Science.gov

Sample records for early fossil record

  1. 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. © 2014 The Authors. Biological Reviews © 2014 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. Gene Regulatory Networks, Homology, and the Early Panarthropod Fossil Record.

    PubMed

    Tweedt, Sarah M

    2017-09-01

    The arthropod body plan is widely believed to have derived from an ancestral form resembling Cambrian-aged fossil lobopodians, and interpretations of morphological and molecular data have long favored this hypothesis. It is possible, however, that appendages and other morphologies observed in extinct and living panarthropods evolved independently. The key to distinguishing between morphological homology and homoplasy lies in the study of developmental gene regulatory networks (GRNs), and specifically, in determining the unique genetic circuits that construct characters. In this study, I discuss character identity and panarthropod appendage evolution within a developmental GRN framework, with a specific focus on potential limb character identity networks ("ChINs"). I summarize recent molecular studies, and argue that current data do not rule out the possibility of independent panarthropod limb evolution. The link between character identity and GRN architecture has broad implications for homology assessment, and this genetic framework offers alternative approaches to fossil character coding, phylogenetic analyses, and future research into the origin of the arthropod body plan. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. All rights reserved. For permissions please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  5. 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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  7. 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

  8. Patterns of metal distribution in hypersaline microbialites during early diagenesis: Implications for the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Sforna, M C; Daye, M; Philippot, P; Somogyi, A; van Zuilen, M A; Medjoubi, K; Gérard, E; Jamme, F; Dupraz, C; Braissant, O; Glunk, C; Visscher, P T

    2017-03-01

    The use of metals as biosignatures in the fossil stromatolite record requires understanding of the processes controlling the initial metal(loid) incorporation and diagenetic preservation in living microbialites. Here, we report the distribution of metals and the organic fraction within the lithifying microbialite of the hypersaline Big Pond Lake (Bahamas). Using synchrotron-based X-ray microfluorescence, confocal, and biphoton microscopies at different scales (cm-μm) in combination with traditional geochemical analyses, we show that the initial cation sorption at the surface of an active microbialite is governed by passive binding to the organic matrix, resulting in a homogeneous metal distribution. During early diagenesis, the metabolic activity in deeper microbialite layers slows down and the distribution of the metals becomes progressively heterogeneous, resulting from remobilization and concentration as metal(loid)-enriched sulfides, which are aligned with the lamination of the microbialite. In addition, we were able to identify globules containing significant Mn, Cu, Zn, and As enrichments potentially produced through microbial activity. The similarity of the metal(loid) distributions observed in the Big Pond microbialite to those observed in the Archean stromatolites of Tumbiana provides the foundation for a conceptual model of the evolution of the metal distribution through initial growth, early diagenesis, and fossilization of a microbialite, with a potential application to the fossil record. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  9. Early organisms in the fossil record: paleontological aspects, evolutionary and ecological impacts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sabbatini, Anna; Negri, Alessandra; Morigi, Caterina; Bartolini, Annachiara; Lipps, Jere

    2017-04-01

    With this abstract we introduce our session whose aim is twofold: 1) to gather information on the earliest foraminifera (single- organic and agglutinated taxa) which so far are sparse and uncoordinated in order to understand their evolution and their relationship with modern single-chambered taxa, contextualizing scientific current results in the geo-biological field. 2) to explore also every other early organism trace fossils or so far overlooked organisms coated with fine sediment (i.e., bacteria, testate amoebae) to understand how and if this coating might help these creatures to fossilize. For this reason, this session will integrate many disciplines, from genomics to palaeo-environmental modelling to palaeontology and geochemistry. Our experience starts from Foraminifera which are an ecologically important group of modern heterotrophic amoeboid eukaryotes whose naked and testate ancestors are thought to have evolved 1 Ga ago. However, the single-chambered agglutinated test of these protists is hypothesized to appear in the fossil record in the Neoproterozoic, before the rise of complex animals. In addition, the difficulty of recognizing unambiguously ancestral monothalamous foraminifera in the fossil record represents the main challenge and might be related to a combination of factors, such as preservation in the sediments, adverse palaeo-environmental conditions and the absence of clear morphological characters distinguishing them from other morphologically simple testate organisms. However, recent publications have evidenced the finding of such organisms in several sedimentary successions tracing back to the Neoproterozoic. An integrate approach will result in profound insights about life—past, present, future— representing a new frontier in the palaeobiological studies. Therefore, aim of this session is to bring together specialists across all these disciplines to provide a uniquely rich and fertile intellectual environment for the pursuit of this

  10. A new Cheirolepidiaceae (Coniferales) from the Early Jurassic of Patagonia (Argentina): Reconciling the records of impression and permineralized fossils.

    PubMed

    Escapa, Ignacio; Leslie, Andrew

    2017-02-01

    Plants preserved in different fossil modes provide complementary data concerning the paleobiology and evolutionary relationships among plant groups. New material from the Early Jurassic of Patagonia shows the importance of combining these sources of information, as we describe the first compression/impression fossils of Pararaucaria , a genus of the extinct conifer family Cheirolepidiaceae previously known from permineralized fossils. These fossils extend the temporal range of this genus and may allow its wider recognition in the fossil record. We studied fossil plants from the Early Jurassic (Pleinsbachian-Toarcian) locality of Taquetrén in Patagonia, Argentina using standard paleobotanical preparation and description techniques. Pararaucaria taquetrensis consists of isolated ovuliferous scales and small seed cones with helically arranged bract-scale complexes attached to scale-leaf foliage. Bract-scale complexes consist of separated bracts and ovuliferous scales with two seeds and three broad distal lobes. Pararaucaria taquetrensis represents the oldest known Cheirolepidiaceae seed cones from the Southern Hemisphere, and this material highlights the importance of compression and impression fossils in understanding the distribution of fossil taxa. This material also suggests that Cheirolepidiaceae cone scales can be easily confused with those of another common conifer family, the Araucariaceae, which has important implications for accurately understanding Mesozoic conifer diversity and paleoecology. © 2017 Botanical Society of America.

  11. 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

  12. Fruits and wood of Parinari from the early Miocene of Panama and the fossil record of Chrysobalanaceae.

    PubMed

    Jud, Nathan A; Nelson, Chris W; Herrera, Fabiany

    2016-02-01

    Chrysobalanaceae are woody plants with over 500 species in 20 genera. They are among the most common trees in tropical forests, but a sparse fossil record has limited our ability to test evolutionary and biogeographic hypotheses, and several previous reports of Chrysobalanaceae megafossils are doubtful. We prepared fossil endocarps and wood collected from the lower Miocene beds along the Panama Canal using the cellulose acetate peel technique and examined them using light microscopy. We compared the fossil endocarps with previously published fossils and with fruits from herbarium specimens. We compared the fossil wood with photographs and descriptions of extant species. Parinari endocarps can be distinguished from other genera within Chrysobalanaceae by a suite of features, i.e., thick wall, a secondary septum, seminal cavities lined with dense, woolly trichomes, and two ovate to lingulate basal germination plugs. Fossil endocarps from the Cucaracha, Culebra, and La Boca Formations confirm that Parinari was present in the neotropics by the early Miocene. The earliest unequivocal evidence of crown-group Chrysobalanaceae is late Oligocene-early Miocene, and the genus Parinari was distinct by at least 19 million years ago. Parinari and other Chrysobalanaceae likely reached the neotropics via long-distance dispersal rather than vicariance. The presence of Parinari in the Cucaracha flora supports the interpretation of a riparian, moist tropical forest environment. Parinari was probably a canopy-dominant tree in the Cucaracha forest and took advantage of the local megafauna for seed dispersal. © 2016 Botanical Society of America.

  13. Early Pliocene anuran fossils from Kanapoi, Kenya, and the first fossil record for the African burrowing frog Hemisus (Neobatrachia: Hemisotidae).

    PubMed

    Delfino, Massimo

    2017-07-13

    Isolated amphibian bones from the early Pliocene of Kanapoi (West Turkana, Kenya) help to improve the scarce fossil record of the late Neogene and Quaternary amphibians from East Africa. All currently available 579 bones are referable exclusively to the Anura (frogs and toads). More than half of the remains (366) are identified as Hemisus cf. Hemisus marmoratus, an extant species that still inhabits Kenya, but apparently not the northwest of the country and the Turkana area in particular. The rest of the remains are identified simply as Anura indet. because of poor preservation or non congruence with the relatively few African extant taxa whose osteology is known in detail. The Hemisus material represents the first fossil record for Hemisotidae, an endemic African family of peculiar, head-first burrowing frogs, whose sister taxon relationships indicate a divergence from brevicipitids in the Late Cretaceous or early Paleocene. The ecological requirements of extant H. marmoratus suggest that the Kanapoi area surrounding the fluvial and deltaic settings, from where the fossil remains of vertebrates were buried, was likely a grassland or relatively dry, open low tree-shrub savanna. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

    Four types of eyes serve the visual neuropils of extant arthropods: compound retinas composed of adjacent facets; a visual surface populated by spaced eyelets; a smooth transparent cuticle providing inwardly directed lens cylinders; and single-lens eyes. The first type is a characteristic of pancrustaceans, the eyes of which comprise lenses arranged as hexagonal or rectilinear arrays, each lens crowning 8-9 photoreceptor neurons. Except for Scutigeromorpha, the second type typifies Myriapoda whose relatively large eyelets surmount numerous photoreceptive rhabdoms stacked together as tiers. Scutigeromorph eyes are facetted, each lens crowning some dozen photoreceptor neurons of a modified apposition-type eye. Extant chelicerate eyes are single-lensed except in xiphosurans, whose lateral eyes comprise a cuticle with a smooth outer surface and an inner one providing regular arrays of lens cylinders. This account discusses whether these disparate eye types speak for or against divergence from one ancestral eye type. Previous considerations of eye evolution, focusing on the eyes of trilobites and on facet proliferation in xiphosurans and myriapods, have proposed that the mode of development of eyes in those taxa is distinct from that of pancrustaceans and is the plesiomorphic condition from which facetted eyes have evolved. But the recent discovery of enormous regularly facetted compound eyes belonging to early Cambrian radiodontans suggests that high-resolution facetted eyes with superior optics may be the ground pattern organization for arthropods, predating the evolution of arthrodization and jointed post-protocerebral appendages. Here we provide evidence that compound eye organization in stem-group euarthropods of the Cambrian can be understood in terms of eye morphologies diverging from this ancestral radiodontan-type ground pattern. We show that in certain Cambrian groups apposition eyes relate to fixed or mobile eyestalks, whereas other groups reveal concomitant

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. Extending the fossil record of Polytrichaceae: Early Cretaceous Meantoinea alophosioides gen. et sp. nov., permineralized gametophytes with gemma cups from Vancouver Island.

    PubMed

    Bippus, Alexander C; Stockey, Ruth A; Rothwell, Gar W; Tomescu, Alexandru M F

    2017-04-01

    Diverse in modern ecosystems, mosses are dramatically underrepresented in the fossil record. Furthermore, most pre-Cenozoic mosses are known only from compression fossils, lacking detailed anatomical information. When preserved, anatomy vastly improves resolution in the systematic placement of fossils. Lower Cretaceous deposits at Apple Bay (Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada) contain a diverse anatomically preserved flora that includes numerous bryophytes, many of which have yet to be characterized. Among them is a polytrichaceous moss that is described here. Fossil moss gametophytes preserved in four carbonate concretions were studied in serial sections prepared using the cellulose acetate peel technique. We describe Meantoinea alophosioides gen. et sp. nov., a polytrichaceous moss with terminal gemma cups containing stalked, lenticular gemmae. Leaves with characteristic costal anatomy, differentiated into sheathing base and free lamina and bearing photosynthetic lamellae, along with a conducting strand in the stem, place Meantoinea in family Polytrichaceae. The bistratose leaf lamina with an adaxial layer of mamillose cells, short photosynthetic lamellae restricted to the costa, and presence of gemma cups indicate affinities with basal members of the Polytrichaceae, such as Lyellia , Bartramiopsis , and Alophosia . Meantoinea alophosioides enriches the documented moss diversity of an already-diverse Early Cretaceous plant fossil assemblage. This is the third moss described from the Apple Bay plant fossil assemblage and represents the first occurrence of gemma cups in a fossil moss. It is also the oldest unequivocal record of Polytrichaceae, providing a hard minimum age for the group of 136 million years. © 2017 Botanical Society of America.

  20. 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

  1. Diagnosing Homo sapiens in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Stringer, Christopher Brian; Buck, Laura Tabitha

    2014-01-01

    Diagnosing Homo sapiens is a critical question in the study of human evolution. Although what constitutes living members of our own species is straightforward, in the fossil record this is still a matter of much debate. The issue is complicated by questions of species diagnoses and ideas about the mode by which a new species is born, by the arguments surrounding the behavioural and cognitive separateness of the species, by the increasing appreciation of variation in the early African H. sapiens record and by new DNA evidence of hybridization with extinct species. This study synthesizes thinking on the fossils, archaeology and underlying evolutionary models of the last several decades with recent DNA results from both H. sapiens and fossil species. It is concluded that, although it may not be possible or even desirable to cleanly partition out a homogenous morphological description of recent H. sapiens in the fossil record, there are key, distinguishing morphological traits in the cranium, dentition and pelvis that can be usefully employed to diagnose the H. sapiens lineage. Increasing advances in retrieving and understanding relevant genetic data provide a complementary and perhaps potentially even more fruitful means of characterizing the differences between H. sapiens and its close relatives.

