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Sample records for abundant fossil record

  1. 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.

  2. Ants and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    LaPolla, John S; Dlussky, Gennady M; Perrichot, Vincent

    2013-01-01

    The dominance of ants in the terrestrial biosphere has few equals among animals today, but this was not always the case. The oldest ants appear in the fossil record 100 million years ago, but given the scarcity of their fossils, it is presumed they were relatively minor components of Mesozoic insect life. The ant fossil record consists of two primary types of fossils, each with inherent biases: as imprints in rock and as inclusions in fossilized resins (amber). New imaging technology allows ancient ant fossils to be examined in ways never before possible. This is particularly helpful because it can be difficult to distinguish true ants from non-ants in Mesozoic fossils. Fossil discoveries continue to inform our understanding of ancient ant morphological diversity, as well as provide insights into their paleobiology.

  3. The early eukaryotic fossil record.

    PubMed

    Javaux, Emmanuelle J

    2007-01-01

    The Precambrian era records the evolution of the domain Eucarya. Although the taxonomy of fossils is often impossible to resolve beyond the level of domain, their morphology and chemistry indicate the evolution of major biological innovations. The late Archean record for eukaryotes is limited to trace amounts of biomarkers. Morphological evidence appears in late Paleoproterozoic and early Mesoproterozoic (1800-1300 Ma) rocks. The moderate diversity of preservable eukaryotic organisms includes cell walls without surface ornament (but with complex ultrastructure), with regularly distributed surface ornamentation, and with irregularly or regularly arranged processes. Collectively, these fossils suggest that eukaryotes with flexible membranes and cytoskeletons existed in mid-Proterozoic oceans. The late Mesoproterozoic-early Neoproterozoic (1300-750 Ma) is a time of diversification and evolution when direct evidence for important biological innovations occurs in the fossil record such as multicellularity, sex, photosynthesis, biomineralization, predation, and heterotrophy. Members of extant clades can be recognized and include bangiophyte red algae, xanthophyte algae, cladophorale green algae, euglyphid, lobose, and filose amoebae and possible fungi. In the late Neoproterozoic, besides more diversification of ornamented fossils, florideophyte red algae and brown algae diversify, and animals take the stage. The record of biological innovations documented by the fossils shows that eukaryotes had evolved most cytological and molecular complexities very early in the Proterozoic but environmental conditions delayed their diversification within clades until oxygen level and predation pressure increased significantly. PMID:17977455

  4. Aestivation in the fossil record: evidence from ichnology.

    PubMed

    Hembree, Daniel I

    2010-01-01

    Aestivation is a physiological and behavioral response to high temperature or low moisture conditions. Therefore, it is typically not considered to be capable of being preserved in the fossil record. However, most aestivating organisms produce a burrow to protect themselves from the harmful environmental conditions that trigger aestivation. These structures can be preserved in the rock record as trace fossils. While trace fossils are abundant in the continental fossil record, few are definitively associated with aestivation. Interpreting aestivation behavior from fossil burrows requires a detailed examination and interpretation of the surrounding sedimentary rocks and comparisons with taxonomically and ecologically similar extant organisms. Currently, only four types of aestivation structures are recognized in the fossil record: Pleistocene earthworm chambers, Devonian to Cretaceous lungfish burrows, Permian lysorophid burrows, and Permian to Triassic dicynodont burrows. The trace fossil evidence suggests that aestivation evolved independently among continental organisms in several clades during the middle to late Paleozoic.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  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. Insect diversity in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Labandeira, C C; Sepkoski, J J

    1993-07-16

    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.

  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. Exopaleontology and the search for a fossil record on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1994-03-01

    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.

  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.

  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. Rates of speciation in the fossil record.

    PubMed Central

    Sepkoski, J J

    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. PMID:11541734

  19. 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.

  20. 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)

  1. Crustaceans from bitumen clast in Carboniferous glacial diamictite extend fossil record of copepods.

    PubMed

    Selden, Paul A; Huys, Rony; Stephenson, Michael H; Heward, Alan P; Taylor, Paul N

    2010-08-10

    Copepod crustaceans are extremely abundant but, because of their small size and fragility, they fossilize poorly. Their fossil record consists of one Cretaceous (c. 115 Ma) parasite and a few Miocene (c. 14 Ma) fossils. In this paper, we describe abundant crustacean fragments, including copepods, from a single bitumen clast in a glacial diamictite of late Carboniferous age (c. 303 Ma) from eastern Oman. Geochemistry identifies the source of the bitumen as an oilfield some 100-300 km to the southwest, which is consistent with an ice flow direction from glacial striae. The bitumen likely originated as an oil seep into a subglacial lake. This find extends the fossil record of copepods by some 188 Ma, and of free-living forms by 289 Ma. The copepods include evidence of the extant family Canthocamptidae, believed to have colonized fresh water in Pangaea during Carboniferous times.

  2. 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.

  3. The reconstructed evolutionary process with the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Didier, Gilles; Royer-Carenzi, Manuela; Laurin, Michel

    2012-12-21

    Using the fossil record yields more detailed reconstructions of the evolutionary process than what is obtained from contemporary lineages only. In this work, we present a stochastic process modeling not only speciation and extinction, but also fossil finds. Next, we derive an explicit formula for the likelihood of a reconstructed phylogeny with fossils, which can be used to estimate the speciation and extinction rates. Finally, we provide a comparative simulation-based evaluation of the accuracy of estimations of these rates from complete phylogenies (including extinct lineages), from reconstructions with contemporary lineages only and from reconstructions with contemporary lineages and the fossil record. Results show that taking the fossil record into account yields more accurate estimates of speciation and extinction rates than considering only contemporary lineages.

  4. The Paleogene fossil record of birds in Europe.

    PubMed

    Mayr, Gerald

    2005-11-01

    The Paleogene (Paleocene-Oligocene) fossil record of birds in Europe is reviewed and recent and fossil taxa are placed into a phylogenetic framework, based on published cladistic analyses. The pre-Oligocene European avifauna is characterized by the complete absence of passeriform birds, which today are the most diverse and abundant avian taxon. Representatives of small non-passeriform perching birds thus probably had similar ecological niches before the Oligocene to those filled by modern passerines. The occurrence of passerines towards the Lower Oligocene appears to have had a major impact on these birds, and the surviving crown-group members of many small arboreal Eocene taxa show highly specialized feeding strategies not found or rare in passeriform birds. It is detailed that no crown-group members of modern 'families' are known from pre-Oligocene deposits of Europe, or anywhere else. The phylogenetic position of Paleogene birds thus indicates that diversification of the crown-groups of modern avian 'families' did not take place before the Oligocene, irrespective of their relative position within Neornithes (crown-group birds). The Paleogene fossil record of birds does not even support crown-group diversification of Galliformes, one of the most basal taxa of neognathous birds, before the Oligocene, and recent molecular studies that dated diversification of galliform crown-group taxa into the Middle Cretaceous are shown to be based on an incorrect interpretation of the fossil taxa used for molecular clock calibrations. Several taxa that occur in the Paleogene of Europe have a very different distribution than their closest extant relatives. The modern survivors of these Paleogene lineages are not evenly distributed over the continents, and especially the great number of taxa that are today restricted to South and Central America is noteworthy. The occurrence of stem-lineage representatives of many taxa that today have a restricted Southern Hemisphere distribution

  5. 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

  6. The shape of pterosaur evolution: evidence from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Dyke, G J; McGowan, A J; Nudds, R L; Smith, D

    2009-04-01

    Although pterosaurs are a well-known lineage of Mesozoic flying reptiles, their fossil record and evolutionary dynamics have never been adequately quantified. On the basis of a comprehensive data set of fossil occurrences correlated with taxon-specific limb measurements, we show that the geological ages of pterosaur specimens closely approximate hypothesized patterns of phylogenetic divergence. Although the fossil record has expanded greatly in recent years, collectorship still approximates a sigmoid curve over time as many more specimens (and thus taxa) still remain undiscovered, yet our data suggest that the pterosaur fossil record is unbiased by sites of exceptional preservation (lagerstätte). This is because as new species are discovered the number of known formations and sites yielding pterosaur fossils has also increased - this would not be expected if the bulk of the record came from just a few exceptional faunas. Pterosaur morphological diversification is, however, strongly age biased: rarefaction analysis shows that peaks of diversity occur in the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous correlated with periods of increased limb disparity. In this respect, pterosaurs appear unique amongst flying vertebrates in that their disparity seems to have peaked relatively late in clade history. Comparative analyses also show that there is little evidence that the evolutionary diversification of pterosaurs was in any way constrained by the appearance and radiation of birds.

  7. 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".

  8. How Good is the Fossil Record?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Boucot, A. J.

    1983-01-01

    Suggests that earth scientists become active in the creationist debate by making sure that the religious concept creationism is not taught in schools and that well-based, informative material about organic evolution, earth's age, and nature of stratigraphic record are employed by science teachers. (Author/JN)

  9. 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)

  10. 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.

  11. Absolute measures of the completeness of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Foote, M; Sepkoski, J J

    1999-04-01

    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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. Ancient DNA sheds new light on the Svalbard foraminiferal fossil record of the last millennium.

    PubMed

    Pawłowska, J; Lejzerowicz, F; Esling, P; Szczuciński, W; Zajączkowski, M; Pawlowski, J

    2014-07-01

    Recent palaeogenetic studies have demonstrated the occurrence of preserved ancient DNA (aDNA) in various types of fossilised material. Environmental aDNA sequences assigned to modern species have been recovered from marine sediments dating to the Pleistocene. However, the match between the aDNA and the fossil record still needs to be evaluated for the environmental DNA approaches to be fully exploited. Here, we focus on foraminifera in sediments up to one thousand years old retrieved from the Hornsund fjord (Svalbard). We compared the diversity of foraminiferal microfossil assemblages with the diversity of aDNA sequenced from subsurface sediment samples using both cloning and high-throughput sequencing (HTS). Our study shows that 57% of the species archived in the fossil record were also detected in the aDNA data. However, the relative abundance of aDNA sequence reads and fossil specimens differed considerably. We also found a limited match between the stratigraphic occurrence of some fossil species and their aDNA sequences, especially in the case of rare taxa. The aDNA data comprised a high proportion of non-fossilised monothalamous species, which are known to dominate in modern foraminiferal communities of the Svalbard region. Our results confirm the relevance of HTS for studying past micro-eukaryotic diversity and provide insight into its ability to reflect fossil assemblages. Palaeogenetic studies including aDNA analyses of non-fossilised groups expand the range of palaeoceanographical proxies and therefore may increase the accuracy of palaeoenvironmental reconstructions.

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

    PubMed

    Meijer, Hanneke J M

    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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Wood, Bernard; Lonergan, Nicholas

    2008-04-01

    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.

  4. 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

  5. The Quality of the Fossil Record: Populations, Species, and Communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kidwell, Susan M.; Flessa, Karl W.

    Paleontologists have always been concerned about the documentary quality of the fossil record, and this has also become an important issue for biologists, who increasingly look to accumulations of bones, shells, and plant material as possible ways to extend the time-frame of observation on species and community behaviors. Quantitative data on the postmortem behavior of organic remains in modern environments are providing new insights into death and fossil assemblages as sources of biological information. Important findings include: 1. With the exception of a few circumstances, usually recognizable by independent criteria, transport out of the original life habitat affects few individuals. 2. Most species with preservable hard-parts are in fact represented in the local death assemblage, commonly in correct rank importance. Molluscs are the most durable of modern aquatic groups studied so far, and they show highest fidelity to the original community. 3. Time-averaging of remains from successive generations and communities often prevents the detection of short term (seasons, years) variability but provides an excellent record of the natural range of community composition and structure over longer periods. Thus, although a complex array of processes and circumstances influences preservation, death assemblages of resistant skeletal elements are for many major groups good to excellent records of community composition, morphological variation, and environmental and geographic distribution of species, and such assemblages can record dynamics at ecologically and evolutionarily meaningful scales.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Nondestructive, in situ, cellular-scale mapping of elemental abundances including organic carbon in permineralized fossils

    PubMed Central

    Boyce, C. K.; Hazen, R. M.; Knoll, A. H.

    2001-01-01

    The electron microprobe allows elemental abundances to be mapped at the μm scale, but until now high resolution mapping of light elements has been challenging. Modifications of electron microprobe procedure permit fine-scale mapping of carbon. When applied to permineralized fossils, this technique allows simultaneous mapping of organic material, major matrix-forming elements, and trace elements with μm-scale resolution. The resulting data make it possible to test taphonomic hypotheses for the formation of anatomically preserved silicified fossils, including the role of trace elements in the initiation of silica precipitation and in the prevention of organic degradation. The technique allows one to understand the localization of preserved organic matter before undertaking destructive chemical analyses and, because it is nondestructive, offers a potentially important tool for astrobiological investigations of samples returned from Mars or other solar system bodies. PMID:11371632

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Micritic Peloids: Fossil Record of Biofilms Associated With Methane Seeps

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shapiro, R. S.

    2006-12-01

    Biofilms of archaea and bacteria are found where reduced hydrocarbons seep upward to the seafloor. The process of oxidizing the methane coupled with the reduction of seawater sulfate increases the alkalinity in the localized area and promotes the precipitation of carbonate minerals. The biofilms and carbonate deposits are ubiquitous in the modern oceans and the geologic record of hydrocarbon seeps goes back well into the Paleozoic. However, the paleontologic record of the microbes responsible for the production of the carbonates is poorly constrained. The few examples comprise casts and molds of filaments and cocci, framboidal pyrite of assumed biological affinity, organic biomarkers (lipids, hopanoids), and microbialite. Volumetrically, these fossils are insignificant compared with the total bulk of seep carbonate. Research into Mesozoic and Cenozoic seep carbonates from California, Oregon, Colorado, and South Dakota has yielded a new recognition for ancient biofilms. Micrite—the most common lithotype of seeps globally—exists as both peloids and groundmass. Common peloids of micrite average 0.5 mm in diameter (range from 0.1 to 0.7 mm), incorporate some siliciclastic material, and have distinct margins. Opaque minerals, likely sulfides, occur throughout the peloids. The matrix surrounding the peloids is a similar micrite, though in some samples, the peloids are surrounded by cement. Diagenesis leads to blurring of the peloid margins until a homogenous micrite groundmass with scattered sulfide and siliciclastic grains results. Use of a white card helps to outline original peloids. Increased levels of diagenesis can lead to crystal coarsening and obliterate original textures. These peloids are likely fecal pellets. A second population of peloids occur that are smaller (0.05 to 0.10 mm), darker in color, and with more diffuse boundaries. There are generally no siliciclastic grains intermixed with these peloids. These peloids occur in millimeter-scale clusters and

  20. Fossil plant relative abundances indicate sudden loss of Late Triassic biodiversity in East Greenland.

    PubMed

    McElwain, Jennifer C; Wagner, Peter J; Hesselbo, Stephen P

    2009-06-19

    The pace of Late Triassic (LT) biodiversity loss is uncertain, yet it could help to decipher causal mechanisms of mass extinction. We investigated relative abundance distributions (RADs) of six LT plant assemblages from the Kap Stewart Group, East Greenland, to determine the pace of collapse of LT primary productivity. RADs displayed not simply decreases in the number of taxa, but decreases in the number of common taxa. Likelihood tests rejected a hypothesis of continuously declining diversity. Instead, the RAD shift occurred over the upper two-to-four fossil plant assemblages and most likely over the last three (final 13 meters), coinciding with increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and global warming. Thus, although the LT event did not induce mass extinction of plant families, it accompanied major and abrupt change in their ecology and diversity.

  1. The fossil record and evolution: comparing cladistic and paleontologic evidence for vertebrate history.

    PubMed

    Norell, M A; Novacek, M J

    1992-03-27

    The fossil record offers the only direct evidence of extinct life and thus has figured prominently in considerations of evolutionary patterns. But the incomplete nature of the fossil record has also been emphasized in arguments that fossils play only a secondary role in the recovery of phylogenetic histories based on extant taxa. Although these criticisms recently have been countered, there is no general understanding of the correspondence between the fossil record and phylogeny. An empirical survey of recently published studies suggests no basis for assuming that the stratigraphic occurrence of fossils always provides a precise reflection of phylogeny. Nevertheless, our survey of a sample of taxa shows a tendency for positive correlation between age and clade rank and, hence, a degree of correspondence between phylogenetic pattern and the paleontologic record.

