence for environmental conditions and sample age so that fossil data can both implicate and exonerate human stressors as the drivers of biotic change and permit the effects of multiple stressors to be disentangled. Legacy effects from Industrial and even pre-Industrial anthropogenic extirpations, introductions, (de)nutrification, and habitat conversion commonly emerge as the primary factors underlying the present-day status of populations and communities; within the last 2 million years, climate change has rarely been sufficient to drive major extinction pulses absent other human pressures, which are now manifold. Young fossil records also provide rigorous access to the baseline composition and dynamics of modern-day biota under pre-Industrial conditions, where insights include the millennial-scale persistence of community structures, the dominant role of physical environmental conditions rather than biotic interactions in determining community composition and disassembly, and the existence of naturally alternating states. PMID:25901315

  1. Changes to the Fossil Record of Insects through Fifteen Years of Discovery.

    PubMed

    Nicholson, David B; Mayhew, Peter J; Ross, Andrew J

    2015-01-01

    The first and last occurrences of hexapod families in the fossil record are compiled from publications up to end-2009. The major features of these data are compared with those of previous datasets (1993 and 1994). About a third of families (>400) are new to the fossil record since 1994, over half of the earlier, existing families have experienced changes in their known stratigraphic range and only about ten percent have unchanged ranges. Despite these significant additions to knowledge, the broad pattern of described richness through time remains similar, with described richness increasing steadily through geological history and a shift in dominant taxa, from Palaeoptera and Polyneoptera to Paraneoptera and Holometabola, after the Palaeozoic. However, after detrending, described richness is not well correlated with the earlier datasets, indicating significant changes in shorter-term patterns. There is reduced Palaeozoic richness, peaking at a different time, and a less pronounced Permian decline. A pronounced Triassic peak and decline is shown, and the plateau from the mid Early Cretaceous to the end of the period remains, albeit at substantially higher richness compared to earlier datasets. Origination and extinction rates are broadly similar to before, with a broad decline in both through time but episodic peaks, including end-Permian turnover. Origination more consistently exceeds extinction compared to previous datasets and exceptions are mainly in the Palaeozoic. These changes suggest that some inferences about causal mechanisms in insect macroevolution are likely to differ as well. PMID:26176667

  2. Relict endemism of extant Rhineuridae (Amphisbaenia): testing for phylogenetic niche conservatism in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Hipsley, Christy A; Müller, Johannes

    2014-03-01

    Rhineurid amphisbaenians are represented by a rich Cenozoic fossil record in North America, but today conisist of a single living species restricted to the Florida Peninsula. Such relict endemism may be the result of phylogenetic niche conservatism (PNC), the retention of ancestral traits preventing expansion into new environments. Most tests of PNC derive ancestral niche preferences from species' extant ecologies, while ignoring valuable paleontological information. To test if PNC contributes to the restricted distribution of modern Rhineura floridana, we compare the species' current environmental preferences (temperature, precipitation and soil) to paleoenvironmental data from the rhineurid fossil record. We find no evidence of PNC in modern R. floridana, as it also occurred in Florida during drier glacial periods. Ancient rhineurids also exhibit tolerance to changing climates, having undergone a shift from subtropical-humid to semi-arid savanna conditions during the Eocene-Oligocene transition. However, rhineurids nearly disappear from North America after the middle Miocene, potentially due to the onset of prolonged freezing temperatures following the mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum. This physiological limit of environmental tolerances could be interpreted as PNC for the entire family, but also characterizes much of Amphisbaenia, emphasizing the relevance of the temporal as well as phylogenetic scale at which PNC is investigated. PMID:24482295

  3. Changes to the Fossil Record of Insects through Fifteen Years of Discovery

    PubMed Central

    Nicholson, David B.; Mayhew, Peter J.; Ross, Andrew J.

    2015-01-01

    The first and last occurrences of hexapod families in the fossil record are compiled from publications up to end-2009. The major features of these data are compared with those of previous datasets (1993 and 1994). About a third of families (>400) are new to the fossil record since 1994, over half of the earlier, existing families have experienced changes in their known stratigraphic range and only about ten percent have unchanged ranges. Despite these significant additions to knowledge, the broad pattern of described richness through time remains similar, with described richness increasing steadily through geological history and a shift in dominant taxa, from Palaeoptera and Polyneoptera to Paraneoptera and Holometabola, after the Palaeozoic. However, after detrending, described richness is not well correlated with the earlier datasets, indicating significant changes in shorter-term patterns. There is reduced Palaeozoic richness, peaking at a different time, and a less pronounced Permian decline. A pronounced Triassic peak and decline is shown, and the plateau from the mid Early Cretaceous to the end of the period remains, albeit at substantially higher richness compared to earlier datasets. Origination and extinction rates are broadly similar to before, with a broad decline in both through time but episodic peaks, including end-Permian turnover. Origination more consistently exceeds extinction compared to previous datasets and exceptions are mainly in the Palaeozoic. These changes suggest that some inferences about causal mechanisms in insect macroevolution are likely to differ as well. PMID:26176667

  4. Biology in the Anthropocene: Challenges and insights from young fossil records

    PubMed Central

    Kidwell, Susan M.

    2015-01-01

    With overwhelming evidence of change in habitats, biologists today must assume that few, if any, study areas are natural and that biological variability is superimposed on trends rather than stationary means. Paleobiological data from the youngest sedimentary record, including death assemblages actively accumulating on modern land surfaces and seabeds, provide unique information on the status of present-day species, communities, and biomes over the last few decades to millennia and on their responses to natural and anthropogenic environmental change. Key advances have established the accuracy and resolving power of paleobiological information derived from naturally preserved remains and of proxy evidence for environmental conditions and sample age so that fossil data can both implicate and exonerate human stressors as the drivers of biotic change and permit the effects of multiple stressors to be disentangled. Legacy effects from Industrial and even pre-Industrial anthropogenic extirpations, introductions, (de)nutrification, and habitat conversion commonly emerge as the primary factors underlying the present-day status of populations and communities; within the last 2 million years, climate change has rarely been sufficient to drive major extinction pulses absent other human pressures, which are now manifold. Young fossil records also provide rigorous access to the baseline composition and dynamics of modern-day biota under pre-Industrial conditions, where insights include the millennial-scale persistence of community structures, the dominant role of physical environmental conditions rather than biotic interactions in determining community composition and disassembly, and the existence of naturally alternating states. PMID:25901315

  5. First direct evidence of a vertebrate three-level trophic chain in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Kriwet, Jürgen; Witzmann, Florian; Klug, Stefanie; Heidtke, Ulrich H J

    2008-01-22

    We describe the first known occurrence of a Permian shark specimen preserving two temnospondyl amphibians in its digestive tract as well as the remains of an acanthodian fish, which was ingested by one of the temnospondyls. This exceptional find provides for the first time direct evidence of a vertebrate three-level food chain in the fossil record with the simultaneous preservation of three trophic levels. Our analysis shows that small-sized Lower Permian xenacanthid sharks of the genus Triodus preyed on larval piscivorous amphibians. The recorded trophic interaction can be explained by the adaptation of certain xenacanthids to fully freshwater environments and the fact that in these same environments, large temnospondyls occupied the niche of modern crocodiles. This unique faunal association has not been documented after the Permian and Triassic. Therefore, this Palaeozoic three-level food chain provides strong and independent support for changes in aquatic trophic chain structures through time. PMID:17971323

  6. Molecular decay of the tooth gene Enamelin (ENAM) mirrors the loss of enamel in the fossil record of placental mammals.

    PubMed

    Meredith, Robert W; Gatesy, John; Murphy, William J; Ryder, Oliver A; Springer, Mark S

    2009-09-01

    Vestigial structures occur at both the anatomical and molecular levels, but studies documenting the co-occurrence of morphological degeneration in the fossil record and molecular decay in the genome are rare. Here, we use morphology, the fossil record, and phylogenetics to predict the occurrence of "molecular fossils" of the enamelin (ENAM) gene in four different orders of placental mammals (Tubulidentata, Pholidota, Cetacea, Xenarthra) with toothless and/or enamelless taxa. Our results support the "molecular fossil" hypothesis and demonstrate the occurrence of frameshift mutations and/or stop codons in all toothless and enamelless taxa. We then use a novel method based on selection intensity estimates for codons (omega) to calculate the timing of iterated enamel loss in the fossil record of aardvarks and pangolins, and further show that the molecular evolutionary history of ENAM predicts the occurrence of enamel in basal representatives of Xenarthra (sloths, anteaters, armadillos) even though frameshift mutations are ubiquitous in ENAM sequences of living xenarthrans. The molecular decay of ENAM parallels the morphological degeneration of enamel in the fossil record of placental mammals and provides manifest evidence for the predictive power of Darwin's theory. PMID:19730686

  7. Calcification and Silicification: Fossilization Potential of Cyanobacteria from Stromatolites of Niuafo‘ou's Caldera Lakes (Tonga) and Implications for the Early Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Kazmierczak, Józef; Łukomska-Kowalczyk, Maja; Kempe, Stephan

    2012-01-01

    Abstract Calcification and silicification processes of cyanobacterial mats that form stromatolites in two caldera lakes of Niuafo‘ou Island (Vai Lahi and Vai Si‘i) were evaluated, and their importance as analogues for interpreting the early fossil record are discussed. It has been shown that the potential for morphological preservation of Niuafo‘ou cyanobacteria is highly dependent on the timing and type of mineral phase involved in the fossilization process. Four main modes of mineralization of cyanobacteria organic parts have been recognized: (i) primary early postmortem calcification by aragonite nanograins that transform quickly into larger needle-like crystals and almost totally destroy the cellular structures, (ii) primary early postmortem silicification of almost intact cyanobacterial cells that leave a record of spectacularly well-preserved cellular structures, (iii) replacement by silica of primary aragonite that has already recrystallized and obliterated the cellular structures, (iv) occasional replacement of primary aragonite precipitated in the mucopolysaccharide sheaths and extracellular polymeric substances by Al-Mg-Fe silicates. These observations suggest that the extremely scarce earliest fossil record may, in part, be the result of (a) secondary replacement by silica of primary carbonate minerals (aragonite, calcite, siderite), which, due to recrystallization, had already annihilated the cellular morphology of the mineralized microbiota or (b) relatively late primary silicification of already highly degraded and no longer morphologically identifiable microbial remains. Key Words: Stromatolites—Cyanobacteria—Calcification—Silicification—Niuafo‘ou (Tonga)—Archean. Astrobiology 12, 535–548. PMID:22794297

  8. Calcification and silicification: fossilization potential of cyanobacteria from stromatolites of Niuafo'ou's Caldera Lakes (Tonga) and implications for the early fossil record.

    PubMed

    Kremer, Barbara; Kazmierczak, Józef; Lukomska-Kowalczyk, Maja; Kempe, Stephan

    2012-06-01

    Calcification and silicification processes of cyanobacterial mats that form stromatolites in two caldera lakes of Niuafo'ou Island (Vai Lahi and Vai Si'i) were evaluated, and their importance as analogues for interpreting the early fossil record are discussed. It has been shown that the potential for morphological preservation of Niuafo'ou cyanobacteria is highly dependent on the timing and type of mineral phase involved in the fossilization process. Four main modes of mineralization of cyanobacteria organic parts have been recognized: (i) primary early postmortem calcification by aragonite nanograins that transform quickly into larger needle-like crystals and almost totally destroy the cellular structures, (ii) primary early postmortem silicification of almost intact cyanobacterial cells that leave a record of spectacularly well-preserved cellular structures, (iii) replacement by silica of primary aragonite that has already recrystallized and obliterated the cellular structures, (iv) occasional replacement of primary aragonite precipitated in the mucopolysaccharide sheaths and extracellular polymeric substances by Al-Mg-Fe silicates. These observations suggest that the extremely scarce earliest fossil record may, in part, be the result of (a) secondary replacement by silica of primary carbonate minerals (aragonite, calcite, siderite), which, due to recrystallization, had already annihilated the cellular morphology of the mineralized microbiota or (b) relatively late primary silicification of already highly degraded and no longer morphologically identifiable microbial remains. PMID:22794297

  9. The taphonomy of unmineralised Palaeozoic fossils preserved as siliciclastic moulds and casts, and their utility in assessing the interaction between environmental change and the fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacGabhann, Breandán; Schiffbauer, James; Hagadorn, James; Van Roy, Peter; Lynch, Edward; Morrsion, Liam; Murray, John

    2015-04-01

    biopolymers, and that these tissues were preferentially fossilised by the formation of an early diagenic mould directly on the organic surfaces. Excess divalent iron ions, produced during decay of more labile tissues by means of bacterial iron reduction, would have adsorbed to anionic functional groups in the biopolymeric tissues. This would have provided a ready substrate for the formation and growth of such an early diagenic mineralised mould, including aluminosilicate minerals produced via reaction with seawater silica and metal ions, and iron sulphide minerals produced via reaction with hydrogen sulphide and free sulphur produced from seawater sulphate through bacterial sulphate reduction associated with further decay. Subsequent weathering would have oxidised such iron sulphides to oxides and oxyhydroxides. This taphonomic model supports the lack of utility of the eldonid palaeobiological record in analysing environmental influence on biological communities, due to the lack of preservation of key anatomical components. However, it also suggests that the very occurrence of fossils preserved in this style is dependent on extrinsic palaeoenvironmental factors - including pH, Eh, and the concentration of other ions in the contemporaneous seawater. Analyses of the distribution of fossils preserved in this style may therefore provide information on ambient conditions which may have affected the distribution of contemporaneous mineralised fossils, potentially allowing a more complete analysis of the effects of palaeoenvironmental change on fossil ecosystems.

  10. Balsscallichirus Sakai, 2011 (Decapoda: Axiidea: Callianassidae) in the fossil record: systematics and palaeobiogeography

    PubMed Central

    Hyžný, Matúš

    2016-01-01

    The fossil record of the ghost shrimp genus Balsscallichirus Sakai, 2011 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Callianassidae) is revised. Barnardcallichirus Sakai, 2011 and Tirmizicallichirus Sakai, 2011 are considered subjective synonyms of Balsscallichirus. Based on the examination of extant species it is argued that the morphology of the major cheliped merus, in combination with other hard part morphology characters, is sufficient for assignment of the fossil material into the genus. Main identifying characters are on merus which is keeled along its midline and its lower half is tuberculated; its lower margin possesses broad proximal meral hook continuing into a lobe distally; the entire lower margin is subdivided into numerous irregularly spaced spines. Three species, Callianassa sismondai A. Milne-Edwards, 1860, C. floriana Glaessner, 1928, and Podocallichirus laepaensis Hyžný & Muñiz, 2012, originally described from the Miocene of Italy, Austria and Spain, respectively, are assigned to Balsscallichirus herein. Neocallichirus wellsi Schweitzer, Feldmann & Gingerich, 2004 from the Upper Eocene of Pakistan is tentatively assigned to that genus as well. Spatial and temporal distribution of the genus indicates that at least since the Oligocene, and possibly even sooner (the Late Eocene), the genus has been restricted to the Western Tethys Region. Later, it migrated also into West Atlantic establishing present day communities. PMID:27499568

  11. An ecometric analysis of the fossil mammal record of the Turkana Basin

    PubMed Central

    Žliobaitė, Indrė; Kaya, Ferhat; Bibi, Faysal; Bobe, René; Leakey, Louise; Leakey, Meave; Patterson, David; Rannikko, Janina; Werdelin, Lars

    2016-01-01

    Although ecometric methods have been used to analyse fossil mammal faunas and environments of Eurasia and North America, such methods have not yet been applied to the rich fossil mammal record of eastern Africa. Here we report results from analysis of a combined dataset spanning east and west Turkana from Kenya between 7 and 1 million years ago (Ma). We provide temporally and spatially resolved estimates of temperature and precipitation and discuss their relationship to patterns of faunal change, and propose a new hypothesis to explain the lack of a temperature trend. We suggest that the regionally arid Turkana Basin may between 4 and 2 Ma have acted as a ‘species factory’, generating ecological adaptations in advance of the global trend. We show a persistent difference between the eastern and western sides of the Turkana Basin and suggest that the wetlands of the shallow eastern side could have provided additional humidity to the terrestrial ecosystems. Pending further research, a transient episode of faunal change centred at the time of the KBS Member (1.87–1.53 Ma), may be equally plausibly attributed to climate change or to a top-down ecological cascade initiated by the entry of technologically sophisticated humans. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Major transitions in human evolution’. PMID:27298463

  12. An ecometric analysis of the fossil mammal record of the Turkana Basin.

    PubMed

    Fortelius, Mikael; Žliobaitė, Indrė; Kaya, Ferhat; Bibi, Faysal; Bobe, René; Leakey, Louise; Leakey, Meave; Patterson, David; Rannikko, Janina; Werdelin, Lars

    2016-07-01

    Although ecometric methods have been used to analyse fossil mammal faunas and environments of Eurasia and North America, such methods have not yet been applied to the rich fossil mammal record of eastern Africa. Here we report results from analysis of a combined dataset spanning east and west Turkana from Kenya between 7 and 1 million years ago (Ma). We provide temporally and spatially resolved estimates of temperature and precipitation and discuss their relationship to patterns of faunal change, and propose a new hypothesis to explain the lack of a temperature trend. We suggest that the regionally arid Turkana Basin may between 4 and 2 Ma have acted as a 'species factory', generating ecological adaptations in advance of the global trend. We show a persistent difference between the eastern and western sides of the Turkana Basin and suggest that the wetlands of the shallow eastern side could have provided additional humidity to the terrestrial ecosystems. Pending further research, a transient episode of faunal change centred at the time of the KBS Member (1.87-1.53 Ma), may be equally plausibly attributed to climate change or to a top-down ecological cascade initiated by the entry of technologically sophisticated humans.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. PMID:27298463

  13. New Biogeographic insight into Bauhinia s.l. (Leguminosae): integration from fossil records and molecular analyses

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Given that most species that have ever existed on earth are extinct, it stands to reason that the evolutionary history can be better understood with fossil taxa. Bauhinia is a typical genus of pantropical intercontinental disjunction among the Asian, African, and American continents. Geographic distribution patterns are better recognized when fossil records and molecular sequences are combined in the analyses. Here, we describe a new macrofossil species of Bauhinia from the Upper Miocene Xiaolongtan Formation in Wenshan County, Southeast Yunnan, China, and elucidate the biogeographic significance through the analyses of molecules and fossils. Results Morphometric analysis demonstrates that the leaf shapes of B. acuminata, B. championii, B. chalcophylla, B. purpurea, and B. podopetala closely resemble the leaf shapes of the new finding fossil. Phylogenetic relationships among the Bauhinia species were reconstructed using maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference, which inferred that species in Bauhinia species are well-resolved into three main groups. Divergence times were estimated by the Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method under a relaxed clock, and inferred that the stem diversification time of Bauhinia was ca. 62.7 Ma. The Asian lineage first diverged at ca. 59.8 Ma, followed by divergence of the Africa lineage starting during the late Eocene, whereas that of the neotropical lineage starting during the middle Miocene. Conclusions Hypotheses relying on vicariance or continental history to explain pantropical disjunct distributions are dismissed because they require mostly Palaeogene and older tectonic events. We suggest that Bauhinia originated in the middle Paleocene in Laurasia, probably in Asia, implying a possible Tethys Seaway origin or an “Out of Tropical Asia”, and dispersal of legumes. Its present pantropical disjunction resulted from disruption of the boreotropical flora by climatic cooling after the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal

  14. A dinosaurian facial deformity and the first occurrence of ameloblastoma in the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Dumbravă, Mihai D.; Rothschild, Bruce M.; Weishampel, David B.; Csiki-Sava, Zoltán; Andrei, Răzvan A.; Acheson, Katharine A.; Codrea, Vlad A.

    2016-01-01

    Despite documentation of various types of neoplastic pathologies encountered in the vertebrate fossil record, no ameloblastic tumours have been recognised so far. Ameloblastoma is a benign neoplasic tumour with a strong preponderance for the mandible. Here, we report for the first time the presence of an ameloblastoma neoplasm in the lower jaw of a specimen referred to the derived non-hadrosaurid hadrosauroid dinosaur Telmatosaurus transsylvanicus from the uppermost Cretaceous of the Haeg Basin in Romania. The location, external appearance and internal structure of the pathological outgrowth provide clear evidence for the diagnosis of ameloblastoma in Telmatosaurus. This report extends the range of pathologies encountered in hadrosauroid dinosaurs. In addition, recognition of an ameloblastoma neoplasm in a taxon lying close to the origin of ‘duck-billed’ hadrosaurid dinosaurs confirms the predisposition of this clade towards neoplasia pathologies already in its basal members. PMID:27377317

  15. A dinosaurian facial deformity and the first occurrence of ameloblastoma in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Dumbravă, Mihai D; Rothschild, Bruce M; Weishampel, David B; Csiki-Sava, Zoltán; Andrei, Răzvan A; Acheson, Katharine A; Codrea, Vlad A

    2016-01-01

    Despite documentation of various types of neoplastic pathologies encountered in the vertebrate fossil record, no ameloblastic tumours have been recognised so far. Ameloblastoma is a benign neoplasic tumour with a strong preponderance for the mandible. Here, we report for the first time the presence of an ameloblastoma neoplasm in the lower jaw of a specimen referred to the derived non-hadrosaurid hadrosauroid dinosaur Telmatosaurus transsylvanicus from the uppermost Cretaceous of the Haeg Basin in Romania. The location, external appearance and internal structure of the pathological outgrowth provide clear evidence for the diagnosis of ameloblastoma in Telmatosaurus. This report extends the range of pathologies encountered in hadrosauroid dinosaurs. In addition, recognition of an ameloblastoma neoplasm in a taxon lying close to the origin of 'duck-billed' hadrosaurid dinosaurs confirms the predisposition of this clade towards neoplasia pathologies already in its basal members. PMID:27377317

  16. Fossil invertebrates records in cave sediments and paleoenvironmental assessments - a study of four cave sites from Romanian Carpathians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moldovan, O. T.; Constantin, S.; Panaiotu, C.; Roban, R. D.; Frenzel, P.; Miko, L.

    2016-01-01

    Fossil invertebrates from cave sediments have been recently described as a potential new proxy for paleoenvironment and used in cross-correlations with alternate proxy records from cave deposits. Here we present the results of a fossil invertebrates study in four caves from two climatically different regions of the Romanian Carpathians, to complement paleoenvironmental data previously reported. Oribatid mites and ostracods are the most common invertebrates in the studied cave sediments. Some of the identified taxa are new to science, and most of them are indicative for either warm and/or cold stages or dry and/or wetter oscillations. In two caves the fossil invertebrates records indicate rapid climate oscillations during times known for a relatively stable climate. By corroborating the fossil invertebrates' record with the information given by magnetic properties and sediment structures, complementary data on past vegetation, temperatures and hydraulic regimes could be gathered. This paper analyzes the potential of fossil invertebrate records as a paleoenvironmental proxy, potential problems and pitfalls.

  17. Origin of the Eumetazoa: testing ecological predictions of molecular clocks against the Proterozoic fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peterson, Kevin J.; Butterfield, Nicholas J.

    2005-01-01

    Molecular clocks have the potential to shed light on the timing of early metazoan divergences, but differing algorithms and calibration points yield conspicuously discordant results. We argue here that competing molecular clock hypotheses should be testable in the fossil record, on the principle that fundamentally new grades of animal organization will have ecosystem-wide impacts. Using a set of seven nuclear-encoded protein sequences, we demonstrate the paraphyly of Porifera and calculate sponge/eumetazoan and cnidarian/bilaterian divergence times by using both distance [minimum evolution (ME)] and maximum likelihood (ML) molecular clocks; ME brackets the appearance of Eumetazoa between 634 and 604 Ma, whereas ML suggests it was between 867 and 748 Ma. Significantly, the ME, but not the ML, estimate is coincident with a major regime change in the Proterozoic acritarch record, including: (i) disappearance of low-diversity, evolutionarily static, pre-Ediacaran acanthomorphs; (ii) radiation of the high-diversity, short-lived Doushantuo-Pertatataka microbiota; and (iii) an order-of-magnitude increase in evolutionary turnover rate. We interpret this turnover as a consequence of the novel ecological challenges accompanying the evolution of the eumetazoan nervous system and gut. Thus, the more readily preserved microfossil record provides positive evidence for the absence of pre-Ediacaran eumetazoans and strongly supports the veracity, and therefore more general application, of the ME molecular clock.

  18. Hominin cognitive evolution: identifying patterns and processes in the fossil and archaeological record

    PubMed Central

    Shultz, Susanne; Nelson, Emma; Dunbar, Robin I. M.

    2012-01-01

    As only limited insight into behaviour is available from the archaeological record, much of our understanding of historical changes in human cognition is restricted to identifying changes in brain size and architecture. Using both absolute and residual brain size estimates, we show that hominin brain evolution was likely to be the result of a mix of processes; punctuated changes at approximately 100 kya, 1 Mya and 1.8 Mya are supplemented by gradual within-lineage changes in Homo erectus and Homo sapiens sensu lato. While brain size increase in Homo in Africa is a gradual process, migration of hominins into Eurasia is associated with step changes at approximately 400 kya and approximately 100 kya. We then demonstrate that periods of rapid change in hominin brain size are not temporally associated with changes in environmental unpredictability or with long-term palaeoclimate trends. Thus, we argue that commonly used global sea level or Indian Ocean dust palaeoclimate records provide little evidence for either the variability selection or aridity hypotheses explaining changes in hominin brain size. Brain size change at approximately 100 kya is coincident with demographic change and the appearance of fully modern language. However, gaps remain in our understanding of the external pressures driving encephalization, which will only be filled by novel applications of the fossil, palaeoclimatic and archaeological records. PMID:22734056

  19. New Eocene Coleoid (Cephalopoda) Diversity from Statolith Remains: Taxonomic Assignation, Fossil Record Analysis, and New Data for Calibrating Molecular Phylogenies

    PubMed Central

    Neige, Pascal; Lapierre, Hervé; Merle, Didier

    2016-01-01

    New coleoid cephalopods are described from statolith remains from the Middle Eocene (Middle Lutetian) of the Paris Basin. Fifteen fossil statoliths are identified and assigned to the Sepiidae (Sepia boletzkyi sp. nov.,? Sepia pira sp. nov.), Loliginidae (Loligo clarkei sp. nov.), and Ommastrephidae (genus indet.) families. The sediments containing these fossils indicate permanent aquatic settings in the infralittoral domain. These sediments range in age from 46 Mya to 43 Mya. Analysis of the fossil record of statoliths (from findings described here, together with a review of previously published data) indicates marked biases in our knowledge. Fossil statoliths are known from as far back as the Early Jurassic (199.3 to 190.8 Mya) but surprisingly, to the best of our knowledge, no record occurs in the Cretaceous. This is a “knowledge bias” and clearly calls for further studies. Finally, we attempt to compare findings described here with fossils previously used to constrain divergence and/or diversification ages of some coleoid subclades in molecular phylogenies. This comparison clearly indicates that the new records detailed here will challenge some estimated divergence times of coleoid cephalopod subclades. PMID:27192490

  20. New Eocene Coleoid (Cephalopoda) Diversity from Statolith Remains: Taxonomic Assignation, Fossil Record Analysis, and New Data for Calibrating Molecular Phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Neige, Pascal; Lapierre, Hervé; Merle, Didier

    2016-01-01

    New coleoid cephalopods are described from statolith remains from the Middle Eocene (Middle Lutetian) of the Paris Basin. Fifteen fossil statoliths are identified and assigned to the Sepiidae (Sepia boletzkyi sp. nov.,? Sepia pira sp. nov.), Loliginidae (Loligo clarkei sp. nov.), and Ommastrephidae (genus indet.) families. The sediments containing these fossils indicate permanent aquatic settings in the infralittoral domain. These sediments range in age from 46 Mya to 43 Mya. Analysis of the fossil record of statoliths (from findings described here, together with a review of previously published data) indicates marked biases in our knowledge. Fossil statoliths are known from as far back as the Early Jurassic (199.3 to 190.8 Mya) but surprisingly, to the best of our knowledge, no record occurs in the Cretaceous. This is a "knowledge bias" and clearly calls for further studies. Finally, we attempt to compare findings described here with fossils previously used to constrain divergence and/or diversification ages of some coleoid subclades in molecular phylogenies. This comparison clearly indicates that the new records detailed here will challenge some estimated divergence times of coleoid cephalopod subclades. PMID:27192490

  1. Iridium abundance measurements across bio-event horizons in the fossil record

    SciTech Connect

    Orth, C.J.; Attrep, M. Jr.; Quintana, L.R. )

    1989-01-01

    Geochemical measurements have been performed on thousands of rock samples collected across bio-event horizons using Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA) for about 40 common and trace elements and radiochemical isolation procedures for Ir. On selected samples, Os, Pt and Au were also radiochemically determined. These studies have encompassed the time interval from the Precambrian-Cambrian transition to the Late Eocene impact (microspherule) horizons. Our early work strengthened the Alvarez impact hypothesis by finding the Ir (PGE) anomaly at the K-T boundary in continental sedimentary sequences. In collaborations with paleontologists, weak to moderately string Ir anomalies have been discovered at the Frasnian-Famennian boundary in Australia, in the Early Mississippian of Oklahoma, at the Mississipian-Pennsylvanian boundary of Oklahoma and Texas, and in the Late Cenomanian throughout the western interior of North America and on the south coast of England to date. We have found no compelling evidence for an impact related cause for these anomalies although PGE impact signatures in the two Late Cenomanian anomalies could be masked by the strong terrestrial mafic to ultramafic overprint. Thus far, our evidence for extinction events older than the terminal Cretaceous does not support recent hypotheses which suggest that impacts from cyclic swarms of comets in the inner Solar system were responsible for the periodic mass extinctions. 50 refs., 7 figs., 3 tabs.

  2. Recording of climate and diagenesis through sedimentary DNA and fossil pigments at Laguna Potrok Aike, Argentina

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vuillemin, Aurèle; Ariztegui, Daniel; Leavitt, Peter R.; Bunting, Lynda; The Pasado Science Team

    2016-04-01

    Aquatic sediments record past climatic conditions while providing a wide range of ecological niches for microorganisms. In theory, benthic microbial community composition should depend on environmental features and geochemical conditions of surrounding sediments, as well as ontogeny of the subsurface environment as sediment degraded. In principle, DNA in sediments should be composed of ancient and extant microbial elements persisting at different degrees of preservation, although to date few studies have quantified the relative influence of each factor in regulating final composition of total sedimentary DNA assemblage. Here geomicrobiological and phylogenetic analyses of a Patagonian maar lake were used to indicate that the different sedimentary microbial assemblages derive from specific lacustrine regimes during defined climatic periods. Two climatic intervals (Mid-Holocene, 5 ka BP; Last Glacial Maximum, 25 ka BP) whose sediments harbored active microbial populations were sampled for a comparative environmental study based on fossil pigments and 16S rRNA gene sequences. The genetic assemblage recovered from the Holocene record revealed a microbial community displaying metabolic complementarities that allowed prolonged degradation of organic matter to methane. The series of Archaea identified throughout the Holocene record indicated an age-related stratification of these populations brought on by environmental selection during early diagenesis. These characteristics were associated with sediments resulting from endorheic lake conditions and stable pelagic regime, high evaporative stress and concomitant high algal productivity. In contrast, sulphate-reducing bacteria and lithotrophic Archaea were predominant in sediments dated from the Last Glacial Maximum, in which pelagic clays alternated with fine volcanic material characteristic of a lake level highstand and freshwater conditions, but reduced water column productivity. Comparison of sedimentary DNA composition

  3. Two new fossil genera and species of Cerocephalinae (Hymenoptera, Chalcidoidea, Pteromalidae), including the first record from the Eocene

    PubMed Central

    Bläser, Marcel; Krogmann, Lars; Peters, Ralph S.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Cerocephalinae (Chalcidoidea, Pteromalidae) is a small group of parasitoid wasps characterized by a number of derived diagnostic features. Their hosts are endophytic beetles. So far, 43 species of Cerocephalinae have been described, including one fossil species from the Miocene. In this study, we add two new genera and species from Baltic and Dominican amber to the fossil record. Tenuicornus dominicus gen. et sp. n. is the second genus described from Dominican amber, and Pteropilosa lailarabanorum gen. et sp. n., described from Baltic amber, represents the oldest record of the subfamily, pushing the minimum age of Cerocephalinae back to the Eocene. Diagnostic characters of both species are discussed in comparison with other Cerocephalinae. An updated key to extant and fossil Cerocephalinae is presented. PMID:26798296

  4. Fossil spiders.

    PubMed

    Selden, Paul A; Penney, David

    2010-02-01

    Over the last three decades, the fossil record of spiders has increased from being previously biased towards Tertiary ambers and a few dubious earlier records, to one which reveals a much greater diversity in the Mesozoic, with many of the modern families present in that era, and with clearer evidence of the evolutionary history of the group. We here record the history of palaeoarachnology and the major breakthroughs which form the basis of studies on fossil spiders. Understanding the preservation and taphonomic history of spider fossils is crucial to interpretation of fossil spider morphology. We also review the more recent descriptions of fossil spiders and the effect these discoveries have had on the phylogenetic tree of spiders. We discuss some features of the evolutionary history of spiders and present ideas for future work. PMID:19961468

  5. Introducing Evolution to Non-Biology Majors via the Fossil Record: A Case Study from the Israeli High School System.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dodick, Jeff; Orion, Nir

    2003-01-01

    Discusses challenges faced in the teaching and learning of evolution. Presents a curricular program and a case study on evolutionary biology. Investigates students' conceptual knowledge after exposure to the program "From Dinosaurs to Darwin," which focuses on fossil records as evidence of evolution. (Contains 32 references.) (YDS)

  6. Paleovegetation changes recorded by n-alkyl lipids bound in macromolecules of plant fossils and kerogens from the Cretaceous sediments in Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miyata, Y.; Sawada, K.; Nakamura, H.; Takashima, R.; Takahashi, M.

    2014-12-01

    Resistant macromolecules composing living plant tissues tend to be preserved through degradation and diagenesis, hence constituate major parts of sedimentary plant-derived organic matter (kerogen), and their monomer compositions vary widely among different plant taxa, organs and growth stages. Thus, analysis of such macromolecule may serve as new technique for paleobotanical evaluation distinctive from classical paleobotnical studies depends on morphological preservation of fossils. In the present study, we analyzed plant fossils and kerogens in sediments from the Cretaceous strata in Japan to examine chemotaxonomic characteristics of fossil macromolecules and to reconstruct paleovegetation change by kerogen analysis. The kerogens were separated from the powdered sediments of Cretaceous Yezo Group, Hokkaido, Japan. All kerogens have been confirmed to be mostly originated from land plant tissues by microscopic observation. Mummified angiosperm and gymnosperm fossil leaves were separated from carbonaceous sandstone of the Cretaceous Ashizawa Formation, Futaba Group. The kerogens and plant fossils were extracted with methanol and dichloromethane, and were subsequently refluxed under 110°C to remove free compounds completely. The residues are hydrolyzed by KOH/methanol under 110°C. These released compounds are analyzed by GC-MS. As main hydrolyzed products (ester-bound molecular units) from all kerogens, C10-C28 n-alkanoic acids and C10-C30 n-alkanols were detected. Recent studies on the hydrolysis products of plant tissues suggested the long chain (>C20) n-alkanols were predominantly abundant in deciduous broadleaved angiosperms. Correspondingly, the stratigraphic variation of the ratios of long chain (>C20) n-alkanols to fatty acids was concordant with the variation of angiosperm/gymnosperm ratios recorded by land plant-derived terpenoid biomarkers. In addition, we found that the long chain n-alkanols/fatty acids ratio in the angiosperm fossil leaf was

  7. Piscivory in a Miocene Cetotheriidae of Peru: first record of fossilized stomach content for an extinct baleen-bearing whale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Collareta, Alberto; Landini, Walter; Lambert, Olivier; Post, Klaas; Tinelli, Chiara; Di Celma, Claudio; Panetta, Daniele; Tripodi, Maria; Salvadori, Piero A.; Caramella, Davide; Marchi, Damiano; Urbina, Mario; Bianucci, Giovanni

    2015-12-01

    Instead of teeth, modern mysticetes bear hair-fringed keratinous baleen plates that permit various bulk-filtering predation techniques (from subsurface skimming to lateral benthic suction and engulfment) devoted to various target prey (from small invertebrates to schooling fish). Current knowledge about the feeding ecology of extant cetaceans is revealed by stomach content analyses and observations of behavior. Unfortunately, no fossil stomach contents of ancient mysticetes have been described so far; the investigation of the diet of fossil baleen whales, including the Neogene family Cetotheriidae, remains thus largely speculative. We report on an aggregate of fossil fish remains found within a mysticete skeleton belonging to an undescribed late Miocene (Tortonian) cetotheriid from the Pisco Formation (Peru). Micro-computed tomography allowed us to interpret it as the fossilized content of the forestomach of the host whale and to identify the prey as belonging to the extant clupeiform genus Sardinops. Our discovery represents the first direct evidence of piscivory in an ancient edentulous mysticete. Since among modern mysticetes only Balaenopteridae are known to ordinarily consume fish, this fossil record may indicate that part of the cetotheriids experimented some degree of balaenopterid-like engulfment feeding. Moreover, this report corresponds to one of the geologically oldest records of Sardinops worldwide, occurring near the Tortonian peak of oceanic primary productivity and cooling phase. Therefore, our discovery evokes a link between the rise of Cetotheriidae; the setup of modern coastal upwelling systems; and the radiation of epipelagic, small-sized, schooling clupeiform fish in such highly productive environments.

  8. A multi-calibrated mitochondrial phylogeny of extant Bovidae (Artiodactyla, Ruminantia) and the importance of the fossil record to systematics

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Molecular phylogenetics has provided unprecedented resolution in the ruminant evolutionary tree. However, molecular age estimates using only one or a few (often misapplied) fossil calibration points have produced a diversity of conflicting ages for important evolutionary events within this clade. I here identify 16 fossil calibration points of relevance to the phylogeny of Bovidae and Ruminantia and use these, individually and together, to construct a dated molecular phylogeny through a reanalysis of the full mitochondrial genome of over 100 ruminant species. Results The new multi-calibrated tree provides ages that are younger overall than found in previous studies. Among these are young ages for the origin of crown Ruminantia (39.3–28.8 Ma), and crown Bovidae (17.3–15.1 Ma). These are argued to be reasonable hypotheses given that many basal fossils assigned to these taxa may in fact lie on the stem groups leading to the crown clades, thus inflating previous age estimates. Areas of conflict between molecular and fossil dates do persist, however, especially with regard to the base of the rapid Pecoran radiation and the sister relationship of Moschidae to Bovidae. Results of the single-calibrated analyses also show that a very wide range of molecular age estimates are obtainable using different calibration points, and that the choice of calibration point can influence the topology of the resulting tree. Compared to the single-calibrated trees, the multi-calibrated tree exhibits smaller variance in estimated ages and better reflects the fossil record. Conclusions The use of a large number of vetted fossil calibration points with soft bounds is promoted as a better approach than using just one or a few calibrations, or relying on internal-congruency metrics to discard good fossil data. This study also highlights the importance of considering morphological and ecological characteristics of clades when delimiting higher taxa. I also illustrate how

  9. Review of the monotreme fossil record and comparison of palaeontological and molecular data.

    PubMed

    Musser, A M

    2003-12-01

    Monotremes have traditionally been considered a remnant group of mammals descended from archaic Mesozoic stock, surviving to the present day on the relatively isolated Australian continent. Challenges to this orthodoxy have been spurred by discoveries of 'advanced' Cretaceous monotremes (Steropodon galmani, Archer, M., et al., 1985. First Mesozoic mammal from Australia-an Early Cretaceous monotreme, Nature. 318, 363-366) as well as by results from molecular data linking monotremes to therian mammals (specifically to marsupials in some studies). This paper reviews the monotreme fossil record and briefly discusses significant new information from additional Cretaceous Australian material. Mesozoic monotremes (including S. galmani) were a diverse group as evidenced by new material from the Early Cretaceous of New South Wales and Victoria currently under study. Although most of these new finds are edentulous jaws (limiting dental comparisons and determination of dietary niches), a range of sizes and forms has been determined. Some of these Cretaceous jaws exhibit archaic features-in particular evidence for the presence of a splenial bone in S. galmani-not seen in therian mammals or in post-Mesozoic (Tertiary and Quaternary) monotreme taxa. Tertiary monotremes were either archaic ornithorhynchids (toothed platypuses in the genera Monotrematum and Obdurodon) or tachyglossids (large echidnas in the genera Megalibgwilia and Zaglossus). Quaternary ornithorhynchid material is referable to the sole living platypus species Ornithorhynchus anatinus. Quaternary echidnas, however, were moderately diverse and several forms are known (Megalibgwilia species; 'Zaglossus' hacketti; Zaglossus species and Tachyglossus aculeatus). PMID:14667856

  10. On the development of probabilistic climate reconstructions based on fossil pollen records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schoelzel, C.; Hense, A.

    2009-04-01

    Past climate reconstructions based on proxy data help to understand natural climate variability. It is essential that palaeoenvironmental transfer functions between climate and proxy variables take in to account the stochastical nature of the climate system. Especially pollen based reconstructions are a complex issue, since pollen counts do not show direct relation to climatological parameters, e.g. due to plant competition and/or land cultivation. The idea is to assess the background knowledge from classical, more empirically based methods in order to develop statistical transfer functions between vegetation and climate. Two popular concepts, the indicator taxa approach (or MCR) as well as the biomisation (BIOME/PFT), are translated into a statistical framework in order to reconstruct January and July temperatures as well as annual precipitation during the Holocene (10,000yrs BP). This involves the problem of multivariate random vectors with non-normally distributed marginals, which has been adressed by using copulas. The methods are applied to fossil pollen records of laminated sediments from the Eifel region in Germany. On the one hand, the reconstructions indicate that pollen based reconstructions show larger uncertainty ranges than expected by several classical approaches. On the other hand, the indicator taxa approach is robust to the lack of modern analogues, which is an advantage in highly anthropogenically influenced areas such as the Mediterranean or Central Europe.

  11. Species-energy relationship in the deep sea: A test using the Quaternary fossil record

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hunt, G.; Cronin, T. M.; Roy, K.

    2005-01-01

    Little is known about the processes regulating species richness in deep-sea communities. Here we take advantage of natural experiments involving climate change to test whether predictions of the species-energy hypothesis hold in the deep sea. In addition, we test for the relationship between temperature and species richness predicted by a recent model based on biochemical kinetics of metabolism. Using the deep-sea fossil record of benthic foraminifera and statistical meta-analyses of temperature-richness and productivity-richness relationships in 10 deep-sea cores, we show that temperature but not productivity is a significant predictor of species richness over the past c. 130 000 years. Our results not only show that the temperature-richness relationship in the deep-sea is remarkably similar to that found in terrestrial and shallow marine habitats, but also that species richness tracks temperature change over geological time, at least on scales of c. 100 000 years. Thus, predicting biotic response to global climate change in the deep sea would require better understanding of how temperature regulates the occurrences and geographical ranges of species. ??2005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  12. Cell symbiosis [correction of symbioisis] theory: status and implications for the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Margulis, L; Stolz, J F

    1984-01-01

    Recent geological treatises have presented three alternative models of the origins of eukaryotes as if they merited equal treatment. However, modern biological techniques, especially nucleic acid and protein sequencing, have clearly established the validity of the symbiotic theory of the origin of eukaryotic organelles. The serial endosymbiotic theory in its most extreme form states that three classes of eukaryotic cell organelles (mitochondria, plastids and undulipodia) originated as free-living bacteria (aerobic respirers, phototrophic bacteria and spirochetes respectively) in association with hosts that become the nucleocytoplasm (Thermoplasma-like archaebacterial hosts). Molecular biological information, primarily derived from ribosomal RNA nucleotide sequencing studies leads to the conclusion that the symbiotic origin theory for both mitochondria and plastids has been proven. The probability of an ancestral archaebacterial-Thermoplasma-like host for the nucleocytoplasm has been rendered more likely by discoveries by Dennis Searcy and his colleagues and Carl Woese and his colleagues. The most equivocal postulate of the symbiotic theory, the origin of undulipodia (cilia and other organelles of motility that develop from kinetosomes is under investigation now. The status of these postulates, as well as their implications for the fossil record, is briefly summarized here. PMID:11537775

  13. Dietary correlates associated with the mental foramen in primates: implications for interpreting the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Muchlinski, Magdalena N; Deane, Andrew S

    2016-07-01

    The mandibular nerve is a sensory and motor nerve that innervates the muscles of mastication, the lower dentition, and the lower lip and surrounding structures. Although this nerve contains both efferent and afferent fibers, the mental nerve, a terminal branch of the mandibular nerve, is a strictly sensory nerve that exits the mental foramen and innervates the lower lip, the skin overlaying the mandible, and the oral mucosa around the mandible. Osteological foramina are often used as proxies for nerve cross section area and they often correlate well with some aspect of a primate's ecology (e.g., optic foramen and visual acuity). The primary objective of this study is to explore the correlation between the mental foramen and dietary preference among primates. The mental foramen of 40 primate species (n = 180) was measured from 3-D surface models of the mandible. Both conventional and phylogenetic tests indicate that although frugivores have larger mental foramina than folivores, the differences were not significant. These results show that while structures like the infraorbital foramen correlate well with diet and touch sensitivity, the mental foramen does not. Based on these findings, the mental foramen is not a suggested morphological character for interpreting of the fossil record. J. Morphol. 277:978-985, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:27130849

  14. Anatomical Correlates to Nectar Feeding among the Strepsirrhines of Madagascar: Implications for Interpreting the Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Muchlinski, Magdalena N.; Perry, Jonathan M. G.

    2011-01-01

    One possible ecological scenario for the origin of primates is the archaic pollination and coevolution hypothesis. Its proponents contend that the consumption of nectar by some early primates and the resulting cross-pollination is an example of coevolution that drove adaptive radiations in some primates. This hypothesis is perhaps ecologically sound, but it lacks the morphology-behavior links that would allow us to test it using the fossil record. Here we attempt to identify cranial adaptations to nectar feeding among the strepsirrhines of Madagascar in order to provide such links. Many Malagasy strepsirrhines are considered effective cross-pollinators of the flowers they feed from, and nectar consumption represents as much as 75% of total feeding time. Previous studies identified skeletal correlates to nectar feeding in the crania of nonprimate mammals; from these, nine cranial measurements were chosen to be the focus of the present study. Results indicate that Cheirogaleus, Varecia, and Eulemur mirror other nectar-feeding mammals in having elongated crania and/or muzzles. These strepsirrhines might be effective cross-pollinators, lending support to the coevolution hypothesis. PMID:22567292

  15. First forensic records of termite activity on non-fossilized human bones in Brazil.

    PubMed

    Queiroz, R A; Soriano, E P; Carvalho, M V D; Caldas-Junior, A F; Souza, E H A; Coelho-Junior, L G T M; Campello, R I C; Almeida, A C; Farias, R C A P; Vasconcellos, A

    2016-07-25

    The aim of this study was to describe the first records of termite activity on non-fossilized human bones in Brazil. The cases reported in this study resulted from forensic analysis of six human skeletons found in northeastern Brazil between 2012 and 2014. Traces of tunnels and nests commonly produced by termites were found on several human bone surfaces as well as the specimens and characteristic signs of osteophagic activity. In four cases, the species were identified: Amitermes amifer Silvestri, 1901, Nasutitermes corniger (Motschulsky, 1855) (on two skeletons), and Microcerotermes indistinctus Mathews, 1977. In two other cases, the activity of termites on bone surfaces was evidenced by remains of nests and tunnels produced by these insects. At least in the samples of human remains available for this report, the number of termites collected was greater on bones found during autumn, the rainy season in the Northeast of Brazil. The human bones examined showed termites like insects with lots of strength at bone degradation, capable of continuing the process of decomposition of human remains even in completely skeletonized bodies. PMID:27463832

  16. Fossil bryophytes as recorders of ancient CO2 levels: Experimental evidence and a Cretaceous case study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fletcher, Benjamin J.; Beerling, David J.; Brentnall, Stuart J.; Royer, Dana L.

    2005-09-01

    Biological and geochemical CO2 proxies provide critical constraints on understanding the role of atmospheric CO2 in driving climate change during Earth history. As no single existing CO2 proxy is without its limitations, there is a clear need for new approaches to reconstructing past CO2 concentrations. Here we develop a new pre-Quaternary CO2 proxy based on the stable carbon isotope composition (δ13C) of astomatous land plants. In a series of CO2-controlled laboratory experiments, we show that the carbon isotope discrimination (Δ13C) of a range of bryophyte (liverwort and moss) species increases with atmospheric CO2 across the range 375 to 6000 ppm. Separate experiments establish that variations in growth temperature, water content and substrate type have minor impacts on the Δ13C of liverworts but not mosses, indicating the greater potential of liverworts to faithfully record past variations in CO2. A mechanistic model for calculating past CO2 concentrations from bryophyte Δ13C (White et al., 1994) is extended and calibrated using our experimental results. The potential for fossil liverworts to record past CO2 changes is investigated by analyzing the δ13C of specimens collected from Alexander Island, Antarctica dating to the "greenhouse" world of the mid-Cretaceous. Our analysis and isotopic model yield mid-Cretaceous CO2 concentrations of 1000-1400 ppm, in general agreement with independent proxy data and long-term carbon cycle models. The exceptionally long evolutionary history of bryophytes offers the possibility of reconstructing CO2 concentrations back to the mid-Ordovician, pre-dating all currently used quantitative CO2 proxies.

  17. Ancestral state reconstruction of body size in the Caniformia (Carnivora, Mammalia): the effects of incorporating data from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Finarelli, John A; Flynn, John J

    2006-04-01

    A recent molecular phylogeny of the mammalian order Carnivora implied large body size as the ancestral condition for the caniform subclade Arctoidea using the distribution of species mean body sizes among living taxa. "Extant taxa-only" approaches such as these discount character state observations for fossil members of living clades and completely ignore data from extinct lineages. To more rigorously reconstruct body sizes of ancestral forms within the Caniformia, body size and first appearance data were collected for 149 extant and 367 extinct taxa. Body sizes were reconstructed for four ancestral nodes using weighted squared-change parsimony on log-transformed body mass data. Reconstructions based on extant taxa alone favored large body sizes (on the order of 10 to 50 kg) for the last common ancestors of both the Caniformia and Arctoidea. In contrast, reconstructions incorporating fossil data support small body sizes (< 5 kg) for the ancestors of those clades. When the temporal information associated with fossil data was discarded, body size reconstructions became ambiguous, demonstrating that incorporating both character state and temporal information from fossil taxa unambiguously supports a small ancestral body size, thereby falsifying hypotheses derived from extant taxa alone. Body size reconstructions for Caniformia, Arctoidea, and Musteloidea were not sensitive to potential errors introduced by uncertainty in the position of extinct lineages relative to the molecular topology, or to missing body size data for extinct members of an entire major clade (the aquatic Pinnipedia). Incorporating character state observations and temporal information from the fossil record into hypothesis testing has a significant impact on the ability to reconstruct ancestral characters and constrains the range of potential hypotheses of character evolution. Fossil data here provide the evidence to reliably document trends of both increasing and decreasing body size in several

  18. Recording of climate and diagenesis through fossil pigments and sedimentary DNA at Laguna Potrok Aike, Argentina

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vuillemin, A.; Ariztegui, D.; Leavitt, P. R.; Bunting, L.; Pasado Science Team

    2015-11-01

    Aquatic sediments record past climatic conditions while providing a wide range of ecological niches for microorganisms. Although marine sedimentary microbial assemblages are often defined by their surrounding geochemical conditions, the influence of environmental features upon microbial development and post-depositional survival remains largely unknown in the lacustrine realm. Due to long-term microbial activity, the composition of environmental DNA can be expected to evolve with sediment depth and over time and therefore should reflect both ancient and extant microbial populations, but this hypothesis has rarely been tested using a multiproxy approach. Here geomicrobiological and phylogenetic analyses of a Patagonian maar lake were used to indicate that the different sedimentary microbial assemblages derive from specific lacustrine regimes during defined climatic periods. Two well defined climatic intervals whose sediments harboured active microbial populations and measurable ATP were sampled for a comparative environmental study based on fossil pigments and 16S rRNA gene sequences. Bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA gene sequences recovered from the Holocene record revealed a microbial community adapted to subsaline conditions actively producing methane during organic matter degradation. These characteristics were associated with sediments resulting from endorheic lake conditions with high evaporative stress and concomitant high algal productivity. Moreover, archaeal clone libraries established throughout the Holocene record indicate an age-related stratification of these populations, consistent with a gradual use of organic substrates after deposition. In contrast, sulphate-reducing bacteria and lithotrophic Archaea were predominant in sediments dated from the Last Glacial Maximum, in which pelagic clays alternated with fine volcanic material characteristic of a lake level highstand and freshwater conditions, but reduced water column productivity. These patterns

  19. Decay of vertebrate characters in hagfish and lamprey (Cyclostomata) and the implications for the vertebrate fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Sansom, Robert S.; Gabbott, Sarah E.; Purnell, Mark A.

    2011-01-01

    The timing and sequence of events underlying the origin and early evolution of vertebrates remains poorly understood. The palaeontological evidence should shed light on these issues, but difficulties in interpretation of the non-biomineralized fossil record make this problematic. Here we present an experimental analysis of decay of vertebrate characters based on the extant jawless vertebrates (Lampetra and Myxine). This provides a framework for the interpretation of the anatomy of soft-bodied fossil vertebrates and putative cyclostomes, and a context for reading the fossil record of non-biomineralized vertebrate characters. Decay results in transformation and non-random loss of characters. In both lamprey and hagfish, different types of cartilage decay at different rates, resulting in taphonomic bias towards loss of ‘soft’ cartilages containing vertebrate-specific Col2α1 extracellular matrix proteins; phylogenetically informative soft-tissue characters decay before more plesiomorphic characters. As such, synapomorphic decay bias, previously recognized in early chordates, is more pervasive, and needs to be taken into account when interpreting the anatomy of any non-biomineralized fossil vertebrate, such as Haikouichthys, Mayomyzon and Hardistiella. PMID:20947532

  20. Evolutionary innovations in the fossil record: the intersection of ecology, development, and macroevolution.

    PubMed

    Jablonski, David

    2005-11-15

    The origins of evolutionary innovations have been intensively studied, but relatively little is known about their large-scale ecological patterns. For post-Paleozoic benthic marine invertebrates, which have the richest and most densely sampled fossil record, order-level taxa tend to appear first in onshore, disturbed habitats, even in groups that are now exclusively deep-water (so that present-day distributions are not reliable indicators of original environments). New results presented here show that the onshore-origination pattern is robust to shifts in taxonomic methods and to new paleontological discoveries, and the few available studies suggest that this pattern can also be seen in terms of excursions in morphospace or the acquisition of derived character states, without reference to taxonomic categories. The environmental pattern at high levels contrasts significantly with the origin of low-level novelties (such as defined genera and families) in crinoids, echinoids, and bryozoans, where first appearances tend to conform to their clade-specific bathymetric diversity gradients. This discordance seems to eliminate potential driving mechanisms that simply scale up within-population genetic or ecological processes. Little is known about the factors that promote the onshore-offshore expansion of orders across the continental shelf, or that drive some clades to abandon ancestral habitats for an exclusively deep-water distribution. The origin of evolutionary innovation must ultimately reside in developmental changes, but the onshore-origination bias could emerge from two different dynamics: the pattern could be primarily genetic and developmental, i.e., innovations truly arise onshore; or primarily ecological, i.e., innovations arise randomly but preferentially survive onshore. Whatever the ultimate driving mechanisms, these macroevolutionary patterns show that theories of large-scale evolutionary novelty must include an ecological dimension. PMID:16161067

  1. Egg size evolution in tropical American arcid bivalves: the comparative method and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Moran, Amy L

    2004-12-01

    Marine organisms exhibit a wide range of egg sizes, even among closely related taxa, and egg size is widely considered to be one of the most important components of the life histories of marine species. The nature of the trade-off between egg size and number and the consequences of variation in egg size for offspring growth and survivorship have been extensively modeled. Yet, there is little empirical evidence that supports the relative importance of particular environmental parameters in engendering the tremendous variation in egg size seen in marine organisms. This study compares egg sizes between six geminate species pairs of bivalves in the family Arcidae to determine whether egg size differs in predictable directions between geminate species in the two oceans separated by the Central American isthmus, and whether the direction and timing of egg size evolution among geminates in this family is correlated with both modern and paleoceanographic patterns of oceanic productivity. In all modern members of six geminate pairs, egg size was larger in the species in the western Atlantic than in its sister species the eastern Pacific. This pattern supports the hypothesis that optimal egg size differs in the two oceans due to the low productivity and poor larval feeding environment in the western Atlantic relative to the eastern Pacific. The fossil record of one geminate pair shows that egg size has remained consistently large in the western Atlantic from the Miocene to the Recent, while egg size in the eastern Pacific has decreased to the current small size in less than 2 million years; this suggests that modern-day differences between egg sizes in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific are due to either an increase in productivity in the eastern Pacific and subsequent selection for smaller eggs in that ocean, or differential patterns of extinction that occurred well after the rise of the isthmus. These results agree with ancestral character state reconstruction using

  2. Palaeontology: The Point of No Return in the Fossil Record of Eusociality.

    PubMed

    Rust, Jes; Wappler, Torsten

    2016-02-22

    The evolution of eusociality is one of the major transitions in the history of life, particularly in the insects. Now, fossil termites and ants from Burmese amber offer insights into early stages of eusociality in the Lower Cretaceous. PMID:26906485

  3. A long-term association between global temperature and biodiversity, origination and extinction in the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Mayhew, Peter J; Jenkins, Gareth B; Benton, Timothy G

    2007-01-01

    The past relationship between global temperature and levels of biological diversity is of increasing concern due to anthropogenic climate warming. However, no consistent link between these variables has yet been demonstrated. We analysed the fossil record for the last 520 Myr against estimates of low latitude sea surface temperature for the same period. We found that global biodiversity (the richness of families and genera) is related to temperature and has been relatively low during warm ‘greenhouse’ phases, while during the same phases extinction and origination rates of taxonomic lineages have been relatively high. These findings are consistent for terrestrial and marine environments and are robust to a number of alternative assumptions and potential biases. Our results provide the first clear evidence that global climate may explain substantial variation in the fossil record in a simple and consistent manner. Our findings may have implications for extinction and biodiversity change under future climate warming. PMID:17956842

  4. Piscivory in a Miocene Cetotheriidae of Peru: first record of fossilized stomach content for an extinct baleen-bearing whale.