  2. The fossil record of the sixth extinction.

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-01

    Comparing the magnitude of the current biodiversity crisis with those in the fossil record is difficult without an understanding of differential preservation. Integrating data from palaeontological databases with information on IUCN status, ecology and life history characteristics of contemporary mammals, we demonstrate that only a small and biased fraction of threatened species (< 9%) have a fossil record, compared with 20% of non-threatened species. We find strong taphonomic biases related to body size and geographic range. Modern species with a fossil record tend to be large and widespread and were described in the 19(th) century. The expected magnitude of the current extinction based only on species with a fossil record is about half of that of one based on all modern species; values for genera are similar. The record of ancient extinctions may be similarly biased, with many species having originated and gone extinct without leaving a tangible record. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. The origin of snakes: revealing the ecology, behavior, and evolutionary history of early snakes using genomics, phenomics, and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Hsiang, Allison Y; Field, Daniel J; Webster, Timothy H; Behlke, Adam D B; Davis, Matthew B; Racicot, Rachel A; Gauthier, Jacques A

    2015-05-20

    The highly derived morphology and astounding diversity of snakes has long inspired debate regarding the ecological and evolutionary origin of both the snake total-group (Pan-Serpentes) and crown snakes (Serpentes). Although speculation abounds on the ecology, behavior, and provenance of the earliest snakes, a rigorous, clade-wide analysis of snake origins has yet to be attempted, in part due to a dearth of adequate paleontological data on early stem snakes. Here, we present the first comprehensive analytical reconstruction of the ancestor of crown snakes and the ancestor of the snake total-group, as inferred using multiple methods of ancestral state reconstruction. We use a combined-data approach that includes new information from the fossil record on extinct crown snakes, new data on the anatomy of the stem snakes Najash rionegrina, Dinilysia patagonica, and Coniophis precedens, and a deeper understanding of the distribution of phenotypic apomorphies among the major clades of fossil and Recent snakes. Additionally, we infer time-calibrated phylogenies using both new 'tip-dating' and traditional node-based approaches, providing new insights on temporal patterns in the early evolutionary history of snakes. Comprehensive ancestral state reconstructions reveal that both the ancestor of crown snakes and the ancestor of total-group snakes were nocturnal, widely foraging, non-constricting stealth hunters. They likely consumed soft-bodied vertebrate and invertebrate prey that was subequal to head size, and occupied terrestrial settings in warm, well-watered, and well-vegetated environments. The snake total-group - approximated by the Coniophis node - is inferred to have originated on land during the middle Early Cretaceous (~128.5 Ma), with the crown-group following about 20 million years later, during the Albian stage. Our inferred divergence dates provide strong evidence for a major radiation of henophidian snake diversity in the wake of the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K

  8. 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

  9. Adaptation, plant evolution, and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Fossil evidence for the early ant evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perrichot, Vincent; Lacau, Sébastien; Néraudeau, Didier; Nel, André

    2008-02-01

    Ants are one of the most studied insects in the world; and the literature devoted to their origin and evolution, systematics, ecology, or interactions with plants, fungi and other organisms is prolific. However, no consensus yet exists on the age estimate of the first Formicidae or on the origin of their eusociality. We review the fossil and biogeographical record of all known Cretaceous ants. We discuss the possible origin of the Formicidae with emphasis on the most primitive subfamily Sphecomyrminae according to its distribution and the Early Cretaceous palaeogeography. And we review the evidence of true castes and eusociality of the early ants regarding their morphological features and their manner of preservation in amber. The mid-Cretaceous amber forest from south-western France where some of the oldest known ants lived, corresponded to a moist tropical forest close to the shore with a dominance of gymnosperm trees but where angiosperms (flowering plants) were already diversified. This palaeoenvironmental reconstruction supports an initial radiation of ants in forest ground litter coincident with the rise of angiosperms, as recently proposed as an ecological explanation for their origin and successful evolution.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. The Ecological Rise of Whales Chronicled by the Fossil Record.

    PubMed

    Pyenson, Nicholas D

    2017-06-05

    The evolution of cetaceans is one of the best examples of macroevolution documented from the fossil record. While ecological transitions dominate each phase of cetacean history, this context is rarely stated explicitly. The first major ecological phase involves a transition from riverine and deltaic environments to marine ones, concomitant with dramatic evolutionary transformations documented in their early fossil record. The second major phase involves ecological shifts associated with evolutionary innovations: echolocation (facilitating hunting prey at depth) and filter-feeding (enhancing foraging efficiency on small prey). This latter phase involves body size shifts, attributable to changes in foraging depth and environmental forcing, as well as re-invasions of freshwater systems on continental basins by multiple lineages. Modern phenomena driving cetacean ecology, such as trophic dynamics and arms races, have an evolutionary basis that remains mostly unexamined. The fossil record of cetaceans provides an historical basis for understanding current ecological mechanisms and consequences, especially as global climate change rapidly alters ocean and river ecosystems at rates and scales comparable to those over geologic time. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. The Quaternary fossil-pollen record and global change

    SciT

    Grimm, E.C.

    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, possiblemore » 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.« less

  19. The fossil record and macroevolutionary history of the beetles

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Dena M.; Marcot, Jonathan D.

    2015-01-01

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

  20. Freshwater Fossil Pearls from the Nihewan Basin, Early Early Pleistocene.

    PubMed

    Li, Su-Ping; Yao, Pei-Yi; Li, Jin-Feng; Ferguson, David Kay; Min, Long-Rui; Chi, Zhen-Qing; Wang, Yong; Yao, Jian-Xin; Sha, Jin-Geng

    2016-01-01

    Fossil blister pearls attached to the shells of an Anodonta mollusk from China, early Early Pleistocene, are reported here for the first time. The pearls were investigated in detail using a variety of methods. Micro-CT scanning of the fossil pearls was carried out to discover the inner structure and the pearl nucleus. Using CTAn software, changes in the gray levels of the biggest pearl, which reflect the changing density of the material, were investigated. The results provide us with some clues on how these pearls were formed. Sand grains, shell debris or material with a similar density could have stimulated the development of these pearls. X-ray diffraction analysis of one fossil pearl and the shell to which it was attached reveals that only aragonite exists in both samples. The internal structures of our fossil shells and pearls were investigated using a Scanning Electron Microscope. These investigations throw some light on pearl development in the past.

  1. 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

  2. Fossils of parasites: what can the fossil record tell us about the evolution of parasitism?

    PubMed

    Leung, Tommy L F

    2017-02-01

    Parasites are common in many ecosystems, yet because of their nature, they do not fossilise readily and are very rare in the geological record. This makes it challenging to study the evolutionary transition that led to the evolution of parasitism in different taxa. Most studies on the evolution of parasites are based on phylogenies of extant species that were constructed based on morphological and molecular data, but they give us an incomplete picture and offer little information on many important details of parasite-host interactions. The lack of fossil parasites also means we know very little about the roles that parasites played in ecosystems of the past even though it is known that parasites have significant influences on many ecosystems. The goal of this review is to bring attention to known fossils of parasites and parasitism, and provide a conceptual framework for how research on fossil parasites can develop in the future. Despite their rarity, there are some fossil parasites which have been described from different geological eras. These fossils include the free-living stage of parasites, parasites which became fossilised with their hosts, parasite eggs and propagules in coprolites, and traces of pathology inflicted by parasites on the host's body. Judging from the fossil record, while there were some parasite-host relationships which no longer exist in the present day, many parasite taxa which are known from the fossil record seem to have remained relatively unchanged in their general morphology and their patterns of host association over tens or even hundreds of millions of years. It also appears that major evolutionary and ecological transitions throughout the history of life on Earth coincided with the appearance of certain parasite taxa, as the appearance of new host groups also provided new niches for potential parasites. As such, fossil parasites can provide additional data regarding the ecology of their extinct hosts, since many parasites have

  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. Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  4. Estimating times of extinction in the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Marshall, Charles R.

    2016-01-01

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

  5. Estimating times of extinction in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Wang, Steve C; Marshall, Charles R

    2016-04-01

    Because the fossil record is incomplete, the last fossil of a taxon is a biased estimate of its true time of extinction. Numerous methods have been developed in the palaeontology literature for estimating the true time of extinction using ages of fossil specimens. These methods, which typically give a confidence interval for estimating the true time of extinction, differ in the assumptions they make and the nature and amount of data they require. We review the literature on such methods and make some recommendations for future directions. © 2016 The Author(s).

  6. 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)

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  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. 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.

  11. Oldest record of Metrosideros (Myrtaceae): Fossil flowers, fruits, and leaves from Australia.

    PubMed

    Tarran, Myall; Wilson, Peter G; Hill, Robert S

    2016-04-01

    Myrtaceous fossil capsular fruits and flowers from the northwest of Tasmania, in the Early Oligocene-aged Little Rapid River (LRR) deposit, are described. The reproductive organs are found in association with Myrtaceous leaves previously thought to belong to a fleshy-fruited genus, Xanthomyrtus at both LRR, and an Eocene Tasmanian site at Hasties, which are reassessed with fresh morphological evidence. Standard Light Microscopy (LM) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) were used to investigate cuticular characters and an auto-montage camera system was used to take high-resolution images of fossil and extant fruits. Fossils are identified using a nearest living relative (NLR) approach. The fossil fruits and flowers share a number of characters with genera of capsular-fruited Myrtaceae, in particular sharing several synapomorphies with species of Metrosideros subg. Metrosideros (tribe: Metrosidereae). The fossil is here described, and named Metrosideros leunigii, sp. nov. This research establishes the presence of Metrosideros (aff. subg. Metrosideros) in the Eocene-Oligocene (∼40-30 mya) of Tasmania, Australia. This is the first fossil record of Metrosideros in Australia, as well as the oldest conclusive fossil record, and may provide evidence for an Australian origin of the genus. It is also yet another example of extinction in the Tertiary of a group of plants on the Australian mainland that is only found today on nearby Pacific landmasses. © 2016 Botanical Society of America.

  12. 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

  13. A lower Cretaceous (Valanginian) seed cone provides the earliest fossil record for Picea (Pinaceae).

    PubMed

    Klymiuk, Ashley A; Stockey, Ruth A

    2012-06-01

    Sequence analyses for Pinaceae have suggested that extant genera diverged in the late Mesozoic. While the fossil record indicates that Pinaceae was highly diverse during the Cretaceous, there are few records of living genera. This description of an anatomically preserved seed cone extends the fossil record for Picea A. Dietrich (Pinaceae) by ∼75 Ma. The specimen was collected from the Apple Bay locality of Vancouver Island (Lower Cretaceous, Valanginian) and is described from anatomical sections prepared using cellulose acetate peels. Cladistic analyses of fossil and extant pinaceous seed cones employed parsimony ratchet searches of an anatomical and morphological matrix. This new seed cone has a combination of characters shared only with the genus Picea A. Dietr. and is thus described as Picea burtonii Klymiuk et Stockey sp. nov. Bisaccate pollen attributable to Picea is found in the micropyles of several ovules, corroborating the designation of this cone as an early spruce. Cladistic analyses place P. burtonii with extant Picea and an Oligocene representative of the genus. Furthermore, our analyses indicate that Picea is sister to Cathaya Chun et Kuang, and P. burtonii helps to establish a minimum date for this node in hypotheses of conifer phylogeny. As an early member of the extant genus Picea, this seed cone extends the fossil record of Picea to the Valanginian Stage of the Early Cretaceous, ca. 136 Ma, thereby resolving a ghost lineage predicted by molecular divergence analyses, and offers new insight into the evolution of Pinaceae.

  14. 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. © 2015 The Author(s). Evolution © 2015 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  15. Before the Emergence of Homo sapiens: Overview on the Early-to-Middle Pleistocene Fossil Record (with a Proposal about Homo heidelbergensis at the subspecific level)

    PubMed Central

    Manzi, Giorgio

    2011-01-01

    The origin of H. sapiens has deep roots, which include two crucial nodes: (1) the emergence and diffusion of the last common ancestor of later Homo (in the Early Pleistocene) and (2) the tempo and mode of the appearance of distinct evolutionary lineages (in the Middle Pleistocene). The window between 1,000 and 500 thousand years before present appears of crucial importance, including the generation of a new and more encephalised kind of humanity, referred to by many authors as H. heidelbergensis. This species greatly diversified during the Middle Pleistocene up to the formation of new variants (i.e., incipient species) that, eventually, led to the allopatric speciation of H. neanderthalensis and H. sapiens. The special case furnished by the calvarium found near Ceprano (Italy), dated to 430–385 ka, offers the opportunity to investigate this matter from an original perspective. It is proposed to separate the hypodigm of a single, widespread, and polymorphic human taxon of the Middle Pleistocene into distinct subspecies (i.e., incipient species). The ancestral one should be H. heidelbergensis, including specimens such as Ceprano and the mandible from Mauer. PMID:21716742

  16. The origin of animals: Can molecular clocks and the fossil record be reconciled?

    PubMed

    Cunningham, John A; Liu, Alexander G; Bengtson, Stefan; Donoghue, Philip C J

    2017-01-01

    The evolutionary emergence of animals is one of the most significant episodes in the history of life, but its timing remains poorly constrained. Molecular clocks estimate that animals originated and began diversifying over 100 million years before the first definitive metazoan fossil evidence in the Cambrian. However, closer inspection reveals that clock estimates and the fossil record are less divergent than is often claimed. Modern clock analyses do not predict the presence of the crown-representatives of most animal phyla in the Neoproterozoic. Furthermore, despite challenges provided by incomplete preservation, a paucity of phylogenetically informative characters, and uncertain expectations of the anatomy of early animals, a number of Neoproterozoic fossils can reasonably be interpreted as metazoans. A considerable discrepancy remains, but much of this can be explained by the limited preservation potential of early metazoans and the difficulties associated with their identification in the fossil record. Critical assessment of both records may permit better resolution of the tempo and mode of early animal evolution. © 2016 The Authors BioEssays Published by WILEY Periodicals, Inc.