  2. Insect-damaged fossil leaves record food web response to ancient climate change and extinction.

    PubMed

    Wilf, P

    2008-01-01

    Plants and herbivorous insects have dominated terrestrial ecosystems for over 300 million years. Uniquely in the fossil record, foliage with well-preserved insect damage offers abundant and diverse information both about producers and about ecological and sometimes taxonomic groups of consumers. These data are ideally suited to investigate food web response to environmental perturbations, and they represent an invaluable deep-time complement to neoecological studies of global change. Correlations between feeding diversity and temperature, between herbivory and leaf traits that are modulated by climate, and between insect diversity and plant diversity can all be investigated in deep time. To illustrate, I emphasize recent work on the time interval from the latest Cretaceous through the middle Eocene (67-47 million years ago (Ma)), including two significant events that affected life: the end-Cretaceous mass extinction (65.5 Ma) and its ensuing recovery; and globally warming temperatures across the Paleocene-Eocene boundary (55.8 Ma). Climatic effects predicted from neoecology generally hold true in these deep-time settings. Rising temperature is associated with increased herbivory in multiple studies, a result with major predictive importance for current global warming. Diverse floras are usually associated with diverse insect damage; however, recovery from the end-Cretaceous extinction reveals uncorrelated plant and insect diversity as food webs rebuilt chaotically from a drastically simplified state. Calibration studies from living forests are needed to improve interpretation of the fossil data.

  3. The late Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record of eastern Asia: synthesis and review.

    PubMed

    Bae, Christopher J

    2010-01-01

    Traditionally, Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils that cannot be allocated to Homo erectus sensu lato or modern H. sapiens have been assigned to different specific taxa. For example, in eastern Asia, these hominin fossils have been classified as archaic, early, or premodern H. sapiens. An increasing number of Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils are currently being assigned to H. heidelbergensis. This is particularly the case for the African and European Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record. There have been suggestions that perhaps the eastern Asian late Middle Pleistocene hominins can also be allocated to the H. heidelbergensis hypodigm. In this article, I review the current state of the late Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record from eastern Asia and examine the various arguments for assigning these hominins to the different specific taxa. The two primary conclusions drawn from this review are as follows: 1) little evidence currently exists in the eastern Asian Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record to support their assignment to H. heidelbergensis; and 2) rather than add to the growing list of hominin fossil taxa by using taxonomic names like H. daliensis for northeast Asian fossils and H. mabaensis for Southeast Asian fossils, it is better to err on the side of caution and continue to use the term archaic H. sapiens to represent all of these hominin fossils. What should be evident from this review is the need for an increase in the quality and quantity of the eastern Asian hominin fossil data set. Fortunately, with the increasing number of large-scale multidisciplinary paleoanthropological field and laboratory research projects in eastern Asia, the record is quickly becoming better understood.

  4. '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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-29

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Contemporaneous trace and body fossils from a late Pleistocene Lakebed in Victoria, Australia, allow assessment of bias in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    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.

  9. 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

  10. 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)

  11. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-01

    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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Early Life on Earth: the Ancient Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Westall, F.

    2004-07-01

    The evidence for early life and its initial evolution on Earth is lin= ked intimately with the geological evolution of the early Earth. The environment of the early Earth would be considered extreme by modern standards: hot (50-80=B0C), volcanically and hydrothermally active, a= noxic, high UV flux, and a high flux of extraterrestrial impacts. Habitats = for life were more limited until continent-building processes resulted in= the formation of stable cratons with wide, shallow, continental platforms= in the Mid-Late Archaean. Unfortunately there are no records of the first appearance of life and the earliest isotopic indications of the exist= ence of organisms fractionating carbon in ~3.8 Ga rocks from the Isua greenst= one belt in Greenland are tenuous. Well-preserved microfossils and micro= bial mats (in the form of tabular and domical stromatolites) occur in 3.5-= 3.3 Ga, Early Archaean, sedimentary formations from the Barberton (South Afri= ca) and Pilbara (Australia) greenstone belts. They document life forms that = show a relatively advanced level of evolution. Microfossil morphology inclu= des filamentous, coccoid, rod and vibroid shapes. Colonial microorganism= s formed biofilms and microbial mats at the surfaces of volcaniclastic = and chemical sediments, some of which created (small) macroscopic microbi= alites such as stromatolites. Anoxygenic photosynthesis may already have developed. Carbon, nitrogen and sulphur isotopes ratios are in the r= ange of those for organisms with anaerobic metabolisms, such as methanogenesi= s, sulphate reduction and photosynthesis. Life was apparently distribute= d widely in shallow-water to littoral environments, including exposed, evaporitic basins and regions of hydrothermal activity. Biomass in t= he early Archaean was restricted owing to the limited amount of energy t= hat could be produced by anaerobic metabolisms. Microfossils resembling o= xygenic photosynthesisers, such as cyanobacteria, probably first occurred in

  5. Atmospheric composition as a potential taphonomic filter for the fossil leaf record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bacon, Karen; Haworth, Matthew; McElwain, Jennifer

    2016-04-01

    Controlled environment chambers provide a unique opportunity to investigate plant responses to simulated palaeoatmospheric compositions that reflect previous periods of Earth history. One potentially important role of atmospheric composition that has not been considered in detail, is how it may affect plant preservation in the fossil record. Previous work has shown that plants, particularly angiosperms, have a tendency to increase leaf mass per area (LMA) when grown in above-ambient CO2. We tested the response of six nearest living equivalent taxa for Mesozoic floras to a range of simulated Mesozoic palaeoatmospheric treatments in controlled environment chambers. Exposure to high CO2 (~1,500 ppm) led to a statistically significant (p < 0.001) increase in LMA in four out of 6 species and exposure to high CO2 and low O2 (~13%) led to a statistically significant (p < 0.001) increase in LMA in all six species. These findings suggest that atmospheric composition has a highly significant impact on LMA. If this is also the case in fossil floras, then this suggests that atmospheric composition may influence leaf preservation potential in the fossil record. Based on these results, we put forward the hypothesis that atmospheric composition is an important taphonomic filter of the fossil leaf record. Further research is now required to test the significance of atmospheric composition versus other well-known taphonomic filters.

  6. Assessing the completeness of the fossil record using brachiopod Lazarus taxa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gearty, W.; Payne, J.

    2012-12-01

    Lazarus taxa, organisms that disappear from the fossil record only to reappear later, provide a unique opportunity to assess the completeness of the fossil record. In this study, we apply logistic regression to quantify the associations of body size, geographic extent, and species diversity with the probability of being a Lazarus genus using the Phanerozoic fossil record of brachiopods. We find that both the geographic range and species diversity of a genus are inversely associated with the probability of being a Lazarus taxon in the preceding or succeeding stage. In contrast, body size exhibits little association with the probability of becoming a Lazarus taxon. A model including species diversity and geographic extent as predictors performs best among all combinations examined, whereas a model including only shell size as a predictor performs the worst - even worse than a model that assumes Lazarus taxa are randomly drawn from all available genera. These findings suggest that geographic range and species richness data can be used to improve estimates of extensions on the observed fossil ranges of genera and, thereby, better correct for sampling effects in estimates of taxonomic diversity change through the Phanerozoic.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. The baryon halo of the milky way: A fossil record of its formation

    PubMed

    Bland-Hawthorn; Freeman

    2000-01-01

    Astronomers believe that the baryon (stellar) halo of the Milky Way retains a fossil imprint of how it was formed. But a vast literature shows that the struggle to interpret the observations within a consistent framework continues. The evidence indicates that the halo has built up through a process of accretion and merging over billions of years, which is still going on at a low level. Future satellite missions to derive three-dimensional space motions and heavy element (metal) abundances for a billion stars will disentangle the existing web and elucidate how galaxies like our own came into existence.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. Atmospheric methane isotopic record favors fossil sources flat in 1980s and 1990s with recent increase.

    PubMed

    Rice, Andrew L; Butenhoff, Christopher L; Teama, Doaa G; Röger, Florian H; Khalil, M Aslam K; Rasmussen, Reinhold A

    2016-09-27

    Observations of atmospheric methane (CH4) since the late 1970s and measurements of CH4 trapped in ice and snow reveal a meteoric rise in concentration during much of the twentieth century. Since 1750, levels of atmospheric CH4 have more than doubled to current globally averaged concentration near 1,800 ppb. During the late 1980s and 1990s, the CH4 growth rate slowed substantially and was near or at zero between 1999 and 2006. There is no scientific consensus on the drivers of this slowdown. Here, we report measurements of the stable isotopic composition of atmospheric CH4 ((13)C/(12)C and D/H) from a rare air archive dating from 1977 to 1998. Together with more modern records of isotopic atmospheric CH4, we performed a time-dependent retrieval of methane fluxes spanning 25 y (1984-2009) using a 3D chemical transport model. This inversion results in a 24 [18, 27] Tg y(-1) CH4 increase in fugitive fossil fuel emissions since 1984 with most of this growth occurring after year 2000. This result is consistent with some bottom-up emissions inventories but not with recent estimates based on atmospheric ethane. In fact, when forced with decreasing emissions from fossil fuel sources our inversion estimates unreasonably high emissions in other sources. Further, the inversion estimates a decrease in biomass-burning emissions that could explain falling ethane abundance. A range of sensitivity tests suggests that these results are robust.

  3. 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

  4. Atmospheric methane isotopic record favors fossil sources flat in 1980s and 1990s with recent increase.

    PubMed

    Rice, Andrew L; Butenhoff, Christopher L; Teama, Doaa G; Röger, Florian H; Khalil, M Aslam K; Rasmussen, Reinhold A

    2016-09-27

    Observations of atmospheric methane (CH4) since the late 1970s and measurements of CH4 trapped in ice and snow reveal a meteoric rise in concentration during much of the twentieth century. Since 1750, levels of atmospheric CH4 have more than doubled to current globally averaged concentration near 1,800 ppb. During the late 1980s and 1990s, the CH4 growth rate slowed substantially and was near or at zero between 1999 and 2006. There is no scientific consensus on the drivers of this slowdown. Here, we report measurements of the stable isotopic composition of atmospheric CH4 ((13)C/(12)C and D/H) from a rare air archive dating from 1977 to 1998. Together with more modern records of isotopic atmospheric CH4, we performed a time-dependent retrieval of methane fluxes spanning 25 y (1984-2009) using a 3D chemical transport model. This inversion results in a 24 [18, 27] Tg y(-1) CH4 increase in fugitive fossil fuel emissions since 1984 with most of this growth occurring after year 2000. This result is consistent with some bottom-up emissions inventories but not with recent estimates based on atmospheric ethane. In fact, when forced with decreasing emissions from fossil fuel sources our inversion estimates unreasonably high emissions in other sources. Further, the inversion estimates a decrease in biomass-burning emissions that could explain falling ethane abundance. A range of sensitivity tests suggests that these results are robust. PMID:27621453

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-12-22

    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.

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:19296064

  11. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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 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

  15. 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

  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. Microaerobic steroid biosynthesis and the molecular fossil record of Archean life.

    PubMed

    Waldbauer, Jacob R; Newman, Dianne K; Summons, Roger E

    2011-08-16

    The power of molecular oxygen to drive many crucial biogeochemical processes, from cellular respiration to rock weathering, makes reconstructing the history of its production and accumulation a first-order question for understanding Earth's evolution. Among the various geochemical proxies for the presence of O(2) in the environment, molecular fossils offer a unique record of O(2) where it was first produced and consumed by biology: in sunlit aquatic habitats. As steroid biosynthesis requires molecular oxygen, fossil steranes have been used to draw inferences about aerobiosis in the early Precambrian. However, better quantitative constraints on the O(2) requirement of this biochemistry would clarify the implications of these molecular fossils for environmental conditions at the time of their production. Here we demonstrate that steroid biosynthesis is a microaerobic process, enabled by dissolved O(2) concentrations in the nanomolar range. We present evidence that microaerobic marine environments (where steroid biosynthesis was possible) could have been widespread and persistent for long periods of time prior to the earliest geologic and isotopic evidence for atmospheric O(2). In the late Archean, molecular oxygen likely cycled as a biogenic trace gas, much as compounds such as dimethylsulfide do today. PMID:21825157

  18. Microaerobic steroid biosynthesis and the molecular fossil record of Archean life

    PubMed Central

    Waldbauer, Jacob R.; Newman, Dianne K.; Summons, Roger E.

    2011-01-01

    The power of molecular oxygen to drive many crucial biogeochemical processes, from cellular respiration to rock weathering, makes reconstructing the history of its production and accumulation a first-order question for understanding Earth’s evolution. Among the various geochemical proxies for the presence of O2 in the environment, molecular fossils offer a unique record of O2 where it was first produced and consumed by biology: in sunlit aquatic habitats. As steroid biosynthesis requires molecular oxygen, fossil steranes have been used to draw inferences about aerobiosis in the early Precambrian. However, better quantitative constraints on the O2 requirement of this biochemistry would clarify the implications of these molecular fossils for environmental conditions at the time of their production. Here we demonstrate that steroid biosynthesis is a microaerobic process, enabled by dissolved O2 concentrations in the nanomolar range. We present evidence that microaerobic marine environments (where steroid biosynthesis was possible) could have been widespread and persistent for long periods of time prior to the earliest geologic and isotopic evidence for atmospheric O2. In the late Archean, molecular oxygen likely cycled as a biogenic trace gas, much as compounds such as dimethylsulfide do today. PMID:21825157

  19. 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.

  20. Assessment of the clumped isotope composition of fossil bone carbonate as a recorder of subsurface temperatures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suarez, Marina B.; Passey, Benjamin H.

    2014-09-01

    Bone is susceptible to early diagenesis, and its carbon and oxygen isotopic compositions have been suggested to reflect conditions in the soil environment and shallow subsurface during fossilization. This implies open-system recrystallization involving mass exchange of carbon and oxygen among bioapatite, soil water, and DIC. Such recrystallization would also redistribute isotopic clumping (including 13C-18O bonds), leading to the possibility that the carbonate clumped isotope compositions of fossil bone record ground temperature during early diagenesis. We assess this possibility by studying Quaternary mammalian fossil bone from subtropical to polar latitudes: if recrystallization is early and pervasive, clumped isotope derived temperatures, T(Δ47), should closely mirror latitudinal gradients in ground temperature. Excluding results from a mummified specimen yielding T(Δ47) = 38 °C (that is, indistinguishable from mammalian body temperature), we find that T(Δ47) values are intermediate between mammalian body temperature and ground temperature, suggesting partial recrystallization of bone carbonate. XRD analyses show that the nature and extent of diagenesis varies among the samples and does not relate in a straightforward manner to T(Δ47). No clear correlation exists between T(Δ47) and mean annual temperature or mean warm season temperature. Furthermore, bone tends to retain the 18O-enriched signature of body water, suggesting incomplete oxygen isotope exchange with meteoric waters. Incomplete carbon and oxygen isotope exchange between bone carbonate and soil waters is also indicated for a set of late Miocene bone-enamel pairs from a sequence of stacked paleosols in northern China. Analysis of bone as old as Early Cretaceous shows that bone carbonate is susceptible to later diagenesis at elevated burial temperatures, although T(Δ47) does not closely conform to maximum burial temperature, again suggesting partial recrystallization, or recrystallization during

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. Extinction during evolutionary radiations: reconciling the fossil record with molecular phylogenies.

    PubMed

    Quental, Tiago B; Marshall, Charles R

    2009-12-01

    Recent application of time-varying birth-death models to molecular phylogenies suggests that a decreasing diversification rate can only be observed if there was a decreasing speciation rate coupled with extremely low or no extinction. However, from a paleontological perspective, zero extinction rates during evolutionary radiations seem unlikely. Here, with a more comprehensive set of computer simulations, we show that substantial extinction can occur without erasing the signal of decreasing diversification rate in a molecular phylogeny. We also find, in agreement with the previous work, that a decrease in diversification rate cannot be observed in a molecular phylogeny with an increasing extinction rate alone. Further, we find that the ability to observe decreasing diversification rates in molecular phylogenies is controlled (in part) by the ratio of the initial speciation rate (Lambda) to the extinction rate (Mu) at equilibrium (the LiMe ratio), and not by their absolute values. Here we show in principle, how estimates of initial speciation rates may be calculated using both the fossil record and the shape of lineage through time plots derived from molecular phylogenies. This is important because the fossil record provides more reliable estimates of equilibrium extinction rates than initial speciation rates.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Filamentous fabrics in low-temperature mineral assemblages: are they fossil biomarkers? Implications for the search for a subsurface fossil record on the early Earth and Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hofmann, B. A.; Farmer, J. D.