    PubMed

    Collareta, Alberto; Landini, Walter; Lambert, Olivier; Post, Klaas; Tinelli, Chiara; Di Celma, Claudio; Panetta, Daniele; Tripodi, Maria; Salvadori, Piero A; Caramella, Davide; Marchi, Damiano; Urbina, Mario; Bianucci, Giovanni

    2015-12-01

    Instead of teeth, modern mysticetes bear hair-fringed keratinous baleen plates that permit various bulk-filtering predation techniques (from subsurface skimming to lateral benthic suction and engulfment) devoted to various target prey (from small invertebrates to schooling fish). Current knowledge about the feeding ecology of extant cetaceans is revealed by stomach content analyses and observations of behavior. Unfortunately, no fossil stomach contents of ancient mysticetes have been described so far; the investigation of the diet of fossil baleen whales, including the Neogene family Cetotheriidae, remains thus largely speculative. We report on an aggregate of fossil fish remains found within a mysticete skeleton belonging to an undescribed late Miocene (Tortonian) cetotheriid from the Pisco Formation (Peru). Micro-computed tomography allowed us to interpret it as the fossilized content of the forestomach of the host whale and to identify the prey as belonging to the extant clupeiform genus Sardinops. Our discovery represents the first direct evidence of piscivory in an ancient edentulous mysticete. Since among modern mysticetes only Balaenopteridae are known to ordinarily consume fish, this fossil record may indicate that part of the cetotheriids experimented some degree of balaenopterid-like engulfment feeding. Moreover, this report corresponds to one of the geologically oldest records of Sardinops worldwide, occurring near the Tortonian peak of oceanic primary productivity and cooling phase. Therefore, our discovery evokes a link between the rise of Cetotheriidae; the setup of modern coastal upwelling systems; and the radiation of epipelagic, small-sized, schooling clupeiform fish in such highly productive environments. PMID:26553062

  5. Calcium-phosphate biomineralization induced by alkaline phosphatase activity in Escherichia coli: localization, kinetics and potential signatures in the fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cosmidis, Julie; Benzerara, Karim; Guyot, François; Skouri-Panet, Fériel; Duprat, Elodie; Férard, Céline; Guigner, Jean-Michel; Babonneau, Florence; Coelho, Cristina

    2015-12-01

    Bacteria are thought to play an important role in the formation of calcium-phosphate minerals composing marine phosphorites, as supported by the common occurrence of fossil microbes in these rocks. Phosphatase enzymes may play a key role in this process. Indeed, they may increase the supersaturation with respect to Ca-phosphates by releasing orthophosphate ions following hydrolysis of organic phosphorus. However, several questions remain unanswered about the cellular-level mechanisms involved in this model, and its potential signatures in the mineral products. We studied Ca-phosphate precipitation by different strains of Escherichia coli which were genetically modified to differ in the abundance and cellular localization of the alkaline phosphatase (PHO A) produced. The mineral precipitated by either E. coli or purified PHO A was invariably identified as a carbonate-free non-stoichiometric hydroxyapatite. However, the bacterial precipitates could be discriminated from the ones formed by purified PHO A at the nano-scale. PHO A localization was shown to influence the pattern of Ca-phosphate nucleation and growth. Finally, the rate of calcification was proved to be consistent with the PHO A enzyme kinetics. Overall, this study provides mechanistic keys to better understand phosphogenesis in the environment, and experimental references to better interpret the microbial fossil record in phosphorites.

  6. Ghost shrimp Calliax de Saint Laurent, 1973 (Decapoda: Axiidea: Callianassidae) in the fossil record: systematics, palaeoecology and palaeobiogeography

    PubMed Central

    HYŽNÝ, MATÚŠ; GAŠPARIČ, ROK

    2015-01-01

    Ghost shrimps of the family Callianassidae are very common in the fossil record, but mostly as isolated cheliped elements only. The assignment to biologically defined genera, diagnosed on the basis of soft part morphology, is thus rather difficult. In this respect, proxy characters present on chelipeds that are the most durable ghost shrimp remains are needed to ascribe fossil material to extant genera. The genus Calliax de Saint Laurent, 1973 has been particularly obscure in this respect. Thorough comparison of extant members of the genus resulted in evaluation of characters present on chelipeds being taxonomically important on the genus level, specifically: 1) rectangular major P1 propodus with two ridges on the base of the fixed finger extending onto manus; 2) major P1 fingers relatively short; and 3) minor P1 chela with dactylus longer than fixed finger and possessing a wide gap between fingers. On this basis, Callianassa michelottii A. Milne Edwards, 1860, from the Oligocene and Miocene of Europe is herein reassigned to Calliax. Further re-examination of the ghost shrimp fossil record revealed that C. szobensis Müller, 1984, from the Middle Miocene of Hungary represents the same animal as C. michelottii and they are synomymised herein. The known geographic distribution of C. michelottii is expanded by the first confirmed occurrence of the species in Slovakia. All occurrences of C. michelottii known to date are reviewed and documented. The presence of Calliax michelottii comb. nov. may be considered an indicator of deeper marine settings. Based on the scarce fossil record known to date, Calliax has a Tethyan origin; it supposedly migrated westward to establish present day communities in the Caribbean sometime before the Middle Miocene. PMID:24989725

  7. Molecular and isotopic composition of lipids in modern and fossil bivalve shells: Records of paleoenvironmental change?

    SciTech Connect

    CoBabe, E.A.

    1995-12-31

    Suites of lipids residing in situ in modern and fossil bivalve shells offer new possibilities for the study of paleoecology and paleoclimatology. Distributions of carbon isotopic compositions of modem shell lipids suggests that many of these compounds, including alkanes, sterols, fatty acids, ketones and phytadienes, are derived from the bivalves and not directly from the surrounding environment. The occurrence of fatty acids in modem and fossil shell material opens up the possibility that saturation levels of these compounds may be used as paleothermometers. To date, the utility of fatty acids in paleoclimate studies has been limited because of the swift breakdown of these compounds in sediment. However, initial results indicate that fatty acids in bivalve shells retain their original structure for at least several million years. Comparison of modem bivalve shell fatty acids from tropical, temperate and polar nearshore marine systems will be presented, along with analogous fossil data.

  8. A first record of Cretaceous aphids (Hemiptera, Sternorrhyncha, Aphidomorpha) in Australia, from the Lower Cretaceous Koonwarra Fossil Bed, Victoria.

    PubMed

    Martin, Sarah K; Skidmore, Luke I; Stilwell, Jeffrey D

    2016-01-01

    This paper describes the first species of aphid from the Lower Cretaceous Koonwarra Fossil Bed of the Gippsland Basin, southeastern Victoria, Australia. This aphid, herein named Koonwarraphis rotundafrons gen. & sp. nov., is assigned to the cosmopolitan Cretaceous superfamily Tajmyraphidoidea, which has been previously described from the Lebanese, Taimyrian, Canadian, Myanmar (Burmese), and Spanish ambers. Koonwarraphis rotundafrons is the first aphid recorded from the eastern Gondwanan landmass during the Cretaceous, and represents the only tajmyraphidoid preserved as a compression fossil, rather than as an amber inclusion. Due to the nature of the fossil's preservation, Koonwarraphis cannot be firmly placed in any of the described tajmyraphidoid families; however, all observable morphological features suggest that the genus is broadly typical of the superfamily and Cretaceous aphids in general. Koonwarraphis' shortened rostrum, a feature also seen in other tajmyraphidoids, suggests an association with the more herbaceous aspects of the Early Cretaceous Victorian flora. Considering the modern aphid preference for angiosperm plants, it is possible that this aphid was living upon the herbaceous early angiosperms recorded previously from the Koonwarra macrofloral assemblage. PMID:27395744

  9. The First Occurrence in the Fossil Record of an Aquatic Avian Twig-Nest with Phoenicopteriformes Eggs: Evolutionary Implications

    PubMed Central

    Grellet-Tinner, Gerald; Murelaga, Xabier; Larrasoaña, Juan C.; Silveira, Luis F.; Olivares, Maitane; Ortega, Luis A.; Trimby, Patrick W.; Pascual, Ana

    2012-01-01

    Background We describe the first occurrence in the fossil record of an aquatic avian twig-nest with five eggs in situ (Early Miocene Tudela Formation, Ebro Basin, Spain). Extensive outcrops of this formation reveal autochthonous avian osteological and oological fossils that represent a single taxon identified as a basal phoenicopterid. Although the eggshell structure is definitively phoenicopterid, the characteristics of both the nest and the eggs are similar to those of modern grebes. These observations allow us to address the origin of the disparities between the sister taxa Podicipedidae and Phoenicopteridae crown clades, and traces the evolution of the nesting and reproductive environments for phoenicopteriforms. Methodology/Principal Findings Multi-disciplinary analyses performed on fossilized vegetation and eggshells from the eggs in the nest and its embedding sediments indicate that this new phoenicopterid thrived under a semi-arid climate in an oligohaline (seasonally mesohaline) shallow endorheic lacustine environment. High-end microcharacterizations including SEM, TEM, and EBSD techniques were pivotal to identifying these phoenicopterid eggshells. Anatomical comparisons of the fossil bones with those of Phoenicopteriformes and Podicipediformes crown clades and extinct palaelodids confirm that this avian fossil assemblage belongs to a new and basal phoenicopterid. Conclusions/Significance Although the Podicipediformes-Phoenicopteriformes sister group relationship is now well supported, flamingos and grebes exhibit feeding, reproductive, and nesting strategies that diverge significantly. Our multi-disciplinary study is the first to reveal that the phoenicopteriform reproductive behaviour, nesting ecology and nest characteristics derived from grebe-like type strategies to reach the extremely specialized conditions observed in modern flamingo crown groups. Furthermore, our study enables us to map ecological and reproductive characters on the

  10. Uranium-series dating of fossil coral reefs: Extending the sea-level record beyond the last glacial cycle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stirling, Claudine H.; Andersen, Morten B.

    2009-07-01

    Absolutely dated records of past sea-level change are extremely important for understanding the advance and retreat of the large ice sheets. When combined with other complementary climate archives and climate models, such records offer the potential to gain an improved understanding of Earth's natural climate cycles, providing a firmer basis for assessing the role of anthropogenic effects, such as greenhouse gas emissions, in modifying climate. The U-series dating of fossil coral reefs has been widely utilized to provide absolutely dated records of past sea-level change and numerous observations now exist for the past 130,000 years spanning the last glacial cycle. Despite this, controversies still exist regarding the exact timing and character of sea-level events within this time interval, and extending the sea-level history further back in time on the basis of robust and independent age constraints for older fossil reefs remains very elusive. This is primarily due to a progressive loss in the resolution of the U-series chronometer as one goes further back in time, coupled to a lack of well-preserved, dateable coral in older fossil reefs. To overcome these limitations, the primary challenges are three-fold. First, new analytical protocols are required to improve the resolution of the U-series chronometer. Enhanced analytical precision must be coupled to accuracy through continued refinement of the U-series decay constant determinations and via the implementation of rigorous inter-laboratory calibration exercises. Second, efforts should continue to be focussed on gaining an improved understanding of the mechanisms controlling open-system exchange of the U-series isotopes in fossil reef systems. This will allow the number of 'reliable' U-series observations to be extended. Third, alternative dateable archives of past sea-level change must continue to be emphasized to further complement the coral reef database. These limitations are discussed in the context of current

  11. Cercopithecoid humeri from Taung support the distinction of major papionin clades in the South African fossil record.

    PubMed

    Gilbert, Christopher C; Takahashi, Maressa Q; Delson, Eric

    2016-01-01

    Associated cercopithecoid postcrania are rare in the Plio-Pleistocene fossil record, particularly in the case of South African karst cave sites. However, as clear postcranial differences between major papionin clades have been documented, it should be possible to assign isolated papionin postcrania to the Cercocebus/Mandrillus and Papio/Lophocebus/Theropithecus groups wherever sufficient anatomy is preserved. Here, we demonstrate that two partial humeri preserved at Taung, UCMP 56693 and UCMP 125898, are most likely attributable to the Cercocebus/Mandrillus and Papio/Lophocebus/Theropithecus clades, respectively. Univariate analyses (ANOVAs and t-tests) and multivariate analyses (discriminant function analyses) of humeral features, combined with a phylogenetic analysis of 24 humeral characters, all support our assessment. Given that the overwhelming number of craniodental specimens at Taung are attributable to two papionin taxa, Procercocebus antiquus (a member of the Cercocebus/Mandrillus clade) and Papio izodi (a purported fossil species of the modern genus Papio), we assign UCMP 56693 to Pr. antiquus and UCMP 125868 to P. izodi with a high degree of confidence. Implications for cercopithecoid evolution and biogeography are discussed, with a particular emphasis on these two fossil taxa. PMID:26767962

  12. Individual to Community-Level Faunal Responses to Environmental Change from a Marine Fossil Record of Early Miocene Global Warming

    PubMed Central

    Belanger, Christina L.

    2012-01-01

    Modern climate change has a strong potential to shift earth systems and biological communities into novel states that have no present-day analog, leaving ecologists with no observational basis to predict the likely biotic effects. Fossil records contain long time-series of past environmental changes outside the range of modern observation, which are vital for predicting future ecological responses, and are capable of (a) providing detailed information on rates of ecological change, (b) illuminating the environmental drivers of those changes, and (c) recording the effects of environmental change on individual physiological rates. Outcrops of Early Miocene Newport Member of the Astoria Formation (Oregon) provide one such time series. This record of benthic foraminiferal and molluscan community change from continental shelf depths spans a past interval environmental change (∼20.3-16.7 mya) during which the region warmed 2.1–4.5°C, surface productivity and benthic organic carbon flux increased, and benthic oxygenation decreased, perhaps driven by intensified upwelling as on the modern Oregon coast. The Newport Member record shows that (a) ecological responses to natural environmental change can be abrupt, (b) productivity can be the primary driver of faunal change during global warming, (c) molluscs had a threshold response to productivity change while foraminifera changed gradually, and (d) changes in bivalve body size and growth rates parallel changes in taxonomic composition at the community level, indicating that, either directly or indirectly through some other biological parameter, the physiological tolerances of species do influence community change. Ecological studies in modern and fossil records that consider multiple ecological levels, environmental parameters, and taxonomic groups can provide critical information for predicting future ecological change and evaluating species vulnerability. PMID:22558424

  13. Vegetation response to climate change in Alaska: examples from the fossil record

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ager, Thomas A.

    2007-01-01

    Preface: This report was presented as an invited paper at the Fish & Wildlife Service Climate Forum held in Anchorage, Alaska on February 21-23, 2007. The purpose of the talk was to provide some examples of past climate changes that appear to have caused significant responses in Alaskan vegetation. These examples are based on interpretations of dated fossil assemblages (pollen, spores and plant macrofossils) collected and interpreted by U.S. Geological Survey and collaborating scientists from other scientific organizations during the past several decades.

  14. Tooth counts through growth in diapsid reptiles: implications for interpreting individual and size-related variation in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Brown, Caleb Marshall; VanBuren, Collin S; Larson, Derek W; Brink, Kirstin S; Campione, Nicolás E; Vavrek, Matthew J; Evans, David C

    2015-04-01

    Tooth counts are commonly recorded in fossil diapsid reptiles and have been used for taxonomic and phylogenetic purposes under the assumption that differences in the number of teeth are largely explained by interspecific variation. Although phylogeny is almost certainly one of the greatest factors influencing tooth count, the relative role of intraspecific variation is difficult, and often impossible, to test in the fossil record given the sample sizes available to palaeontologists and, as such, is best investigated using extant models. Intraspecific variation (largely manifested as size-related or ontogenetic variation) in tooth counts has been examined in extant squamates (lizards and snakes) but is poorly understood in archosaurs (crocodylians and dinosaurs). Here, we document tooth count variation in two species of extant crocodylians (Alligator mississippiensis and Crocodylus porosus) as well as a large varanid lizard (Varanus komodoensis). We test the hypothesis that variation in tooth count is driven primarily by growth and thus predict significant correlations between tooth count and size, as well as differences in the frequency of deviation from the modal tooth count in the premaxilla, maxilla, and dentary. In addition to tooth counts, we also document tooth allometry in each species and compare these results with tooth count change through growth. Results reveal no correlation of tooth count with size in any element of any species examined here, with the exception of the premaxilla of C. porosus, which shows the loss of one tooth position. Based on the taxa examined here, we reject the hypothesis, as it is evident that variation in tooth count is not always significantly correlated with growth. However, growth trajectories of smaller reptilian taxa show increases in tooth counts and, although current samples are small, suggest potential correlates between tooth count trajectories and adult size. Nevertheless, interspecific variation in growth patterns

  15. Lower Cretaceous Fossil Record of The Lavrasian Continental Shelf in Northwestern Turkey and Its Correlation with Surrounding Areas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Menteş, Merve; Özkar Öngen, İzver

    2015-04-01

    This study contains Zonguldak, Amasra and Kırkalerli (İğneada) area in the Northwestern Turkey. In this region, The Istanbul-Zonguldak Composite Terrane consists of two Paleozoic terranes and their Mesozoic overstep sequences around Zonguldak and Amasra. However The Istranca Terrane is characterized by a complex nappe-pile that includes metamorphic assemblages unconformably overlain by Tertiary sediments of the Thrace basin around İğneada. The original purpose of this study to analyze fossil records of Kozlu-Zonguldak, Amasra and Kırklareli (İğneada) in which Lower Cretaceous of shallow nautical sedimentary stacking which is regarding to The Lavrasian continental shelf in Northwestern Turkey. After analysing about 90 thin section and 30 samples we followed and associated lito-biostratigraphical similarities and contrasts, horizontal and vertical variation in facies which includes Orbitolina, Neotrocholina, megalospheric Rudists and various benthic foraminifera fossil records. Correlation between sections with detailed paleontological analyse wasn't presented until today, however there are several geological examination in these areas. In accordance with this purpose, this study tries to determine possible paleogeographic borders, which are in Northwestern Anatolian of The Lavrasian continental shelf, with benthic foraminiferal assemblages . In this examination, the other aim is to correlate with researches of Lower Cretaceous continental shelf of Iranian in East, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy and Spain in West, to present comparisons and contrasts in Western Pontids. Keywords: Lower Cretaceous, Benthic Foraminifera, Correlation.

  16. Revisiting the origin and diversification of vascular plants through a comprehensive Bayesian analysis of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Silvestro, Daniele; Cascales-Miñana, Borja; Bacon, Christine D; Antonelli, Alexandre

    2015-07-01

    Plants have a long evolutionary history, during which mass extinction events dramatically affected Earth's ecosystems and its biodiversity. The fossil record can shed light on the diversification dynamics of plant life and reveal how changes in the origination-extinction balance have contributed to shaping the current flora. We use a novel Bayesian approach to estimate origination and extinction rates in plants throughout their history. We focus on the effect of the 'Big Five' mass extinctions and on estimating the timing of origin of vascular plants, seed plants and angiosperms. Our analyses show that plant diversification is characterized by several shifts in origination and extinction rates, often matching the most important geological boundaries. The estimated origin of major plant clades predates the oldest macrofossils when considering the uncertainties associated with the fossil record and the preservation process. Our findings show that the commonly recognized mass extinctions have affected each plant group differently and that phases of high extinction often coincided with major floral turnovers. For instance, after the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary we infer negligible shifts in diversification of nonflowering seed plants, but find significantly decreased extinction in spore-bearing plants and increased origination rates in angiosperms, contributing to their current ecological and evolutionary dominance. PMID:25619401

  17. Palaeoenvironmental records from fossil corals: The effects of submarine diagenesis on temperature and climate estimates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Allison, Nicola; Finch, Adrian A.; Webster, Jody M.; Clague, David A.

    2007-10-01

    The geochemistry of coral skeletons may reflect seawater conditions at the time of deposition and the analysis of fossil skeletons offers a method to reconstruct past climate. However the precipitation of cements in the primary coral skeleton during diagenesis may significantly affect bulk skeletal geochemistry. We used secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) to measure Sr, Mg, B, U and Ba concentrations in primary coral aragonite and aragonite and calcite cements in fossil Porites corals from submerged reefs around the Hawaiian Islands. Cement and primary coral geochemistry were significantly different in all corals. We estimate the effects of cement inclusion on climate estimates from drilled coral samples, which combine cements and primary coral aragonite. Secondary 1% calcite or ˜2% aragonite cement contamination significantly affects Sr/Ca SST estimates by +1 °C and -0.4 to -0.9 °C, respectively. Cement inclusion also significantly affects Mg/Ca, B/Ca and U/Ca SST estimates in some corals. X-ray diffraction (XRD) will not detect secondary aragonite cements and significant calcite contamination may be below the limit of detection (˜1%) of the technique. Thorough petrographic examination of fossils is therefore essential to confirm that they are pristine before bulk drilled samples are analysed. To confirm that the geochemistry of the original coral structures is not affected by the precipitation of cements in adjacent pore spaces we analysed the primary coral aragonite in cemented and uncemented areas of the skeleton. Sr/Ca, B/Ca and U/Ca of primary coral aragonite is not affected by the presence of cements in adjacent interskeletal pore spaces i.e. the coral structures maintain their original composition and selective SIMS analysis of these structures offers a route to the reconstruction of accurate SSTs from altered coral skeletons. However, Mg/Ca and Ba/Ca of primary coral aragonite are significantly higher in parts of skeletons infilled with high Mg

  18. Late glacial climate estimates for southern Nevada: The ostracode fossil record

    SciTech Connect

    Forester, R.M.; Smith, A.J.

    1995-10-01

    Climate change plays an important role in determining as possible long term hydrological performance of the potential high level nuclear waste repository within Yucca Mountain, Nevada. Present-day global circulation results in this region having an arid to semi-arid climate characterized by hot and relatively dry summers. Global circulation during the late glacial (about 14 to 20 ka) was very different from the present-day. Preliminary study of late-glacial fossil ostracodes from {open_quotes}marsh deposits{close_quotes} in the upper Las Vegas Valley suggests mean annual precipitation may have been four times higher, while mean annual temperature may have been about 10{degrees}C cooler than today. A major difference between present-day and late-glacial climate was likely the existence of cooler, cloudier, and wetter summers in the past.

  19. The fossil record of the stellar populations at redshifts above 1.5

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walcher, C. Jakob; Coelho, Paula; Gallazzi, Anna; Charlot, Stephane; Bruzual, Gustavo

    2015-08-01

    Recent advances in stellar population modeling allow to determine physical properties such as mean age, iron and alpha-element abundances from integrated spectra using not only specific wavelength ranges as in traditional Lick-index-type methods, but from the full available spectrum. I will present an extension of this technique for low-redshift, massive early-type galaxies allowing to determine the [Fe/H] and [alpha/Fe] of only the stars older than 9.5 Gyr on a per galaxy basis. We find that these stars show uniformly high [alpha/Fe] abundances, allowing us to constrain the timescales over which star formation takes place in high-redshift galaxies that are being targeted directly by this symposium. I will also present analysis of the mass and environment dependancies of these properties.

  20. Uncertainties in dating constrain model choice for inferring extinction time from fossil records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saltré, Frédérik; Brook, Barry W.; Rodríguez-Rey, Marta; Cooper, Alan; Johnson, Christopher N.; Turney, Chris S. M.; Bradshaw, Corey J. A.

    2015-03-01

    Accurate estimates of the timing of extinctions (θ) are critical for understanding the causes of major die-off events and for identifying evolutionary or environmental transitions. Yet many studies have demonstrated that sampling biases and underlying statistical assumptions affect the accuracy of model-based estimates of extinction times (θˆ), and the added uncertainty contributed by inherent (laboratory) dating errors has largely been neglected. Here we provide a general guide (model-selection key) for choosing from among eight alternative ';frequentist sampling' (i.e., non-Bayesian) methods, differentiated by their treatment of both the probability of record occurrence and uncertainties in record dates, the most appropriate for a given record. We first provide a methodological framework to characterize time series of dated records as a function of the number of records, the size of the interval between successive records, and laboratory dating errors. Using both simulated data and dated Australian megafauna remains, we then assess how the characteristic of a dataset's time series dictates model performance and the probability of misclassification (false extant vs. false extinct). Among the four classic frequentist methods providing highest model performance, Marshall's (1997) and McCarthy's (1998) methods have the highest model precision. However, high model performance did not prevent misclassification errors, such that the Gaussian-resampled inverse-weighted McInerny (GRIWM) approach is the only method providing both high model accuracy and no misclassification issues, because of its unique down-weighting interval procedure and its ability to account for uncertainties in record dates. Applying the guideline to three time series of extinct Australian species, we recommend using Marshall's, McCarthy's and/or GRIWM methods to infer θ of both Thylacinus sp. and Genyornis sp., because each dataset is characterized by many sightings and a low variance of the

  1. Fossil Horses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacFadden, Bruce J.

    1994-06-01

    The family Equidae have an extensive fossil record spanning the past 58 million years, and the evolution of the horse has frequently been used as a classic example of long-term evolution. In recent years, however, there have been many important discoveries of fossil horses, and these, in conjunction with such new methods as cladistics, and techniques such as precise geochronology, have allowed us to achieve a much greater understanding of the evolution and biology of this important group. This book synthesizes the large body of data and research relevant to an understanding of fossil horses from several disciplines including biology, geology and paleontology. Using horses as the central theme, the author weaves together in the text such topics as modern geochronology, paleobiogeography, climate change, evolution and extinction, functional morphology, and population biology during the Cenozoic period. This book will be exciting reading for researchers and graduate students in vertebrate paleontology, evolution, and zoology.

  2. Biophysical constraints on the origin of leaves inferred from the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Osborne, C. P.; Beerling, D. J.; Lomax, B. H.; Chaloner, W. G.

    2004-01-01

    The molecular tool kit for producing flat-bladed photosynthetic structures evolved in marine and terrestrial plants during the middle Paleozoic, but it took a further 20 million years before leaves suddenly spread throughout land floras. This delay has long been difficult to explain, given the apparent advantage of leaves for photosynthetic primary production. Theory and experiments predict that exceptionally high atmospheric CO2 levels in the middle Paleozoic delayed the origin of leaves by restricting stomatal development. This would have limited evaporative cooling, leading to lethal overheating of leaves absorbing large quantities of solar energy. Here we test the central prediction of this argument with a morphometric analysis of 300 plant fossils from major European collections. We show a 25-fold enlargement of leaf blades in two phylogenetically independent clades as atmospheric CO2 levels fell during the late Paleozoic. Furthermore, preliminary data suggest that the first abrupt increase in leaf size was accompanied by an 8-fold rise in stomatal density. These evolutionary patterns support the relaxation of biophysical constraints on leaf area predicted by theory and point to a significant role for CO2 in plant evolution. PMID:15240879

  3. High-resolution leaf-fossil record spanning the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Johnson, K.R.; Nichols, D.J.; Attrep, M., Jr.; Orth, C.J.

    1989-01-01

    THEORIES that explain the extinctions characterizing the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) boundary1-3 need to be tested by analyses of thoroughly sampled biotas. Palynological studies are the primary means for stratigraphic placement of the terrestrial boundary and for estimates of plant extinction4-12, but have not been combined with quantitative analyses of fossil leaves (megaflora). Megafloral studies complement palynology by representing local floras with assemblages capable of high taxonomic resolution13, but have previously lacked the sample size and stratigraphic spacing needed to resolve latest Cretaceous floral history5,14-18. We have now combined megafloral data from a 100-m-thick composite K/T boundary section in North Dakota with detailed palynological analysis. Here the boundary is marked by a 30% palynofloral extinction coincident with iridium and shocked-mineral anomalies and lies ???2 m above the highest dinosaur remains. The megaflora undergoes a 79% turnover across the boundary, and smaller changes 17- and 25-m below it. This pattern is consistent with latest Cretaceous climatic warming preceding a bolide impact. ?? 1989 Nature Publishing Group.

  4. Fossil pollen records indicate that Patagonian desertification was not solely a consequence of Andean uplift.

    PubMed

    Palazzesi, L; Barreda, V D; Cuitiño, J I; Guler, M V; Tellería, M C; Ventura Santos, R

    2014-01-01

    The Patagonian steppe-a massive rain-shadow on the lee side of the southern Andes-is assumed to have evolved ~15-12 Myr as a consequence of the southern Andean uplift. However, fossil evidence supporting this assumption is limited. Here we quantitatively estimate climatic conditions and plant richness for the interval ~10-6 Myr based on the study and bioclimatic analysis of terrestrially derived spore-pollen assemblages preserved in well-constrained Patagonian marine deposits. Our analyses indicate a mesothermal climate, with mean temperatures of the coldest quarter between 11.4 °C and 16.9 °C (presently ~3.5 °C) and annual precipitation rarely below 661 mm (presently ~200 mm). Rarefied richness reveals a significantly more diverse flora during the late Miocene than today at the same latitude but comparable with that approximately 2,000 km further northeast at mid-latitudes on the Brazilian coast. We infer that the Patagonian desertification was not solely a consequence of the Andean uplift as previously insinuated. PMID:24675482

  5. Fossil pollen records indicate that Patagonian desertification was not solely a consequence of Andean uplift

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Palazzesi, L.; Barreda, V. D.; Cuitiño, J. I.; Guler, M. V.; Tellería, M. C.; Ventura Santos, R.

    2014-03-01

    The Patagonian steppe—a massive rain-shadow on the lee side of the southern Andes—is assumed to have evolved ~15-12 Myr as a consequence of the southern Andean uplift. However, fossil evidence supporting this assumption is limited. Here we quantitatively estimate climatic conditions and plant richness for the interval ~10-6 Myr based on the study and bioclimatic analysis of terrestrially derived spore-pollen assemblages preserved in well-constrained Patagonian marine deposits. Our analyses indicate a mesothermal climate, with mean temperatures of the coldest quarter between 11.4 °C and 16.9 °C (presently ~3.5 °C) and annual precipitation rarely below 661 mm (presently ~200 mm). Rarefied richness reveals a significantly more diverse flora during the late Miocene than today at the same latitude but comparable with that approximately 2,000 km further northeast at mid-latitudes on the Brazilian coast. We infer that the Patagonian desertification was not solely a consequence of the Andean uplift as previously insinuated.

  6. THE VERY FAINT END OF THE UV LUMINOSITY FUNCTION OVER COSMIC TIME: CONSTRAINTS FROM THE LOCAL GROUP FOSSIL RECORD

    SciTech Connect

    Weisz, Daniel R.; Johnson, Benjamin D.; Conroy, Charlie

    2014-10-10

    We present a new technique to estimate the evolution of the very faint end of the UV luminosity function (LF) out to z ∼ 5. Measured star formation histories (SFHs) from the fossil record of Local Group (LG) galaxies are used to reconstruct the LF down to M {sub UV} ∼–5 at z ∼ 5 and M {sub UV} ∼–1.5 at z < 1. Such faint limits are well beyond the current observational limits and are likely to remain beyond the limits of next-generation facilities. The reconstructed LFs, when combined with direct measurements of the LFs at higher luminosity, are well-fit by a standard Schechter function with no evidence of a break to the faintest limits probed by this technique. The derived faint-end slope, α, steepens from ≈ – 1.2 at z < 1 to ≈ – 1.6 at 4 < z < 5. We test the effects of burstiness in the SFHs and find the recovered LFs to be only modestly affected. Incompleteness corrections for the faintest LG galaxies and the (unlikely) possibility of significant luminosity-dependent destruction of dwarf galaxies between high redshift and the present epoch are important uncertainties. These and other uncertainties can be mitigated with more detailed modeling and future observations. The reconstructed faint end LF from the fossil record can therefore be a powerful and complementary probe of the high-redshift faint galaxies believed to play a key role in the reionization of the universe.

  7. The fossil record of phenotypic integration and modularity: A deep-time perspective on developmental and evolutionary dynamics

    PubMed Central

    Goswami, Anjali; Binder, Wendy J.; Meachen, Julie; O’Keefe, F. Robin

    2015-01-01

    Variation is the raw material for natural selection, but the factors shaping variation are still poorly understood. Genetic and developmental interactions can direct variation, but there has been little synthesis of these effects with the extrinsic factors that can shape biodiversity over large scales. The study of phenotypic integration and modularity has the capacity to unify these aspects of evolutionary study by estimating genetic and developmental interactions through the quantitative analysis of morphology, allowing for combined assessment of intrinsic and extrinsic effects. Data from the fossil record in particular are central to our understanding of phenotypic integration and modularity because they provide the only information on deep-time developmental and evolutionary dynamics, including trends in trait relationships and their role in shaping organismal diversity. Here, we demonstrate the important perspective on phenotypic integration provided by the fossil record with a study of Smilodon fatalis (saber-toothed cats) and Canis dirus (dire wolves). We quantified temporal trends in size, variance, phenotypic integration, and direct developmental integration (fluctuating asymmetry) through 27,000 y of Late Pleistocene climate change. Both S. fatalis and C. dirus showed a gradual decrease in magnitude of phenotypic integration and an increase in variance and the correlation between fluctuating asymmetry and overall integration through time, suggesting that developmental integration mediated morphological response to environmental change in the later populations of these species. These results are consistent with experimental studies and represent, to our knowledge, the first deep-time validation of the importance of developmental integration in stabilizing morphological evolution through periods of environmental change. PMID:25901310

  8. Neotropical mammal diversity and the Great American Biotic Interchange: spatial and temporal variation in South America's fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Carrillo, Juan D.; Forasiepi, Analía; Jaramillo, Carlos; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R.

    2015-01-01

    The vast mammal diversity of the Neotropics is the result of a long evolutionary history. During most of the Cenozoic, South America was an island continent with an endemic mammalian fauna. This isolation ceased during the late Neogene after the formation of the Isthmus of Panama, resulting in an event known as the Great American Biotic Interchange (GABI). In this study, we investigate biogeographic patterns in South America, just before or when the first immigrants are recorded and we review the temporal and geographical distribution of fossil mammals during the GABI. We performed a dissimilarity analysis which grouped the faunal assemblages according to their age and their geographic distribution. Our data support the differentiation between tropical and temperate assemblages in South America during the middle and late Miocene. The GABI begins during the late Miocene (~10–7 Ma) and the putative oldest migrations are recorded in the temperate region, where the number of GABI participants rapidly increases after ~5 Ma and this trend continues during the Pleistocene. A sampling bias toward higher latitudes and younger records challenges the study of the temporal and geographic patterns of the GABI. PMID:25601879

  9. Tectonometamorphic record in a fossilized subduction channel: insights from the Cycladic Blueschist Unit (Cyclades, Greece)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laurent, Valentin; Roche, Vincent; Jolivet, Laurent; Lanari, Pierre; Augier, Romain; Scaillet, Stéphane

    2016-04-01

    The comprehension of subduction dynamics is partly based on the reconstruction of detailed Pressure-Temperature-time-deformation paths of HP-LT metamorphic rocks, which have undergone a complete burial-exhumation cycle. The Cycladic Blueschist Unit (CBU), located in the Aegean domain (Greece), is one of the best examples of a fossilized subduction channel. The tectonometamorphic history of this domain can be summarized in two successive episodes: (1) From the Paleocene to the Eocene, the formation of the Hellenides-Taurides belt due to the convergence between Eurasia and Africa. During this episode, the entrance of the Apulian crust in the subduction zone led to an episode of crustal thickening and formation-exhumation of HP-LT metamorphic units like the CBU. (2) From the Early Oligocene, consecutively to the retreat of the African slab, back-arc extension affected the previously thickened crust and the Aegean Sea started to form. Syros and Sifnos islands are worldwide known for their excellent preservation of HP-LT parageneses in the CBU, providing one of the best case-studies to understand the tectonometamorphic evolution of a subduction channel. This study aims to decipher the P-T-t-d path of the CBU using for the first time on Syros, Raman spectroscopy of carbonaceous material to constrain metamorphic peak temperature (Beyssac et al., 2002) and a quantitative X-ray micro-mapping approach together with the program XMapTools (Lanari et al., 2014). The micro-mapping tools allowed extracting local chemical compositions observed in zoned garnets to calculate the local effective bulk composition. Forward models are then created to constrain P-T conditions of crystallization of these local assemblages. This study brings new data on the debated metamorphic peak conditions of the CBU, which undoubtedly attained at least 20 ± 2 kbar / 530 ± 50°C. Additionally, the geological and metamorphic maps of Syros and Sifnos have been totally redrawn in order to decipher the

  10. Iridium abundance measurements across bio-event horizons in the geological record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Orth, C. J.; Attrep, M., Jr.

    1988-01-01

    Geochemical studies have been performed on thousands of rock samples collected across bio-event horizons in the fossil record using INAA for about 40 common and trace elements and radiochemical isolation procedures for Os, Ir, Pt, and Au on selected samples. These studies were begun soon after the Alvarez team announced their discovery of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) Ir anomaly in marine rock sequences in Europe. With their encouragement the Authors searched for the anomaly in nearby continental (freshwater coal swamp) deposits. In collaboration with scientists from the U.S.G.S. in Denver, the anomaly was located and it was observed that a floral crisis occurred at the same stratigraphic position as the Ir spike. Further work in the Raton Basin has turned up numerous well-preserved K-T boundary sections. Although the Authors have continued to study the K-T boundary and provide geochemical measurements for other groups trying to precisely locate it, the primary effort was turned to examining the other bio-events in the Phanerozoic, especially to those that are older than the terminal Cretaceous. A list of horizons that were examined in collaboration with paleontologists and geologists is given. Results are also given and discussed.

  11. Arthropod eyes: The early Cambrian fossil record and divergent evolution of visual systems.

    PubMed

    Strausfeld, Nicholas J; Ma, Xiaoya; Edgecombe, Gregory D; Fortey, Richard A; Land, Michael F; Liu, Yu; Cong, Peiyun; Hou, Xianguang

    2016-03-01

    evolution of sessile eyes equipped with optics typical of extant xiphosurans. Observations of fossil material, including that of trilobites and eurypterids, support the proposition that the ancestral compound eye was the apposition type. Cambrian arthropods include possible precursors of mandibulate eyes. The latter are the modified compound eyes, now sessile, and their underlying optic lobes exemplified by scutigeromorph chilopods, and the mobile stalked compound eyes and more elaborate optic lobes typifying Pancrustacea. Radical divergence from an ancestral apposition type is demonstrated by the evolution of chelicerate eyes, from doublet sessile-eyed stem-group taxa to special apposition eyes of xiphosurans, the compound eyes of eurypterids, and single-lens eyes of arachnids. Different eye types are discussed with respect to possible modes of life of the extinct species that possessed them, comparing these to extant counterparts and the types of visual centers the eyes might have served. PMID:26276096

  12. Novel Application of Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy and 3D Volume Rendering toward Improving the Resolution of the Fossil Record of Charcoal

    PubMed Central

    Belcher, Claire M.; Punyasena, Surangi W.; Sivaguru, Mayandi

    2013-01-01

    Variations in the abundance of fossil charcoals between rocks and sediments are assumed to reflect changes in fire activity in Earth’s past. These variations in fire activity are often considered to be in response to environmental, ecological or climatic changes. The role that fire plays in feedbacks to such changes is becoming increasingly important to understand and highlights the need to create robust estimates of variations in fossil charcoal abundance. The majority of charcoal based fire reconstructions quantify the abundance of charcoal particles and do not consider the changes in the morphology of the individual particles that may have occurred due to fragmentation as part of their transport history. We have developed a novel application of confocal laser scanning microscopy coupled to image processing that enables the 3-dimensional reconstruction of individual charcoal particles. This method is able to measure the volume of both microfossil and mesofossil charcoal particles and allows the abundance of charcoal in a sample to be expressed as total volume of charcoal. The method further measures particle surface area and shape allowing both relationships between different size and shape metrics to be analysed and full consideration of variations in particle size and size sorting between different samples to be studied. We believe application of this new imaging approach could allow significant improvement in our ability to estimate variations in past fire activity using fossil charcoals. PMID:23977267

  13. Fossil records of high level of 60Fe in chondrules from unequilibrated chondrites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mishra, Ritesh Kumar; Chaussidon, Marc

    2014-07-01

    The short-lived now-extinct nuclide (SLN) 60Fe, which decays to 60Ni with a half-life of 2.62 Ma, is uniquely of stellar origin. Hence, its Solar System initial abundance yields information about the source of SLNs and the astrophysical environment in which the Solar System was born. Only a few chondrules (∼19) from unequilibrated ordinary chondrites have reported resolved 60Ni excesses using in situ secondary ion mass spectrometry implying Fe60/Fe56>∼0.6×10-7 in the early Solar System, and among these very few (3) have higher excesses implying Fe60/Fe56∼7×10-7 (Mishra et al., 2010; Mishra and Goswami, 2014; Telus et al., 2012). At variance, multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer studies of bulk samples and mineral separates from differentiated meteorites, angrites, achondrites, and chondrules suggest a low abundance of 60Fe/56Fe of ∼1.4×10-8 which would rule out the need for an external seeding of the early Solar with stellar 60Fe (Quitté et al., 2011; Tang and Dauphas, 2012). Two Semarkona chondrules and one Efremovka chondrule analyzed in the present study have mass fractionation corrected excess of up to ∼75 permil (‰) and give 60Fe isochrons with initial 60Fe/56Fe ratios of (7.8±3.7)×10-7, (3.8±1.6)×10-7, and (2.2±1.1)×10-7 (2σ), for Efremovka Ch 1, Semarkona Ch 12, and Semarkona Ch J5 respectively. The higher values of 60Fe/56Fe ratios seen in the chondrules of these least altered meteorites samples concur with and lend greater credence to the suggestion of a massive star as the source of 60Fe, and possibly of other short-lived nuclides, to the early Solar System. However, no definitive explanation (e.g. sample bias, effects of metamorphism, 60Fe heterogeneity) to the apparent disagreement with studies of bulk chondrules and chondrule fragments has been found.

  14. Inferring the nature of anthropogenic threats from long-term abundance records.

    PubMed

    Shoemaker, Kevin T; Akçakaya, H Resit

    2015-02-01

    Diagnosing the processes that threaten species persistence is critical for recovery planning and risk forecasting. Dominant threats are typically inferred by experts on the basis of a patchwork of informal methods. Transparent, quantitative diagnostic tools would contribute much-needed consistency, objectivity, and rigor to the process of diagnosing anthropogenic threats. Long-term census records, available for an increasingly large and diverse set of taxa, may exhibit characteristic signatures of specific threatening processes and thereby provide information for threat diagnosis. We developed a flexible Bayesian framework for diagnosing threats on the basis of long-term census records and diverse ancillary sources of information. We tested this framework with simulated data from artificial populations subjected to varying degrees of exploitation and habitat loss and several real-world abundance time series for which threatening processes are relatively well understood: bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) and Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) (exploitation) and Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) and Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis) (habitat loss). Our method correctly identified the process driving population decline for over 90% of time series simulated under moderate to severe threat scenarios. Successful identification of threats approached 100% for severe exploitation and habitat loss scenarios. Our method identified threats less successfully when threatening processes were weak and when populations were simultaneously affected by multiple threats. Our method selected the presumed true threat model for all real-world case studies, although results were somewhat ambiguous in the case of the Eurasian Skylark. In the latter case, incorporation of an ancillary source of information (records of land-use change) increased the weight assigned to the presumed true model from 70% to 92%, illustrating the value of the proposed framework in bringing diverse sources of

  15. When Did Carcharocles megalodon Become Extinct? A New Analysis of the Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Pimiento, Catalina; Clements, Christopher F.

    2014-01-01

    Carcharocles megalodon (“Megalodon”) is the largest shark that ever lived. Based on its distribution, dental morphology, and associated fauna, it has been suggested that this species was a cosmopolitan apex predator that fed on marine mammals from the middle Miocene to the Pliocene (15.9–2.6 Ma). Prevailing theory suggests that the extinction of apex predators affects ecosystem dynamics. Accordingly, knowing the time of extinction of C. megalodon is a fundamental step towards understanding the effects of such an event in ancient communities. However, the time of extinction of this important species has never been quantitatively assessed. Here, we synthesize the most recent records of C. megalodon from the literature and scientific collections and infer the date of its extinction by making a novel use of the Optimal Linear Estimation (OLE) model. Our results suggest that C. megalodon went extinct around 2.6 Ma. Furthermore, when contrasting our results with known ecological and macroevolutionary trends in marine mammals, it became evident that the modern composition and function of modern gigantic filter-feeding whales was established after the extinction of C. megalodon. Consequently, the study of the time of extinction of C. megalodon provides the basis to improve our understanding of the responses of marine species to the removal of apex predators, presenting a deep-time perspective for the conservation of modern ecosystems. PMID:25338197

  16. When did Carcharocles megalodon become extinct? A new analysis of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Pimiento, Catalina; Clements, Christopher F

    2014-01-01

    Carcharocles megalodon ("Megalodon") is the largest shark that ever lived. Based on its distribution, dental morphology, and associated fauna, it has been suggested that this species was a cosmopolitan apex predator that fed on marine mammals from the middle Miocene to the Pliocene (15.9-2.6 Ma). Prevailing theory suggests that the extinction of apex predators affects ecosystem dynamics. Accordingly, knowing the time of extinction of C. megalodon is a fundamental step towards understanding the effects of such an event in ancient communities. However, the time of extinction of this important species has never been quantitatively assessed. Here, we synthesize the most recent records of C. megalodon from the literature and scientific collections and infer the date of its extinction by making a novel use of the Optimal Linear Estimation (OLE) model. Our results suggest that C. megalodon went extinct around 2.6 Ma. Furthermore, when contrasting our results with known ecological and macroevolutionary trends in marine mammals, it became evident that the modern composition and function of modern gigantic filter-feeding whales was established after the extinction of C. megalodon. Consequently, the study of the time of extinction of C. megalodon provides the basis to improve our understanding of the responses of marine species to the removal of apex predators, presenting a deep-time perspective for the conservation of modern ecosystems. PMID:25338197

  17. Human species and mating systems: Neandertal-Homo sapiens reproductive isolation and the archaeological and fossil records.

    PubMed

    Overmann, Karenleigh; Coolidge, Frederick

    2013-01-01

    The present paper examined the assumption of strong reproductive isolation (RI) between Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens, as well as the question of what form it might have taken, using insights from the parallel case of chimpanzee–bonobo hybridization. RI from hybrid sterility or inviability was thought unlikely based on the short separation-to-introgression timeline. The forms of RI that typically develop in primates have relatively short timelines (especially for partial implementation); they generally preclude mating or influence hybrid survival and reproduction in certain contexts, and they have the potential to skew introgression directionality. These RI barriers are also consistent with some interpretations of the archaeological and fossil records, especially when behavioral, cognitive, morphological, and genetic differences between the two human species are taken into consideration. Differences potentially influencing patterns of survival and reproduction include interspecies violence, Neandertal xenophobia, provisioning behavior, and ontogenetic, morphological, and behavioral differences affecting matters such as kin and mate recognition, infanticide, and sexual selection. These factors may have skewed the occurrence of interbreeding or the survival and reproduction of hybrids in a way that might at least partially explain the pattern of introgression. PMID:24344097

  18. A search for evidence of large body Earth impacts associated with biological crisis zones in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Orth, C. J.; Gilmore, J. S.; Knight, J. D.

    1985-01-01

    The natural history of the Earth, how the present plant and animal species developed, how others completely died out, etc., was studied. The rock strata sampled and studied were at the time of deposition at sea bottom. It was found that, exactly at the stratigraphic level corresponding to the extinction, a thin clay layer was greatly enriched in the the rare element iridium. It was hypothesized that the excess irridium at the boundary came from a large steroid like object that hit the earth, and that the impact of this object threw up a dust cloud dense enough and long lasting enough to bring about the extinction of a wide variety of plants and animals, producing the unique break in in the fossil record, the cretaceous-tertiary boundary. The same iridium and platinum metals enrichement are found in a thin clay layer that corresponds with the boundary as difined by sudden radical changes in plant populations. The irridium enrichement is confirmed at other fresh water origin rites in the Raton Basin.

  19. The Mescal Cave Fauna (San Bernardino County, California) and testing assumptions of habitat fidelity in the Quaternary fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stegner, Mary Allison

    2015-05-01

    The late Pleistocene and Holocene vertebrate fossil record for the northern Mojave Desert (southwestern USA) is known primarily from five sites. Until now, only two of these have been radiometrically dated, and temporal placement of the others has been based on stratigraphic or biostratigraphic correlation, leading to circular interpretations of mammal extirpations in the Mojave. Here, I report a revised and complete faunal list for Mescal Cave, along with 22 AMS radiocarbon dates from 5 vertebrate taxa recovered from its deposits. The results reported here demonstrate time-averaging in Mescal Cave encompassing around ~ 34 ka, a maximum age 14 ka older and minimum age 10 ka younger than previously thought. Furthermore, radiocarbon analyses suggest local extirpation of Marmota flaviventris around 3.6 cal ka BP, considerably younger than expected based on regional patterns of warming and aridification in the Mojave. Conversely, radiocarbon dates from another presumably boreal species, Neotoma cinerea, are considerably older than expected, suggesting either that climate change at this site did not directly mirror regional patterns, that habitat requirements for these two species are not strictly boreal or cool/mesic as has often been assumed, or that local edaphic conditions and/or competitive interactions overrode the regional climatic controls on theses species' distribution.

  20. An analysis of pterosaurian biogeography: implications for the evolutionary history and fossil record quality of the first flying vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Upchurch, Paul; Andres, Brian; Butler, Richard J.; Barrett, Paul M.

    2015-01-01

    The biogeographical history of pterosaurs has received very little treatment. Here, we present the first quantitative analysis of pterosaurian biogeography based on an event-based parsimony method (Treefitter). This approach was applied to a phylogenetic tree comprising the relationships of 108 in-group pterosaurian taxa, spanning the full range of this clade's stratigraphical and geographical extent. The results indicate that there is no support for the impact of vicariance or coherent dispersal on pterosaurian distributions. However, this group does display greatly elevated levels of sympatry. Although sampling biases and taxonomic problems might have artificially elevated the occurrence of sympatry, we argue that our results probably reflect a genuine biogeographical signal. We propose a novel model to explain pterosaurian distributions: pterosaurs underwent a series of ‘sweep-stakes’ dispersal events (across oceanic barriers in most cases), resulting in the founding of sympatric clusters of taxa. Examination of the spatiotemporal distributions of pterosaurian occurrences indicates that their fossil record is extremely patchy. Thus, while there is likely to be genuine information on pterosaurian diversity and biogeographical patterns in the current data-set, caution is required in its interpretation. PMID:26339122

  1. Grazing trails formed by soldier fly larvae (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) and their paleoenvironmental and paleoecological implications for the fossil record

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mangano, M.G.; Buatois, L.A.; Claps, G.L.

    1996-01-01

    Recent trails formed by soldier fly larvae (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) were examined in a shallow pond in the floodplain of a braided river in Jujuy Province, northwestern Argentina. Collected specimens were identified as Stratiomys convexa van der Wulp. Simple, irregularly meandering trails were produced across the surface of a muddy-silty substrate. Since soldier fly larvae extend their caudal respiratory tube to the water-air interface, they are restricted to extremely shallow water. The presence of benthic algal remains within the mouthparts of the larvae suggests a feeding habit of algal grazing. If preserved, these trails would be included in the ichnogenus Helminthopsis, a common element in ancient freshwater ichnofaunas. Helminthopsis preserved in pond and lacustrine margin deposits younger than Late Jurassic is regarded as one possible trace fossil analogue of the trails documented herein. Additionally, it is suggested that larvae of many aquatic Diptera with similar ecologic restrictions are potential tracemakers of Helminthopsis and other simple trails in these environments, particularly in post-Paleozoic deposits. Studies of modern shallow aquatic habitats and reexamination of the ichnologic record stress the importance of fly larvae as tracemakers in lake margin and pond ecosystems. Ecologic requirements of soldier fly larvae make them inappropriate analogues of Helminthopsis tracemakers in deeper water, lacustrine settings. ?? 1996 OPA (Overseas Publishers Association) Amsterdam B.V. Published in The Netherlands by Harwood Academic Publishers GmbH.

  2. Review of the fossil matamata turtles: earliest well-dated record and hypotheses on the origin of their present geographical distribution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferreira, Gabriel S.; Rincón, Ascanio D.; Solórzano, Andrés; Langer, Max C.

    2016-04-01

    The matamata ( Chelus fimbriatus) is a highly aquatic chelid turtle known exclusively from northern South America. Due to its extremely modified morphology, it is well circumscribed among living taxa, but that is not the case of the two extinct species ascribed to the taxon, Chelus colombianus and Chelus lewisi. These were originally described for the Miocene of Colombia and Venezuela, respectively, and are known mostly from post-cranial material. Few traits have been considered diagnostic for these fossil taxa, and their shared geographic and temporal distributions raise doubts about their distinctiveness. Here, we describe new turtle remains from the early Miocene Castillo Formation, at Cerro la Cruz, northwestern Venezuela, assigning them to C. colombianus. We also review the taxonomy and diagnostic features of the fossil species of Chelus, comparing them with the variation recognized within C. fimbriatus. All alleged differences between the fossil Chelus species were found in our sample of the extant species, and may represent intraspecific variation of a single fossil species. Further, we reviewed the fossil record of Chelus spp. and proposed a paleobiogeographic hypothesis to explain its present geographic range.

  3. Review of the fossil matamata turtles: earliest well-dated record and hypotheses on the origin of their present geographical distribution.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, Gabriel S; Rincón, Ascanio D; Solórzano, Andrés; Langer, Max C

    2016-04-01

    The matamata (Chelus fimbriatus) is a highly aquatic chelid turtle known exclusively from northern South America. Due to its extremely modified morphology, it is well circumscribed among living taxa, but that is not the case of the two extinct species ascribed to the taxon, Chelus colombianus and Chelus lewisi. These were originally described for the Miocene of Colombia and Venezuela, respectively, and are known mostly from post-cranial material. Few traits have been considered diagnostic for these fossil taxa, and their shared geographic and temporal distributions raise doubts about their distinctiveness. Here, we describe new turtle remains from the early Miocene Castillo Formation, at Cerro la Cruz, northwestern Venezuela, assigning them to C. colombianus. We also review the taxonomy and diagnostic features of the fossil species of Chelus, comparing them with the variation recognized within C. fimbriatus. All alleged differences between the fossil Chelus species were found in our sample of the extant species, and may represent intraspecific variation of a single fossil species. Further, we reviewed the fossil record of Chelus spp. and proposed a paleobiogeographic hypothesis to explain its present geographic range. PMID:26940060

  4. Where's the glass? Biomarkers, molecular clocks, and microRNAs suggest a 200-Myr missing Precambrian fossil record of siliceous sponge spicules

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sperling, E. A.; Robinson, J.; Pisani, D.; Peterson, K.

    2010-12-01

    The earliest evidence for animal life comes from the fossil record of 24-isopropylcholestane, a sterane found in Cryogenian deposits, and whose precursors are found in modern demosponges, but not choanoflagellates, calcareans, hexactinellids, or eumetazoans. However, many modern demosponges are also characterized by the presence of siliceous spicules, and there are no convincing demosponge spicules in strata older than the Cambrian. This temporal disparity highlights a problem with our understanding of the Precambrian fossil record - either these supposed demosponge-specific biomarkers were derived from the sterols of some other organism and are simply retained in modern demosponges, or spicules do not primitively characterize crown-group demosponges. Resolving this issue requires resolving the phylogenetic placement of another group of sponges, the hexactinellids, which not only make a spicule thought to be homologous to the spicules of demosponges, but also make their first appearance near the Precambrian/Cambrian boundary. Using two independent analytical approaches and data sets - traditional molecular phylogenetic analyses and the presence or absence of specific microRNA genes - we show that demosponges are monophyletic, and that hexactinellids are their sister group (together forming the Silicea). Thus, spicules must have evolved before the last common ancestor of all living siliceans, suggesting the presence of a significant gap in the silicean spicule fossil record. Molecular divergence estimates date the origin of this last common ancestor well within the Cryogenian, consistent with the biomarker record, and strongly suggests that siliceous spicules were present during the Precambrian but were not preserved.

  5. The first fossil record of the Emesinae genus Emesopsis Uhler (Hemiptera: Heteroptera, Reduviidae) from Eocene Baltic amber.

    PubMed

    Popov, Yuri A; Chłond, Dominik

    2015-01-01

    Two new fossil representatives of the assassin bug family Reduviidae are described as new from Baltic amber (Upper Eocene), belonging to the genus Emesopsis of the tribe Ploiariolini (Emesinae): Emesopsis putshkovi sp. nov. and E. similis sp. nov. These representatives of the Emesinae are the oldest fossil bugs of the genus Emesopsis known so far, and reported for the first time. This genus is also briefly diagnosed. PMID:26624642

  6. †Kenyaichthyidae fam. nov. and †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. – First Record of a Fossil Aplocheiloid Killifish (Teleostei, Cyprinodontiformes)

    PubMed Central

    Altner, Melanie; Reichenbacher, Bettina

    2015-01-01

    The extant Cyprinodontiformes (killifishes) with their two suborders Cyprinodontoidei and Aplocheiloidei represent a diverse and well-studied group of fishes. However, their fossil record is comparatively sparse and has so far yielded members of the Cyprinodontoidei only. Here we report on cyprinodontiform fossils from the upper Miocene Lukeino Formation in the Tugen Hills of the Central Rift Valley of Kenya, which represent the first fossil record of an aplocheiloid killifish. A total of 169 specimens - mostly extraordinarily well preserved - and a sample of ten extant cyprinodontiform species were studied on the basis of morphometrics, meristics and osteology. A phylogenetic analysis using PAUP was also conducted for the fossils. Both the osteological data and the phylogenetic analysis provide strong evidence for the assignment of the fossils to the Aplocheiloidei, and justify the definition of the new family †Kenyaichthyidae, the new genus †Kenyaichthys and the new species †K. kipkechi sp. nov. The phylogenetic analysis unexpectedly places †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. in a sister relationship to the Rivulidae (a purely Neotropical group), a probable explanation might be lack of available synapomorphies for the Rivulidae, Nothobranchiidae and Aplocheilidae. The specimens of †K. kipkechi sp. nov. show several polymorphic characters and large overlap in meristic traits, which justifies their interpretation as a species flock in statu nascendi. Patterns of variation in neural and haemal spine dimensions in the caudal vertebrae of †Kenyaichthys gen. nov. and the extant species studied indicate that some previously suggested synapomorphies of the Cyprinodontoidei and Aplocheiloidei need to be revised. PMID:25923654

  7. From Fossil Parasitoids to Vectors: Insects as Parasites and Hosts.

    PubMed

    Nagler, Christina; Haug, Joachim T

    2015-01-01

    Within Metazoa, it has been proposed that as many as two-thirds of all species are parasitic. This propensity towards parasitism is also reflected within insects, where several lineages independently evolved a parasitic lifestyle. Parasitic behaviour ranges from parasitic habits in the strict sense, but also includes parasitoid, phoretic or kleptoparasitic behaviour. Numerous insects are also the host for other parasitic insects or metazoans. Insects can also serve as vectors for numerous metazoan, protistan, bacterial and viral diseases. The fossil record can report this behaviour with direct (parasite associated with its host) or indirect evidence (insect with parasitic larva, isolated parasitic insect, pathological changes of host). The high abundance of parasitism in the fossil record of insects can reveal important aspects of parasitic lifestyles in various evolutionary lineages. For a comprehensive view on fossil parasitic insects, we discuss here different aspects, including phylogenetic systematics, functional morphology and a direct comparison of fossil and extant species. PMID:26597067

  8. Fossil evidence of the zygomycetous fungi.

    PubMed

    Krings, M; Taylor, T N; Dotzler, N

    2013-06-01

    Molecular clock data indicate that the first zygomycetous fungi occurred on Earth during the Precambrian, however, fossil evidence of these organisms has been slow to accumulate. In this paper, the fossil record of the zygomycetous fungi is compiled, with a focus on structurally preserved Carboniferous and Triassic fossils interpreted as zygosporangium-gametangia complexes and resembling those of modern Endogonales. Enigmatic microfossils from the Precambrian to Cenozoic that have variously been interpreted as, or compared to, zygomycetous fungi are also discussed. Among these, the spherical structures collectively termed 'sporocarps' are especially interesting because of their complex investments and abundance in certain Carboniferous and Triassic rocks. Circumstantial evidence suggests that at least some 'sporocarp' types represent mantled zygosporangia. Zygomycetous fungi probably were an important element in terrestrial paleoecosystems at least by the Carboniferous. PMID:24027344

  9. Middle Holocene daily light cycle recorded in the strontium/calcium ratios of a fossil giant clam shell

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sano, Y.; Hori, M.; Takahata, N.; Shirai, K.; Watanabe, T.