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

    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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Rationale of Early Adopters of Fossil Fuel Divestment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Beer, Christopher Todd

    2016-01-01

    Purpose: This research uses the social science perspectives of institutions, ecological modernization and social movements to analyze the rationale used by the early-adopting universities of fossil fuel divestment in the USA. Design/methodology/approach: Through analysis of qualitative data from interviews with key actors at the universities that…

  1. A new commelinid monocot seed fossil from the early Eocene previously identified as Solanaceae.

    PubMed

    Särkinen, Tiina; Kottner, Sören; Stuppy, Wolfgang; Ahmed, Farah; Knapp, Sandra

    2018-01-01

    Fossils provide minimum age estimates for extant lineages. Here we critically evaluate Cantisolanum daturoides Reid & Chandler and two other early putative seed fossils of Solanaceae, an economically important plant family in the Asteridae. Three earliest seed fossil taxa of Solanaceae from the London Clay Formation (Cantisolanum daturoides) and the Poole and Branksome Sand Formations (Solanum arnense Chandler and Solanispermum reniforme Chandler) were studied using x-ray microcomputed tomography (MCT) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The MCT scans of Cantisolanum daturoides revealed a high level of pyrite preservation at the cellular level. Cantisolanum daturoides can be clearly excluded from Solanaceae and has more affinities to the commelinid monocots based on a straight longitudinal axis, a prominent single layer of relatively thin-walled cells in the testa, and a clearly differentiated micropyle surrounded by radially elongated and inwardly curved testal cells. While the MCT scans show no internal preservation in Solanum arnense and Solanispermum reniforme, SEM images show the presence of several characteristics that allow the placement of these taxa at the stem node of Solanaceae. Cantisolanum daturoides is likely a member of commelinid monocots and not Solanaceae as previously suggested. The earliest fossil record of Solanaceae is revised to consist of fruit fossil with inflated calyces from the early Eocene of Patagonia (52 Ma) and fossilized seeds from the early to mid-Eocene of Europe (48-46 Ma). The new identity for Cantisolanum daturoides does not alter a late Cretaceous minimum age for commelinids. © 2018 Botanical Society of America.

  2. Mio-Pliocene Faunal Exchanges and African Biogeography: The Record of Fossil Bovids

    PubMed Central

    Bibi, Faysal

    2011-01-01

    The development of the Ethiopian biogeographic realm since the late Miocene is here explored with the presentation and review of fossil evidence from eastern Africa. Prostrepsiceros cf. vinayaki and an unknown species of possible caprin affinity are described from the hominid-bearing Asa Koma and Kuseralee Members (∼5.7 and ∼5.2 Ma) of the Middle Awash, Ethiopia. The Middle Awash Prostrepsiceros cf. vinayaki constitutes the first record of this taxon from Africa, previously known from the Siwaliks and Arabia. The possible caprin joins a number of isolated records of caprin or caprin-like taxa recorded, but poorly understood, from the late Neogene of Africa. The identification of these two taxa from the Middle Awash prompts an overdue review of fossil bovids from the sub-Saharan African record that demonstrate Eurasian affinities, including the reduncin Kobus porrecticornis, and species of Tragoportax. The fossil bovid record provides evidence for greater biological continuity between Africa and Eurasia in the late Miocene and earliest Pliocene than is found later in time. In contrast, the early Pliocene (after 5 Ma) saw the loss of any significant proportions of Eurasian-related taxa, and the continental dominance of African-endemic taxa and lineages, a pattern that continues today. PMID:21358825

  3. 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.

  4. An analytical approach for estimating fossil record and diversification events in sharks, skates and rays.

    PubMed

    Guinot, Guillaume; Adnet, Sylvain; Cappetta, Henri

    2012-01-01

    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. 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. 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.

  5. Sequences, stratigraphy and scenarios: what can we say about the fossil record of the earliest tetrapods?

    PubMed

    Friedman, Matt; Brazeau, Martin D

    2011-02-07

    Past research on the emergence of digit-bearing tetrapods has led to the widely accepted premise that this important evolutionary event occurred during the Late Devonian. The discovery of convincing digit-bearing tetrapod trackways of early Middle Devonian age in Poland has upset this orthodoxy, indicating that current scenarios which link the timing of the origin of digited tetrapods to specific events in Earth history are likely to be in error. Inspired by this find, we examine the fossil record of early digit-bearing tetrapods and their closest fish-like relatives from a statistical standpoint. We find that the Polish trackways force a substantial reconsideration of the nature of the early tetrapod record when only body fossils are considered. However, the effect is less drastic (and often not statistically significant) when other reliably dated trackways that were previously considered anachronistic are taken into account. Using two approaches, we find that 95 per cent credible and confidence intervals for the origin of digit-bearing tetrapods extend into the Early Devonian and beyond, spanning late Emsian to mid Ludlow. For biologically realistic diversity models, estimated genus-level preservation rates for Devonian digited tetrapods and their relatives range from 0.025 to 0.073 per lineage-million years, an order of magnitude lower than species-level rates for groups typically considered to have dense records. Available fossils of early digited tetrapods and their immediate relatives are adequate for documenting large-scale patterns of character acquisition associated with the origin of terrestriality, but low preservation rates coupled with clear geographical and stratigraphic sampling biases caution against building scenarios for the origin of digits and terrestrialization tied to the provenance of particular specimens or faunas.

  6. Fossil Coral Records of ENSO during the Last Glacial Period

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Partin, J. W.; Taylor, F. W.; Shen, C. C.; Edwards, R. L.; Quinn, T. M.; DiNezro, P.

    2017-12-01

    Only a handful of paleoclimate records exist that can resolve interannual changes, and hence El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variability, during the last glacial period, a time of altered mean climate. The few existing data suggest reduced ENSO variability compared to the Holocene, possibly due to a weaker zonal sea surface temperature gradient across the tropical Pacific and/or a deeper thermocline in the eastern tropical Pacific. Our goal is to add crucial data to this extremely limited subset using sub-annually resolved fossil corals that grew during this time period to reconstruct ENSO. We seek to recover fossil corals from Vanuatu, SW Pacific (16°S, 167°E) with the objective of using coral δ18O to reconstruct changes in the ENSO during and near the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Modern δ18O coral records from Vanuatu show a high degree of skill in capturing ENSO variability, making it a suitable site for reconstructing ENSO variability. We have custom designed and are building a drill system that can rapidly core many 0-25 m holes resulting in much more meters of penetration than achieved by previous land-based reef drilling. As the new drill system is extremely portable and can be quickly relocated by workers without landing craft or vehicles, it is time and cost efficient. Because the proposed drilling sites have uplifted extremely fast, 7 mm/year, the LGM shoreline has been raised from 120-140 m depth to within a depth range of 10 below to 20 m above present sea level. This enables all the drilling to be within the time range of interest ( 15-25 ka). A last advantage is that the LGM corals either are still submersed in seawater or emerged only within the last 2000 years at the uplift rate of 7 mm/yr. This greatly reduces the chances of disruption of the original climate signal because sea water is less diagenetically damaging than meteoric water in the mixed, phreatic, or vadose zones. LGM coral records will enable us to compare the proxy variability

  7. An early Oligocene fossil demonstrates treeshrews are slowly evolving “living fossils”

    PubMed Central

    Li, Qiang; Ni, Xijun

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R.

    2010-01-01

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

  9. 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".

  10. 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

  11. Fossil scales illuminate the early evolution of lepidopterans and structural colors.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Qingqing; Mey, Wolfram; Ansorge, Jörg; Starkey, Timothy A; McDonald, Luke T; McNamara, Maria E; Jarzembowski, Edmund A; Wichard, Wilfried; Kelly, Richard; Ren, Xiaoyin; Chen, Jun; Zhang, Haichun; Wang, Bo

    2018-04-01

    Lepidopteran scales exhibit remarkably complex ultrastructures, many of which produce structural colors that are the basis for diverse communication strategies. Little is known, however, about the early evolution of lepidopteran scales and their photonic structures. We report scale architectures from Jurassic Lepidoptera from the United Kingdom, Germany, Kazakhstan, and China and from Tarachoptera (a stem group of Amphiesmenoptera) from mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber. The Jurassic lepidopterans exhibit a type 1 bilayer scale vestiture: an upper layer of large fused cover scales and a lower layer of small fused ground scales. This scale arrangement, plus preserved herringbone ornamentation on the cover scale surface, is almost identical to those of some extant Micropterigidae. Critically, the fossil scale ultrastructures have periodicities measuring from 140 to 2000 nm and are therefore capable of scattering visible light, providing the earliest evidence of structural colors in the insect fossil record. Optical modeling confirms that diffraction-related scattering mechanisms dominate the photonic properties of the fossil cover scales, which would have displayed broadband metallic hues as in numerous extant Micropterigidae. The fossil tarachopteran scales exhibit a unique suite of characteristics, including small size, elongate-spatulate shape, ridged ornamentation, and irregular arrangement, providing novel insight into the early evolution of lepidopteran scales. Combined, our results provide the earliest evidence for structural coloration in fossil lepidopterans and support the hypothesis that fused wing scales and the type 1 bilayer covering are groundplan features of the group. Wing scales likely had deep origins in earlier amphiesmenopteran lineages before the appearance of the Lepidoptera.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-06-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Klompmaker, Adiël A.

    2016-01-01

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

  14. Fossil evidence for a herbaceous diversification of early eudicot angiosperms during the Early Cretaceous

    PubMed Central

    Jud, Nathan A.

    2015-01-01

    Eudicot flowering plants comprise roughly 70% of land plant species diversity today, but their early evolution is not well understood. Fossil evidence has been largely restricted to their distinctive tricolpate pollen grains and this has limited our understanding of the ecological strategies that characterized their primary radiation. I describe megafossils of an Early Cretaceous eudicot from the Potomac Group in Maryland and Virginia, USA that are complete enough to allow reconstruction of important life-history traits. I draw on quantitative and qualitative analysis of functional traits, phylogenetic analysis and sedimentological evidence to reconstruct the biology of this extinct species. These plants were small and locally rare but widespread, fast-growing herbs. They had complex leaves and they were colonizers of bright, wet, disturbance-prone habitats. Other early eudicot megafossils appear to be herbaceous rather than woody, suggesting that this habit was characteristic of their primary radiation. A mostly herbaceous initial diversification of eudicots could simultaneously explain the heretofore sparse megafossil record as well as their rapid diversification during the Early Cretaceous because the angiosperm capacity for fast reproduction and fast evolution is best expressed in herbs. PMID:26336172

  15. Fossil evidence for a herbaceous diversification of early eudicot angiosperms during the Early Cretaceous.

    PubMed

    Jud, Nathan A

    2015-09-07

    Eudicot flowering plants comprise roughly 70% of land plant species diversity today, but their early evolution is not well understood. Fossil evidence has been largely restricted to their distinctive tricolpate pollen grains and this has limited our understanding of the ecological strategies that characterized their primary radiation. I describe megafossils of an Early Cretaceous eudicot from the Potomac Group in Maryland and Virginia, USA that are complete enough to allow reconstruction of important life-history traits. I draw on quantitative and qualitative analysis of functional traits, phylogenetic analysis and sedimentological evidence to reconstruct the biology of this extinct species. These plants were small and locally rare but widespread, fast-growing herbs. They had complex leaves and they were colonizers of bright, wet, disturbance-prone habitats. Other early eudicot megafossils appear to be herbaceous rather than woody, suggesting that this habit was characteristic of their primary radiation. A mostly herbaceous initial diversification of eudicots could simultaneously explain the heretofore sparse megafossil record as well as their rapid diversification during the Early Cretaceous because the angiosperm capacity for fast reproduction and fast evolution is best expressed in herbs. © 2015 The Author(s).

  16. A total-evidence approach to dating with fossils, applied to the early radiation of the hymenoptera.

    PubMed

    Ronquist, Fredrik; Klopfstein, Seraina; Vilhelmsen, Lars; Schulmeister, Susanne; Murray, Debra L; Rasnitsyn, Alexandr P

    2012-12-01

    Phylogenies are usually dated by calibrating interior nodes against the fossil record. This relies on indirect methods that, in the worst case, misrepresent the fossil information. Here, we contrast such node dating with an approach that includes fossils along with the extant taxa in a Bayesian total-evidence analysis. As a test case, we focus on the early radiation of the Hymenoptera, mostly documented by poorly preserved impression fossils that are difficult to place phylogenetically. Specifically, we compare node dating using nine calibration points derived from the fossil record with total-evidence dating based on 343 morphological characters scored for 45 fossil (4--20 complete) and 68 extant taxa. In both cases we use molecular data from seven markers (∼5 kb) for the extant taxa. Because it is difficult to model speciation, extinction, sampling, and fossil preservation realistically, we develop a simple uniform prior for clock trees with fossils, and we use relaxed clock models to accommodate rate variation across the tree. Despite considerable uncertainty in the placement of most fossils, we find that they contribute significantly to the estimation of divergence times in the total-evidence analysis. In particular, the posterior distributions on divergence times are less sensitive to prior assumptions and tend to be more precise than in node dating. The total-evidence analysis also shows that four of the seven Hymenoptera calibration points used in node dating are likely to be based on erroneous or doubtful assumptions about the fossil placement. With respect to the early radiation of Hymenoptera, our results suggest that the crown group dates back to the Carboniferous, ∼309 Ma (95% interval: 291--347 Ma), and diversified into major extant lineages much earlier than previously thought, well before the Triassic. [Bayesian inference; fossil dating; morphological evolution; relaxed clock; statistical phylogenetics.].

  17. A Total-Evidence Approach to Dating with Fossils, Applied to the Early Radiation of the Hymenoptera

    PubMed Central

    Ronquist, Fredrik; Klopfstein, Seraina; Vilhelmsen, Lars; Schulmeister, Susanne; Murray, Debra L.; Rasnitsyn, Alexandr P.