    2000-09-01

    The subsurface has been recognized as a possible habitat for microbial life on Mars. An analogous fossil record of subsurface life is nearly missing on Earth. Here we present evidence of the widespread occurrence of such a record: tubular filamentous structures with typical core diameters of 1- 2 μm were found as inclusions in minerals deposited from low- T (<100°C) aqueous fluids in subsurface environments at >140 localities worldwide. Filaments are frequently organized in composite structures with architectures similar to microbial mats. Filaments thickly encrusted by minerals exhibit gravity-oriented structures of macroscopic dimensions that are similar to stalactites. Environments of formation are sites of low- T water circulation in macroporous rocks such as volcanics, oxidized ores, limestone solution cavities and cavernous macrofossils. The age of occurrence ranges from Precambrian to Subrecent. We interpret the filamentous structures as permineralized and encrusted microbial filaments based on the following arguments: tubular construction of filaments with constant core diameters typical of microbes ( 1.5±1.1 μm), coalescence of filaments to form mat-like structures, gravity draping of micron-thin filaments indicating an originally flexible consistency, and restriction to low- T mineral assemblages. These filamentous structures formed in subsurface environments are similar in size, morphology and construction to fossilized microbes observed in modern terrestrial and marine thermal springs. This newly recognized fossil record of subterranean microbial life opens up new perspectives in the study of the paleobiology of the terrestrial subsurface and in the exploration for fossil life on Mars. Potential host rocks on Mars include major nonsedimentary units such as volcanics and impactites.

  16. 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

  17. Live coral cover in the fossil record: an example from Holocene reefs of the Dominican Republic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lescinsky, H.; Titus, B.; Hubbard, D.

    2012-06-01

    Fossil reefs hold important ecological information that can provide a prehuman baseline for understanding recent anthropogenic changes in reefs systems. The most widely used proxy for reef "health," however, is live coral cover, and this has not been quantified in the fossil record because it is difficult to establish that even adjacent corals were alive at the same time. This study uses microboring and taphonomic proxies to differentiate between live and dead corals along well-defined time surfaces in Holocene reefs of the Enriquillo Valley, Dominican Republic. At Cañada Honda, live coral cover ranged from 59 to 80% along a contemporaneous surface buried by a storm layer, and the reef, as a whole had 33-80% live cover within the branching, mixed, massive and platy zones. These values equal or exceed those in the Dominican Republic and Caribbean today or reported decades ago. The values from the western Dominican Republic provide a geologic baseline against which modern anthropogenic changes in Caribbean reefs can be considered.

  18. 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

  19. Fossil records of subsection Pinus (genus Pinus, Pinaceae) from the Cenozoic in Japan.

    PubMed

    Yamada, Toshihiro; Yamada, Mariko; Tsukagoshi, Minoru

    2014-03-01

    Extant pines of subsection Pinus (section Pinus, genus Pinus, Pinaceae) are predominantly distributed in Eastern Asia. However, the extent of diversification in the section has yet to be fully clarified. We reviewed fossil records of subsection Pinus from Japan and collected permineralized materials, in which anatomical details are preserved for better understanding of the diversification. Our results suggest that this subsection appeared in Japan no earlier than the Middle Eocene, with extant species (i.e., Pinus densiflora and Pinus thunbergii) appearing around the beginning of the Pleistocene. Pinus fujiii (Early Miocene to Early Pleistocene) is inferred to have a close affinity to P. thunbergii based on the medial arrangement of its leaf resin canals. Additionally, P. fujiii has a similar cone morphology to those of extant species living in China, bridging the morphological gap between P. thunbergii and Chinese relatives of P. thunbergii as inferred by molecular phylogenetic analyses. Our results also suggest that taxonomic revisions of Pinus miocenica and Pinus oligolepis are required among the Japanese fossil species reported to date.

  20. 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'.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Scaling relationships between craniofacial sexual dimorphism and body mass dimorphism in primates: implications for the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Plavcan, J Michael

    2003-01-01

    Craniofacial remains (the most abundant identifiable remains in the fossil record) potentially offer important information about body size dimorphism in extinct species. This study evaluates the scaling relationships between body mass dimorphism and different measures of craniofacial dimorphism, evaluating taxonomic differences in the magnitude and scaling of craniofacial dimorphism across higher taxonomic groups. Data on 40 dimensions from 129 primate species and subspecies demonstrate that few dimensions change proportionally with body mass dimorphism. Primates show general patterns of greater facial vs. neurocranial and orbital dimorphism, and greater dimorphism in lengths as opposed to breadths. Within any species, though, different craniofacial dimensions can yield very different reconstructions of size dimorphism. There are significant taxonomic differences in the relationships between size and craniofacial dimorphism among primate groups that can have a significant impact on reconstructions of body mass dimorphism. Hominoids tend to show lower degrees of facial dimorphism proportional to size dimorphism than other primates. This in turn implies that strong craniofacial dimorphism in Australopithecus africanus could imply very strong body size dimorphism, conflicting with the relatively modest size dimorphism inferred from postcrania. Different methods of estimating the magnitude of size dimorphism from craniofacial measurements yield similar results, and yield comparatively low percent prediction errors for a number of dimensions. However, confidence intervals for most estimates are so large as to render most estimates highly tentative.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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)

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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).

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Climate refugia: joint inference from fossil records, species distribution models and phylogeography.

    PubMed

    Gavin, Daniel G; Fitzpatrick, Matthew C; Gugger, Paul F; Heath, Katy D; Rodríguez-Sánchez, Francisco; Dobrowski, Solomon Z; Hampe, Arndt; Hu, Feng Sheng; Ashcroft, Michael B; Bartlein, Patrick J; Blois, Jessica L; Carstens, Bryan C; Davis, Edward B; de Lafontaine, Guillaume; Edwards, Mary E; Fernandez, Matias; Henne, Paul D; Herring, Erin M; Holden, Zachary A; Kong, Woo-seok; Liu, Jianquan; Magri, Donatella; Matzke, Nicholas J; McGlone, Matt S; Saltré, Frédérik; Stigall, Alycia L; Tsai, Yi-Hsin Erica; Williams, John W

    2014-10-01

    Climate refugia, locations where taxa survive periods of regionally adverse climate, are thought to be critical for maintaining biodiversity through the glacial-interglacial climate changes of the Quaternary. A critical research need is to better integrate and reconcile the three major lines of evidence used to infer the existence of past refugia - fossil records, species distribution models and phylogeographic surveys - in order to characterize the complex spatiotemporal trajectories of species and populations in and out of refugia. Here we review the complementary strengths, limitations and new advances for these three approaches. We provide case studies to illustrate their combined application, and point the way towards new opportunities for synthesizing these disparate lines of evidence. Case studies with European beech, Qinghai spruce and Douglas-fir illustrate how the combination of these three approaches successfully resolves complex species histories not attainable from any one approach. Promising new statistical techniques can capitalize on the strengths of each method and provide a robust quantitative reconstruction of species history. Studying past refugia can help identify contemporary refugia and clarify their conservation significance, in particular by elucidating the fine-scale processes and the particular geographic locations that buffer species against rapidly changing climate.

  6. 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.

  7. Colloquium paper: dynamics of origination and extinction in the marine fossil record.

    PubMed

    Alroy, John

    2008-08-12

    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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-04-22

    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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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

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

    PubMed

    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.

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

    PubMed

    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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Exceptionally preserved North American Paleogene metatherians: adaptations and discovery of a major gap in the opossum fossil record.

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo; Ladevèze, Sandrine; Horovitz, Inés; Argot, Christine; Hooker, Jeremy J; Macrini, Thomas E; Martin, Thomas; Moore-Fay, Scott; de Muizon, Christian; Schmelzle, Thomas; Asher, Robert J

    2007-06-22

    A major gap in our knowledge of the evolution of marsupial mammals concerns the Paleogene of the northern continents, a critical time and place to link the early history of metatherians in Asia and North America with the more recent diversification in South America and Australia. We studied new exceptionally well-preserved partial skeletons of the Early Oligocene fossil Herpetotherium from the White River Formation in Wyoming, which allowed us to test the relationships of this taxon and examine its adaptations. Herpetotheriidae, with a fossil record extending from the Cretaceous to the Miocene, has traditionally been allied with opossums (Didelphidae) based on fragmentary material, mainly dentitions. Analysis of the new material reveals that several aspects of the cranial and postcranial anatomy, some of which suggests a terrestrial lifestyle, distinguish Herpetotherium from opossums. We found that Herpetotherium is the sister group to the crown group Marsupialia and is not a stem didelphid. Combination of the new palaeontological data with molecular divergence estimates, suggests the presence of a long undocumented gap in the fossil record of opossums extending some 45Myr from the Early Miocene to the Cretaceous.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Phylogeography of Douglas-fir based on mitochondrial and chloroplast DNA sequences: testing hypotheses from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Gugger, Paul F; Sugita, Shinya; Cavender-Bares, Jeannine

    2010-05-01

    The integration of fossil and molecular data can provide a synthetic understanding of the ecological and evolutionary history of an organism. We analysed range-wide maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA and paternally inherited chloroplast DNA sequence data with coalescent simulations and traditional population genetic methods to test hypotheses of population divergence generated from the fossil record of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), an ecologically and economically important western North American conifer. Specifically, we tested (i) the hypothesis that the Pliocene orogeny of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada caused the divergence of coastal and Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir varieties; and (ii) the hypothesis that multiple glacial refugia existed on the coast and in the Rocky Mountains. We found that Douglas-fir varieties diverged about 2.11 Ma (4.37 Ma-755 ka), which could be consistent with a Pliocene divergence. Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir probably resided in three or more glacial refugia. More variable molecular markers would be required to detect the two coastal refugia suggested in the fossil record. Comparison of mitochondrial DNA and chloroplast DNA variation revealed that gene flow via pollen linked populations isolated from seed exchange. Postglacial colonization of Canada from coastal and Rocky Mountain refugia near the ice margin at the Last Glacial Maximum produced a wide hybrid zone among varieties that formed almost exclusively by pollen exchange and chloroplast DNA introgression, not seed exchange. Postglacial migration rates were 50-165 m/year, insufficient to track projected 21st century warming in some regions. Although fossil and genetic data largely agree, each provides unique insights. PMID:20374486

  5. Fossil isotope records of seasonal climate and ecology: Straight from the horse's mouth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sharp, Z. D.; Cerling, T. E.

    1998-03-01

    Isotope analysis of a bulk fossil tooth gives a “snapshot” impression of paleoclimatic conditions—a single point in time. However, hypsodont teeth grow over a period of a year or more, so that stable carbon and oxygen isotope variations along their length are a “tape recorder” of short-term seasonal variations from the distant past. We have used a new in situ micro-laser sampling method to determine submillimeter carbon and oxygen isotope variations in the enamel of individual fossil horse teeth to assess ancient annual meteoric water variations and feeding patterns. The δ18O values from a 6.8 Ma fossil horse tooth (Astrohippus ansae) from Texas vary cyclically along the 6 cm length of the tooth with a smoothed amplitude of >4‰, similar to the monthly averaged amplitude measured in modern meteoric waters from the region. The seasonal δ18O values are ˜3‰ to 4‰ higher than those calculated from modern meteoric water data, suggesting either a higher local meteoric water value in the Miocene of Texas, or that the animal received a high proportion of its dietary water from plants or highly evaporated water. A Holocene horse tooth from the shores of Glacial Lake Agassiz, North Dakota (Equus sp.), also has isotopic variations with the same 35 mm periodicity, but a smoothed amplitude of only 2‰. This horse most likely had a buffered drinking supply. The calculated δ18O of the water in equilibrium with this tooth is the same as the modern measured annual average. The variations within a single tooth can be as large as those generally observed in entire stratigraphic sections of fossil teeth analyzed by bulk methods. The new method provides an important technique for evaluating fossil diagenesis; conventional bulk analyses of teeth fragments may not be representative of the whole tooth, thus explaining analytical scatter that has been previously attributed to diagenesis.

  6. A 5000-year fossil record of larval shell morphology of submarine cave microshells.

    PubMed

    Ubukata, Takao; Kitamura, Akihisa; Hiramoto, Mayumi; Kase, Tomoki

    2009-01-01

    A 5000-year fossil series of minute submarine cave bivalves was studied using morphometric and evolutionary analyses. The obtained results indicate that the shapes of larval shells of studied species were labile, whereas the size of the larval shell was stable in each species studied. This result is different than that previously reported in most other studies in which size change is more common than shape change. This unique evolutionary pattern of these bivalves might be attributed to their refugial lifestyle. PMID:19146597

  7. The consequences of time averaging for measuring temporal species turnover in the fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tomašových, Adam; Kidwell, Susan

    2010-05-01

    Modeling time averaging effects with simple simulations allows us to evaluate the magnitude of change in temporal species turnover that is expected to occur in long (paleoecological) time series with fossil assemblages. Distinguishing different modes of metacommunity dynamics (such as neutral, density-dependent, or trade-off dynamics) with time-averaged fossil assemblages requires scaling-up time-averaging effects because the decrease in temporal resolution and the decrease in temporal inter-sample separation (i.e., the two main effects of time averaging) substantially increase community stability relative to assemblages without or with weak time averaging. Large changes in temporal scale that cover centuries to millennia can lead to unprecedented effects on temporal rate of change in species composition. Temporal variation in species composition monotonically decreases with increasing duration of time-averaging in simulated fossil assemblages. Time averaging is also associated with the reduction of species dominance owing to the temporal switching in the identity of dominant species. High degrees of time averaging can cause that community parameters of local fossil assemblages converge to parameters of metacommunity rather that to parameters of individual local non-averaged communities. We find that the low variation in species composition observed among mollusk and ostracod subfossil assemblages can be explained by time averaging alone, and low temporal resolution and reduced temporal separation among assemblages in time series can thus explain a substantial part of the reduced variation in species composition relative to unscaled predictions of neutral model (i.e., species do not differ in birth, death, and immigration rates on per capita basis). The structure of time-averaged assemblages can thus provide important insights into processes that act over larger temporal scales, such as evolution of niches and dispersal, range-limit dynamics, taxon cycles, and

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. The bubble fossil record: insight into boiling nucleation using nanofluid pool-boiling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huitink, David; Ontiveros, Elvis Efren Dominguez; Hassan, Yassin

    2012-02-01

    Subcooled pool boiling of Al2O3/water nanofluid (0.1 vol%) was investigated. Scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy were used to observe surface features of the wire heater where nanoparticles had deposited. A layer of aggregated alumina particles collected on the heated surface, where evidence of fluid shear associated with bubble nucleation and departure was "fossilized" in the fluidized nano-porous surface coating. These structures contain evidence of the fluid forces present in the microlayer prior to departure and provide a unique understanding of boiling phenomena. A unique mode of heat transfer was identified in nanofluid pool boiling.

  13. Phylogenomic dating--a method of constraining the age of microbial taxa that lack a conventional fossil record.

    PubMed

    Blank, Carrine E

    2009-03-01

    A phylogenomic dating approach was used to identify potential age constraints for multiple archaeal groups, many of which have no fossil, isotopic, or biomarker record. First, well-resolved phylogenetic trees were inferred with the use of multiple gene sequences obtained from whole genome sequences. Next, the ability to use oxygen as a terminal electron acceptor was coded into characters, and ancestral state reconstruction was used to identify clades with taxa that metabolize oxygen and likely had an aerobic ancestor. Next, the habitat of the ancestor was inferred. If the local presence of Cyanobacteria could be excluded from the putative ancestral habitat, then these clades would have originated after the rise in atmospheric oxygen 2.32 Ga. With this method, an upper age of 2.32 Ga (an "oxygen age constraint") is proposed for four major archaeal clades: the Sulfolobales, Thermoplasmatales, Thermoproteus neutrophilus/Pyrobaculum spp., and the Thermoproteales. It was also shown that the halophilic archaea likely had an aerobic common ancestor, yet the possibility of local oxygen oases before oxygenation of the atmosphere could not be formally rejected. Thus, an oxygen age constraint was not assessed for this group. This work suggests that many archaeal groups are not as ancient as many in the research community have previously assumed, and it provides a new method for establishing upper age constraints for major microbial groups that lack a conventional fossil record.

  14. 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.

  15. Phylogenomic Dating-A Method of Constraining the Age of Microbial Taxa That Lack a Conventional Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blank, Carrine E.

    2009-03-01

    A phylogenomic dating approach was used to identify potential age constraints for multiple archaeal groups, many of which have no fossil, isotopic, or biomarker record. First, well-resolved phylogenetic trees were inferred with the use of multiple gene sequences obtained from whole genome sequences. Next, the ability to use oxygen as a terminal electron acceptor was coded into characters, and ancestral state reconstruction was used to identify clades with taxa that metabolize oxygen and likely had an aerobic ancestor. Next, the habitat of the ancestor was inferred. If the local presence of Cyanobacteria could be excluded from the putative ancestral habitat, then these clades would have originated after the rise in atmospheric oxygen 2.32 Ga. With this method, an upper age of 2.32 Ga (an "oxygen age constraint") is proposed for four major archaeal clades: the Sulfolobales, Thermoplasmatales, Thermoproteus neutrophilus/Pyrobaculum spp., and the Thermoproteales. It was also shown that the halophilic archaea likely had an aerobic common ancestor, yet the possibility of local oxygen oases before oxygenation of the atmosphere could not be formally rejected. Thus, an oxygen age constraint was not assessed for this group. This work suggests that many archaeal groups are not as ancient as many in the research community have previously assumed, and it provides a new method for establishing upper age constraints for major microbial groups that lack a conventional fossil record.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Was Australopithecus anamensis ancestral to A. afarensis? A case of anagenesis in the hominin fossil record.