    2013-12-01

    The historical record of daily light cycle in tropical and subtropical regions is short. Moreover, it remains difficult to extract this cycle in the past from natural archives such as biogenic marine carbonates. Our previous analyses of cultivated giant clam shells (Tridacna derasa) showed a diurnal variation in the Sr/Ca ratio, which is probably reflecting the daily light cycle and not the seawater temperature [1]. In order to apply the proxy method to prehistoric era, we analyzed trace elements of a fossil giant clam shell (Tridacna gigas) which was collected at the coast of the Ishigaki Island (124 09' E, 24 20' N), southern Japan. The giant clam specimen has been living in the middle Holocene, the warmest climate after the last glacial period. An inner layer part of the sample was cut and mounted in Araldite resin disk together with a carbonate standard. This species is known to form a growth line each day [2] and we found similar Sr enrichment lines to those of the cultivated clam [1] using a EPMA. The lines may facilitate age-model determination. We carried out a preliminary analysis of Sr/Ca, Mg/Ca and Ba/Ca ratios along the growth axis with a 2-micron spot at 2 micron interval using a laterally high-resolution secondary ion mass spectrometer (NanoSIMS) installed at Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo. The Sr/Ca ratios of dark and relatively opaque area, which is probably corresponding to a cool winter [3], show striking diurnal cycle. This cycle generally consist of narrow lines of high Sr/Ca ratio and broad increments of low ratio. These variations are consistent with those of the cultivated clam [1] and pointing to the possibility of reconstructing daily light cycle at a few hour timescale in the middle Holocene. The Mg/Ca and Ba/Ca ratios also appear to indicate a diurnal cycle, but the amplitude is rather large and highly irregular, suggesting a strong biological control. Light-enhanced calcification and elemental transportation

  10. Reconstructing Carotenoid-Based and Structural Coloration in Fossil Skin.

    PubMed

    McNamara, Maria E; Orr, Patrick J; Kearns, Stuart L; Alcalá, Luis; Anadón, Pere; Peñalver, Enrique

    2016-04-25

    Evidence of original coloration in fossils provides insights into the visual communication strategies used by ancient animals and the functional evolution of coloration over time [1-7]. Hitherto, all reconstructions of the colors of reptile integument and the plumage of fossil birds and feathered dinosaurs have been of melanin-based coloration [1-6]. Extant animals also use other mechanisms for producing color [8], but these have not been identified in fossils. Here we report the first examples of carotenoid-based coloration in the fossil record, and of structural coloration in fossil integument. The fossil skin, from a 10 million-year-old colubrid snake from the Late Miocene Libros Lagerstätte (Teruel, Spain) [9, 10], preserves dermal pigment cells (chromatophores)-xanthophores, iridophores, and melanophores-in calcium phosphate. Comparison with chromatophore abundance and position in extant reptiles [11-15] indicates that the fossil snake was pale-colored in ventral regions; dorsal and lateral regions were green with brown-black and yellow-green transverse blotches. Such coloration most likely functioned in substrate matching and intraspecific signaling. Skin replicated in authigenic minerals is not uncommon in exceptionally preserved fossils [16, 17], and dermal pigment cells generate coloration in numerous reptile, amphibian, and fish taxa today [18]. Our discovery thus represents a new means by which to reconstruct the original coloration of exceptionally preserved fossil vertebrates. PMID:27040775

  11. Influence of changes in climate, sea level, and depositional systems on the fossil record of the Neoproterozoic-early Cambrian metazoan radiation, Australia

    SciTech Connect

    Mount, J.F.; McDonald, C. )

    1992-11-01

    On the Australian continent the fossil record of the initial appearance and radiation of higher metazoans is strongly influenced by the distribution of facies suitable for fossil preservation. The limited stratigraphic range of the [open quotes]Ediacaran[close quotes] fauna, the seemingly abrupt appearance and radiation of Cambrian-aspect traces, and the apparently late appearance of skeletogenous organisms are all functions of the spatial and temporal distributions of key habitats. The principal controls on the formation of these habitats appear to have been changes in climate and siliciclastic sediment supply coupled with cyclic changes in sea level. Aspects of the artifactual bias documented in Australia are recognized (but rarely documented) in Precambrian-Cambrian boundary sections worldwide. This bias may ultimately form a major stumbling block to detailed reconstruction of early metazoan evolution. 43 refs., 3 figs.

  12. First evidence of a bipartite medial cuneiform in the hominin fossil record: a case report from the Early Pleistocene site of Dmanisi

    PubMed Central

    Jashashvili, Tea; Ponce de León, Marcia S; Lordkipanidze, David; Zollikofer, Christoph P E

    2010-01-01

    A medial cuneiform exhibiting complete bipartition was discovered at the Early Pleistocene site of Dmanisi, Georgia. The specimen is the oldest known instance of this anatomical variant in the hominin fossil record. Here we compare developmental variation of the medial cuneiform in fossil hominins, extant humans and great apes, and discuss potential implications of bipartition for hominin foot phylogeny and function. Complete bipartition is rare among modern humans (< 1%); incomplete bipartition was found in 2 of 200 examined great ape specimens and also appears in the form of a divided distal articular surface in the Stw573c Australopithecus africanus specimen. Although various developmental pathways lead to medial cuneiform bipartition, it appears that the bipartite bone does not deviate significantly from normal overall morphology. Together, these data indicate that bipartition represents a phyletically old developmental variant of the medial cuneiform, which does not, however, affect the species-specific morphology and function of this bone. PMID:20579174

  13. Reassessment of Olduvai Bed I cercopithecoids: A new biochronological and biogeographical link to the South African fossil record.

    PubMed

    Gilbert, Christopher C; Frost, Stephen R; Delson, Eric

    2016-03-01

    Fossil monkeys have long been used as important faunal elements in studies of African Plio-Pleistocene biochronology, particularly in the case of the South African karst cave sites. Cercopithecoid fossils have been known from Tanzania's Olduvai Gorge for nearly a century, with multiple taxa documented including Theropithecus oswaldi and Cercopithecoides kimeui, along with papionins and colobines less clearly attributable to species. A small number of large papionin fossils, including a partial male cranium and partial female skull, have been previously identified as an early form of Papio, but noted as distinct from extant baboons as well as other fossil Papio species. In 2013 we reviewed the Olduvai cercopithecoid material at the National Museum of Tanzania, with a particular focus on the specimens from Beds I-IV. Quantitative and qualitative comparisons of the Olduvai papionins largely confirmed previous observations, with one notable exception. The large papionin taxon from Bed I previously recognized as Papio sp. is more properly recognized as Gorgopithecus major, a taxon previously known only from South Africa. Features shared between the Olduvai specimens and G. major include relatively short and concavo-convex tubular nasals, antero-posteriorly curved upper incisor roots, downwardly curved brow ridges in the midline, and robust zygomatic arches. The recognition of G. major at Olduvai Bed I, a well-known horizon with precise radiometric dates, provides an important biochronological and biogeographical link with South African localities Kromdraai A, Swartkrans Member 1 and possibly Swartkrans Members 2-3 and Cooper's A and D. PMID:26989016

  14. The Origin and Early Evolution of Sauria: Reassessing the Permian Saurian Fossil Record and the Timing of the Crocodile-Lizard Divergence

    PubMed Central

    Ezcurra, Martín D.; Scheyer, Torsten M.; Butler, Richard J.

    2014-01-01

    Sauria is the crown-group of Diapsida and is subdivided into Lepidosauromorpha and Archosauromorpha, comprising a high percentage of the diversity of living and fossil tetrapods. The split between lepidosauromorphs and archosauromorphs (the crocodile-lizard, or bird-lizard, divergence) is considered one of the key calibration points for molecular analyses of tetrapod phylogeny. Saurians have a very rich Mesozoic and Cenozoic fossil record, but their late Paleozoic (Permian) record is problematic. Several Permian specimens have been referred to Sauria, but the phylogenetic affinity of some of these records remains questionable. We reexamine and review all of these specimens here, providing new data on early saurian evolution including osteohistology, and present a new morphological phylogenetic dataset. We support previous studies that find that no valid Permian record for Lepidosauromorpha, and we also reject some of the previous referrals of Permian specimens to Archosauromorpha. The most informative Permian archosauromorph is Protorosaurus speneri from the middle Late Permian of Western Europe. A historically problematic specimen from the Late Permian of Tanzania is redescribed and reidentified as a new genus and species of basal archosauromorph: Aenigmastropheus parringtoni. The supposed protorosaur Eorasaurus olsoni from the Late Permian of Russia is recovered among Archosauriformes and may be the oldest known member of the group but the phylogenetic support for this position is low. The assignment of Archosaurus rossicus from the latest Permian of Russia to the archosauromorph clade Proterosuchidae is supported. Our revision suggests a minimum fossil calibration date for the crocodile-lizard split of 254.7 Ma. The occurrences of basal archosauromorphs in the northern (30°N) and southern (55°S) parts of Pangea imply a wider paleobiogeographic distribution for the group during the Late Permian than previously appreciated. Early archosauromorph growth

  15. The origin and early evolution of Sauria: reassessing the permian Saurian fossil record and the timing of the crocodile-lizard divergence.

    PubMed

    Ezcurra, Martín D; Scheyer, Torsten M; Butler, Richard J

    2014-01-01

    Sauria is the crown-group of Diapsida and is subdivided into Lepidosauromorpha and Archosauromorpha, comprising a high percentage of the diversity of living and fossil tetrapods. The split between lepidosauromorphs and archosauromorphs (the crocodile-lizard, or bird-lizard, divergence) is considered one of the key calibration points for molecular analyses of tetrapod phylogeny. Saurians have a very rich Mesozoic and Cenozoic fossil record, but their late Paleozoic (Permian) record is problematic. Several Permian specimens have been referred to Sauria, but the phylogenetic affinity of some of these records remains questionable. We reexamine and review all of these specimens here, providing new data on early saurian evolution including osteohistology, and present a new morphological phylogenetic dataset. We support previous studies that find that no valid Permian record for Lepidosauromorpha, and we also reject some of the previous referrals of Permian specimens to Archosauromorpha. The most informative Permian archosauromorph is Protorosaurus speneri from the middle Late Permian of Western Europe. A historically problematic specimen from the Late Permian of Tanzania is redescribed and reidentified as a new genus and species of basal archosauromorph: Aenigmastropheus parringtoni. The supposed protorosaur Eorasaurus olsoni from the Late Permian of Russia is recovered among Archosauriformes and may be the oldest known member of the group but the phylogenetic support for this position is low. The assignment of Archosaurus rossicus from the latest Permian of Russia to the archosauromorph clade Proterosuchidae is supported. Our revision suggests a minimum fossil calibration date for the crocodile-lizard split of 254.7 Ma. The occurrences of basal archosauromorphs in the northern (30°N) and southern (55°S) parts of Pangea imply a wider paleobiogeographic distribution for the group during the Late Permian than previously appreciated. Early archosauromorph growth

  16. Abundant climatic information in water stable isotope record from a maritime glacier on southeastern Tibetan Plateau

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhao, Huabiao; Xu, Baiqing; Li, Zhen; Wang, Mo; Li, Jiule; Zhang, Xiaolong

    2016-04-01

    Climatic significance of ice core stable isotope record in the Himalayas and southern Tibetan Plateau (TP), where the climate is alternately influenced by Indian summer monsoon and mid-latitude westerlies, is still debated. A newly drilled Zuoqiupu ice core from a temperate maritime glacier on the southeastern TP covering 1942-2011 is investigated in terms of the relationships between δ18O and climate parameters. Distinct seasonal variation of δ18O is observed due to high precipitation amount in this area. Thus the monsoon (June to September) and non-monsoon (October to May) δ18O records are reconstructed, respectively. The temperature effect is identified in the annual δ18O record, which is predominantly contributed by temperature control on the non-monsoon precipitation δ18O record. Conversely, the negative correlation between annual δ18O record and precipitation amount over part of Northeast India is mostly contributed by the monsoon precipitation δ18O record. The variation of monsoon δ18O record is greatly impacted by the Indian summer monsoon strength, while that of non-monsoon δ18O record is potentially associated with the mid-latitude westerly activity. The relationship between Zuoqiupu δ18O record and Sea Surface Temperature (SST) is found to be inconsistent before and after the climate shift of 1976/1977. In summer monsoon season, the role of SST in the monsoon δ18O record is more important in eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean and tropical Indian Ocean before and after the shift, respectively. In non-monsoon season, however, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation has a negative impact before but positive impact after the climate shift on the non-monsoon δ18O record.

  17. "Fossil" Forecasting.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brody, Michael J.; deOnis, Ann

    2001-01-01

    Presents a density study in which students calculate the density of limestone substrate to determine if the specimen contains any fossils. Explains how to make fossils and addresses national standards. (YDS)

  18. Marquee Fossils

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clary, Renee; Wandersee, James

    2008-01-01

    Professors of an online graduate-level paleontology class developed the concept of marquee fossils--fossils that have one or more unique characteristics that capture the attention and direct observation of students. In the classroom, Marquee fossils integrate the geology, biology, and environmental science involved in the study of fossilized…

  19. The potential ocean acidification event at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary: Constraining carbonate chemistry using the presence of corals and coral reefs in the fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martindale, R. C.; Berelson, W.; Corsetti, F. A.; Bottjer, D. J.; West, A.

    2011-12-01

    Ocean acidification associated with emplacement of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP) has been hypothesized as a kill mechanism for the Triassic-Jurassic (T-J) mass extinction (~200Ma), but few direct proxies for ancient ocean acidity are available. Here, we suggest that the presence of fossil corals and coral reefs can constrain palaeocean acidity. Modern scleractinian corals lose the ability to biomineralize a robust skeleton below aragonite saturation states (ΩArag) of 2 and modern shallow water coral reefs are only found in ΩArag > 3; we use these minima to constrain ancient ocean carbonate chemistry when corals or coral reefs are preserved in the fossil record. Atmospheric pCO2 reconstructions are combined with the coral ΩArag limitations to calculate the total dissolved inorganic carbon (TCO2) in the Late Triassic Ocean, which is a measure of the buffering capacity or ocean sensitivity to acidification. Our results suggest that Late Triassic TCO2 values were low to moderate (2000-3000 μmol/kg) such that the pCO2 increases across the T-J boundary would have depressed saturation state to the point where coral biomineralization would have been challenging (ΩArag < 2), likely resulting in the observed coral and reef gap in the fossil record. While the average pCO2 elevations recorded in stomatal and pedogenic proxies are not sufficient to cause complete carbonate undersaturation, modeled scenarios for CAMP-related T-J pCO2 increases suggest that aragonite undersaturation is plausible and in extreme cases calcite undersaturation is possible. Thus, a short but extreme acidification in an ocean with a low TCO2 concentration could occur and would satisfactorily explain the significant extinction of calcareous organisms, the coral gap, and possibly the T-J carbonate crisis.

  20. Correlations of climate and plant ecology to leaf size and shape: potential proxies for the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Royer, Dana L; Wilf, Peter; Janesko, David A; Kowalski, Elizabeth A; Dilcher, David L

    2005-07-01

    The sizes and shapes (physiognomy) of fossil leaves are widely applied as proxies for paleoclimatic and paleoecological variables. However, significant improvements to leaf-margin analysis, used for nearly a century to reconstruct mean annual temperature (MAT), have been elusive; also, relationships between physiognomy and many leaf ecological variables have not been quantified. Using the recently developed technique of digital leaf physiognomy, correlations of leaf physiognomy to MAT, leaf mass per area, and nitrogen content are quantified for a set of test sites from North and Central America. Many physiognomic variables correlate significantly with MAT, indicating a coordinated, convergent evolutionary response of fewer teeth, smaller tooth area, and lower degree of blade dissection in warmer environments. In addition, tooth area correlates negatively with leaf mass per area and positively with nitrogen content. Multiple linear regressions based on a subset of variables produce more accurate MAT estimates than leaf-margin analysis (standard errors of ±2 vs. ±3°C); improvements are greatest at sites with shallow water tables that are analogous to many fossil sites. The multivariate regressions remain robust even when based on one leaf per species, and the model most applicable to fossils shows no more signal degradation from leaf fragmentation than leaf-margin analysis. PMID:21646136

  1. A Record of Moisture History in Hawaii since the Arrival of Humans Inferred from Testate Amoebae and Cladocera Fossils Preserved in Bog Sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barrett, K.; Kim, S. H.; Hotchkiss, S.

    2015-12-01

    Around AD 800, Polynesians arrived on the Hawaiian Islands where they expanded and intensified distinct agricultural practices in the islands' wet and dry regions. Dryland farming productivity in particular would have been sensitive to atmospheric rearrangements of the ENSO and PDO systems that affect rainfall in Hawaii. The few detailed terrestrial paleoclimate records in Hawaii are mainly derived from vegetation proxies (e.g. pollen, seeds, fruits, and plant biomarkers) which are heavily influenced by widespread landscape modification following human arrival. Here we present initial results of an independent paleomoisture proxy: fossil remains of moisture-sensitive testate amoebae (Protozoa: Rhizopoda) and cladocera (water fleas) preserved in continuous bog sediments on Kohala Volcano uplsope of the ancient Kohala agricultural field system, one of the largest dryland field systems in Hawaii. Hydrologic conditions inferred from testate amoebae and cladoceran fossil assemblages correlate with observed decadal moisture regimes in Hawaii and state changes of the PDO system during the last century. Testate ameoabe and cladoceran fossils in older sediments reveal an alternating history of very wet, lake-forming conditions on the bog surface to periods when bog soils were much drier than today's, demonstrating that this method can be paired with vegetation proxies to provide a better understanding of hydroclimate variability in prehistoric Hawaii.

  2. Paleoclimate reconstruction:natural abundance of d13C and d15N of modern plant pollen to interpret fossil data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Descolas-Gros, C.

    2003-04-01

    δ13 values of modern plant organic carbon allow the differentiation of the different physiological plant categories. The geographical distribution of these plants according to their photosynthetic pathways provides informations on the modifications of climatic parameters (pCO_2, temperature, rainfall...). δ13 variability of organic carbon of fossil plants enables us to interpret geographical plants distribution and associated climatic parameters over geological time. In order to do parametrisation of these relationships, well preserved molecules are suited. Sporopollenin which is the main constituent of the external part of pollen grain is well preserved in paleosediments. This makes of this molecule an interesting tool for paleovegetation reconstructions. The interest of δ15N associated measurements is demonstrated. These different aspects were discussed with our results and those of the litterature.

  3. Palaeolithic use of fossil combustible linked to singular environmental conditions : the long term el Kowm record (Syria).

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Courty, M.-A.; Le Tensorer, J.-M.; Boëda, E.; Muhesen, S.; Alsakhel, E.; Wegmüller, F.

    2012-04-01

    Identifying the adaptation of hunter-gatherer communities to particular situations that provided natural resources is a major concern for multidisciplinary team studying archaeological contexts. This challenge is illustrated in the desertic El Kowm basin in central Syria by data from Hummal and El Kowm Paleolithic sites. The sites form prominent mounds at artesian springs resulting from recurrent episodes of lacustrine, limnic and aeolian sedimentation in pseudo-karstic depressions. The few meter sequences provide semi-continuous succession of archaeological levels from the Oldest Palaeolithic (Oldowan) to the early Neolithic period. This long term continuity of occupation is partly due to attracting conditions due to the profusion of water from epithermal artesian wells during periods of high water recharge. In addition, we document here the unique potential of this endoreic basin to have accumulated singular fossil combustible of high energy value during particular environmental episodes. The latter are represented by the recurrence of distinctive black organogenic facies showing a contrasting micro stratification formed of interlayered grey calcareous silty clay, dark brown organic rich clay and dull orange clay. Spatial excavation has shown the unique preservation of Palaeolithic occupation surfaces in association to the microstratified facies. High resolution sampling and multi-proxy analysis have allowed explaining the formation of the microstratified facies from rapid changes of environmental conditions in response to contrasting fluctuations of atmospheric dust loading, precipitation events, rainwater quality and evapotranspiration. Organogenic microfacies formed at different time periods share common compositional assemblage and structural behaviour: occurrence of exotic fine sand-sized debris formed of metal-rich carbonaceous components with polymer, fine charcoal, vitrous carbon, carbon fibres, and exotic rock clasts with a metal-rich carbonaceous

  4. Diversity and Abundance of House Fly Pupal Parasitoids in Israel, with First Records of Two Spalangia Species.

    PubMed

    Chiel, Elad; Kuslitzky, Wolf

    2016-04-01

    Filth flies (Diptera: Muscidae), particularly the house fly, Musca domestica L., are global pests of livestock production. In this study, we characterized the fauna of house fly pupal parasitoids in Israel and identified factors affecting their diversity and abundance. The study, which included one round of sampling during the fall of 2013 and another round of sampling in the spring of 2014, encompassed 26 locations of common fly-breeding habitats: dairy, egg-laying, and goat farms throughout Israel. Nine parasitoid species were found: Spalangia cameroni Perkins, Spalangia endius Walker, Spalangia drosophilae Ashmead, Spalangia gemina Boucek, Spalangia nigroaenea Curtis, Pachycrepoideus vindemmiae Rondani, Muscidifurax raptor Girault and Sanders, Muscidifurax zaraptor Kogan & Legner (all Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae), and Dirhinus giffardii Silvestri (Hymenoptera: Chalcididae). This is the first record of S. gemina from the Palearctic, as well as the first record of S. drosophilae from the Middle East. The composition and relative abundance of parasitoid species varied markedly among localities, climatic regions (Mediterranean vs. desert), habitat types (dairy vs. egg-laying vs. goat farm), and seasons. Overall, parasitoid richness in egg-laying farms was two- and sevenfold higher than in dairy and goat farms, respectively, and three times higher in Mediterranean than desert climate. The significance and implications of our results for inundative biological control programs of filth flies are discussed. PMID:26637547

  5. Consequences of elevated temperature and pCO2 on insect folivory at the ecosystem level: perspectives from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Currano, Ellen D; Laker, Rachel; Flynn, Andrew G; Fogt, Kari K; Stradtman, Hillary; Wing, Scott L

    2016-07-01

    Paleoecological studies document the net effects of atmospheric and climate change in a natural laboratory over timescales not accessible to laboratory or ecological studies. Insect feeding damage is visible on well-preserved fossil leaves, and changes in leaf damage through time can be compared to environmental changes. We measured percent leaf area damaged on four fossil leaf assemblages from the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming, that range in age from 56.1 to 52.65 million years (Ma). We also include similar published data from three US sites 49.4 to ~45 Ma in our analyses. Regional climate was subtropical or warmer throughout this period, and the second oldest assemblage (56 Ma) was deposited during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a geologically abrupt global warming event caused by massive release of carbon into the atmosphere. Total and leaf-chewing damage are highest during the PETM, whether considering percent area damaged on the bulk flora, the average of individual host plants, or a single plant host that occurs at multiple sites. Another fossil assemblage in our study, the 52.65 Ma Fifteenmile Creek paleoflora, also lived during a period of globally high temperature and pCO 2, but does not have elevated herbivory. Comparison of these two sites, as well as regression analyses conducted on the entire dataset, demonstrates that, over long timescales, temperature and pCO 2 are uncorrelated with total insect consumption at the ecosystem level. Rather, the most important factor affecting herbivory is the relative abundance of plants with nitrogen-fixing symbionts. Legumes dominate the PETM site; their prevalence would have decreased nitrogen limitation across the ecosystem, buffering generalist herbivore populations against decreased leaf nutritional quality that commonly occurs at high pCO 2. We hypothesize that nitrogen concentration regulates the opposing effects of elevated temperature and CO 2 on insect abundance and thereby total insect consumption

  6. The Homo habitat niche: using the avian fossil record to depict ecological characteristics of Palaeolithic Eurasian hominins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finlayson, Clive; Carrión, José; Brown, Kimberly; Finlayson, Geraldine; Sánchez-Marco, Antonio; Fa, Darren; Rodríguez-Vidal, Joaquín; Fernández, Santiago; Fierro, Elena; Bernal-Gómez, Marco; Giles-Pacheco, Francisco

    2011-06-01

    Although hardly applied to human palaeoecology, bird fossils offer a unique opportunity for quantitative studies of the hominin habitat. Here we reconstruct the Homo habitat niche across a large area of the Palaearctic, based on a database of avian fauna for Pleistocene sites. Our results reveal a striking association between Homo and habitat mosaics. A mix of open savannah-type woodland, wetlands and rocky habitats emerges as the predominant combination occupied by Homo across a wide geographical area, from the earliest populations of the Lower Palaeolithic to the latest hunter-gatherer communities of the Upper Palaeolithic. This observation is in keeping with the view that such landscapes have had long standing selective value for hominins.

  7. A diverse Rancholabrean vertebrate microfauna from southern California includes the first fossil record of ensatina ( Ensatina eschscholtzii: Plethodontidae)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wake, Thomas A.; Roeder, Mark A.

    2009-11-01

    Analysis of late Pleistocene fossils recovered from near the Huntington Beach, California (USA), pier (site LACM 7679) has revealed a diverse fauna dating to approximately 40 14C ka BP. Extinct megafauna (three genera) are present; however, a microfauna including three genera of fish, five genera of amphibians, twelve genera of reptiles, two genera of birds, and ten genera of small mammals dominates the assemblage in terms of diversity. Additional identification of seven genera of non-marine mollusks and various macro- and microscopic plant remains including grasses, three families of herbs, and seven genera of trees provides a wealth of information concerning the past ecology of what is currently a coastal dune field complex. During the Rancholabrean Period, the LACM 7679 locality was approximately 10 km inland from the Pleistocene coastline and contained lush riparian zones interspersed with coastal sage scrub, a few trees, and grasslands teeming with a variety of small and large animals.

  8. Imprint of Climate Variability on Mesozoic Fossil Tree Rings: Evidences of Solar Activity Signals on Environmental Records Around 200 Million Years Ago?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prestes, A.; Rigozo, N. R.; Nordemann, D. J. R.; Echer, E.; Vieira, L. E. A.; Souza Echer, M. P.; Wrasse, C. M.; Guarnieri, F. L.

    2014-08-01

    Evidence of the solar activity modulation of the Earth's climate has been observed on several parameters, from decadal to millennial time scales. Several proxies have been used to reconstruct the paleoclimate as well as the solar activity. The paleoclimate reconstructions are based on direct and/or indirect effects of global and regional climate conditions. The solar activity reconstructions are based on the production of the 14C isotope due to the interaction of cosmic ray flux and the Earth's atmosphere. Because trees respond to climate conditions and store 14C, they have been used as proxies for both for climate and solar activity reconstructions. The imprints of solar activity cycles dating back to 10,000 years ago have been observed on tree-ring samples using 14C data, and those dating back to 20 million years ago have been analyzed using fossil tree-growth rings. All this corresponds to the Cenozoic era. However, solar activity imprints on tree rings from earlier than that era have not been investigated yet. In this work, we showed that tree rings from the Mesozoic Era (of ~200 million years ago) recorded 11- and 22-year cycles, which may be related to solar activity cycles, and that were statistically significant at the 95 % confidence level. The fossil wood was collected in the southern region of Brazil. Our analysis of the fossils' tree-ring width series power spectra showed characteristics similar to the modern araucaria tree, with a noticeable decadal periodicity. Assuming that the Earth's climate responds to solar variability and that responses did not vary significantly over the last ~200 million years, we conclude that the solar-climate connection was likely present during the Mesozoic era.

  9. Ediacara Fossils

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Science Teacher, 2005

    2005-01-01

    Now, a research team from Virginia Tech and Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology has discovered uniquely well-preserved fossil forms from 550-million-year-old rocks of the Ediacaran Period. The research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The discovery of these unusually preserved fossils reveals unprecedented…

  10. Fossil Fuels.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Crank, Ron

    This instructional unit is one of 10 developed by students on various energy-related areas that deals specifically with fossil fuels. Some topics covered are historic facts, development of fuels, history of oil production, current and future trends of the oil industry, refining fossil fuels, and environmental problems. Material in each unit may…

  11. A Prejudiced Review of Ancient Parasites and Their Host Echinoderms: CSI Fossil Record or Just an Excuse for Speculation?

    PubMed

    Donovan, Stephen K

    2015-01-01

    Recognizing the presence of a parasite and identifying it is a relatively straightforward task for the twenty-first century parasitologist. Not so the pursuit of ancient parasites in fossil organisms, a much more difficult proposition. Herein, Boucot's seven-tiered scheme of reliability classes is applied as a measure of confidence of the recognition of putative parasitism in two echinoderm classes, Upper Palaeozoic crinoids and a Cretaceous echinoid (high confidence is 1, low confidence 7). Of the five examples, the parasitic(?) organism is preserved in only two of them. A zaphrentoid coral on the camerate crinoid Amphoracrinus may have robbed food from the arms (Category 1 or 2B). A pit in what appears to be a carefully selected site on the disparid crinoid Synbathocrinus is associated with a growth deformity of the cup (Category 4). Multiple pits in an Amphoracrinus theca are also associated with a deformed cup, but it is more difficult to interpret (Category 4 or 7). Some specimens of the camerate crinoid Neoplatycrinites have circular grooves or depressions posteriorly, presumably produced by coprophagic/parasitic platyceratid gastropods (Category 1). Site selectivity of pits in the echinoid Hemipneustes places them preferentially adjacent to respiratory tube feet (Category 4). From these examples it is deduced that sparse infestations of borings or epizoozoic organisms permit a more confident interpretation of organism/organism interactions; dense accumulations, possibly following multiple spatfalls, mask such patterns. PMID:26597070

  12. Microbial fossil record of rocks from the Ross Desert, Antarctica: implications in the search for past life on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wierzchos, Jacek; Ascaso, Carmen

    2002-01-01

    Cryptoendolithic microbial communities living within Antarctic rocks are an example of survival in an extremely cold and dry environment. The extinction of these micro-organisms formerly colonizing sandstone in the Mount Fleming area (Ross Desert), was probably provoked by the hostile environment. This is considered to be a good terrestrial analogue of the first stage of the disappearance of possible life on early Mars. To date, only macroscopically observed indirect biomarkers of the past activity of cryptoendoliths in Antarctic rocks have been described. The present paper confirms, for the first time, the existence of cryptoendolith microbial fossils within these sandstone rocks. The novel in situ application of scanning electron microscopy with backscattered electron imaging and simultaneous use of X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy allowed the clear detection of microfossils left behind by Antarctic endoliths. Careful interpretation of the morphological features of cells, such as preserved cell walls in algae, fungi and bacteria, cytoplasm elements such as chloroplast membranes in algae and organic matter traces, mineral associations, and the spatial context of these structures all point to their identification as cryptoendolith microfossils. This type of investigation will prompt the development of research strategies aimed at locating and identifying the signs that Martian microbiota, probably only bacteria if they existed, may have been left for us to see.

  13. Osteological associations with unique tooth development in manatees (Trichechidae, Sirenia): a detailed look at modern Trichechus and a review of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Beatty, Brian Lee; Vitkovski, Taisia; Lambert, Olivier; Macrini, Thomas E

    2012-09-01

    Modern manatees have a unique type of tooth development, continually forming identical new molars in the posterior end of each quadrant of their mouths, and then progressively moving teeth anteriorly, only to reabsorb roots and spit out worn crowns. This process is not only developmentally complex, but requires space in the oral cavity that imposes its own limitations on other uses of that space. To gain a clearer understanding of the anatomical constraints on the evolution of this unique developmental process, we identified the specialized craniodental features in modern Trichechus that permit this specialization using visual observation and CT. Furthermore, to better understand the evolution of these traits, we review the fossil record of trichechids for these traits, including CT analysis of the skull of Miosiren kocki, a possible early member of the family from the Early Miocene of Belgium. PMID:22777871

  14. Parasites in the Fossil Record: A Cretaceous Fauna with Isopod-Infested Decapod Crustaceans, Infestation Patterns through Time, and a New Ichnotaxon

    PubMed Central

    Klompmaker, Adiël A.; Artal, Pedro; van Bakel, Barry W. M.; Fraaije, René H. B.; Jagt, John W. M.

    2014-01-01

    Parasites are common in modern ecosystems and are also known from the fossil record. One of the best preserved and easily recognisable examples of parasitism in the fossil record concerns isopod-induced swellings in the branchial chamber of marine decapod crustaceans. However, very limited quantitative data on the variability of infestation percentages at the species, genus, and family levels are available. Here we provide this type of data for a mid-Cretaceous (upper Lower Cretaceous, upper Albian) reef setting at Koskobilo, northern Spain, on the basis of 874 specimens of anomurans and brachyurans. Thirty-seven specimens (4.2%), arranged in ten species, are infested. Anomurans are more heavily infested than brachyurans, variability can be high within genera, and a relationship may exist between the number of specimens and infestation percentage per taxon, possibly suggesting host-specificity. We have also investigated quantitative patterns of infestation through geological time based on 88 infested species (25 anomurans, 55 brachyurans, seven lobsters, and one shrimp), to show that the highest number of infested species can be found in the Late Jurassic, also when corrected for the unequal duration of epochs. The same Late Jurassic peak is observed for the percentage of infested decapod species per epoch. This acme is caused entirely by infested anomurans and brachyurans. Biases (taphonomic and otherwise) and causes of variability with regard to the Koskobilo assemblage and infestation patterns through time are discussed. Finally, a new ichnogenus and -species, Kanthyloma crusta, are erected to accommodate such swellings or embedment structures (bioclaustrations). PMID:24667587

  15. A high-elevation, multi-proxy biotic and environmental record of MIS 6-4 from the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, Snowmass Village, Colorado, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Miller, Ian M.; Pigati, Jeffrey S.; Anderson, R. Scott; Johnson, Kirk R.; Mahan, Shannon; Ager, Thomas A.; Baker, Richard G.; Blaauw, Maarten; Bright, Jordon; Brown, Peter M.; Bryant, Bruce; Calamari, Zachary T.; Carrara, Paul E.; Michael D., Cherney; Demboski, John R.; Elias, Scott A.; Fisher, Daniel C.; Gray, Harrison J.; Haskett, Danielle R.; Honke, Jeffrey S.; Jackson, Stephen T.; Jiménez-Moreno, Gonzalo; Kline, Douglas; Leonard, Eric M.; Lifton, Nathaniel A.; Lucking, Carol; McDonald, H. Gregory; Miller, Dane M.; Muhs, Daniel R.; Nash, Stephen E.; Newton, Cody; Paces, James B.; Petrie, Lesley; Plummer, Mitchell A.; Porinchu, David F.; Rountrey, Adam N.; Scott, Eric; Sertich, Joseph J. W.; Sharpe, Saxon E.; Skipp, Gary L.; Strickland, Laura E.; Stucky, Richard K.; Thompson, Robert S.; Wilson, Jim

    2014-01-01

    In North America, terrestrial records of biodiversity and climate change that span Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 are rare. Where found, they provide insight into how the coupling of the ocean–atmosphere system is manifested in biotic and environmental records and how the biosphere responds to climate change. In 2010–2011, construction at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village, Colorado (USA) revealed a nearly continuous, lacustrine/wetland sedimentary sequence that preserved evidence of past plant communities between ~ 140 and 55 ka, including all of MIS 5. At an elevation of 2705 m, the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site also contained thousands of well-preserved bones of late Pleistocene megafauna, including mastodons, mammoths, ground sloths, horses, camels, deer, bison, black bear, coyotes, and bighorn sheep. In addition, the site contained more than 26,000 bones from at least 30 species of small animals including salamanders, otters, muskrats, minks, rabbits, beavers, frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, and birds. The combination of macro- and micro-vertebrates, invertebrates, terrestrial and aquatic plant macrofossils, a detailed pollen record, and a robust, directly dated stratigraphic framework shows that high-elevation ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado are climatically sensitive and varied dramatically throughout MIS 5.

  16. A high-elevation, multi-proxy biotic and environmental record of MIS 6–4 from the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, Snowmass Village, Colorado, USA

    SciTech Connect

    Ian M. Miller; Mitchell A. Plummer; Various Others

    2014-10-01

    In North America, terrestrial records of biodiversity and climate change that span Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 are rare. Where found, they provide insight into how the coupling of the ocean–atmosphere system is manifested in biotic and environmental records and how the biosphere responds to climate change. In 2010–2011, construction at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village, Colorado (USA) revealed a nearly continuous, lacustrine/wetland sedimentary sequence that preserved evidence of past plant communities between ~140 and 55 ka, including all of MIS 5. At an elevation of 2705 m, the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site also contained thousands of well-preserved bones of late Pleistocene megafauna, including mastodons, mammoths, ground sloths, horses, camels, deer, bison, black bear, coyotes, and bighorn sheep. In addition, the site contained more than 26,000 bones from at least 30 species of small animals including salamanders, otters, muskrats, minks, rabbits, beavers, frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, and birds. The combination of macro- and micro-vertebrates, invertebrates, terrestrial and aquatic plant macrofossils, a detailed pollen record, and a robust, directly dated stratigraphic framework shows that high-elevation ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado are climatically sensitive and varied dramatically throughout MIS 5

  17. The Late Pleistocene-Holocene community development in Central and SE-Europe in direct fossil record: scope of the approach, common patterns and inter-regional differences.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horacek, Ivan; Lozek, Vojen

    2010-05-01

    The information provided by modern instrumental approaches (molecular phylogeography, ancient DNA analyses, large scale radiocarbon datings etc.) refined the knowledge on Late Quaternary faunal development and range history of particular taxa in essential way. Nevertheless, the direct fossil record remains still an essential substrate in study of that topics, and to reveal all the information, that it may provide, and integrate it with the outputs of the other approaches presents one of the essential aim of the present meeting. Unfortunately, the immediate use of fossil record for the paleoecologic and paleobiogeographic inferences is often limited by its fragmentarity (both in temporal and spatial respects), taphonomic influences and/or locally specific post-sedimentary effects which all may bias it in a considerable degree. Hence, each particular record is to be carefully reexamined in respect to all factor which may bias it - unfortunately, often it is not too easy to respond that task, particularly when the record is retrived from secondary sources. It should also be remembered that the records representing narrow time slices without a robust lithostratigraphic context do not provide any information on the historical and contextual setting of the respective faunal situation. Such information that is essential for reconstructions of paleobiogeography of community development and similar locally-sensitive phenomena can only be retrived from the continuous sedimentary series which establish the sequence of particular faunal events by direct superposition. A sufficiently dense network of such series provides than a possibility of direct inter-regional comparisons and a high resolution information on the paleobiogeography of the Late Pleistocene-Holocene rearrangements of mammalian communities, local variation in history of particular species and its community context. We illustrate productivity of such approach on with aid of the fossil record obtained from

  18. The extinct river shark Glyphis pagoda from the Miocene of Myanmar and a review of the fossil record of the genus Glyphis (Carcharhiniformes: Carcharhinidae).

    PubMed

    Shimada, Kenshu; Egi, Naoko; Tsubamoto, Takehisa; Maung-Maung, Maung-Maung; Thaung-Htike, Thaung-Htike; Zin-Maung-Maung-Thein, Zin-Maung-Maung-Thein; Nishioka, Yuichiro; Sonoda, Teppei; Takai, Masanaru

    2016-01-01

    We redescribe an extinct river shark, Glyphis pagoda (Noetling), on the basis of 20 teeth newly collected from three different Miocene localities in Myanmar. One locality is a nearshore marine deposit (Obogon Formation) whereas the other two localities represent terrestrial freshwater deposits (Irrawaddy sediments), suggesting that G. pagoda from the Irrawaddy sediments was capable of tolerating low salinity like the extant Glyphis. Glyphis pagoda likely reached up to at least 185 cm in total body length and was probably piscivorous. The fossil species occurs in rocks of Myanmar and eastern and western India and stratigraphically ranges at least from the Lower Miocene (Aquitanian) to the lower Upper Miocene (mid-Tortonian). It has been classified under at least eight other genera to date, along with numerous taxonomic synonyms largely stemming from the lack of understanding of the heterodonty in extant Glyphis in the original description. Our literature review suggests that known Miocene shark faunas, particularly those in India, are manifested with unreliable taxonomic identifications and outdated classifications that warrant the need for a comprehensive taxonomic review in order to evaluate the evolutionary history and diversity pattern of Miocene shark faunas. The genus Glyphis has a roughly 23-million-year-long history, and its success may be related to the evolution of its low salinity tolerance. While extant Glyphis spp. are considered to be particularly vulnerable to habitat degradation and overfishing, the fossil record of G. pagoda provides renewed perspective on the natural history of the genus that can be taken into further consideration for conservation biology of the extant forms. PMID:27615926

  19. Evidence for tropical South Pacific climate change during the Younger Dryas and the Bølling-Allerød from geochemical records of fossil Tahiti corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Asami, Ryuji; Felis, Thomas; Deschamps, Pierre; Hanawa, Kimio; Iryu, Yasufumi; Bard, Edouard; Durand, Nicolas; Murayama, Masafumi

    2009-10-01

    We present monthly resolved records of strontium/calcium (Sr/Ca) and oxygen isotope ( δ18O) ratios from well-preserved fossil corals drilled during the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 310 "Tahiti Sea Level" and reconstruct sea surface conditions in the central tropical South Pacific Ocean during two time windows of the last deglaciation. The two Tahiti corals examined here are uranium/thorium (U/Th)-dated at 12.4 and 14.2 ka, which correspond to the Younger Dryas (YD) cold reversal and the Bølling-Allerød (B-A) warming of the Northern Hemisphere, respectively. The coral Sr/Ca records indicate that annual average sea surface temperature (SST) was 2.6-3.1 °C lower at 12.4 ka and 1.0-1.6 °C lower at 14.2 ka relative to the present, with no significant changes in the amplitude of the seasonal SST cycle. These cooler conditions were accompanied by seawater δ18O ( δ18O sw) values higher by ~ 0.8‰ and ~ 0.6‰ relative to the present at 12.4 and 14.2 ka, respectively, implying more saline conditions in the surface waters. Along with previously published coral Sr/Ca records from the island [Cohen and Hart (2004), Deglacial sea surface temperatures of the western tropical Pacific: A new look at old coral. Paleoceanography 19, PA4031, doi:10.1029/2004PA001084], our new Tahiti coral records suggest that a shift toward lower SST by ~ 1.5 °C occurred from 13.1 to 12.4 ka, which was probably associated with a shift toward higher δ18O sw by ~ 0.2‰. Along with a previously published coral Sr/Ca record from Vanuatu [Corrège et al. (2004), Interdecadal variation in the extent of South Pacific tropical waters during the Younger Dyras event. Nature 428, 927-929], the Tahiti coral records provide new evidence for a pronounced cooling of the western to central tropical South Pacific during the Northern Hemisphere YD event.

  20. Fossilization of feathers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davis, Paul G.; Briggs, Derek E. G.

    1995-09-01

    Scanning electron microscopy of feathers has revealed evidence that a bacterial glycocalyx (a network of exocellular polysaccharide fibers) played a role in promoting their fossilization in some cases. This mode of preservation has not been reported in other soft tissues. The majority of fossil feathers are preserved as carbonized traces. More rarely, bacteria on the surface are replicated by authigenic minerals (bacterial autolithification). The feathers of Archaeopteryx are preserved mainly by imprintation following early lithification of the substrate and decay of the feather. Lacustrine settings provide the most important taphonomic window for feather preservation. Preservation in terrestrial and normal-marine settings involves very different processes (in amber and in authigenically mineralized coprolites, respectively). Therefore, there may be a significant bias in the avian fossil record in favor of inland water habitats.

  1. Correlation of Plio Pleistocene Tephra in Ethiopian and Kenyan rift basins: Temporal calibration of geological features and hominid fossil records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    WoldeGabriel, Giday; Hart, William K.; Katoh, Shigehiro; Beyene, Yonas; Suwa, Gen

    2005-10-01

    The 200-m-thick fossiliferous Konso Formation and overlying terrace deposits, which crop out at the end of the southern sector of the Main Ethiopian Rift (MER), contain more than 30 distal tephra layers. Local and regional tephra correlations of more than 20 tephra units were established using major and trace element data of discrete and purified bulk glass samples within the Konso study area. Eleven correlative marker tuffs were recognized in stratigraphic sections of both the Konso Formation and the Omo-Turkana Basin sediments in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. The Turoha, Hope, Ivory, Bright White, and Boleshe Tuffs in the Konso Formation, and the Upper White Tuff in the overlying terrace deposits are securely correlated with the KBS, Akait, Lokapetamoi, Chari, Lower Nariokotome, and Silbo Tuffs of the Omo-Turkana Basin, using least mobile major elements (CaO, Fe 2O 3*, and TiO 2) and geochronology. Preliminary correlations are also suggested between the Konso Formation distal tephra and proximal units of the Quaternary caldera-forming silicic centers in the central sector of the MER. The strongly peralkaline tuffs of the Konso Formation are compositionally similar to proximal eruptions mostly located along the Quaternary axial rift zone of the southern, central, and northern sectors of the MER. The tephra correlation provides information about the temporal and spatial features of the volcanic and tectonic processes recorded in the evolving basins. Thickness and sedimentation rate were determined for both the Konso Formation and the Omo-Turkana Basin sections, measured between the Turoha (=KBS; 1.91 ± 0.03 Ma) and the Bright White (=Chari; 1.40 ± 0.02 Ma) Tuffs. Although the lithostratigraphic sequence at the Konso study area is younger, sedimentation rate within the Konso Formation was comparable to that of the Koobi Fora Formation, higher in the Nachukui Formation, and lower in the Shungura Formation. Local and regional differences in thickness and

  2. Magnetic Properties of Sediments from IODP Expedition 311 - Cascadia Margin Gas Hydrates: Records of Fossil Sulphate Methane Interface?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Enkin, R. J.; Baker, J.; Esteban, L.; Mullin, A. J.; Paterson, B.; Hamilton, T. S.; Michael, R.

    2006-12-01

    interpret type-B samples to hold iron sulphides produced diagenetically from iron oxides within the sediments at the sulphate-methane interface. We hypothesize that the two magnetic behaviors record a stratigraphic and geochemical interplay between the sedimentation rate and changes in methane flux, sulphate reduction and the gas hydrate stability field with time.

  3. Middle Pleistocene Climate Change Recorded in Fossil Mammal Teeth from Tarija, Bolivia, and Upper Limit of the Ensenadan Land-Mammal Age

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacFadden, Bruce J.

    2000-07-01

    Fossiliferous middle Pleistocene sediments of the Tarija basin of southern Bolivia contain a classic Ensenadan land-mammal fauna. New carbon isotopic data reported here for 50 specimens of the grazing mammals Equus (horse) and Cuvieronius (mastodon), documented from eight stratigraphic levels at Tarija, vary significantly in the δ13C values of their teeth. The pattern of variation appears to reflect the proportion of C3 and C4 grasses eaten during colder (more C3) and warmer (more C4) times. Within age limits set by associated magnetostratigraphy, the cold periods can be correlated with particular even-numbered stages in the marine oxygen-isotope record, and the warm periods can be correlated with odd-numbered stages. The oldest fossil teeth analyzed from the Tarija section can thereby be assigned to stage 29, and the youngest to stages 17 or 15, that is; the teeth range in age from about 1.1 myr to as young as 0.7 myr. Based on correlation of the upper part of the Tarija beds to the isotopic stages, the upper limit of the Ensenadan land-mammal age is between 0.7 and 0.6 myr, which is younger than stated in most previous studies.

  4. Long-term Records of Pacific Salmon Abundance From Sediment Core Analysis: Relationships to Past Climatic Change, and Implications for the Future

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finney, B.

    2002-12-01

    The response of Pacific salmon to future climatic change is uncertain, but will have large impacts on the economy, culture and ecology of the North Pacific Rim. Relationships between sockeye salmon populations and climatic change can be determined by analyzing sediment cores from lakes where sockeye return to spawn. Sockeye salmon return to their natal lake system to spawn and subsequently die following 2 - 3 years of feeding in the North Pacific Ocean. Sockeye salmon abundance can be reconstructed from stable nitrogen isotope analysis of lake sediment cores as returning sockeye transport significant quantities of N, relatively enriched in N-15, from the ocean to freshwater systems. Temporal changes in the input of salmon-derived N, and hence salmon abundance, can be quantified through downcore analysis of N isotopes. Reconstructions of sockeye salmon abundance from lakes in several regions of Alaska show similar temporal patterns, with variability occurring on decadal to millennial timescales. Over the past 2000 years, shifts in sockeye salmon abundance far exceed the historical decadal-scale variability. A decline occurred from about 100 BC - 800 AD, but salmon were consistently more abundant 1200 - 1900 AD. Declines since 1900 AD coincide with the period of extensive commercial fishing. Correspondence between these records and paleoclimatic data suggest that changes in salmon abundance are related to large scale climatic changes over the North Pacific. For example, the increase in salmon abundance c.a. 1200 AD corresponds to a period of glacial advance in southern Alaska, and a shift to drier conditions in western North America. Although the regionally coherent patterns in reconstructed salmon abundance are consistent with the hypothesis that climate is an important driver, the relationships do not always follow patterns observed in the 20th century. A main feature of recorded climate variability in this region is the alternation between multi-decade periods of

  5. Darwin's Enigma: The Fossil Record.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sunderland, Luther D.

    In December of 1978 the New York State Board of Regents ordered the New York State Education Department to conduct a detailed study of the way in which the subject of origins should be treated in a revised version of the Regents Biology Syllabus. The author was invited to supply scientific information to the Bureau of Science Education, which was…

  6. A rich fossil record yields calibrated phylogeny for Acanthaceae (Lamiales) and evidence for marked biases in timing and directionality of intercontinental disjunctions.

    PubMed

    Tripp, Erin A; McDade, Lucinda A

    2014-09-01

    More than a decade of phylogenetic research has yielded a well-sampled, strongly supported hypothesis of relationships within the large ( > 4000 species) plant family Acanthaceae. This hypothesis points to intriguing biogeographic patterns and asymmetries in sister clade diversity but, absent a time-calibrated estimate for this evolutionary history, these patterns have remained unexplored. Here, we reconstruct divergence times within Acanthaceae using fossils as calibration points and experimenting with both fossil selection and effects of invoking a maximum age prior related to the origin of Eudicots. Contrary to earlier reports of a paucity of fossils of Lamiales (an order of ∼ 23,000 species that includes Acanthaceae) and to the expectation that a largely herbaceous to soft-wooded and tropical lineage would have few fossils, we recovered 51 reports of fossil Acanthaceae. Rigorous evaluation of these for accurate identification, quality of age assessment and utility in dating yielded eight fossils judged to merit inclusion in analyses. With nearly 10 kb of DNA sequence data, we used two sets of fossils as constraints to reconstruct divergence times. We demonstrate differences in age estimates depending on fossil selection and that enforcement of maximum age priors substantially alters estimated clade ages, especially in analyses that utilize a smaller rather than larger set of fossils. Our results suggest that long-distance dispersal events explain present-day distributions better than do Gondwanan or northern land bridge hypotheses. This biogeographical conclusion is for the most part robust to alternative calibration schemes. Our data support a minimum of 13 Old World (OW) to New World (NW) dispersal events but, intriguingly, only one in the reverse direction. Eleven of these 13 were among Acanthaceae s.s., which comprises > 90% of species diversity in the family. Remarkably, if minimum age estimates approximate true history, these 11 events occurred within

  7. Cycles in fossil diversity

    SciTech Connect

    Rohde, Robert A.; Muller, Richard A.

    2004-10-20

    It is well-known that the diversity of life appears to fluctuate during the course the Phanerozoic, the eon during which hard shells and skeletons left abundant fossils (0-542 Ma). Using Sepkoski's compendium of the first and last stratigraphic appearances of 36380 marine genera, we report a strong 62 {+-} 3 Myr cycle, which is particularly strong in the shorter-lived genera. The five great extinctions enumerated by Raup and Sepkoski may be an aspect of this cycle. Because of the high statistical significance, we also consider contributing environmental factors and possible causes.

  8. Sustainability of Fossil Fuels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lackner, K. S.

    2002-05-01

    effects of injecting excess carbon into the environment need to be eliminated before fossil fuels can be considered sustainable. Sustainable fossil fuel use would likely rely on abundant, low-grade hydrocarbons like coal, tar, and shale. It would require a closed cycle approach in which carbon is extracted from the ground, processed for its energy content, and returned into safe and stable sinks for permanent disposal. Such sequestration technologies already exist and more advanced approaches that could maintain access to fossil energy for centuries are on the drawing boards. I will review these options and outline a pathway towards a zero emission fossil fuel based economy that could provide energy at prices comparable to those of today for several centuries. A successful implementation will depend not only on technological advances but also on the development of economic institutions that allow one to pay for the required carbon management. If done correctly the markets will decide whether renewable energy, or sustainable fossil energy provides a better choice.

  9. Fossil Leaves and Fossil Leaf n-Alkanes: Reconstructing the First Closed Canopied Rainforests

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Graham, H. V.; Freeman, K. H.

    2013-12-01

    characteristics associated with canopy effect. A biomass flux-weighted model of alkane chain-length distribution and δ13Cleaf indicate n-alkanes extracted from bulk rock are consistent with inputs integrated over time from plants represented by fossil leaves. In a modern rainforest, we found leaf lipid amounts markedly higher in the shaded and moist understory, consistent with studies that show alkanes proffer fungal protection. Shade tolerance is associated with higher plant orders and, consistent with this, literature data for modern plants from 30 plant orders shows alkane production in asterids and rosids is 2 to 3 times greater than in basal angiosperms or gymnosperms. The lower clades tend to contain greater amounts of terpenoids and novel benzylisoquinoline alkaloids, rather than alkanes. For our three fossil floras, alkane abundance is strongly influenced by depositional setting, with preservation best in the lacustrine setting. Within each site, abundance patterns are potentially influenced by both taxonomic affiliation and by canopy structure as measured by δ13Cleaf values, and such relationships shed light on the combined influences of plant evolution, canopy structure and the function of biochemical resources on the geochemical record of the first rainforests.

  10. Are the oldest 'fossils', fossils

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schopf, J. W.

    1976-01-01

    A comparative statistical study has been carried out on populations of modern algae, Precambrian algal microfossils, the 'organized elements' of the Orgueil carbonaceous meteorite, and the oldest microfossil-like objects now known (spheroidal bodies from the Fig Tree and Onverwacht Groups of the Swaziland Supergroup, South Africa). The distribution patterns exhibited by the more than 3000 m.y.-old Swaziland microstructures bear considerable resemblance to those of the abiotic 'organized elements' but differ rather markedly from those exhibited by younger, assuredly biogenic, populations. Based on these comparisons, it is concluded that the Swaziland spheroids could be, at least in part, of nonbiologic origin; these oldest known fossil-like microstructures should not be regarded as constituting firm evidence of Archean life.

  11. Biomineralization and biosignatures of coralloid-type speleothems from lava tubes of Galapagos Islands: evidences on the fossil record of prokaryotes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Ana Z.; Garcia-Sanchez, Angela M.; Pereira, Manuel F. C.; Gazquez, Fernando; Calaforra, José M.; Forti, Paolo; Toulkeridis, Theofilos; Martínez-Frías, Jesús; Saiz-Jimenez, Cesareo

    2016-04-01

    , whereas the final stage mainly consists of low crystalline calcite. FESEM-EDS analysis revealed mineralized bacterial filaments rich in Si on the coralloid samples, as well as minerals precipitation associated with extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), which serve as nuclei for preferential precipitation on the extracellular sheaths. This suggests that biological activity played a major role in the development of these speleothems. In addition, imprints of filamentous cells and microboring readily preserved on siliceous minerals were observed on the coralloid speleothems. These features are recognized as biosignatures valuable for astrobiology and may represent modern analogs of the fossil record of prokaryotes. DNA-based analyses showed that bacteria belonging to Actinobacteria (31%) Gemmatimonadetes (25%) and Proteobacteria (24%) phyla dominated in this cave ecosystem, followed by Acidobacteria, Firmicutes and Nitrospirae. Most of the identified phylotypes were affiliated to chemoautotrophs, including thermophilic bacteria such as Ferrithrix thermotolerans, and other mineral utilizing microorganisms like Aciditerrimonas ferrireducens, Desulfuromonas sp. and Desulfovibrio sp., indicating that Galapagos lava tubes host highly specialized subsurface biosphere dominated by microorganisms able to interact with minerals and promote biomineralization. Acknowledgments: This work has been supported by the project PC-65-14 from the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador. AZM acknowledges the support from the Marie Curie Fellowship of the 7th EC Framework Programme (PIEF-GA-2012-328689-DECAVE). The authors acknowledge the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (project CGL2013-41674-P) and FEDER funds for financial support.

  12. Will My Fossil Float?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Riesser, Sharon; Airey, Linda

    1993-01-01

    Explains how young students can be introduced to fossils. Suggests books to read and science activities including "Fossils to Eat" where students make fossils from peanut butter, honey, and powdered milk. (PR)

  13. Major Radiations in the Evolution of Caviid Rodents: Reconciling Fossils, Ghost Lineages, and Relaxed Molecular Clocks

    PubMed Central

    Pérez, María Encarnación; Pol, Diego

    2012-01-01

    Background Caviidae is a diverse group of caviomorph rodents that is broadly distributed in South America and is divided into three highly divergent extant lineages: Caviinae (cavies), Dolichotinae (maras), and Hydrochoerinae (capybaras). The fossil record of Caviidae is only abundant and diverse since the late Miocene. Caviids belongs to Cavioidea sensu stricto (Cavioidea s.s.) that also includes a diverse assemblage of extinct taxa recorded from the late Oligocene to the middle Miocene of South America (“eocardiids”). Results A phylogenetic analysis combining morphological and molecular data is presented here, evaluating the time of diversification of selected nodes based on the calibration of phylogenetic trees with fossil taxa and the use of relaxed molecular clocks. This analysis reveals three major phases of diversification in the evolutionary history of Cavioidea s.s. The first two phases involve two successive radiations of extinct lineages that occurred during the late Oligocene and the early Miocene. The third phase consists of the diversification of Caviidae. The initial split of caviids is dated as middle Miocene by the fossil record. This date falls within the 95% higher probability distribution estimated by the relaxed Bayesian molecular clock, although the mean age estimate ages are 3.5 to 7 Myr older. The initial split of caviids is followed by an obscure period of poor fossil record (refered here as the Mayoan gap) and then by the appearance of highly differentiated modern lineages of caviids, which evidentially occurred at the late Miocene as indicated by both the fossil record and molecular clock estimates. Conclusions The integrated approach used here allowed us identifying the agreements and discrepancies of the fossil record and molecular clock estimates on the timing of the major events in cavioid evolution, revealing evolutionary patterns that would not have been possible to gather using only molecular or paleontological data alone. PMID

  14. Mid-Miocene to Pleistocene Radiolarian fossil record from IODP Expedition 346: Faunal response to the global climatic changes and local/regional tectonics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Itaki, T.; Motoyama, I.; Kamikuri, S.; Tada, R.; Murray, R. W.; Alvarez Zarikian, C. A.

    2014-12-01

    It is well known that radiolarian fossils can be used as a geological tool for the age assignment and paleoceanographic reconstruction. In this study, we analyzed radiolarian fossils for seven drilled sites of IODP Exp. 346 from the Japan, Yamato and Ulleung (JYU) basins in a marginal sea of the mid-latitude NW Pacific. Significant variations of the well-preserved fossil assemblage imply that the unique oceanic circulation changes in the basins through Mid-Miocene to Pleistocene might be controlled by global climatic changes and topographic changes with local/regional tectonics. Warm water radiolarians Dictyocoryne spp. and Tetrapyle spp. characterized in the Tsushima Current water occurred commonly since 1.7 Ma suggesting a beginning of the warm water inflow from the southern strait of the basins. It might be coincident with an opening of the Okinawa Trough in the East China Sea. On the other hand, during the Pliocene period, sporadic occurrence of the warm water species was recognized in southern part of the examined area. This implies that a minor influence of the warm water was present in the southern coastal area of the Yamato Basin. Typical deep dwelling species such as Cornutella profunda and Peripyramis circumtexta is absent in the present JYU basins, however they occurred frequently during Pliocene and Miocene. This suggests the deep-water exchange between the JYU basins and the North Pacific via the deeper strait, which might be present in the northern part of the sea. These deep-water radiolarians disappeared from the JYU basins at the early Pleistocene (~2.7 Ma to 1.7 Ma), which is almost coincident with the Northern Hemisphere Glaciation.

  15. Congruent phylogenetic and fossil signatures of mammalian diversification dynamics driven by Tertiary abiotic change.