    2012-01-01

    Abstract Phylogenies are usually dated by calibrating interior nodes against the fossil record. This relies on indirect methods that, in the worst case, misrepresent the fossil information. Here, we contrast such node dating with an approach that includes fossils along with the extant taxa in a Bayesian total-evidence analysis. As a test case, we focus on the early radiation of the Hymenoptera, mostly documented by poorly preserved impression fossils that are difficult to place phylogenetically. Specifically, we compare node dating using nine calibration points derived from the fossil record with total-evidence dating based on 343 morphological characters scored for 45 fossil (4--20 complete) and 68 extant taxa. In both cases we use molecular data from seven markers (∼5 kb) for the extant taxa. Because it is difficult to model speciation, extinction, sampling, and fossil preservation realistically, we develop a simple uniform prior for clock trees with fossils, and we use relaxed clock models to accommodate rate variation across the tree. Despite considerable uncertainty in the placement of most fossils, we find that they contribute significantly to the estimation of divergence times in the total-evidence analysis. In particular, the posterior distributions on divergence times are less sensitive to prior assumptions and tend to be more precise than in node dating. The total-evidence analysis also shows that four of the seven Hymenoptera calibration points used in node dating are likely to be based on erroneous or doubtful assumptions about the fossil placement. With respect to the early radiation of Hymenoptera, our results suggest that the crown group dates back to the Carboniferous, ∼309 Ma (95% interval: 291--347 Ma), and diversified into major extant lineages much earlier than previously thought, well before the Triassic. [Bayesian inference; fossil dating; morphological evolution; relaxed clock; statistical phylogenetics.] PMID:22723471

  18. Aluminum-26 in the early solar system - Fossil or fuel

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, T.; Papanastassiou, D. A.; Wasserburg, G. J.

    1977-01-01

    The isotopic composition of Mg was measured in different phases of a Ca-Al-rich inclusion in the Allende meteorite. Large excesses of Mg-26 of up to 10% were found. These excesses correlate strictly with the Al-27/Mg-24 ratio for four coexisting phases with distinctive chemical compositions. Models of in situ decay of Al-26 within the solar system and of mixing of interstellar dust grains containing fossil Al-26 with normal solar system material are presented. The observed correlation provides definitive evidence for the presence of Al-26 in the early solar system. This requires either injection of freshly synthesized nucleosynthetic material into the solar system immediately before condensation and planet formation, or local production within the solar system by intense activity of the early sun. Planets promptly produced from material with the inferred Al-26/Al-27 would melt within about 300,000 years.

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

    PubMed Central

    Neige, Pascal; Lapierre, Hervé; Merle, Didier

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Neige, Pascal; Lapierre, Hervé; Merle, Didier

    2016-01-01

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

  1. Fossil Microorganisms and Formation of Early Precambrian Weathering Profiles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rozanov, A. Yu; Astafieva, M. M.; Vrevsky, A. B.; Alfimova, N. A.; Matrenichev, V. A.; Hoover, R. B.

    2009-01-01

    Weathering crusts are the only reliable evidences of the existence of continental conditions. Often they are the only source of information about exogenous processes and subsequently about conditions under which the development of the biosphere occurred. A complex of diverse fossil microorganisms was discovered as a result of Scanning Electron Microscope investigations. The chemical composition of the discovered fossils is identical to that of the host rocks and is represented by Si, Al, Fe, Ca and Mg. Probably, the microorganisms fixed in rocks played the role of catalyst. The decomposition of minerals comprising the rocks and their transformation into clayey (argillaceous) minerals, most likely occurred under the influence of microorganisms. And may be unique weathering crusts of Early Precambrian were formed due to interaction between specific composition of microorganism assemblage and conditions of hypergene transformations. So it is possible to speak about colonization of land by microbes already at that time and about existence of single raw from weathering crusts (Primitive soils) to real soils.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Form, function and environments of the early angiosperms: merging extant phylogeny and ecophysiology with fossils.

    PubMed

    Feild, Taylor S; Arens, Nan Crystal

    2005-05-01

    The flowering plants--angiosperms--appeared during the Early Cretaceous period and within 10-30 Myr dominated the species composition of many floras worldwide. Emerging insights into the phylogenetics of development and discoveries of early angiosperm fossils are shedding increased light on the patterns and processes of early angiosperm evolution. However, we also need to integrate ecology, in particular how early angiosperms established a roothold in pre-existing Mesozoic plant communities. These events were critical in guiding subsequent waves of angiosperm diversification during the Aptian-Albian. Previous pictures of the early flowering plant ecology have been diverse, ranging from large tropical rainforest trees, weedy drought-adapted and colonizing shrubs, disturbance- and sun-loving rhizomatous herbs, and, more recently, aquatic herbs; however, none of these images were tethered to a robust hypothesis of angiosperm phylogeny. Here, we synthesize our current understanding of early angiosperm ecology, focusing on patterns of functional ecology, by merging recent molecular phylogenetic studies and functional studies on extant 'basal angiosperms' with the picture of early angiosperm evolution drawn by the fossil record.

  5. '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

  6. Fossil scales illuminate the early evolution of lepidopterans and structural colors

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Qingqing; Starkey, Timothy A.; McNamara, Maria E.; Jarzembowski, Edmund A.; Kelly, Richard; Ren, Xiaoyin; Chen, Jun; Zhang, Haichun

    2018-01-01

    Lepidopteran scales exhibit remarkably complex ultrastructures, many of which produce structural colors that are the basis for diverse communication strategies. Little is known, however, about the early evolution of lepidopteran scales and their photonic structures. We report scale architectures from Jurassic Lepidoptera from the United Kingdom, Germany, Kazakhstan, and China and from Tarachoptera (a stem group of Amphiesmenoptera) from mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber. The Jurassic lepidopterans exhibit a type 1 bilayer scale vestiture: an upper layer of large fused cover scales and a lower layer of small fused ground scales. This scale arrangement, plus preserved herringbone ornamentation on the cover scale surface, is almost identical to those of some extant Micropterigidae. Critically, the fossil scale ultrastructures have periodicities measuring from 140 to 2000 nm and are therefore capable of scattering visible light, providing the earliest evidence of structural colors in the insect fossil record. Optical modeling confirms that diffraction-related scattering mechanisms dominate the photonic properties of the fossil cover scales, which would have displayed broadband metallic hues as in numerous extant Micropterigidae. The fossil tarachopteran scales exhibit a unique suite of characteristics, including small size, elongate-spatulate shape, ridged ornamentation, and irregular arrangement, providing novel insight into the early evolution of lepidopteran scales. Combined, our results provide the earliest evidence for structural coloration in fossil lepidopterans and support the hypothesis that fused wing scales and the type 1 bilayer covering are groundplan features of the group. Wing scales likely had deep origins in earlier amphiesmenopteran lineages before the appearance of the Lepidoptera. PMID:29651455

  7. Environmental Impact on Fossil Record for Palaecological Reconstruction Studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paraskevi, Chantzi; Elissavet, Dotsika; Brunella, Raco; Konstadinos, Albanakis; Anastasia, Poutouki; Eleni, Samarztidou

    2016-10-01

    Paleoecological studies have an important role in understanding past environmental, dietary and/or societal changes however require the authentic signature of fossil materials. Therefore, a significant part of these studies concerns the isolation of the material authentic matrix. Bone hydroxyapatite from different animal species from the archaeological site of Dispilio in Kastoria Lake basin in northern Greece has been subjected to mineral analysis in order to detect if there are suitable for palaoecological studies. Calcium, phosphorus, oxygen and hydrogen are the main components of bones resulting rigidity, hardness and compressive strength of their structure. However different bone structure resulting different calcium- phosphate phases and different compositions, including Ca/P ratios. These disparities may be attributable to different physiological characteristic, conditions under which the bones were formed or burial environment. Trace element analysis (Ca/P, Sr/P, Fe/Mn) concluded that treated fossil bones retained their biochemical signal without any strong influence by soil remains however without suggesting that no chemical alteration have been occurred.

  8. 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.

  9. Terrestrial origin of viviparity in mesozoic marine reptiles indicated by early triassic embryonic fossils.

    PubMed

    Motani, Ryosuke; Jiang, Da-yong; Tintori, Andrea; Rieppel, Olivier; Chen, Guan-bao

    2014-01-01

    Viviparity in Mesozoic marine reptiles has traditionally been considered an aquatic adaptation. We report a new fossil specimen that strongly contradicts this traditional interpretation. The new specimen contains the oldest fossil embryos of Mesozoic marine reptile that are about 10 million years older than previous such records. The fossil belongs to Chaohusaurus (Reptilia, Ichthyopterygia), which is the oldest of Mesozoic marine reptiles (ca. 248 million years ago, Early Triassic). This exceptional specimen captures an articulated embryo in birth position, with its skull just emerged from the maternal pelvis. Its headfirst birth posture, which is unlikely to be a breech condition, strongly indicates a terrestrial origin of viviparity, in contrast to the traditional view. The tail-first birth posture in derived ichthyopterygians, convergent with the conditions in whales and sea cows, therefore is a secondary feature. The unequivocally marine origin of viviparity is so far not known among amniotes, a subset of vertebrate animals comprising mammals and reptiles, including birds. Therefore, obligate marine amniotes appear to have evolved almost exclusively from viviparous land ancestors. Viviparous land reptiles most likely appeared much earlier than currently thought, at least as early as the recovery phase from the end-Permian mass extinction.

  10. Terrestrial Origin of Viviparity in Mesozoic Marine Reptiles Indicated by Early Triassic Embryonic Fossils

    PubMed Central

    Motani, Ryosuke; Jiang, Da-yong; Tintori, Andrea; Rieppel, Olivier; Chen, Guan-bao

    2014-01-01

    Viviparity in Mesozoic marine reptiles has traditionally been considered an aquatic adaptation. We report a new fossil specimen that strongly contradicts this traditional interpretation. The new specimen contains the oldest fossil embryos of Mesozoic marine reptile that are about 10 million years older than previous such records. The fossil belongs to Chaohusaurus (Reptilia, Ichthyopterygia), which is the oldest of Mesozoic marine reptiles (ca. 248 million years ago, Early Triassic). This exceptional specimen captures an articulated embryo in birth position, with its skull just emerged from the maternal pelvis. Its headfirst birth posture, which is unlikely to be a breech condition, strongly indicates a terrestrial origin of viviparity, in contrast to the traditional view. The tail-first birth posture in derived ichthyopterygians, convergent with the conditions in whales and sea cows, therefore is a secondary feature. The unequivocally marine origin of viviparity is so far not known among amniotes, a subset of vertebrate animals comprising mammals and reptiles, including birds. Therefore, obligate marine amniotes appear to have evolved almost exclusively from viviparous land ancestors. Viviparous land reptiles most likely appeared much earlier than currently thought, at least as early as the recovery phase from the end-Permian mass extinction. PMID:24533127

  11. The fossil record and taphonomy of butterflies and moths (Insecta, Lepidoptera): implications for evolutionary diversity and divergence-time estimates.

    PubMed

    Sohn, Jae-Cheon; Labandeira, Conrad C; Davis, Donald R

    2015-02-04

    It is conventionally accepted that the lepidopteran fossil record is significantly incomplete when compared to the fossil records of other, very diverse, extant insect orders. Such an assumption, however, has been based on cumulative diversity data rather than using alternative statistical approaches from actual specimen counts. We reviewed documented specimens of the lepidopteran fossil record, currently consisting of 4,593 known specimens that are comprised of 4,262 body fossils and 331 trace fossils. The temporal distribution of the lepidopteran fossil record shows significant bias towards the late Paleocene to middle Eocene time interval. Lepidopteran fossils also record major shifts in preservational style and number of represented localities at the Mesozoic stage and Cenozoic epoch level of temporal resolution. Only 985 of the total known fossil specimens (21.4%) were assigned to 23 of the 40 extant lepidopteran superfamilies. Absolute numbers and proportions of preservation types for identified fossils varied significantly across superfamilies. The secular increase of lepidopteran family-level diversity through geologic time significantly deviates from the general pattern of other hyperdiverse, ordinal-level lineages. Our statistical analyses of the lepidopteran fossil record show extreme biases in preservation type, age, and taxonomic composition. We highlight the scarcity of identified lepidopteran fossils and provide a correspondence between the latest lepidopteran divergence-time estimates and relevant fossil occurrences at the superfamily level. These findings provide caution in interpreting the lepidopteran fossil record through the modeling of evolutionary diversification and in determination of divergence time estimates.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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)

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

    PubMed

    Daley, Allison C; Drage, Harriet B

    2016-03-01

    Ecdysis, the process of moulting an exoskeleton, is one of the key characters uniting arthropods, nematodes and a number of smaller phyla into Ecdysozoa. The arthropod fossil record, particularly trilobites, eurypterids and decapod crustaceans, yields information on moulting, although the current focus is predominantly descriptive and lacks a broader evolutionary perspective. We here review literature on the fossil record of ecdysis, synthesising research on the behaviour, evolutionary trends, and phylogenetic significance of moulting throughout the Phanerozoic. Approaches vary widely between taxonomic groups, but an overall theme uniting these works suggests that identifying moults in the palaeontological record must take into account the morphology, taphonomy and depositional environment of fossils. We also quantitatively analyse trends in trilobite ecdysis based on a newly generated database of published incidences of moulting behaviour. This preliminary work reveals significant taxonomic and temporal signal in the trilobite moulting fossil record, with free cheek moulting being prevalent across all Orders and throughout the Phanerozoic, and peaks of cephalic moulting in Phacopida during the Ordovician and rostral plate moulting in Redlichiida during the Cambrian. This study and a review of the literature suggest that it is feasible to extract large-scale evolutionary information from the fossil record of moulting. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. First discovery of colobine fossils from the Late Miocene/Early Pliocene in central Myanmar.