    PubMed

    Kimbel, William H; Lockwood, Charles A; Ward, Carol V; Leakey, Meave G; Rak, Yoel; Johanson, Donald C

    2006-08-01

    We tested the hypothesis that early Pliocene Australopithecus anamensis was ancestral to A. afarensis by conducting a phylogenetic analysis of four temporally successive fossil samples assigned to these species (from earliest to latest: Kanapoi, Allia Bay, Laetoli, Hadar) using polarized character-state data from 20 morphological characters of the dentition and jaws. If the hypothesis that A. anamensis is ancestral to A. afarensis is true, then character-state changes between the temporally ordered site-samples should be congruent with hypothesized polarity transformations based on outgroup (African great ape) conditions. The most parsimonious reconstruction of character-state evolution suggests that each of the hominin OTUs shares apomorphies only with geologically younger OTUs, as predicted by the hypothesis of ancestry (tree length=31; Consistency Index=0.903). This concordance of stratigraphic and character-state data supports the idea that the A. anamensis and A. afarensis samples represent parts of an anagenetically evolving lineage, or evolutionary species. Each site-sample appears to capture a different point along this evolutionary trajectory. We discuss the implications of this conclusion for the taxonomy and adaptive evolution of these early-middle Pliocene hominins.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Johnson, K.R.; Nichols, D.J.; Attrep, M.; 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2004-07-13

    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.

  4. Trace fossils and substrates of the terminal Proterozoic–Cambrian transition: Implications for the record of early bilaterians and sediment mixing

    PubMed Central

    Droser, Mary L.; Jensen, Sören; Gehling, James G.

    2002-01-01

    The trace fossil record is important in determining the timing of the appearance of bilaterian animals. A conservative estimate puts this time at ≈555 million years ago. The preservational potential of traces made close to the sediment–water interface is crucial to detecting early benthic activity. Our studies on earliest Cambrian sediments suggest that shallow tiers were preserved to a greater extent than typical for most of the Phanerozoic, which can be attributed both directly and indirectly to the low levels of sediment mixing. The low levels of sediment mixing meant that thin event beds were preserved. The shallow depth of sediment mixing also meant that muddy sediments were firm close to the sediment–water interface, increasing the likelihood of recording shallow-tier trace fossils in muddy sediments. Overall, trace fossils can provide a sound record of the onset of bilaterian benthic activity. PMID:12271130

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-21

    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

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Overgrowth competition between clades: implications for interpretation of the fossil record and overgrowth indices.

    PubMed

    Barnes, D K; Dick, M H

    2000-08-01

    Overgrowth interactions (2693 in total) were observed among three major groups (arguably clades) of bryozoans--cheilostomatids (57 species), ctenostomatids (3 species), and cyclostomatids (14 species). The bryozoans studied here occur in shallow water at high-temperate polar latitudes where they encrust hard substrata such as rock piles. The main study site was the intertidal and infralittoral zones of Kodiak Island, Alaska, but observations were also made in similar zones of South Georgia Island and the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean. Cheilostomatids dominated the number of species, individuals, and interactions at all depths. Intraclade interactions formed 73.7% of the encounters for cheilostomatids, 1.6% for ctenostomatids, and 5.7% for cyclostomatids. The competitive ranking of the three clades was broadly ctenostomatids > cyclostomatids > cheilostomatids. Significantly, these results contradict all previous quantitative studies of bryozoan overgrowth, in which cheilostomatids are reported to overgrow cyclostomatids at a higher rate. From these studies and the literature, we calculated win indices to vary from 0 to 0.42 for living cyclostomatids, from 0.08 to 0.9 for living cheilostomatids, and from 0.25 to 0.75 for living ctenostomatids. The win indices of cyclostomatid and cheilostomatid clades show significantly more variation in living assemblages than in fossil assemblages. This disparity may be due to differential preservation (polar and subpolar assemblages last less than 4 years). The diversity was very high in terms of both species richness and interaction types (outcomes between competitor pairs). Comparison with the literature suggests the possibility that nearshore diversity of bryozoans may be bimodal (have two peaks) between high arctic and antarctic latitudes. Indices of success in overgrowth competition have been constructed in various ways. For cheilostomatids, the method of calculation had little influence on the ranking of

  12. 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

  13. Novel application of confocal laser scanning microscopy and 3D volume rendering toward improving the resolution of the fossil record of charcoal.

    PubMed

    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.

  14. New Early Triassic trace fossil records from South China: implications for biotic recovery following the end-Permian mass extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luo, M.; George, A. D.; Chen, Z.; Zhang, Y.

    2013-12-01

    New Early Triassic trace fossil assemblages are documented from the Susong and Tianshengqiao areas in South China to evaluate the mode and tempo of biotic recovery of epifaunal and infaunal organisms following the end-Permian mass extinction. The Susong succession is exposed in Anhui area of the Lower Yangtze region and comprises mudstone and carbonate facies that record overall shallowing from offshore to supratidal settings. The Tianshengqiao succession crops out in the Luoping area, Yuannan Province of the Upper Yangtze region, and consists of mixed carbonate and siliciclastic facies which were deposited in shallow marine to offshore settings. Bivalve and conodont biostratigraphy helps constrain the chronostratigraphic framework of the Lower Triassic successions in these two sections. Griesbachian to Dieneria ichnological records in both successions are characterized by low ichnodiversity, low ichnofabric indices (ii=1-2) and low bedding plane bioturbation indices (bpbi=1-2). Higher ii (ii= 3 and 4) corresponding to densely populated diminutive Skolithos in the Tianshengqiao succession suggest an opportunistic strategy during earliest Triassic deposition. Ichnological data from the Susong succession show an increase in ichnodiversity during the Smithian. A total of 12 ichnogenera including Arenicolites, Chondrites, Gyrochorte, Laevicyclus, Monocraterion, Palaeophycus, Phycodes, Plaolites, Thalassinoides, Treptichnus, Trichichnus and one problematic trace are identified. Ichnofabric indices (ii) and bpbi increase to moderate to high levels (ii = 4-5, bpbi= 3-5). Although complex traces such as Rhizocorallium are in Spathian strata in this section, the low levels of ichnodiversity, ichnofabric indices and diminutive Planolites suggest a decline in recovery. In the Tianshengqiao succession, ichnofabric indices exhibit a moderate to high value (ii= 3 to 5), however, only six ichnogenera are found and Planolites burrows are consistently small (average diameter at 3

  15. Quantitative palaeotemperature records inferred from fossil pollen and chironomid assemblages from Lake Gilltjärnen, northern central Sweden

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Antonsson, Karin; Brooks, Stephen J.; Seppä, Heikki; Telford, Richard J.; Birks, H. John B.

    2006-12-01

    Palaeotemperature reconstructions based on radiocarbon-dated fossil pollen and chironomid stratigraphies obtained from Lake Gilltjärnen provide evidence of climate changes during the last 11 000 years in the boreal zone of northern central Sweden. The records show consistent trends during the early and mid-Holocene, indicating low temperatures at 11 000-10 000 cal. yr BP, followed by a rising trend and a period of maximum values from about 7000 to 4000 cal. yr BP. At 3000 cal. yr BP the chironomid-inferred temperature values rise abruptly, deviating from the late-Holocene cooling trend indicated by the pollen-based reconstruction and most of the other palaeotemperature records from central Scandinavia, probably as a result of local limnological changes in Lake Gilltjärnen and its catchment. Comparison of the present results with a lake-level reconstruction from Lake Ljustjärnen, ca. 100 km southwest of Lake Gilltjärnen, shows that the low early-Holocene temperatures were associated with high lake-levels at 10 500-8500 cal. yr BP, whereas low lake-levels and dry conditions prevailed during the period of high temperatures at between 7500 and 5000 cal.yrBP, probably due to high summer evapotranspiration and lower precipitation. Copyright

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Major adaptive radiation in neritopsine gastropods estimated from 28S rRNA sequences and fossil records.

    PubMed

    Kano, Yasunori; Chiba, Satoshi; Kase, Tomoki

    2002-12-01

    A well-supported phylogeny of the Neritopsina, a gastropod superorder archaic in origin, radiated ecologically and diverse in morphology, is reconstructed based on partial 28S rRNA sequences. The result (Neritopsidae (Hydrocenidae (Helicinidae + Neritiliidae) (Neritidae + Phenacolepadidae))) is highly congruent with the fossil records and the character distribution of reproductive tracts in extant taxa. We suggest that the Neritopsina originated in subtidal shallow waters, invaded the land and became fully terrestrial at least three times in different clades, by the extinct Dawsonellidae in the Late Palaeozoic and by the Helicinidae and Hydrocenidae in the Mesozoic. Invasion of fresh- and brackish waters is prevalent among the Neritopsina as the Jurassic and freshwater ancestory is most probable for helicinids. The Phenacolepadidae, a group exclusively inhabiting dysoxic environments, colonized deep-sea hydrothermal vents and seeps in the Late Cretaceous or Early Cenozoic. Submarine caves have served as refuges for the archaic Neritopsidae since the Early to Middle Cenozoic, and the marine neritopsine slug Titiscania represents a highly specialized but relatively recent offshoot of this family. The Neritiliidae is another clade to be found utilizing submarine caves as shelter by the Oligocene; once adapted to the completely dark environment, but some neritiliids have immigrated to surface freshwater habitats. PMID:12495489

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Phylogeny and rates of molecular evolution of planktonic foraminifera: SSU rDNA sequences compared to the fossil record.

    PubMed

    de Vargas, C; Zaninetti, L; Hilbrecht, H; Pawlowski, J

    1997-09-01

    Planktonic foraminifera are marine protists, whose calcareous shells form oceanic sediments and are widely used for stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental analyses. The fossil record of planktonic foraminifera is compared here to their molecular phylogeny inferred from ribosomal DNA sequences. Eighteen partial SSU rDNA sequences from species representing all modern planktonic families (Globigerinidae, Hastigerinidae, Globorotaliidae, Candeinidae) were obtained and compared to seven sequences representing the major groups of benthic foraminifera. The phylogenetic analyses indicate a polyphyletic origin for the planktonic foraminifera. The Candeinidae, the Globorotaliidae, and the clade Globigerinidae + Hastigerinidae seem to have originated independently, at different epochs in the evolution of foraminifera. Inference of their relationships, however, is limited by substitution rates of heterogeneity. Rates of SSU rDNA evolution vary from 4.0 x 10(-9) substitutions/site/year in the Globigerinidae to less than 1.0 x 10(-9) substitutions/site/year in the Globorotaliidae. These variations may be related to different levels of adaptation to the planktonic mode of life. A clock-like evolution is observed among the Globigerinidae, for which molecular and paleontological data are congruent. Phylogeny of the Globorotaliidae is clearly biased by rapid rates of substitution in two species (G. truncatulinoides and G. menardii). Our study reveals differences in absolute rates of evolution at all taxonomic levels in planktonic foraminifera and demonstrates their effect on phylogenetic reconstructions.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-01-01

    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.

  10. 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

  11. †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

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. Abundance not linked to survival across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction: patterns in North American bivalves.

    PubMed

    Lockwood, Rowan

    2003-03-01

    Ecological studies suggest that rare taxa are more likely to go extinct than abundant ones, but the influence of abundance on survivorship in the fossil record has received little attention. An analysis of Late Maastrichtian bivalve subgenera from the North American Coastal Plain found no evidence that survivorship is tied to abundance across the end-Cretaceous mass extinction (65 million years ago), regardless of abundance metric or spatial scale examined. The fact that abundance does not promote survivorship in end-Cretaceous bivalves suggests that the factors influencing survivorship during mass extinctions in the fossil record may differ from those operating during intervals of background extinction.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. Error in estimation of rate and time inferred from the early amniote fossil record and avian molecular clocks.

    PubMed

    van Tuinen, Marcel; Hadly, Elizabeth A

    2004-08-01

    The best reconstructions of the history of life will use both molecular time estimates and fossil data. Errors in molecular rate estimation typically are unaccounted for and no attempts have been made to quantify this uncertainty comprehensively. Here, focus is primarily on fossil calibration error because this error is least well understood and nearly universally disregarded. Our quantification of errors in the synapsid-diapsid calibration illustrates that although some error can derive from geological dating of sedimentary rocks, the absence of good stem fossils makes phylogenetic error the most critical. We therefore propose the use of calibration ages that are based on the first undisputed synapsid and diapsid. This approach yields minimum age estimates and standard errors of 306.1 +/- 8.5 MYR for the divergence leading to birds and mammals. Because this upper bound overlaps with the recent use of 310 MYR, we do not support the notion that several metazoan divergence times are significantly overestimated because of serious miscalibration (sensuLee 1999). However, the propagation of relevant errors reduces the statistical significance of the pre-K-T boundary diversification of many bird lineages despite retaining similar point time estimates. Our results demand renewed investigation into suitable loci and fossil calibrations for constructing evolutionary timescales.

  3. The Strontium Isotope Composition of Fossil Hackberry Seed Carbonate and Tooth Enamel as a Potential Record of Soil Erosion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cooke, M. J.; Stern, L. A.; Banner, J. L.

    2001-12-01

    The Edwards Plateau in central Texas has experienced significant soil erosion since the Last Glacial Maximum. In contrast to the thin soils that mantle the Cretaceous limestone bedrock of the modern Edwards Plateau, Quaternary fossils of burrowing mammals contained within several central Texas cave deposits suggest soil cover was much thicker in the latest Pleistocene and early Holocene. As the landscape is denuded, the Cretaceous limestone bedrock is exhumed and becomes a more important source of exchangeable Sr to the soils. Therefore, the Sr isotope composition of the soil and organisms deriving nutrients from the soil, such as plants and herbivores, should become more like the Sr isotope composition of the bedrock as erosion continues. Because the marine limestone bedrock has a lower 87Sr/86Sr value than the soil, the exchangeable soil Sr should evolve to lower 87Sr/86Sr values through time resulting in a decrease in the 87Sr/86Sr of plants and animals deriving nutrients from the soil. In order to test this hypothesis, terrestrial fossils from an extensively dated Quaternary deposit within Hall's Cave, Kerr County, Texas were analyzed by TIMS for 87Sr/86Sr. The materials analyzed include aragonitic fossil hackberry seeds and rodent tooth enamel. Results indicate an overall decrease in the 87Sr/86Sr of fossil hackberry seed aragonite and rodent tooth enamel over the last 16,000 years, with the highest rate of decrease in the 87Sr/86Sr of fossil hackberry seeds (0.70982 to 0.70841) occurring between approximately 16,000 and 10,000 Y.B.P. This decrease in the 87Sr/86Sr is interpreted as evidence for an increase in the proportion of bedrock-derived Sr to the soils, corresponding to a general decrease in soil thickness. An increase in aridity or an increase in the seasonality of precipitation during this time could account for the post-glacial soil erosion in central Texas. This study suggests that the 87Sr/86Sr of fossils may be a useful proxy for paleo soil depth

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-01-01

    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. PMID:19929965

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. "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)

  8. Fossil Explorers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Moran, Sean; McLaughlin, Cheryl; MacFadden, Bruce; Jacobbe, Elizabeth; Poole, Michael

    2015-01-01

    Many young learners are fascinated with fossils, particularly charismatic forms such as dinosaurs and giant sharks. Fossils provide tangible, objective evidence of life that lived millions of years ago. They also provide a timescale of evolution not typically appreciated by young learners. Fossils and the science of paleontology can, therefore,…

  9. 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…

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. First Fossil Record of Alphonsea Hk. f. & T. (Annonaceae) from the Late Oligocene Sediments of Assam, India and Comments on Its Phytogeography

    PubMed Central

    Srivastava, Gaurav; Mehrotra, Rakesh C.

    2013-01-01

    A new fossil leaf impression of Alphonsea Hk. f. & T. of the family Annonaceae is described from the Late Oligocene sediments of Makum Coalfield, Assam, India. This is the first authentic record of the fossil of Alphonsea from the Tertiary rocks of South Asia. The Late Oligocene was the time of the last significant globally warm climate and the fossil locality was at 10°–15°N palaeolatitude. The known palaeoflora and sedimentological studies indicate a fluvio-marine deltaic environment with a mosaic of mangrove, fluvial, mire and lacustrine depositional environments. During the depositional period the suturing between the Indian and Eurasian plates was not complete to facilitate the plant migration. The suturing was over by the end of the Late Oligocene/beginning of Early Miocene resulting in the migration of the genus to Southeast Asia where it is growing profusely at present. The present study is in congruence with the earlier published palaeofloral and molecular phylogenetic data. The study also suggests that the Indian plate was not only a biotic ferry during its northward voyage from Gondwana to Asia but also a place for the origin of several plant taxa. PMID:23349701

  13. First fossil record of Alphonsea Hk. f. & T. (Annonaceae) from the Late Oligocene sediments of Assam, India and comments on its phytogeography.