    PubMed

    Cantalapiedra, Juan L; Hernández Fernández, Manuel; Azanza, Beatriz; Morales, Jorge

    2015-11-01

    Computational methods for estimating diversification rates from extant species phylogenetic trees have become abundant in evolutionary research. However, little evidence exists about how their outcome compares to a complementary and direct source of information: the fossil record. Furthermore, there is virtually no direct test for the congruence of evolutionary rates based on these two sources. This task is only achievable in clades with both a well-known fossil record and a complete phylogenetic tree. Here, we compare the evolutionary rates of ruminant mammals as estimated from their vast paleontological record--over 1200 species spanning 50 myr--and their living-species phylogeny. Significantly, our results revealed that the ruminant's fossil record and phylogeny reflect congruent evolutionary processes. The concordance is especially strong for the last 25 myr, when living groups became a dominant part of ruminant diversity. We found empirical support for previous hypotheses based on simulations and neontological data: The pattern captured by the tree depends on how clade specific the processes are and which clades are involved. Also, we report fossil evidence for a postradiation speciation slowdown coupled with constant, moderate extinction in the Miocene. The recent deceleration in phylogenetic rates is connected to rapid extinction triggered by recent climatic fluctuations. PMID:26427031

  16. "Small size" in the Philippine human fossil record: is it meaningful for a better understanding of the evolutionary history of the negritos?

    PubMed

    Détroit, Florent; Corny, Julien; Dizon, Eusebio Z; Mijares, Armand S

    2013-01-01

    "Pygmy populations" are recognized in several places over the world, especially in Western Africa and in Southeast Asia (Philippine "negritos," for instance). Broadly defined as "small-bodied Homo sapiens" (compared with neighboring populations), their origins and the nature of the processes involved in the maintenance of their phenotype over time are highly debated. Major results have been recently obtained from population genetics on present-day negrito populations, but their evolutionary history remains largely unresolved. We present and discuss the Upper Pleistocene human remains recovered from Tabon Cave and Callao Cave in the Philippines, which are potentially highly relevant to these research questions. Human fossils have been recovered in large numbers from Tabon Cave (Palawan Island) but mainly from reworked and mixed sediments from several archaeological layers. We review and synthesize the long and meticulous collaborative work done on the archives left from the 1960s excavations and on the field. The results demonstrate the long history of human occupations in the cave, since at least ~30,000 BP. The examination of the Tabon human remains shows a large variability: large and robust for one part of the sample, and small and gracile for the other part. The latter would fit quite comfortably within the range of variation of Philippine negritos. Farther north, on Luzon Island, the human third metatarsal recently recovered from Callao Cave and dated to ~66,000 BP is now the oldest direct evidence of human presence in the Philippines. Previous data show that, compared with H. sapiens (including Philippine negritos), this bone presents a very small size and several unusual morphological characteristics. We present a new analytical approach using three-dimensional geometric morphometrics for comparing the Callao fossil to a wide array of extant Asian mammals, including nonhuman primates and H. sapiens. The results demonstrate that the shape of the Callao

  17. Fossil echinoid (Echinoidea, Echinodermata) diversity of the Early Cretaceous (Hauterivian) in the Paris Basin (France).

    PubMed

    Benetti, Sophie; Saucède, Thomas; David, Bruno

    2013-01-01

    This dataset inventories occurrence records of fossil echinoid specimens collected in the Calcaires à Spatangues Formation (CSF) that crops out in the southeast of the Paris Basin (France), and is dated from the Acanthodiscus radiatus chronozone (ca. 132 Ma, early Hauterivian, Early Cretaceous). Fossil richness and abundance of the CSF has attracted the attention of palaeontologists since the middle of the nineteenth century. This dataset compiles occurrence data (referenced by locality names and geographic coordinates with decimal numbers) of fossil echinoids both collated from the literature published over a century and a half, and completed by data from collection specimens. The dataset also gives information on taxonomy (from species to order and higher taxonomic levels), which has been checked for reliability and consistency. It compiles a total of 628 georeferenced occurrence data of 26 echinoid species represented by 22 genera, 14 families, and 9 orders. PMID:24003321

  18. Fossil echinoid (Echinoidea, Echinodermata) diversity of the Early Cretaceous (Hauterivian) in the Paris Basin (France)

    PubMed Central

    Benetti, Sophie; Saucède, Thomas; David, Bruno

    2013-01-01

    Abstract This dataset inventories occurrence records of fossil echinoid specimens collected in the Calcaires à Spatangues Formation (CSF) that crops out in the southeast of the Paris Basin (France), and is dated from the Acanthodiscus radiatus chronozone (ca. 132 Ma, early Hauterivian, Early Cretaceous). Fossil richness and abundance of the CSF has attracted the attention of palaeontologists since the middle of the nineteenth century. This dataset compiles occurrence data (referenced by locality names and geographic coordinates with decimal numbers) of fossil echinoids both collated from the literature published over a century and a half, and completed by data from collection specimens. The dataset also gives information on taxonomy (from species to order and higher taxonomic levels), which has been checked for reliability and consistency. It compiles a total of 628 georeferenced occurrence data of 26 echinoid species represented by 22 genera, 14 families, and 9 orders. PMID:24003321

  19. Direct and indirect effects of biological factors on extinction risk in fossil bivalves.

    PubMed

    Harnik, Paul G

    2011-08-16

    Biological factors, such as abundance and body size, may contribute directly to extinction risk and indirectly through their influence on other biological characteristics, such as geographic range size. Paleontological data can be used to explicitly test many of these hypothesized relationships, and general patterns revealed through analysis of the fossil record can help refine predictive models of extinction risk developed for extant species. Here, I use structural equation modeling to tease apart the contributions of three canonical predictors of extinction--abundance, body size, and geographic range size--to the duration of bivalve species in the early Cenozoic marine fossil record of the eastern United States. I find that geographic range size has a strong direct effect on extinction risk and that an apparent direct effect of abundance can be explained entirely by its covariation with geographic range. The influence of geographic range on extinction risk is manifest across three ecologically disparate bivalve clades. Body size also has strong direct effects on extinction risk but operates in opposing directions in different clades, and thus, it seems to be decoupled from extinction risk in bivalves as a whole. Although abundance does not directly predict extinction risk, I reveal weak indirect effects of both abundance and body size through their positive influence on geographic range size. Multivariate models that account for the pervasive covariation between biological factors and extinction are necessary for assessing causality in evolutionary processes and making informed predictions in applied conservation efforts. PMID:21808004

  20. First fossil record of Discocephalinae (Insecta, Pentatomidae): a new genus from the middle Eocene of Río Pichileufú, Patagonia, Argentina

    PubMed Central

    Petrulevičius, Julián F.; Popov, Yuri A.

    2014-01-01

    Abstract A new genus and species of Discocephalini, Acanthocephalonotum martinsnetoi gen. n. et sp. n. is described from Río Pichileufú, middle Eocene of Patagonia, Argentina at palaeolatitude ~ 46°S. The new species is the first fossil representative of the Discocephalinae. This taxon is extant in equatorial to subtropical America, and some species reach warm temperate latitudes (Buenos Aires province). The new genus is distinguished from the other genera of Discocephalini by the combination of these characters: interocular width greater than head length; head massive and quadrangular with the anterior margin almost straight; juga touching each other; labrum thick and curved; triangular ante-ocular process extending beyond the eye; broad spine-like antero-lateral process of the pronotum; pronotum explanate and bean shaped; scutellum triangular with a circular tongue reaching the anterior side of abdominal segment 7; and wings well developed with membrane just surpassing end of abdomen. PMID:25061387

  1. Fossil Shorelines Record Multiple Sea Level Highstands and Surface Deformation on Million Year Timescales at Cape Range National Park, Northwestern Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sandstrom, R. M.; O'Leary, M.; Barham, M.; Cai, Y.; Jacome, A. P.; Raymo, M. E.

    2015-12-01

    Correcting fossil shorelines for vertical displacement subsequent to deposition is a vital consideration in estimating sea level and ice volume during past warm periods. Field observations of paleo-sea level indicators must be adjusted for local tectonic deformation, subsequent sediment loading, dynamic topography (DT), and glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA). Dynamic topography is often the most difficult of these corrections to determine, especially on million year timescales, but is essential when providing constraints on sea level and ice volume changes. GIA effects from high latitude ice sheets minimally impact northwestern Australia, making this region well suited for observing surface displacement due to mantle and tectonic processes. This study presents centimeter accuracy paleo-shoreline data from four distinct marine terraces in the Cape Range National Park, Australia, which document vertical displacement history along 100 kilometers of coastline. The mapped region has an anticlinal structure in the center that has been slowly uplifting the three older reef complexes over the Neogene, constraining the timing of deformation. These neotectonics are probably caused by reactivation of ancient fault zones normal to the principal horizontal compressive stress, resulting in the warping of overlaying units. The elevation data also suggests minimal vertical displacement since the last interglacial highstand. Well-preserved fossil coral were collected from each terrace and will be geochemically dated using Sr isotope and U-series dating methods. This dataset provides a better understanding of DT and neotectonic deformation in this region (useful for improving mantle viscosity models), and offers a means for improving past sea level reconstructions in northwestern Australia.

  2. Progress of fossil fuel science

    SciTech Connect

    Demirbas, M.F.

    2007-07-01

    Coal is the most abundant and widely distributed fossil fuel. More than 45% of the world's electricity is generated from coal, and it is the major fuel for generating electricity worldwide. The known coal reserves in the world are enough for more than 215 years of consumption, while the known oil reserves are only about 39 times of the world's consumption and the known natural gas reserves are about 63 times of the world's consumption level in 1998. In recent years, there have been effective scientific investigations on Turkish fossil fuels, which are considerable focused on coal resources. Coal is a major fossil fuel source for Turkey. Turkish coal consumption has been stable over the past decade and currently accounts for about 24% of the country's total energy consumption. Lignite coal has had the biggest share in total fossil fuel production, at 43%, in Turkey. Turkish researchers may investigate ten broad pathways of coal species upgrading, such as desulfurization and oxydesulfurization, pyrolysis and hydropyrolysis, liquefaction and hydroliquefaction, extraction and supercritical fluid extraction, gasification, oxidation, briquetting, flotation, and structure identification.

  3. The non-uniformity of fossil preservation.

    PubMed

    Holland, Steven M

    2016-07-19

    The fossil record provides the primary source of data for calibrating the origin of clades. Although minimum ages of clades are given by the oldest preserved fossil, these underestimate the true age, which must be bracketed by probabilistic methods based on multiple fossil occurrences. Although most of these methods assume uniform preservation rates, this assumption is unsupported over geological timescales. On geologically long timescales (more than 10 Myr), the origin and cessation of sedimentary basins, and long-term variations in tectonic subsidence, eustatic sea level and sedimentation rate control the availability of depositional facies that preserve the environments in which species lived. The loss of doomed sediments, those with a low probability of preservation, imparts a secular trend to fossil preservation. As a result, the fossil record is spatially and temporally non-uniform. Models of fossil preservation should reflect this non-uniformity by using empirical estimates of fossil preservation that are spatially and temporally partitioned, or by using indirect proxies of fossil preservation. Geologically, realistic models of preservation will provide substantially more reliable estimates of the origination of clades.This article is part of the themed issue 'Dating species divergences using rocks and clocks'. PMID:27325828

  4. Summary of the Snowmastodon Project Special Volume. A high-elevation, multi-proxy biotic and environmental record of MIS 6-4 from the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, Snowmass Village, Colorado, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Ian M.; Pigati, Jeffrey S.; Scott Anderson, R.; Johnson, Kirk R.; Mahan, Shannon A.; Ager, Thomas A.; Baker, Richard G.; Blaauw, Maarten; Bright, Jordon; Brown, Peter M.; Bryant, Bruce; Calamari, Zachary T.; Carrara, Paul E.; Cherney, Michael D.; Demboski, John R.; Elias, Scott A.; Fisher, Daniel C.; Gray, Harrison J.; Haskett, Danielle R.; Honke, Jeffrey S.; Jackson, Stephen T.; Jiménez-Moreno, Gonzalo; Kline, Douglas; Leonard, Eric M.; Lifton, Nathaniel A.; Lucking, Carol; Gregory McDonald, H.; Miller, Dane M.; Muhs, Daniel R.; Nash, Stephen E.; Newton, Cody; Paces, James B.; Petrie, Lesley; Plummer, Mitchell A.; Porinchu, David F.; Rountrey, Adam N.; Scott, Eric; Sertich, Joseph J. W.; Sharpe, Saxon E.; Skipp, Gary L.; Strickland, Laura E.; Stucky, Richard K.; Thompson, Robert S.; Wilson, Jim

    2014-11-01

    In North America, terrestrial records of biodiversity and climate change that span Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 5 are rare. Where found, they provide insight into how the coupling of the ocean-atmosphere system is manifested in biotic and environmental records and how the biosphere responds to climate change. In 2010-2011, construction at Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village, Colorado (USA) revealed a nearly continuous, lacustrine/wetland sedimentary sequence that preserved evidence of past plant communities between ~ 140 and 55 ka, including all of MIS 5. At an elevation of 2705 m, the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site also contained thousands of well-preserved bones of late Pleistocene megafauna, including mastodons, mammoths, ground sloths, horses, camels, deer, bison, black bear, coyotes, and bighorn sheep. In addition, the site contained more than 26,000 bones from at least 30 species of small animals including salamanders, otters, muskrats, minks, rabbits, beavers, frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, and birds. The combination of macro- and micro-vertebrates, invertebrates, terrestrial and aquatic plant macrofossils, a detailed pollen record, and a robust, directly dated stratigraphic framework shows that high-elevation ecosystems in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado are climatically sensitive and varied dramatically throughout MIS 5.

  5. Identifying and directly dating Plio-Pleistocene geomagnetic reversals and events from speleothems at South African archaeological and fossil bearing palaeocaves: implications for extending archaeomagnetic records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herries, A. I.; Pickering, R.; Kappen, P.

    2013-05-01

    In the last 10 years palaeomagnetic research on speleothems from archaeological and fossil bearing palaeokarst in northern South Africa has led to the identification of apparent short geomagnetic field events that were initially thought to represent one or both of the Réunion events. More recently the development of uranium-lead dating techniques for speleothem in the 5 Ma to 500 ka time range has allowed us to directly date these events for the first time, as well as date more recently discovered events and reversals. This work now indicates that the same reversals events are often found in speleothems in different caves throughout the region. An event has been directly dated at two sites to between 2.047 and 2.0005 Ma and likely represents what has been termed the 'Huckleberry Ridge' event at other localities. Another event sometime between 2.33 and 2.15 Ma likely represents the Réunion event while another between 1.111 to 1.087 Ma is thought to represent the Punaruu event. X-ray Fluorescence Microscopy work at the Australian Synchrotron has been used to map the iron distribution in the speleothems and in tandem with the demagnetisation spectra has enabled the mineralogy and mode of acquisition of remanence to be determined and the potential effects of recrystalisation on the palaeomagnetic signal to be accessed. Further work on speleothem sequences in the caves has the potential to refine the ages of geomagnetic field reversals, events and excursions over almost any time range for which speleothems exist, if certain conditions are met. Given the rapid lock-in time of the remanence and low alteration rates and effects of speleothems they provide a powerful new medium for reconstructing Plio-Pleistocene geomagnetic field variation.

  6. Clinal morphological variation along a depth gradient in the living scleractinian reef coral Favia pallida: Effects on perceived evolutionary tempos in the fossil record

    SciTech Connect

    Cuffey, R.J. ); Pachut, J.F. )

    1990-12-01

    The Holocene reef-building coral Favia pallida was sampled at 4.5 m depth increments (to 40 m) from two reefs on Enewetak Atoll to examine intraspecific environmental effects. An exposed outer reef was massive and wall-like, whereas a sheltered lagoonal reef grew as a slender pinnacle. Corallite diameter and growth rate, two attributes retrievable in fossil corals, were measured with data partitioned into shallow (<20 m), intermediate (20 to 29 m), and deep-water (>29 m) subsets. Highly significant differences between depth zone populations were found for both corallite diameters and growth rates in analyses of individual and combined reef data sets. Canonical variates analyses (CVA) separated populations from depth zones along single, highly significant, functions. Centroids and 95% confidence intervals, calculated from CVA scores of colonies in each population, are widely separated for the lagoon reef and combined data sets. Conversely, populations from shallow and intermediate depths on the outer reef display overlapping confidence bars indicative of more gradational morphologic changes. When CV's were used to classify specimens to groups, misassignments of intermediate depth specimens to shallow or deep-water populations underscored the gradational nature of the environment. Completely intergrading populations of Favia pallida collected from different depths can be morphologically separated into statistically distinct groupings. A stratigraphic succession of such morphotypes might be interpreted as abruptly appearing separate species if sampling were not as uniform, systematic, and detailed as was possible on modern reefs. Analyses of evolutionary patterns must carefully assess potential effects of clinal variation if past evolutionary patterns are to be interpreted correctly.

  7. Fossilized bioelectric wire - the trace fossil Trichichnus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kędzierski, M.; Uchman, A.; Sawlowicz, Z.; Briguglio, A.

    2015-04-01

    The trace fossil Trichichnus is proposed as an indicator of fossil bioelectric bacterial activity at the oxic-anoxic interface zone of marine sediments. This fulfils the idea that such processes, commonly found in the modern realm, should be also present in the geological past. Trichichnus is an exceptional trace fossil due to its very thin diameter (mostly less than 1 mm) and common pyritic filling. It is ubiquitous in some fine-grained sediments, where it has been interpreted as a burrow formed deeper than any other trace fossils, below the redox boundary. Trichichnus, formerly referred to as deeply burrowed invertebrates, has been found as remnant of a fossilized intrasediment bacterial mat that is pyritized. As visualized in 3-D by means of X-ray computed microtomography scanner, Trichichnus forms dense filamentous fabric, which reflects that it is produced by modern large, mat-forming, sulfide-oxidizing bacteria, belonging mostly to Thioploca-related taxa, which are able to house a complex bacterial consortium. Several stages of Trichichnus formation, including filamentous, bacterial mat and its pyritization, are proposed to explain an electron exchange between oxic and suboxic/anoxic layers in the sediment. Therefore, Trichichnus can be considered a fossilized "electric wire".

  8. Late Quaternary vegetation and environments in the Verkhoyansk Mountains region (NE Asia) reconstructed from a 50-kyr fossil pollen record from Lake Billyakh

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Müller, Stefanie; Tarasov, Pavel E.; Andreev, Andrei A.; Tütken, Thomas; Gartz, Steffi; Diekmann, Bernhard

    2010-08-01

    Here we present a detailed radiocarbon-dated 936 cm long pollen record from Lake Billyakh (65°17'N, 126°47'E; 340 m a.s.l.) situated in the western part of the Verkhoyansk Mountains, about 140 km south of the Arctic Circle. A set of 53 surface pollen samples representing tundra, cold deciduous forest and taiga was collected in northern and central Yakutia communities to verify the accuracy of the quantitative biome reconstruction method and to obtain a more precise attribution of the identified pollen taxa to the main regional biomes. The adjusted method is then applied to the pollen record from Lake Billyakh to gain a reconstruction of vegetation and environments since about 50.7 kyr BP. The results of the pollen analysis and pollen-based biome reconstruction suggest that herbaceous tundra and steppe communities dominated the area from 50.7 to 13.5 kyr BP. Relatively low pollen concentrations and high percentages of herbaceous pollen taxa (mainly Cyperaceae, Poaceae and Artemisia) likely indicate a reduced vegetation cover and/or lower pollen production. On the other hand, extremely low percentages of drought-tolerant taxa, such as Chenopodiaceae and Ephedra, and the constant presence of various mesophyllous herbaceous ( Thalictrum, Rosaceae, Asteraceae) and shrubby taxa ( Betula sect. Nanae/Fruticosae, Duschekia fruticosa, Salix) in the pollen assemblages prevent an interpretation of the last glacial environments around Lake Billyakh as extremely arid. The lowest pollen percentages of woody taxa and the highest values of Artemisia pollen attest that the 31-15 kyr BP period as the driest and coldest interval of the entire record. A relative high content of taxa representing shrub tundra communities and the presence of larch pollen recorded prior to 31 kyr and after 13.5 kyr BP likely indicate interstadial climate amelioration associated with the middle and latest parts of the last glacial. An increase in pollen percentages of herbaceous taxa around 12 kyr BP

  9. First record of the fossil snakefly genus Mesoraphidia (Insecta: Raphidioptera: Mesoraphidiidae) from the Middle Jurassic of China, with description of a new species.

    PubMed

    Lü, Ya-Nan; Liu, Xingyue; Dong, Ren

    2015-01-01

    Mesoraphidia daohugouensis sp. nov. is described from the Middle Jurassic Jiulongshan Formation of Inner Mongolia, China. It is diagnosed by the following character states: subquadrate pronotum, narrowly elliptical forewing, distally darkened pterostigma closed respectively by a proximal costal crossvein and a distal radial veinlet, absence of pterostigmal crossvein. The new species represents the first record of Mesoraphidiinae from the Middle Jurassic of China. PMID:26623595

  10. Late Pleistocene Vertebrates and Other Fossils from Epiguruk, Northwestern Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hamilton, Thomas D.; Ashley, Gall M.; Reed, Katherine M.; Schweger, Charles E.

    1993-05-01

    Sediments exposed at Epiguruk, a large cutbank on the Kobuk River about 170 km inland from Kotzebue Sound, record multiple episodes of glacial-age alluviation followed by interstadial downcutting and formation of paleosols. Vertebrate remains from Epiguruk include mammoth, bison, caribou, an equid, a canid, arctic ground squirrel, lemmings, and voles. Radiocarbon ages of bone validated by concordant ages of peat and wood span the interval between about 37,000 and 14,000 yr B.P. The late Pleistocene pollen record is dominated by Cyperaceae, with Artemisia, Salix, Betula, and Gramineae also generally abundant. The fossil record from Epiguruk indicates that the Kobuk River valley supported tundra vegetation with abundant riparian willows during middle and late Wisconsin time. Large herbivores were present during the height of late Wisconsin glaciation as well as during its waning stage and the preceding interstadial interval. The Kobuk River valley would have been a favorable refugium for plants, animals, and possibly humans throughout the last glaciation.

  11. The ancient sun: Fossil record in the earth, moon and meteorites; Proceedings of the Conference, Boulder, CO, October 16-19, 1979

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pepin, R. O. (Editor); Eddy, J. A.; Merrill, R. B.

    1980-01-01

    Papers are presented concerning theories of solar variability and their consequences for luminosity, particle emission and magnetic field changes within the past 4.5 billion years, and on the records of such solar behavior in lunar, meteoritic and terrestrial materials. Specific topics include the neutrino luminosity of the sun, the relation of sunspots to the terrestrial climate of the past 100 years, solar modulation of galactic cosmic rays, the historical record of solar activity, C-14 variations in terrestrial and marine reservoirs, and solar particle fluxes as indicated by track, thermoluminescence and solar wind measurements in lunar rocks. Attention is also given to the spin-down of the solar interior through circulation currents and fluid instabilities, grain surface exposure models in planetary regoliths, rare gases in the solar wind, nitrogen isotopic variations in the lunar regolith, the influence of solar UV radiation on climate, and the pre-main sequence evolution of the sun and evidence of the primordial solar wind in the electromagnetic induction heating of the asteroids and moon.

  12. Ancient sun: fossil record in the earth, moon and meteorites. Proceedings of the Conference, Boulder, CO, October 16-19, 1979

    SciTech Connect

    Pepin, R.O.; Eddy, J.A.; Merrill, R.B.

    1980-01-01

    Papers are presented concerning theories of solar variability and their consequences for luminosity, particle emission and magnetic field changes within the past 4.5 billion years, and on the records of such solar behavior in lunar, meteoritic and terrestrial materials. Specific topics include the neutrino luminosity of the sun, the relation of sunspots to the terrestrial climate of the past 100 years, solar modulation of galactic cosmic rays, the historical record of solar activity, C-14 variations in terrestrial and marine reservoirs, and solar particle fluxes as indicated by track, thermoluminescence and solar wind measurements in lunar rocks. Attention is also given to the spin-down of the solar interior through circulation currents and fluid instabilities, grain surface exposure models in planetary regoliths, rare gases in the solar wind, nitrogen isotopic variations in the lunar regolith, the influence of solar UV radiation on climate, and the pre-main sequence evolution of the sun and evidence of the primordial solar wind in the electromagnetic induction heating of the asteroids and moon.

  13. Fidelity of fossil n-alkanes from leaf to paleosol and applications to the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bush, R. T.; McInerney, F. A.; Baczynski, A. A.; Wing, S. L.

    2011-12-01

    Long chain n-alkanes (C21-C35) are well-known as biomarkers of terrestrial plants. They can be preserved across a wide range of terrestrial and marine environments, survive in the sedimentary record for millions of years, and can serve as proxies for ancient environments. Most n-alkane records are derived from sediments rather than directly from fossil leaves. However, little is known about the fidelity of the n-alkane record: how and where leaf preservation relates to n-alkane preservation and how patterns of n-alkane carbon isotope ratios (δ13C) compare to living relatives. To examine these questions, we analyzed n-alkanes from fluvial sediments and individual leaf fossils collected in the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming, across the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) carbon isotope excursion. We assessed the fidelity of the n-alkane signature from individual fossil leaves via three separate means. 1) Spatial variations were assessed by comparing n-alkane concentrations on a fossil leaf and in sediments both directly adjacent to the leaf and farther away. Absolute concentrations were greater within the compression fossil than in the directly adjacent sediment, which were in turn greater than in more distant sediment. 2) n-Alkane abundances and distributions were examined in fossil leaves having a range of preservational quality, from fossils with intact cuticle to carbonized fossils lacking cuticle and higher-order venation. The best preserved fossils preserved a higher concentration of n-alkanes and showed the most similar n-alkane distribution to living relatives. However, a strong odd over even predominance suggests a relatively unmodified plant source occurred in all samples regardless of preservation state. 3) n-Alkane δ13C values were measured for both fossil leaves and their living relatives. Both the saw-tooth pattern of δ13C values between odd and even chain lengths and the general decrease in δ13C values with increasing chain length are consistent with

  14. Modes of fossil preservation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schopf, J.M.

    1975-01-01

    The processes of geologic preservation are important for understanding the organisms represented by fossils. Some fossil differences are due to basic differences in organization of animals and plants, but the interpretation of fossils has also tended to be influenced by modes of preservation. Four modes of preservation generally can be distinguished: (1) Cellular permineralization ("petrifaction") preserves anatomical detail, and, occasionally, even cytologic structures. (2) Coalified compression, best illustrated by structures from coal but characteristic of many plant fossils in shale, preserves anatomical details in distorted form and produces surface replicas (impressions) on enclosing matrix. (3) Authigenic preservation replicates surface form or outline (molds and casts) prior to distortion by compression and, depending on cementation and timing, may intergrade with fossils that have been subject to compression. (4) Duripartic (hard part) preservation is characteristic of fossil skeletal remains, predominantly animal. Molds, pseudomorphs, or casts may form as bulk replacements following dissolution of the original fossil material, usually by leaching. Classification of the kinds of preservation in fossils will aid in identifying the processes responsible for modifying the fossil remains of both animals and plants. ?? 1975.

  15. The first recorded decline of the Malvinokaffric Devonian fauna in the Paraná Basin (southern Brazil) and its cause; taphonomic and fossil evidences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bosetti, Elvio Pinto; Grahn, Yngve; Horodyski, Rodrigo Scalise; Mauller, Paula Mendlowicz

    2012-08-01

    The first recorded decline of the Malvinokaffric Devonian fauna in the Paraná Basin, south Brazil, occurred between early and early late Emsian. The event is recognized on biostratigraphic implications, and it coincides with a regional hiatus resulting from tectonic activity during a Precordilleran epeirogeny. The Emsian beds, dated with palynomorphs, indicate a late Pragian - early Emsian (PoW Su spore Zone) age below, and an early late Emsian (upper FD - lower AP spore Zones) age above the hiatus. The extinctions that occurred between the late Pragian - early Emsian regression, and the initial transgression in the early late Emsian, were extensive and more dramatic than elsewhere on the globe. In the Paraná Basin invertebrates 4 classes, 25 families, 41 genera, and 54 species become extinct. The Emsian sedimentation in the Paraná Basin was realized under constant oscillation of sea level punctuated by storm events, probably due to Milankovitch orbital cycles. It is known that the eccentricity cycles are the most striking in regions at higher latitudes, which was the case of the ParanáBasin during the Emsian. This was, however, not a factor of major importance for the large decline of the fauna. The decline of the shelly fauna was an effect of the late Pragian - early Emsian regression, and the early late Emsian transgression introduced a reduced and less provincial shelly fauna.

  16. Plant Carbonate Fossils from the Ephemeral Pond Domain in South Texas/NE Mexico Yield a Record of Tropical Cyclone Activity: Oxygen Isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lawrence, J. R.; Maddocks, R.; Slowey, N. C.; Roark, E.

    2013-05-01

    Tropical cyclones produce rain with anomalously low oxygen isotope ratios. When dry ponds suddenly receive a large influx of this rainwater, algal plants known as "Charo" grow rapidly and produce desiccation resistant seeds covered by a carbonate coating. The oxygen isotopic composition of the carbonate reflects the presence of tropical cyclone water. A sediment core was taken in 2010 and pond waters were collected. Three tropical cyclones flooded the pond that year. The pond waters exhibited low isotope ratios that gradually rose as evaporation took place over the following days. Carbonate coated seeds "Charo" were separated from the top centimeter of the core. Two of the analyzed samples exhibited distinctly low isotope ratios indicating that the pond had been flooded with water from tropical cyclones at least twice. Additional isotopic analyses of carbonate coating from the seeds deeper in the core are in progress. The quantity of carbonate coating the seeds is more than adequate for obtaining lead 210 and carbon 14 dates. The main objective of our study is to produce a longterm record of tropical cyclone activity in the South Texas / Northeast Mexico region.

  17. Restoring Fossil Creek

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flaccus, Kathleen; Vlieg, Julie; Marks, Jane C.; LeRoy, Carri J.

    2004-01-01

    Fossil Creek had been dammed for the past 90 years, and plans were underway to restore the stream. The creek runs through Central Arizona and flows from the high plateaus to the desert, cutting through the same formations that form the Grand Canyon. This article discusses the Fossil Creek monitoring project. In this project, students and teachers…

  18. Fossil groups of galaxies: Are they groups? Are they fossils?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dupke, Renato de Alencar; Miller, Eric; de Oliveira, Claudia Mendes; Sodre, Laerte; Rykoff, Eli; de Oliveira, Raimundo Lopes; Proctor, Rob

    2010-11-01

    Fossil groups present a puzzle to current theories of structure formation. Despite the low number of bright galaxies, their high velocity dispersions and high TX indicate cluster-like potential wells. Measured concentration parameters seem very high indicating early formation epochs in contradiction with the observed lack of large and well defined cooling cores. There are very few fossil groups with good quality X-ray data and their idiosyncrasies may enhance these apparent contradictions. The standard explanation for their formation suggests that bright galaxies within half the virial radii of these systems were wiped out by cannibalism forming the central galaxy. Since dry mergers, typically invoked to explain the formation of the central galaxies, are not expected to change the IGM energetics significantly, thus not preventing the formation of cooling cores, we investigate the scenario where recent gaseous (wet) mergers formed the central galaxy injecting energy and changing the chemistry of the IGM in fossil groups. We show a test for this scenario using fossil groups with enough X-ray flux in the Chandra X-ray Observatory archive by looking at individual metal abundance ratio distributions near the core. Secondary SN II powered winds would tend to erase the dominance of SN IA ejecta in the core of these systems and would help to erase previously existing cold cores. Strong SN II-powered galactic winds resulting from galaxy merging would be trapped by their deep potential wells reducing the central enhancement of SN Ia/SN II iron mass fraction ratio. The results indicate that there is a decrement in the ratio of SN Ia to SN II iron mass fraction in the central regions of the systems analyzed, varying from 99±1% in the outer regions to 85±2% within the cooling radius (Figure 1) and would inject enough energy into the IGM preventing central gas cooling. The results are consistent with a scenario of later formation epoch for fossil groups, as they are defined

  19. Ubiquitous mammalian-wide interspersed repeats (MIRs) are molecular fossils from the mesozoic era.

    PubMed Central

    Jurka, J; Zietkiewicz, E; Labuda, D

    1995-01-01

    Short interspersed elements (SINEs) are ubiquitous in mammalian genomes. Remarkable variety of these repeats among placental orders indicates that most of them amplified in each lineage independently, following mammalian radiation. Here, we present an ancient family of repeats, whose sequence divergence and common occurrence among placental mammals, marsupials and monotremes indicate their amplification during the Mesozoic era. They are called MIRs for abundant Mammalian-wide Interspersed Repeats. With approximately 120,000 copies still detectable in the human genome (0.2-0.3% DNA), MIRs represent a 'fossilized' record of a major genetic event preceding the radiation of placental orders. Images PMID:7870583

  20. Ubiquitous mammalian-wide interspersed repeats (MIRs) are molecular fossils from the mesozoic era.

    PubMed

    Jurka, J; Zietkiewicz, E; Labuda, D

    1995-01-11

    Short interspersed elements (SINEs) are ubiquitous in mammalian genomes. Remarkable variety of these repeats among placental orders indicates that most of them amplified in each lineage independently, following mammalian radiation. Here, we present an ancient family of repeats, whose sequence divergence and common occurrence among placental mammals, marsupials and monotremes indicate their amplification during the Mesozoic era. They are called MIRs for abundant Mammalian-wide Interspersed Repeats. With approximately 120,000 copies still detectable in the human genome (0.2-0.3% DNA), MIRs represent a 'fossilized' record of a major genetic event preceding the radiation of placental orders. PMID:7870583

  1. Fossil fuels -- future fuels

    SciTech Connect

    1998-03-01

    Fossil fuels -- coal, oil, and natural gas -- built America`s historic economic strength. Today, coal supplies more than 55% of the electricity, oil more than 97% of the transportation needs, and natural gas 24% of the primary energy used in the US. Even taking into account increased use of renewable fuels and vastly improved powerplant efficiencies, 90% of national energy needs will still be met by fossil fuels in 2020. If advanced technologies that boost efficiency and environmental performance can be successfully developed and deployed, the US can continue to depend upon its rich resources of fossil fuels.

  2. Landscape planning for the future: using fossil records to independently validate potential threats, opportunities and likely future range-shifts for socio-economically valuable plant species in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Macias Fauria, M.; Willis, K. J.

    2011-12-01

    Bioclimatic Envelope Models (BEMs) for a set of socio-economically important tree species in Europe were independently validated using a hindcasting approach and fossil pollen records spanning the last 1000 years, including the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), the Little Ice Age (LIA) and the 20th Century warming (PRES). The aim was to determine the accuracy of combining BEMs and palaeoecological data to predict continental-scale changes in distribution, and the availability of fossil data to hindcast economically important species. Eight types of BEMs were implemented in this study, covering most state-of-the-art modelling techniques. Present and palaeoclimatic data were obtained from the Atmosphere-Ocean Global Circulation Model ECHO-G. Last millenium was divided into three climatically distinct periods: MWP (AD 900-1300), LIA (AD 1600-1850) and PRES (AD 1900-2000). Models were calibrated for each period and validated with climatic and pollen data from the remaining periods. Successfully validated models were projected onto a 1-degree European grid, allowing the reconstruction of past modelled species distributions. BEMs were successfully validated with independent data. Strong model performance suggested high potential for BEMs to be used to model future species distributions, and highlighted the importance of palaeoecological data to independently validate these models, taking into account the scales at which this data operates. Although valid, BEMs showed poorer performance with species heavily managed and/or growing in heterogeneous terrain or with discontinuous distributions. Last millennium in Europe was characterized by an increase of crop woody species and a decline of forest species, suggesting an increasing land use by humans. The same approach was then implemented to a set of sub-Saharan plant species of high importance as a source of food, wood, and other ecosystem services such as carbon storage or erosion protection. The African study covered most of the

  3. Spawning sockeye salmon fossils in Pleistocene lake beds of Skokomish Valley, Washington

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Gerald R.; Montgomery, David R.; Peterson, N. Phil; Crowley, Bruce

    2007-09-01

    An assemblage of fossil sockeye salmon was discovered in Pleistocene lake sediments along the South Fork Skokomish River, Olympic Peninsula, Washington. The fossils were abundant near the head of a former glacial lake at 115 m elevation. Large adult salmon are concentrated in a sequence of death assemblages that include individuals with enlarged breeding teeth and worn caudal fins indicating migration, nest digging, and spawning prior to death. The specimens were 4 yr old and 45-70 cm in total length, similar in size to modern sockeye salmon, not landlocked kokanee. The fossils possess most of the characteristics of sockeye salmon, Oncorhynchus nerka, but with several minor traits suggestive of pink salmon, O. gorbuscha. This suggests the degree of divergence of these species at about 1 million yr ago, when geological evidence indicates the salmon were deposited at the head of a proglacial lake impounded by the Salmon Springs advance of the Puget lobe ice sheet. Surficial geology and topography record a complicated history of glacial damming and river diversion that implies incision of the modern gorge of the South Fork Skokomish River after deposition of the fossil-bearing sediments.

  4. Fossils of reionization in the local group

    SciTech Connect

    Gnedin, Nickolay Y.; Kravtsov, Andrey V.; /KICP, Chicago /Chicago U., EFI /Chicago U., Astron. Astrophys. Ctr.

    2006-01-01

    We use a combination of high-resolution gas dynamics simulations of high-redshift dwarf galaxies and dissipationless simulations of a Milky Way sized halo to estimate the expected abundance and spatial distribution of the dwarf satellite galaxies that formed most of their stars around z {approx} 8 and evolved only little since then. Such galaxies can be considered as fossils of the reionization era, and studying their properties could provide a direct window into the early, pre-reionization stages of galaxy formation. We show that 5-15% of the objects existing at z {approx} 8 do indeed survive until the present in the MW like environment without significant evolution. This implies that it is plausible that the fossil dwarf galaxies do exist in the Local Group. Because such galaxies form their stellar systems early during the period of active merging and accretion, they should have spheroidal morphology regardless of their current distance from the host galaxy. We show that both the expected luminosity function and spatial distribution of dark matter halos which are likely to host fossil galaxies agree reasonably well with the observed distributions of the luminous (L{sub V} > 10{sup 6} Lsun) Local Group fossil candidates near the host galaxy (d<200 kpc). However, the predicted abundance is substantially larger (by a factor of 2-3) for fainter galaxies (L{sub V} < 10{sup 6} Lsun) at larger distances (d>300 kpc). We discuss several possible explanations for this discrepancy.

  5. Fossil Record of Precambrian Life on Land

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knauth, Paul

    2000-01-01

    The argument that the earth's early ocean was up to two times modern salinity was published in 'Nature' and presented at the 1998 Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Toronto. The argument is bolstered by chemical data for fluid inclusions in Archean black smokers. The inclusions were 1.7 times the modern salinity causing the authors to interpret the parent fluids as evaporite brines (in a deep marine setting). I reinterpreted the data in terms of the predicted value of high Archean salinities. If the arguments I presented are on track, early life was either halophilic or non-marine. Halophiles are not among the most primitive organisms based on RNA sequencing, so here is an a priori argument that non-marine environments may have been the site of most early biologic evolution. This result carries significant implications for the issue of past life on Mars or current life on the putative sub-ice oceans on Europa and possibly Callisto. If the Cl/H2O ratio on these objects is similar to that of the earth, then oceans and oceanic sediments are probably not the preferred sites for early life. On Mars, this means that non-marine deposits such as caliche in basalt may be an overlooked potential sample target.

  6. Globular cluster formation - The fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Murray, Stephen D.; Lin, Douglas N. C.

    1992-01-01

    Properties of globular clusters which have remained unchanged since their formation are used to infer the internal pressures, cooling times, and dynamical times of the protocluster clouds immediately prior to the onset of star formation. For all globular clusters examined, it is found that the cooling times are much less than the dynamical times, implying that the protoclusters must have been maintained in thermal equilibrium by external heat sources, with fluxes consistent with those found in previous work, and giving the observed rho-T relation. Self-gravitating clouds cannot be stably heated, so that the Jeans mass forms an upper limit to the cluster masses. The observed dependence of protocluster pressure upon galactocentric position implies that the protocluster clouds were in hydrostatic equilibrium after their formation. The pressure dependence is well fitted by that expected for a quasi-statically evolving background hot gas, shock heated to its virial temperature. The observations and inferences are combined with previous theoretical work to construct a picture of globular cluster formation.

  7. Synchronous centennial-scale variability in abundance of remote sardine populations in the Pacific

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuwae, M.; Takashige, S.; Yamamoto, M.; Sagawa, T.; Takeoka, H.

    2012-12-01

    A number of studies have identified evidence for connections between Pacific climate decadal variability and variations in Pacific marine ecosystems which are typically shown in abundance of remote sardine and anchovy species off Japan, California, Peru, and Chile as well as Alaska salmon species. The variations in climate indices and abundance of sardine and anchovy species most likely have 50-70 year cycles and therefore these natural perturbations in climates and Pacific ecosystems should be considered for developing predictive models of fisheries productions and the managements. Despite the importance of natural perturbations for long-term predictions, one issue, whether synchronous centennial-variations in remote Pacific fisheries productions in response to climate variability exists in the past, has not been questioned, because there has never been long-term reconstructed time series in the western North Pacific. Here we present well preserved, fossil fish scale-based abundance record of Japanese sardine over the last 1100 years reconstructed from a seasonal anoxic basin in the western Seto Inland Sea near their spawning areas in the western North Pacific. A comparison of our record with other previous records clearly showed centennial-scale variations in abundance of sardine species off Japan, California, and Chile, characterized by centennial-scale alternations between low abundance regimes and high abundance regimes in which multidecadal fluctuations with large amplitudes occurred once or several times. High abundance regimes from 1450 to 1650 AD and after 1800 AD and a low abundance regime from 1650 to 1800 AD corresponded to low frequency patterns of PDO index reconstructed from tree-ring records in North America. This indicates that connections between Pacific climate variability and variations in Pacific marine ecosystems exist not only on multidecadal timescales but on centennial timescales. Three to four hundred-yr periodicity of the Pacific climate

  8. The properties of fossil groups of galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eigenthaler, P.; Zeilinger, W. W.

    2009-12-01

    Numerical simulations as well as optical and X-ray observations over the last few years have shown that poor groups of galaxies can evolve to what is called a fossil group. Dynamical friction as the driving process leads to the coalescence of individual galaxies in ordinary poor groups leaving behind nothing more than a central, massive elliptical galaxy supposed to contain the merger history of the whole group. Due to merging timescales for less-massive galaxies and gas cooling timescales of the X-ray intragroup medium exceeding a Hubble time, a surrounding faint-galaxy population having survived this galactic cannibalism as well as an extended X-ray halo similar to that found in ordinary groups, is expected. Recent studies suggest that fossil groups are very abundant and could be the progenitors of brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs) in the centers of rich galaxy clusters. However, only a few objects are known to the literature. This article aims to summarize the results of observational fossil group research over the last few years and presents ongoing work by the authors. Complementary to previous research, the SDSS and RASS surveys have been cross-correlated to identify new fossil structures yielding 34 newly detected fossil group candidates. Observations with ISIS at the 4.2 m William Herschel Telescope on La Palma have been carried out to study the stellar populations of the central ellipticals of 6 fossil groups. In addition multi-object spectroscopy with VLTs VIMOS has been performed to study the shape of the OLF of one fossil system.

  9. Fossil Simulation in the Classroom

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hoehn, Robert G.

    1977-01-01

    Describes classroom science demonstrations and experiments that simulate the process of fossil formation. Lists materials, procedures and suggestions for successful activities. Includes ten student activities (coral fossils, leaf fossils, leaf scars, carbonization, etc.). Describes a fossil game in which students work in pairs. (CS)

  10. Microbial Cretaceous park: biodiversity of microbial fossils entrapped in amber

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martín-González, Ana; Wierzchos, Jacek; Gutiérrez, Juan C.; Alonso, Jesús; Ascaso, Carmen

    2009-05-01

    Microorganisms are the most ancient cells on this planet and they include key phyla for understanding cell evolution and Earth history, but, unfortunately, their microbial records are scarce. Here, we present a critical review of fossilized prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms entrapped in Cretaceous ambers (but not exclusively from this geological period) obtained from deposits worldwide. Microbiota in ambers are rather diverse and include bacteria, fungi, and protists. We comment on the most important microbial records from the last 25 years, although it is not an exhaustive bibliographic compilation. The most frequently reported eukaryotic microfossils are shells of amoebae and protists with a cell wall or a complex cortex. Likewise, diverse dormant stages (palmeloid forms, resting cysts, spores, etc.) are abundant in ambers. Besides, viral and protist pathogens have been identified inside insects entrapped in amber. The situation regarding filamentous bacteria and fungi is quite confusing because in some cases, the same record was identified consecutively as a member of these phylogenetically distant groups. To avoid these identification errors in the future, we propose to apply a more resolute microscopic and analytical method in amber studies. Also, we discuss the most recent findings about ancient DNA repair and bacterial survival in remote substrates, which support the real possibility of ancient DNA amplification and bacterial resuscitation from Cretaceous resins.

  11. Spider crabs of the Western Atlantic with special reference to fossil and some modern Mithracidae.

    PubMed

    Klompmaker, Adiël A; Portell, Roger W; Klier, Aaron T; Prueter, Vanessa; Tucker, Alyssa L

    2015-01-01

    Spider crabs (Majoidea) are well-known from modern oceans and are also common in the western part of the Atlantic Ocean. When spider crabs appeared in the Western Atlantic in deep time, and when they became diverse, hinges on their fossil record. By reviewing their fossil record, we show that (1) spider crabs first appeared in the Western Atlantic in the Late Cretaceous, (2) they became common since the Miocene, and (3) most species and genera are found in the Caribbean region from the Miocene onwards. Furthermore, taxonomic work on some modern and fossil Mithracidae, a family that might have originated in the Western Atlantic, was conducted. Specifically, Maguimithrax gen. nov. is erected to accommodate the extant species Damithrax spinosissimus, while Damithrax cf. pleuracanthus is recognized for the first time from the fossil record (late Pliocene-early Pleistocene, Florida, USA). Furthermore, two new species are described from the lower Miocene coral-associated limestones of Jamaica (Mithrax arawakum sp. nov. and Nemausa windsorae sp. nov.). Spurred by a recent revision of the subfamily, two known species from the same deposits are refigured and transferred to new genera: Mithrax donovani to Nemausa, and Mithrax unguis to Damithrax. The diverse assemblage of decapods from these coral-associated limestones underlines the importance of reefs for the abundance and diversity of decapods in deep time. Finally, we quantitatively show that these crabs possess allometric growth in that length/width ratios drop as specimens grow, a factor that is not always taken into account while describing and comparing among taxa. PMID:26557432

  12. Spider crabs of the Western Atlantic with special reference to fossil and some modern Mithracidae

    PubMed Central

    Portell, Roger W.; Klier, Aaron T.; Prueter, Vanessa; Tucker, Alyssa L.

    2015-01-01

    Spider crabs (Majoidea) are well-known from modern oceans and are also common in the western part of the Atlantic Ocean. When spider crabs appeared in the Western Atlantic in deep time, and when they became diverse, hinges on their fossil record. By reviewing their fossil record, we show that (1) spider crabs first appeared in the Western Atlantic in the Late Cretaceous, (2) they became common since the Miocene, and (3) most species and genera are found in the Caribbean region from the Miocene onwards. Furthermore, taxonomic work on some modern and fossil Mithracidae, a family that might have originated in the Western Atlantic, was conducted. Specifically, Maguimithrax gen. nov. is erected to accommodate the extant species Damithrax spinosissimus, while Damithrax cf. pleuracanthus is recognized for the first time from the fossil record (late Pliocene–early Pleistocene, Florida, USA). Furthermore, two new species are described from the lower Miocene coral-associated limestones of Jamaica (Mithrax arawakum sp. nov. and Nemausa windsorae sp. nov.). Spurred by a recent revision of the subfamily, two known species from the same deposits are refigured and transferred to new genera: Mithrax donovani to Nemausa, and Mithrax unguis to Damithrax. The diverse assemblage of decapods from these coral-associated limestones underlines the importance of reefs for the abundance and diversity of decapods in deep time. Finally, we quantitatively show that these crabs possess allometric growth in that length/width ratios drop as specimens grow, a factor that is not always taken into account while describing and comparing among taxa. PMID:26557432

  13. An early Oligocene fossil demonstrates treeshrews are slowly evolving "living fossils".

    PubMed

    Li, Qiang; Ni, Xijun

    2016-01-01

    Treeshrews are widely considered a "living model" of an ancestral primate, and have long been called "living fossils". Actual fossils of treeshrews, however, are extremely rare. We report a new fossil species of Ptilocercus treeshrew recovered from the early Oligocene (~34 Ma) of China that represents the oldest definitive fossil record of the crown group of treeshrews and nearly doubles the temporal length of their fossil record. The fossil species is strikingly similar to the living Ptilocercus lowii, a species generally recognized as the most plesiomorphic extant treeshrew. It demonstrates that Ptilocercus treeshrews have undergone little evolutionary change in their morphology since the early Oligocene. Morphological comparisons and phylogenetic analysis support the long-standing idea that Ptilocercus treeshrews are morphologically conservative and have probably retained many characters present in the common stock that gave rise to archontans, which include primates, flying lemurs, plesiadapiforms and treeshrews. This discovery provides an exceptional example of slow morphological evolution in a mammalian group over a period of 34 million years. The persistent and stable tropical environment in Southeast Asia through the Cenozoic likely played a critical role in the survival of such a morphologically conservative lineage. PMID:26766238

  14. Genetic and Fossil Evidence for the Origin of Modern Humans.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stringer, C. B.; Andrews, P.

    1988-01-01

    Discusses how genetic data on present human population relationships and data from the Pleistocene fossil hominid record are being used to compare two contrasting models for the origin of modern humans. (TW)

  15. A Galactic Fossil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2007-05-01

    How old are the oldest stars? Using ESO's VLT, astronomers recently measured the age of a star located in our Galaxy. The star, a real fossil, is found to be 13.2 billion years old, not very far from the 13.7 billion years age of the Universe. The star, HE 1523-0901, was clearly born at the dawn of time. "Surprisingly, it is very hard to pin down the age of a star", the lead author of the paper reporting the results, Anna Frebel, explains. "This requires measuring very precisely the abundance of the radioactive elements thorium or uranium, a feat only the largest telescopes such as ESO's VLT can achieve." ESO PR Photo 23a/07 ESO PR Photo 23a/07 The 'Cosmic Clock' This technique is analogous to the carbon-14 dating method that has been so successful in archaeology over time spans of up to a few tens of thousands of years. In astronomy, however, this technique must obviously be applied to vastly longer timescales. For the method to work well, the right choice of radioactive isotope is critical. Unlike other, stable elements that formed at the same time, the abundance of a radioactive (unstable) isotope decreases all the time. The faster the decay, the less there will be left of the radioactive isotope after a certain time, so the greater will be the abundance difference when compared to a stable isotope, and the more accurate is the resulting age. Yet, for the clock to remain useful, the radioactive element must not decay too fast - there must still be enough left of it to allow an accurate measurement, even after several billion years. "Actual age measurements are restricted to the very rare objects that display huge amounts of the radioactive elements thorium or uranium," says Norbert Christlieb, co-author of the report. ESO PR Photo 23b/07 ESO PR Photo 23b/07 Uranium Line in the Spectrum of an Old Star Large amounts of these elements have been found in the star HE 1523-0901, an old, relatively bright star that was discovered within the Hamburg/ESO survey [1]. The

  16. Dental development in living and fossil orangutans.

    PubMed

    Smith, Tanya M

    2016-05-01

    Numerous studies have investigated molar development in extant and fossil hominoids, yet relatively little is known about orangutans, the only great ape with an extensive fossil record. This study characterizes aspects of dental development, including cuspal enamel daily secretion rate, long-period line periodicities, cusp-specific molar crown formation times and extension rates, and initiation and completion ages in living and fossil orangutan postcanine teeth. Daily secretion rate and periodicities in living orangutans are similar to previous reports, while crown formation times often exceed published values, although direct comparisons are limited. One wild Bornean individual died at 4.5 years of age with fully erupted first molars (M1s), while a captive individual and a wild Sumatran individual likely erupted their M1s around five or six years of age. These data underscore the need for additional samples of orangutans of known sex, species, and developmental environment to explore potential sources of variation in molar emergence and their relationship to life history variables. Fossil orangutans possess larger crowns than living orangutans, show similarities in periodicities, and have faster daily secretion rate, longer crown formation times, and slower extension rates. Molar crown formation times exceed reported values for other fossil apes, including Gigantopithecus blacki. When compared to African apes, both living and fossil orangutans show greater cuspal enamel thickness values and periodicities, resulting in longer crown formation times and slower extension rates. Several of these variables are similar to modern humans, representing examples of convergent evolution. Molar crown formation does not appear to be equivalent among extant great apes or consistent within living and fossil members of Pongo or Homo. PMID:27178461

  17. Trace Fossil Analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hasiotis, Stephen T.

    2009-05-01

    Today, the study of trace fossils—ichnology—is an important subdiscipline of geology at the interface of paleontology and sedimentology, mostly because of the efforts of Adolf Seilacher. His ability to synthesize various aspects of ichnology and produce a hierarchy of marine ichna and sedimentary facies has made ichnology useful worldwide in interpreting paleodiversity, rates of sedimentation, oxygenation of bottom water and sediment pore water, and depositional energy. Seilacher's book Trace Fossil Analysis provides a glimpse into the mind, methodology, and insights of the father of modern ichnology, generated from his course notes as a professor and a guest lecturer. The title sounds misleading—readers looking for up-to-date principles and approaches to trace fossil analysis in marine and continental strata will be disappointed. In his preface, however, Seilacher clearly gives direction for the use of his text: “This is a course book—meaning that it is intended to confer not knowledge, but skill.” Thus, it is not meant as a total compilation of all trace fossils, ichnotaxonomy, ichnological interpretations, applications, or the most relevant and up-to-date references. Rather, it takes the reader on a personal journey, explaining how trace fossils are understood in the context of their three-dimensional (3-D) morphology and sedimentary facies.

  18. Fossil-Fired Boilers

    1993-09-23

    Boiler Performance Model (BPM 3.0S) is a set of computer programs developed to analyze the performance of fossil-fired utility boilers. The programs can model a wide variety of boiler designs, and can model coal, oil, or natural gas firing. The programs are intended for use by engineers performing analyses of alternative fuels, alternative operating modes, or boiler modifications.

  19. Fossil-energy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    1981-08-01

    Progress in the following areas of fossil energy is reported: physiochemical cleaning and recovery of fine coal; a systematic investigation of the organosulfur components in coal; microstructures of coal; rapid analysis of mineral content in coal; coal blending experiments; performance characteristics of heavy media cyclones using fly ash derived heavy media; briquetting solvent treated coal; and coal preparation and testing.

  20. Advanced fossil energy utilization

    SciTech Connect

    Shekhawat, D.; Berry, D.; Spivey, J.; Pennline, H.; Granite, E.

    2010-01-01

    This special issue of Fuel is a selection of papers presented at the symposium ‘Advanced Fossil Energy Utilization’ co-sponsored by the Fuels and Petrochemicals Division and Research and New Technology Committee in the 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Spring National Meeting Tampa, FL, on April 26–30, 2009.

  1. Macroevolutionary developmental biology: Embryos, fossils, and phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Organ, Chris L; Cooper, Lisa Noelle; Hieronymus, Tobin L

    2015-10-01

    The field of evolutionary developmental biology is broadly focused on identifying the genetic and developmental mechanisms underlying morphological diversity. Connecting the genotype with the phenotype means that evo-devo research often considers a wide range of evidence, from genetics and morphology to fossils. In this commentary, we provide an overview and framework for integrating fossil ontogenetic data with developmental data using phylogenetic comparative methods to test macroevolutionary hypotheses. We survey the vertebrate fossil record of preserved embryos and discuss how phylogenetic comparative methods can integrate data from developmental genetics and paleontology. Fossil embryos provide limited, yet critical, developmental data from deep time. They help constrain when developmental innovations first appeared during the history of life and also reveal the order in which related morphologies evolved. Phylogenetic comparative methods provide a powerful statistical approach that allows evo-devo researchers to infer the presence of nonpreserved developmental traits in fossil species and to detect discordant evolutionary patterns and processes across levels of biological organization. PMID:26250386

  2. Abundance coefficients, a new method for measuring microorganism relative abundance

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Forester, R.M.

    1977-01-01

    A new method of measuring the relative abundance of microorganisms by using a set of interrelated coefficients, termed 'abundance coefficients' or 'AC', is proposed. These coefficients provide a means of recording abundance for geometric density categories, and each density measurement represents an approximation of the Poisson parameter ??t. The AC is the natural logarithm of a 'characteristic value,' which is a particular number for each geometric density category. The 'characteristic values' are based upon a probabilistic error statement derived from the Poisson formula, and they present evidence for separation of the geometric category boundaries by e = 2.71828. The proposed AC provide a means for recording species abundance in a manner suitable for arithmetic manipulation, for population structure studies, and for the determination of practical limits for defining the presence or absence of a species. Further, these coefficients provide for both intrasample and intersample abundance comparisons. ?? 1977 Plenum Publishing Corporation.

  3. Late Holocene vegetation and historic grazing impacts at Capital Reef National Park reconstructed using fossil packrat middens

    SciTech Connect

    Cole, K.L.

    1995-06-01

    Late Holocene vegetation change from a high desert site in southern Utah was reconstructed using fossil plant macrofossils and pollen from packrat middens. Presettlement middens consistently contained abundant macrofossils of plant species palatable to livestock that are now absent or reduced such as: Ceratoides lanata, Stipa hymenoides, Pinus edulis, and Artemisia spp.. In contrast, species typical of overgrazed range, such as: Chrysothamnus visidiflorus, Sarcobatus vermiculatus, and Gutterezia sarothrae, are now more abundant than prior to the historic introduction of grazing animals. Similar changes are evident in the fossil pollen from the packrat middens. Pine and sagebrush pollen is now far lower than prior to settlement, while Salsola sp. is first recorded following settlement. Ordination of the plant records using Detrended Correspondence Analysis demonstrates that the modem assemblages are substantially different from the presettlement assemblages and that the rates of vegetation change accompanying settlement are far greater than any recorded during the previous 5000 years. These results suggest that the plant communities and rates of vegetation change observed during this century are unlike previous natural communities and rates of vegetation change.

  4. Late Miocene fossils from shallow marine sediments in Brunei Darussalam: systematics, palaeoenvironment and ecology.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roslim, Amajida; Briguglio, Antonino; Kocsis, László; Ćorić, Stjepan; Razak, Hazirah

    2016-04-01

    The geology of Brunei Darussalam is fascinating but difficult to approach: rainforests and heavy precipitation tend to erode and smoothen the landscape limiting rocks exposure, whereas abundant constructions sites and active quarries allow the creation of short time available outcrop, which have to be immediately sampled. The stratigraphy of Brunei Darussalam comprises mainly Neogene sediments deposited in a wave to tide dominated shallow marine environment in a pure siliciclastic system. Thick and heavily bioturbated sandstone layers alternate to claystone beds which occasionally yield an extraordinary abundance and diversity of fossils. The sandstones, when not bioturbated, are commonly characterized by a large variety of sedimentary structures (e.g., ripple marks, planar laminations and cross beddings). In this study, we investigate the sediments and the fossil assemblages to record the palaeoenvironmental evolution of the shallow marine environment during the late Miocene, in terms of sea level change, chemostratigraphy and sedimentation rate. The study area is one of the best in terms of accessibility, extension, abundance and preservation of fossils; it is located in the region -'Bukit Ambug' (Ambug Hill), Tutong District. The fossils fauna collected encompasses mollusks, decapods, otoliths, shark and ray teeth, amber, foraminifera and coccolithophorids. In this investigation, sediment samples were taken along a section which measures 62.5 meters. A thick clay layer of 9 meters was sampled each 30 cm to investigate microfossils occurrences. Each sample was treated in peroxide and then sieved trough 63 μm, 150μm, 250μm, 450μm, 600μm, 1mm and 2mm sieves. Results point on the changes in biodiversity of foraminifera along the different horizons collected reflecting sea level changes and sediment production. The most abundant taxa identified are Pseoudorotalia schroeteriana, Ampistegina lessonii, Elphidium advenum, Quinqueloculina sp., Bolivina sp

  5. The challenge of remote exploration for extraterrestrial fossil life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benoit, Paul H.; Taunton, Anne E.