    PubMed

    Takai, Masanaru; Thaung-Htike; Zin-Maung-Maung-Thein; Soe, Aung Naing; Maung, Maung; Tsubamoto, Takehisa; Egi, Naoko; Nishimura, Takeshi D; Nishioka, Yuichiro

    2015-07-01

    Here we report two kinds of colobine fossils discovered from the latest Miocene/Early Pliocene Irrawaddy sediments of the Chaingzauk area, central Myanmar. A left mandibular corpus fragment preserving M1-3 is named as a new genus and species, Myanmarcolobus yawensis. Isolated upper (M(1)?) and lower (M2) molars are tentatively identified as Colobinae gen. et sp. indet. Although both forms are medium-sized colobines, they are quite different from each other in M2 morphology. The isolated teeth of the latter show typical colobine-type features, so it is difficult to identify their taxonomic position, whereas lower molars of Myanmarcolobus have unique features, such as a trapezoid-shaped long median lingual notch, a deeply concave median buccal cleft, a strongly developed mesiobuccal notch, and rather obliquely running transverse lophids. Compared with fossil and living Eurasian colobine genera, Myanmarcolobus is most similar in lower molar morphology to the Pliocene Dolichopithecus of Europe rather than to any Asian forms. In Dolichopithecus, however, the tooth size is much larger and the median lingual notch is mesiodistally much shorter than that of Myanmarcolobus. The discovery of Myanmarcolobus in central Myanmar is the oldest fossil record in Southeast Asia not only of colobine but also of cercopithecid monkeys and raises many questions regarding the evolutionary history of Asian colobine monkeys. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. The early evolution of feathers: fossil evidence from Cretaceous amber of France

    PubMed Central

    Perrichot, Vincent; Marion, Loïc; Néraudeau, Didier; Vullo, Romain; Tafforeau, Paul

    2008-01-01

    The developmental stages of feathers are of major importance in the evolution of body covering and the origin of avian flight. Until now, there were significant gaps in knowledge of early morphologies in theoretical stages of feathers as well as in palaeontological material. Here we report fossil evidence of an intermediate and critical stage in the incremental evolution of feathers which has been predicted by developmental theories but hitherto undocumented by evidence from both the recent and the fossil records. Seven feathers have been found in an Early Cretaceous (Late Albian, ca 100 Myr) amber of western France, which display a flattened shaft composed by the still distinct and incompletely fused bases of the barbs forming two irregular vanes. Considering their remarkably primitive features, and since recent discoveries have yielded feathers of modern type in some derived theropod dinosaurs, the Albian feathers from France might have been derived either from an early bird or from a non-avian dinosaur. PMID:18285280

  2. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1984-03-01

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

  4. Measures of maturation in early fossil hominins: events at the first transition from australopiths to early Homo

    PubMed Central

    Dean, M. Christopher

    2016-01-01

    An important question in palaeoanthropology is whether, among the australopiths and the first fossil hominins attributed to early Homo, there was a shift towards a more prolonged period of growth that can be distinguished from that of the living great apes and whether between the end of weaning and the beginning of puberty there was a slow period of growth as there is in modern humans. Evidence for the pace of growth in early fossil hominins comes from preserved tooth microstructure. A record of incremental growth in enamel and dentine persists, which allows us to reconstruct tooth growth and compare key measures of dental maturation with modern humans and living great apes. Despite their diverse diets and way of life, it is currently difficult to identify any clear differences in the timing of dental development among living great apes, australopiths and the earliest hominins attributed to the genus Homo. There is, however, limited evidence that some early hominins may have attained a greater proportion of their body mass and stature relatively earlier in the growth period than is typical of modern humans today. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Major transitions in human evolution’. PMID:27298465

  5. Late Paleocene fossils from the Cerrejón Formation, Colombia, are the earliest record of Neotropical rainforest

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    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 ≈58-my-old flora from the Cerrejón Formation of Colombia (paleolatitude ≈5 °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 °C. Despite modern family composition and tropical paleoclimate, the diversity of fossil pollen and leaf samples is 60–80% that of comparable samples from extant and Quaternary Neotropical rainforest from similar climates. Insect feeding damage on Cerrejón fossil leaves, representing primary consumers, is abundant, but also of low diversity, and overwhelmingly made by generalist feeders rather than specialized herbivores. Cerrejón megafossils provide strong evidence that the same Neotropical rainforest families have characterized the biome since the Paleocene, maintaining their importance through climatic phases warmer and cooler than present. The low diversity of both plants and herbivorous insects in this Paleocene Neotropical rainforest may reflect an early stage in the diversification of the lineages that inhabit this biome, and/or a long recovery period from the terminal Cretaceous extinction. PMID:19833876

  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. 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

  8. The Evolution of Reproduction within Testudinata as Evidenced by the Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lawver, Daniel Ryan

    Although known from every continent except Antarctica and having a fossil record ranging from the Middle Jurassic to the Pleistocene, fossil turtle eggs are relatively understudied. In this dissertation I describe four fossil specimens, interpret paleoecology and conduct cladistic analyses in order to investigate the evolution of turtle reproduction. Fossil eggshell descriptions primarily involve analysis by scanning electron and polarized light microscopy, as well as cathodoluminescence to determine the degree of diagenetic alteration. Carapace lengths and gas conductance are estimated in order to investigate the ecology of the adults that produced fossil turtle eggs and clutches, as well as their incubation environments, respectively. Cladistic analyses of turtle egg and reproductive characters permit assessment of the usefulness of these characters for determining phylogenetic relationships of fossil specimens and the evolution of reproduction in turtles. Specimens described here include 1) Testudoolithus oosp. from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar, 2) a clutch of eggs (some containing late stage embryos and at least one exhibiting multilayer eggshell) from the Late Cretaceous Judith River Formation of Montana and named Testudoolithus zelenitskyae oosp. nov., 3) an egg contained within an adult Basilemys nobilis from the Late Cretaceous Kaiparowits Formation of Utah, and 4) a clutch of Meiolania platyceps eggs from the Pleistocene of Lord Howe Island, Australia. Meiolania platyceps eggs are named Testudoolithus lordhowensis oosp. nov. and provide valuable information on the origin of aragonite eggshell composition and nesting behaviors. Cladistic analyses utilizing egg and reproductive characters are rarely performed on taxa outside of Dinosauria. My analyses demonstrate that morphological data produces poorly resolved trees in which only the clades Adocia and Trionychia are resolved and all other turtles form a large polytomy. However, when combined with

  9. A new species of Gulo from the Early Pliocene Gray Fossil Site (Eastern United States); rethinking the evolution of wolverines

    PubMed Central

    Bredehoeft, Keila E.; Wallace, Steven C.

    2018-01-01

    The wolverine (Gulo gulo) is the largest living terrestrial member of the Mustelidae; a versatile predator formerly distributed throughout boreal regions of North America and Eurasia. Though commonly recovered from Pleistocene sites across their range, pre-Pleistocene records of the genus are exceedingly rare. Here, we describe a new species of Gulo from the Gray Fossil Site in Tennessee. Based on biostratigraphy, a revised estimate of the age of the Gray Fossil Site is Early Pliocene, near the Hemphillian—Blancan transition, between 4.9 and 4.5 Ma. This represents the earliest known occurrence of a wolverine, more than one million years earlier than any other record. The new species of wolverine described here shares similarities with previously described species of Gulo, and with early fishers (Pekania). As the earliest records of both Gulo and Pekania are known from North America, this suggests the genus may have evolved in North America and dispersed to Eurasia later in the Pliocene. Both fauna and flora at the Gray Fossil Site are characteristic of warm/humid climates, which suggests wolverines may have become ‘cold-adapted’ relatively recently. Finally, detailed comparison indicates Plesiogulo, which has often been suggested to be ancestral to Gulo, is not likely closely related to gulonines, and instead may represent convergence on a similar niche. PMID:29682423

  10. Reconstructing the palaeoenvironments of the early Pleistocene mammal faunas from the pollen preserved on fossil bones

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ravazzi, Cesare; Pini, Roberta; Breda, Marzia

    2009-12-01

    We carried out a systematic investigation on the pollen content of sediment adhering to skeletal elements of large mammals which originate from the long lacustrine record of Leffe (Early Pleistocene of the Italian Alps). Three local faunas were discovered during mining activities along the intermediate part (spanning from 1.5 to 0.95 Ma) of the basin succession. The excellent pollen preservation allowed testing the reproducibility of the pollen signal from single skeletons. A clear palaeoenvironmental patterning, consistent with the ecological preferences of the considered mammal species, emerged from the canonical correspondence analysis of pollen types diagnostic for vegetation communities. Edaphic factors related to seasonal river activity changes and to the development of swamp forests in the riverbanks are significantly associated to the occurrences of Hippopotamus cf. antiquus, whereas finds of Mammuthus meridionalis belong to fully forested landscapes dominated by conifer or mixed forests of oceanic, warm to cool-temperate climate. Rhinoceros habitats include variable forest cover under different climate states. Distinct cool-temperate, partially open vegetation could be recognized for large deer included Cervalces cf carnutorum. A palynostratigraphic correlation between individual spectra and a reference palynostratigraphic record allowed assignment of many fossil remains to a precise stratigraphic position. This procedure also shown that the Leffe local faunas include specimens accumulated under different environmental and climate states, as a consequence of high-frequency climate changes characterizing the Late Villafranchian Early Pleistocene.

  11. OH 83: A new early modern human fossil cranium from the Ndutu beds of Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.

    PubMed

    Reiner, Whitney B; Masao, Fidelis; Sholts, Sabrina B; Songita, Agustino Venance; Stanistreet, Ian; Stollhofen, Harald; Taylor, R E; Hlusko, Leslea J

    2017-11-01

    Herein we introduce a newly recovered partial calvaria, OH 83, from the upper Ndutu Beds of Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. We present the geological context of its discovery and a comparative analysis of its morphology, placing OH 83 within the context of our current understanding of the origins and evolution of Homo sapiens. We comparatively assessed the morphology of OH 83 using quantitative and qualitative data from penecontemporaneous fossils and the W.W. Howells modern human craniometric dataset. OH 83 is geologically dated to ca. 60-32 ka. Its morphology is indicative of an early modern human, falling at the low end of the range of variation for post-orbital cranial breadth, the high end of the range for bifrontal breadth, and near average in frontal length. There have been numerous attempts to use cranial anatomy to define the species Homo sapiens and identify it in the fossil record. These efforts have not met wide agreement by the scientific community due, in part, to the mosaic patterns of cranial variation represented by the fossils. The variable, mosaic pattern of trait expression in the crania of Middle and Late Pleistocene fossils implies that morphological modernity did not occur at once. However, OH 83 demonstrates that by ca. 60-32 ka modern humans in Africa included individuals that are at the fairly small and gracile range of modern human cranial variation. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  12. 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

  13. Diagenetically altered fossil micrometeorites suggest cosmic dust is common in the geological record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suttle, Martin D.; Genge, Matthew J.

    2017-10-01

    We report the discovery of fossil micrometeorites from Late Cretaceous chalk. Seventy-six cosmic spherules were recovered from Coniacian (87 ± 1 Ma) sediments of the White Chalk Supergroup. Particles vary from pristine silicate and iron-type spherules to pseudomorphic spherules consisting of either single-phase recrystallized magnetite or Fe-silicide. Pristine spherules are readily identified as micrometeorites on the basis of their characteristic mineralogies, textures and compositions. Both magnetite and silicide spherules contain dendritic crystals and spherical morphologies, testifying to rapid crystallisation of high temperature iron-rich metallic and oxide liquids. These particles also contain spherical cavities, representing weathering and removal of metal beads and irregular cavities, representing vesicles formed by trapped gas during crystallization; both features commonly found among modern Antarctic Iron-type (I-type) cosmic spherules. On the basis of textural analysis, the magnetite and Fe-silicide spherules are shown to be I-type cosmic spherules that have experienced complete secondary replacement during diagenesis (fossilization). Our results demonstrate that micrometeorites, preserved in sedimentary rocks, are affected by a suite of complex diagenetic processes, which can result in disparate replacement minerals, even within the same sequence of sedimentary beds. As a result, the identification of fossil micrometeorites requires careful observation of particle textures and comparisons with modern Antarctic collections. Replaced micrometeorites imply that geochemical signatures the extraterrestrial dust are subject to diagenetic remobilisation that limits their stratigraphic resolution. However, this study demonstrates that fossil, pseudomorphic micrometeorites can be recognised and are likely common within the geological record.

  14. Microbial trace fossils in Antarctica and the search for evidence of early life on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Friedmann, E. Imre; Friedmann, Roseli O.

    1989-01-01

    It is possible to hypothesize that, if microbial life evolved on early Mars, fossil remnants of these organisms may be preserved on the surface. However, the cooling and drying of Mars probably resembled a cold desert and such an environment is not suitable for the process of fossilization. The frigid Ross Desert of Antarctica is probably the closest terrestrial analog to conditions that may have prevailed on the surface of the cooling and drying Mars. In this desert, cryptoendolithic microbial communities live in the airspaces of porous rocks, the last habitable niche in a hostile outside environment. The organisms produce characteristic chemical and physical changes in the rock substrate. Environmental changes (deterioration of conditions) may result in the death of the community. Although no cellular structures are fossilized, the conspicuous changes in the rock substrate are preserved as trace fossils. Likewise, microbial trace fossils (without cellular structures) may also be preserved on Mars: Discontinuities in structure or chemistry of the rock that are independent of physical or chemical gradients may be of biological origin. Ross Desert trace fossils can be used as a model for planning search strategies and for instrument design to find evidence of past Martian life.

  15. Into Tibet: An Early Pliocene Dispersal of Fossil Zokor (Rodentia: Spalacidae) from Mongolian Plateau to the Hinterland of Tibetan Plateau.