    PubMed

    Srivastava, Gaurav; Mehrotra, Rakesh C

    2013-01-01

    A new fossil leaf impression of Alphonsea Hk. f. & T. of the family Annonaceae is described from the Late Oligocene sediments of Makum Coalfield, Assam, India. This is the first authentic record of the fossil of Alphonsea from the Tertiary rocks of South Asia. The Late Oligocene was the time of the last significant globally warm climate and the fossil locality was at 10°-15°N palaeolatitude. The known palaeoflora and sedimentological studies indicate a fluvio-marine deltaic environment with a mosaic of mangrove, fluvial, mire and lacustrine depositional environments. During the depositional period the suturing between the Indian and Eurasian plates was not complete to facilitate the plant migration. The suturing was over by the end of the Late Oligocene/beginning of Early Miocene resulting in the migration of the genus to Southeast Asia where it is growing profusely at present. The present study is in congruence with the earlier published palaeofloral and molecular phylogenetic data. The study also suggests that the Indian plate was not only a biotic ferry during its northward voyage from Gondwana to Asia but also a place for the origin of several plant taxa.

  14. Retrieval of total ozone abundances from the ultraviolet region of spectra recorded with an ultraviolet-visible spectrometer.

    PubMed

    Høiskar, B A; Dahlback, A; Tellefsen, C W; Braathen, G O

    1997-10-20

    A method is described for deriving total ozone abundances from zenith-sky intensities measured by an UV-visible spectrometer, known as the System of Analysis of Observations at Zenith (SAOZ). Total ozone abundances are determined by comparison of intensity ratios measured at two wavelengths in the UV region with ratios computed with a radiative transfer model. The wavelength pair 320-307 nm was used in this study. Spectra recorded by the SAOZ spectrometer in Oslo (60 degrees N) from the beginning of May 1995 to the end of August 1995 were analyzed, and the results were compared with total ozone measured with a Brewer instrument. The relative difference in derived ozone abundances for the whole period, including days with thin and medium-thick cloud covers, is -0.18 +/- 1.46%. We study the effects of clouds and varying ground albedo on the derived total ozone. Clouds result in an overestimation of the derived total ozone. The error increases with the optical depth tau of the cloud from approximately 2% for an optically thin cloud (tau = 0.5) to approximately 10% for a thick cloud (tau = 50). The ratio between measured intensities at 550 and 350 nm, the so-called color index, can be used as a measure of the cloud optical depth for thin and medium-thick clouds. The effects of thin and medium-thick clouds on the derived ozone abundances can be compensated for by use of an empirical relationship found between the measured color index and the error in the inferred ozone abundances caused by cloud scattering. We also study the influence of changes in the ground albedo and in the ozone profiles on derived total ozone values.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Archean molecular fossils and the early rise of eukaryotes.

    PubMed

    Brocks, J J; Logan, G A; Buick, R; Summons, R E

    1999-08-13

    Molecular fossils of biological lipids are preserved in 2700-million-year-old shales from the Pilbara Craton, Australia. Sequential extraction of adjacent samples shows that these hydrocarbon biomarkers are indigenous and syngenetic to the Archean shales, greatly extending the known geological range of such molecules. The presence of abundant 2alpha-methylhopanes, which are characteristic of cyanobacteria, indicates that oxygenic photosynthesis evolved well before the atmosphere became oxidizing. The presence of steranes, particularly cholestane and its 28- to 30-carbon analogs, provides persuasive evidence for the existence of eukaryotes 500 million to 1 billion years before the extant fossil record indicates that the lineage arose.

  3. 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…

  4. 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…

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Plant and insect fossils at Norwood in south-central Minnesota: A record of late-glacial succession*1

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ashworth, Allan C.; Schwert, Donald P.; Watts, William A.; Wright, H. E.

    1981-07-01

    The Norwood site in Sibley Co., Minnesota, contains 1.6 m of silt resting on till and overlain by peat. The base of the peat has been radiocarbon dated at 12,400 ± 60 and the top at 11,200 ± 250 yr B.P. The pollen, plant macrofossils, and insect remains in the basal silt consist of boreal species inhabiting open environments, but not tundra. No modern analogue exists for the insect assemblage, which includes elements of boreal forest, tundra-forest, and western affinities. The transition from an unstable open environment to a stable coniferous forest is reflected by both plant and insect fossils and is interpreted as a successional rather than a climatic event. During this time of significant biologic change, the climate is inferred to have been relatively uniform, with temperatures similar to those presently existing in the boreal forest south of the tundra-forest transition zone. The geologic and ecologic succession at Norwood is generally similar to that presently associated with ice stagnation of the Klutlan Glacier in the Yukon Territory. Localized successional sequences similar to those at Norwood are conceived to have occurred repeatedly during the melting of the Laurentide ice, and thus the proposed model has potentially broad application to the interpretation of late-glacial sequences.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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

    2016-09-05

    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.

  15. Variation in Volatile and Ore Metal Abundances Along the New Zealand Volcanic Arc as Recorded by Minerals and Melt Inclusions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rowe, M. C.; Iveson, A. A.; Norling, B.; Chambefort, I. S.; Webster, J. D.

    2015-12-01

    Volatile and ore metals within magmas record a wide variety of magmatic processes in the Earth's shallow upper crust. These elements have previously been linked to volatile degassing or exsolution and such processes as eruption triggering and the formation of magmatic ore deposits. However, it is unknown why different volcanoes, or different eruptions of the same volcano, record such wide-ranging geochemical behaviour. More fundamental questions related to the source of these metals also remain unanswered, such as what role (if any) does subduction play in controlling metal fluctuations. In an effort to ascertain the sources of volatile and ore metal variation in intermediate-silicic magmas, this study attempts to take a more comprehensive look at the causes of volatile and ore metal variation in arc magmas as a function of composition and location within a single arc system. This study focuses on the New Zealand arc system, stretching from Mt Taranaki to White Island, examining volatile and trace metals (including Li, Cu, As, Mo, Sb, Sn, W, and Tl) from varying phenocryst phases and melt inclusions. Melt inclusion compositions range from basaltic (51 wt% SiO2) to high-Si rhyolite (81 wt% SiO2), however are predominantly andesitic to dacitic. Sulfur and Cl melt compositions are also highly variable, with concentrations from below detection limit up to ~2000 ppm S and 5300 ppm Cl. Trace metal abundances were determined for all major phenocryst phases, including plagioclase, clinopyroxene, orthopyroxene, and amphibole and biotite where available. Comparing trace metal abundances of phenocrysts and inclusions to both glass and crystal major element/volatile compositions allows for a systematic comparison of volcanoes along the arc. Lithium and Cu are the only two trace metals above detection limit in all analysed phases, however, Cu variations are highly variable compared to other ore metals. New experimental crystallisation runs with hydrous dacite also allow us to

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Molecular phylogeny of acantharian and polycystine radiolarians based on ribosomal DNA sequences, and some comparisons with data from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Kunitomo, Yoshiki; Sarashina, Isao; Iijima, Minoru; Endo, Kazuyoshi; Sashida, Katsuo

    2006-07-01

    Polycystines (spumellarians, nassellarians, and collodarians), phaeodarians, and acantharians are marine planktonic protists that have been conventionally and collectively called "radiolaria". Recent molecular phylogenetic studies revealed radiolarian polyphyly with phaeodarians being a separate offshoot. Collodarians and nassellarians are also shown to form a monophyletic group, but other aspects of radiolarian phylogeny, such as interrelations among polycystines and acantharians, remained uncertain. Here, we present molecular phylogenetic analyses including new ribosomal RNA sequences from ten spumellarians and nine nassellarians, based on Bayesian and maximum-likelihood methods. Results indicate that the Polycystinea is a paraphyletic group, with Bayesian analysis suggesting that spumellarians form a clade with acantharians. The heliozoan-like protist Sticholonche appears as a sister to the spumellarian clade. The nassellarian Eucyrtidium is located outside the clade including the other nassellarians and collodarians. The mineralogy of the test of extant radiolarians and the tree topology obtained in this work suggest that acantharians and spumellarians evolved from an ancestor with a siliceous skeleton. Collodarians and nassellarians form a well-supported clade and one might infer from the fossil record that they may have diverged between the Jurassic and the Eocene.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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…

  3. 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

  4. Recognition of deep-water benthic assemblages in the fossil record: Taphonomy and community characteristics of Louisiana continental slope petroleum seep assemblages

    SciTech Connect

    Callender, W.R.

    1992-01-01

    Chemoautotrophic benthic assemblages associated with petroleum seepage form the only substantial shell accumulations below storm wave base on the northern Gulf of Mexico shelf and slope. Five biofacies are associated with petroleum seepage, dominated respectively by vestimentiferan tubeworms, lucinid, thyasirid and vesicomyid clams and mytilid mussels. The taphonomy of petroleum seep death assemblages includes dissolution as the most pervasive mode of shell alteration. The dominant species in each assemblage reflect the taphonomic signature of the assemblage they dominate. The taphonomic attributes of petroleum seep death assemblages are similar to those of ancient autochthonous benthic assemblages. Paleoecological characteristics representative of cold seep assemblages include: high density-low diversity molluscan assemblages dominated by large individuals, high molluscan biomass concentrations aligned in linear trends, carbons with depleted [delta][sup 13]C values associated with faunally depauperate shales, laminated or massive sedimentary structures, variable articulation frequencies, poor shell preservation, and a trophic structure dominated by one trophic group. The Campanian Tepee Buttes share many paleoecological characteristics with recognized ancient seep assemblages. Methane and hydrogen sulfide-rich fluids from underlying strata were transported along fault conduits to supply a localized nutrient source for lucinid-dominated benthic communities. The Tepee Butte assemblages were dominated by dense accumulations of Nymphalucina occidentalis with moderate to high articulation frequencies. The lucinids probably used H[sub 2]S as a nutrient source. Cold seeps can be recognized in the fossil record, based on criteria developed by the study of modern cold seep death assemblages, because the paleoecological characteristics of cold seep assemblages are very conservative.

  5. Tropical tales of polar ice: evidence of Last Interglacial polar ice sheet retreat recorded by fossil reefs of the granitic Seychelles islands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dutton, Andrea; Webster, Jody M.; Zwartz, Dan; Lambeck, Kurt; Wohlfarth, Barbara

    2015-01-01

    In the search for a record of eustatic sea level change on glacial-interglacial timescales, the Seychelles ranks as one of the best places on the planet to study. Owing to its location with respect to the former margins of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets that wax and wane on orbital cycles, the local-or relative-sea level history is predicted to lie within a few meters of the globally averaged eustatic signal during the Last Interglacial period. We have surveyed and dated Last Interglacial fossil corals to ascertain peak sea level and hence infer maximum retreat of polar ice sheets during this time interval. We observe a pattern of gradually rising sea level in the Seychelles between ˜129 and 125 thousand years ago (ka), with peak eustatic sea level attained after 125 ka at 7.6 ± 1.7 m higher than present. After accounting for thermal expansion and loss of mountain glaciers, this sea-level budget would require ˜5-8 m of polar ice sheet contribution, relative to today's volume, of which only ˜2 m came from the Greenland ice sheet. This result clearly identifies the Antarctic ice sheet as a significant source of melt water, most likely derived from one of the unstable, marine-based sectors in the West and/or East Antarctic ice sheet. Furthermore, the establishment of a +5.9 ± 1.7 m eustatic sea level position by 128.6 ± 0.8 ka would require that partial AIS collapse was coincident with the onset of the sea level highstand.

  6. 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.

  7. Mud fossils

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    ,

    1997-01-01

    At the close of the 18th century, the haze of fantasy and mysticism that tended to obscure the true nature of the Earth was being swept away. Careful studies by scientists showed that rocks had diverse origins. Some rock layers, containing clearly identifiable fossil remains of fish and other forms of aquatic animal and plant life, originally formed in the ocean. Other layers, consisting of sand grains winnowed clean by the pounding surf, obviously formed as beach deposits that marked the shorelines of ancient seas.

  8. The largest fossil rodent

    PubMed Central

    Rinderknecht, Andrés; Blanco, R. Ernesto

    2008-01-01

    The discovery of an exceptionally well-preserved skull permits the description of the new South American fossil species of the rodent, Josephoartigasia monesi sp. nov. (family: Dinomyidae; Rodentia: Hystricognathi: Caviomorpha). This species with estimated body mass of nearly 1000 kg is the largest yet recorded. The skull sheds new light on the anatomy of the extinct giant rodents of the Dinomyidae, which are known mostly from isolated teeth and incomplete mandible remains. The fossil derives from San José Formation, Uruguay, usually assigned to the Pliocene–Pleistocene (4–2 Myr ago), and the proposed palaeoenvironment where this rodent lived was characterized as an estuarine or deltaic system with forest communities. PMID:18198140

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  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. 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.

  13. 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)

  14. 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

  15. Using extant patterns of dental variation to identify species in the primate fossil record: a case study of middle Eocene Omomys from the Bridger Basin, southwestern Wyoming.

    PubMed

    Cuozzo, Frank P

    2008-04-01

    Patterns of extant primate dental variation provide important data for interpreting taxonomic boundaries in fossil forms. Here I use dental data from several well-known living primates (as well as data from selected Eocene forms) to evaluate dental variation in Middle Eocene Omomys, the first North American fossil primate identified by paleontologists. Measurements were collected from a sample of 148 omomyid dental specimens recovered from Bridger B localities in the Bridger Basin, Wyoming. Most of these specimens have not previously been described. Nonmetric traits were also scored for this sample. Lower molar coefficients of variation range from 4.01 for M2 length (n = 80) to 6.73 for M3 talonid width (n = 57). All of the nonmetric traits scored exhibit less than 100% presence in the overall sample, including traits previously described as representative of Omomys (e.g., P4 metaconids present in 91%, n = 55; M2 pericones present in 80%, n = 15). Dental traits also vary in a set of spatially restricted localities from the same fossil horizon and in a separate, single fossil locality (DMNH 868, P4 metaconids present in 67%, n = 6). An increasing frequency in several premolar traits across time in these more restricted samples suggests an anagenetic change in Bridger B Omomys. However, this degree of morphological variability is consistent with that seen in extant primate species from single locations. Metric variation in this sample is comparable to that seen in other Eocene primates, such as new data presented here for the omomyid Arapahovius gazini from the Washakie Basin, southern Wyoming. Omomys metric variation is also comparable to that found in several samples of well-known extant primates from single localities (e.g., ring-tailed lemurs and gray-brown mouse lemurs). These metric data also correspond to the patterns of variability described in previously published studies of Omomyscarteri. In sum, a single species interpretation (O. carteri) for this new

  16. New Record of the Biting Midge Leptoconops noei in Northern Spain: Notes on Its Seasonal Abundance and Flying Height Preference

    PubMed Central

    González, Mikel A.; López, Sergio; Goldarazena, Arturo

    2013-01-01

    During the summers of 2004–2006, harmful outbreaks of Leptoconops noei Clastrier and Coluzzi (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) occurred in a small region in the southern part of Alava (Basque Country, Spain). Two types of traps were placed for monitoring L. noei: CDC traps baited with dry ice in eight different locations and sticky traps at three different heights (two, four, and six meters). A total of 1,823 adults were captured with dry ice traps and 163 specimens with sticky papers. Dry-baited collections occurred between June and August in two of the eight samplings places. Significant differences were observed concerning the vertical distribution of L. noei. The most specimens were captured at a height of two meters. A specific area near the riverside composed of sandy matter was described as the main developmental site for L. noei. This is the first record of L. noei in Spain. PMID:23909239

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Phylogeny, historical biogeography, and patterns of diversification for Pinus (Pinaceae): phylogenetic tests of fossil-based hypotheses.