    1997-07-01

    The discovery of possible fossils of nanobacteria in a meteorite from Mars is both an exciting development and a considerably challenge for future work. The meteorite bearing the possible fossils, ALH84001, has been on Earth for over ten thousand years, and thus the possibility that the `fossils' are terrestrial contamination must be considered. We suggest that the only way to fully resolve the issue of possible martian life is to study directly- sampled pieces of Mars, either using in situ instrumentation or via sample return. The small size of the possible fossils, and their relatively low abundance in bulk rock samples make in situ analysis difficult and indirect. We suggest that addressing the issue of ancient life on Mars will require sample return, probably assisted by in situ screening by landers/rovers. Our study of ALH84001 confirms the observation of McKay et al. of the existence of `fossils' in ALH84001, and we find that they are highly abundant on all the carbonate nodules we examined. Examination of lunar meteorites and two other martian meteorites, with terrestrial and laboratory histories very similar to that of ALH84001, shows that nano-`fossils' are absent, suggesting that the features in ALH84001 are probably not terrestrial contamination.

  6. Fossilization Processes in Thermal Springs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farmer, Jack D.; Cady, Sherry; Desmarais, David J.; Chang, Sherwood (Technical Monitor)

    1995-01-01

    To create a comparative framework for the study of ancient examples, we have been carrying out parallel studies of the microbial biosedimentology, taphonomy and geochemistry of modem and sub-Recent thermal spring deposits. One goal of the research is the development of integrated litho- and taphofacies models for siliceous and travertline sinters. Thermal springs are regarded as important environments for the origin and early evolution of life on Earth, and we seek to utilize information from the fossil record to reconstruct the evolution of high temperature ecosystems. Microbial contributions to the fabric of thermal spring sinters occur when population growth rates keep pace with, or exceed rates of inorganic precipitation, allowing for the development of continuous biofilms or mats. In siliceous thermal springs, microorganisms are typically entombed while viable. Modes of preservation reflect the balance between rates of organic matter degradation, silica precipitation and secondary infilling. Subaerial sinters are initially quite porous and permeable and at temperatures higher than about 20 C, organic materials are usually degraded prior to secondary infilling of sinter frameworks. Thus, organically-preserved microfossils are rare and fossil information consists of characteristic biofabrics formed by the encrustation and underplating of microbial mat surfaces. This probably accounts for the typically low total organic carbon values observed in thermal spring deposits. In mid-temperature, (approx. 35 - 59 C) ponds and outflows, the surface morphology of tufted Phormidium mats is preserved through mat underplating by thin siliceous: crusts. Microbial taxes lead to clumping of ceils and/or preferred filament orientations that together define higher order composite fabrics in thermal spring stromatolites (e.g. network, coniform, and palisade). At lower temperatures (less than 35 C), Calothrix mats cover shallow terracette pools forming flat carpets or pustular

  7. Fossil diatoms and neogene paleolimnology

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Platt, Bradbury J.

    1988-01-01

    Diatoms have played an important role in the development of Neogene continental biostratigraphy and paleolimnology since the mid-19th Century. The history of progress in Quaternary diatom biostratigraphy has developed as a result of improved coring techniques that enable sampling sediments beneath existing lakes coupled with improved chronological control (including radiometric dating and varve enumeration), improved statistical treatment of fossil diatom assemblages (from qualitative description to influx calculations of diatom numbers or volumes), and improved ecological information about analogous living diatom associations. The last factor, diatom ecology, is the most critical in many ways, but progresses slowly. Fortunately, statistical comparison of modern diatom assemblages and insightful studies of the nutrient requirements of some common freshwater species are enabling diatom paleolimnologists to make more detailed interpretations of the Quaternary record than had been possible earlier, and progress in the field of diatom biology and ecology will continue to refine paleolimnological studies. The greater age and geologic setting of Tertiary diatomaceous deposits has prompted their study in the contexts of geologic history, biochronology and evolution. The distribution of diatoms of marine affinities in continental deposits has given geologists insights about tectonism and sea-level change, and the distribution of distinctive (extinct?) diatoms has found utilization both in making stratigraphic correlations between outcrops of diatomaceous deposits and in various types of biochronological studies that involve dating deposits in different areas. A continental diatom biochronologic scheme will rely upon evolution, such as the appearance of new genera within a family, in combination with regional environmental changes that are responsible for the wide distribution of distinctive diatom species. The increased use of the scanning electron microscope for the

  8. Organic preservation of fossil musculature with ultracellular detail

    PubMed Central

    McNamara, Maria; Orr, Patrick J.; Kearns, Stuart L.; Alcalá, Luis; Anadón, Pere; Peñalver-Mollá, Enrique

    2010-01-01

    The very labile (decay-prone), non-biomineralized, tissues of organisms are rarely fossilized. Occurrences thereof are invaluable supplements to a body fossil record dominated by biomineralized tissues, which alone are extremely unrepresentative of diversity in modern and ancient ecosystems. Fossil examples of extremely labile tissues (e.g. muscle) that exhibit a high degree of morphological fidelity are almost invariably replicated by inorganic compounds such as calcium phosphate. There is no consensus as to whether such tissues can be preserved with similar morphological fidelity as organic remains, except when enclosed inside amber. Here, we report fossilized musculature from an approximately 18 Myr old salamander from lacustrine sediments of Ribesalbes, Spain. The muscle is preserved organically, in three dimensions, and with the highest fidelity of morphological preservation yet documented from the fossil record. Preserved ultrastructural details include myofilaments, endomysium, layering within the sarcolemma, and endomysial circulatory vessels infilled with blood. Slight differences between the fossil tissues and their counterparts in extant amphibians reflect limited degradation during fossilization. Our results provide unequivocal evidence that high-fidelity organic preservation of extremely labile tissues is not only feasible, but likely to be common. This is supported by the discovery of similarly preserved tissues in the Eocene Grube Messel biota. PMID:19828545

  9. Fossilized spermatozoa preserved in a 50-Myr-old annelid cocoon from Antarctica

    PubMed Central

    Bomfleur, Benjamin; Mörs, Thomas; Ferraguti, Marco; Reguero, Marcelo A.; McLoughlin, Stephen

    2015-01-01

    The origin and evolution of clitellate annelids—earthworms, leeches and their relatives—is poorly understood, partly because body fossils of these delicate organisms are exceedingly rare. The distinctive egg cases (cocoons) of Clitellata, however, are relatively common in the fossil record, although their potential for phylogenetic studies has remained largely unexplored. Here, we report the remarkable discovery of fossilized spermatozoa preserved within the secreted wall layers of a 50-Myr-old clitellate cocoon from Antarctica, representing the oldest fossil animal sperm yet known. Sperm characters are highly informative for the classification of extant Annelida. The Antarctic fossil spermatozoa have several features that point to affinities with the peculiar, leech-like ‘crayfish worms' (Branchiobdellida). We anticipate that systematic surveys of cocoon fossils coupled with advances in non-destructive analytical methods may open a new window into the evolution of minute, soft-bodied life forms that are otherwise only rarely observed in the fossil record. PMID:26179804

  10. Fossil Microorganisms in Archaean

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Astafleva, Marina; Hoover, Richard; Rozanov, Alexei; Vrevskiy, A.

    2006-01-01

    Ancient Archean and Proterozoic rocks are the model objects for investigation of rocks comprising astromaterials. The first of Archean fossil microorganisms from Baltic shield have been reported at the last SPIE Conference in 2005. Since this confeence biomorphic structures have been revealed in Archean rocks of Karelia. It was determined that there are 3 types of such bion structures: 1. structures found in situ, in other words microorganisms even-aged with rock matrix, that is real Archean fossils biomorphic structures, that is to say forms inhabited early formed rocks, and 3. younger than Archean-Protherozoic minerali microorganisms, that is later contamination. We made attempt to differentiate these 3 types of findings and tried to understand of burial of microorganisms. The structures belongs (from our point of view) to the first type, or real Archean, forms were under examination. Practical investigation of ancient microorganisms from Green-Stone-Belt of Northern Karelia turns to be very perspective. It shows that even in such ancient time as Archean ancient diverse world existed. Moreover probably such relatively highly organized cyanobacteria and perhaps eukaryotic formes existed in Archean world.

  11. Arthropod colonization of land--linking molecules and fossils in oribatid mites (Acari, Oribatida).

    PubMed

    Schaefer, Ina; Norton, Roy A; Scheu, Stefan; Maraun, Mark

    2010-10-01

    Terrestrial fossils that document the early colonization of land are scarce for >100 my after the Cambrian explosion. This raises the question whether life on land did not exist or just did not fossilize. With a molecular dating technique, we analyzed the origin of terrestrial chelicerate microarthropods (Acari, Oribatida) which have a fossil record since the Middle Devonian that is exceptional among soil animals. Our results suggest that oribatid mites originated in the Precambrian (571+/-37 mya) and that the radiation of basal groups coincides with the gap in the terrestrial fossil record between the Cambrian explosion and the earliest fossilized records of continental ecosystems. Further, they suggest that the colonization of land started via the interstitial, approximately 150 my earlier than the oldest fossils of terrestrial ecosystems. Overall, the results imply that omnivorous and detritivorous arthropods formed a major component in early terrestrial food webs, thereby facilitating the invasion of terrestrial habitats by later colonizers of higher trophic levels. PMID:20420932

  12. Shotgun microbial profiling of fossil remains.

    PubMed

    Der Sarkissian, C; Ermini, L; Jónsson, H; Alekseev, A N; Crubezy, E; Shapiro, B; Orlando, L

    2014-04-01

    Millions to billions of DNA sequences can now be generated from ancient skeletal remains thanks to the massive throughput of next-generation sequencing platforms. Except in cases of exceptional endogenous DNA preservation, most of the sequences isolated from fossil material do not originate from the specimen of interest, but instead reflect environmental organisms that colonized the specimen after death. Here, we characterize the microbial diversity recovered from seven c. 200- to 13 000-year-old horse bones collected from northern Siberia. We use a robust, taxonomy-based assignment approach to identify the microorganisms present in ancient DNA extracts and quantify their relative abundance. Our results suggest that molecular preservation niches exist within ancient samples that can potentially be used to characterize the environments from which the remains are recovered. In addition, microbial community profiling of the seven specimens revealed site-specific environmental signatures. These microbial communities appear to comprise mainly organisms that colonized the fossils recently. Our approach significantly extends the amount of useful data that can be recovered from ancient specimens using a shotgun sequencing approach. In future, it may be possible to correlate, for example, the accumulation of postmortem DNA damage with the presence and/or abundance of particular microbes. PMID:24612293

  13. Radioactivity in fossils at the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument.

    PubMed

    Farmer, C Neal; Kathren, Ronald L; Christensen, Craig

    2008-08-01

    Since 1996, higher than background levels of naturally occurring radioactivity have been documented in both fossil and mineral deposits at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in south-central Idaho. Radioactive fossil sites occur primarily within an elevation zone of 900-1000 m above sea level and are most commonly found associated with ancient river channels filled with sand. Fossils found in clay rich deposits do not exhibit discernable levels of radioactivity. Out of 300 randomly selected fossils, approximately three-fourths exhibit detectable levels of natural radioactivity ranging from 1 to 2 orders of magnitude above ambient background levels when surveyed with a portable hand held Geiger-Muller survey instrument. Mineral deposits in geologic strata also show above ambient background levels of radioactivity. Radiochemical lab analysis has documented the presence of numerous natural radioactive isotopes. It is postulated that ancient groundwater transported radioactive elements through sand bodies containing fossils which precipitated out of solution during the fossilization process. The elevated levels of natural radioactivity in fossils may require special precautions to ensure that exposures to personnel from stored or displayed items are kept as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). PMID:18442873

  14. Triassic leech cocoon from Antarctica contains fossil bell animal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bomfleur, Benjamin; Kerp, Hans; Taylor, Thomas N.; Moestrup, Øjvind; Taylor, Edith L.

    2012-12-01

    Our understanding of the evolution of life on Earth is limited by the imperfection of the fossil record. One reason for this imperfect record is that organisms without hard parts, such as bones, shells, and wood, have a very low potential to enter the fossil record. Occasionally, however, exceptional fossil deposits that preserve soft-bodied organisms provide a rare glimpse of the true biodiversity during past periods of Earth history. We here present an extraordinary find of a fossil ciliate that is encased inside the wall layer of a more than 200 Ma leech cocoon from Antarctica. The microfossil consists of a helically contractile stalk that attaches to a main body with a peristomial feeding apparatus and a large C-shaped macronucleus. It agrees in every aspect with the living bell animals, such as Vorticella. Vorticellids and similar peritrichs are vital constituents of aquatic ecosystems worldwide, but so far have lacked any fossil record. This discovery offers a glimpse of ancient soft-bodied protozoan biotas, and also highlights the potential of clitellate cocoons as microscopic "conservation traps" comparable to amber.

  15. The microfossil record of early land plants.

    PubMed

    Wellman, C H; Gray, J

    2000-06-29

    Dispersed microfossils (spores and phytodebris) provide the earliest evidence for land plants. They are first reported from the Llanvirn (Mid-Ordovician). More or less identical assemblages occur from the Llanvirn (Mid-Ordovician) to the late Llandovery (Early Silurian), suggesting a period of relative stasis some 40 Myr in duration. Various lines of evidence suggest that these early dispersed microfossils derive from parent plants that were bryophyte-like if not in fact bryophytes. In the late Llandovery (late Early Silurian) there was a major change in the nature of dispersed spore assemblages as the separated products of dyads (hilate monads) and tetrads (trilete spores) became relatively abundant. The inception of trilete spores probably represents the appearance of vascular plants or their immediate progenitors. A little later in time, in the Wenlock (early Late Silurian), the earliest unequivocal land plant megafossils occur. They are represented by rhyniophytoids. It is only from the Late Silurian onwards that the microfossil/ megafossil record can be integrated and utilized in interpretation of the flora. Dispersed microfossils are preserved in vast numbers, in a variety of environments, and have a reasonable spatial and temporal fossil record. The fossil record of plant megafossils by comparison is poor and biased, with only a dozen or so known pre-Devonian assemblages. In this paper, the early land plant microfossil record, and its interpretation, are reviewed. New discoveries, novel techniques and fresh lines of inquiry are outlined and discussed. PMID:10905606

  16. Fossil energy materials needs assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    King, R. T.; Judkins, R. R.

    1980-07-01

    An assessment of needs for materials of construction for fossil energy systems was prepared by Oak Ridge National Laboratories staff members who conducted a literature search and interviewed various individuals and organizations that are active in the area of fossil energy technology. Critical materials problems associated with fossil energy systems are identified. Background information relative to the various technologies is given and materials research needed to enhance the viability and improve the economics of fossil energy processes is discussed. The assessment is presented on the basis of materials-related disciplines that impact fossil energy material development. These disciplines include the design-materials interface, materials fabrication technology, corrosion and materials compatibility, wear phenomena, ceramic materials, and nondestructive testing.

  17. Highly skewed sex ratios and biased fossil deposition of moa: ancient DNA provides new insight on New Zealand's extinct megafauna

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Allentoft, Morten E.; Bunce, Michael; Scofield, R. Paul; Hale, Marie L.; Holdaway, Richard N.

    2010-03-01

    Ancient DNA was isolated from the bones of 267 individuals of the extinct New Zealand moa (Aves: Dinornithiformes) from two late Holocene deposits [Pyramid Valley (PV) and Bell Hill Vineyard (BHV)] located 5.7 km apart in North Canterbury, South Island. The two sites' combined fossil record cover the last 3000 years of pre-human New Zealand and mitochondrial DNA confirmed that four species ( Dinornis robustus, Euryapteryx curtus, Emeus crassus, and Pachyornis elephantopus) were sympatric in the region. However, the relative species compositions in the two deposits differed significantly with D. robustus and E. crassus being most abundant at PV while E. curtus outnumbered the other three moa taxa combined at BHV. A subsample of 227 individuals had sufficient nuclear DNA preservation to warrant the use of molecular sexing techniques, and the analyses uncovered a remarkable excess of females in both deposits with an overall male to female ratio of 1:5.1. Among juveniles of E. curtus, the only species which was represented by a substantial fraction of juveniles, the sex ratio was not skewed (10 ♂, 10 ♀), suggesting that the observed imbalance arose as a result of differential mortality during maturation. Surprisingly, sex ratios proved significantly different between sites with a 1:2.2 ratio at BHV ( n = 90) and 1:14.2 at PV ( n = 137). Given the mobility of large ratites, and the proximity of the two fossil assemblages in space and time, these differences in taxonomic and gender composition indicate that moa biology and the local environment have affected the fossil representation dramatically and several possible explanations are offered. Apart from adding to our understanding of moa biology, these discoveries reinforce the need for caution when basing interpretation of the fossil record on material from a single site.

  18. Fossil fuel furnace reactor

    DOEpatents

    Parkinson, William J.

    1987-01-01

    A fossil fuel furnace reactor is provided for simulating a continuous processing plant with a batch reactor. An internal reaction vessel contains a batch of shale oil, with the vessel having a relatively thin wall thickness for a heat transfer rate effective to simulate a process temperature history in the selected continuous processing plant. A heater jacket is disposed about the reactor vessel and defines a number of independent controllable temperature zones axially spaced along the reaction vessel. Each temperature zone can be energized to simulate a time-temperature history of process material through the continuous plant. A pressure vessel contains both the heater jacket and the reaction vessel at an operating pressure functionally selected to simulate the continuous processing plant. The process yield from the oil shale may be used as feedback information to software simulating operation of the continuous plant to provide operating parameters, i.e., temperature profiles, ambient atmosphere, operating pressure, material feed rates, etc., for simulation in the batch reactor.

  19. Exploring macroevolution using modern and fossil data.

    PubMed

    Benton, Michael J

    2015-07-01

    Macroevolution, encompassing the deep-time patterns of the origins of modern biodiversity, has been discussed in many contexts. Non-Darwinian models such as macromutations have been proposed as a means of bridging seemingly large gaps in knowledge, or as a means to explain the origin of exquisitely adapted body plans. However, such gaps can be spanned by new fossil finds, and complex, integrated organisms can be shown to have evolved piecemeal. For example, the fossil record between dinosaurs and Archaeopteryx has now filled up with astonishing fossil intermediates that show how the unique plexus of avian adaptations emerged step by step over 60 Myr. New numerical approaches to morphometrics and phylogenetic comparative methods allow palaeontologists and biologists to work together on deep-time questions of evolution, to explore how diversity, morphology and function have changed through time. Patterns are more complex than sometimes expected, with frequent decoupling of species diversity and morphological diversity, pointing to the need for some new generalizations about the processes that lie behind such patterns. PMID:26063844

  20. Exploring macroevolution using modern and fossil data

    PubMed Central

    Benton, Michael J.

    2015-01-01

    Macroevolution, encompassing the deep-time patterns of the origins of modern biodiversity, has been discussed in many contexts. Non-Darwinian models such as macromutations have been proposed as a means of bridging seemingly large gaps in knowledge, or as a means to explain the origin of exquisitely adapted body plans. However, such gaps can be spanned by new fossil finds, and complex, integrated organisms can be shown to have evolved piecemeal. For example, the fossil record between dinosaurs and Archaeopteryx has now filled up with astonishing fossil intermediates that show how the unique plexus of avian adaptations emerged step by step over 60 Myr. New numerical approaches to morphometrics and phylogenetic comparative methods allow palaeontologists and biologists to work together on deep-time questions of evolution, to explore how diversity, morphology and function have changed through time. Patterns are more complex than sometimes expected, with frequent decoupling of species diversity and morphological diversity, pointing to the need for some new generalizations about the processes that lie behind such patterns. PMID:26063844

  1. New Ediacara fossils preserved in marine limestone and their ecological implications

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Zhe; Zhou, Chuanming; Xiao, Shuhai; Wang, Wei; Guan, Chengguo; Hua, Hong; Yuan, Xunlai

    2014-01-01

    Ediacara fossils are central to our understanding of animal evolution on the eve of the Cambrian explosion, because some of them likely represent stem-group marine animals. However, some of the iconic Ediacara fossils have also been interpreted as terrestrial lichens or microbial colonies. Our ability to test these hypotheses is limited by a taphonomic bias that most Ediacara fossils are preserved in sandstones and siltstones. Here we report several iconic Ediacara fossils and an annulated tubular fossil (reconstructed as an erect epibenthic organism with uniserial arranged modular units), from marine limestone of the 551–541 Ma Dengying Formation in South China. These fossils significantly expand the ecological ranges of several key Ediacara taxa and support that they are marine organisms rather than terrestrial lichens or microbial colonies. Their close association with abundant bilaterian burrows also indicates that they could tolerate and may have survived moderate levels of bioturbation. PMID:24566959

  2. New Ediacara fossils preserved in marine limestone and their ecological implications.

    PubMed

    Chen, Zhe; Zhou, Chuanming; Xiao, Shuhai; Wang, Wei; Guan, Chengguo; Hua, Hong; Yuan, Xunlai

    2014-01-01

    Ediacara fossils are central to our understanding of animal evolution on the eve of the Cambrian explosion, because some of them likely represent stem-group marine animals. However, some of the iconic Ediacara fossils have also been interpreted as terrestrial lichens or microbial colonies. Our ability to test these hypotheses is limited by a taphonomic bias that most Ediacara fossils are preserved in sandstones and siltstones. Here we report several iconic Ediacara fossils and an annulated tubular fossil (reconstructed as an erect epibenthic organism with uniserial arranged modular units), from marine limestone of the 551-541 Ma Dengying Formation in South China. These fossils significantly expand the ecological ranges of several key Ediacara taxa and support that they are marine organisms rather than terrestrial lichens or microbial colonies. Their close association with abundant bilaterian burrows also indicates that they could tolerate and may have survived moderate levels of bioturbation. PMID:24566959

  3. New Ediacara fossils preserved in marine limestone and their ecological implications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Zhe; Zhou, Chuanming; Xiao, Shuhai; Wang, Wei; Guan, Chengguo; Hua, Hong; Yuan, Xunlai

    2014-02-01

    Ediacara fossils are central to our understanding of animal evolution on the eve of the Cambrian explosion, because some of them likely represent stem-group marine animals. However, some of the iconic Ediacara fossils have also been interpreted as terrestrial lichens or microbial colonies. Our ability to test these hypotheses is limited by a taphonomic bias that most Ediacara fossils are preserved in sandstones and siltstones. Here we report several iconic Ediacara fossils and an annulated tubular fossil (reconstructed as an erect epibenthic organism with uniserial arranged modular units), from marine limestone of the 551-541 Ma Dengying Formation in South China. These fossils significantly expand the ecological ranges of several key Ediacara taxa and support that they are marine organisms rather than terrestrial lichens or microbial colonies. Their close association with abundant bilaterian burrows also indicates that they could tolerate and may have survived moderate levels of bioturbation.

  4. Evolution in fossil lineages: paleontology and The Origin of Species.

    PubMed

    Hunt, Gene

    2010-12-01

    Of all of the sources of evidence for evolution by natural selection, perhaps the most problematic for Darwin was the geological record of organic change. In response to the absence of species-level transformations in the fossil record, Darwin argued that the fossil record was too incomplete, too biased, and too poorly known to provide strong evidence against his theory. Here, this view of the fossil record is evaluated in light of 150 years of subsequent paleontological research. Although Darwin's assessment of the completeness and resolution of fossiliferous rocks was in several ways astute, today the fossil record is much better explored, documented, and understood than it was in 1859. In particular, a reasonably large set of studies tracing evolutionary trajectories within species can now be brought to bear on Darwin's expectation of gradual change driven by natural selection. An unusually high-resolution sequence of stickleback-bearing strata records the transformation of this lineage via natural selection. This adaptive trajectory is qualitatively consistent with Darwin's prediction, but it occurred much more rapidly than he would have guessed: almost all of the directional change was completed within 1,000 generations. In most geological sequences, this change would be too rapid to resolve. The accumulated fossil record at more typical paleontological scales (10(4)-10(6) years) reveals evolutionary changes that are rarely directional and net rates of change that are perhaps surprisingly slow, two findings that are in agreement with the punctuated-equilibrium model. Finally, Darwin's view of the broader history of life is reviewed briefly, with a focus on competition-mediated extinction and recent paleontological and phylogenetic attempts to assess diversity dependence in evolutionary dynamics. PMID:21043781

  5. FOSSIL2 energy policy model documentation: FOSSIL2 documentation

    SciTech Connect

    1980-10-01

    This report discusses the structure, derivations, assumptions, and mathematical formulation of the FOSSIL2 model. Each major facet of the model - supply/demand interactions, industry financing, and production - has been designed to parallel closely the actual cause/effect relationships determining the behavior of the United States energy system. The data base for the FOSSIL2 program is large, as is appropriate for a system dynamics simulation model. When possible, all data were obtained from sources well known to experts in the energy field. Cost and resource estimates are based on DOE data whenever possible. This report presents the FOSSIL2 model at several levels. Volumes II and III of this report list the equations that comprise the FOSSIL2 model, along with variable definitions and a cross-reference list of the model variables. Volume III lists the model equations and a one line definition for equations, in a short, readable format.

  6. Fossilized bioelectric wire – the trace fossil Trichichnus

    PubMed Central

    Kędzierski, M.; Uchman, A.; Sawlowicz, Z.; Briguglio, A.

    2015-01-01

    The trace fossil Trichichnus is proposed as an indicator of fossil bioelectric bacterial activity at the oxic–anoxic interface zone of marine sediments. This fulfils the idea that such processes, commonly found in the modern realm, should be also present in the geological past. Trichichnus is an exceptional trace fossil due to its very thin diameter (mostly less than 1 mm) and common pyritic filling. It is ubiquitous in some fine-grained sediments, where it has been interpreted as a burrow formed deeper than any other trace fossils, below the redox boundary. Trichichnus, formerly referred to as deeply burrowed invertebrates, has been found as remnant of a fossilized intrasediment bacterial mat that is pyritized. As visualized in 3-D by means of X-ray computed microtomography scanner, Trichichnus forms dense filamentous fabric, which reflects that it is produced by modern large, mat-forming, sulfide-oxidizing bacteria, belonging mostly to Thioploca-related taxa, which are able to house a complex bacterial consortium. Several stages of Trichichnus formation, including filamentous, bacterial mat and its pyritization, are proposed to explain an electron exchange between oxic and suboxic/anoxic layers in the sediment. Therefore, Trichichnus can be considered a fossilized “electric wire”. PMID:26290671

  7. Phenotypic Evolution in Fossil Species: Pattern and Process

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hunt, Gene; Rabosky, Daniel L.

    2014-05-01

    Since Darwin, scientists have looked to the fossil record with the hope of using it to document how the phenotypes of species change over substantial periods of time. How best to interpret this record has been controversial, but empirical and methodological advances have resolved at least two issues about pattern: (a) directional transformations are seldom sustained over geological timescales, and (b) net rates of morphological change in fossil species are usually quite slow. Considerable uncertainty remains, however, about the processes responsible for these patterns, but most fruitful explanations use the framework of adaptive landscapes to consider the role of natural selection and other processes. An additional, unresolved issue is the claim that most phenotypic change is associated with speciation. A variety of methods, using data from both fossil and extant species, have supported such a link, at least in some clades and traits, but its prevalence and underlying mechanism remain unresolved.

  8. Dating Fossil Pollen: A Simulation.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sheridan, Philip

    1992-01-01

    Describes a hands-on simulation in which students determine the age of "fossil" pollen samples based on the pollen types present when examined microscopically. Provides instructions for the preparation of pollen slides. (MDH)

  9. An Introduction to Fossil Plants

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Thomas, B. A.

    1976-01-01

    Introduces methods of studying fossil plants and of teaching palaeobotany. Brief accounts are given of different types of preservation and where to find specimens. An annotated bibliography is provided. (Author/SL)

  10. Corrected placement of Mus-Rattus fossil calibration forces precision in the molecular tree of rodents.

    PubMed

    Kimura, Yuri; Hawkins, Melissa T R; McDonough, Molly M; Jacobs, Louis L; Flynn, Lawrence J

    2015-01-01

    Time calibration derived from the fossil record is essential for molecular phylogenetic and evolutionary studies. Fossil mice and rats, discovered in the Siwalik Group of Pakistan, have served as one of the best-known fossil calibration points in molecular phylogenic studies. Although these fossils have been widely used as the 12 Ma date for the Mus/Rattus split or a more basal split, conclusive paleontological evidence for the nodal assignments has been absent. This study analyzes newly recognized characters that demonstrate lineage separation in the fossil record of Siwalik murines and examines the most reasonable nodal placement of the diverging lineages in a molecular phylogenetic tree by ancestral state reconstruction. Our specimen-based approach strongly indicates that Siwalik murines of the Karnimata clade are fossil members of the Arvicanthini-Otomyini-Millardini clade, which excludes Rattus and its relatives. Combining the new interpretation with the widely accepted hypothesis that the Progonomys clade includes Mus, the lineage separation event in the Siwalik fossil record represents the Mus/Arvicanthis split. Our test analysis on Bayesian age estimates shows that this new calibration point provides more accurate estimates of murine divergence than previous applications. Thus, we define this fossil calibration point and refine two other fossil-based points for molecular dating. PMID:26411391

  11. Corrected placement of Mus-Rattus fossil calibration forces precision in the molecular tree of rodents

    PubMed Central

    Kimura, Yuri; Hawkins, Melissa T. R.; McDonough, Molly M.; Jacobs, Louis L.; Flynn, Lawrence J.

    2015-01-01

    Time calibration derived from the fossil record is essential for molecular phylogenetic and evolutionary studies. Fossil mice and rats, discovered in the Siwalik Group of Pakistan, have served as one of the best-known fossil calibration points in molecular phylogenic studies. Although these fossils have been widely used as the 12 Ma date for the Mus/Rattus split or a more basal split, conclusive paleontological evidence for the nodal assignments has been absent. This study analyzes newly recognized characters that demonstrate lineage separation in the fossil record of Siwalik murines and examines the most reasonable nodal placement of the diverging lineages in a molecular phylogenetic tree by ancestral state reconstruction. Our specimen-based approach strongly indicates that Siwalik murines of the Karnimata clade are fossil members of the Arvicanthini-Otomyini-Millardini clade, which excludes Rattus and its relatives. Combining the new interpretation with the widely accepted hypothesis that the Progonomys clade includes Mus, the lineage separation event in the Siwalik fossil record represents the Mus/Arvicanthis split. Our test analysis on Bayesian age estimates shows that this new calibration point provides more accurate estimates of murine divergence than previous applications. Thus, we define this fossil calibration point and refine two other fossil-based points for molecular dating. PMID:26411391

  12. Vertebrate fossils and trace fossils in Upper Jurassic-Lower cretaceous red beds in the Atacama region, Chile

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bell, C. M.; Suárez, M.

    Pterosaur, dinosaur, and crocodile bones are recorded here for the first time in Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous red beds in the Atacama region east of Copiapó, Chile. Trace fossils produced by vertebrate animals include the footprints of theropod dinosaurs and the depressions of sandstone laminae interpreted as burrows and foot impressions. The fossils occur in the 1500-meter-thick Quebrada Monardes Formation, which consists predominantly of the aeolian and alluvial deposits of a semi-arid terrestrial environment. Vertebrate fossils are very rare in Chile. Dinosaur bones and footprints have previously been recorded at only seven locations, and pterosaur remains at only one location. The newly discovered dinosaur bones are the oldest to be described in Chile.

  13. We're Going on a Fossil Hunt!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Powell, Deborah A.; Aram, Richard B.; Aram, Roberta J.; Chase, Terry L.

    2007-01-01

    Scientists understand that scientific ideas are subject to change and improvement. Fourth- through eighth- graders develop this understanding about the nature of science as they gather and examine fossil evidence from the Paleozoic era, record their findings, and read and write about science for authentic purposes as scientists do. Students…

  14. Taxonomy and fossils: a critical appraisal.

    PubMed Central

    Forey, Peter L; Fortey, Richard A; Kenrick, Paul; Smith, Andrew B

    2004-01-01

    Many compendia at the species, genus and family levels document the fossil record, but these are not standardized, nor usually critical in content, and few are available on the World Wide Web. The sampling of the available record is good for organisms with fossilizable parts, but preservational constraints on the entire morphology, life history and geographical distribution lead to difficulties in recognizing and naming species. We recommend abandoning some of the palaeontological species concepts such as chronospecies and stratospecies, and we advocate species recognition based on unique combinations of characters. The compilation of species lists is extremely time consuming, and given the inherent problems we suggest that compilation of generic lists is a more achievable goal because genera are recognized by definitive morphological characters. In calculating taxon duration, care must be taken to distinguish between mono-, para- and polyphyletic groups, the first being the only reliable unit for use in calculating diversity curves. We support the inclusion of fossils into classifications based on Recent organisms, but we recognize some of the problems this may pose for standard Linnaean classifications. Web-based taxonomy is the way forward, having the advantages of speed and currency of information dissemination, universal access with links to primary literature and increasingly sophisticated imagery. These advantages over conventional outlets will only be realized with careful Web design and a commitment to maintenance. PMID:15253350

  15. The origin and paleoecologic significance of the trace fossil Asteriadtes in the Pennsylvanian of Kansas and Missouri

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gabriela, Mangano M.; Buatois, L.A.; West, R.R.; Maples, C.G.

    1999-01-01

    The trace fossil Asteriacites, recorded in Cambrian to Recent shallow- and deep-marine facie??s, is traditionally interpreted as the resting trace of asterozoans. Well-preserved specimens of A. lumbricalis are abundant in Pennsylvanian (Upper Carboniferous) shallow- and marginalmarine siliciclastic deposits of eastern Kansas and western Missouri. Detailed morphologic analysis of these specimens suggests that they record the activities of mobile epifaunal ophiuroids. Evidence of a brittle star (ophiuroid) producer rather than sea star (asteroid) is provided by (1) trace-fossil morphologic features reflecting the anatomy of the producer (e.g., well-differentiated central structure, slender vermiform arms) and ophiuroid burrowing technique (e.g., proximal arm expansion, arm branching), and (2) mode of occurrence (e.g., gregarious behavior, horizontal and vertical repetition). Vertical and horizontal repetition produces complex aggregates of A. lumbricalis that are interpreted either as escape structures (fugichnia) or as feeding structures, respectively. Ophiura texturata is proposed.as a modern analogue for the A. lumbricalis producer, based on inferred life habit and feeding behavior. Asteriacites lumbricalis is present in two different intertidal trace-fossil assemblages. The first assemblage is characterized by high diversity and records tidal flats developed outside of embayments under normal marine conditions. The second assemblage consists of A. lumbricalis together with a few other ichnotaxa and represents a depauperate association that developed in restricted tidal flats within an embayment or estuarine setting. This challenges the conventional view of Asteriacites as a normal-marine salinity indicator. Some echinoderms, and particularly asterozoans, penetrate and inhabit modern environments of depressed salinity. The presence of Asteriacites in Pennsylvanian marginal-marine facie??s of Kansas and Missouri provides evidence that ophiuroids had adapted to

  16. A revised checklist of Nepticulidae fossils (Lepidoptera) indicates an Early Cretaceous origin.

    PubMed

    Doorenweerd, Camiel; Nieukerken, Erik J Van; Sohn, Jae-Cheon; Labandeira, Conrad C

    2015-01-01

    With phylogenetic knowledge of Lepidoptera rapidly increasing, catalysed by increasingly powerful molecular techniques, the demand for fossil calibration points to estimate an evolutionary timeframe for the order is becoming an increasingly pressing issue. The family Nepticulidae is a species rich, basal branch within the phylogeny of the Lepidoptera, characterized by larval leaf-mining habits, and thereby represents a potentially important lineage whose evolutionary history can be established more thoroughly with the potential use of fossil calibration points. Using our experience with extant global Nepticulidae, we discuss a list of characters that may be used to assign fossil leaf mines to Nepticulidae, and suggest useful methods for classifying relevant fossil material. We present a checklist of 79 records of Nepticulidae representing adult and leaf-mine fossils mentioned in literature, often with multiple exemplars constituting a single record. We provide our interpretation of these fossils. Two species now are included in the collective generic name Stigmellites: Stigmellites resupinata (Krassilov, 2008) comb. nov. (from Ophiheliconoma) and Stigmellites almeidae (Martins-Neto, 1989) comb. nov. (from Nepticula). Eleven records are for the first time attributed to Nepticulidae. After discarding several dubious records, including one possibly placing the family at a latest Jurassic position, we conclude that the oldest fossils likely attributable to Nepticulidae are several exemplars representing a variety of species from the Dakota Formation (USA). The relevant strata containing these earliest fossils are now dated at 102 Ma (million years ago) in age, corresponding to the latest Albian Stage of the Early Cretaceous. Integration of all records in the checklist shows that a continuous presence of nepticulid-like leaf mines preserved as compression-impression fossils and by amber entombment of adults have a fossil record extending to the latest Early Cretaceous

  17. The "Sudden Explosion" of Animal Fossils about 600 Million Years Ago: Why?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kaveski, Sharon; Margulis, Lynn

    1983-01-01

    Discusses the "sudden explosion" of animal fossils during the Cambrian era, suggesting that the "explosion" is a result of organic evolution, leading to remarkably preservable calcareous skeletons. Suggests that earlier organisms were soft-bodied and consequently were poorly preserved in the fossil record. (JN)

  18. Microbial Fossilization in Mineralizing Environments: Relevance for Mars "EXOPALEONTOLOGY"

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farmer, Jack D.; DesMarais, David J.; Morrison, David (Technical Monitor)

    1994-01-01

    The goals of post-Viking exobiology include the search for a Martian fossil record. How can we optimize future exploration efforts to search for fossils on Mars? The Precambrian fossil record indicates that key factors for the long-term preservation of microbial fossils include: 1) the rapid entombment and/or replacement of organisms and organic matter by fine-grained, stable mineral phases (e.g. silica, phosphate, and to a lesser extent, carbonate), 2) low-permeability host sediments (maintaining a closed chemical system during early diagenesis), and 3) shallow burial (maintaining post-depositional temperatures and pressures within the stability range for complex organic molecules). Modem terrestrial environments where early mineralization commonly occurs in association with microbial organisms include: subaerial thermal springs and shallow hydrothermal systems, sub-lacustrine springs and evaporites of alkaline lakes, and subsoil environments where hardpans (e.g. calcretes, silcretes) and duricrusts form. Studies of microbial fossilization in such environments provide important insights preservation patterns in Precambrian rocks, while also playing a role in the development of strategies for Mars exopaleontology. The refinement of site priorities for Mars exopaleontology is expected to benefit greatly from high resolution imaging and altimetry acquired during upcoming orbital missions, and especially infrared and gamma ray spectral data needed for determining surface composition. In anticipation of future orbital missions, constraints for identifying high priority mineral deposits on Mars are being developed through analog remote sensing studies of key mineralizing environments on Earth.

  19. From Suns to Life: A Chronological Approach to the History of Life on Earth 7. Ancient Fossil Record and Early Evolution (ca. 3.8 to 0.5 Ga)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    López-Garcia, Purificacón; Moreira, David; Douzery, Emmanuel; Forterre, Patrick; van Zuilen, Mark; Claeys, Philippe; Prieur, Daniel

    2006-06-01

    Once life appeared, it evolved and diversified. From primitive living entities, an evolutionary path of unknown duration, likely paralleled by the extinction of unsuccessful attempts, led to a last common ancestor that was endowed with the basic properties of all cells. From it, cellular organisms derived in a relative order, chronology and manner that are not yet completely settled. Early life evolution was accompanied by metabolic diversification, i.e. by the development of carbon and energy metabolic pathways that differed from the first, not yet clearly identified, metabolic strategies used. When did the different evolutionary transitions take place? The answer is difficult, since hot controversies have been raised in recent years concerning the reliability of the oldest life traces, regardless of their morphological, isotopic or organic nature, and there are also many competing hypotheses for the evolution of the eukaryotic cell. As a result, there is a need to delimit hypotheses from solid facts and to apply a critical analysis of contrasting data. Hopefully, methodological improvement and the increase of data, including fossil signatures and genomic information, will help reconstructing a better picture of life evolution in early times as well as to, perhaps, date some of the major evolutionary transitions. There are already some certitudes. Modern eukaryotes evolved after bacteria, since their mitochondria derived from ancient bacterial endosymbionts. Once prokaryotes and unicellular eukaryotes had colonized terrestrial ecosystems for millions of years, the first pluricellular animals appeared and radiated, thus inaugurating the Cambrian. The following sections constitute a collection of independent articles providing a general overview of these aspects.

  20. Molecular Fossils for Understanding Biodiversity During the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian Transition in China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pi, Y.; Tuo, J.; McFadden, K.; Xiao, S.; Zhang, C. L.

    2005-12-01

    Neoproterozoic-Cambrian rocks in South China contain an extraordinary fossil record, including exceptionally well preserved animal embryos, acritarchs, and multi-cellular algae. The goal of this study was to evaluate the microbial diversity associated with these remarkably preserved fossil assemblages at the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian transition. Rock samples of 520-632 Ma in age were collected in the Yangtze Gorges area and southern Anhui Province, China. Samples were powdered and extracted for organic biomarkers. The content of bitumen A accounted for 4-16% of the rock material and most of it (49-79%) was asphaltenes. Saturated and aromatic hydrocarbons accounted for 2-6% and 1-3%, respectively. Analysis using GC-MS indicated the predominance of n-alkanes and less abundant isoprenoid alkanes in the saturated fractions. The n-alkanes were characterized by homologues dominated by C15-C17, which is consistent with the result of high thermal-evolution (Brocks et al., 2003. GCA 67:4321-4335). Hopanoids were present in less abundance and ranged from C29 to C32. A smaller amount of heavy-molecular-weight n-alkanes (C23-C39) was also detected, which indicated a source of high plants and must be contamination from younger organic matter. Still, patterns of variation can be detected among these samples. For example, the ratio of pristane to phytane was all greater than 1.0 except for one sample (JLW9.3) from Yangtze Gorges area. The results indicate that sample JLW9.3 might have been deposited in a reducing environment whereas the other samples might have been formed in relatively oxidative environments. The overall results, however, suggest that rock samples from the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian transition in China have gone through significant metamorphism; thus, understanding of microbial communities using molecular biomarkers in such altered rocks needs to be cautiously executed.

  1. Travels with the Fossil Hunters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whybrow, Peter J.

    2000-04-01

    Whether dodging bullets in West Africa, or rabid dogs in Pakistan, surviving yak-butter tea in Tibet, or eating raw fish in China, the life of a globe-trotting fossil hunter is often hazardous and always filled with surprises. Travels with the Fossil Hunters lets readers share the wonder, joys of discovery, and excitement of these intrepid scientists. Packed with more than 100 beautiful, full-color photographs, the volume takes readers on twelve expeditions to remote parts of the world in search of diverse fossil remains, from those of dinosaurs to human ancestors. Each expedition by paleontologists from London's Natural History Museum reveals the problems and challenges of working in extreme conditions, from the deserts of the Sahara and Yemen to the frozen wastes of Antarctica, from the mountains of India to the forests of Latvia. Along the way they also describe the paleontology and geology of the countries they visit and the scientific reasons for their expeditions. With a foreword from Sir David Attenborough and an introduction from Richard Fortey, this fascinating book will appeal to amateur and professional fossil hunters alike and to readers interested in accounts of exotic locales. Peter Whybrow is a research scientist at the Natural History Museum, London. His research interests include Arabian Miocene vertebrates, paleoclimates, paleogeography, and biotic diversity. He is senior editor with A. Hill of Fossil Vertebrates of Arabia (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1999).

  2. Fossil and Genetic Evidence for the Polyphyletic Nature of the Planktonic Foraminifera "Globigerinoides", and Description of the New Genus Trilobatus

    PubMed Central

    Spezzaferri, Silvia; Kucera, Michal; Pearson, Paul Nicholas; Wade, Bridget Susan; Rappo, Sacha; Poole, Christopher Robert; Morard, Raphaël; Stalder, Claudio

    2015-01-01

    Planktonic foraminifera are one of the most abundant and diverse protists in the oceans. Their utility as paleo proxies requires rigorous taxonomy and comparison with living and genetically related counterparts. We merge genetic and fossil evidence of “Globigerinoides”, characterized by supplementary apertures on spiral side, in a new approach to trace their “total evidence phylogeny” since their first appearance in the latest Paleogene. Combined fossil and molecular genetic data indicate that this genus, as traditionally understood, is polyphyletic. Both datasets indicate the existence of two distinct lineages that evolved independently. One group includes “Globigerinoides” trilobus and its descendants, the extant “Globigerinoides” sacculifer, Orbulina universa and Sphaeroidinella dehiscens. The second group includes the Globigerinoides ruber clade with the extant G. conglobatus and G. elongatus and ancestors. In molecular phylogenies, the trilobus group is not the sister taxon of the ruber group. The ruber group clusters consistently together with the modern Globoturborotalita rubescens as a sister taxon. The re-analysis of the fossil record indicates that the first “Globigerinoides” in the late Oligocene are ancestral to the trilobus group, whereas the ruber group first appeared at the base of the Miocene with representatives distinct from the trilobus group. Therefore, polyphyly of the genus "Globigerinoides" as currently defined can only be avoided either by broadening the genus concept to include G. rubescens and a large number of fossil species without supplementary apertures, or if the trilobus group is assigned to a separate genus. Since the former is not feasible due to the lack of a clear diagnosis for such a broad genus, we erect a new genus Trilobatus for the trilobus group (type species Globigerina triloba Reuss) and amend Globoturborotalita and Globigerinoides to clarify morphology and wall textures of these genera. In the new

  3. Fossil and genetic evidence for the polyphyletic nature of the planktonic foraminifera "Globigerinoides", and description of the new genus Trilobatus.

    PubMed

    Spezzaferri, Silvia; Kucera, Michal; Pearson, Paul Nicholas; Wade, Bridget Susan; Rappo, Sacha; Poole, Christopher Robert; Morard, Raphaël; Stalder, Claudio

    2015-01-01

    Planktonic foraminifera are one of the most abundant and diverse protists in the oceans. Their utility as paleo proxies requires rigorous taxonomy and comparison with living and genetically related counterparts. We merge genetic and fossil evidence of "Globigerinoides", characterized by supplementary apertures on spiral side, in a new approach to trace their "total evidence phylogeny" since their first appearance in the latest Paleogene. Combined fossil and molecular genetic data indicate that this genus, as traditionally understood, is polyphyletic. Both datasets indicate the existence of two distinct lineages that evolved independently. One group includes "Globigerinoides" trilobus and its descendants, the extant "Globigerinoides" sacculifer, Orbulina universa and Sphaeroidinella dehiscens. The second group includes the Globigerinoides ruber clade with the extant G. conglobatus and G. elongatus and ancestors. In molecular phylogenies, the trilobus group is not the sister taxon of the ruber group. The ruber group clusters consistently together with the modern Globoturborotalita rubescens as a sister taxon. The re-analysis of the fossil record indicates that the first "Globigerinoides" in the late Oligocene are ancestral to the trilobus group, whereas the ruber group first appeared at the base of the Miocene with representatives distinct from the trilobus group. Therefore, polyphyly of the genus "Globigerinoides" as currently defined can only be avoided either by broadening the genus concept to include G. rubescens and a large number of fossil species without supplementary apertures, or if the trilobus group is assigned to a separate genus. Since the former is not feasible due to the lack of a clear diagnosis for such a broad genus, we erect a new genus Trilobatus for the trilobus group (type species Globigerina triloba Reuss) and amend Globoturborotalita and Globigerinoides to clarify morphology and wall textures of these genera. In the new concept, Trilobatus n

  4. The (32)S/(33)S abundance as a function of galactocentric radius in the Milky Way

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Greenhouse, M. A.; Thronson, H. A., Jr.

    1986-01-01

    Astration of heavy elements by the stars of the Milky Way forms a fossil record which may preserve spacial distribution of the mass function for the stars in the galaxy. Sulfur is among the last common element for which the relative abundance of its various isotopes have yet to be completely measured within our galaxy. Explosive oxygen burning in massive stars is thought to be the process which dominates sulfur production within stars. There models predict that the various isotopes (S-32, S-33, S-34) are formed in relative abundance which depend strongly upon the mass of the parent star. This relative abundance is thought to be unaffected by subsequent stellar procesing since all important sinks of sulfur destroy it without regard for isotopic form. Hence the spacial variation of the mass function (MF) can be studied by measuring the abundance variation of sulfur isotopes in the galaxy provided that the product yields for these isotopes are known accurately as a function of stellar mass.

  5. Fossils, rocks, and time

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Edwards, Lucy E.; Pojeta, John

    1999-01-01

    We study our Earth for many reasons: to find water to drink or oil to run our cars or coal to heat our homes, to know where to expect earthquakes or landslides or floods, and to try to understand our natural surroundings. Earth is constantly changing--nothing on its surface is truly permanent. Rocks that are now on top of a mountain may once have been at the bottom of the sea. Thus, to understand the world we live on, we must add the dimension of time. We must study Earth's history. When we talk about recorded history, time is measured in years, centuries, and tens of centuries. When we talk about Earth history, time is measured in millions and billions of years. Time is an everyday part of our lives. We keep track of time with a marvelous invention, the calendar, which is based on the movements of Earth in space. One spin of Earth on its axis is a day, and one trip around the Sun is a year. The modern calendar is a great achievement, developed over many thousands of years as theory and technology improved. People who study Earth's history also use a type of calendar, called the geologic time scale. It looks very different from the familiar calendar. In some ways, it is more like a book, and the rocks are its pages. Some of the pages are torn or missing, and the pages are not numbered, but geology gives us the tools to help us read this book.

  6. Fossils, rocks, and time

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Edwards, Lucy E.; Pojeta, John, Jr.

    1993-01-01

    We study out Earth for many reasons: to find water to drink or oil to run our cars or coal to heat our homes, to know where to expect earthquakes or landslides or floods, and to try to understand our natural surroundings. Earth is constantly changing--nothing on its surface is truly permanent. Rocks that are not on top of a mountain may once have been on the bottom of the sea. Thus, to understand the world we live on, we must add the dimension of time. We must study Earth's history. When we talk about recorded history, time is measured in years, centuries, and tens of centuries. When we talk about Earth history, time is measured in millions and billions of years. Time is an everyday part of our lives. We keep track of time with a marvelous invention, the calendar, which is based on the movements of the Earth in space. One spin of Earth on its axis is a day, and one trip around the sun is a year. The modern calendar is a great achievement, developed over many thousands of years as theory and technology improved. People who study Earth's history also use a type of calendar, called the geologic time scale. It looks very different from the familiar calendar. In some ways, it is more like a book, and the rocks are its pages. Some of the pages are torn or missing, and the pages are not numbered, but geology gives us the tools to help us read this book.

  7. Ancient biomolecules: their origins, fossilization, and role in revealing the history of life.

    PubMed

    Briggs, Derek E G; Summons, Roger E

    2014-05-01

    The discovery of traces of a blood meal in the abdomen of a 50-million-year-old mosquito reminds us of the insights that the chemistry of fossils can provide. Ancient DNA is the best known fossil molecule. It is less well known that new fossil targets and a growing database of ancient gene sequences are paralleled by discoveries on other classes of organic molecules. New analytical tools, such as the synchrotron, reveal traces of the original composition of arthropod cuticles that are more than 400 my old. Pigments such as melanin are readily fossilized, surviving virtually unaltered for ∼200 my. Other biomarkers provide evidence of microbial processes in ancient sediments, and have been used to reveal the presence of demosponges, for example, more than 635 mya, long before their spicules appear in the fossil record. Ancient biomolecules are a powerful complement to fossil remains in revealing the history of life. PMID:24623098

  8. Fossil-bearing deposits from the Bukpyeong Formation (Miocene) in the Bukpyeong Basin at Donghae city, Gangwon-do, South Korea: occurrences, taphonomy and paleoenvironmental implications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, Hyun Joo; Jeong, Eun Kyoung; Uemura, Kazuhiko; Kim, Kyungsik; Paik, In Sung

    2016-04-01

    Abundant and diverse plant fossils such as land plants and subaqueous plants, freshwater mollusc fossils and invertebrate trace fossils are found in the Miocene Bukpyeong Formation at Donghae city, Gangwon-do, South Korea. Occurrences and taphofacies of the fossil-bearing deposits from the Bukpyeong Formation are described and their taphonomy and paleoenvironmental implications are interpreted. Based on fossil occurrences, lithofacies and sedimentary features of the fossil-bearing deposits, eight taphofacies are classified as the following: (1) Taphofacies 1: Gastropod fossils in massive silty mudstone; (2) Taphofacies 2: Bivalve fossils in massive silty mudstone; (3) Taphofacies 3: Plant fossils (leaf fossils) in massive silty mudstone; (4) Taphofacies 4: Gastropod and plant fossils in massive silty mudstone; (5) Taphofacies 5: Plant fossils in weakly fissile silty mudstone; (6) Taphofacies 6: Plant fossils (leaf fossils) in thin-bedded and graded silty mudstone to mudstone (claystone); (7) Taphofacies 7: Plant fragment fossils in thin-bedded and graded silty mudstone to mudstone (claystone); (8) Taphofacies 8: Plant debris in planar- to cross-laminated fine-grained sandstone. Taphonomy of taphofacies 1, 2, and 4 including freshwater mollusc fossils is interpreted to have been reworked or transported by turbidity currents after death and deposited in shallow lake to open lake. Taphonomy of taphofacies 3, 5, 6, and 7 including plant fossils is interpreted to have been transported by input of episodic flooding in the land and deposited by settling down in open lake. Taphofacies 8 including plant debris has been deposited in shallow lake by input of intensive episodic flooding from the land. The occurrences and taphofacies of the fossil-bearing deposits indicate that most of the fossils were transported by turbidity current induced by input of episodic flooding in the land and deposited in shallow lake to open lake. Moreover, plant fossils from the Bukpyeong

  9. FOSSIL2 energy policy model documentation: FOSSIL2 documentation

    SciTech Connect

    1980-10-01

    This report discusses the structure, derivations, assumptions, and mathematical formulation of the FOSSIL2 model. Each major facet of the model - supply/demand interactions, industry financing, and production - has been designed to parallel closely the actual cause/effect relationships determining the behavior of the United States energy system. The data base for the FOSSIL2 program is large, as is appropriate for a system dynamics simulation model. When possible, all data were obtained from sources well known to experts in the energy field. Cost and resource estimates are based on DOE data whenever possible. This report presents the FOSSIL2 model at several levels. Volumes II and III of this report list the equations that comprise the FOSSIL2 model, along with variable definitions and a cross-reference list of the model variables. Volume II provides the model equations with each of their variables defined, while Volume III lists the equations, and a one line definition for equations, in a shorter, more readable format.

  10. The oldest Mahonia (Berberidaceae) fossil from East Asia and its biogeographic implications.

    PubMed

    Huang, Jian; Su, Tao; Lebereton-Anberrée, Julie; Zhang, Shi-Tao; Zhou, Zhe-Kun

    2016-03-01

    Interpretation of the biogeography of the genus Mahonia (Berberidaceae) is limited by the lack of fossil records in East Asia. Compressed fossil foliage, described here as Mahonia mioasiatica sp. nov., were collected from the Upper Miocene Xiaolongtan Formation in Wenshan, Yunnan, southwest China. These specimens represent the oldest reliable fossil record of Mahonia in East Asia. This new fossil species shows a general similarity to Group Orientales and is most similar to the extant eastern Asian Mahonia conferta. Considering other fossil evidence of Mahonia, we propose a migration route of this genus to Asia over the North Atlantic Land Bridge rather than the Bering Land Bridge. Our results also suggest that North America, Europe and East Asia have been successive centers of diversity for the genus, as a consequence of diversification in Group Orientales potentially related to historical climate change. PMID:26691316

  11. Peaches Preceded Humans: Fossil Evidence from SW China.

    PubMed

    Su, Tao; Wilf, Peter; Huang, Yongjiang; Zhang, Shitao; Zhou, Zhekun

    2015-01-01

    Peach (Prunus persica, Rosaceae) is an extremely popular tree fruit worldwide, with an annual production near 20 million tons. Peach is widely thought to have origins in China, but its evolutionary history is largely unknown. The oldest evidence for the peach has been Chinese archaeological records dating to 8000-7000 BP. Here, we report eight fossil peach endocarps from late Pliocene strata of Kunming City, Yunnan, southwestern China. The fossils are identical to modern peach endocarps, including size comparable to smaller modern varieties, a single seed, a deep dorsal groove, and presence of deep pits and furrows. These fossils show that China has been a critical region for peach evolution since long before human presence, much less agriculture. Peaches evolved their modern morphology under natural selection, presumably involving large, frugivorous mammals such as primates. Much later, peach size and variety increased through domestication and breeding. PMID:26610240

  12. Peaches Preceded Humans: Fossil Evidence from SW China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Su, Tao; Wilf, Peter; Huang, Yongjiang; Zhang, Shitao; Zhou, Zhekun

    2015-11-01

    Peach (Prunus persica, Rosaceae) is an extremely popular tree fruit worldwide, with an annual production near 20 million tons. Peach is widely thought to have origins in China, but its evolutionary history is largely unknown. The oldest evidence for the peach has been Chinese archaeological records dating to 8000-7000 BP. Here, we report eight fossil peach endocarps from late Pliocene strata of Kunming City, Yunnan, southwestern China. The fossils are identical to modern peach endocarps, including size comparable to smaller modern varieties, a single seed, a deep dorsal groove, and presence of deep pits and furrows. These fossils show that China has been a critical region for peach evolution since long before human presence, much less agriculture. Peaches evolved their modern morphology under natural selection, presumably involving large, frugivorous mammals such as primates. Much later, peach size and variety increased through domestication and breeding.

  13. Peaches Preceded Humans: Fossil Evidence from SW China

    PubMed Central

    Su, Tao; Wilf, Peter; Huang, Yongjiang; Zhang, Shitao; Zhou, Zhekun

    2015-01-01

    Peach (Prunus persica, Rosaceae) is an extremely popular tree fruit worldwide, with an annual production near 20 million tons. Peach is widely thought to have origins in China, but its evolutionary history is largely unknown. The oldest evidence for the peach has been Chinese archaeological records dating to 8000–7000 BP. Here, we report eight fossil peach endocarps from late Pliocene strata of Kunming City, Yunnan, southwestern China. The fossils are identical to modern peach endocarps, including size comparable to smaller modern varieties, a single seed, a deep dorsal groove, and presence of deep pits and furrows. These fossils show that China has been a critical region for peach evolution since long before human presence, much less agriculture. Peaches evolved their modern morphology under natural selection, presumably involving large, frugivorous mammals such as primates. Much later, peach size and variety increased through domestication and breeding. PMID:26610240

  14. First records of Canis dirus and Smilodon fatalis from the late Pleistocene Tule Springs local fauna, upper Las Vegas Wash, Nevada

    PubMed Central

    Springer, Kathleen B.

    2016-01-01

    Late Pleistocene groundwater discharge deposits (paleowetlands) in the upper Las Vegas Wash north of Las Vegas, Nevada, have yielded an abundant and diverse vertebrate fossil assemblage, the Tule Springs local fauna (TSLF). The TSLF is the largest open-site vertebrate fossil assemblage dating to the Rancholabrean North American Land Mammal Age in the southern Great Basin and Mojave Desert. Over 600 discrete body fossil localities have been recorded from the wash, including an area that now encompasses Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument (TUSK). Paleowetland sediments exposed in TUSK named the Las Vegas Formation span the last 250 ka, with fossiliferous sediments spanning ∼100–13 ka. The recovered fauna is dominated by remains of Camelopsand Mammuthus, and also includes relatively common remains of extinct Equusand Bisonas well as abundant vertebrate microfaunal fossils. Large carnivorans are rare, with only Puma concolor and Panthera atrox documented previously. Postcranial remains assigned to the species Canis dirus (dire wolf) and Smilodon fatalis (sabre-toothed cat) represent the first confirmed records of these species from the TSLF, as well as the first documentation of Canis dirus in Nevada and the only known occurrence of Smilodonin southern Nevada. The size of the recovered canid fossil precludes assignment to other Pleistocene species of Canis. The morphology of the felid elements differentiates them from other large predators such as Panthera, Homotherium, and Xenosmilus, and the size of the fossils prevents assignment to other species of Smilodon. The confirmed presence of S. fatalis in the TSLF is of particular interest, indicating that this species inhabited open habitats. In turn, this suggests that the presumed preference of S. fatalis for closed-habitat environments hunting requires further elucidation. PMID:27366649

  15. First records of Canis dirus and Smilodon fatalis from the late Pleistocene Tule Springs local fauna, upper Las Vegas Wash, Nevada.