    PubMed

    Li, Qiang; Wang, Xiaoming

    2015-01-01

    This paper reports the fossil zokors (Myospalacinae) collected from the lower Pliocene (~4.4 Ma) of Zanda Basin, southwestern Tibet, which is the first record in the hinterland of Tibetan Plateau within the Himalayan Range. Materials include 29 isolated molars belonging to Prosiphneus eriksoni (Schlosser, 1924) by having characters including large size, highly fused roots, upper molars of orthomegodont type, m1 anterior cap small and centrally located, and first pair of m1 reentrants on opposing sides, high crowns, and high value of dentine tract parameters. Based on the cladistics analysis, all seven species of Prosiphneus and P. eriksoni of Zanda form a monophyletic clade. P. eriksoni from Zanda, on the other hand, is nearly the terminal taxon of this clade. The appearance of P. eriksoni in Zanda represents a significant dispersal in the early Pliocene from its center of origin in north China and Mongolian Plateau, possibly via the Hol Xil-Qiangtang hinterland in northern Tibet. The fast evolving zokors are highly adapted to open terrains at a time when regional climates had become increasingly drier in the desert zones north of Tibetan Plateau during the late Miocene to Pliocene. The occurrence of this zokor in Tibet thus suggests a rather open steppe environment. Based on fossils of large mammals, we have formulated an "out of Tibet" hypothesis that suggests earlier and more primitive large mammals from the Pliocene of Tibet giving rise to the Ice Age megafauna. However, fossil records for large mammals are still too poor to evaluate whether they have evolved from lineages endemic to the Tibetan Plateau or were immigrants from outside. The superior record of small mammals is in a better position to address this question. With relatively dense age intervals and numerous localities in much of northern Asia, fossil zokors provide the first example of an "into Tibet" scenario--earlier and more primitive taxa originated from outside of the Tibetan Plateau and the

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. Delineating modern variation from extinct morphology in the fossil record using shells of the Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina)

    PubMed Central

    2018-01-01

    Characterization of morphological variation in the shells of extant Eastern Box Turtles, Terrapene carolina, provides a baseline for comparison to fossil populations. It also provides an example of the difficulties inherent to recognizing intraspecific diversity in the fossil record. The degree to which variation in fossils of T. carolina can be accommodated by extant variation in the species has been disagreed upon for over eighty years. Using morphometric analyses of the carapace, I address the relationship between modern and fossil T. carolina in terms of sexual dimorphism, geographic and subspecific variation, and allometric variation. Modern T. carolina display weak male-biased sexual size dimorphism. Sexual shape dimorphism cannot be reliably detected in the fossil record. Rather than a four-part subspecific division, patterns of geographic variation are more consistent with clinal variation between various regions in the species distribution. Allometric patterns are qualitatively similar to those documented in other emydid turtles and explain a significant amount of shape variation. When allometric patterns are accounted for, Holocene specimens are not significantly different from modern specimens. In contrast, several geologically older specimens have significantly different carapace shape with no modern analogue. Those large, fossilized specimens represent extinct variation occupying novel portions of morphospace. This study highlights the need for additional documentation of modern osteological variation that can be used to test hypotheses of intraspecific evolution in the fossil record. PMID:29513709

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2007-01-01

    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

  20. 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.

  1. Fossil traces of the bone-eating worm Osedax in early Oligocene whale bones

    PubMed Central

    Kiel, Steffen; Goedert, James L.; Kahl, Wolf-Achim; Rouse, Greg W.

    2010-01-01

    Osedax is a recently discovered group of siboglinid annelids that consume bones on the seafloor and whose evolutionary origins have been linked with Cretaceous marine reptiles or to the post-Cretaceous rise of whales. Here we present whale bones from early Oligocene bathyal sediments exposed in Washington State, which show traces similar to those made by Osedax today. The geologic age of these trace fossils (∼30 million years) coincides with the first major radiation of whales, consistent with the hypothesis of an evolutionary link between Osedax and its main food source, although older fossils should certainly be studied. Osedax has been destroying bones for most of the evolutionary history of whales and the possible significance of this “Osedax effect” in relation to the quality and quantity of their fossils is only now recognized. PMID:20424110

  2. Community living long before man: fossil and living microbial mats and early life

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Margulis, L.; Lopez Baluja, L.; Awramik, S. M.; Sagan, D.

    1986-01-01

    Microbial mats are layered communities of bacteria that form cohesive structures, some of which are preserved in sedimentary rocks as stromatolites. Certain rocks, approximately three and a half thousand million years old and representing the oldest known fossils, are interpreted to derive from microbial mats and to contain fossils of microorganisms. Modern microbial mats (such as the one described here from Matanzas, Cuba) and their fossil counterparts are of great interest in the interpretation of early life on Earth. Since examination of microbial mats and stromatolites increases our understanding of long-term stability and change, within the global environment, such structures should be protected wherever possible as natural science preserves. Furthermore, since they have existed virtually from the time of life's origin, microbial mats have developed exemplary mechanisms of local community persistence and may even play roles in the larger global environment that we do not understand.

  3. Fossil flowers from the early Palaeocene of Patagonia, Argentina, with affinity to Schizomerieae (Cunoniaceae)

    PubMed Central

    Jud, Nathan A; Gandolfo, Maria A; Iglesias, Ari; Wilf, Peter

    2018-01-01

    Abstract Background and Aims Early Palaeocene (Danian) plant fossils from Patagonia provide information on the recovery from the end-Cretaceous extinction and Cenozoic floristic change in South America. Actinomorphic flowers with eight to ten perianth parts are described and evaluated in a phylogenetic framework. The goal of this study is to determine the identity of these fossil flowers and to discuss their evolutionary, palaeoecological and biogeographical significance Methods More than 100 fossilized flowers were collected from three localities in the Danian Salamanca and Peñas Coloradas Formations in southern Chubut. They were prepared, photographed and compared with similar extant and fossil flowers using published literature and herbarium specimens. Phylogenetic analysis was performed using morphological and molecular data. Key results The fossil flowers share some but not all the synapomorphies that characterize the Schizomerieae, a tribe within Cunoniaceae. These features include the shallow floral cup, variable number of perianth parts arranged in two whorls, laciniate petals, anthers with a connective extension, and a superior ovary with free styles. The number of perianth parts is doubled and the in situ pollen is tricolporate, with a surface more like that of other Cunoniaceae outside Schizomerieae, such as Davidsonia or Weinmannia. Conclusions An extinct genus of crown-group Cunoniaceae is recognized and placed along the stem lineage leading to Schizomerieae. Extant relatives are typical of tropical to southern-temperate rainforests, and these fossils likely indicate a similarly warm and wet temperate palaeoclimate. The oldest reliable occurrences of the family are fossil pollen and wood from the Upper Cretaceous of the Antarctica and Argentina, whereas in Australia the family first occurs in upper Palaeocene deposits. This discovery demonstrates that the family survived the Cretaceous–Palaeogene boundary event in Patagonia and that diversification

  4. The Middle Stone Age human fossil record from Klasies River Main Site.

    PubMed

    Grine, Frederick E; Wurz, Sarah; Marean, Curtis W

    2017-02-01

    The paleoanthropological significance of Klasies River Main Site derives from its abundant Middle Stone Age (MSA) archaeological debris and the hominin fossils that have featured in discussions about modern human emergence. Despite their significance, the human remains have yet to be contextualized within the spatial, stratigraphic and geochronological framework of the site. We provide an updated overview of the stratigraphy and geochronology of the site, and review the human fossil record in this context. We also provide the first anatomical interpretations of many of the cranial vault fragments. Five hominin specimens derive from the Upper Member and six from the lowermost LBS Member. The vast majority - nearly 40 cataloged specimens - come from the SAS Member; many of these are from a single stratigraphic horizon in a relatively small area in Cave 1. There is a strong cranial bias to the sample; just over 70% of skeletal remains are from the skull. The postcranial skeleton is poorly represented. Excluding the three metatarsals, there are only three long bones in the sample - a clavicle, a proximal radius, and a proximal ulna. Remarkably, humeral, femoral and tibial diaphyses, which are the most durable elements in terms of cortical bone thickness and density, are absent. However, the proportional representation of hominin remains is reminiscent of the "Klasies Pattern" shown by the MSA large bovid skeletal parts. To some degree, this may reflect the excavation and recovery methods that were employed. The vast bulk of the human fossils represent adults. Only three undoubted juvenile individuals are represented - each by a deciduous tooth. This contrasts with other MSA sites along the southern coast of South Africa, where human remains are predominantly juvenile, usually in the form of (possibly exfoliated) deciduous teeth. However, this apparent dissimilarity may also reflect different excavation techniques. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Chemotaxonomy in some Mediterranean plants and implications for fossil biomarker records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Norström, Elin; Katrantsiotis, Christos; Smittenberg, Rienk H.; Kouli, Katerina

    2017-12-01

    The increasing utilization of n-alkanes as plant-derived paleo-environmental proxies calls for improved chemotaxonomic control of the modern flora in order to calibrate fossil sediment records to modern analogues. Several recent studies have investigated long-chain n-alkane concentrations and chain-length distributions in species from various vegetation biomes, but up to date, the Mediterranean flora is relatively unexplored in this respect. Here, we analyse the n-alkane concentrations and chain-length distributions in some of the most common species of the modern macchia and phrygana vegetation in south western Peloponnese, Greece. We show that the drought adapted phrygana herbs and shrubs, as well as some of the sclerophyll and gymnosperm macchia components, produce high concentrations of n-alkanes, on average more than double n-alkane production in local wetland reed vegetation. Furthermore, the chain-length distribution in the analysed plants is related to plant functionality, with longer chain lengths associated with higher drought adaptive capacities, probably as a response to long-term evolutionary processes in a moisture limited environment. Furthermore, species with relatively higher average chain lengths (ACL) showed more enriched carbon isotope composition in their tissues (δ13Cplant), suggesting a dual imprint from both physiological and biochemical drought adaptation. The findings have bearings on interpretation of fossil sedimentary biomarker records in the Mediterranean region, which is discussed in relation to a case study from Agios Floros fen, Messenian plain, Peloponnese. The 6000 year long n-alkane record from Agios Floros (ACL, δ13Cwax) is linked to the modern analogue and then evaluated through a comparison with other regional-wide as well as local climate and vegetation proxy-data. The high concentration of long chain n-alkanes in phrygana vegetation suggests a dominating imprint from this vegetation type in sedimentary archives from this

  6. 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.

  7. Fossil record of stem groups employed in evaluating the chronogram of insects (Arthropoda: Hexapoda)

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Yan-hui; Engel, Michael S.; Rafael, José A.; Wu, Hao-yang; Rédei, Dávid; Xie, Qiang; Wang, Gang; Liu, Xiao-guang; Bu, Wen-jun

    2016-01-01

    Insecta s. str. (=Ectognatha), comprise the largest and most diversified group of living organisms, accounting for roughly half of the biodiversity on Earth. Understanding insect relationships and the specific time intervals for their episodes of radiation and extinction are critical to any comprehensive perspective on evolutionary events. Although some deeper nodes have been resolved congruently, the complete evolution of insects has remained obscure due to the lack of direct fossil evidence. Besides, various evolutionary phases of insects and the corresponding driving forces of diversification remain to be recognized. In this study, a comprehensive sample of all insect orders was used to reconstruct their phylogenetic relationships and estimate deep divergences. The phylogenetic relationships of insect orders were congruently recovered by Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood analyses. A complete timescale of divergences based on an uncorrelated log-normal relaxed clock model was established among all lineages of winged insects. The inferred timescale for various nodes are congruent with major historical events including the increase of atmospheric oxygen in the Late Silurian and earliest Devonian, the radiation of vascular plants in the Devonian, and with the available fossil record of the stem groups to various insect lineages in the Devonian and Carboniferous. PMID:27958352

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

    Meng, Hong-Hu; Jacques, Frédéric Mb; Su, Tao; Huang, Yong-Jiang; Zhang, Shi-Tao; Ma, Hong-Jie; Zhou, Zhe-Kun

    2014-08-10

    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. 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. 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 Maximum (PETM). North Atlantic land

  12. Two early eudicot fossil flowers from the Kamikitaba assemblage (Coniacian, Late Cretaceous) in northeastern Japan

    SciT

    Takahashi, Masamichi; Herendeen, Patrick S.; Xiao, Xianghui

    Two new fossil taxa referable to the basal eudicot grade are described from the Kamikitaba locality (ca. 89 MYBP, early Coniacian: Late Cretaceous) in the Ashizawa Formation (Asamigawa Member) of Futaba Group in northeastern Japan. These charcoalified mesofossils exhibit well-preserved three-dimensional structure and were analyzed using synchrotron-radiation X-ray microtomography (SRXTM) at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) to document the composition and internal structure. Cathiaria japonica sp. nov. is represented by infructescence segments that consist of an axis bearing three to four fruits. The capsular fruits are sessile and dehiscent and consist of a gynoecium subtended by a bract. No perianthmore » parts are present. The gynoecium is monocarpellate containing two pendulous seeds. The carpel is ascidiate in the lower half and conduplicate in the upper part, style is deflected abaxially with a dorsiventral suture and a large, obliquely decurrent stigma. Pollen grains are tricolpate with a reticulate exine. The morphological features of Cathiaria are consistent with an assignment to the Buxaceae s. l. (including Didymelaceae). Archaeostella verticillata gen. et sp. nov. is represented by flowers that are small, actinomorphic, pedicellate, bisexual, semi-inferior, and multicarpellate. The floral receptacle is cup shaped with a perigynous perianth consisting of several tepals inserted around the rim. The androecium comprises ca. 120 stamens with clear differentiation into anther and filament. The anthers are basifixed and tetrasporangiate. The gynoecium consists of a whorl of ten conduplicate, laterally connate but distally distinct carpels with a conspicuous dorsal bulge, including a central cavity. The styles are short, becoming recurved with a ventrally decurrent stigma. The fruit type is a follicle. Seeds are ca. 10 per carpel, marginal, pendulous from the broad, oblique summit of the locule. Seeds are small, spindle-shaped, with a chalazal extension

  13. Two early eudicot fossil flowers from the Kamikitaba assemblage (Coniacian, Late Cretaceous) in northeastern Japan

    DOE PAGES

    Takahashi, Masamichi; Herendeen, Patrick S.; Xiao, Xianghui

    2017-05-11

    Two new fossil taxa referable to the basal eudicot grade are described from the Kamikitaba locality (ca. 89 MYBP, early Coniacian: Late Cretaceous) in the Ashizawa Formation (Asamigawa Member) of Futaba Group in northeastern Japan. These charcoalified mesofossils exhibit well-preserved three-dimensional structure and were analyzed using synchrotron-radiation X-ray microtomography (SRXTM) at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) to document the composition and internal structure. Cathiaria japonica sp. nov. is represented by infructescence segments that consist of an axis bearing three to four fruits. The capsular fruits are sessile and dehiscent and consist of a gynoecium subtended by a bract. No perianthmore » parts are present. The gynoecium is monocarpellate containing two pendulous seeds. The carpel is ascidiate in the lower half and conduplicate in the upper part, style is deflected abaxially with a dorsiventral suture and a large, obliquely decurrent stigma. Pollen grains are tricolpate with a reticulate exine. The morphological features of Cathiaria are consistent with an assignment to the Buxaceae s. l. (including Didymelaceae). Archaeostella verticillata gen. et sp. nov. is represented by flowers that are small, actinomorphic, pedicellate, bisexual, semi-inferior, and multicarpellate. The floral receptacle is cup shaped with a perigynous perianth consisting of several tepals inserted around the rim. The androecium comprises ca. 120 stamens with clear differentiation into anther and filament. The anthers are basifixed and tetrasporangiate. The gynoecium consists of a whorl of ten conduplicate, laterally connate but distally distinct carpels with a conspicuous dorsal bulge, including a central cavity. The styles are short, becoming recurved with a ventrally decurrent stigma. The fruit type is a follicle. Seeds are ca. 10 per carpel, marginal, pendulous from the broad, oblique summit of the locule. Seeds are small, spindle-shaped, with a chalazal extension

  14. Fossil evidence of avian crops from the Early Cretaceous of China

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Xiaoting; Martin, Larry D.; Zhou, Zhonghe; Burnham, David A.; Zhang, Fucheng; Miao, Desui

    2011-01-01

    The crop is characteristic of seed-eating birds today, yet little is known about its early history despite remarkable discoveries of many Mesozoic seed-eating birds in the past decade. Here we report the discovery of some early fossil evidence for the presence of a crop in birds. Two Early Cretaceous birds, the basal ornithurine Hongshanornis and a basal avian Sapeornis, demonstrate that an essentially modern avian digestive system formed early in avian evolution. The discovery of a crop in two phylogenetically remote lineages of Early Cretaceous birds and its absence in most intervening forms indicates that it was independently acquired as a specialized seed-eating adaptation. Finally, the reduction or loss of teeth in the forms showing seed-filled crops suggests that granivory was possibly one of the factors that resulted in the reduction of teeth in early birds. PMID:21896733

  15. Early and middle(?) Cambrian metazoan and protistan fossils from West Africa

    Culver, S.J.; Repetski, J.E.; Pojeta, J.; Hunt, D.