    PubMed

    Eckert, Andrew J; Hall, Benjamin D

    2006-07-01

    Pines comprise one of the largest coniferous genera, are distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and have an abundant fossil record. Distributions of fossils have been used to derive a three-step hypothesis of early pine evolution, which postulates a Mesozoic origin for the genus, east-west expansions across Laurasia, and retraction into Eocene refugia. Here, we present phylogenetic tests of this hypothesis using chloroplast sequence data from four loci for 83 pine species. We used the fossil-based hypothesis to derive null expectations concerning monophyly of taxonomic groups, dates of cladogenesis, and patterns of diversification. Phylogenetic analyses using several algorithms subsequently provided rigorous tests of these expectations. Our inferred phylogenies illustrated broad congruence with taxonomic groups, but highlighted consistent problems within subgenus Strobus. Estimated minimum dates of divergence derived from relaxed clock methods were largely consistent with the fossil record and yielded a date for the ingroup node of Pinus of 128+/-4 mya, depending upon the calibration used for subgenus Pinus. Ancestral area reconstructions showed Pinus to have most likely originated in Eurasia. Major clades differed in biogeographic patterns, but were consistent with the fossil-based hypothesis. We found weak support, however, for a change in diversification rate in the Eocene as interpretations of fossil distributions would have predicted.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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'.

  7. C-isotope composition of fossil sedges and grasses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kurschner, Wolfram M.

    2010-05-01

    C4 plants differ from C3 plants regarding their anatomy and their C-isotope composition. Both features can be used in the geological record to determine the presence of C4 plants. Yet, the evolution of the C4 pathway in the fossil record is enigmatic as palaeobotanical and geological evidence for C4 plants is sparse. The oldest structural evidence for Kranz anatomy has been found in Late Miocene permineralized grass leaf remains. But studies on the C-isotope composition of sedimentary organic matter indicate that abundant C4 biomass was present in N-America and Asia throughout the Miocene in expanding savannahs and grasslands. The success of C4 plants appears to be related also to an increasing seasonal aridity in the tropical climate belts and the co-evolution of grazers. However, C- isotope composition of palaeosols or vertebrate teeth only allows to estimate the abundance of C4 plant biomass in the vegetation or in the diet without further taxonomical specification which plant groups would have had C4 metabolism. In this contribution the first extensive C-isotope analysis of fossil seeds of sedges and a few grasses are presented. The age of the carpological material ranges from Late Eocene to Pliocene and was collected from several central European brown coal deposits. The 52 different taxa studied include several species of Carex, Cladiocarya, Eriopherum, Eleocharis, Scirpus, Sparganium. Most of them representing herbaceous elements of a (sub)tropical vegetation growing near the edge of a lake. The C-isotope composition of the fossil seeds varies between -30 and -23 o/oo indicating C3 photosynthesis. This first systematic inventory shows that C4 plants were absent in the European (sub)tropical brown coal forming wetland vegetation during the Tertiary. These preliminary data are in agreement with phylogenetic studies which predict the origin of C4 plants outside the European realm.

  8. A 25 m.y. isotopic record of paleodiet and environmental change from fossil mammals and paleosols from the NE margin of the Tibetan Plateau

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Yang; Deng, Tao

    2005-07-01

    We use the carbon and oxygen isotopic compositions of fossil tooth enamel and paleosols to reconstruct the late Cenozoic history of vegetation and environmental change in the Linxia Basin at the northeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau. The δ13C values of fossil enamel from a diverse group of herbivores and of paleosol carbonate and organic matter indicate that C4 grasses were either absent or insignificant in the Linxia Basin prior to ˜2-3 Ma and only became a significant component of local ecosystems in the Quaternary. This is in striking contrast to what was observed in Pakistan, Nepal, Africa and the Americas where C4 plants expanded rapidly in the late Miocene as indicated by a positive δ13C shift in mammalian tooth enamel and paleosols. The δ18O results from the same herbivore species show several significant shifts in climate in the late Cenozoic. Most notably, a positive δ18O shift after ˜7 Ma indicates a shift to warmer and/or drier conditions and is comparable in timing and direction to the δ18O shift observed in paleosol carbonates in Pakistan and Nepal. This late Miocene climate change observed in the Indian sub-continent and in the Linxia Basin, however, seems to be a regional manifestation of a global climate change. The lack of evidence for C4 plants in the Linxia Basin prior to ˜2-3 Ma suggests that the East Asian summer monsoon, which brings precipitation into northern China during the summer and creates optimal conditions for the growth of C4 grasses, was probably not strong enough to affect this part of China throughout much of the Neogene. This implies that the Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau may not have reached the present-day elevation across its vast extent to support a strong East Asian monsoon system before ˜2-3 Ma. Our data also suggest that regional climatic conditions played an important role in controlling the expansion of C4 plants.

  9. 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.

  10. A 12-year record of intertidal barnacle recruitment in Atlantic Canada (2005–2016): relationships with sea surface temperature and phytoplankton abundance

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    On the Gulf of St. Lawrence coast of Nova Scotia (Canada), recruitment of the barnacle Semibalanus balanoides occurs in May and June. Every year in June between 2005 and 2016, we recorded recruit density for this barnacle at the same wave-exposed rocky intertidal location on this coast. During these 12 years, mean recruit density was lowest in 2015 (198 recruits dm−2) and highest in 2007 (969 recruits dm−2). The highest recruit density observed in a single quadrat was 1,457 recruits dm−2 (in 2011) and the lowest was 34 recruits dm−2 (in 2015). Most barnacle recruits appear during May, which suggests that most pelagic larvae (which develop over 5–6 weeks before benthic settlement) are in the water column in April. An AICc-based model selection approach identified sea surface temperature (SST) in April and the abundance of phytoplankton (food for barnacle larvae, measured as chlorophyll-a concentration –Chl-a–) in April as good explanatory variables. Together, April SST and April Chl-a explained 51% of the observed interannual variation in recruit density, with an overall positive influence. April SST was positively related to March–April air temperature (AT). April Chl-a was negatively related to the April ratio between the number of days with onshore winds (which blow from phytoplankton-limited offshore waters) and the number of days with alongshore winds (phytoplankton is more abundant on coastal waters). Therefore, this study suggests that climatic processes affecting April SST and April Chl-a indirectly influence intertidal barnacle recruitment by influencing larval performance. PMID:27812421

  11. Origin of anthropoidea: dental evidence and recognition of early anthropoids in the fossil record, with comments on the Asian anthropoid radiation.

    PubMed

    Gunnell, G F; Miller, E R

    2001-03-01

    Among the earliest fossil anthropoid primates known are Catopithecus browni, Serapia eocaena, Arsinoea kallimos, and Proteopithecus sylviae, from the late Eocene quarry L-41, Fayum Depression, Egypt. Two of these taxa, C. browni and S. eocaena, may be the oldest known members of the Propliopithecidae and Parapithecidae, respectively, while A. kallimos and P. sylviae are archaic anthropoids of less certain familial affiliation. Dental features of C. browni, S. eocaena, A. kallimos, and P. sylviae are compared with those of younger propliopithecids and parapithecids from the Fayum in order to determine the morphocline polarities of dental features among these early anthropoids. From this, a basal African anthropoid dental morphotype is constructed. Among the features of this morphotype are: dental formula of 2.1.3.3; incisors subvertically implanted and somewhat spatulate; p2 as large as p3, both lacking paraconids; p4 weakly obliquely oriented but not exodaenodont; all lower molars with small paraconids present; upper anterior premolars lacking protocone; upper molars with small, cingular hypocones, all cheek teeth nonbunodont; and canines projecting but not necessarily sexually dimorphic. Comparisons are made between this African anthropoid morphotype and two of the best-represented proposed basal anthropoids, Eosimias and Djebelemur, with the result that neither appears to be a good candidate to have been ancestral to the African anthropoids. Other possible basal simians such as Algeripithecus, Tabelia, and Biretia also are evaluated but are too poorly known for adequate analysis. The larger-bodied Asian primates Pondaungia, Amphipithecus, and Siamopithecus also are not likely ancestors for African anthropoids, but like Eosimias they may share a common ancestry. Despite many recent claims of an Asian origin for anthropoids, the evidence remains far from compelling. The true origins of Anthropoidea remain obscure.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hamilton, T.D.; Ashley, G.M.; Reed, K.M.; Schweger, C.E.

    1993-01-01

    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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Rock magnetic characterization and potential use as a high-resolution paleomagnetic recorder of fossil Porites corals in Ishigaki Island, Japan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kumagai, Y.; Nakamura, N.; Sato, T.

    2015-12-01

    Radiocarbon (14C) is produced by the cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere and is utilized for reconstructing the past solar activity using tree rings. This 14C production is also controlled by the geomagnetic field, and the short-term (at the ~ 10-100 yr duration) movement of the geomagnetic pole to the low latitude, like geomagnetic jerks, might leads to a higher 14C production rate. In order to reconstruct the past solar activity from the 14C concentration, we should know the movement of geomagnetic pole position and the field intensity in a decadal to centennial time series. Previous reconstructions of geomagnetic paleosecular variation lack to reconstruct the short-term variation of geomagnetic field in a decadal or centennial scale. Annual banded skeletons of hermatipic corals (e.g., Porites) might possess an enormous potential as a high-resolution paleomagnetic recorder due to their continuous growths through hundreds of years at a rapid rate (up to 2 cm/yr), although usual corals show an extremely weak intensity of remanence and its low stability. Here we found that recently-ceased Porites coral skeletons thrown up on beach of the Ishigaki Island (SW Japan) possess measurable natural remanence intensities and conducted thermal and AF demagnetization of coral skeletons. The characteristic remanence directions of almost all samples are relatively stable with some fluctuations. However, some samples exhibit obviously different remanence directions from its average with calcite peaks of X-ray diffraction analysis. It is indicated that the magnetic mineral assemblage consists of a dominant biogenic-origin single-domain magnetite and a minor detrital component from FORC measurement, FMR measurement and petrological observations by FE-SEM of acid-treated residuals of our corals. Our findings suggest that Porites coral framework samples have a potential use as a high-resolution paleomagnetic recorder with careful examination of calcite content.

  1. 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…

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Eumetazoan fossils in terminal proterozoic phosphorites?

    PubMed

    Xiao, S; Yuan, X; Knoll, A H

    2000-12-01

    Phosphatic sedimentary rocks preserve a record of early animal life different from and complementary to that provided by Ediacaran fossils in terminal Proterozoic sandstones and shales. Phosphorites of the Doushantuo Formation, South China, contain eggs, egg cases, and stereoblastulae that document animals of unspecified phylogenetic position; small fossils containing putative spicules may specifically record the presence of sponges. Microfossils recently interpreted as the preserved gastrulae of cnidarian and bilaterian metazoans can alternatively be interpreted as conventional algal cysts and/or egg cases modified by diagenetic processes known to have had a pervasive influence on Doushantuo phosphorites. Regardless of this interpretation, evidence for Doushantuo eumetazoans is provided by millimeter-scale tubes that display tabulation and apical budding characteristic of some Cnidaria, especially the extinct tabulates. Like some Ediacaran remains, these small, benthic, colonial fossils may represent stem-group eumetazoans or stem-group cnidarians that lived in the late Proterozoic ocean. PMID:11095754

  7. Eumetazoan fossils in terminal proterozoic phosphorites?

    PubMed

    Xiao, S; Yuan, X; Knoll, A H

    2000-12-01

    Phosphatic sedimentary rocks preserve a record of early animal life different from and complementary to that provided by Ediacaran fossils in terminal Proterozoic sandstones and shales. Phosphorites of the Doushantuo Formation, South China, contain eggs, egg cases, and stereoblastulae that document animals of unspecified phylogenetic position; small fossils containing putative spicules may specifically record the presence of sponges. Microfossils recently interpreted as the preserved gastrulae of cnidarian and bilaterian metazoans can alternatively be interpreted as conventional algal cysts and/or egg cases modified by diagenetic processes known to have had a pervasive influence on Doushantuo phosphorites. Regardless of this interpretation, evidence for Doushantuo eumetazoans is provided by millimeter-scale tubes that display tabulation and apical budding characteristic of some Cnidaria, especially the extinct tabulates. Like some Ediacaran remains, these small, benthic, colonial fossils may represent stem-group eumetazoans or stem-group cnidarians that lived in the late Proterozoic ocean.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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)

  14. 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.

  15. 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

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

    PubMed

    Li, Qiang; Ni, Xijun

    2016-01-14

    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.

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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)

  1. Alkane distribution and carbon isotope composition in fossil leaves: An interpretation of plant physiology in the geologic past

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

    The relative chain-length distribution and carbon-isotope composition of n-alkanes extracted from sedimentary rocks are important geochemical tools for investigating past terrestrial ecosystems. Alkanes preserved in ancient sediments are assumed to be contemporaneous, derived from the same ecosystem, and integrated from the biomass present on the landscape at the time of deposition. Further, there is an underlying assumption that ancient plants exhibited the same metabolic and physiological responses to climate conditions that are observed for modern plants. Interpretations of alkane abundances and isotopic signatures are complicated by the strong influence of phylogenetic affiliation and ecological factors, such as canopy structure. A better understanding of how ecosystem and taxa influence alkane properties, including homologue abundance patterns and leaf-lipid carbon isotope fractionation would help strengthen paleoecological interpretations based on these widely employed plant biomarkers. In this study, we analyze the alkane chain-length distribution and carbon-isotope composition of phytoleim and alkanes (d13Cleaf and d13Clipid) extracted from a selection of Cretaceous and Paleocene fossil leaves from the Guaduas and Cerrejon Formations of Colombia. These data were compared with data for the same families in a modern analogue biome. Photosynthetic and biosynthetic fractionation (∆leaf and elipid) values determined from the fossil material indicate carbon metabolism patterns were similar to modern plants. Fossil data were incorporated in a biomass-weighted mixing model to represent the expected lipid complement of sediment arising from this ecosystem and compared with alkane measurements from the rock matrix. Modeled and observed isotopic and abundance patterns match well for alkane homologs most abundant in plants (i.e., n-C27 to n-C33). The model illustrates the importance of understanding biases in litter flux and taphonomic pressures inherent in the

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Fossil Crustaceans as Parasites and Hosts.

    PubMed

    Klompmaker, Adiël A; Boxshall, Geoff A

    2015-01-01

    Numerous crustacean lineages have independently moved into parasitism as a mode of life. In modern marine ecosystems, parasitic crustaceans use representatives from many metazoan phyla as hosts. Crustaceans also serve as hosts to a rich diversity of parasites, including other crustaceans. Here, we show that the fossil record of such parasitic interactions is sparse, with only 11 examples, one dating back to the Cambrian. This may be due to the limited preservation potential and small size of parasites, as well as to problems with ascribing traces to parasitism with certainty, and to a lack of targeted research. Although the confirmed stratigraphic ranges are limited for nearly every example, evidence of parasitism related to crustaceans has become increasingly more complete for isopod-induced swellings in decapods so that quantitative analyses can be carried out. Little attention has yet been paid to the origin of parasitism in deep time, but insight can be generated by integrating data on fossils with molecular studies on modern parasites. In addition, there are other traces left by parasites that could fossilize, but have not yet been recognized in the fossil record.

  9. High abundance of salps in the coastal Gulf of Alaska during 2011: A first record of bloom occurrence for the northern Gulf

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Kaizhi; Doubleday, Ayla J.; Galbraith, Moira D.; Hopcroft, Russell R.

    2016-10-01

    Atypical high abundances of two salp species occurred in the coastal Gulf of Alaska during 2011. Salpa aspera dominated numerically in aggregate form during spring, and became uncommon during summer, while Cyclosalpa bakeri increased from low during spring to high abundance during summer. Both species were absent, or nearly so, by fall. C. bakeri abundance was positively correlated to surface temperature in spring and summer, and both species abundances were negatively correlated to chlorophyll a. The proportion of aggregate forms of both species was higher than that of solitary forms during spring and summer. The length-frequency of S. aspera aggregate individuals ranged primarily from 10 to 50 mm, and solitary forms reached 130 mm, while C. bakeri aggregates were 10-25 mm, with solitary forms up to 75 mm. Estimated biomass of S. aspera was 0.35±0.64 mg C m-3 in southeastern Alaska during spring then decreased to 0.03±0.12 mg C m-3 during summer. Estimated biomass of C. bakeri was 0.03±0.06 mg C m-3 over the entire sampling domain during spring, then rose to 0.15±0.25 mg C m-3 during summer. The volume of water filtered daily by S. aspera was estimated to be up to 17% of the 200 m water column at some stations during spring, but only up to ~3.5% during summer. Substantially higher grazing impact was possible if animals were largely confined to the surface mixed layer (typically 20-30 m thick). The average volume filtrated was higher during spring for S. aspera, but for C. bakeri it was higher during summer. We propose that the combined effect of the northward transport of seed populations, their rapid biomass increase through asexual reproduction, and the high clearance rate of salps contributed to atypically low chlorophyll a in the Gulf of Alaska during spring and summer of 2011. This unusual event impacted ecosystem function during 2011, and might be expected to increase in frequency as the Gulf continues to respond to climate variations.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Fossil Carder Bee's Nest from the Hominin Locality of Taung, South Africa

    PubMed Central

    Parker, Jennifer F.; Hopley, Philip J.; Kuhn, Brian F.