    PubMed

    Scott, Eric; Springer, Kathleen B

    2016-01-01

    Late Pleistocene groundwater discharge deposits (paleowetlands) in the upper Las Vegas Wash north of Las Vegas, Nevada, have yielded an abundant and diverse vertebrate fossil assemblage, the Tule Springs local fauna (TSLF). The TSLF is the largest open-site vertebrate fossil assemblage dating to the Rancholabrean North American Land Mammal Age in the southern Great Basin and Mojave Desert. Over 600 discrete body fossil localities have been recorded from the wash, including an area that now encompasses Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument (TUSK). Paleowetland sediments exposed in TUSK named the Las Vegas Formation span the last 250 ka, with fossiliferous sediments spanning ∼100-13 ka. The recovered fauna is dominated by remains of Camelopsand Mammuthus, and also includes relatively common remains of extinct Equusand Bisonas well as abundant vertebrate microfaunal fossils. Large carnivorans are rare, with only Puma concolor and Panthera atrox documented previously. Postcranial remains assigned to the species Canis dirus (dire wolf) and Smilodon fatalis (sabre-toothed cat) represent the first confirmed records of these species from the TSLF, as well as the first documentation of Canis dirus in Nevada and the only known occurrence of Smilodonin southern Nevada. The size of the recovered canid fossil precludes assignment to other Pleistocene species of Canis. The morphology of the felid elements differentiates them from other large predators such as Panthera, Homotherium, and Xenosmilus, and the size of the fossils prevents assignment to other species of Smilodon. The confirmed presence of S. fatalis in the TSLF is of particular interest, indicating that this species inhabited open habitats. In turn, this suggests that the presumed preference of S. fatalis for closed-habitat environments hunting requires further elucidation. PMID:27366649

  16. The genetic secrets some fossils hold.

    PubMed

    Poinar, Hendrik N

    2002-08-01

    Most animals that once lived have gone extinct. The remains of a few of these can be found in museum collections worldwide. As modern evolutionary biology is limited to the use of extant taxa, retrieving DNA from extinct or subfossil organisms can add significant insight into past population history and resolve phylogenies that can be tentative by morphology alone. DNA is a relatively weak molecule, comparatively speaking, yet under certain conditions it persists in the fossil record, despite what in vitro chemistry predicts. While most fossil remains do not contain DNA, museum specimens can be screened for the presence of conditions that would be conducive for nucleic acid preservation by measuring the extent of amino acid racemization and by looking at the extent of protein hydrolysis by pyrolysis gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Results from these types of analyses suggest that the preservation of DNA is linked to the temperature and its constancy at a site rather than its age. Chemical analyses of coprolites from extinct herbivores from the late Pleistocene, as well as Archaic Native Americans, show the presence of compounds from the Maillard reaction. Upon the cleaving of these products, the defecator can be identified and his diet analyzed. PMID:12186573

  17. Species longevity in North American fossil mammals.

    PubMed

    Prothero, Donald R

    2014-08-01

    Species longevity in the fossil record is related to many paleoecological variables and is important to macroevolutionary studies, yet there are very few reliable data on average species durations in Cenozoic fossil mammals. Many of the online databases (such as the Paleobiology Database) use only genera of North American Cenozoic mammals and there are severe problems because key groups (e.g. camels, oreodonts, pronghorns and proboscideans) have no reliable updated taxonomy, with many invalid genera and species and/or many undescribed genera and species. Most of the published datasets yield species duration estimates of approximately 2.3-4.3 Myr for larger mammals, with small mammals tending to have shorter species durations. My own compilation of all the valid species durations in families with updated taxonomy (39 families, containing 431 genera and 998 species, averaging 2.3 species per genus) yields a mean duration of 3.21 Myr for larger mammals. This breaks down to 4.10-4.39 Myr for artiodactyls, 3.14-3.31 Myr for perissodactyls and 2.63-2.95 Myr for carnivorous mammals (carnivorans plus creodonts). These averages are based on a much larger, more robust dataset than most previous estimates, so they should be more reliable for any studies that need species longevity to be accurately estimated. PMID:25236413

  18. Ancient Ephemeroptera–Collembola Symbiosis Fossilized in Amber Predicts Contemporary Phoretic Associations

    PubMed Central

    Penney, David; McNeil, Andrew; Green, David I.; Bradley, Robert S.; Jepson, James E.; Withers, Philip J.; Preziosi, Richard F.

    2012-01-01

    X-ray computed tomography is used to identify a unique example of fossilized phoresy in 16 million-year-old Miocene Dominican amber involving a springtail being transported by a mayfly. It represents the first evidence (fossil or extant) of phoresy in adult Ephemeroptera and only the second record in Collembola (the first is also preserved in amber). This is the first record of Collembola using winged insects for dispersal. This fossil predicts the occurrence of similar behaviour in living springtails and helps explain the global distribution of Collembola today. PMID:23082186

  19. A critical evaluation of how ancient DNA bulk bone metabarcoding complements traditional morphological analysis of fossil assemblages

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grealy, Alicia C.; McDowell, Matthew C.; Scofield, Paul; Murray, Dáithí C.; Fusco, Diana A.; Haile, James; Prideaux, Gavin J.; Bunce, Michael

    2015-11-01

    When pooled for extraction as a bulk sample, the DNA within morphologically unidentifiable fossil bones can, using next-generation sequencing, yield valuable taxonomic data. This method has been proposed as a means to rapidly and cost-effectively assess general ancient DNA preservation at a site, and to investigate temporal and spatial changes in biodiversity; however, several caveats have yet to be considered. We critically evaluated the bulk bone metabarcoding (BBM) method in terms of its: (i) repeatability, by quantifying sampling and technical variance through a nested experimental design containing sub-samples and replicates at several stages; (ii) accuracy, by comparing morphological and molecular family-level identifications; and (iii) overall utility, by applying the approach to two independent Holocene fossil deposits, Bat Cave (Kangaroo Island, Australia) and Finsch's Folly (Canterbury, New Zealand). For both sites, bone and bone powder sub-sampling were found to contribute significantly to variance in molecularly identified family assemblage, while the contribution of library preparation and sequencing was almost negligible. Nevertheless, total variance was small. Sampling over 80% fewer bones than was required to morphologically identify the taxonomic assemblages, we found that the families identified molecularly are a subset of the families identified morphologically and, for the most part, represent the most abundant families in the fossil record. In addition, we detected a range of extinct, extant and endangered taxa, including some that are rare in the fossil record. Given the relatively low sampling effort of the BBM approach compared with morphological approaches, these results suggest that BBM is largely consistent, accurate, sensitive, and therefore widely applicable. Furthermore, we assessed the overall benefits and caveats of the method, and suggest a workflow for palaeontologists, archaeologists, and geneticists that will help mitigate these

  20. Fossil power plant systems description

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1984-01-01

    This single-volume, looseleaf text presents the functions and relationships between each major component and its auxiliaries within a system. The text also describes the relationships between systems. All major components are addressed, and system boundaries are defined for a generic fossil power plant.

  1. Fossils of big bang turbulence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gibson, C. H.

    2004-12-01

    A model is proposed connecting turbulence, fossil turbulence, and the big bang origin of the universe. While details are incomplete, the model is consistent with our knowledge of these processes and is supported by observations. Turbulence arises in a hot-big-bang quantum-gravitational-dynamics scenario at Planck scales. Chaotic, eddy-like-motions produce an exothermic Planck particle cascade from 10-35 m at 1032 K to 108 larger, 104 cooler, quark-gluon scales. A Planck-Kerr instability gives high-Reynolds-number (Re 106) turbulent combustion, space-time-energy-entropy and turbulent mixing. Batchelor-Obukhov-Corrsin turbulent-temperature fluctuations are preserved as the first fossil-turbulence by inflation stretching the patterns beyond the horizon ct of causal connection faster than light speed c in time t 10-33 seconds. Fossil-big-bang-temperature-turbulence re-enters the horizon and imprints nucleosynthesis of H-He densities that seed fragmentation by gravity at 1012 s in the low Reynolds number plasma before its transition to gas at t 1013 s and T 3000 K. Multi-scaling coefficients of the cosmic-microwave-background (CMB) temperature anisotropies closely match those for high Reynolds number turbulence, Bershadskii and Sreenivasan 2002, 2003. CMB spectra support the interpretation that big-bang-turbulence-fossils triggered fragmentation of the viscous plasma at supercluster to galaxy mass scales from 1046 to 1042 kg, Gibson 1996, 2000, 2004ab.

  2. Phylogeny of the Infraorder Pentatomomorpha Based on Fossil and Extant Morphology, with Description of a New Fossil Family from China

    PubMed Central

    Yao, Yunzhi; Ren, Dong; Rider, David A.; Cai, Wanzhi

    2012-01-01

    Background An extinct new family of Pentatomomorpha, Venicoridae Yao, Ren & Cai fam. nov., with 2 new genera and 2 new species (Venicoris solaris Yao, Ren & Rider gen. & sp. nov. and Clavaticoris zhengi Yao, Ren & Cai gen. & sp. nov.) are described from the Early Cretaceous Yixian Formation in Northeast China. Methodology/Principal Findings A cladistic analysis based on a combination of fossil and extant morphological characters clarified the phylogenetic status of the new family and has allowed the reconstruction of intersuperfamily and interfamily relationships within the Infraorder Pentatomomorpha. The fossil record and diversity of Pentatomomorpha during the Mesozoic is discussed. Conclusions/Significance Pentatomomorpha is a monophyletic group; Aradoidea and the Trichophora are sister groups; these fossils belong to new family, treated as the sister group of remainder of Trichophora; Pentatomoidea is a monophyletic group; Piesmatidae should be separated as a superfamily, Piesmatoidea. Origin time of Pentatomomorpha should be tracked back to the Middle or Early Triassic. PMID:22655038

  3. Formation of the soft-sediment deformation structures and its constraints on dinosaur fossil burial of the Cretaceous in Zhucheng, Shandong province, East China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    He, Bizhu; Qiao, Xiufu; Cai, Zhihui; Tian, Hongshui; Chen, Shuqing

    2013-04-01

    The triangular-shaped Zhucheng depression is located in the southwestern part of the Jiaolai basin, Jiaodong peninsula, East China. Various soft-sediment deformation structures are recognized in the southern Zhucheng depression, which have behaviour are plastic and/or brittle. Soft-sediment deformation structures mainly include undulate fold, mound and sag, diapir, convolute deformation and seismic-unconformity in the Lower Cretaceous, which are composed of fine-grained sediments in lacustrine environment, while load structure, ball and pillow structure, plunged sediment mixtures structure, fault-graded occurred in the Upper Cretaceous, which formed in a conglomeratic or coarse arenaceous alluvial fan and flood-plain setting. These soft-sediment deformation structures are proposed triggered by paleoearthquake. The deformed layers and undeformed layers developed in intervals, suggesting frequent seismic activities. In studied area, numerous giant hadrosaurid skeleton fossils have been found in the Upper Cretaceous Wangshi Group science 1958, and unusual and abundant dinosaur track fossils have been discovered in the Lower Cretaceous Yangzhuang Formation of Laiyang Group. The widespread identified soft-sediment deformation structures are proximately underlying or overlying these dinosaur fossil bearing strata. The depositional setting changed while multiple paleo-seismic events and tectonic activity happened. In the Early Cretaceous, after the occurrence of paleo-earthquakes and environmental changes, dinosaurs migrated and a lot of tracks with similar orientation on lacustrine offshore were preserved. In the Late Cretaceous, a large-scale dinosaur fossil layers and paleo-earthquake records occurred in intervals, indicating that the dinosaur fossils may be associated with large-scale debris flow and frequent earthquake events. Based on regional tectonic setting, distribution of soft-sediment deformation structures and predicted magnitude of paleo-earthquakes, the

  4. Mandibular fossa morphology in the Ngandong and Sambungmacan fossil hominids.

    PubMed

    Durband, Arthur C

    2008-10-01

    There has been debate in recent years concerning the significance of the mandibular fossa morphology in the Ngandong and Sambungmacan hominids. These fossils lack a postglenoid process and their squamotympanic fissure runs along the apex of the fossa for its entire length. This configuration differs from that seen in other fossil and modern humans, which have a prominent postglenoid process and a squamotympanic fissure that takes a more posterior course that does not lie in the apex of the fossa. Some recent studies have suggested that the Ngandong and Sambungmacan hominids are not unique in their expression of these characteristics, and that they can also be found in other fossil crania from Africa and Indonesia. The present study reexamines these morphologies in an effort to better understand their distribution in the hominid fossil record. The results confirm that the lack of a prominent postglenoid process in combination with a squamotympanic fissure that lies wholly in the apex of the mandibular fossa along its entire length is indeed autapomorphic for the Ngandong and Sambungmacan fossils. This finding, in conjunction with work on other nonmetric features in these hominids, suggests that at least two hominid morphs, possibly representing separate species, were present on Java during the Pleistocene. In addition, if this apparent autapomorphy is confirmed, then it is also unlikely that the Ngandong hominids contributed to the gene pool of modern humans. PMID:18521904

  5. Fossil Energy: Drivers and Challenges.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Friedmann, Julio

    2007-04-01

    Concerns about rapid economic growth, energy security, and global climate change have created a new landscape for fossil energy exploration, production, and utilization. Since 85% of primary energy supply comes from fossil fuels, and 85% of greenhouse gas emissions come from fossil fuel consumption, new and difficult technical and political challenges confront commercial, governmental, and public stakeholders. As such, concerns over climate change are explicitly weighed against security of international and domestic energy supplies, with economic premiums paid for either or both. Efficiency improvements, fuel conservation, and deployment of nuclear and renewable supplies will help both concerns, but are unlikely to offset growth in the coming decades. As such, new technologies and undertakings must both provide high quality fossil energy with minimal environmental impacts. The largest and most difficult of these undertakings is carbon management, wherein CO2 emissions are sequestered indefinitely at substantial incremental cost. Geological formations provide both high confidence and high capacity for CO2 storage, but present scientific and technical challenges. Oil and gas supply can be partially sustained and replaced through exploitation of unconventional fossil fuels such as tar-sands, methane hydrates, coal-to-liquids, and oil shales. These fuels provide enormous reserves that can be exploited at current costs, but generally require substantial energy to process. In most cases, the energy return on investment (EROI) is dropping, and unconventional fuels are generally more carbon intensive than conventional, presenting additional carbon management challenges. Ultimately, a large and sustained science and technology program akin to the Apollo project will be needed to address these concerns. Unfortunately, real funding in energy research has dropped dramatically (75%) in the past three decades, and novel designs in fission and fusion are not likely to provide any

  6. FAST FOSSIL ROTATION OF NEUTRON STAR CORES

    SciTech Connect

    Melatos, A.

    2012-12-10

    It is argued that the superfluid core of a neutron star super-rotates relative to the crust, because stratification prevents the core from responding to the electromagnetic braking torque, until the relevant dissipative (viscous or Eddington-Sweet) timescale, which can exceed {approx}10{sup 3} yr and is much longer than the Ekman timescale, has elapsed. Hence, in some young pulsars, the rotation of the core today is a fossil record of its rotation at birth, provided that magnetic crust-core coupling is inhibited, e.g., by buoyancy, field-line topology, or the presence of uncondensed neutral components in the superfluid. Persistent core super-rotation alters our picture of neutron stars in several ways, allowing for magnetic field generation by ongoing dynamo action and enhanced gravitational wave emission from hydrodynamic instabilities.

  7. Fast Fossil Rotation of Neutron Star Cores

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Melatos, A.

    2012-12-01

    It is argued that the superfluid core of a neutron star super-rotates relative to the crust, because stratification prevents the core from responding to the electromagnetic braking torque, until the relevant dissipative (viscous or Eddington-Sweet) timescale, which can exceed ~103 yr and is much longer than the Ekman timescale, has elapsed. Hence, in some young pulsars, the rotation of the core today is a fossil record of its rotation at birth, provided that magnetic crust-core coupling is inhibited, e.g., by buoyancy, field-line topology, or the presence of uncondensed neutral components in the superfluid. Persistent core super-rotation alters our picture of neutron stars in several ways, allowing for magnetic field generation by ongoing dynamo action and enhanced gravitational wave emission from hydrodynamic instabilities.

  8. Fossil evidence for early hominid tool use.

    PubMed

    Susman, R L

    1994-09-01

    Although several Plio-Pleistocene hominids are found in association with stone and bone tools, it has been generally assumed that at any one time the hominid with the largest brain was the toolmaker. Fossils recovered over the last decade suggest that early hominids subsequent to 2.5 million years ago all might have used tools and occupied "cultural" niches. A test for humanlike precision grasping (the enhanced ability to manipulate tools) is proposed and applied to australopithecines and early Homo. The results indicate that tools were likely to have been used by all early hominids at around 2.0 million years ago. The earliest australopithecines, which predate the appearance of stone tools in the archaeological record, do not show signs of advanced precision grasping. PMID:8079169

  9. Experimental and Temporal Observations on the Occurrence and Abundance of Pyrogenic PAH Relative to Atmospheric Oxygen Levels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schuneman, P. J.; Uhle, M. E.

    2004-12-01

    The Phanerozoic record of atmospheric O2 is based on a global mass balance of several dynamic geochemical cycles, with error margins reflecting such complexity. The potential for accurately determining the record of atmospheric O2 may significantly improve with the proposed method, which relies on a direct relationship between atmospheric oxygen, fuels, and fire products. The interaction between combustion and atmospheric-oxygen level during biomass burning events is investigated by comparing the occurrence and abundance of pyrogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) from experimentally-produced, modern, Triassic, and Carboniferous chars. The combustion process consumes O2 directly from the atmosphere and thermally alters organic matter to produce chars. PAH that develop through combustion, and are preserved within chars, are expected to be more abundant at times of elevated atmospheric O2, which facilitates biomass burning efficiency. To investigate the hypothesized relationship in the geologic record, PAH have been extracted from chars of three periods - modern, Triassic, and Carboniferous - relating to 21%, 15%, and 35% atmospheric O2, respectively (Berner and Canfield, 1989). Surface samples of modern chars that developed in controlled burns set by National Park Service personnel in a mixed conifer-deciduous forest were collected at Zion National Park, Utah. Triassic fusain from Petrified Forest National Park, AZ, and Carboniferous fusain from Joggins Fossil Cliffs, Nova Scotia, were collected from floodplain- and coastal plain-deposited mudstone and sandstone. Target PAH shown to be uniquely pyrogenic include: phenanthrene, anthracene, fluoranthene, pyrene, benz(a)anthracene, chrysene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, benzo(a)pyrene, indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene, and benzo(ghi)perylene. The abundance of PAH from modern chars at Zion National Park, Triassic fusain from Petrified Forest National Park, and Carboniferous fusain from Joggins Fossil Cliffs

  10. REE compositions in fossil vertebrate dental tissues indicate biomineral preservation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Žigaite, Ž.; Kear, B.; Pérez-Huerta, A.; Jeffries, T.; Blom, H.

    2012-04-01

    Rare earth element (REE) abundances have been measured in a number of Palaeozoic and Mesozoic dental tissues using Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass-spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). Fossil vertebrates analysed comprise scales and tesserae of Silurian and Devonian acanthodians, chondrichthyans, galeaspids, mongolepids, thelodonts, as well as teeth of Cretaceous lungfish and marine reptiles. The evaluation of fossil preservation level has been made by semi-quantitative spot geochemistry analyses on fine polished teeth and scale thin sections, using Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS). Fossil teeth and scales with significant structure and colour alteration have shown elevated heavy element concentrations, and the silicification of bioapatite has been common in their tissues. Stable oxygen isotope measurements (δ18O) of bulk biomineral have been conducted in parallel, and showed comparatively lower heavy oxygen values in the same fossil tissues with stronger visible alteration. Significant difference in REE concentrations has been observed between the dentine and enamel of Cretaceous plesiosaurs, suggesting the enamel to be more geochemically resistant to diagenetic overprint.

  11. Fossil group origins. VII. Galaxy substructures in fossil systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zarattini, S.; Girardi, M.; Aguerri, J. A. L.; Boschin, W.; Barrena, R.; del Burgo, C.; Castro-Rodriguez, N.; Corsini, E. M.; D'Onghia, E.; Kundert, A.; Méndez-Abreu, J.; Sánchez-Janssen, R.

    2016-02-01

    Context. Fossil groups (FG) are expected to be the final product of galaxy merging within galaxy groups. In simulations, they are predicted to assemble their mass at high redshift. This early formation allows for the innermost M∗ galaxies to merge into a massive central galaxy. Then, they are expected to maintain their fossil status because of the few interactions with the large-scale structure. In this context, the magnitude gap between the two brightest galaxies of the system is considered a good indicator of its dynamical status. As a consequence, the systems with the largest gaps should be dynamically relaxed. Aims: In order to examine the dynamical status of these systems, we systematically analyze, for the first time, the presence of galaxy substructures in a sample of 12 spectroscopically-confirmed fossil systems with redshift z ≤ 0.25. Methods: We apply a number of tests to investigate the substructure in fossil systems in the two-dimensional space of projected positions out to R200. Moreover, for a subsample of five systems with at least 30 spectroscopically-confirmed members we also analyze the substructure in the velocity and in the three-dimensional velocity-position spaces. Additionally, we look for signs of recent mergers in the regions around the central galaxies. Results: We find that an important fraction of fossil systems show substructure. The fraction depends critically on the adopted test, since each test is more sensitive to a particular type of substructure. Conclusions: Our interpretation of the results is that fossil systems are not, in general, as relaxed as expected from simulations. Our sample of 12 spectroscopically-confirmed fossil systems need to be extended to compute an accurate fraction, but our conclusion is that this fraction is similar to the fraction of substructure detected in nonfossil clusters. This result points out that the magnitude gap alone is not a good indicator of the dynamical status of a system. However, the

  12. Non-phytoseiid Mesostigmata within citrus orchards in Florida: species distribution, relative and seasonal abundance within trees, associated vines and ground cover plants and additional collection records of mites in citrus orchards.

    PubMed

    Childers, Carl C; Ueckermann, Eduard A

    2015-03-01

    Seven citrus orchards on reduced- to no-pesticide spray programs in central and south central Florida were sampled for non-phytoseiid mesostigmatid mites. Inner and outer canopy leaves, fruits, twigs and trunk scrapings were sampled monthly between August 1994 and January 1996. Open flowers were sampled in March from five of the sites. A total of 431 samples from one or more of 82 vine or ground cover plants were sampled monthly in five of the seven orchards. Two of the seven orchards (Mixon I and II) were on full herbicide programs and vines and ground cover plants were absent. A total of 2,655 mites (26 species) within the families: Ascidae, Blattisociidae, Laelapidae, Macrochelidae, Melicharidae, Pachylaelapidae and Parasitidae were identified. A total of 685 mites in the genus Asca (nine species: family Ascidae) were collected from within tree samples, 79 from vine or ground cover plants. Six species of Blattisociidae were collected: Aceodromus convolvuli, Blattisocius dentriticus, B. keegani, Cheiroseius sp. near jamaicensis, Lasioseius athiashenriotae and L. dentatus. A total of 485 Blattisociidae were collected from within tree samples compared with 167 from vine or ground cover plants. Low numbers of Laelapidae and Macrochelidae were collected from within tree samples. One Zygoseius furciger (Pachylaelapidae) was collected from Eleusine indica. Four species of Melicharidae were identified from 34 mites collected from within tree samples and 1,190 from vine or ground cover plants: Proctolaelaps lobatus was the most abundant species with 1,177 specimens collected from seven ground cover plants. One Phorytocarpais fimetorum (Parasitidae) was collected from inner leaves and four from twigs. Species of Ascidae, Blattisociidae, Melicharidae, Laelapidae and Pachylaelapidae were collected from 31 of the 82 vine or ground cover plants sampled, representing only a small fraction of the total number of Phytoseiidae collected from the same plants. Including the

  13. First report of fossil "keratose" demosponges in Phanerozoic carbonates: preservation and 3-D reconstruction.

    PubMed

    Luo, Cui; Reitner, Joachim

    2014-06-01

    Fossil record of Phanerozoic non-spicular sponges, beside of being important with respect to the lineage evolution per se, could provide valuable references for the investigation of Precambrian ancestral animal fossils. However, although modern phylogenomic studies resolve non-spicular demosponges as the sister group of the remaining spiculate demosponges, the fossil record of the former is extremely sparse or unexplored compared to that of the latter; the Middle Cambrian Vauxiidae Walcott 1920, is the only confirmed fossil taxon of non-spicular demosponges. Here, we describe carbonate materials from Devonian (Upper Givetian to Lower Frasnian) bioherms of northern France and Triassic (Anisian) microbialites of Poland that most likely represent fossil remnants of keratose demosponges. These putative fossils of keratose demosponges are preserved as automicritic clumps. They are morphologically distinguishable from microbial fabrics but similar to other spiculate sponge fossils, except that the skeletal elements consist of fibrous networks instead of assembled spicules. Consistent with the immunological behavior of sponges, these fibrous skeletons often form a rim at the edge of the automicritic aggregate, separating the inner part of the aggregate from foreign objects. To confirm the architecture of these fibrous networks, two fossil specimens and a modern thorectid sponge for comparison were processed for three-dimensional (3-D) reconstruction using serial grinding tomography. The resulting fossil reconstructions are three-dimensionally anastomosing, like modern keratose demosponges, but their irregular and nonhierarchical meshes indicate a likely verongid affinity, although a precise taxonomic conclusion cannot be made based on the skeletal architecture alone. This study is a preliminary effort, but an important start to identify fossil non-spicular demosponges in carbonates and to re-evaluate their fossilization potential. PMID:24763744

  14. Influence of Past Changes in Atmospheric CO2 on Boron/Calcium of Planktic Fossil Foraminifera

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Domeyko, R. A.; Allen, K. A.; deMenocal, P. B.

    2014-12-01

    Culture experiments have revealed that B/Ca of shells grown by the foraminiferal species Globigerinoides ruber increase with increasing seawater pH. Specifically, B/Ca responds to changes in the relative abundance of pH-sensitive dissolved carbon and boron species (Allen et al. 2011, 2012). Here, we present a high-resolution study on fossilized G. ruber from two sites in North Atlantic subtropical gyres (VM25-21 and ODP 1055B) through 20 ka BP to evaluate how B/Ca responds to past changes in atmospheric CO2. Forams were picked and crushed gently, then cleaned and dissolved using a variation of the Boyle and Keigwin (1985) and Barker et al. (2003) cleaning protocols prior to analysis. ODP 1055B (from Carolina Slope, West Atlantic) produced a high-resolution record with lower B/Ca values during the glacial period followed by a rapid shift to higher B/Ca values in the early deglaciation, with values remaining high through the Holocene. These results were not predicted by culture calibrations, but they are consistent with B/Ca records from the Caribbean (ODP 999, Foster et al. 2008), suggesting this pattern is characteristic of surface waters in the greater North Atlantic region.

  15. FOSSIL SPRINGS ROADLESS AREA, ARIZONA.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Beard, L.S.; Ellis, C.E.

    1984-01-01

    Based on field studies, the Fossil Springs Roadless Area in central Arizona is concluded to have little promise for the occurrence of mineral or energy resources. Rocks in the Supai Formation (Pennsylvanian-Permian) near the central part of the roadless area contain widespread but spotty copper mineralization and trace amounts of uranium. Analyses obtained during the study define geochemical anomalies in two portions of the area that remain unexplained. The suites of anomalous metals suggest the possibility of hydrothermal veins and the presence of ultramafic rocks; neither were found in the field. Although there is little promise for the occurrence of mineral resources in the Fossil Springs Roadless Area, studies to identify the source of the geochemical anomalies could have valuable implications for regional studies and mineral exploration in the surrounding area.

  16. Looking at Fossils in New Ways

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flannery, Maura C.

    2005-01-01

    Existing fossils could be studied from a different prospective with the use of new methods of analysis for gathering more information. The new techniques of studying fossils binds the new and the old techniques and information and provides another way to look at fossils.

  17. Cycads: Fossil evidence of late paleozoic origin

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mamay, S.H.

    1969-01-01

    Plant fossils from Lower Permian strata of the southwestern United States have been interpreted as cycadalean megasporophylls. They are evidently descended from spermopterid elements of the Pennsylvanian Taeniopteris complex; thus the known fossil history of the cycads is extended from the Late Triassic into the late Paleozoic. Possible implications of the Permian fossils toward evolution of the angiosperm carpel are considered.

  18. Fossil mammals and paleoenvironments in the Omo-Turkana Basin.

    PubMed

    Bobe, René

    2011-01-01

    Although best known for its fossil hominins, the Omo-Turkana Basin of Kenya and Ethiopia is the source of one of the best records of vertebrate evolution from the Late Cenozoic of Africa. Located near the heart of the East African Rift Valley, the basin serves as an important frame of reference for the continent. The fossil record from this region plays a key role in our efforts to understand the environmental and ecological context of human evolution in Africa. The Omo-Turkana faunal data shed light on key questions of human evolution: What kinds of environments did early humans inhabit? How did these environments change over time? What is the relationship between faunal change in East Africa and broader patterns of climatic change? PMID:22170694

  19. Molecular and Fossil Evidence on the Origin of Angiosperms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Doyle, James A.

    2012-05-01

    Molecular data on relationships within angiosperms confirm the view that their increasing morphological diversity through the Cretaceous reflected their evolutionary radiation. Despite the early appearance of aquatics and groups with simple flowers, the record is consistent with inferences from molecular trees that the first angiosperms were woody plants with pinnately veined leaves, multiparted flowers, uniovulate ascidiate carpels, and columellar monosulcate pollen. Molecular data appear to refute the hypothesis based on morphology that angiosperms and Gnetales are closest living relatives. Morphological analyses of living and fossil seed plants that assume molecular relationships identify glossopterids, Bennettitales, and Caytonia as angiosperm relatives; these results are consistent with proposed homologies between the cupule of glossopterids and Caytonia and the angiosperm bitegmic ovule. Jurassic molecular dates for the angiosperms may be reconciled with the fossil record if the first angiosperms were restricted to wet forest understory habitats and did not radiate until the Cretaceous.

  20. Liquid fossil-fuel technology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    1982-07-01

    Highlights of research activities at Bartlesville Energy Technology Center for the quarter ending March 1982 are summarized. Major research areas are: liquid fossil fuel cycle; extraction (resource assessment and enhanced production); processing (characterization, thermodynamics, processing technology); utilization; and product integration and technology transfer. Special reports include: EOR data base, major new industry tool; properties of crude oils available via telephone hookup; alternative fuels data bank stresses transportation.

  1. Solar abundance of osmium

    PubMed Central

    Jacoby, George; Aller, Lawrence H.

    1976-01-01

    The abundance parameter, log gfA, where g is the statistical weight of the lower level, f is the oscillator strength, and A is the abundance (by numbers of atoms with respect to hydrogen), has been derived for three lines of osmium by a method of spectrum synthesis. An apparent discordance of the derived abundance with that found from the carbonaceous chondrites is probably to be attributed primarily to errors in the f-values, and blending with unknown contributors. PMID:16592314

  2. An Extraordinary Gobioid Fish Fossil from Southern France

    PubMed Central

    Gierl, Christoph; Reichenbacher, Bettina; Gaudant, Jean; Erpenbeck, Dirk; Pharisat, André

    2013-01-01

    Background The classification of gobioid fishes is still under discussion. Several lineages, including the Eleotridae and Butidae, remain difficult to characterize because synapomorphies are rare (Eleotridae) or have not yet been determined (Butidae). Moreover, the fossil record of these groups is scarce. Results Exceptionally well-preserved fish fossils with otoliths in situ from uppermost Oligocene sediments (≈23–24 Mio. y. ago) in Southern France provide the most in-depth description of a fossil gobioid to date. The species was initially described as Cottus aries Agassiz, then transferred to †Lepidocottus Sauvage, and subsequently assigned to Gobius. Based on a comparative analysis of meristic, osteological and otolith data, this species most likely is a member of the family Butidae. This discovery is important because it represents the first record of a fossil butid fish based on articulated skeletons from Europe. Significance The Butidae and Eleotridae are currently distributed in W-Africa, Madagascar, Asia and Australia, but they do not appear in Europe and also not in the Mediterranean Sea. The new results indicate that several species of the Butidae thrived in Europe during the Oligocene and Early Miocene. Similar to the recent Butidae and Eleotridae, these fishes were adapted to a wide range of salinities and thrived in freshwater, brackish and marginal marine habitats. The fossil Butidae disappeared from Europe and the Mediterranean and Paratethys areas during the Early Miocene, due probably to their lack of competitiveness compared to other Gobioidei that radiated during this period of time. In addition, this study documents the great value of otoliths for gobioid systematics. PMID:23691158

  3. THE NATURE OF FOSSIL GALAXY GROUPS: ARE THEY REALLY FOSSILS?

    SciTech Connect

    La Barbera, F.; Sorrentino, G.; De Carvalho, R. R.; De la Rosa, I. G.; Gal, R. R.; Kohl-Moreira, J. L.

    2009-04-15

    We use SDSS-DR4 photometric and spectroscopic data out to redshift z {approx} 0.1 combined with ROSAT All Sky Survey X-ray data to produce a sample of 25 fossil groups (FGs), defined as bound systems dominated by a single, luminous elliptical galaxy with extended X-ray emission. We examine possible biases introduced by varying the parameters used to define the sample, and the main pitfalls are also discussed. The spatial density of FGs, estimated via the V/V {sub MAX} test, is 2.83 x 10{sup -6} h {sup 3} {sub 75} Mpc{sup -3} for L{sub X} > 0.89 x 10{sup 42} h {sup -2} {sub 75} erg s{sup -1} consistent with Vikhlinin et al., who examined an X-ray overluminous elliptical galaxy sample (OLEG). We compare the general properties of FGs identified here with a sample of bright field ellipticals generated from the same data set. These two samples show no differences in the distribution of neighboring faint galaxy density excess, distance from the red sequence in the color-magnitude diagram, and structural parameters such as a {sub 4} and internal color gradients. Furthermore, examination of stellar populations shows that our 25 FGs have similar ages, metallicities, and {alpha}-enhancement as the bright field ellipticals, undermining the idea that these systems represent fossils of a physical mechanism that occurred at high redshift. Our study reveals no difference between FGs and field ellipticals, suggesting that FGs might not be a distinct family of true fossils, but rather the final stage of mass assembly in the universe.

  4. Assessing the role of cladogenesis in macroevolution by integrating fossil and molecular evidence

    PubMed Central

    Strotz, Luke C.; Allen, Andrew P.

    2013-01-01

    Assessing the extent to which population subdivision during cladogenesis is necessary for long-term phenotypic evolution is of fundamental importance in a broad range of biological disciplines. Differentiating cladogenesis from anagenesis, defined as evolution within a species, has generally been hampered by dating precision, insufficient fossil data, and difficulties in establishing a direct link between morphological changes detectable in the fossil record and biological species. Here we quantify the relative frequencies of cladogenesis and anagenesis for macroperforate planktic Foraminifera, which arguably have the most complete fossil record currently available, to address this question. Analyzing this record in light of molecular evidence, while taking into account the precision of fossil dating techniques, we estimate that the fraction of speciation events attributable to anagenesis is <19% during the Cenozoic era (last 65 Myr) and <10% during the Neogene period (last 23 Myr). Our central conclusion—that cladogenesis is the predominant mode by which new planktic Foraminifera taxa become established at macroevolutionary time scales—differs markedly from the conclusion reached in a recent study based solely on fossil data. These disparate findings demonstrate that interpretations of macroevolutionary dynamics in the fossil record can be fundamentally altered in light of genetic evidence. PMID:23378632

  5. The First Report on the Medicinal Use of Fossils in Latin America

    PubMed Central

    Moura, Geraldo Jorge Barbosa; Albuquerque, Ulysses Paulino

    2012-01-01

    There have been very few ethnopharmacological studies performed on the traditional use of fossil species, although a few records have been conducted in Asia, Africa, and Europe. This study is the first ever to be performed on the use of Testudine (turtle) fossils for folk medicine in Latin America. An investigation was conducted in the Araripe Basin, which is one of the most important fossil-bearing reserves in the world due to the diversity, endemism, and quality of preservation of its fossils. We propose the formalization of a new discipline called ethnopaleontology, which will involve the study of the dynamic relationship between humans and fossils, from human perception to direct use. PMID:21969843

  6. Trace-fossil assemblages with a new ichnogenus in "spotted"

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Šimo, Vladimír; Tomašových, Adam

    2013-10-01

    Highly-bioturbated "spotted" limestones and marls (Fleckenmergel-Fleckenkalk facies) of the Early Jurassic, which were deposited in broad and recurrent deep-shelf habitats of the Northern Tethys, are characterized by rare benthic carbonate-producing macroinvertebrates. To address this paradox, we analyse trace-fossil assemblages in a ~85 m-thick succession of Pliensbachian spotted deposits (Zliechov Basin, Western Carpathians). They are dominated by infaunal and semi-infaunal deposit-feeders, with 9 ichnogenera and pyritized tubes of the semi-infaunal foraminifer Bathysiphon, being dominated by Chondrites, Lamellaeichnus (new ichnogenus), and Teichichnus. Lamellaeichnus, represented by a horizontal basal cylindrical burrow and an upper row of stacked convex-up gutters, was produced by a mobile deposit-feeder inhabiting shallow tiers because it is crossed by most other trace fossils. We show that the spotty appearance of the deposits is generated by a mixture of (1) dark, organic-rich shallow- and deep-tier traces (TOC = 0.16-0.36), and (2) light grey, organic-poor mottled or structurless sediment (TOC = 0.09-0.22). The higher TOC in shallow-tier burrows of Lamellaeichnus demonstrates that uppermost sediment layers were affected by poor redox cycling. Such conditions imply a limited mixed-layer depth and inefficient nutrient recycling conditioned by hypoxic bottom-waters, allowed by poor circulation and high sedimentation rates in depocenters of the Zliechov Basin. Hypoxic conditions are further supported by (1) dominance of trace-fossils produced by infaunal deposit feeders, (2) high abundance of hypoxiatolerant agglutinated foraminifer Bathysiphon, and (3) high abundance of Chondrites with ~0.5 mm-sized branches. Oxygen-deficient bottom-conditions can thus simultaneously explain the rarity of benthic carbonate-producing macroinvertebrates and high standing abundance of tolerant soft-shell and agglutinated organisms in spotted deposits.

  7. An application of synchrotron based x-ray tomography in palaeontology: Investigating small, three-dimensional, exceptionally preserved fossil arthropods

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Braiden, A. K.; Orr, P. J.; Tafforeau, P.; Kearns, S. L.

    2009-04-01

    The fossil record is biased towards biomineralised elements (for example bones, shells and teeth) that usually retain their original three-dimensional shape. Non-biomineralised arthropods, often comprising only exoskeletal tissues such as cuticle, are comparatively rare and are usually preserved in two-dimensions (including examples inside early diagenetic concretions). Rarer still are exceptionally preserved fossils that contain replicated soft tissues; although tissues that are replicated during the initial stages of decay are usually three- dimensional and often preserved in detail, the fossil as a whole is almost invariably two dimensional. Fossil shrimp recovered from Upper Triassic (Rhaetian) unconsolidated clays at Frome, Somerset, England represent a low diversity, three-dimensionally preserved fauna, in which certain labile tissues and organs are routinely preserved in three dimensions in life position. Initial SEM analysis of exposed, internal structures in unprepared specimens confirmed the presence of musculature (replicated in calcium phosphate) and a clay infilled gut. Due to the rarity of the material, and small size of the specimens (maximum length 12mm), non-destructive synchrotron radiation, x-ray microtomography was used to determine the extent, and fidelity, of preservation of the internal anatomy. Medium resolution (voxel size of 5.3μm) and high resolution (voxel size 0.7μm) imaging was carried out on selected specimens. This confirmed high fidelity replication of the following: limited volumes of abdominal, and more rarely, cephalothoracic musculature; the hepatopancreas; gonads and, in rare cases, blood vessels and antennal glands. Notably, these are all preserved in situ enveloped by structureless, fine-grained, authigenic carbonate. This carbonate precipitated inside the cuticle, but only at the periphery of the carcass and after, or during, the initial stages of decay; it infills voids created by the initial shrinkage of abdominal

  8. Benefits of solar/fossil hybrid gas turbine systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bloomfield, H. S.

    1978-01-01

    The potential benefits of solar/fossil hybrid gas turbine power systems were assessed. Both retrofit and new systems were considered from the aspects of; cost of electricity, fuel conservation, operational mode, technology requirements, and fuels flexibility. Hybrid retrofit (repowering) of existing combustion (simple Brayton cycle) turbines can provide near-term fuel savings and solar experience, while new and advanced recuperated or combined cycle systems may be an attractive fuel saving and economically competitive vehicle to transition from today's gas and oil-fired powerplants to other more abundant fuels.

  9. Benefits of solar/fossil hybrid gas turbine systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bloomfield, H. S.

    1979-01-01

    The potential benefits of solar/fossil hybrid gas turbine power systems were assessed. Both retrofit and new systems were considered from the aspects of cost of electricity, fuel conservation, operational mode, technology requirements, and fuels flexibility. Hybrid retrofit (repowering) of existing combustion (simple Brayton cycle) turbines can provide near-term fuel savings and solar experience, while new and advanced recuperated or combined cycle systems may be an attractive fuel saving and economically competitive vehicle to transition from today's gas and oil-fired powerplants to other more abundant fuels.

  10. Benthic aquatic ecosystems across the Permian-Triassic transition: record from biogenic structures in fluvial sandstones, central Transantarctic Mountains

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, M. F.

    2000-07-01

    The effect of the Permian extinction in communities inhabiting sandy stream bottoms can be evaluated using trace fossils as proxies for body fossils. Permian and Triassic sandstones exposed in the Beardmore and Shackleton Glacier areas (central Transantarctic Mountains) were deposited in sandy braided streams and contain four types of trace fossils (vertical shafts and horizontal, bilobed and chevron traces). These traces were produced by a single type of animal that moved in the top 30 cm of sediment and dominated the benthic community. Evidence for a single producer includes similar size (diameter) of all traces and change within single specimens from one trace type to another. The animal was not affected by the Permian extinction event, as evidenced by its equal abundance within the Permian (Buckley Formation) and Triassic (Fremouw Formation) fluvial sandstones in the Beardmore Glacier area. Based on trace morphology and on domination of modern sandy river ecosystems by insects, the producer most likely was an insect, although its more precise identity is problematic. Although families of insects with modern aquatic burrowers are not known before the Jurassic, these trace fossils may show that these burrowers were present earlier than the insect body-fossil record suggests. Alternatively, archaic insect groups, many of which became extinct at the end-Permian and are known to have been aquatic but not infaunal, may have included some active burrowers that were unscathed by the Permian extinction.

  11. New Miocene Fossils and the History of Penguins in Australia.

    PubMed

    Park, Travis; Fitzgerald, Erich M G; Gallagher, Stephen J; Tomkins, Ellyn; Allan, Tony

    2016-01-01

    Australia has a fossil record of penguins reaching back to the Eocene, yet today is inhabited by just one breeding species, the little penguin Eudyptula minor. The description of recently collected penguin fossils from the re-dated upper Miocene Port Campbell Limestone of Portland (Victoria), in addition to reanalysis of previously described material, has allowed the Cenozoic history of penguins in Australia to be placed into a global context for the first time. Australian pre-Quaternary fossil penguins represent stem taxa phylogenetically disparate from each other and E. minor, implying multiple dispersals and extinctions. Late Eocene penguins from Australia are closest to contemporaneous taxa in Antarctica, New Zealand and South America. Given current material, the Miocene Australian fossil penguin fauna is apparently unique in harbouring 'giant penguins' after they went extinct elsewhere; and including stem taxa until at least 6 Ma, by which time crown penguins dominated elsewhere in the southern hemisphere. Separation of Australia from Antarctica during the Palaeogene, and its subsequent drift north, appears to have been a major event in Australian penguin biogeography. Increasing isolation through the Cenozoic may have limited penguin dispersal to Australia from outside the Australasian region, until intensification of the eastwards-flowing Antarctic Circumpolar Current in the mid-Miocene established a potential new dispersal vector to Australia. PMID:27115739

  12. New Miocene Fossils and the History of Penguins in Australia

    PubMed Central

    Park, Travis; Fitzgerald, Erich M. G.; Gallagher, Stephen J.; Tomkins, Ellyn; Allan, Tony

    2016-01-01

    Australia has a fossil record of penguins reaching back to the Eocene, yet today is inhabited by just one breeding species, the little penguin Eudyptula minor. The description of recently collected penguin fossils from the re-dated upper Miocene Port Campbell Limestone of Portland (Victoria), in addition to reanalysis of previously described material, has allowed the Cenozoic history of penguins in Australia to be placed into a global context for the first time. Australian pre-Quaternary fossil penguins represent stem taxa phylogenetically disparate from each other and E. minor, implying multiple dispersals and extinctions. Late Eocene penguins from Australia are closest to contemporaneous taxa in Antarctica, New Zealand and South America. Given current material, the Miocene Australian fossil penguin fauna is apparently unique in harbouring ‘giant penguins’ after they went extinct elsewhere; and including stem taxa until at least 6 Ma, by which time crown penguins dominated elsewhere in the southern hemisphere. Separation of Australia from Antarctica during the Palaeogene, and its subsequent drift north, appears to have been a major event in Australian penguin biogeography. Increasing isolation through the Cenozoic may have limited penguin dispersal to Australia from outside the Australasian region, until intensification of the eastwards-flowing Antarctic Circumpolar Current in the mid-Miocene established a potential new dispersal vector to Australia. PMID:27115739

  13. Dinosaur Fossils Predict Body Temperatures

    PubMed Central

    Allen, Andrew P; Charnov, Eric L

    2006-01-01

    Perhaps the greatest mystery surrounding dinosaurs concerns whether they were endotherms, ectotherms, or some unique intermediate form. Here we present a model that yields estimates of dinosaur body temperature based on ontogenetic growth trajectories obtained from fossil bones. The model predicts that dinosaur body temperatures increased with body mass from approximately 25 °C at 12 kg to approximately 41 °C at 13,000 kg. The model also successfully predicts observed increases in body temperature with body mass for extant crocodiles. These results provide direct evidence that dinosaurs were reptiles that exhibited inertial homeothermy. PMID:16817695

  14. The age for the fossil-bearing Tabbowa beds in Sri Lanka

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chang, S. C.; Dassanayake, S.; Wang, J.

    2014-12-01

    Well-preserved terrestrial fossils, mainly including conifers, cycads and ferns, were discovered from the Tabbowa beds in northwestern Sri Lanka. The high diversity and abundance of plants and insects from these Jurassic sediments provide a unique window to understand floral evolution and plant-insect co-evolution in the Mesozoic. For example, unearthed fossils from the Tabbowa beds indicate that leaf feeding and dwelling insects played a significant role in the Jurassic ecosystem. For another example, feeding and chewing marks on leaves allow studying insect behavior and paleo-ecology. Additionally, the recent discoveries of Otozamites latiphyllus and Otozamites tabbowensis from these sediments provide evidence that Bennettitales, an extinct order of seed plants, widely spread in the Gondwana during the Jurassic period. Although most fossils are yet to be well studied, and only few of the fossil occurrences have been published in western journals, plant fossils from the Tabbowa beds have great potential for substantially increasing our knowledge of Jurassic terrestrial ecosystems. The fossil-bearing Tabbowa beds are mainly composed of sandstone, siltstone, and mudstone with occasional thin bands of nodular limestone. Until now, radio-isotopic age determinations for the fossil-rich Tabbowa beds are lacking. In this study, we investigate the geological and geochronological setting of this area by dating detrital zircons from the Tabbowa beds. The age data will allow testing several hypotheses regarding the plant evolution, the basin development of this region.

  15. Fossils of hydrothermal vent worms from Cretaceous sulfide ores of the Samail ophiolite, Oman

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Haymon, R.M.; Koski, R.A.; Sinclair, C.

    1984-01-01

    Fossil worm tubes of Cretaceous age preserved in the Bayda massive sulfide deposit of the Samail ophiolite, Oman, are apparently the first documented examples of fossils embedded in massive sulfide deposits from the geologic record. The geologic setting of the Bayda deposit and the distinctive mineralogic and textural features of the fossiliferous samples suggest that the Bayda sulfide deposit and fossil fauna are remnants of a Cretaceous sea-floor hydrothermal vent similar to modern hot springs on the East Pacific Rise and the Juan de Fuca Ridge.

  16. Fossils and living taxa agree on patterns of body mass evolution: a case study with Afrotheria

    PubMed Central

    Puttick, Mark N.; Thomas, Gavin H.

    2015-01-01

    Most of life is extinct, so incorporating some fossil evidence into analyses of macroevolution is typically seen as necessary to understand the diversification of life and patterns of morphological evolution. Here we test the effects of inclusion of fossils in a study of the body size evolution of afrotherian mammals, a clade that includes the elephants, sea cows and elephant shrews. We find that the inclusion of fossil tips has little impact on analyses of body mass evolution; from a small ancestral size (approx. 100 g), there is a shift in rate and an increase in mass leading to the larger-bodied Paenungulata and Tubulidentata, regardless of whether fossils are included or excluded from analyses. For Afrotheria, the inclusion of fossils and morphological character data affect phylogenetic topology, but these differences have little impact upon patterns of body mass evolution and these body mass evolutionary patterns are consistent with the fossil record. The largest differences between our analyses result from the evolutionary model, not the addition of fossils. For some clades, extant-only analyses may be reliable to reconstruct body mass evolution, but the addition of fossils and careful model selection is likely to increase confidence and accuracy of reconstructed macroevolutionary patterns. PMID:26674947

  17. Fossils and living taxa agree on patterns of body mass evolution: a case study with Afrotheria.

    PubMed

    Puttick, Mark N; Thomas, Gavin H

    2015-12-22

    Most of life is extinct, so incorporating some fossil evidence into analyses of macroevolution is typically seen as necessary to understand the diversification of life and patterns of morphological evolution. Here we test the effects of inclusion of fossils in a study of the body size evolution of afrotherian mammals, a clade that includes the elephants, sea cows and elephant shrews. We find that the inclusion of fossil tips has little impact on analyses of body mass evolution; from a small ancestral size (approx. 100 g), there is a shift in rate and an increase in mass leading to the larger-bodied Paenungulata and Tubulidentata, regardless of whether fossils are included or excluded from analyses. For Afrotheria, the inclusion of fossils and morphological character data affect phylogenetic topology, but these differences have little impact upon patterns of body mass evolution and these body mass evolutionary patterns are consistent with the fossil record. The largest differences between our analyses result from the evolutionary model, not the addition of fossils. For some clades, extant-only analyses may be reliable to reconstruct body mass evolution, but the addition of fossils and careful model selection is likely to increase confidence and accuracy of reconstructed macroevolutionary patterns. PMID:26674947

  18. Fossil wood from the Miocene and Oligocene epoch: chemistry and morphology.

    PubMed

    Bardet, Michel; Pournou, Anastasia

    2015-01-01

    Fossil wood is the naturally preserved remain of the secondary xylem of plants that lived before the Holocene epoch. Typically, fossil wood is preserved as coalified or petrified and rarely as mummified tissue. The process of fossilization is very complex and it is still unknown why in the same fossil record, wood can be found in different fossilisation forms. In 2007, a fossil forest was found in the Bükkábrány open-pit coal mine in Hungary. The non-petrified forest is estimated to be 7 million years old (Miocene epoch) and its trees were found standing in an upright position. This fossil assemblage is exceptionally rare because wood has been preserved as soft waterlogged tissue. This study aimed to investigate this remarkable way of fossil wood preservation, by examining its chemistry with (13)C CPMAS NMR and its morphology with light and electron microscopy. For comparison reasons, a petrified wood trunk from the Oligocene epoch (30 Myr) found in 2001 at Porrentruy region in Switzerland and two fresh wood samples of the modern equivalents of the Miocene sample were also examined. The results obtained showed that the outstanding preservation state of the Miocene fossil is not owed to petrification or coalification. Mummification is a potential mechanism that could explain Bükkábrány trunks' condition, however this fossilisation process is not well studied and therefore this hypothesis needs to be further investigated. PMID:25294390

  19. Probing Binary Evolution Using the Pulsar Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ferdman, Robert D.; Stairs, I. H.; Kramer, M.; McLaughlin, M. A.; Faulkner, A.; Backer, D. C.; Demorest, P.; Nice, D. J.; Burgay, M.; Camilo, F.; D'Amico, N.; Hobbs, G.; Lorimer, D. R.; Lyne, A. G.; Manchester, R.; Possenti, A.

    2006-12-01

    The Parkes Multibeam Pulsar Survey has yielded a significant number of very interesting binary and millisecond pulsars. Two of these objects are part of an ongoing timing study at the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). PSR J1756-2251 is a double-neutron star (DNS) binary system. Its orbital properties show it to be a similar system to PSR B1913+16, the original binary pulsar system discovered by Hulse and Taylor. Mass measurements of this system thus provide another important opportunity to test the validity of General Relativity, and to study the evolutionary history of DNS systems. PSR J1802-2124 is part of the relatively new and unstudied "intermediate-mass" class of binary pulsars. These typically spin with periods in the tens of milliseconds, and often have relatively massive (> 0.7 solar masses) white dwarf companions. GBT observations over the past two years have enabled us to detect the Shapiro delay in this system. This has led to the determination of the individual masses of the neutron star and white dwarf companion, providing constraints on the mass-transfer history in this unusual system.

  20. APOGEE strings: A fossil record of the gas kinematic structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hacar, A.; Alves, J.; Forbrich, J.; Meingast, S.; Kubiak, K.; Großschedl, J.

    2016-05-01

    We compare APOGEE radial velocities (RVs) of young stars in the Orion A cloud with CO line gas emission and find a correlation between the two at large scales in agreement with previous studies. However, at smaller scales we find evidence for the presence of a substructure in the stellar velocity field. Using a friends-of-friends approach we identify 37 stellar groups with almost identical RVs. These groups are not randomly distributed, but form elongated chains or strings of stars with five or more members with low velocity dispersion across lengths of 1-1.5 pc. The similarity between the kinematic properties of the APOGEE strings and the internal velocity field of the chains of dense cores and fibers recently identified in the dense interstellar medium is striking and suggests that for most of the Orion A cloud, young stars keep memory of the parental gas substructure where they originated. Full Table 2 is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (ftp://130.79.128.5) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/589/A80

  1. The fossil record of evolution: Data on diversification and extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. John, Jr.

    1990-01-01

    The two principle efforts include: (1) a compilation of a synoptic, mesoscale data base on times of origination and extinction of animal genera in the oceans over the last 600 million years of geologic time; and (2) an analysis of statistical patterns in these data that relate to the diversification of complex life and to the occurrence of mass extinctions, especially those that might be associated with extraterrestrial phenomena. The data base is unique in its taxonomic scope and detail and in its temporal resolution. It is a valuable resource for investigating evolutionary expansions and extinctions of complex life.

  2. The evolution of tetrapod ears and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Clack, J A

    1997-01-01

    In the earliest tetrapods, the fenestra vestibuli was a large hole in the braincase wall bounded by bones of different embryological origins: the otic capsule and occipital arch components, and also, in all except the Devonian Acanthostega, the dermal parasphenoid. This means that the hole lay along the line of the embryonic metotic fissure. Early tetrapod braincases were poorly ossified internally, and no specialized opening for a perilymphatic duct is evident. It is arguable that the earliest tetrapods had neither a perilympllatic duct crossing the otic capsule nor a specialized auditory receptor in a separate lagenar pouch. The primitive tetrapod condition is found in the earliest amniotes, and the separate development of (1) a fenestra vestibuli confined to the limits of the otic capsule, (2) a specialized pressure relief window also derived from components on the line of the metolic fissure, (3) a nonstructural, vibratory stapes and (4) increased internal ossification of the internal walls of the otic capsule, can be traced separately in synapsids, lepidosauromorph diapsids, archosauromorph diapsids, probably turtles, and amphibians. This suggests separate development of true tympanic ears in each of these groups. Developments indicating the existence of a true tympanic ear in amniotes are first found in animals from the Triassic period, and a correlation with the evolution of insect sound production is suggested. PMID:9310195

  3. The Fossil Record of Plant-Insect Dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Labandeira, Conrad C.; Currano, Ellen D.

    2013-05-01

    Progress toward understanding the dynamics of ancient plant-insect associations has addressed major patterns in the ecology and evolution of herbivory and pollination. This advancement involves development of more analytical ways of describing plant-insect associational patterns in time and space and an assessment of the role that the environment and internal biological processes have in their control. Current issues include the deep origins of terrestrial herbivory, the spread of herbivory across late Paleozoic landscapes, recoveries from sudden major crises, reaction to and accommodation of protracted environmental perturbations, and the nature of herbivory and pollination before the appearance of angiosperms during the mid-Mesozoic. These and other exploratory research themes provide a more complete account of a great nexus of ecological activity that has been wedged between the two most diverse organismic groups on land for the past 410 million years.

  4. Search for Supernova ^60Fe in the Earth's Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bishop, Shawn; Ludwig, Peter; Egli, Ramon; Chernenko, Valentina; Frederichs, Thomas; Merchel, Silke; Rugel, Georg

    2013-04-01

    Approximately 2.8 Myr before the present our planet was subjected to the debris of a supernova explosion. The terrestrial proxy for this event was the discovery of live atoms of ^60Fe in a deep-sea ferromanganese crust. The signature for this supernova event should also reside in magnetite (Fe3O4) magnetofossils produced by magnetotactic bacteria extant at the time of the Earth- supernova interaction, provided the bacteria preferentially uptake iron from fine-grained iron oxides and ferric hydroxides. Using empirically derived microfossil concentrations in a deep-sea drill core, we deduce a conservative estimate of the 60Fe fraction as ^60Fe/Fe = 3.6 x10-15. This value sits comfortably within the sensitivity limit of present accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) capabilities. This talk will detail the present status of our ^60Fe AMS search in magnetofossils and (possibly) show our initial results.

  5. Climatic influences on species: Evidence from the fossil record

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cronin, T. M.; Schneider, C.E.

    1990-01-01

    The detailed Neogene and Quaternary paleoclimatic reconstructions now available provide a means to test how species respond to environmental change. Paleontologic studies of marine organisms show that climatic change causes evolution (via cladogenesis and anagenesis), ecophenotypic variation, migration, morphologic stasis and extinction. Evolution during climatic change is a rare event relative to the number of climatic cycles that have occurred, but climate-related environmental barriers, usually temperature, may play an important role in the isolation of populations during allopatric speciation.

  6. Cell symbioisis theory: Status and implications for the fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Margulis, L.; Stolz, J. F.

    Although the entire serial endosymbiotic theory has not been proven much progress has been made and the nature of the remaining critical observations can be now identified. There is little doubt that, regardless of the precise details, prokaryotes are single genomic systems and all eukaryotic cells are multigenomic ones. Eukaryotic cells are therefore best thought of as co-evolved microbial communities, entities that emerged as the symbiotic partnerships became tightly integrated by the late Late Proterozoic Aeon. Present address: Control and Energy Conversion Division, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, U.S.A.

  7. Cell symbiosis theory - Status and implications for the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Margulis, L.; Stolz, J. F.

    1984-01-01

    Smith (1981) has presented three alternative models of the origin of eukaryotes. In the present investigation, alternative theories are discussed along with the status of serial endosymbiotic theory. It is pointed out that the usefulness of the serial endosymbiotic theory is attested by the great flourishing of productive scientific studies it has generated. Attention is given to the origin of mitochondria and plastids from free-living bacteria, the polyphyly of mitochondria, the origin of the nuclear membrane, the origin of undulipodia (cilia and other 9 + 2 organelles), the sequence of acquisition of organelles, large ribosomes, genome organization, animals and plants, and systematics and axonomy of the microorganisms.