    1996-01-01

    Supposed Upper Proterozoic strata in the southwest Taoudeni Basin, Guinea and Senegal, and from the Mauritanide fold belt, Mauritania, have yielded mostly poorly preserved small skeletal fossils of metazoan and protistan origin. Problematic, but possible echinoderm material and spicules of the heteractinid sponge Eiffelia dominate the Taoudeni Basin assemblage. The age of the material is not certain but the paleontologic data suggest an Early Cambrian age for the stratigraphically lowest faunas, and a Middle Cambrian age is possible for the stratigraphically highest collections.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2004-12-01

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

  17. The early Cambrian fossil embryo Pseudooides is a direct-developing cnidarian, not an early ecdysozoan

    PubMed Central

    2017-01-01

    Early Cambrian Pseudooides prima has been described from embryonic and post-embryonic stages of development, exhibiting long germ-band development. There has been some debate about the pattern of segmentation, but this interpretation, as among the earliest records of ecdysozoans, has been generally accepted. Here, we show that the ‘germ band’ of P. prima embryos separates along its mid axis during development, with the transverse furrows between the ‘somites’ unfolding into the polar aperture of the ten-sided theca of Hexaconularia sichuanensis, conventionally interpreted as a scyphozoan cnidarian; co-occurring post-embryonic remains of ecdysozoans are unrelated. We recognize H. sichuanensis as a junior synonym of P. prima as a consequence of identifying these two form-taxa as distinct developmental stages of the same organism. Direct development in P. prima parallels the co-occuring olivooids Olivooides, and Quadrapyrgites and Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of a novel phenotype dataset indicates that, despite differences in their tetra-, penta- and pseudo-hexa-radial symmetry, these hexangulaconulariids comprise a clade of scyphozoan medusozoans, with Arthrochites and conulariids, that all exhibit direct development from embryo to thecate polyp. The affinity of hexangulaconulariids and olivooids to extant scyphozoan medusozoans indicates that the prevalence of tetraradial symmetry and indirect development are a vestige of a broader spectrum of body-plan symmetries and developmental modes that was manifest in their early Phanerozoic counterparts. PMID:29237861

  18. The early Cambrian fossil embryo Pseudooides is a direct-developing cnidarian, not an early ecdysozoan.

    PubMed

    Duan, Baichuan; Dong, Xi-Ping; Porras, Luis; Vargas, Kelly; Cunningham, John A; Donoghue, Philip C J

    2017-12-20

    Early Cambrian Pseudooides prima has been described from embryonic and post-embryonic stages of development, exhibiting long germ-band development. There has been some debate about the pattern of segmentation, but this interpretation, as among the earliest records of ecdysozoans, has been generally accepted. Here, we show that the 'germ band' of P. prima embryos separates along its mid axis during development, with the transverse furrows between the 'somites' unfolding into the polar aperture of the ten-sided theca of Hexaconularia sichuanensis , conventionally interpreted as a scyphozoan cnidarian; co-occurring post-embryonic remains of ecdysozoans are unrelated. We recognize H. sichuanensis as a junior synonym of P. prima as a consequence of identifying these two form-taxa as distinct developmental stages of the same organism. Direct development in P. prima parallels the co-occuring olivooids Olivooides, and Quadrapyrgites and Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of a novel phenotype dataset indicates that, despite differences in their tetra-, penta- and pseudo-hexa-radial symmetry, these hexangulaconulariids comprise a clade of scyphozoan medusozoans, with Arthrochites and conulariids, that all exhibit direct development from embryo to thecate polyp. The affinity of hexangulaconulariids and olivooids to extant scyphozoan medusozoans indicates that the prevalence of tetraradial symmetry and indirect development are a vestige of a broader spectrum of body-plan symmetries and developmental modes that was manifest in their early Phanerozoic counterparts. © 2017 The Authors.

  19. The first fossil of a bolbitidoid fern belongs to the early-divergent lineages of Elaphoglossum (Dryopteridaceae).

    PubMed

    Lóriga, Josmaily; Schmidt, Alexander R; Moran, Robbin C; Feldberg, Kathrin; Schneider, Harald; Heinrichs, Jochen

    2014-09-01

    • Closing gaps in the fossil record and elucidating phylogenetic relationships of mostly incomplete fossils are major challenges in the reconstruction of the diversification of fern lineages through time. The cosmopolitan family Dryopteridaceae represents one of the most species-rich families of leptosporangiate ferns, yet its fossil record is sparse and poorly understood. Here, we describe a fern inclusion in Miocene Dominican amber and investigate its relationships to extant Dryopteridaceae.• The morphology of the fossil was compared with descriptions of extant ferns, resulting in it being tentatively assigned to the bolbitidoid fern genus Elaphoglossum. This assignment was confirmed by reconstructing the evolution of the morphological characters preserved in the inclusion on a molecular phylogeny of 158 extant bolbitidoid ferns. To assess the morphology-based assignment of the fossil to Elaphoglossum, we examined DNA-calibrated divergence time estimates against the age of the amber deposits from which it came.• The fossil belongs to Elaphoglossum and is the first of a bolbitidoid fern. Its assignment to a particular section of Elaphoglossum could not be determined; however, sects. Lepidoglossa, Polytrichia, and Setosa can be discounted because the fossil lacks subulate scales or scales with acicular marginal hairs. Thus, the fossil might belong to either sects. Amygdalifolia, Wrightiana, Elaphoglossum, or Squamipedia or to an extinct lineage.• The discovery of a Miocene Elaphoglossum fossil provides remarkable support to current molecular clock-based estimates of the diversification of these ferns. © 2014 Botanical Society of America, Inc.

  20. Caught in the act: the first record of copulating fossil vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Joyce, Walter G; Micklich, Norbert; Schaal, Stephan F K; Scheyer, Torsten M

    2012-10-23

    The behaviour of fossil organisms can typically be inferred only indirectly, but rare fossil finds can provide surprising insights. Here, we report from the Eocene Messel Pit Fossil Site between Darmstadt and Frankfurt, Germany numerous pairs of the fossil carettochelyid turtle Allaeochelys crassesculpta that represent for the first time among fossil vertebrates couples that perished during copulation. Females of this taxon can be distinguished from males by their relatively shorter tails and development of plastral kinesis. The preservation of mating pairs has important taphonomic implications for the Messel Pit Fossil Site, as it is unlikely that the turtles would mate in poisonous surface waters. Instead, the turtles initiated copulation in habitable surface waters, but perished when their skin absorbed poisons while sinking into toxic layers. The mating pairs from Messel are therefore more consistent with a stratified, volcanic maar lake with inhabitable surface waters and a deadly abyss.

  1. A fossil biting midge (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) from early Eocene Indian amber with a complex pheromone evaporator

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stebner, Frauke; Szadziewski, Ryszard; Rühr, Peter T.; Singh, Hukam; Hammel, Jörg U.; Kvifte, Gunnar Mikalsen; Rust, Jes

    2016-10-01

    The life-like fidelity of organisms captured in amber is unique among all kinds of fossilization and represents an invaluable source for different fields of palaeontological and biological research. One of the most challenging aspects in amber research is the study of traits related to behaviour. Here, indirect evidence for pheromone-mediated mating behaviour is recorded from a biting midge (Ceratopogonidae) in 54 million-year-old Indian amber. Camptopterohelea odora n. sp. exhibits a complex, pocket shaped structure on the wings, which resembles the wing folds of certain moth flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) and scent organs that are only known from butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) so far. Our studies suggests that pheromone releasing structures on the wings have evolved independently in biting midges and might be much more widespread in fossil as well as modern insects than known so far.

  2. A fossil biting midge (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) from early Eocene Indian amber with a complex pheromone evaporator.

    PubMed

    Stebner, Frauke; Szadziewski, Ryszard; Rühr, Peter T; Singh, Hukam; Hammel, Jörg U; Kvifte, Gunnar Mikalsen; Rust, Jes

    2016-10-04

    The life-like fidelity of organisms captured in amber is unique among all kinds of fossilization and represents an invaluable source for different fields of palaeontological and biological research. One of the most challenging aspects in amber research is the study of traits related to behaviour. Here, indirect evidence for pheromone-mediated mating behaviour is recorded from a biting midge (Ceratopogonidae) in 54 million-year-old Indian amber. Camptopterohelea odora n. sp. exhibits a complex, pocket shaped structure on the wings, which resembles the wing folds of certain moth flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) and scent organs that are only known from butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) so far. Our studies suggests that pheromone releasing structures on the wings have evolved independently in biting midges and might be much more widespread in fossil as well as modern insects than known so far.

  3. A fossil biting midge (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) from early Eocene Indian amber with a complex pheromone evaporator

    PubMed Central

    Stebner, Frauke; Szadziewski, Ryszard; Rühr, Peter T.; Singh, Hukam; Hammel, Jörg U.; Kvifte, Gunnar Mikalsen; Rust, Jes

    2016-01-01

    The life-like fidelity of organisms captured in amber is unique among all kinds of fossilization and represents an invaluable source for different fields of palaeontological and biological research. One of the most challenging aspects in amber research is the study of traits related to behaviour. Here, indirect evidence for pheromone-mediated mating behaviour is recorded from a biting midge (Ceratopogonidae) in 54 million-year-old Indian amber. Camptopterohelea odora n. sp. exhibits a complex, pocket shaped structure on the wings, which resembles the wing folds of certain moth flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) and scent organs that are only known from butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) so far. Our studies suggests that pheromone releasing structures on the wings have evolved independently in biting midges and might be much more widespread in fossil as well as modern insects than known so far. PMID:27698490

  4. Early Eocene fossils suggest that the mammalian order Perissodactyla originated in India.

    PubMed

    Rose, Kenneth D; Holbrook, Luke T; Rana, Rajendra S; Kumar, Kishor; Jones, Katrina E; Ahrens, Heather E; Missiaen, Pieter; Sahni, Ashok; Smith, Thierry

    2014-11-20

    Cambaytheres (Cambaytherium, Nakusia and Kalitherium) are recently discovered early Eocene placental mammals from the Indo-Pakistan region. They have been assigned to either Perissodactyla (the clade including horses, tapirs and rhinos, which is a member of the superorder Laurasiatheria) or Anthracobunidae, an obscure family that has been variously considered artiodactyls or perissodactyls, but most recently placed at the base of Proboscidea or of Tethytheria (Proboscidea+Sirenia, superorder Afrotheria). Here we report new dental, cranial and postcranial fossils of Cambaytherium, from the Cambay Shale Formation, Gujarat, India (~54.5 Myr). These fossils demonstrate that cambaytheres occupy a pivotal position as the sister taxon of Perissodactyla, thereby providing insight on the phylogenetic and biogeographic origin of Perissodactyla. The presence of the sister group of perissodactyls in western India near or before the time of collision suggests that Perissodactyla may have originated on the Indian Plate during its final drift toward Asia.

  5. Leaf economic traits from fossils support a weedy habit for early angiosperms.

    PubMed

    Royer, Dana L; Miller, Ian M; Peppe, Daniel J; Hickey, Leo J

    2010-03-01

    Many key aspects of early angiosperms are poorly known, including their ecophysiology and associated habitats. Evidence for fast-growing, weedy angiosperms comes from the Early Cretaceous Potomac Group, where angiosperm fossils, some of them putative herbs, are found in riparian depositional settings. However, inferences of growth rate from sedimentology and growth habit are somewhat indirect; also, the geographic extent of a weedy habit in early angiosperms is poorly constrained. Using a power law between petiole width and leaf mass, we estimated the leaf mass per area (LMA) of species from three Albian (110-105 Ma) fossil floras from North America (Winthrop Formation, Patapsco Formation of the Potomac Group, and the Aspen Shale). All LMAs for angiosperm species are low (<125 g/m(2); mean = 76 g/m(2)) but are high for gymnosperm species (>240 g/m(2); mean = 291 g/m(2)). On the basis of extant relationships between LMA and other leaf economic traits such as photosynthetic rate and leaf lifespan, we conclude that these Early Cretaceous landscapes were populated with weedy angiosperms with short-lived leaves (<12 mo). The unrivalled capacity for fast growth observed today in many angiosperms was in place by no later than the Albian and likely played an important role in their subsequent ecological success.