    2016-01-01

    The Buxton-Norlim Limeworks southwest of Taung, South Africa, is renowned for the discovery of the first Australopithecus africanus fossil, the ‘Taung Child’. The hominin was recovered from a distinctive pink calcrete that contains an abundance of invertebrate ichnofauna belonging to the Coprinisphaera ichnofacies. Here we describe the first fossil bee’s nest, attributed to the ichnogenus Celliforma, from the Plio-Pleistocene of Africa. Petrographic examination of a cell lining revealed the preservation of an intricate organic matrix lined with the calcitic casts of numerous plant trichomes–a nesting behaviour unique to the modern-day carder bees (Anthidiini). The presence of Celliforma considered alongside several other recorded ichnofossils can be indicative of a dry, savannah environment, in agreement with recent work on the palaeoenvironment of Plio-Pleistocene southern Africa. Moreover, the occurrence of ground-nesting bees provides further evidence that the pink calcrete deposits are of pedogenic origin, rather than speleogenic origin as has previously been assumed. This study demonstrates the potential value of insect trace fossils as palaeoenvironmental indicators. PMID:27682845

  13. Maintenance of trophic structure in fossil mammal communities: site occupancy and taxon resilience.

    PubMed

    Jernvall, Jukka; Fortelius, Mikael

    2004-11-01

    Commonness of organisms typically fluctuates through time, and understanding such fluctuations has long been an important part of ecological research. Studies at paleontological timescales provide a perspective on how changes in population size might affect community structure over millions of years. To overcome the obstacle that population size parameters such as abundance are difficult to detect in the fossil record, we here used fossil locality coverage to approximate changes in site occupancy in the Neogene of Europe over the course of 20 million years. Our aim was to examine whether the trophic structure of mammalian communities is maintained through time despite continuing environmental change. Ecomorphological grouping of fossils indicates that herbivore genera have low taxon resilience in that each genus has predominantly only one locality coverage peak before disappearance. Despite this continuous replacement of the most prevalent herbivore genera, the herbivore trophic group as a whole remains the largest and maintains a roughly constant share of locality coverage throughout the Neogene. The successive herbivore genera, however, show increasing adaptations to harshening environments, indicating shifting properties of niches while the overall trophic structure is conserved. Carnivores, dependent on primary productivity for food indirectly through their prey, show moderate lack of resilience. In contrast, in omnivores changes in locality coverage are close to random fluctuations.

  14. Synthesizing and databasing fossil calibrations: divergence dating and beyond.

    PubMed

    Ksepka, Daniel T; Benton, Michael J; Carrano, Matthew T; Gandolfo, Maria A; Head, Jason J; Hermsen, Elizabeth J; Joyce, Walter G; Lamm, Kristin S; Patané, José S L; Phillips, Matthew J; Polly, P David; Van Tuinen, Marcel; Ware, Jessica L; Warnock, Rachel C M; Parham, James F

    2011-12-23

    Divergence dating studies, which combine temporal data from the fossil record with branch length data from molecular phylogenetic trees, represent a rapidly expanding approach to understanding the history of life. National Evolutionary Synthesis Center hosted the first Fossil Calibrations Working Group (3-6 March, 2011, Durham, NC, USA), bringing together palaeontologists, molecular evolutionists and bioinformatics experts to present perspectives from disciplines that generate, model and use fossil calibration data. Presentations and discussions focused on channels for interdisciplinary collaboration, best practices for justifying, reporting and using fossil calibrations and roadblocks to synthesis of palaeontological and molecular data. Bioinformatics solutions were proposed, with the primary objective being a new database for vetted fossil calibrations with linkages to existing resources, targeted for a 2012 launch.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Atmospheric CO2 from fossil plant cuticles.

    PubMed

    Kerp, Hans

    2002-01-01

    Plants respond to changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels by regulating the number of stomata in their leaves. In his reconstruction of a continuous, 300-million-year record of atmospheric CO2, Retallack bases his curve on stomatal counts of fossil plant cuticles taken from published micrographs. However, the preservation of cuticles from Permian times is generally too fragmentary for the stomatal index to be reliably determined, the micrographs used could have biased the results, and there are important errors in the supplementary data - all of which cast doubt on the Permian part of Retallack's record.

  20. Fossil Diatoms in a New Carbonaceous Meteorite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wickramasinghe, N. C.; Wallis, J.; Wallis, D. H.; Samaranayake, Anil

    2013-01-01

    We report the discovery for the first time of diatom frustules in a carbonaceous meteorite that fell in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka on 29 December 2012. Contamination is excluded by the circumstance that the elemental abundances within the structures match closely with those of the surrounding matrix. There is also evidence of structures morphologically similar to red rain cells that may have contributed to the episode of red rain that followed within days of the meteorite fall. The new data on "fossil" diatoms provide strong evidence to support the theory of cometary panspermia.

  1. 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

  2. Biodesulfurization of fossil fuels.

    PubMed

    Gray, Kevin A; Mrachko, Gregory T; Squires, Charles H

    2003-06-01

    Biotechnological techniques enabling the specific removal of sulfur from fossil fuels have been developed. In the past three years there have been important advances in the elucidation of the mechanisms of biodesulfurization; some of the most significant relate to the role of a flavin reductase, DszD, in the enzymology of desulfurization, and to the use of new tools that enable enzyme enhancement via DNA manipulation to influence both the rate and the substrate range of Dsz. Also, a clearer understanding of the unique desulfinase step in the pathway has begun to emerge.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

    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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. A 25,000-year record of climate-induced changes in lowland vegetation of eastern equatorial Africa revealed by the stable carbon-isotopic composition of fossil plant leaf waxes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sinninghe Damsté, Jaap S.; Verschuren, Dirk; Ossebaar, Jort; Blokker, Jord; van Houten, Rianne; van der Meer, Marcel T. J.; Plessen, Birgit; Schouten, Stefan

    2011-02-01

    The debate of climate versus CO2 in controlling the long-term dynamics of tropical African vegetation has focused on events at the upper tree-line, since the relevant paleodata tend to be from mid-elevation sites (~ 2000-3000 m). Less well known is the relative importance of CO2 in regulating the dynamics of tropical lowland (< 1500 m) vegetation, particularly that of the dry open woodlands, bush- and grasslands covering much of eastern equatorial Africa. Here we examine the stable carbon isotopic composition of n-alkanes in the sediment record of Lake Challa, a lowland crater lake near Mt. Kilimanjaro, covering the last 25,000 years. The distributions of the n-alkanes, with dominance of the long-chain odd-carbon-numbered components, and their isotopic composition reveal a mixed origin. The C23 and C25n-alkanes are depleted in 13C, with δ13C values between - 30 and - 50‰. In shallow lakes these n-alkanes are thought to derive from non-emergent aquatic plants, but this is unlikely in this steep-sided crater lake as it lacks a significant littoral habitat. The C27+n-alkanes are predominantly derived from leaf wax lipids of terrestrial plants, brought into the lake predominantly by local soil run-off. Their δ13C values, in particular that of the n-C31 alkane, reveal a marked transition in local lowland vegetation from being dominated (~ 70-100%) by C4 plants during the glacial period until 16.5 cal kyr BP, to a more mixed C3/C4 composition (~ 30-60% C4) during the Holocene. The start of the late-glacial trend towards a greater proportion of C3 plants coincided with the start of increasing monsoon rainfall, ~ 1500 years after the onset of the rise in atmospheric CO2 and ~ 3500 years after the onset of post-glacial warming. The transition was interrupted during the dry Younger Dryas period (13.0-11.7 cal kyr BP), when C4 plants again became much more prevalent, almost reaching their glacial-period abundance. Notably, the principal trend in leaf-wax δ13C values

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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).

  10. 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.

  11. Triassic leech cocoon from Antarctica contains fossil bell animal

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    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. PMID:23213234

  12. 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.

  13. The microfossil record of early land plants.

    PubMed Central

    Wellman, C H; Gray, J

    2000-01-01

    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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

    2014-02-25

    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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Replication in plastic of three-dimensional fossils preserved in indurated clastic sedimentary rocks.

    PubMed

    Zapasnik, H T; Johnston, P A

    1984-06-29

    A new technique for replicating in plastic the fossils preserved in clastic rocks should now make available reliable morphologic and frequency data, comparable in quality to those derived from acid-prepared silicified faunas, for a major segment of the fossil record. The technique involves three steps: the dissolution of carbonate in fossiliferous rocks with hydrochloric acid, impregnation of resulting voids with liquid plastic, and dissolution of the rock matrix with hydrofluoric acid, leaving a concentrate of plastic-replaced fossils.

  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. 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

    2015-09-28

    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.

  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. 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.

  10. The legacy of fossil fuels.

    PubMed

    Armaroli, Nicola; Balzani, Vincenzo

    2011-03-01

    Currently, over 80% of the energy used by mankind comes from fossil fuels. Harnessing coal, oil and gas, the energy resources contained in the store of our spaceship, Earth, has prompted a dramatic expansion in energy use and a substantial improvement in the quality of life of billions of individuals in some regions of the world. Powering our civilization with fossil fuels has been very convenient, but now we know that it entails severe consequences. We treat fossil fuels as a resource that anyone anywhere can extract and use in any fashion, and Earth's atmosphere, soil and oceans as a dump for their waste products, including more than 30 Gt/y of carbon dioxide. At present, environmental legacy rather than consistence of exploitable reserves, is the most dramatic problem posed by the relentless increase of fossil fuel global demand. Harmful effects on the environment and human health, usually not incorporated into the pricing of fossil fuels, include immediate and short-term impacts related to their discovery, extraction, transportation, distribution, and burning as well as climate change that are spread over time to future generations or over space to the entire planet. In this essay, several aspects of the fossil fuel legacy are discussed, such as alteration of the carbon cycle, carbon dioxide rise and its measurement, greenhouse effect, anthropogenic climate change, air pollution and human health, geoengineering proposals, land and water degradation, economic problems, indirect effects on the society, and the urgent need of regulatory efforts and related actions to promote a gradual transition out of the fossil fuel era. While manufacturing sustainable solar fuels appears to be a longer-time perspective, alternatives energy sources already exist that have the potential to replace fossil fuels as feedstocks for electricity production.

  11. 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…

  12. Integrating fossils with molecular phylogenies improves inference of trait evolution.

    PubMed

    Slater, Graham J; Harmon, Luke J; Alfaro, Michael E

    2012-12-01

    Comparative biologists often attempt to draw inferences about tempo and mode in evolution by comparing the fit of evolutionary models to phylogenetic comparative data consisting of a molecular phylogeny with branch lengths and trait measurements from extant taxa. These kinds of approaches ignore historical evidence for evolutionary pattern and process contained in the fossil record. In this article, we show through simulation that incorporation of fossil information dramatically improves our ability to distinguish among models of quantitative trait evolution using comparative data. We further suggest a novel Bayesian approach that allows fossil information to be integrated even when explicit phylogenetic hypotheses are lacking for extinct representatives of extant clades. By applying this approach to a comparative dataset comprising body sizes for caniform carnivorans, we show that incorporation of fossil information not only improves ancestral state estimates relative to those derived from extant taxa alone, but also results in preference of a model of evolution with trend toward large body size over alternative models such as Brownian motion or Ornstein-Uhlenbeck processes. Our approach highlights the importance of considering fossil information when making macroevolutionary inference, and provides a way to integrate the kind of sparse fossil information that is available to most evolutionary biologists.

  13. Taxonomy and fossils: a critical appraisal.

    PubMed

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

    2004-04-29

    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

  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. Taxonomy and fossils: a critical appraisal.

    PubMed

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

    2004-04-29

    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.

  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. 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

    2015-05-27

    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.

  18. 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)

  19. Early Pliocene sediments and fossils from the northern Kenya Rift Valley.

    PubMed

    Bishop, W W; Chapman, G R

    1970-06-01

    Mammalian fossils, which include the tooth of an early hominid, have been recovered from the newly mapped Ngorora Formation in the Baringo District. Preliminary dating suggests that this formation is aged between 9 and 12 million years, and the new finds thus help to span a ten million year gap in the fossil mammal record in Africa south of the Sahara. PMID:16057593

  20. Time-averaged molluscan death assemblages: Palimpsests of richness, snapshots of abundance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kidwell, Susan M.

    2002-09-01

    Field tests that compare living communities to associated dead remains are the primary means of estimating the reliability of biological information in the fossil record; such tests also provide insights into the dynamics of skeletal accumulation. Contrary to expectations, molluscan death assemblages capture a strong signal of living species' rank-order abundances. This finding, combined with independent evidence for exponential postmortem destruction of dead cohorts, argues that, although the species richness of a death assemblage may be a time-averaged palimpsest of the habitat (molluscan death assemblages contain, on average, ˜25% more species than any single census of the local live community, after sample-size standardization), species' relative-abundance data from the same assemblage probably constitute a much higher acuity record dominated by the most recent dead cohorts (e.g., from the past few hundred years or so, rather than the several thousand years recorded by the total assemblage and usually taken as the acuity of species-richness information). The pervasive excess species richness of molluscan death assemblages requires further analysis and modeling to discriminate among possible sources. However, time averaging alone cannot be responsible unless rare species (species with low rates of dead-shell production) are collectively more durable (have longer taphonomic half-lives) than abundant species. Species richness and abundance data thus appear to present fundamentally different taphonomic qualities for paleobiological analysis. Relative- abundance information is more snapshot-like and thus taphonomically more straightforward than expected, especially compared to the complex origins of dead-species richness.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Using more than the oldest fossils: dating osmundaceae with three Bayesian clock approaches.

    PubMed

    Grimm, Guido W; Kapli, Paschalia; Bomfleur, Benjamin; McLoughlin, Stephen; Renner, Susanne S

    2015-05-01

    A major concern in molecular clock dating is how to use information from the fossil record to calibrate genetic distances from DNA sequences. Here we apply three Bayesian dating methods that differ in how calibration is achieved-"node dating" (ND) in BEAST, "total evidence" (TE) dating in MrBayes, and the "fossilized birth-death" (FBD) in FDPPDiv-to infer divergence times in the royal ferns. Osmundaceae have 16-17 species in four genera, two mainly in the Northern Hemisphere and two in South Africa and Australasia; they are the sister clade to the remaining leptosporangiate ferns. Their fossil record consists of at least 150 species in ∼17 genera. For ND, we used the five oldest fossils, whereas for TE and FBD dating, which do not require forcing fossils to nodes and thus can use more fossils, we included up to 36 rhizomes and frond compression/impression fossils, which for TE dating were scored for 33 morphological characters. We also subsampled 10%, 25%, and 50% of the 36 fossils to assess model sensitivity. FBD-derived divergence ages were generally greater than those inferred from ND; two of seven TE-derived ages agreed with FBD-obtained ages, the others were much younger or much older than ND or FBD ages. We prefer the FBD-derived ages because they best fit the Osmundales fossil record (including Triassic fossils not used in our study). Under the preferred model, the clade encompassing extant Osmundaceae (and many fossils) dates to the latest Paleozoic to Early Triassic; divergences of the extant species occurred during the Neogene. Under the assumption of constant speciation and extinction rates, the FBD approach yielded speciation and extinction rates that overlapped those obtained from just neontological data. However, FBD estimates of speciation and extinction are sensitive to violations in the assumption of continuous fossil sampling; therefore, these estimates should be treated with caution.

  4. Iridium abundance patterns across extinction boundaries

    SciTech Connect

    Orth, C.J.; Gilmore, J.S.; Oliver, P.Q.; Quintana, L.R.

    1985-01-01

    The authors are measuring elemental abundances, with emphasis on high sensitivity Ir assay, across biological crisis zones in the fossil record. Samples are measured in an automated neutron activation analysis system, with radiochemical separations for the heavy Pt-group elements and Au. They are collaborating with paleontologic and stratigraphic experts to home-in on the boundaries, and to date they have performed at least one set of measurements across the following transition and extinction boundaries: Precambrian/Cambrian(Pc/C); 2 U. Cambrian biomere boundaries; the basal Ordovician; Ordovician;/Silurian; U. Devonian Frasnian/Famennian (F/F); Devonian/Miss.; Miss./Penn.; Permian/Triassic (P/Tr); Triassic/Jurassic; L. Jurassic Toarcian; Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T); and the U. Eocene. The authors work on K/T sequences that were deposited under freshwater conditions in the western interior of North America supports the Alvarez asteroid impact hypothesis. The Earth has been struck many times in the Phanerozoic by large impactors that probably have done tremendous damage to the local environment. However, to day scientists have not found any firm chemical evidence for the association of impacts with global extinctions older than the massive terminal Cretaceous event, which might have been unique in the Phanerozoic. Although they have measured a moderate Ir and Pt anomaly in the F/F boundary zone in NW Australia, their evidence indicates that these and several other elements were enriched from seawater by bacteria. Although the authors data, except for the U. Eocene, do not support the periodic comet swarm-global extinction arguments, much more work is needed to resolve this issue.