  8. Replaying evolutionary transitions from the dental fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Harjunmaa, Enni; Seidel, Kerstin; Häkkinen, Teemu; Renvoisé, Elodie; Corfe, Ian J.; Kallonen, Aki; Zhang, Zhao-Qun; Evans, Alistair R.; Mikkola, Marja L.; Salazar-Ciudad, Isaac; Klein, Ophir D.; Jernvall, Jukka

    2014-01-01

    The evolutionary relationships of extinct species are ascertained primarily through the analysis of morphological characters. Character inter-dependencies can have a substantial effect on evolutionary interpretations, but the developmental underpinnings of character inter-dependence remain obscure because experiments frequently do not provide detailed resolution of morphological characters. Here we show experimentally and computationally how gradual modification of development differentially affects characters in the mouse dentition. We found that intermediate phenotypes could be produced by gradually adding ectodysplasin A (EDA) protein in culture to tooth explants carrying a null mutation in the tooth-patterning gene Eda. By identifying development-based character interdependencies, we show how to predict morphological patterns of teeth among mammalian species. Finally, in vivo inhibition of sonic hedgehog signalling in Eda null teeth enabled us to reproduce characters deep in the rodent ancestry. Taken together, evolutionarily informative transitions can be experimentally reproduced, thereby providing development-based expectations for character state transitions used in evolutionary studies. PMID:25079326

  9. APOGEE strings: A fossil record of the gas kinematic structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hacar, A.; Alves, J.; Forbrich, J.; Meingast, S.; Kubiak, K.; Großschedl, J.

    2016-04-01

    We compare APOGEE radial velocities (RVs) of young stars in the Orion A cloud with CO line gas emission and find a correlation between the two at large scales in agreement with previous studies. However, at smaller scales we find evidence for the presence of a substructure in the stellar velocity field. Using a friends-of-friends approach we identify 37 stellar groups with almost identical RVs. These groups are not randomly distributed, but form elongated chains or strings of stars with five or more members with low velocity dispersion across lengths of 1-1.5 pc. The similarity between the kinematic properties of the APOGEE strings and the internal velocity field of the chains of dense cores and fibers recently identified in the dense interstellar medium is striking and suggests that for most of the Orion A cloud, young stars keep memory of the parental gas substructure where they originated. Full Table 2 is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (ftp://130.79.128.5) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/589/A80

  10. Fossil energy program. Summary document

    SciTech Connect

    1980-05-01

    This program summary document presents a comprehensive overview of the research, development, and demonstration (RD and D) activities that will be performed in FY 1981 by the Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy (ASFE), US Department of Energy (DOE). The ASFE technology programs for the fossil resources of coal, petroleum (including oil shale) and gas have been established with the goal of making substantive contributions to the nation's future supply and efficienty use of energy. On April 29, 1977, the Administration submitted to Congress the National Energy Plan (NEP) and accompanying legislative proposals designed to establish a coherent energy policy structure for the United States. Congress passed the National Energy Act (NEA) on October 15, 1978, which allows implementation of the vital parts of the NEP. The NEP was supplemented by additional energy policy statements culminating in the President's address on July 15, 1979, presenting a program to further reduce dependence on imported petroleum. The passage of the NEA-related energy programs represent specific steps by the Administration and Congress to reorganize, redirect, and clarify the role of the Federal Government in the formulation and execution of national energy policy and programs. The energy technology RD and D prog4rams carried out by ASFE are an important part of the Federal Government's effort to provide the combination and amounts of energy resources needed to ensure national security and continued economic growth.

  11. Cycling operation of fossil plants

    SciTech Connect

    Devendorf, D.; Kulczycky, T.G. )

    1991-05-01

    A necessity for many utilities today is the cycling of their fossil units. Fossil plants with their higher fuel costs are being converted to cycling operation to accommodate daily load swings and to decrease the overall system fuel costs. For a large oil-fired unit, such as Oswego Steam Station Unit 5, millions of dollars can be saved annually in fuel costs if the unit operates in a two-shift mode. However, there are also penalties attributable to cycling operation which are associated with availability and thermal performance. The objectives of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation were to minimize the losses in availability and performance, and the degradation in the life of the equipment by incorporating certain cycling modifications into the unit. The objective of this project was to evaluate the effectiveness of three of these cycling modifications: (1) the superheater and turbine bypass (Hot Restart System), (2) the use of variable pressure operation, and (3) the full-flow condensate polishing system. To meet this objective, Unit 5 was tested using the cycling modifications, and a dynamic mathematical model of this unit was developed using the Modular Modeling System (MMS) Code from EPRI. This model was used to evaluate various operating modes and to assist in the assessment of operating procedures. 15 refs., 41 figs., 22 tabs.

  12. A comprehensive database of quality-rated fossil ages for Sahul’s Quaternary vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Rodríguez-Rey, Marta; Herrando-Pérez, Salvador; Brook, Barry W.; Saltré, Frédérik; Alroy, John; Beeton, Nicholas; Bird, Michael I.; Cooper, Alan; Gillespie, Richard; Jacobs, Zenobia; Johnson, Christopher N.; Miller, Gifford H.; Prideaux, Gavin J.; Roberts, Richard G.; Turney, Chris S.M.; Bradshaw, Corey J.A.

    2016-01-01

    The study of palaeo-chronologies using fossil data provides evidence for past ecological and evolutionary processes, and is therefore useful for predicting patterns and impacts of future environmental change. However, the robustness of inferences made from fossil ages relies heavily on both the quantity and quality of available data. We compiled Quaternary non-human vertebrate fossil ages from Sahul published up to 2013. This, the FosSahul database, includes 9,302 fossil records from 363 deposits, for a total of 478 species within 215 genera, of which 27 are from extinct and extant megafaunal species (2,559 records). We also provide a rating of reliability of individual absolute age based on the dating protocols and association between the dated materials and the fossil remains. Our proposed rating system identified 2,422 records with high-quality ages (i.e., a reduction of 74%). There are many applications of the database, including disentangling the confounding influences of hypothetical extinction drivers, better spatial distribution estimates of species relative to palaeo-climates, and potentially identifying new areas for fossil discovery. PMID:27434208

  13. A comprehensive database of quality-rated fossil ages for Sahul's Quaternary vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Rey, Marta; Herrando-Pérez, Salvador; Brook, Barry W; Saltré, Frédérik; Alroy, John; Beeton, Nicholas; Bird, Michael I; Cooper, Alan; Gillespie, Richard; Jacobs, Zenobia; Johnson, Christopher N; Miller, Gifford H; Prideaux, Gavin J; Roberts, Richard G; Turney, Chris S M; Bradshaw, Corey J A

    2016-01-01

    The study of palaeo-chronologies using fossil data provides evidence for past ecological and evolutionary processes, and is therefore useful for predicting patterns and impacts of future environmental change. However, the robustness of inferences made from fossil ages relies heavily on both the quantity and quality of available data. We compiled Quaternary non-human vertebrate fossil ages from Sahul published up to 2013. This, the FosSahul database, includes 9,302 fossil records from 363 deposits, for a total of 478 species within 215 genera, of which 27 are from extinct and extant megafaunal species (2,559 records). We also provide a rating of reliability of individual absolute age based on the dating protocols and association between the dated materials and the fossil remains. Our proposed rating system identified 2,422 records with high-quality ages (i.e., a reduction of 74%). There are many applications of the database, including disentangling the confounding influences of hypothetical extinction drivers, better spatial distribution estimates of species relative to palaeo-climates, and potentially identifying new areas for fossil discovery. PMID:27434208

  14. Fossils, molecules and embryos: new perspectives on the Cambrian explosion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Valentine, J. W.; Jablonski, D.; Erwin, D. H.

    1999-01-01

    The Cambrian explosion is named for the geologically sudden appearance of numerous metazoan body plans (many of living phyla) between about 530 and 520 million years ago, only 1.7% of the duration of the fossil record of animals. Earlier indications of metazoans are found in the Neoproterozic; minute trails suggesting bilaterian activity date from about 600 million years ago. Larger and more elaborate fossil burrows appear near 543 million years ago, the beginning of the Cambrian Period. Evidence of metazoan activity in both trace and body fossils then increased during the 13 million years leading to the explosion. All living phyla may have originated by the end of the explosion. Molecular divergences among lineages leading to phyla record speciation events that have been earlier than the origins of the new body plans, which can arise many tens of millions of years after an initial branching. Various attempts to date those branchings by using molecular clocks have disagreed widely. While the timing of the evolution of the developmental systems of living metazoan body plans is still uncertain, the distribution of Hox and other developmental control genes among metazoans indicates that an extensive patterning system was in place prior to the Cambrian. However, it is likely that much genomic repatterning occurred during the Early Cambrian, involving both key control genes and regulators within their downstream cascades, as novel body plans evolved.

  15. Fossil energy biotechnology: A research needs assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    1993-11-01

    The Office of Program Analysis of the U.S. Department of Energy commissioned this study to evaluate and prioritize research needs in fossil energy biotechnology. The objectives were to identify research initiatives in biotechnology that offer timely and strategic options for the more efficient and effective uses of the Nation's fossil resource base, particularly the early identification of new and novel applications of biotechnology for the use or conversion of domestic fossil fuels. Fossil energy biotechnology consists of a number of diverse and distinct technologies, all related by the common denominator -- biocatalysis. The expert panel organized 14 technical subjects into three interrelated biotechnology programs: (1) upgrading the fuel value of fossil fuels; (2) bioconversion of fossil feedstocks and refined products to added value chemicals; and (3) the development of environmental management strategies to minimize and mitigate the release of toxic and hazardous petrochemical wastes.

  16. The fidelity of paleomagnetic records carried by magnetosome chains

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paterson, Greig; Wang, Yinzhao; Pan, Yongxin

    2013-04-01

    Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) and their fossilized magnetosomes are being increasingly identified in geological records from a broad range of environments and are believed to be a dominant carrier of magnetic remanence in sediments. Despite their prevalence, little is known about how well chains of biomineralized magnetic particles record the geomagnetic field. Using cultured Magnetospirillum magneticum strain AMB-1, we have conducted simple 2D (i.e., zero inclination) experiments to simulate NRM acquisition in order to assess the efficiency with which magnetosome chains align along magnetic field lines and the implications that this has for paleomagnetic records. Our results indicate that the NRM acquired by deposited MTB is near linear with the applied field, but that deviations from linearity up to 10% are discernible at high fields (120 μT). This slight non-linearity is propagated through into the calculation of both ARM and IRM normalized relative paleointensity (RPI) variations. RPI records, carried by magnetofossils, which vary by more than a factor of 5-6, are likely to misestimate the extreme values by ~10-15 % due to non-linear effects. This degree of non-linearity, however, is comparable or smaller than measured from redeposition experiments using detrital material, which suggests that over the range of typical geomagnetic field strengths explored here, MTB appear to be good recorders of the paleomagnetic field. The RPI discrepancies between nearby geological records, which have been inferred to be the result of abundant biogenic magnetic minerals, are likely to be related to the mixing of biogenic and detrital magnetic components, or through chemical processes that may subsequently affect the NRM carried by fossil magnetosomes.

  17. Three-dimensional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of fossils across taxa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mietchen, D.; Aberhan, M.; Manz, B.; Hampe, O.; Mohr, B.; Neumann, C.; Volke, F.

    2007-08-01

    The visibility of life forms in the fossil record is largely determined by the extent to which they were mineralised at the time of their death. In addition to mineral structures, many fossils nonetheless contain detectable amounts of residual water or organic molecules, the analysis of which has become an integral part of current palaeontological research. The methods available for this sort of investigations, though, typically require dissolution or ionisation of the fossil sample or parts thereof, which is an issue with rare taxa and outstanding materials like pathological or type specimens. In such cases, non-destructive techniques could provide an interesting methodological alternative. While Computed Tomography has long been used to study palaeontological specimens, a number of complementary approaches have recently gained ground. These include Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) which had previously been employed to obtain three-dimensional images of pathological belemnites non-invasively on the basis of intrinsic contrast. The present study was undertaken to investigate whether 1H MRI can likewise provide anatomical information about non-pathological belemnites and specimens of other fossil taxa. To this end, three-dimensional MR image series were acquired from intact non-pathological invertebrate, vertebrate and plant fossils. At routine voxel resolutions in the range of several dozens to some hundreds of micrometers, these images reveal a host of anatomical details and thus highlight the potential of MR techniques to effectively complement existing methodological approaches for palaeontological investigations in a wide range of taxa. As for the origin of the MR signal, relaxation and diffusion measurements as well as 1H and 13C MR spectra acquired from a belemnite suggest intracrystalline water or hydroxyl groups, rather than organic residues.

  18. Three-dimensional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of fossils across taxa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mietchen, D.; Aberhan, M.; Manz, B.; Hampe, O.; Mohr, B.; Neumann, C.; Volke, F.

    2008-01-01

    The frequency of life forms in the fossil record is largely determined by the extent to which they were mineralised at the time of their death. In addition to mineral structures, many fossils nonetheless contain detectable amounts of residual water or organic molecules, the analysis of which has become an integral part of current palaeontological research. The methods available for this sort of investigations, though, typically require dissolution or ionisation of the fossil sample or parts thereof, which is an issue with rare taxa and outstanding materials like pathological or type specimens. In such cases, non-destructive techniques could provide a valuable methodological alternative. While Computed Tomography has long been used to study palaeontological specimens, a number of complementary approaches have recently gained ground. These include Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) which had previously been employed to obtain three-dimensional images of pathological belemnites non-invasively on the basis of intrinsic contrast. The present study was undertaken to investigate whether 1H MRI can likewise provide anatomical information about non-pathological belemnites and specimens of other fossil taxa. To this end, three-dimensional MR image series were acquired from intact non-pathological invertebrate, vertebrate and plant fossils. At routine voxel resolutions in the range of several dozens to some hundreds of micrometers, these images reveal a host of anatomical details and thus highlight the potential of MR techniques to effectively complement existing methodological approaches for palaeontological investigations in a wide range of taxa. As for the origin of the MR signal, relaxation and diffusion measurements as well as 1H and 13C MR spectra acquired from a belemnite suggest intracrystalline water or hydroxyl groups, rather than organic residues.

  19. Phylogenomic resolution of the class Ophiuroidea unlocks a global microfossil record.

    PubMed

    O'Hara, Timothy D; Hugall, Andrew F; Thuy, Ben; Moussalli, Adnan

    2014-08-18

    Our understanding of the origin, evolution, and biogeography of seafloor fauna is limited because we have insufficient spatial and temporal data to resolve underlying processes. The abundance and wide distribution of modern and disarticulated fossil Ophiuroidea, including brittle stars and basket stars, make them an ideal model system for global marine biogeography if we have the phylogenetic framework necessary to link extant and fossil morphology in an evolutionary context. Here we construct a phylogeny from a highly complete 425-gene, 61-taxa transcriptome-based data set covering 15 of the 18 ophiuroid families and representatives of all extant echinoderm classes. We calibrate our phylogeny with a series of novel fossil discoveries from the early Mesozoic. We confirm the traditional paleontological view that ophiuroids are sister to the asteroids and date the crown group Ophiuroidea to the mid-Permian (270 ± 30 mega-annum). We refute all historical classification schemes of the Ophiuroidea based on gross structural characters but find strong congruence with schemes based on lateral arm plate microstructure and the temporal appearance of various plate morphologies in the fossil record. The verification that these microfossils contain phylogenetically informative characters unlocks their potential to advance our understanding of marine biogeographical processes. PMID:25065752

  20. Using extant taxa to inform studies of fossil footprints

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Falkingham, Peter; Gatesy, Stephen

    2016-04-01

    Attempting to use the fossilized footprints of extinct animals to study their palaeobiology and palaeoecology is notoriously difficult. The inconvenient extinction of the trackmaker makes direct correlation between footprints and foot far from straightforward. However, footprints are the only direct evidence of vertebrate motion recorded in the fossil record, and are potentially a source of data on palaeobiology that cannot be obtained from osteological remains alone. Our interests lie in recovering information about the movements of dinosaurs from their tracks. In particular, the Hitchcock collection of early Jurassic tracks held at the Beneski Museum of Natural History, Amherst, provide a rare look into the 3D form of tracks at and below the surface the animal walked on. Breaking naturally along laminations into 'track books', the specimens present sediment deformation at multiple levels, and in doing so record more of the foot's motion than a single surface might. In order to utilize this rich information source to study the now extinct trackmakers, the process of track formation must be understood at a fundamental level; the interaction of the moving foot and compliant substrate. We used bi-planar X-ray techniques (X-ray Reconstruction of Moving Morphology) to record the limb and foot motions of a Guineafowl traversing both granular and cohesive substrates. This data was supplemented with photogrammetric records of the resultant track surfaces, as well as the motion of metal beads within the sediment, to provide a full experimental dataset of foot and footprint formation. The physical experimental data was used to generate computer simulations of the process using high performance computing and the Discrete Element Method. The resultant simulations showed excellent congruence with reality, and enabled visualization within the sediment volume, and throughout the track-forming process. This physical and virtual experimental set-up has provided major insight into

  1. Diversification of Neoaves: integration of molecular sequence data and fossils

    PubMed Central

    Ericson, Per G.P; Anderson, Cajsa L; Britton, Tom; Elzanowski, Andrzej; Johansson, Ulf S; Källersjö, Mari; Ohlson, Jan I; Parsons, Thomas J; Zuccon, Dario; Mayr, Gerald

    2006-01-01

    Patterns of diversification and timing of evolution within Neoaves, which includes almost 95% of all bird species, are virtually unknown. On the other hand, molecular data consistently indicate a Cretaceous origin of many neoavian lineages and the fossil record seems to support an Early Tertiary diversification. Here, we present the first well-resolved molecular phylogeny for Neoaves, together with divergence time estimates calibrated with a large number of stratigraphically and phylogenetically well-documented fossils. Our study defines several well-supported clades within Neoaves. The calibration results suggest that Neoaves, after an initial split from Galloanseres in Mid-Cretaceous, diversified around or soon after the K/T boundary. Our results thus do not contradict palaeontological data and show that there is no solid molecular evidence for an extensive pre-Tertiary radiation of Neoaves. PMID:17148284

  2. Inferring modern extinction risk from fossil occupancy trajectories

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kiessling, Wolfgang; Kocsis, Adam

    2016-04-01

    Besides providing information on ancient mass extinctions and intrinsic extinction risk, the fossil record may also provide useful data for assessing the extinction risk of extant species. Here we analyse the palaeontological trajectories of geographical occupancy in extant marine species to identify species that have been declining over geological time scales and may thus be more prone to extinction than expanding species. The slopes of these occupancy trajectories are used to categorize evolutionary extinction risk. Mapping the risk at global scale we find that low to mid latitude regions are at significantly higher risk than high latitude regions. We also find a moderate correspondence between high extinction risk on geological time scales and modern extinction risk for reef corals and propose to add fossil data to the assessment of current extinction risk, especially for the notoriously data deficient marine taxa.

  3. OXYGEN ABUNDANCES IN CEPHEIDS

    SciTech Connect

    Luck, R. E.; Andrievsky, S. M.; Korotin, S. N.; Kovtyukh, V. V. E-mail: serkor@skyline.od.ua E-mail: scan@deneb1.odessa.ua

    2013-07-01

    Oxygen abundances in later-type stars, and intermediate-mass stars in particular, are usually determined from the [O I] line at 630.0 nm, and to a lesser extent, from the O I triplet at 615.7 nm. The near-IR triplets at 777.4 nm and 844.6 nm are strong in these stars and generally do not suffer from severe blending with other species. However, these latter two triplets suffer from strong non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (NLTE) effects and thus see limited use in abundance analyses. In this paper, we derive oxygen abundances in a large sample of Cepheids using the near-IR triplets from an NLTE analysis, and compare those abundances to values derived from a local thermodynamic equilibrium (LTE) analysis of the [O I] 630.0 nm line and the O I 615.7 nm triplet as well as LTE abundances for the 777.4 nm triplet. All of these lines suffer from line strength problems making them sensitive to either measurement complications (weak lines) or to line saturation difficulties (strong lines). Upon this realization, the LTE results for the [O I] lines and the O I 615.7 nm triplet are in adequate agreement with the abundance from the NLTE analysis of the near-IR triplets.

  4. Deoxygenation in cycling fossil plants

    SciTech Connect

    Pearl, W.L.; Hobart, R.L.; Hook, T.A.; McNea, D.A. )

    1992-04-01

    In a previous EPRI study (Phase 1 of RP1184-9) at the Port Everglades plant of Florida Power and Light, it was demonstrated that minimizing shutdown oxygen levels at a cycling plant could reduce corrosion product transport to the boilers. A continuation of the program was performed to demonstrate the use of two forms of activated carbon to catalyze the hydrazine/oxygen reaction as a method to minimize the oxygen levels of cycling fossil plants. An activated carbon impregnated fiber overlay on a powdered resin precoat was tested at TU Electric's Tradinghouse Creek Unit 1 and a carbon bed followed by a deep bed demineralizer was tested at Duquesne's Elrama Unit 4. The improvement in attainable oxygen control was demonstrated and the effect on corrosion product transport during cyclic operation was evaluated. The study also demonstrated the application of a data acquisition system for prompt data assessment, control of chemical additions, identification of problems, and development of responsive corrective actions.

  5. Double fossilization in eukaryotic microorganisms from Lower Cretaceous amber

    PubMed Central

    Martín-González, Ana; Wierzchos, Jacek; Gutiérrez, Juan-Carlos; Alonso, Jesús; Ascaso, Carmen

    2009-01-01

    Background Microfossils are not only useful for elucidating biological macro- and microevolution but also the biogeochemical history of our planet. Pyritization is the most important and extensive mode of preservation of animals and especially of plants. Entrapping in amber, a fossilized resin, is considered an alternative mode of biological preservation. For the first time, the internal organization of 114-million-year-old microfossils entrapped in Lower Cretaceous amber is described and analyzed, using adapted scanning electron microscopy in backscattered electron mode in association with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy microanalysis. Double fossilization of several protists included in diverse taxonomical groups and some vegetal debris is described and analyzed. Results In protists without an exoskeleton or shell (ciliates, naked amoebae, flagellates), determinate structures, including the nuclei, surface envelopes (cortex or cytoplasmic membrane) and hyaloplasm are the main sites of pyritization. In protists with a biomineralized skeleton (diatoms), silicon was replaced by pyrite. Permineralization was the main mode of pyritization. Framboidal, subhedral and microcrystalline are the predominant pyrite textures detected in the cells. Abundant pyritized vegetal debris have also been found inside the amber nuggets and the surrounding sediments. This vegetal debris usually contained numerous pyrite framboids and very densely packed polycrystalline pyrite formations infilled with different elements of the secondary xylem. Conclusion Embedding in amber and pyritization are not always alternative modes of biological preservation during geological times, but double fossilization is possible under certain environmental conditions. Pyritization in protists shows a quite different pattern with regard to plants, due to the different composition and cellular architecture in these microorganisms and organisms. Anaerobic sulphate-reducing bacteria could play a crucial

  6. Fossil evidence for the early ant evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perrichot, Vincent; Lacau, Sébastien; Néraudeau, Didier; Nel, André

    2008-02-01

    Ants are one of the most studied insects in the world; and the literature devoted to their origin and evolution, systematics, ecology, or interactions with plants, fungi and other organisms is prolific. However, no consensus yet exists on the age estimate of the first Formicidae or on the origin of their eusociality. We review the fossil and biogeographical record of all known Cretaceous ants. We discuss the possible origin of the Formicidae with emphasis on the most primitive subfamily Sphecomyrminae according to its distribution and the Early Cretaceous palaeogeography. And we review the evidence of true castes and eusociality of the early ants regarding their morphological features and their manner of preservation in amber. The mid-Cretaceous amber forest from south-western France where some of the oldest known ants lived, corresponded to a moist tropical forest close to the shore with a dominance of gymnosperm trees but where angiosperms (flowering plants) were already diversified. This palaeoenvironmental reconstruction supports an initial radiation of ants in forest ground litter coincident with the rise of angiosperms, as recently proposed as an ecological explanation for their origin and successful evolution.

  7. A comparative study of modern and fossil cone scales and seeds of conifers: A geochemical approach

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Artur, Stankiewicz B.; Mastalerz, Maria; Kruge, M.A.; Van Bergen, P. F.; Sadowska, A.

    1997-01-01

    Modern cone scales and seeds of Pinus strobus and Sequoia sempervirens, and their fossil (Upper Miocene, c. 6 Mar) counterparts Pinus leitzii and Sequoia langsdorfi have been studied using pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS), electron-microprobe and scanning electron microscopy. Microscopic observations revealed only minor microbial activity and high-quality structural preservation of the fossil material. The pyrolysates of both modern genera showed the presence of ligno-cellulose characteristic of conifers. However, the abundance of (alkylated)phenols and 1,2-benzenediols in modern S. sempervirens suggests the presence of non-hydrolysable tannins or abundant polyphenolic moieties not previously reported in modern conifers. The marked differences between the pyrolysis products of both modern genera are suggested to be of chemosystematic significance. The fossil samples also contained ligno-cellulose which exhibited only partial degradation, primarily of the carbohydrate constituents. Comparison between the fossil cone scale and seed pyrolysates indicated that the ligno-cellulose complex present in the seeds is chemically more resistant than that in the cone scales. Principal component analysis (PCA) of the pyrolysis data allowed for the determination of the discriminant functions used to assess the extent of degradation and the chemosystematic differences between both genera and between cone scales and seeds. Elemental composition (C, O, S), obtained using electron-microprobe, corroborated the pyrolysis results. Overall, the combination of chemical, microscopic and statistical methods allowed for a detailed characterization and chemosystematic interpretations of modern and fossil conifer cone scales and seeds.

  8. A review of the current state of knowledge of fossil Mantispidae (Insecta: Neuroptera).

    PubMed

    Jepson, James E

    2015-01-01

    There are 32 individual specimens of Mantispidae (Insecta: Neuroptera) currently recorded from the fossil record, the oldest of which dates back to the Lower Jurassic. These include 19 described species (in 16 genera), 1 specimen described to genus level and 9 unnamed specimens The specimens have been assigned to the extant subfamilies Drepanicinae (4), Mantispinae (10), Symphrasinae (1), and the extinct subfamily Mesomantispinae (16), with one incertae sedis within Mantispidae. There are currently no known fossil representatives of the subfamily Calomantispinae. Mesithoninae has been removed from Mantispidae and placed back within Berothidae. The species Mesithone carnaria and M. monstruosa, however, are true mantispids and have been removed from Mesithone and placed within a new genus Karataumantispa gen. nov. in the subfamily Mesomantispinae. The current state of knowledge of the fossil record of Mantispidae is reviewed and a key to the genera of Mesomantispinae is provided. PMID:26249453

  9. Investments in Fossil Energy Technology: How the Government's Fossil Energy R&D Program Has Made a Difference

    DOE R&D Accomplishments Database

    1997-03-01

    America has the technological capacity to change its energy future. There is no reason, for example, why our nation must continue following a path of rising oil imports when billions of barrels of crude oil remain in domestic oil fields. There is no reason why we cannot continue to use our abundant supplies of high-value, low-cost coal when we have the scientific know-how to remove virtually all of its pollutants and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There is no reason why we cannot turn increasingly to clean-burning natural gas and tap the huge supplies we know exist within our borders. We remain a nation rich in the fuels that have powered economic growth. Today 85 percent of the energy we use to heat our homes and businesses, generate our electricity, and fuel our vehicles comes from coal, petroleum and natural gas. As we move toward a new century, the contributions of these fuels will grow. By 2015, the United States is likely to require nearly 20 percent more energy than it uses today, and fossil fuels are projected to supply almost 88 percent of the energy Americans will consume. We have the scientific know-how to continue using our fossil fuel wealth without fear of environmental damage or skyrocketing costs. The key is technology - developing cutting edge concepts that are beyond the private sector's current capabilities. Some of the most important innovations in America's energy industry are the results of investments in the Federal government's fossil energy research and development programs. Today, our air and water are cleaner, our economy is stronger, and our industries are more competitive in the global market because these programs have produced results. This booklet summarizes many of these achievements. It is not a comprehensive list by any means. Still, it provides solid evidence that the taxpayers' investment in government fossil energy research has paid real and measurable dividends.

  10. Investments in fossil energy technology: How the government's fossil energy R&D program has made a difference

    SciTech Connect

    None, None

    1997-03-01

    America has the technological capacity to change its energy future. There is no reason, for example, why our nation must continue following a path of rising oil imports when billions of barrels of crude oil remain in domestic oil fields. There is no reason why we cannot continue to use our abundant supplies of high-value, low-cost coal when we have the scientific know-how to remove virtually all of its pollutants and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There is no reason why we cannot turn increasingly to clean-burning natural gas and tap the huge supplies we know exist within our borders. We remain a nation rich in the fuels that have powered economic growth. Today 85 percent of the energy we use to heat our homes and businesses, generate our electricity, and fuel our vehicles comes from coal, petroleum and natural gas. As we move toward a new century, the contributions of these fuels will grow. By 2015, the United States is likely to require nearly 20 percent more energy than it uses today, and fossil fuels are projected to supply almost 88 percent of the energy Americans will consume. We have the scientific know-how to continue using our fossil fuel wealth without fear of environmental damage or skyrocketing costs. The key is technology - developing cutting edge concepts that are beyond the private sector's current capabilities. Some of the most important innovations in America's energy industry are the results of investments in the Federal government's fossil energy research and development programs. Today, our air and water are cleaner, our economy is stronger, and our industries are more competitive in the global market because these programs have produced results. This booklet summarizes many of these achievements. It is not a comprehensive list by any means. Still, it provides solid evidence that the taxpayers' investment in government fossil energy research has paid real and measurable dividends.

  11. Forty Years Later: Updating the Fossilization Hypothesis

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Han, ZhaoHong

    2013-01-01

    A founding concept in second language acquisition (SLA) research, fossilization has been fundamental to understanding second language (L2) development. The Fossilization Hypothesis, introduced in Selinker's seminal text (1972), has thus been one of the most influential theories, guiding a significant bulk of SLA research for four decades; 2012…

  12. The original colours of fossil beetles

    PubMed Central

    McNamara, Maria E.; Briggs, Derek E. G.; Orr, Patrick J.; Noh, Heeso; Cao, Hui

    2012-01-01

    Structural colours, the most intense, reflective and pure colours in nature, are generated when light is scattered by complex nanostructures. Metallic structural colours are widespread among modern insects and can be preserved in their fossil counterparts, but it is unclear whether the colours have been altered during fossilization, and whether the absence of colours is always real. To resolve these issues, we investigated fossil beetles from five Cenozoic biotas. Metallic colours in these specimens are generated by an epicuticular multi-layer reflector; the fidelity of its preservation correlates with that of other key cuticular ultrastructures. Where these other ultrastructures are well preserved in non-metallic fossil specimens, we can infer that the original cuticle lacked a multi-layer reflector; its absence in the fossil is not a preservational artefact. Reconstructions of the original colours of the fossils based on the structure of the multi-layer reflector show that the preserved colours are offset systematically to longer wavelengths; this probably reflects alteration of the refractive index of the epicuticle during fossilization. These findings will allow the former presence, and original hue, of metallic structural colours to be identified in diverse fossil insects, thus providing critical evidence of the evolution of structural colour in this group. PMID:21957131

  13. Trace fossils of Marnoso-Arenacea Formation (Miocene), northern Italy: preliminary data

    SciTech Connect

    McBride, E.F.; Picard, M.D.

    1988-02-01

    Many horizons in the Marnoso-arenacea Formation contain rare to abundant trace fossils at numerous localities. Slope, fan, and basin-plain deposits have trace fossils dominated by the Nereites ichnofacies but include taxa from the Zoophycos ichnofacies plus Ohphiomorpha and Thalassinoides. Slope deposits contain Chondrites, Cosmorhaphe, Desmograpton, Helminthoida, Neonereites, Paleodictyon, Pelecypodichnus, Planolites, Punctorhaphe, and Scolicia; fan-channel deposits contain Chondrites and Planolites; fan-lobe deposits contain Chondrites, Ophiomorpha, Thalassinoides, Scolicia, and Zoophycos; and basin-plain deposits contain Chondrites, Helminthoida, Planolites, and Zoophycos. The distribution of hypichnial taxa may be in part the result of selective preservation (i.e., dependent on the depth of erosion by turbidity currents).

  14. The Fossil Calibration Database-A New Resource for Divergence Dating.

    PubMed

    Ksepka, Daniel T; Parham, James F; Allman, James F; Benton, Michael J; Carrano, Matthew T; Cranston, Karen A; Donoghue, Philip C J; Head, Jason J; Hermsen, Elizabeth J; Irmis, Randall B; Joyce, Walter G; Kohli, Manpreet; Lamm, Kristin D; Leehr, Dan; Patané, Josés L; Polly, P David; Phillips, Matthew J; Smith, N Adam; Smith, Nathan D; Van Tuinen, Marcel; Ware, Jessica L; Warnock, Rachel C M

    2015-09-01

    Fossils provide the principal basis for temporal calibrations, which are critical to the accuracy of divergence dating analyses. Translating fossil data into minimum and maximum bounds for calibrations is the most important-often least appreciated-step of divergence dating. Properly justified calibrations require the synthesis of phylogenetic, paleontological, and geological evidence and can be difficult for nonspecialists to formulate. The dynamic nature of the fossil record (e.g., new discoveries, taxonomic revisions, updates of global or local stratigraphy) requires that calibration data be updated continually lest they become obsolete. Here, we announce the Fossil Calibration Database (http://fossilcalibrations.org), a new open-access resource providing vetted fossil calibrations to the scientific community. Calibrations accessioned into this database are based on individual fossil specimens and follow best practices for phylogenetic justification and geochronological constraint. The associated Fossil Calibration Series, a calibration-themed publication series at Palaeontologia Electronica, will serve as a key pipeline for peer-reviewed calibrations to enter the database. PMID:25922515

  15. Recent decreases in fossil-fuel emissions of ethane and methane derived from firn air.

    PubMed

    Aydin, Murat; Verhulst, Kristal R; Saltzman, Eric S; Battle, Mark O; Montzka, Stephen A; Blake, Donald R; Tang, Qi; Prather, Michael J

    2011-08-11

    Methane and ethane are the most abundant hydrocarbons in the atmosphere and they affect both atmospheric chemistry and climate. Both gases are emitted from fossil fuels and biomass burning, whereas methane (CH(4)) alone has large sources from wetlands, agriculture, landfills and waste water. Here we use measurements in firn (perennial snowpack) air from Greenland and Antarctica to reconstruct the atmospheric variability of ethane (C(2)H(6)) during the twentieth century. Ethane levels rose from early in the century until the 1980s, when the trend reversed, with a period of decline over the next 20 years. We find that this variability was primarily driven by changes in ethane emissions from fossil fuels; these emissions peaked in the 1960s and 1970s at 14-16 teragrams per year (1 Tg = 10(12) g) and dropped to 8-10 Tg  yr(-1) by the turn of the century. The reduction in fossil-fuel sources is probably related to changes in light hydrocarbon emissions associated with petroleum production and use. The ethane-based fossil-fuel emission history is strikingly different from bottom-up estimates of methane emissions from fossil-fuel use, and implies that the fossil-fuel source of methane started to decline in the 1980s and probably caused the late twentieth century slow-down in the growth rate of atmospheric methane. PMID:21833087

  16. SUZAKU OBSERVATIONS OF THE X-RAY BRIGHTEST FOSSIL GROUP ESO 3060170

    SciTech Connect

    Su, Yuanyuan; White, Raymond E. III; Miller, Eric D.

    2013-10-01

    'Fossil' galaxy groups, each dominated by a relatively isolated giant elliptical galaxy, have many properties intermediate between groups and clusters of galaxies. We used the Suzaku X-ray observatory to observe the X-ray brightest fossil group, ESO 3060170, out to R{sub 200}, in order to better elucidate the relation between fossil groups, normal groups, and clusters. We determined the intragroup gas temperature, density, and metal abundance distributions and derived the entropy, pressure, and mass profiles for this group. The entropy and pressure profiles in the outer regions are flatter than in simulated clusters, similar to what is seen in observations of massive clusters. This may indicate that the gas is clumpy and/or the gas has been redistributed. Assuming hydrostatic equilibrium, the total mass is estimated to be ∼1.7 × 10{sup 14} M{sub ☉} within a radius R{sub 200} of ∼1.15 Mpc, with an enclosed baryon mass fraction of 0.13. The integrated iron mass-to-light ratio of this fossil group is larger than in most groups and comparable to those of clusters, indicating that this fossil group has retained the bulk of its metals. A galaxy luminosity density map on a scale of 25 Mpc shows that this fossil group resides in a relatively isolated environment, unlike the filamentary structures in which typical groups and clusters are embedded.

  17. Direct evidence of central European forest refugia during the last glacial period based on mollusc fossils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Juřičková, Lucie; Horáčková, Jitka; Ložek, Vojen

    2014-07-01

    Although there is evidence from molecular studies for the existence of central European last glacial refugia for temperate species, there is still a great lack of direct fossil records to confirm this theory. Here we bring such evidence in the form of fossil shells from twenty strictly forest land snail species, which were recorded in radiocarbon-dated late glacial or older mollusc assemblages of nine non-interrupted mollusc successions situated in the Western Carpathians, and one in the Bohemian Massif. We proposed that molluscs survived the last glacial period in central Europe in isolated small patches of broadleaf forest, which we unequivocally demonstrate for two sites of last glacial maximum age.

  18. Solar abundance of platinum

    PubMed Central

    Burger, Harry; Aller, Lawrence H.

    1975-01-01

    Three lines of neutral platinum, located at λ 2997.98 Å, λ 3064.71 Å, and λ 3301.86 Å have been used to determine the solar platinum abundance by the method of spectral synthesis. On the scale, log A(H) = 12.00, the thus-derived solar platinum abundance is 1.75 ± 0.10, in fair accord with Cameron's value of log A(Pt) = 1.69 derived by Mason from carbonaceous chondrites and calculated on the assumption that log A(Si) = 7.55 in the sun. PMID:16592278

  19. Investigating ENSO Variability in the mid-Holocene using a Fossil Coral from the South Pacific

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vara, M. A.; Quinn, T. M.; Taylor, F. W.; Partin, J. W.; Gorman, M. K.; Maupin, C. R.; Edwards, R.; Cheng, H.; Inoue, M.; Nakedau, D.

    2013-12-01

    We investigate mid-Holocene variability in the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) system using geochemical variations in a well-preserved fossil Porites lutea coral collected in 2005 at Araki Island, Vanuatu (15.62°S 166.95°E). Surface-ocean conditions (temperature and salinity) at Vanuatu respond to ENSO-related changes in the West Pacific Warm Pool (WPWP) and the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ). The coral core is ~1.64 m in length and has been U-Th dated to 7,230 × 440 y B.P. Skeletal extension rate averages 1.5 cm per year based on analysis of X-radiographic images, which document the presence of well-defined density bands. The coral was sampled for geochemical analysis every 0.125 cm, which is approximately one sample per month. The full coral record will be approximately 90 continuous years in length once all sampling and analyses have been completed. Thus far, we have generated monthly resolved, 50-year coral δ18O and Sr/Ca records. The coral δ18O record has a mean δ18O value of -4.75 ‰ and an annual-cycle amplitude that averages 0.35 ‰. The fossil coral δ18O record contains patterns of isotopic variation that match patterns recognized as El Niño and La Niña events in modern coral δ18O records from this region. The fossil coral Sr/Ca record yields temperature estimates at ~7.2 ka that are similar to modern values. Future work will focus in three areas: 1) extending the length of the fossil coral record to more fully explore the nature of interannual variability recorded in the present fossil coral sample; 2) generating an additional fossil coral record using another coral collected from the same reef terrace to assess reproducibility of the records; and 3) extend the assessment of past ENSO variability using paleorecords generated from fossil corals of similar age from a different location in Vanuatu.

  20. Fossilization causes organisms to appear erroneously primitive by distorting evolutionary trees

    PubMed Central

    Sansom, Robert S.; Wills, Matthew A.

    2013-01-01

    Fossils are vital for calibrating rates of molecular and morphological change through geological time, and are the only direct source of data documenting macroevolutionary transitions. Many evolutionary studies therefore require the robust phylogenetic placement of extinct organisms. Here, we demonstrate that the inevitable bias of the fossil record to preserve just hard, skeletal morphology systemically distorts phylogeny. Removal of soft part characters from 78 modern vertebrate and invertebrate morphological datasets resulted in significant changes to phylogenetic signal; it caused individual taxa to drift from their original position, predominately downward toward the root of their respective trees. This last bias could systematically inflate evolutionary rates inferred from molecular data because first fossil occurrences will not be recognised as such. Stem-ward slippage, whereby fundamental taphonomic biases cause fossils to be interpreted as erroneously primitive, is therefore a ubiquitous problem for all biologists attempting to infer macroevolutionary rates or sequences. PMID:23985991

  1. Fossil preservation and the stratigraphic ranges of taxa

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Foote, M.; Raup, D. M.

    1996-01-01

    The incompleteness of the fossil record hinders the inference of evolutionary rates and patterns. Here, we derive relationships among true taxonomic durations, preservation probability, and observed taxonomic ranges. We use these relationships to estimate original distributions of taxonomic durations, preservation probability, and completeness (proportion of taxa preserved), given only the observed ranges. No data on occurrences within the ranges of taxa are required. When preservation is random and the original distribution of durations is exponential, the inference of durations, preservability, and completeness is exact. However, reasonable approximations are possible given non-exponential duration distributions and temporal and taxonomic variation in preservability. Thus, the approaches we describe have great potential in studies of taphonomy, evolutionary rates and patterns, and genealogy. Analyses of Upper Cambrian-Lower Ordovician trilobite species, Paleozoic crinoid genera, Jurassic bivalve species, and Cenozoic mammal species yield the following results: (1) The preservation probability inferred from stratigraphic ranges alone agrees with that inferred from the analysis of stratigraphic gaps when data on the latter are available. (2) Whereas median durations based on simple tabulations of observed ranges are biased by stratigraphic resolution, our estimates of median duration, extinction rate, and completeness are not biased.(3) The shorter geologic ranges of mammalian species relative to those of bivalves cannot be attributed to a difference in preservation potential. However, we cannot rule out the contribution of taxonomic practice to this difference. (4) In the groups studied, completeness (proportion of species [trilobites, bivalves, mammals] or genera [crinoids] preserved) ranges from 60% to 90%. The higher estimates of completeness at smaller geographic scales support previous suggestions that the incompleteness of the fossil record reflects loss of

  2. The future of fossil fuels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lackner, Klaus

    2007-03-01

    With today's energy technology, the world faces a stark choice between economic growth and a healthy environment. The accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere must stop, while energy services to a growing world population striving for a high standard of living must improve. New technologies must eliminate CO2 emissions. Only carbon capture and storage can maintain access to fossil carbon reserves that by themselves could satisfy energy demand for centuries. Technologies for CO2 capture at power plants and other large sources already exist. A new generation of efficient, clean power plants could capture its CO2 and deliver it for underground injection or mineral sequestration. However, the remaining CO2 emissions from distributed sources are too large to be ignored. Either hydrogen or electricity need to substitute for carbonaceous energy carriers, or CO2 emissions must be balanced out by capturing an equivalent amount of carbon from the environment. Biomass growth offers one such option; direct capture of CO2 from the air provides another. Carbon capture and storage technologies can close the anthropogenic carbon cycle and, thus, provide one possible avenue to a world that is not limited by energy constraints.

  3. Cycling operation of fossil plants

    SciTech Connect

    Bhatnagar, U.S.; Weiss, M.D.; White, W.H. ); Buchanan, T.L.; Harvey, L.E.; Shewchuk, P.K.; Weinstein, R.E. )

    1991-05-01

    This report presents a methodology for examining the economic feasibility of converting fossil power plants from baseload to cycling service. It employs this approach to examine a proposed change of Pepco's Potomac River units 3, 4, and 5 from baseload operation of two-shift cycling. The project team first reviewed all components and listed potential cycling effects involved in the conversion of Potomac River units 3, 4, and 5. They developed general cycling plant screening criteria including the number of hot, warm, or cold restart per year and desired load ramp rates. In addition, they evaluated specific limitations on the boiler, turbine, and the balance of plant. They estimated the remaining life of the facility through component evaluation and boiler testing and also identified and prioritized potential component deficiencies by their impact on key operational factors: safety, heat rate, turn down, startup/shutdown time, and plant availability. They developed solutions to these problems; and, since many solutions mitigate more than one problem, they combined and reprioritized these synergistic solutions. Economic assessments were performed on all solutions. 13 figs., 20 tabs.

  4. A total-evidence approach to dating with fossils, applied to the early radiation of the hymenoptera.

    PubMed

    Ronquist, Fredrik; Klopfstein, Seraina; Vilhelmsen, Lars; Schulmeister, Susanne; Murray, Debra L; Rasnitsyn, Alexandr P

    2012-12-01

    Phylogenies are usually dated by calibrating interior nodes against the fossil record. This relies on indirect methods that, in the worst case, misrepresent the fossil information. Here, we contrast such node dating with an approach that includes fossils along with the extant taxa in a Bayesian total-evidence analysis. As a test case, we focus on the early radiation of the Hymenoptera, mostly documented by poorly preserved impression fossils that are difficult to place phylogenetically. Specifically, we compare node dating using nine calibration points derived from the fossil record with total-evidence dating based on 343 morphological characters scored for 45 fossil (4--20 complete) and 68 extant taxa. In both cases we use molecular data from seven markers (∼5 kb) for the extant taxa. Because it is difficult to model speciation, extinction, sampling, and fossil preservation realistically, we develop a simple uniform prior for clock trees with fossils, and we use relaxed clock models to accommodate rate variation across the tree. Despite considerable uncertainty in the placement of most fossils, we find that they contribute significantly to the estimation of divergence times in the total-evidence analysis. In particular, the posterior distributions on divergence times are less sensitive to prior assumptions and tend to be more precise than in node dating. The total-evidence analysis also shows that four of the seven Hymenoptera calibration points used in node dating are likely to be based on erroneous or doubtful assumptions about the fossil placement. With respect to the early radiation of Hymenoptera, our results suggest that the crown group dates back to the Carboniferous, ∼309 Ma (95% interval: 291--347 Ma), and diversified into major extant lineages much earlier than previously thought, well before the Triassic. [Bayesian inference; fossil dating; morphological evolution; relaxed clock; statistical phylogenetics.]. PMID:22723471

  5. The organic preservation of fossil arthropods: an experimental study

    PubMed Central

    Gupta, Neal S; Michels, R; Briggs, Derek E.G; Evershed, Richard P; Pancost, Richard D

    2006-01-01

    Modern arthropod cuticles consist of chitin fibres in a protein matrix, but those of fossil arthropods with an organic exoskeleton, particularly older than Tertiary, contain a dominant aliphatic component. This apparent contradiction was examined by subjecting modern cockroach, scorpion and shrimp cuticle to artificial maturation (350 °C/700 bars/24 h) following various chemical treatments, and analysing the products with pyrolysis–gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py–GC/MS). Analysis of artificially matured untreated cuticle yielded moieties related to phenols and alkylated substituents, pyridines, pyrroles and possibly indenes (derived from chitin). n-Alkyl amides, C16 and C18 fatty acids and alkane/alk-1-ene homologues ranging from C9 to C19 were also generated, the last indicating the presence of an n-alkyl component, similar in composition to that encountered in fossil arthropods. Similar pyrolysates were obtained from matured pure C16 and C18 fatty acids. Py–GC/MS of cuticles matured after lipid extraction and hydrolysis did not yield any aliphatic polymer. This provides direct experimental evidence that lipids incorporated from the cuticle were the source of aliphatic polymer. This process of in situ polymerization appears to account for most of the fossil record of terrestrial arthropods as well as marine arthropods that lacked a biomineralized exoskeleton. PMID:17015325

  6. Mesoscale Fossil Diversity and Ecosystem Modeling in the Cenozoic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brooks, B.; Cervato, C.

    2008-12-01

    Numerous experiments of extant ecosystems have tested aspects of modern niche theory as they relate to the development and maintenance of species richness in a geographic area. As such, species richness has often been observed to be a consequence of heterogeneous conditions within the ecosystem provided by environmental gradients, moderate levels of disturbance, and complex trophic interactions that give rise to niche partitioning. By contrast some studies of the fossil record have focused on identifying governing parameters for paleodiversity using instead simplified models of ecosystem interaction, which violate principles of niche theory. To examine ecosystem diversity within the most recent 60 Ma, we analyzed the depositional environment and lithologies of 17,984 globally distributed marine fossil assemblages, focusing on the relationship between diversity and ecosystem gradients. Our results indicate that although there is a myriad of factors that can provide for high fossil diversity within a geographic area, only a few ecosystem gradients are needed to explain the majority of that diversity. Our findings are consistent with modern niche theory and may extend the robustness of this concept significantly through time.

  7. Stellar Oxygen Abundances

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    King, Jeremy

    1994-04-01

    This dissertation addresses several issues concerning stellar oxygen abundances. The 7774 {\\AA} O I triplet equivalent widths of Abia & Rebolo [1989, AJ, 347, 186] for metal-poor dwarfs are found to be systematically too high. I also argue that current effective temperatures used in halo star abundance studies may be ~150 K too low. New color-Teff relations are derived for metal-poor stars. Using the revised Teff values and improved equivalent widths for the 7774A O I triplet, the mean [O/Fe] ratio for a handful of halo stars is found to be +0.52 with no dependence on Teff or [Fe/H]. Possible cosmological implications of the hotter Teff scale are discussed along with additional evidence supporting the need for a higher temperature scale for metal-poor stars. Our Teff scale leads to a Spite Li plateau value of N(Li)=2.28 +/- 0.09. A conservative minimal primordial value of N(Li)=2.35 is inferred. If errors in the observations and models are considered, consistency with standard models of Big Bang nucleosynthesis is still achieved with this larger Li abundance. The revised Teff scale raises the observed B/Be ratio of HD 140283 from 10 to 12, making its value more comfortably consistent with the production of the observed B and Be by ordinary spallation. Our Teff values are found to be in good agreement with values predicted from both the Victoria and Yale isochrone color-Teff relations. Thus, it appears likely that no changes in globular cluster ages would result. Next, we examine the location of the break in the [O/Fe] versus [Fe/H] plane in a quantitative fashion. Analysis of a relatively homogeneous data set does not favor any unique break point in the range -1.7 /= -3), in agreement with the new results for halo dwarfs. We find that the gap in the observed [O/H] distribution, noted by Wheeler et al

  8. Abundances of light elements.

    PubMed Central

    Pagel, B E

    1993-01-01

    Recent developments in the study of abundances of light elements and their relevance to cosmological nucleosynthesis are briefly reviewed. The simplest model, based on standard cosmology and particle physics and assuming homogeneous baryon density at the relevant times, continues to stand up well. PMID:11607388

  9. Fossil-Fuel C02 Emissions Database and Exploration System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Krassovski, M.; Boden, T.; Andres, R. J.; Blasing, T. J.

    2012-12-01

    The Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) quantifies the release of carbon from fossil-fuel use and cement production at global, regional, and national spatial scales. The CDIAC emission time series estimates are based largely on annual energy statistics published at the national level by the United Nations (UN). CDIAC has developed a relational database to house collected data and information and a web-based interface to help users worldwide identify, explore and download desired emission data. The available information is divided in two major group: time series and gridded data. The time series data is offered for global, regional and national scales. Publications containing historical energy statistics make it possible to estimate fossil fuel CO2 emissions back to 1751. Etemad et al. (1991) published a summary compilation that tabulates coal, brown coal, peat, and crude oil production by nation and year. Footnotes in the Etemad et al.(1991) publication extend the energy statistics time series back to 1751. Summary compilations of fossil fuel trade were published by Mitchell (1983, 1992, 1993, 1995). Mitchell's work tabulates solid and liquid fuel imports and exports by nation and year. These pre-1950 production and trade data were digitized and CO2 emission calculations were made following the procedures discussed in Marland and Rotty (1984) and Boden et al. (1995). The gridded data presents annual and monthly estimates. Annual data presents a time series recording 1° latitude by 1° longitude CO2 emissions in units of million metric tons of carbon per year from anthropogenic sources for 1751-2008. The monthly, fossil-fuel CO2 emissions estimates from 1950-2008 provided in this database are derived from time series of global, regional, and national fossil-fuel CO2 emissions (Boden et al. 2011), the references therein, and the methodology described in Andres et al. (2011). The data accessible here take these

  10. Isotope analyses of fossil small mammals in karstic sites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garcia Alix, Antonio; Delgado Huertas, Antonio

    2016-04-01

    Fossil skeletal accumulations in kartstic complexes, such as caves, are quite common, especially during the Pliocene and Quaternary. These fossil assemblages are sometimes difficult to study, as specimens from different ages can be found together (time averaging). The traditional approach to study this kind of paleontological sites was taphonomic (understanding the origin and other factors affecting the bone accumulation) and/or taxonomic (systematic description of the remains). However, other kinds of analyses, such as biogeochemical techniques to reconstruct past diets and environments, are being more frequently used. Small-mammals have a wide geographical distribution, and their remains (bones and teeth) are extensively represented in the fossil record; therefore, isotopic analyses in fossil small-mammals are a powerful tool to reconstruct paleoenvironments. Field samples for small-mammal studies yield large amounts of sediment-residues that need to be reduced in the laboratory (usually by means of diluted hydrochloric or acetic acid). Therefore, samples of fossil small-mammal for isotopic analyses usually receive two different acid treatments: one to reduce the carbonate residue of the sediment, and afterwards another one to remove digenetic carbonates from the ground sample. Those treatments, along with the small size of the remains, may increase the probability of chemical fractionation during those pre-treatment stages. Those acid treatments are even more aggressive in kasrtic fossil localities, as limestone has to be dissolved to extract the small mammal remains. In this abstract, we present the results of two different treatments carried out in limestone from the Pliocene karstic locality of Moreda (Guadix Basin, Spain) and a control sample. One batch of samples were treated with a solution of 1M acetic acid-acetate calcium buffer (ph 4,5), and the rest with diluted acetic acid (at 15% concentration, Ph 2,2), which is the most used to reduce the sediments

  11. Clonal growth and plant species abundance

    PubMed Central

    Herben, Tomáš; Nováková, Zuzana; Klimešová, Jitka

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims Both regional and local plant abundances are driven by species' dispersal capacities and their abilities to exploit new habitats and persist there. These processes are affected by clonal growth, which is difficult to evaluate and compare across large numbers of species. This study assessed the influence of clonal reproduction on local and regional abundances of a large set of species and compared the predictive power of morphologically defined traits of clonal growth with data on actual clonal growth from a botanical garden. The role of clonal growth was compared with the effects of seed reproduction, habitat requirements and growth, proxied both by LHS (leaf–height–seed) traits and by actual performance in the botanical garden. Methods Morphological parameters of clonal growth, actual clonal reproduction in the garden and LHS traits (leaf-specific area – height – seed mass) were used as predictors of species abundance, both regional (number of species records in the Czech Republic) and local (mean species cover in vegetation records) for 836 perennial herbaceous species. Species differences in habitat requirements were accounted for by classifying the dataset by habitat type and also by using Ellenberg indicator values as covariates. Key Results After habitat differences were accounted for, clonal growth parameters explained an important part of variation in species abundance, both at regional and at local levels. At both levels, both greater vegetative growth in cultivation and greater lateral expansion trait values were correlated with higher abundance. Seed reproduction had weaker effects, being positive at the regional level and negative at the local level. Conclusions Morphologically defined traits are predictive of species abundance, and it is concluded that simultaneous investigation of several such traits can help develop hypotheses on specific processes (e.g. avoidance of self-competition, support of offspring) potentially

  12. Selective Preservation of Fossil Ghost Fish

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meacham, Amanda

    2016-04-01

    A unique type of fossil fish preservation has been discovered in the Angelo Member (Fossil Lake) of the Green River Formation. The Angelo Member is a predominately evaporative deposit dominated by dolomite, but contains facies of fossiliferous laminated calcimicrite. Fossil fish occurring in two beds conspicuously lack bones. Fish in the lower bed are only preserved as organic material, including skin, pigments, and eyes. Fish in the upper bed have three-dimensional etching where bones once existed but also contain skin, pigments, and eyes. The top third of the upper bed often contains calcite crystals that are pseudomorphs after trona and possibly halite. Preliminary mineralogical analysis and mapping of evaporate facies suggests that this unique preservation may be related to lake geochemical conditions, such as high pH and alkalinity. To our knowledge, this is the first time this type of preservation has been observed and studied. Fossils and sediments within these beds are being studied both vertically and laterally through the one-meter thick sequence containing the fossil fish using XRD, isotopic, SEM, thin section, and total organic carbon analysis. Nine quarries, 0.5-1 meter square, were excavated for both fossils and rock samples along with 17 additional rock sample locations across an approximately 25-kilometer square region. This investigation has the capability of reconstructing the paleoenvironment and lake chemistry of Fossil Lake during the deposition of the "ghost-fish" beds and solving the mystery of the "missing bones" and the unusual process of preservation.

  13. Fossil oak galls preserve ancient multitrophic interactions

    PubMed Central

    Stone, Graham N; van der Ham, Raymond W.J.M; Brewer, Jan G

    2008-01-01

    Trace fossils of insect feeding have contributed substantially to our understanding of the evolution of insect–plant interactions. The most complex phenotypes of herbivory are galls, whose diagnostic morphologies often allow the identification of the gall inducer. Although fossil insect-induced galls over 300 Myr old are known, most are two-dimensional impressions lacking adequate morphological detail either for the precise identification of the causer or for detection of the communities of specialist parasitoids and inquilines inhabiting modern plant galls. Here, we describe the first evidence for such multitrophic associations in Pleistocene fossil galls from the Eemian interglacial (130 000–115 000 years ago) of The Netherlands. The exceptionally well-preserved fossils can be attributed to extant species of Andricus gallwasps (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) galling oaks (Quercus), and provide the first fossil evidence of gall attack by herbivorous inquiline gallwasps. Furthermore, phylogenetic placement of one fossil in a lineage showing obligate host plant alternation implies the presence of a second oak species, Quercus cerris, currently unknown from Eemian fossils in northwestern Europe. This contrasts with the southern European native range of Q. cerris in the current interglacial and suggests that gallwasp invasions following human planting of Q. cerris in northern Europe may represent a return to preglacial distribution limits. PMID:18559323

  14. Bayesian phylogenetic estimation of fossil ages.

    PubMed

    Drummond, Alexei J; Stadler, Tanja

    2016-07-19

    Recent advances have allowed for both morphological fossil evidence and molecular sequences to be integrated into a single combined inference of divergence dates under the rule of Bayesian probability. In particular, the fossilized birth-death tree prior and the Lewis-Mk model of discrete morphological evolution allow for the estimation of both divergence times and phylogenetic relationships between fossil and extant taxa. We exploit this statistical framework to investigate the internal consistency of these models by producing phylogenetic estimates of the age of each fossil in turn, within two rich and well-characterized datasets of fossil and extant species (penguins and canids). We find that the estimation accuracy of fossil ages is generally high with credible intervals seldom excluding the true age and median relative error in the two datasets of 5.7% and 13.2%, respectively. The median relative standard error (RSD) was 9.2% and 7.2%, respectively, suggesting good precision, although with some outliers. In fact, in the two datasets we analyse, the phylogenetic estimate of fossil age is on average less than 2 Myr from the mid-point age of the geological strata from which it was excavated. The high level of internal consistency found in our analyses suggests that the Bayesian statistical model employed is an adequate fit for both the geological and morphological data, and provides evidence from real data that the framework used can accurately model the evolution of discrete morphological traits coded from fossil and extant taxa. We anticipate that this approach will have diverse applications beyond divergence time dating, including dating fossils that are temporally unconstrained, testing of the 'morphological clock', and for uncovering potential model misspecification and/or data errors when controversial phylogenetic hypotheses are obtained based on combined divergence dating analyses.This article is part of the themed issue 'Dating species divergences using

  15. Bayesian phylogenetic estimation of fossil ages

    PubMed Central

    Drummond, Alexei J.; Stadler, Tanja

    2016-01-01

    Recent advances have allowed for both morphological fossil evidence and molecular sequences to be integrated into a single combined inference of divergence dates under the rule of Bayesian probability. In particular, the fossilized birth–death tree prior and the Lewis-Mk model of discrete morphological evolution allow for the estimation of both divergence times and phylogenetic relationships between fossil and extant taxa. We exploit this statistical framework to investigate the internal consistency of these models by producing phylogenetic estimates of the age of each fossil in turn, within two rich and well-characterized datasets of fossil and extant species (penguins and canids). We find that the estimation accuracy of fossil ages is generally high with credible intervals seldom excluding the true age and median relative error in the two datasets of 5.7% and 13.2%, respectively. The median relative standard error (RSD) was 9.2% and 7.2%, respectively, suggesting good precision, although with some outliers. In fact, in the two datasets we analyse, the phylogenetic estimate of fossil age is on average less than 2 Myr from the mid-point age of the geological strata from which it was excavated. The high level of internal consistency found in our analyses suggests that the Bayesian statistical model employed is an adequate fit for both the geological and morphological data, and provides evidence from real data that the framework used can accurately model the evolution of discrete morphological traits coded from fossil and extant taxa. We anticipate that this approach will have diverse applications beyond divergence time dating, including dating fossils that are temporally unconstrained, testing of the ‘morphological clock', and for uncovering potential model misspecification and/or data errors when controversial phylogenetic hypotheses are obtained based on combined divergence dating analyses. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Dating species divergences

  16. Altered states: Effects of diagenesis on fossil tooth chemistry

    SciTech Connect

    Kohn, M.J.; Schoeninger, M.J.; Barker, W.W.