  5. 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.

  6. Molecular Fossils as Time Indicators for the Evolution of Diatoms.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rampen, S. W.; Schouten, S.; Muyzer, G.; Abbas, B.; Rowland, S. J.; Moldowan, M.; Sinninghe Damsté, J. S.

    2004-12-01

    Bacillariophyta (diatoms) are one of the most abundant divisions of phytoplankton, and contribute to almost 50% of the primary productivity of today's oceans. However, their ecological dominance is relatively young and little is known about the exact pace of their rapid evolution. DNA analyses on diatoms and the use of molecular clock calculations can help to reconstruct their evolution, but this molecular clock rate needs to be calibrated against the fossil record to determine the mutation rate. Until now, diatom silica skeletons have been used for reconstructing the evolution of diatoms, but their use is limited due to destruction by diagenesis. Molecular fossils may prove to be more useful for time reconstruction. To search for suitable compounds, we have analyzed both the lipid composition and 18S rRNA sequences of ca. 100 marine diatoms. This revealed that some specific phylogenetic clusters within the diatoms produce specific organic compounds, so-called diatom biomarkers. One group of diatom biomarkers are the C25 highly branched isoprenoid (HBI) alkenes (1,2). HBI biosynthesis evolved independently at least twice in the diatoms. The first group of HBI producers consists of the centric diatoms of the genus Rhizosolenia, the second group comprises pennate diatoms of the genera Haslea, Navicula and Pleurosigma. Based on the constructed phylogenetic tree it is likely that the HBI biosynthesis evolved first in the older group of centric diatoms (i.e. the Rhizosolenia genus). The fossil record was studied to determine the geological occurrence of C25 HBI alkenes, and this data set shows that HBI biosynthesis evolved ca. 91.5 My ago, so we can date the evolution of the genus Rizosolenia to ca. 91.5 My. With this information, we can now accurately predict the mutation rate of the 18S rDNA gene to 1% per 14.8 My for Rhizosolenia, which is substantially faster than the 1% per 18-26 My reported previously for diatoms in general. Another specific biomarker is 24

  7. 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).

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. Fossils, rocks, and time

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Edwards, Lucy E.; Pojeta, John

    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.

  16. 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.

  17. Modulation of fossil fuel production by global temperature variations, 2

    SciTech Connect

    Rust, B.W.; Crosby, F.J.

    1994-01-01

    The report includes the inverse modulation of global fossil production by variations in Northern Hemispheric temperatures. The present study incorporates recent revisions and extensions of the fuel production record and uses a much improved temperature record. The authors show that the new data are consistent with the predictions of the original Rust-Kirk model which they then extend to allow for time lag between variations in the temperature and the corresponding responses in fuel production. The modulation enters the new model through the convolution of a lagged averaging function with the temperature time-series. The authors also include explicit terms to account for the perturbations caused by the Great Depression and World War II. The final model accounts for 99.84% of the total variance in the production record. This modulation represents a feedback which is consistent with the carbon dioxide problem; climate change; fossil fuel production; global warming Gaia hypothesis; temperature variations.

  18. Palaeobiology: Argentinian unhatched pterosaur fossil.

    PubMed

    Chiappe, Luis M; Codorniú, Laura; Grellet-Tinner, Gerald; Rivarola, David

    2004-12-01

    Our knowledge of the eggs and embryos of pterosaurs, the Mesozoic flying reptiles, is sparse. Until now, the recent discovery of an ornithocheirid embryo from 121-million-year-old rocks in China constituted the only reliable evidence of an unhatched pterosaur. Here we describe an embryonic fossil of a different pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous lacustrine deposits of Loma del Pterodaustro (the Lagarcito Formation, which is about 100 million years old) in central Argentina. This new fossil provides insight into the eggshell morphology, early growth and nesting environments of pterosaurs.

  19. Silicification of trace fossils in carbonates; evidence from Permian Kaibab Formation, southwestern Utah

    SciTech Connect

    Whidden, K.J.; Bottjer, D.J.

    1989-04-01

    Silicification in carbonates, particularly silicified trace fossils, has received relatively little previous study. Chert comprises a significant percentage of the upper Fossil Mountain Member of the Kaibab Formation, a Permian epicontinental limestone. Distribution and origin of this chert were studied from outcrops in southwestern Utah. The origin of much of this chert is believed to be as silicified Thalassinoides burrows. Field evidence for trace fossil silicification includes (1) silicified cylindrical tubes with Y-shaped branching patterns as well as hollow tubes, and (2) polygonal box-work patterns of tubes. In addition, brachiopods, bryozoans, and abundant specimens of the sponge Actinocelia maendrina Finks are also silicified. Recognition of silicified trace fossils in carbonates provides a different approach to the study of early diagenetic silica precipitation. These silicified trace fossils also represent new information on bioturbation in ancient carbonates, a subject that has, until recently, been relatively unstudied.

  20. Trace fossil analysis of lacustrine facies and basins

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1998-01-01

    Two ichnofacies are typical of lacustrine depositional systems. The Scoyenia ichnofacies characterizes transitional terrestrial/nonmarine aquatic substrates, periodically inundated or desiccated, and therefore is commonly present in lake margin facies. The Mermia ichnofacies is associated with well oxygenated, permanent subaqueous, fine-grained substrates of hydrologically open, perennial lakes. Bathymetric zonations within the Mermia ichnofacies are complicated by the wide variability of lacustrine systems. Detected proximal-distal trends are useful within particular lake basins, but commonly difficult to extrapolate to other lakes. Other potential ichnofacies include the typically marine Skolithos ichnofacies for high-energy zones of lakes and substrate-controlled, still unnamed ichnofacies, associated to lake margin deposits. Trace fossils are useful for sedimentologic analysis of event beds. Lacustrine turbidites are characterized by low-diversity suites, reflecting colonization by opportunistic organisms after the turbidite event. Underflow current beds record animal activity contemporaneous with nearly continuous sedimentation. Ichnologic studies may also help to distinguish between marine and lacustrine turbidites. Deep-marine turbidites host the Nereites ichnofacies that consists of high diversity of ornate grazing traces and graphoglyptids, recording highly specialized feeding strategies developed to solve the problem of the scarcity of food in the deep sea. Deep lacustrine environments contain the Mermia ichnofacies, which is dominated by unspecialized grazing and feeding traces probably related to the abundance and accessibility of food in lacustrine systems. The lower diversity of lacustrine ichnofaunas in comparison with deep-sea assemblages more likely reflects lower species diversity as a consequence of less stable conditions. Increase of depth and extent of bioturbation through geologic time produced a clear signature in the ichnofabric record of

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-11-26

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Ancient Ephemeroptera-Collembola symbiosis fossilized in amber predicts contemporary phoretic associations.

    PubMed

    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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. Evolution of Precambrian life in the Brazilian geological record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fairchild, Thomas Rich; Sanchez, Evelyn A. M.; Pacheco, Mírian Liza A. F.; de Moraes Leme, Juliana

    2012-10-01

    Precambrian rocks comprise nearly one-quarter of the surface of Brazil and range from Paleoarchean (ca. 3.6 Ga) to the latest Ediacaran (0.542 Ga) in age. Except for controversial phosphatized `embryo-like' microfossils like those from the lower Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation, China and complex rangeomorphs, Brazilian research has revealed all major categories of Precambrian life forms described elsewhere - microbialites, biomarkers, silicified microfossils, palynomorphs, vase-shaped microfossils, macroalgae, metazoans, vendobionts and ichnofossils - but the paleobiological significance of this record has been little explored. At least four occurrences of these fossils offer promise for increased understanding of the following aspects of Precambrian biospheric evolution: (i) the relationship of microbialites in 2.1-2.4 Ga old carbonates of the Minas Supergroup in the Quadrilátero Ferrífero, Minas Gerais (the oldest Brazilian fossils) to the development of the early oxygenic atmosphere and penecontemporaneous global tectonic and climatic events; (ii) the evolutionary and biostratigraphic significance of Mesoproterozoic to Ediacaran organic-walled microfossils in central-western Brazil; (iii) diversity and paleoecological significance of vase-shaped heterotrophic protistan microfossils in the Urucum Formation (Jacadigo Group) and possibly the Bocaina Formation (Corumbá Group), of Mato Grosso do Sul; and (iv) insights into the record of skeletogenesis and paleoecology of latest Ediacaran metazoans as represented by the abundant organic carapaces of Corumbella and calcareous shells of the index fossil Cloudina, of the Corumbá Group, Mato Grosso do Sul. Analysis of the Brazilian Precambrian fossil record thus holds great potential for augmenting paleobiological knowledge of this crucial period on Earth and for developing more robust hypotheses regarding possible origins and evolutionary pathways of biospheres on other planets.

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. The colour of fossil feathers.

    PubMed

    Vinther, Jakob; Briggs, Derek E G; Prum, Richard O; Saranathan, Vinodkumar

    2008-10-23

    Feathers are complex integumentary appendages of birds and some other theropod dinosaurs. They are frequently coloured and function in camouflage and display. Previous investigations have concluded that fossil feathers are preserved as carbonized traces composed of feather-degrading bacteria. Here, an investigation of a colour-banded feather from the Lower Cretaceous Crato Formation of Brazil revealed that the dark bands are preserved as elongate, oblate carbonaceous bodies 1-2 microm long, whereas the light bands retain only relief traces on the rock matrix. Energy dispersive X-ray analysis showed that the dark bands preserve a substantial amount of carbon, whereas the light bands show no carbon residue. Comparison of these oblate fossil bodies with the structure of black feathers from a living bird indicates that they are the eumelanin-containing melanosomes. We conclude that most fossil feathers are preserved as melanosomes, and that the distribution of these structures in fossil feathers can preserve the colour pattern in the original feather. The discovery of preserved melanosomes opens up the possibility of interpreting the colour of extinct birds and other dinosaurs.

  17. Mitochondrial genomes as living 'fossils'.

    PubMed

    Small, Ian

    2013-04-15

    The huge variation between mitochondrial genomes makes untangling their evolutionary histories difficult. Richardson et al. report on the remarkably unaltered 'fossil' genome of the tulip tree, giving us many clues as to how the mitochondrial genomes of flowering plants have evolved over the last 150 million years, and raising questions about how such extraordinary sequence conservation can be maintained.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. First report of fossil "keratose" demosponges in Phanerozoic carbonates: preservation and 3-D reconstruction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Cycads: fossil evidence of late paleozoic origin.

    PubMed

    Mamay, S H

    1969-04-18

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  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. Microbial denitrogenation of fossil fuels.

    PubMed

    Benedik, M J; Gibbs, P R; Riddle, R R; Willson, R C

    1998-09-01

    The microbial degradation of nitrogen compounds from fossil fuels is important because of the contribution these contaminants make to the formation of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and hence to air pollution and acid rain. They also contribute to catalyst poisoning during the refining of crude oil, thus reducing process yields. We review the current status of microbial degradation of aromatic nitrogen compounds and discuss the potential of microbial processes to alleviate these problems.

  17. Early penguin fossils, plus mitochondrial genomes, calibrate avian evolution.

    PubMed

    Slack, Kerryn E; Jones, Craig M; Ando, Tatsuro; Harrison, G L Abby; Fordyce, R Ewan; Arnason, Ulfur; Penny, David

    2006-06-01

    Testing models of macroevolution, and especially the sufficiency of microevolutionary processes, requires good collaboration between molecular biologists and paleontologists. We report such a test for events around the Late Cretaceous by describing the earliest penguin fossils, analyzing complete mitochondrial genomes from an albatross, a petrel, and a loon, and describe the gradual decline of pterosaurs at the same time modern birds radiate. The penguin fossils comprise four naturally associated skeletons from the New Zealand Waipara Greensand, a Paleocene (early Tertiary) formation just above a well-known Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary site. The fossils, in a new genus (Waimanu), provide a lower estimate of 61-62 Ma for the divergence between penguins and other birds and thus establish a reliable calibration point for avian evolution. Combining fossil calibration points, DNA sequences, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian analysis, the penguin calibrations imply a radiation of modern (crown group) birds in the Late Cretaceous. This includes a conservative estimate that modern sea and shorebird lineages diverged at least by the Late Cretaceous about 74 +/- 3 Ma (Campanian). It is clear that modern birds from at least the latest Cretaceous lived at the same time as archaic birds including Hesperornis, Ichthyornis, and the diverse Enantiornithiformes. Pterosaurs, which also coexisted with early crown birds, show notable changes through the Late Cretaceous. There was a decrease in taxonomic diversity, and small- to medium-sized species disappeared well before the end of the Cretaceous. A simple reading of the fossil record might suggest competitive interactions with birds, but much more needs to be understood about pterosaur life histories. Additional fossils and molecular data are still required to help understand the role of biotic interactions in the evolution of Late Cretaceous birds and thus to test that the mechanisms of microevolution are sufficient to explain

  18. Early penguin fossils, plus mitochondrial genomes, calibrate avian evolution.

    PubMed

    Slack, Kerryn E; Jones, Craig M; Ando, Tatsuro; Harrison, G L Abby; Fordyce, R Ewan; Arnason, Ulfur; Penny, David

    2006-06-01

    Testing models of macroevolution, and especially the sufficiency of microevolutionary processes, requires good collaboration between molecular biologists and paleontologists. We report such a test for events around the Late Cretaceous by describing the earliest penguin fossils, analyzing complete mitochondrial genomes from an albatross, a petrel, and a loon, and describe the gradual decline of pterosaurs at the same time modern birds radiate. The penguin fossils comprise four naturally associated skeletons from the New Zealand Waipara Greensand, a Paleocene (early Tertiary) formation just above a well-known Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary site. The fossils, in a new genus (Waimanu), provide a lower estimate of 61-62 Ma for the divergence between penguins and other birds and thus establish a reliable calibration point for avian evolution. Combining fossil calibration points, DNA sequences, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian analysis, the penguin calibrations imply a radiation of modern (crown group) birds in the Late Cretaceous. This includes a conservative estimate that modern sea and shorebird lineages diverged at least by the Late Cretaceous about 74 +/- 3 Ma (Campanian). It is clear that modern birds from at least the latest Cretaceous lived at the same time as archaic birds including Hesperornis, Ichthyornis, and the diverse Enantiornithiformes. Pterosaurs, which also coexisted with early crown birds, show notable changes through the Late Cretaceous. There was a decrease in taxonomic diversity, and small- to medium-sized species disappeared well before the end of the Cretaceous. A simple reading of the fossil record might suggest competitive interactions with birds, but much more needs to be understood about pterosaur life histories. Additional fossils and molecular data are still required to help understand the role of biotic interactions in the evolution of Late Cretaceous birds and thus to test that the mechanisms of microevolution are sufficient to explain

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Protein molecular data from ancient (>1 million years old) fossil material: pitfalls, possibilities and grand challenges.

    PubMed

    Schweitzer, Mary Higby; Schroeter, Elena R; Goshe, Michael B

    2014-07-15

    Advances in resolution and sensitivity of analytical techniques have provided novel applications, including the analyses of fossil material. However, the recovery of original proteinaceous components from very old fossil samples (defined as >1 million years (1 Ma) from previously named limits in the literature) is far from trivial. Here, we discuss the challenges to recovery of proteinaceous components from fossils, and the need for new sample preparation techniques, analytical methods, and bioinformatics to optimize and fully utilize the great potential of information locked in the fossil record. We present evidence for survival of original components across geological time, and discuss the potential benefits of recovery, analyses, and interpretation of fossil materials older than 1 Ma, both within and outside of the fields of evolutionary biology.

  2. The first report on the medicinal use of fossils in latin america.

    PubMed

    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

  3. 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

  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. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Kinneyia: a flow-induced anisotropic fossil pattern from ancient microbial mats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Herminghaus, Stephan; Thomas, Katherine; Aliaskarisohi, Saeedeh; Porada, Hubertus; Goehring, Lucas

    2016-07-01

    Kinneyia is the commonly-used term to describe a class of trace fossil that is strongly associated with microbial mats. The appearance of Kinneyia (or wrinkle-structures) in the fossil record has recently led to a number of possible mechanisms being proposed to explain its formation. Here we outline, and critically compare, three of these models, involving formation of the characteristic ripple-structures (i) in mats over liquefied sediment, (ii) by oscillatory flow of microbial aggregates, and (iii) by a Kelvin-Helmholtz instability of the mat surface. Of these models, our study shows that the hydrodynamic instability compares most favorably with the corresponding structures in the fossil record. Implications for the conditions under which the fossils formed are then further discussed.

  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. 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

  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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. 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

  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