    1999-09-01

    Investigation of modern and fossil teeth from northern and central Kenya, using the ion microprobe, electron microprobe, and transmission electron microscope, confirms that fossil tooth chemistry is controlled not only by the diagenetic precipitation of secondary minerals but also by the chemical alteration of the biogenic apatite. Increases in the concentrations of Fe, Mn, Si, Al, Ba, and possibly Cu in fossil vs. modern teeth reflect mixtures of apatite and secondary minerals. These secondary minerals occur in concentrations ranging from {approximately}0.3% in enamel to {approximately}5% in dentine and include sub-{micro}m, interstitial Fe-bearing manganite [(Fe{sup 3+}, Mn{sup 3+})O(OH)], and smectite. The pervasive distribution and fine grain size of the secondary minerals indicate that mixed analyses of primary and secondary material are unavoidable in in situ methods, even in ion microprobe spots only 10 {micro}m in diameter, and that bulk chemical analyses are severely biased. Increases in other elements, including the rare earth elements, U, F, and possibly Sr apparently reflect additional alteration of apatite in both dentine and enamel. Extreme care will be required to separate secondary minerals from original biogenic apatite for paleobiological or paleoclimate studies, and nonetheless bulk analyses of purified apatite may be suspect. Although the PO{sub 4} component of teeth seems resistant to chemical alteration, the OH component is extensively altered. This OH alteration implies that bulk analyses of fossil tooth enamel for oxygen isotope composition may be systematically biased by {+-}1%, and seasonal records of oxygen isotope composition may be spuriously shifted, enhanced, or diminished.

  17. Spitzer Digs Up Galactic Fossil

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Figure 1

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Figure 2

    This false-color image taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows a globular cluster previously hidden in the dusty plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Globular clusters are compact bundles of old stars that date back to the birth of our galaxy, 13 or so billion years ago. Astronomers use these galactic 'fossils' as tools for studying the age and formation of the Milky Way.

    Most clusters orbit around the center of the galaxy well above its dust-enshrouded disc, or plane, while making brief, repeated passes through the plane that each last about a million years. Spitzer, with infrared eyes that can see into the dusty galactic plane, first spotted the newfound cluster during its current pass. A visible-light image (inset of Figure 1) shows only a dark patch of sky.

    The red streak behind the core of the cluster is a dust cloud, which may indicate the cluster's interaction with the Milky Way. Alternatively, this cloud may lie coincidentally along Spitzer's line of sight.

    Follow-up observations with the University of Wyoming Infrared Observatory helped set the distance of the new cluster at about 9,000 light-years from Earth - closer than most clusters - and set the mass at the equivalent of 300,000 Suns. The cluster's apparent size, as viewed from Earth, is comparable to a grain of rice held at arm's length. It is located in the constellation Aquila.

    Astronomers believe that this cluster may be one of the last in our galaxy to be uncovered.

    This image composite was taken on April 21, 2004, by Spitzer's infrared array camera. It is composed of images obtained at four wavelengths: 3.6 microns (blue), 4.5 microns (green), 5.8 microns (orange) and 8 microns (red).

    Galactic Fossil Found Behind Curtain of Dust In Figure 2, the image mosaic shows the same patch of sky in various wavelengths of light. While the

  18. A Fossil Group in Formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Eric D.; Rappaport, Saul A.; McDonald, Michael; Bautz, Mark W.; Grant, Catherine E.; Veilleux, Sylvain

    2016-04-01

    In the current picture of hierarchical structure formation, galaxy groups play a vital role as the seeds from which large assemblies of matter form. Compact groups are also important environments in which to watch the fueling of star formation and AGN activity, as the conditions are ideal for galaxy-galaxy interactions. We have identified a galaxy system that may represent an intermediate or transition stage in group evolution. Shakhbazyan 1 (or SHK 1) is a remarkably compact collection of about ten massive, red-sequence galaxies within a region 100 kpc across. Several of these galaxies show signs of AGN activity, and new, deep optical observations with the Discovery Channel Telescope reveal an extended stellar envelope surrounding the galaxies. This envelope is much more extended than what would be expected from a superposition of normal galaxy envelopes, and it indicates a large amount of intra-group starlight, evidence that the galaxies in SHK 1 are dynamically interacting.We here present new Chandra spectral imaging observations of this unusual system that confirm the presence of an X-ray-emitting diffuse intra-group medium (IGM), with a temperature of 1.5 keV and X-ray luminosity of 1043 erg/s. Assuming hydrostatic equilibrium, the system is about 1/3 as massive as expected from the optical richness. In addition, three of the ten central galaxies exhibit signatures of X-ray AGN. The under-luminous IGM, high density of bright galaxies, and evidence for galaxy-galaxy interaction indicate that this system may be in a transition stage of galaxy merging, similar to that expected in the formation of a fossil group. Alternatively, SHK 1 may consist of multiple poor groups in the final stages of merging along our line of sight. We explore these scenarios and outline paths of future study for this enigmatic system.

  19. New hominid fossils from Member 1 of the Swartkrans formation, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Pickering, Travis Rayne; Heaton, Jason L; Clarke, Ronald J; Sutton, Morris B; Brain, C K; Kuman, Kathleen

    2012-05-01

    Member 1 of the Swartkrans Formation is comprised of two sedimentary infills, the Lower Bank (LB) and the Hanging Remnant (HR). Together, the LB and HR preserve fossils of early Homo and Paranthropus robustus, Earlier Stone Age lithic artifacts, purported bone digging tools and butchered animal bones. Collectively, this evidence was the first to establish the co-existence of two early Pleistocene hominid species and also led to inferences of plant root harvesting and meat-eating by one or both of those species. P. robustus is the more abundant of the two hominids at Swartrkrans, represented in Member 1 by hundreds of fossils that derive from at least 99 individuals. Thus, Swartkrans Member 1 stands as the world's single largest repository of that extinct species. Here we add to the Member 1 sample of hominid fossils with descriptions of 14 newly discovered specimens. PMID:22440747

  20. Experimental mineralization of crustacean eggs: new implications for the fossilization of Precambrian-Cambrian embryos

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hippler, D.; Hu, N.; Steiner, M.; Scholtz, G.; Franz, G.

    2012-05-01

    Phosphatized globular microfossils from the Ediacaran and lower Cambrian of South China represent an impressive record of early animal evolution and development. However, their phylogenetic affinity is strongly debated. Understanding key processes and conditions that cause exceptional egg and embryo preservation and fossilization are crucial for a reliable interpretation of their phylogenetic position. We conducted phosphatization experiments on eggs of the marbled crayfish Procambarus that indicate a close link between early mineralization and rapid anaerobic decay of the endochorional envelope. Our experiments replicated the different preservational stages of degradation observed in the fossil record. Stabilization of the spherical morphology was achieved by pre-heating of the eggs. Complete surface mineralization occurred under reduced conditions within one to two weeks, with fine-grained brushite (CaHPO4 · 2H2O) and calcite. The mechanisms of decay, preservation of surface structures, and mineral replacement in the experiment were likely similar during fossilization of Cambrian embryos.

  1. Cryptic iridescence in a fossil weevil generated by single diamond photonic crystals

    PubMed Central

    McNamara, Maria E.; Saranathan, Vinod; Locatelli, Emma R.; Noh, Heeso; Briggs, Derek E. G.; Orr, Patrick J.; Cao, Hui

    2014-01-01

    Nature's most spectacular colours originate in integumentary tissue architectures that scatter light via nanoscale modulations of the refractive index. The most intricate biophotonic nanostructures are three-dimensional crystals with opal, single diamond or single gyroid lattices. Despite intense interest in their optical and structural properties, the evolution of such nanostructures is poorly understood, due in part to a lack of data from the fossil record. Here, we report preservation of single diamond (Fd-3m) three-dimensional photonic crystals in scales of a 735 000 year old specimen of the brown Nearctic weevil Hypera diversipunctata from Gold Run, Canada, and in extant conspecifics. The preserved red to green structural colours exhibit near-field brilliancy yet are inconspicuous from afar; they most likely had cryptic functions in substrate matching. The discovery of pristine fossil examples indicates that the fossil record is likely to yield further data on the evolution of three-dimensional photonic nanostructures and their biological functions. PMID:25185581

  2. Mineralized rods and cones suggest colour vision in a 300 Myr-old fossil fish.

    PubMed

    Tanaka, Gengo; Parker, Andrew R; Hasegawa, Yoshikazu; Siveter, David J; Yamamoto, Ryoichi; Miyashita, Kiyoshi; Takahashi, Yuichi; Ito, Shosuke; Wakamatsu, Kazumasa; Mukuda, Takao; Matsuura, Marie; Tomikawa, Ko; Furutani, Masumi; Suzuki, Kayo; Maeda, Haruyoshi

    2014-01-01

    Vision, which consists of an optical system, receptors and image-processing capacity, has existed for at least 520 Myr. Except for the optical system, as in the calcified lenses of trilobite and ostracod arthropods, other parts of the visual system are not usually preserved in the fossil record, because the soft tissue of the eye and the brain decay rapidly after death, such as within 64 days and 11 days, respectively. The Upper Carboniferous Hamilton Formation (300 Myr) in Kansas, USA, yields exceptionally well-preserved animal fossils in an estuarine depositional setting. Here we show that the original colour, shape and putative presence of eumelanin have been preserved in the acanthodii fish Acanthodes bridgei. We also report on the tissues of its eye, which provides the first record of mineralized rods and cones in a fossil and indicates that this 300 Myr-old fish likely possessed colour vision. PMID:25536302

  3. Solar abundance of iridium

    PubMed Central

    Drake, Stephen; Aller, Lawrence H.

    1976-01-01

    By a method of spectrum synthesis, which yields log gfA, where g is the statistical weight of the lower level, f is the oscillator strength, and A is the abundance, an attempt is made to deduce the solar iridium abundance from one relatively unblended, but fairly weak IrI line, λ 3220.78 Å. If the Corliss-Bozman f-value for this line is adopted, we find log A(Ir) = 0.82 on the scale log A(H) = 12.00. The discordance with the value found from carbonaceous chondrites may arise from faulty f-values or from difficulties arising from line blending in this far ultraviolet domain of the solar spectrum. PMID:16578735

  4. The Purisima Formation at Capitola Beach, Santa Cruz County, CA: A Deeper Examination of Pliocene Fossils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    White, L. D.; Brooks, K.; Chen, R.; Chen, T.; James, T.; Gonzales, J.; Schumaker, D.; Williams, D.

    2005-12-01

    Fossil samples from the Pliocene Purisima Formation at Capitola Beach in Santa Cruz County, CA were collected in July-August 2005. The Purisima Formation composes the bulk of the cliffs exposed at Capitola Beach and a rich assemblage of well-preserved fossils occur in gray to brown sandstone and siltstone. Erosion of the cliff face averages 0.3 meter/year and fresh cliff falls in the winter and spring months of 2005 provided an excellent opportunity to resample the Capitola Beach section of the Purisima Formation previously documented by Perry (1988). Organisms were identified from information in Perry (1988) and were compared with collections at the California Academy of Sciences. The most abundant fossils found are from the phylum Mollusca, classes Bivalvia and Gastropoda. Abundant bivalve taxa are: Anadara trilineata, Clinocardium meekianum, Macoma sp., Protothaca staleyi, and Tresus pajaroanus. Also common are the gastropods, Calyptraea fastigata, Crepdiula princeps, Mitrella gausapata, Nassarius grammatus, Nassarius californianus, Natica clausa, and Olivella pedroana. Less common invertebrate fossils are from the phylum Echinodermata ( Dendraster sp., the extinct fossil sand dollar) and from the phylum Arthropoda ( Crustacea), crab fragments ( Cancer) and barnacles ( Balanus). Because numerous fossils are concentrated as fragments in shell beds, Norris (1986) and Perry (1988) believe many were redeposited as storm beds during strong current events that promoted rapid burial. In contrast, whale and other vertebrate bones are common in certain horizons and their presence may be related to the conditions that promoted phosphate mineralization, such as episodes of low sedimentation rates and prolonged exposure on the seafloor (Föllmi and Garrison, 1991). The bone beds, together with the rich infaunal and epifaunal invertebrate assemblages, represent a community of invertebrate organisms that thrived in a shallow marine sea during the Pliocene epoch, approximately

  5. Development incentives for fossil fuel subsidy reform

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jakob, Michael; Chen, Claudine; Fuss, Sabine; Marxen, Annika; Edenhofer, Ottmar

    2015-08-01

    Reforming fossil fuel subsidies could free up enough funds to finance universal access to water, sanitation, and electricity in many countries, as well as helping to cut global greenhouse-gas emissions.

  6. Proceedings: 1990 fossil plant cycling conference

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1991-12-01

    Fossil plant cycling continues to be a key issue for many electric utilities. EPRI's previous cycling workshops, held in 1983, 1985, and 1987, allowed utilities to benefit from collective industry experience in the conversion of baseload fossil units to cyclic operation. Continued improvements in equipment, retrofits, diagnostics, and controls were highlighted at the 1990 conference. The objective is to provide a forum for utility discussions of the cycling operation of fossil fuel power plants. Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) hosted the 1990 EPRI Fossil Fuel Cycling Conference in Washington, DC, on December 4--6, 1990. More than 130 representatives from utilities, vendors, government agencies, universities, and industry associations attended the conference. Following the general session, technical sessions covered such topics as plant modifications, utility retrofit experience, cycling economics, life assessment, controls, environmental controls, and energy storage. Attendees also toured PEPCO's Potomac River generating station, the site of an earlier EPRI cycling conversion study.

  7. Fossil Finds Expand Early Hominid Anatomy.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bower, B.

    1991-01-01

    Hominid fossils found in late 1990 in Ethiopia are reported. A controversy surrounding these remains and those of earlier expeditions, including Lucy, over whether more than one species of hominid are represented is discussed. (CW)

  8. Microbial Fossils Detected in Desert Varnish

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flood, B. E.; Allen, C.; Longazo, T.

    2003-03-01

    Desert varnish, a mixture of clays, Mn-oxides, and Fe-oxides, is a potential terrestrial analogue to Martian hematite. A scanning electron microscopic examination of samples from Pilbara, Australia revealed evidence of microbial fossilization.

  9. Fossil energy program. Progress report, July 1980

    SciTech Connect

    McNeese, L. E.

    1980-10-01

    This report - the seventy-second of a series - is a compendium of monthly progress reports for the ORNL research and development programs that are in support of the increased utilization of coal and other fossil fuel alternatives to oil and gas as sources of clean energy. The projects reported this month include those for coal conversion development, chemical research and development, materials technology, component development and process evaluation, technical support to major liquefaction projects, process and program analysis, fossil energy environmental analysis, coal preparation and waste utilization, coal preparation plant automation, atmospheric fluidized bed coal combustor for cogeneration, technical support to the TVA fluidized bed combustion demonstration plant program, fossil energy applications assessments, performance assurance system support for fossil energy projects, international assessment of atmospheric fluidized bed combustion technology, and PFBC systems analysis.

  10. The nature and fate of natural resins in the geosphere VI. Analysis of fossil resins from Axel Heiberg Island Canadian Arctic

    SciTech Connect

    Anderson, K.B. |; LePage, B.A.

    1995-06-01

    Ambers are well known and abundant in terrestrial sediments all over the world; however, due largely to the absence of definite morphological characteristics, the precise botanical origin of most amber samples, are at best, often a matter of speculation. This has severely restricted the usefulness of amber in paleobotanical and paleoecological interpretations. The molecular composition and structural characteristics of fossil resins however, may preserve evidence of their botanical origin, which could be of great value in both geochemical, paleobotanical, and paleoenvironmental studies. The remains of a number of exceptionally well-preserved Taxodiaceae-dominated swamp-forest communities have been identified in the sediments of the middle Eocene (45 million years old) Buchanan Lake Formation of Axel Heiberg Island, Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The amber collected from these ancient in situ forests provides a unique opportunity to characterize these resins chemically and taxonomically. Resinite associated with Metasequoia, Pinus and Pseudolarix has been characterized using Pyrolysis-Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry. This method provides a direct analysis of the molecular structure and composition of the resin. In several cases, both bled resin and cone-resin samples have been characterized. The results of these analyses are presented and discussed. The implications of these results for the botanical origins of other ambers represented in the fossil record (including succinite) will also be discussed.

  11. The Oldest Gibbon Fossil (Hylobatidae) from Insular Southeast Asia: Evidence from Trinil, (East Java, Indonesia), Lower/Middle Pleistocene

    PubMed Central

    Ingicco, Thomas; de Vos, John; Huffman, O. Frank

    2014-01-01

    A fossil femur excavated by Eugène Dubois between 1891–1900 in the Lower/Middle Pleistocene bonebed of the Trinil site (Java, Indonesia) was recognised by us as that of a Hylobatidae. The specimen, Trinil 5703 of the Dubois Collection (Leiden, The Netherlands), has the same distinctive form of fossilization that is seen in many of the bonebed fossils from Trinil in the collection. Anatomical comparison of Trinil 5703 to a sample of carnivore and primate femora, supported by morphometric analyses, lead to the attribution of the fossil to gibbon. Trinil 5703 therefore provides the oldest insular record of this clade, one of the oldest known Hylobatidae fossils from Southeast Asia. Because living Hylobatidae only inhabit evergreen rain forests, the paleoenvironment within the river drainage in the greater Trinil area evidently included forests of this kind during the Lower/Middle Pleistocene as revealed here. PMID:24914951

  12. The oldest gibbon fossil (Hylobatidae) from insular Southeast Asia: evidence from Trinil, (East Java, Indonesia), Lower/Middle Pleistocene.

    PubMed

    Ingicco, Thomas; de Vos, John; Huffman, O Frank

    2014-01-01

    A fossil femur excavated by Eugène Dubois between 1891-1900 in the Lower/Middle Pleistocene bonebed of the Trinil site (Java, Indonesia) was recognised by us as that of a Hylobatidae. The specimen, Trinil 5703 of the Dubois Collection (Leiden, The Netherlands), has the same distinctive form of fossilization that is seen in many of the bonebed fossils from Trinil in the collection. Anatomical comparison of Trinil 5703 to a sample of carnivore and primate femora, supported by morphometric analyses, lead to the attribution of the fossil to gibbon. Trinil 5703 therefore provides the oldest insular record of this clade, one of the oldest known Hylobatidae fossils from Southeast Asia. Because living Hylobatidae only inhabit evergreen rain forests, the paleoenvironment within the river drainage in the greater Trinil area evidently included forests of this kind during the Lower/Middle Pleistocene as revealed here. PMID:24914951

  13. A review of early gadiform evolution and diversification: first record of a rattail fish skull (Gadiformes, Macrouridae) from the Eocene of Antarctica, with otoliths preserved in situ

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kriwet, Jürgen; Hecht, Thomas

    2008-10-01

    Codfishes, the Gadiformes, are quite abundant in modern temperate and polar waters with a fossil record ranging back into the Palaeogene. The oldest records are from the Danian and Selandian of Europe and South Australia. The bipolar distribution early in their evolutionary history implies that their origin must have occurred quite early in the Palaeocene, or even in the Late Cretaceous with subsequent rapid diversification. By the Eocene, gadiforms were highly abundant and widespread. With the exception of gadiforms, no Eocene Antarctic teleostean group is present in the modern Antarctic fauna. Here, we review the early evolution and diversification of gadiforms in general and of macrouroids in particular. We also describe the undoubtedly oldest skeletal macrourid specimen with otoliths preserved in situ. It is the first definitive record of this group from the Eocene of Antarctica filling a gap in its stratigraphic distribution. The fossil record of gadiforms in general and macrouroids in particular indicates that the origin of both was in shallow shelf environments but with adaptations to deep-water settings early in their evolution. While gadoids seemingly originated in the earliest Palaeogene and rapidly experienced a first major radiation event in the eastern North Atlantic and/or North Sea Basin, macrouroids evolved in the Southern Ocean and migrated northwards into the South Atlantic before the establishment of the circum-Antarctic current and subsequent isolation of the Antarctic fish fauna. These two timely and regional separated adaptive radiation events in the Palaeogene gave rise to their modern taxonomic diversity and global distribution.

  14. Fossilized diatoms in meteorites from recent falls in Sri Lanka

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hoover, Richard B.; Wallis, Jamie; Wickramarathne, Keerthi; Samaranayake, Anil; Williams, George; Jerman, Gregory; Wallis, D. H.; Wickramasinghe, N. C.

    2013-09-01

    On December 29, 2012, a bright yellow and green fireball was observed to disintegrate over the Polonnaruwa District of North Central, Sri Lanka. Many low density, black stones were recovered soon after the observed fall from rice paddy fields near the villages of Aralaganwila and Dimbulagala. These stones were initially studied by optical microscopy methods at the Medical Research Institute in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Soon thereafter, samples were sent to the UK and to the United States. More extensive Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy studies were then carried out at Cardiff University and the NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. The physico-chemical properties, elemental abundances, mineralogy and stable isotope data clearly indicate that these stones are non-terrestrial. Freshly fractured interior surfaces of the black stones have also been observed to contain the remains of fossilized diatom. Many of the diatom frustules are clearly embedded in the meteorite rock matrix and exhibit nitrogen levels below the EDX detection limits. Some of the fossil diatoms are araphid marine pennates and planktonic forms that are inconsistent with conditions associated with rice paddy fields. These observations indicate the fossilized diatoms are indigenous to the meteorites rather than post-arrival biological contaminants. The carbon content and mineralogy suggests that these stones may represent a previously ungrouped clan of carbonaceous meteorites. The extremely low density (~0.6) of the stones and their observed mineralogy was inconsistent with known terrestrial rocks (e.g., pumice, diatomite and fulgurites). The minerals detected suggest that the parent body of the Polonnaruwa stones may have been the nucleus of a comet. These observations are interpreted as supporting the Hoyle-Wickramasinghe Panspermia hypothesis and the hypothesis that diatoms and other microorganisms might be capable of living and growing in water ice and brines in comets.

  15. Fossil facies of the Greater Caspian region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Svitoch, A. A.

    2015-05-01

    The Pliocene-Pleistocene marine sediments of the Great Caspian region host various lithological fossil facies, which reflect specific sedimentation conditions caused by different structural-geomorphologic settings, tectonic regimes, climates, and hydrologies. The facies of shelf, epicontinental basins, ingression gulfs and estuaries, intermontane and mountainous basins, and deep-sea depressions form a hierarchy of geological bodies from types to subtypes. Paragenetic associations of fossil facies, which form various series in space and along the section, are typical of marine sediments.

  16. Cyanobacterial fossils from 252 Ma old microbialites and their environmental significance

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Ya Sheng; Yu, Gong Liang; Li, Ren Hui; Song, Li Rong; Jiang, Hong Xia; Riding, Robert; Liu, Li Jing; Liu, Dong Yan; Zhao, Rui

    2014-01-01

    The end-Permian mass extinction was followed by the formation of an enigmatic rock layer with a distinctive macroscopic spotted or dendroid fabric. This deposit has been interpreted as microbial reef rock, digitate dendrolite, digital thrombolite, dendritic thrombolite, or bacterial deposits. Agreement has been reached in considering them as microbialites, but not in their formation. This study has revealed that the spotted and dendroid microbialites were composed of numerous fossil casts formed by the planktic cyanobacterium, Microcystis, a coccoid genus that at the present-day commonly forms blooms in modern lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. The abundance of the fossils and the diagenesis they experienced has determined the macroscopic fabric: where they abundant, the rock appears as dendroid, otherwise, it appears as spotted. The ancient Microcystis bloom might produce toxin to kill other metazoans, and be responsible for the oceanic anoxia that has puzzled so many researchers for so many years. PMID:24448025

  17. Geochemical controls on vanadium accumulation in fossil fuels

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Breit, G.N.; Wanty, R.B.

    1989-01-01

    High vanadium contents in petroleum and other fossil fuels have been attributed to organic-matter type, organisms, volcanic emanations, diffusion of sea water, and epigenetic enrichment. However, these factors are inadequate to account for the high abundance of vanadium in some fossil fuels and the paucity in others. By examining vanadium deposits in sedimentary rocks with sparse organic matter, constraints are placed on processes controlling vanadium accumulation in organic-rich sediments. Vanadium, as vanadate (V(V)), entered some depositional basins in oxidizing waters from dry, subaerial environments. Upon contact with organic matter in anoxic waters, V(V) is reduced to vanadyl (V(IV)), which can be removed from the water column by adsorption. H2S reduces V(IV) to V(III), which hydrolyzes and precipitates. The lack of V(III) in petroleum suggests that reduction of V(IV) to V(III) is inhibited by organic complexes. In the absence of strong complexing agents, V(III) forms and is incorporated in clay minerals.

  18. Geochemical controls of vanadium accumulation in fossil fuels

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Breit, G.N.; Wanty, R.B.

    1989-01-01

    High vanadium contents in petroleum and other fossil fuels have been attributed to organic-matter type, organisms, volcanic emanations, diffusion of sea water, and epigenetic enrichment. However, these factors are inadequate to account for the high abundance of vanadium in some fossil fuels and the paucity in others. By examining vanadium deposits in sedimentary rocks with sparse organic matter, constraints are placed on processes controlling vanadium accumulation in organic-rich sediments. Vanadium, as vanadate (V(V)), entered some depositional basins in oxidizing waters from dry, subaerial environments. Upon contact with organic matter in anoxic waters, V(V) is reduced to vanadyl (V(IV)), which can be removed from the water column by adsorption. H2S reduces V(IV) to V(III), which hydrolyzes and precipitates. The lack of V(III) in petroleum suggests that reduction of V(IV) to V(III) is inhibited by organic complexes. In the absence of strong complexing agents, V(III) forms and is incorporated in clay minerals.

  19. Relationships of new world phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) based on fossil evidence.

    PubMed

    Filho, José Dilermando Andrade; Brazil, Reginaldo Peçanha

    2003-01-01

    The fossil record and systematics of phlebotomid sand flies, vectors of leishmaniasis and arbovirus in several regions of the world, strongly support that living genera existed long before the Oligocene (38 million years, myr). A common Phlebotominae ancestor was present in the Triassic period before the separations of continents (248 myr). PMID:12687775

  20. A Comparison of Rapid-Screen 14C Dates and U/Th Dates from Fossil Corals: Implications for Paleoclimate Reconstruction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grothe, P. R.; Cobb, K. M.; Bush, S.; Cheng, H.; Santos, G.; Southon, J. R.; Edwards, R. L.

    2014-12-01

    Paleoclimate records from fossil corals provide valuable benchmarks for climate model simulations of tropical climate variability. Unfortunately, the number of such reconstructions is limited by the rarity of the relatively large fossil coral heads that are targeted for paleoclimate studies. Abundant, albeit shorter (5-10yrs-long) fossil coral sequences could be used to generate a more robust, quasi-continuous reconstruction of tropical climate with built-in uncertainty estimates, but the large number of radiometric dates required is costly. A new rapid-screen 14C dating method, with a nominal precision of ±1.8% (1σ) for young carbonates (Bush et al., 2013), is roughly 10 times faster than high-precision U/Th dating, making it well-suited to screening a large number of corals. In this study, we compare rapid-screen 14C dates to both high-precision 14C dates and U/Th dates from well-characterized mid- to late-Holocene fossil corals collected from Christmas and Fanning Islands (2-4°N, 157-160°W) (Cobb et al., 2013). Our results show that most rapid-screen 14C dates agree with high-precision 14C dates (N=3) and U/Th dates (N=42), within combined uncertainties. However, two samples that contain 15 and 23% calcite (as determined by XRD) are associated with large discrepancies in calibrated 14C vs published U/Th ages (5065-5579 yBP (2σ) versus 6350 ±13 yBP (2σ) and 4868-5424 yBP (2σ) vs 6598 ±13 yBP (2σ)), respectively (Cobb et al., 2013). The 14C-U/Th mismatches, as well as poor reproducibility of replicate U/Th dates from these samples, are consistent with diagenetic alteration indicated by the presence of calcite. Mass balance calculations indicate that the dating discrepancies can be explained by a combination of 14C addition and U removal, both of which can occur through calcite recrystallization during freshwater diagenesis. Results illustrate that the rapid-screen 14C dating method is well-suited to surveying a large number (~100's) of fossil coral

  1. Correlations in fossil extinction and origination rates through geological time.

    PubMed Central

    Kirchner, J W; Weil, A

    2000-01-01

    Recent analyses have suggested that extinction and origination rates exhibit long-range correlations, implying that the fossil record may be controlled by self-organized criticality or other scale-free internal dynamics of the biosphere. Here we directly test for correlations in the fossil record by calculating the autocorrelation of extinction [corrected] and origination rates through time. Our results show that extinction rates are uncorrelated beyond the average duration of a stratigraphic interval. Thus, they lack the long-range correlations predicted by the self-organized criticality hypothesis. In contrast, origination rates show strong autocorrelations due to long-term trends. After detrending, origination rates generally show weak positive correlations at lags of 5-10 million years (Myr) and weak negative correlations at lags of 10-30 Myr, consistent with aperiodic oscillations around their long-term trends. We hypothesize that origination rates are more correlated than extinction rates because originations of new taxa create new ecological niches and new evolutionary pathways for reaching them, thus creating conditions that favour further diversification. PMID:10972124

  2. Correlations in fossil extinction and origination rates through geological time.

    PubMed

    Kirchner, J W; Weil, A

    2000-07-01

    Recent analyses have suggested that extinction and origination rates exhibit long-range correlations, implying that the fossil record may be controlled by self-organized criticality or other scale-free internal dynamics of the biosphere. Here we directly test for correlations in the fossil record by calculating the autocorrelation of extinction [corrected] and origination rates through time. Our results show that extinction rates are uncorrelated beyond the average duration of a stratigraphic interval. Thus, they lack the long-range correlations predicted by the self-organized criticality hypothesis. In contrast, origination rates show strong autocorrelations due to long-term trends. After detrending, origination rates generally show weak positive correlations at lags of 5-10 million years (Myr) and weak negative correlations at lags of 10-30 Myr, consistent with aperiodic oscillations around their long-term trends. We hypothesize that origination rates are more correlated than extinction rates because originations of new taxa create new ecological niches and new evolutionary pathways for reaching them, thus creating conditions that favour further diversification. PMID:10972124

  3. Probabilisitc Geobiological Classification Using Elemental Abundance Distributions and Lossless Image Compression in Recent and Modern Organisms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Storrie-Lombardi, Michael C.; Hoover, Richard B.

    2005-01-01

    Last year we presented techniques for the detection of fossils during robotic missions to Mars using both structural and chemical signatures[Storrie-Lombardi and Hoover, 2004]. Analyses included lossless compression of photographic images to estimate the relative complexity of a putative fossil compared to the rock matrix [Corsetti and Storrie-Lombardi, 2003] and elemental abundance distributions to provide mineralogical classification of the rock matrix [Storrie-Lombardi and Fisk, 2004]. We presented a classification strategy employing two exploratory classification algorithms (Principal Component Analysis and Hierarchical Cluster Analysis) and non-linear stochastic neural network to produce a Bayesian estimate of classification accuracy. We now present an extension of our previous experiments exploring putative fossil forms morphologically resembling cyanobacteria discovered in the Orgueil meteorite. Elemental abundances (C6, N7, O8, Na11, Mg12, Ai13, Si14, P15, S16, Cl17, K19, Ca20, Fe26) obtained for both extant cyanobacteria and fossil trilobites produce signatures readily distinguishing them from meteorite targets. When compared to elemental abundance signatures for extant cyanobacteria Orgueil structures exhibit decreased abundances for C6, N7, Na11, All3, P15, Cl17, K19, Ca20 and increases in Mg12, S16, Fe26. Diatoms and silicified portions of cyanobacterial sheaths exhibiting high levels of silicon and correspondingly low levels of carbon cluster more closely with terrestrial fossils than with extant cyanobacteria. Compression indices verify that variations in random and redundant textural patterns between perceived forms and the background matrix contribute significantly to morphological visual identification. The results provide a quantitative probabilistic methodology for discriminating putatitive fossils from the surrounding rock matrix and &om extant organisms using both structural and chemical information. The techniques described appear applicable

  4. Fossil group origins. IV. Characterization of the sample and observational properties of fossil systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zarattini, S.; Barrena, R.; Girardi, M.; Castro-Rodriguez, N.; Boschin, W.; Aguerri, J. A. L.; Méndez-Abreu, J.; Sánchez-Janssen, R.; Catalán-Torrecilla, C.; Corsini, E. M.; del Burgo, C.; D'Onghia, E.; Herrera-Ruiz, N.; Iglesias-Páramo, J.; Jimenez Bailon, E.; Lozada Muoz, M.; Napolitano, N.; Vilchez, J. M.

    2014-05-01

    Context. Virialized halos grow by the accretion of smaller ones in the cold dark matter scenario. The rate of accretion depends on the different properties of the host halo. Those halos for which this accretion rate was very fast and efficient resulted in systems dominated by a central galaxy surrounded by smaller galaxies that were at least two magnitudes fainter. These galaxy systems are called fossil systems, and they can be the fossil relics of ancient galaxy structures. Aims: We started an extensive observational program to characterize a sample of 34 fossil group candidates spanning a broad range of physical properties. Methods: Deep r-band images were obtained with the 2.5-m Isaac Newton Telescope and Nordic Optic Telescope. Optical spectroscopic observations were performed at the 3.5-m Telescopio Nazionale Galileo for ~1200 galaxies. This new dataset was completed with Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7 archival data to obtain robust cluster membership and global properties of each fossil group candidate. For each system, we recomputed the magnitude gaps between the two brightest galaxies (Δm12) and the first and fourth ranked galaxies (Δm14) within 0.5 R200. We consider fossil systems to be those with Δm12 ≥ 2 mag or Δm14 ≥ 2.5 mag within the errors. Results: We find that 15 candidates turned out to be fossil systems. Their observational properties agree with those of non-fossil systems. Both follow the same correlations, but the fossil systems are always extreme cases. In particular, they host the brightest central galaxies, and the fraction of total galaxy light enclosed in the brightest group galaxy is larger in fossil than in non-fossil systems. Finally, we confirm the existence of genuine fossil clusters. Conclusions: Combining our results with others in the literature, we favor the merging scenario in which fossil systems formed from mergers of L∗ galaxies. The large magnitude gap is a consequence of the extreme merger ratio within

  5. Fossil group origins - VI. Global X-ray scaling relations of fossil galaxy clusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kundert, A.; Gastaldello, F.; D'Onghia, E.; Girardi, M.; Aguerri, J. A. L.; Barrena, R.; Corsini, E. M.; De Grandi, S.; Jiménez-Bailón, E.; Lozada-Muñoz, M.; Méndez-Abreu, J.; Sánchez-Janssen, R.; Wilcots, E.; Zarattini, S.

    2015-11-01

    We present the first pointed X-ray observations of 10 candidate fossil galaxy groups and clusters. With these Suzaku observations, we determine global temperatures and bolometric X-ray luminosities of the intracluster medium (ICM) out to r500 for six systems in our sample. The remaining four systems show signs of significant contamination from non-ICM sources. For the six objects with successfully determined r500 properties, we measure global temperatures in the range 2.8 ≤ TX ≤ 5.3 keV, bolometric X-ray luminosities of 0.8 × 1044 ≤ LX, bol ≤ 7.7 × 1044 erg s-1, and estimate masses, as derived from TX, of M500 ≳ 1014 M⊙. Fossil cluster scaling relations are constructed for a sample that combines our Suzaku observed fossils with fossils in the literature. Using measurements of global X-ray luminosity, temperature, optical luminosity, and velocity dispersion, scaling relations for the fossil sample are then compared with a control sample of non-fossil systems. We find the fits of our fossil cluster scaling relations are consistent with the relations for normal groups and clusters, indicating fossil clusters have global ICM X-ray properties similar to those of comparable mass non-fossil systems.

  6. The fossilized birth–death process for coherent calibration of divergence-time estimates

    PubMed Central

    Heath, Tracy A.; Huelsenbeck, John P.; Stadler, Tanja

    2014-01-01

    Time-calibrated species phylogenies are critical for addressing a wide range of questions in evolutionary biology, such as those that elucidate historical biogeography or uncover patterns of coevolution and diversification. Because molecular sequence data are not informative on absolute time, external data—most commonly, fossil age estimates—are required to calibrate estimates of species divergence dates. For Bayesian divergence time methods, the common practice for calibration using fossil information involves placing arbitrarily chosen parametric distributions on internal nodes, often disregarding most of the information in the fossil record. We introduce the “fossilized birth–death” (FBD) process—a model for calibrating divergence time estimates in a Bayesian framework, explicitly acknowledging that extant species and fossils are part of the same macroevolutionary process. Under this model, absolute node age estimates are calibrated by a single diversification model and arbitrary calibration densities are not necessary. Moreover, the FBD model allows for inclusion of all available fossils. We performed analyses of simulated data and show that node age estimation under the FBD model results in robust and accurate estimates of species divergence times with realistic measures of statistical uncertainty, overcoming major limitations of standard divergence time estimation methods. We used this model to estimate the speciation times for a dataset composed of all living bears, indicating that the genus Ursus diversified in the Late Miocene to Middle Pliocene. PMID:25009181

  7. Discovery of fossil lamprey larva from the Lower Cretaceous reveals its three-phased life cycle

    PubMed Central

    Chang, Mee-mann; Wu, Feixiang; Miao, Desui; Zhang, Jiangyong

    2014-01-01

    Lampreys are one of the two surviving jawless vertebrate groups and one of a few vertebrate groups with the best exemplified metamorphosis during their life cycle, which consists of a long-lasting larval stage, a peculiar metamorphosis, and a relatively short adulthood with a markedly different anatomy. Although the fossil records have revealed that many general features of extant lamprey adults were already formed by the Late Devonian (ca. 360 Ma), little is known about the life cycle of the fossil lampreys because of the lack of fossilized lamprey larvae or transformers. Here we report the first to our knowledge discovery of exceptionally preserved premetamorphic and metamorphosing larvae of the fossil lamprey Mesomyzon mengae from the Lower Cretaceous of Inner Mongolia, China. These fossil ammocoetes look surprisingly modern in having an eel-like body with tiny eyes, oral hood and lower lip, anteriorly positioned branchial region, and a continuous dorsal skin fin fold and in sharing a similar feeding habit, as judged from the detritus left in the gut. In contrast, the larger metamorphosing individuals have slightly enlarged eyes relative to large otic capsules, thickened oral hood or pointed snout, and discernable radials but still anteriorly extended branchial area and lack a suctorial oral disk, which characterize the early stages of the metamorphosis of extant lampreys. Our discovery not only documents the larval conditions of fossil lampreys but also indicates the three-phased life cycle in lampreys emerged essentially in their present mode no later than the Early Cretaceous. PMID:25313060

  8. Discovery of fossil lamprey larva from the Lower Cretaceous reveals its three-phased life cycle.

    PubMed

    Chang, Mee-mann; Wu, Feixiang; Miao, Desui; Zhang, Jiangyong

    2014-10-28

    Lampreys are one of the two surviving jawless vertebrate groups and one of a few vertebrate groups with the best exemplified metamorphosis during their life cycle, which consists of a long-lasting larval stage, a peculiar metamorphosis, and a relatively short adulthood with a markedly different anatomy. Although the fossil records have revealed that many general features of extant lamprey adults were already formed by the Late Devonian (ca. 360 Ma), little is known about the life cycle of the fossil lampreys because of the lack of fossilized lamprey larvae or transformers. Here we report the first to our knowledge discovery of exceptionally preserved premetamorphic and metamorphosing larvae of the fossil lamprey Mesomyzon mengae from the Lower Cretaceous of Inner Mongolia, China. These fossil ammocoetes look surprisingly modern in having an eel-like body with tiny eyes, oral hood and lower lip, anteriorly positioned branchial region, and a continuous dorsal skin fin fold and in sharing a similar feeding habit, as judged from the detritus left in the gut. In contrast, the larger metamorphosing individuals have slightly enlarged eyes relative to large otic capsules, thickened oral hood or pointed snout, and discernable radials but still anteriorly extended branchial area and lack a suctorial oral disk, which characterize the early stages of the metamorphosis of extant lampreys. Our discovery not only documents the larval conditions of fossil lampreys but also indicates the three-phased life cycle in lampreys emerged essentially in their present mode no later than the Early Cretaceous. PMID:25313060

  9. Biogeographic distribution and metric dental variation of fossil and living orangutans (Pongo spp.).

    PubMed

    Tshen, Lim Tze

    2016-01-01

    The genus Pongo has a relatively richer Quaternary fossil record than those of the African great apes. Fossil materials are patchy in terms of anatomical parts represented, limited almost exclusively to isolated teeth, jaw and bone fragments. Fossil evidence indicates that the genus Pongo had a broadly continuous distribution across the southern part of the Indomalayan biogeographic region, ranging in time from Early Pleistocene to Holocene: southern China (77 fossil sites), Vietnam (15), Laos (6), Cambodia (2), Thailand (4), Peninsular Malaysia (6), Sumatra (4), Borneo (6) and Java (4). Within this distribution range, there are major geographical gaps with no known orangutan fossils, notably central and southern Indochina, central and southern Thailand, eastern Peninsular Malaysia, northern and southern Sumatra, and Kalimantan. The geological time and place of origin of the genus remain unresolved. Fossil orangutan assemblages usually show greater extent of dental metrical variation than those of modern-day populations. Such variability shown in prehistoric populations has partially contributed to confusion regarding past taxonomic diversity and systematic relationships among extinct and living forms. To date, no fewer than 14 distinct taxa have been identified and named for Pleistocene orangutans. Clear cases suggestive of predation by prehistoric human are few in number, and limited to terminal Pleistocene-Early Holocene sites in Borneo and a Late Pleistocene site in Vietnam. PMID:26424147

  10. Fossil Plotopterid Seabirds from the Eo-Oligocene of the Olympic Peninsula (Washington State, USA): Descriptions and Functional Morphology

    PubMed Central

    Dyke, Gareth J.; Wang, Xia; Habib, Michael B.

    2011-01-01

    The plotopterids (Aves, Plotopteridae) were a group of extinct wing-propelled marine birds that are known from Paleogene-aged sediments (Eocene to Miocene), mostly around the Pacific Rim (especially Japan and the northwest coast of North America). While these birds exhibit a strikingly similar wing morphology to penguins (Spheniscidae), they also share derived characters with pelecaniform birds that are absent in penguins and exhibit apparently superficial similarities with auks (Alcidae: Charadriiformes). Despite quite an abundant fossil record, these birds have been little studied, and in particular their functional morphology remains little understood. Here we present osteological overviews of specimens from the northwest coast of Washington state (USA). We give an amended diagnosis for the well-represented North American genus, Tonsala Olson, 1980, describe a new large species, and examine the functional morphology of plotopterids showing that the ratio of humeral strength to femoral strength is quite low in one well-represented species Tonsala buchanani sp.nov., relative to both extant penguins and alcids. While the femoral strength of Tonsala buchanani is ‘penguin-grade’, its humeral strength is more ‘alcid-grade’. These results have implications for understanding the mode-of-locomotion of these extinct marine birds. Although not related to Spheniscidae, our descriptions and functional results suggest that Tonsala buchanani sustained similar loads in walking, but slightly lower humeral loads during swimming, than a modern penguin. This suggests a swimming mode that is more similar to living alcids, than to the highly-specialised locomotor strategy of living and fossil penguins. PMID:22065992

  11. Fossil plotopterid seabirds from the Eo-Oligocene of the Olympic Peninsula (Washington State, USA): descriptions and functional morphology.

    PubMed

    Dyke, Gareth J; Wang, Xia; Habib, Michael B

    2011-01-01

    The plotopterids (Aves, Plotopteridae) were a group of extinct wing-propelled marine birds that are known from Paleogene-aged sediments (Eocene to Miocene), mostly around the Pacific Rim (especially Japan and the northwest coast of North America). While these birds exhibit a strikingly similar wing morphology to penguins (Spheniscidae), they also share derived characters with pelecaniform birds that are absent in penguins and exhibit apparently superficial similarities with auks (Alcidae: Charadriiformes). Despite quite an abundant fossil record, these birds have been little studied, and in particular their functional morphology remains little understood. Here we present osteological overviews of specimens from the northwest coast of Washington state (USA). We give an amended diagnosis for the well-represented North American genus, Tonsala Olson, 1980, describe a new large species, and examine the functional morphology of plotopterids showing that the ratio of humeral strength to femoral strength is quite low in one well-represented species Tonsala buchanani sp.nov., relative to both extant penguins and alcids. While the femoral strength of Tonsala buchanani is 'penguin-grade', its humeral strength is more 'alcid-grade'. These results have implications for understanding the mode-of-locomotion of these extinct marine birds. Although not related to Spheniscidae, our descriptions and functional results suggest that Tonsala buchanani sustained similar loads in walking, but slightly lower humeral loads during swimming, than a modern penguin. This suggests a swimming mode that is more similar to living alcids, than to the highly-specialised locomotor strategy of living and fossil penguins. PMID:22065992

  12. Relationships between the stable isotopic signatures of living and fossil foraminifera in Monterey Bay, California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martin, Jonathan B.; Day, Shelley A.; Rathburn, Anthony E.; Perez, M. Elena; Mahn, Chris; Gieskes, Joris

    2004-04-01

    Fossil foraminifera are critical to paleoceanographic reconstructions including estimates of past episodes of methane venting. These reconstructions rely on benthic foraminifera incorporating and retaining unaltered the ambient isotopic compositions of pore fluids and bottom waters. Comparisons are made here of isotopic compositions of abundant live and fossil foraminifera (Uvigerina peregrina, Epistominella pacifica, Bulimina mexicana, and Globobulimina pacifica) collected in Monterey Bay, CA from two cold seeps (Clam Flats and Extrovert Cliffs) and from sediments ˜5 m outside of the Clam Flats seep. Clam Flats has steep δ13CDIC gradients (to <-45‰), but DIC at Extrovert Cliffs is less enriched in 12C (to approximately -22‰). Oxygen isotope values of fossil foraminifera at Clam Flats are ˜1.5‰ enriched in 18O over the living foraminifera, as well as those of both live and fossil foraminifera at Extrovert Cliffs, suggesting they may have lived during the last glacial maximum. Statistical comparisons (Student's t and Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests) of δ13C and δ18O values indicate that live and fossil foraminifera come from different populations at both Clam Flats and Extrovert Cliffs. At Clam Flats, the difference appears to result from alteration enriching some fossil foraminifera in 12C over live foraminifera. At Extrovert Cliffs, the fossil foraminifera are enriched in 13C over the live foraminifera, suggesting they lived prior to the onset of venting and thus that venting began recently. The short time of venting at Extrovert Cliffs may be responsible for the less alteration there compared with Clam Flats. These results indicate that preservation of foraminifera is likely to be poor within long-lived cold seeps, but that foraminifera living in the surrounding sediment may incorporate and preserve broad basin-wide changes in isotopic compositions of the ambient water.

  13. New dinosaur fossils from ANA locality, Arcillas de Morella Formation (Aptian, Lower Cretaceous, Cinctorres, Spain)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Santos-Cubedo, A.; de Santisteban, C.; Suñer, M.; Galobart, A.

    2009-04-01

    Ana is one of the several dinosaur bone sites located in the Arcillas de Morella Formation (Aptian, Lower Cretaceous; eastern Iberian Chain, Spain). This site was discovered in 1998, but it remained unexcavated until 2002, when a palaeontologist team formed by members of the Institut Paleontología Miquel Crusafont from Sabadell and the Grup Guix from Vila-real unearthed the first fossil from the locality. Nowadays there are five hundred fossils collected, including vertebrate and invertebrate species. Dinosaur bones (Theropoda and Ornithopoda) are abundant in this assemblage and in the last field season bones determined as Sauropoda were found. Taxonomically, Ana is dominated by disarticulated remains of Ornithopoda, which are usually fragmentary and abraded. Many of the elements may have been reworked (spatial averaging and/or time averaging), and the fossil concentration constitutes an autochthonous to parautochthonous association, in a spatial sense. The remains found in the Ana fossils site are placed in sandstones and limes containing marine autochthonous fauna. These deposits were formed during the transgressive infilling of an incised valley. Sedimentological features indicate that fossils were finally deposited in starved shallow estuarine environment. Mineralogically, the sediment including the fossils contains grains of quartz, illite/mica, kaolinite/clorite, K-feldspar and plagioclase, distributed in two mainly grain populations, a silty-clay and a coarse sand size grain, indicating that the sediments were bedded in a low-medium energy depositional environment. Nowadays we identified in Ana, teeth of Theropoda indet. and Baryonychinae indet., and bones of Iguanodon sp. Herein, we report new fossil findings from Ana site. These materials have been determined as Iguanodontia, Titanosauriformes and Theropoda. These new findings will help to understand the dinosaur fauna present in the Lower Cretaceous of Els Ports (Castellón, Spain). Acknowledgments This

  14. New occurrences of microvertebrate fossil accumulations in Bauru Group, Late Cretaceous of western São Paulo state, Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alveş, Y. M.; Bergqvist, L. P.; Brito, P. M.

    2016-08-01

    In this work, we present the results of several palaeontological expeditions to four Upper Cretaceous fossil microsites of the Adamantina and Presidente Prudente formations in western São Paulo State, Brazil. Despite the fragmentary condition of the fossils recovered, they represent an important record of vertebrate microremains. The material, recovered through screen washing, comprises teeth and scales of Lepisosteidae; two morphotypes of Halecostomi teeth with similarities to Characiformes and Amiiformes; a Teleostei tooth of molariform shape; fin spines of Siluriformes; teeth of possible Baurusuchidae, Notosuchia (probably Adamantinasuchus or Mariliasuchus), Neosuchia (probably Itasuchus or Goniopholis), and other Mesoeucrocodylia indet.; probable teeth of Abelisauroidea, other Theropoda indet., and a phalanx of Aves. The comparative microvertebrate fossil accumulation from western São Paulo State provides evidence that: 1) floodplain channels accumulate large concentrations of microremains; 2) coarse sandstone privileges enamel tissues like teeth and scales; 3) new vertebrate fossil records have been discovered in Florida Paulista, Alfredo Marcondes, and Alvares Machado outcrops.

  15. A dating success story: genomes and fossils converge on placental mammal origins

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    The timing of the placental mammal radiation has been a source of contention for decades. The fossil record of mammals extends over 200 million years, but no confirmed placental mammal fossils are known prior to 64 million years ago, which is approximately 1.5 million years after the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) mass extinction that saw the end of non-avian dinosaurs. Thus, it came as a great surprise when the first published molecular clock studies suggested that placental mammals originated instead far back in the Cretaceous, in some cases doubling divergence estimates based on fossils. In the last few decades, more than a hundred new genera of Mesozoic mammals have been discovered, and molecular divergence studies have grown from simple clock-like models applied to a few genes to sophisticated analyses of entire genomes. Yet, molecular and fossil-based divergence estimates for placental mammal origins have remained remote, with knock-on effects for macro-scale reconstructions of mammal evolution. A few recent molecular studies have begun to converge with fossil-based estimates, and a new phylogenomic study in particular shows that the palaeontological record was mostly correct; most placental mammal orders diversified after the K-Pg mass extinction. While a small gap still remains for Late Cretaceous supraordinal divergences, this study has significantly improved the congruence between molecular and palaeontological data and heralds a broader integration of these fields of evolutionary science. PMID:22883371

  16. Diversity in obscurity: fossil flowers and the early history of angiosperms

    PubMed Central

    Friis, Else Marie; Pedersen, Kaj Raunsgaard; Crane, Peter R.

    2010-01-01

    In the second half of the nineteenth century, pioneering discoveries of rich assemblages of fossil plants from the Cretaceous resulted in considerable interest in the first appearance of angiosperms in the geological record. Darwin's famous comment, which labelled the ‘rapid development’ of angiosperms an ‘abominable mystery’, dates from this time. Darwin and his contemporaries were puzzled by the relatively late, seemingly sudden and geographically widespread appearance of modern-looking angiosperms in Late Cretaceous floras. Today, the early diversification of angiosperms seems much less ‘rapid’. Angiosperms were clearly present in the Early Cretaceous, 20–30 Myr before they attained the level of ecological dominance reflected in some mid-Cretaceous floras, and angiosperm leaves and pollen show a distinct pattern of steadily increasing diversity and complexity through this interval. Early angiosperm fossil flowers show a similar orderly diversification and also provide detailed insights into the changing reproductive biology and phylogenetic diversity of angiosperms from the Early Cretaceous. In addition, newly discovered fossil flowers indicate considerable, previously unrecognized, cryptic diversity among the earliest angiosperms known from the fossil record. Lineages that today have an herbaceous or shrubby habit were well represented. Monocotyledons, which have previously been difficult to recognize among assemblages of early fossil angiosperms, were also diverse and prominent in many Early Cretaceous ecosystems. PMID:20047865

  17. Trace fossil evidence of coral-inhabiting crabs (Cryptochiridae) and its implications for growth and paleobiogeography

    PubMed Central

    Klompmaker, Adiël A.; Portell, Roger W.; van der Meij, Sancia E.T.

    2016-01-01

    Members of the Cryptochiridae are small, fragile, symbiotic crabs that live in domiciles in modern corals. Despite their worldwide occurrence with over 50 species known today, their fossil record is unknown. We provide the first unambiguous evidence of cryptochirids in the fossil record through their crescentic pits, typical for certain cryptochirids, in Western Atlantic fossil corals, while the Eocene genus Montemagrechirus is excluded from the Cryptochiridae and referred to Montemagrechiridae fam. nov. Nine Pleistocene corals with crescentic pits originate from Florida (USA), and single specimens with pits come from the late Pleistocene of Cuba and the late Pliocene of Florida, all of which are measured for growth analyses. These pits represent trace fossils named Galacticus duerri igen. nov., isp. nov. A study of modern cryptochirid domicile shape (crescentic pit, circular-oval pit, or a true gall) shows that species within crab genera tend to inhabit the same pit shape. Crescentic pits in corals occur not only in the Western Atlantic today, but also in the Indo-West Pacific and in the Eastern Pacific. Thus, examination of Cenozoic fossil coral collections from these regions should yield further examples of cryptochirid pits, which would help to constrain the antiquity of this cryptic crab family. PMID:27009806

  18. Trace fossil evidence of coral-inhabiting crabs (Cryptochiridae) and its implications for growth and paleobiogeography.

    PubMed

    Klompmaker, Adiël A; Portell, Roger W; van der Meij, Sancia E T

    2016-01-01

    Members of the Cryptochiridae are small, fragile, symbiotic crabs that live in domiciles in modern corals. Despite their worldwide occurrence with over 50 species known today, their fossil record is unknown. We provide the first unambiguous evidence of cryptochirids in the fossil record through their crescentic pits, typical for certain cryptochirids, in Western Atlantic fossil corals, while the Eocene genus Montemagrechirus is excluded from the Cryptochiridae and referred to Montemagrechiridae fam. nov. Nine Pleistocene corals with crescentic pits originate from Florida (USA), and single specimens with pits come from the late Pleistocene of Cuba and the late Pliocene of Florida, all of which are measured for growth analyses. These pits represent trace fossils named Galacticus duerri igen. nov., isp. nov. A study of modern cryptochirid domicile shape (crescentic pit, circular-oval pit, or a true gall) shows that species within crab genera tend to inhabit the same pit shape. Crescentic pits in corals occur not only in the Western Atlantic today, but also in the Indo-West Pacific and in the Eastern Pacific. Thus, examination of Cenozoic fossil coral collections from these regions should yield further examples of cryptochirid pits, which would help to constrain the antiquity of this cryptic crab family. PMID:27009806

  19. An early Oligocene fossil demonstrates treeshrews are slowly evolving “living fossils”

    PubMed Central

    Li, Qiang; Ni, Xijun

    2016-01-01

    Treeshrews are widely considered a “living model” of an ancestral primate, and have long been called “living fossils”. Actual fossils of treeshrews, however, are extremely rare. We report a new fossil species of Ptilocercus treeshrew recovered from the early Oligocene (~34 Ma) of China that represents the oldest definitive fossil record of the crown group of treeshrews and nearly doubles the temporal length of their fossil record. The fossil species is strikingly similar to the living Ptilocercus lowii, a species generally recognized as the most plesiomorphic extant treeshrew. It demonstrates that Ptilocercus treeshrews have undergone little evolutionary change in their morphology since the early Oligocene. Morphological comparisons and phylogenetic analysis support the long-standing idea that Ptilocercus treeshrews are morphologically conservative and have probably retained many characters present in the common stock that gave rise to archontans, which include primates, flying lemurs, plesiadapiforms and treeshrews. This discovery provides an exceptional example of slow morphological evolution in a mammalian group over a period of 34 million years. The persistent and stable tropical environment in Southeast Asia through the Cenozoic likely played a critical role in the survival of such a morphologically conservative lineage. PMID:26766238

  20. Abundance of field galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klypin, Anatoly; Karachentsev, Igor; Makarov, Dmitry; Nasonova, Olga

    2015-12-01

    We present new measurements of the abundance of galaxies with a given circular velocity in the Local Volume: a region centred on the Milky Way Galaxy and extending to distance ˜10 Mpc. The sample of ˜750 mostly dwarf galaxies provides a unique opportunity to study the abundance and properties of galaxies down to absolute magnitudes MB ≈ -10 and virial masses M_vir= 109{ M_{⊙}}. We find that the standard Λ cold dark matter (ΛCDM) model gives remarkably accurate estimates for the velocity function of galaxies with circular velocities V ≳ 70 kms-1 and corresponding virial masses M_vir≳ 5× 10^{10}{ M_{⊙}}, but it badly fails by overpredicting ˜5 times the abundance of large dwarfs with velocities V = 30-40 kms-1. The warm dark matter (WDM) models cannot explain the data either, regardless of mass of WDM particle. Just as in previous observational studies, we find a shallow asymptotic slope dN/dlog V ∝ Vα, α ≈ -1 of the velocity function, which is inconsistent with the standard ΛCDM model that predicts the slope α = -3. Though reminiscent to the known overabundance of satellite problem, the overabundance of field galaxies is a much more difficult problem. For the standard ΛCDM model to survive, in the 10 Mpc radius of the Milky Way there should be 1000 not yet detected galaxies with virial mass M_vir≈ 10^{10}{ M_{⊙}}, extremely low surface brightness and no detectable H I gas. So far none of this type of galaxies have been discovered.