  6. Homo floresiensis-like fossils from the early Middle Pleistocene of Flores.

    PubMed

    van den Bergh, Gerrit D; Kaifu, Yousuke; Kurniawan, Iwan; Kono, Reiko T; Brumm, Adam; Setiyabudi, Erick; Aziz, Fachroel; Morwood, Michael J

    2016-06-09

    The evolutionary origin of Homo floresiensis, a diminutive hominin species previously known only by skeletal remains from Liang Bua in western Flores, Indonesia, has been intensively debated. It is a matter of controversy whether this primitive form, dated to the Late Pleistocene, evolved from early Asian Homo erectus and represents a unique and striking case of evolutionary reversal in hominin body and brain size within an insular environment. The alternative hypothesis is that H. floresiensis derived from an older, smaller-brained member of our genus, such as Homo habilis, or perhaps even late Australopithecus, signalling a hitherto undocumented dispersal of hominins from Africa into eastern Asia by two million years ago (2 Ma). Here we describe hominin fossils excavated in 2014 from an early Middle Pleistocene site (Mata Menge) in the So'a Basin of central Flores. These specimens comprise a mandible fragment and six isolated teeth belonging to at least three small-jawed and small-toothed individuals. Dating to ~0.7 Ma, these fossils now constitute the oldest hominin remains from Flores. The Mata Menge mandible and teeth are similar in dimensions and morphological characteristics to those of H. floresiensis from Liang Bua. The exception is the mandibular first molar, which retains a more primitive condition. Notably, the Mata Menge mandible and molar are even smaller in size than those of the two existing H. floresiensis individuals from Liang Bua. The Mata Menge fossils are derived compared with Australopithecus and H. habilis, and so tend to support the view that H. floresiensis is a dwarfed descendent of early Asian H. erectus. Our findings suggest that hominins on Flores had acquired extremely small body size and other morphological traits specific to H. floresiensis at an unexpectedly early time.

  7. Into Tibet: An Early Pliocene Dispersal of Fossil Zokor (Rodentia: Spalacidae) from Mongolian Plateau to the Hinterland of Tibetan Plateau

    PubMed Central

    Li, Qiang; Wang, Xiaoming

    2015-01-01

    This paper reports the fossil zokors (Myospalacinae) collected from the lower Pliocene (~4.4 Ma) of Zanda Basin, southwestern Tibet, which is the first record in the hinterland of Tibetan Plateau within the Himalayan Range. Materials include 29 isolated molars belonging to Prosiphneus eriksoni (Schlosser, 1924) by having characters including large size, highly fused roots, upper molars of orthomegodont type, m1 anterior cap small and centrally located, and first pair of m1 reentrants on opposing sides, high crowns, and high value of dentine tract parameters. Based on the cladistics analysis, all seven species of Prosiphneus and P. eriksoni of Zanda form a monophyletic clade. P. eriksoni from Zanda, on the other hand, is nearly the terminal taxon of this clade. The appearance of P. eriksoni in Zanda represents a significant dispersal in the early Pliocene from its center of origin in north China and Mongolian Plateau, possibly via the Hol Xil-Qiangtang hinterland in northern Tibet. The fast evolving zokors are highly adapted to open terrains at a time when regional climates had become increasingly drier in the desert zones north of Tibetan Plateau during the late Miocene to Pliocene. The occurrence of this zokor in Tibet thus suggests a rather open steppe environment. Based on fossils of large mammals, we have formulated an “out of Tibet” hypothesis that suggests earlier and more primitive large mammals from the Pliocene of Tibet giving rise to the Ice Age megafauna. However, fossil records for large mammals are still too poor to evaluate whether they have evolved from lineages endemic to the Tibetan Plateau or were immigrants from outside. The superior record of small mammals is in a better position to address this question. With relatively dense age intervals and numerous localities in much of northern Asia, fossil zokors provide the first example of an “into Tibet” scenario–earlier and more primitive taxa originated from outside of the Tibetan Plateau

  8. 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)

  9. Molecular Decay of the Tooth Gene Enamelin (ENAM) Mirrors the Loss of Enamel in the Fossil Record of Placental Mammals

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

    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 (ω) 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. The Origin and Early Radiation of Archosauriforms: Integrating the Skeletal and Footprint Record.

    PubMed

    Bernardi, Massimo; Klein, Hendrik; Petti, Fabio Massimo; Ezcurra, Martín D

    2015-01-01

    We present a holistic approach to the study of early archosauriform evolution by integrating body and track records. The ichnological record supports a Late Permian-Early Triassic radiation of archosauriforms not well documented by skeletal material, and new footprints from the Upper Permian of the southern Alps (Italy) provide evidence for a diversity not yet sampled by body fossils. The integrative study of body fossil and footprint data supports the hypothesis that archosauriforms had already undergone substantial taxonomic diversification by the Late Permian and that by the Early Triassic archosauromorphs attained a broad geographical distribution over most parts of Pangea. Analysis of body size, as deduced from track size, suggests that archosauriform average body size did not change significantly from the Late Permian to the Early Triassic. A survey of facies yielding both skeletal and track record indicate an ecological preference for inland fluvial (lacustrine) environments for early archosauromorphs. Finally, although more data is needed, Late Permian chirotheriid imprints suggest a shift from sprawling to erect posture in archosauriforms before the end-Permian mass extinction event. We highlight the importance of approaching palaeobiological questions by using all available sources of data, specifically through integrating the body and track fossil record.

  13. The Origin and Early Radiation of Archosauriforms: Integrating the Skeletal and Footprint Record

    PubMed Central

    Bernardi, Massimo; Klein, Hendrik; Petti, Fabio Massimo; Ezcurra, Martín D.

    2015-01-01

    We present a holistic approach to the study of early archosauriform evolution by integrating body and track records. The ichnological record supports a Late Permian–Early Triassic radiation of archosauriforms not well documented by skeletal material, and new footprints from the Upper Permian of the southern Alps (Italy) provide evidence for a diversity not yet sampled by body fossils. The integrative study of body fossil and footprint data supports the hypothesis that archosauriforms had already undergone substantial taxonomic diversification by the Late Permian and that by the Early Triassic archosauromorphs attained a broad geographical distribution over most parts of Pangea. Analysis of body size, as deduced from track size, suggests that archosauriform average body size did not change significantly from the Late Permian to the Early Triassic. A survey of facies yielding both skeletal and track record indicate an ecological preference for inland fluvial (lacustrine) environments for early archosauromorphs. Finally, although more data is needed, Late Permian chirotheriid imprints suggest a shift from sprawling to erect posture in archosauriforms before the end-Permian mass extinction event. We highlight the importance of approaching palaeobiological questions by using all available sources of data, specifically through integrating the body and track fossil record. PMID:26083612

  14. Paleoclimate from fossil plants and application to the early Cenozoic Rocky Mountains

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wing, S. L.

    2011-12-01

    Wladimir Köppen called vegetation "crystallized, visible climate," and his metaphor encouraged paleobotanists to climb the chain of inference from fossil plants to paleovegetation to paleoclimate. Inferring paleovegetation from fossils has turned out to be very difficult, however, and today most paleobotanical methods for inferring paleoclimate do not try to reconstruct paleovegetation as a first step. Three major approaches are widely use to infer paleoclimate from plant fossils: 1) phylogenetic inferences rely on the climatic distributions of extant relatives of fossils, 2) morphological inferences use present-day correlations of climate with plant morphology (e.g, leaf shape, wood anatomy), and 3) chemical inferences rely on correlations between climate and the stable isotopic composition of plants or organic compounds. Each approach makes assumptions that are hard to verify. Phylogenetic inference depends on accurate identification of fossils, and also assumes that evolution and/or extinction has not shifted the climatic distributions of plant lineages through time. On average this assumption is less valid for older time periods, but probably it is not radically wrong for the early Cenozoic. Morphological approaches don't require taxonomic identification of plant fossils, but do assume that correlations between plant form and climate have been constant over time. This assumption is bolstered if the ecophysiological cause of the morphology-climate correlation is well understood, but often it isn't. Stable isotopic approaches assume that present-day correlations between isotopic composition and climate apply to the past. Commonly the chemical and physiological mechanisms responsible for the correlation are moderately well known, but often the variation among different taxonomic and functional groups of plants is poorly characterized. In spite of limitations and uncertainties on all methods for inferring paleoclimate from fossil plants, broad patterns emerge from

  15. Nacre tablet thickness records formation temperature in modern and fossil shells

    SciT

    Gilbert, Pupa U. P. A.; Bergmann, Kristin D.; Myers, Corinne E.

    Nacre, the iridescent outer lining of pearls and inner lining of many mollusk shells, is made of periodic, parallel, organic sheets alternating with aragonite (CaCO 3) tablet layers. Nacre tablet thickness (TT) generates both nacre's iridescence and its remarkable resistance to fracture. Despite extensive studies on how nacre forms, the mechanisms controlling TT remain unknown, even though they determine the most conspicuous of nacre's characteristics, visible even to the naked eye.Thermodynamics predicts that temperature (T) will affect both physical and chemical components of biomineralized skeletons. The chemical composition of biominerals is well-established to record environmental parameters, and has therefore beenmore » extensively used in paleoclimate studies. The physical structure, however, has been hypothesized but never directly demonstrated to depend on the environment. Here we observe that the physical TT in nacre from modern and fossil shallow-water shells of the bivalves Pinna and Atrina correlates with T as measured by the carbonate clumped isotope thermometer. Based on the observed TT vs. T correlation, we anticipate that TT will be used as a paleothermometer, useful to estimate paleotemperature in shallow-water paleoenvironments. Here we successfully test the proposed new nacre TT thermometer on two Jurassic Pinna shells. The increase of TT with T is consistent with greater aragonite growth rate at higher T, and with greater metabolic rate at higher T. Thus, it reveals a complex, T-dependent biophysical mechanism for nacre formation.« less

  16. Nacre tablet thickness records formation temperature in modern and fossil shells

    DOE PAGES

    Gilbert, Pupa U. P. A.; Bergmann, Kristin D.; Myers, Corinne E.; ...

    2016-12-15

    Nacre, the iridescent outer lining of pearls and inner lining of many mollusk shells, is made of periodic, parallel, organic sheets alternating with aragonite (CaCO 3) tablet layers. Nacre tablet thickness (TT) generates both nacre's iridescence and its remarkable resistance to fracture. Despite extensive studies on how nacre forms, the mechanisms controlling TT remain unknown, even though they determine the most conspicuous of nacre's characteristics, visible even to the naked eye.Thermodynamics predicts that temperature (T) will affect both physical and chemical components of biomineralized skeletons. The chemical composition of biominerals is well-established to record environmental parameters, and has therefore beenmore » extensively used in paleoclimate studies. The physical structure, however, has been hypothesized but never directly demonstrated to depend on the environment. Here we observe that the physical TT in nacre from modern and fossil shallow-water shells of the bivalves Pinna and Atrina correlates with T as measured by the carbonate clumped isotope thermometer. Based on the observed TT vs. T correlation, we anticipate that TT will be used as a paleothermometer, useful to estimate paleotemperature in shallow-water paleoenvironments. Here we successfully test the proposed new nacre TT thermometer on two Jurassic Pinna shells. The increase of TT with T is consistent with greater aragonite growth rate at higher T, and with greater metabolic rate at higher T. Thus, it reveals a complex, T-dependent biophysical mechanism for nacre formation.« less

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

    PubMed

    Muchlinski, Magdalena N; Deane, Andrew S

    2016-07-01

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

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

    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.

  19. 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

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

    PubMed

    Bibi, Faysal

    2013-08-08

    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. 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. 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 phylogeographic and paleoenvironmental

  1. Tectonic Reversal of the New Hebrides Forearc Recorded by Fossil Coral Terraces on Araki, Solomon Islands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gallup, C. D.; Taylor, F. W.; Edwards, R. L.

    2016-12-01

    Araki is a small island in the New Hebrides forearc that exhibits a series of coral terraces. High precision 230Th ages of the corals and their elevations reveal a complicated tectonic history. Prior to the collision of the Bouganville Guyot on the subducting Australian plate with the forearc, the forearc was subsiding (Taylor et al., 2005). The highest elevation terrace on Araki has both last interglacial age (128 ka) corals and corals that grew between 103 and 107 ka present, when sea level was certainly lower than during the last interglacial period. However, the last interglacial corals occur in a cliff somewhat below the summit of Araki. We suggest this juxtaposition was produced by subsidence of the island during and after the last interglacial corals, potentially through the deposition of the 103 and 107 ka corals. At some point before or after their deposition, the island started to uplift, producing a series of terraces. Many of the corals on the lower terraces were deposited during periods of low sea level, between 33 and 62 ka. The lowest terrace is composed of Holocene corals. The mean uplift rate of Araki produced by using published sea level records for the corals deposited between 33 and 62 ka is approximately 2.4 mm/y. The uplift rate calculated based on the Holocene corals is much faster at approximately 4.7 mm/yr. A similar pattern of subsidence, to uplift, to faster uplift is found on Espiritu Santo and Malekula, encompassing 250 km of the forearc. The fossil corals thus record the changing tectonic conditions on the forearc associated with the subduction of the Bougainville Guyot. F.W. Taylor et al. (2005) TECTONICS, VOL. 24, TC6005, doi:10.1029/2004TC001650.

  2. 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.

  3. First North American fossil monkey and early Miocene tropical biotic interchange.

    PubMed

    Bloch, Jonathan I; Woodruff, Emily D; Wood, Aaron R; Rincon, Aldo F; Harrington, Arianna R; Morgan, Gary S; Foster, David A; Montes, Camilo; Jaramillo, Carlos A; Jud, Nathan A; Jones, Douglas S; MacFadden, Bruce J

    2016-05-12

    New World monkeys (platyrrhines) are a diverse part of modern tropical ecosystems in North and South America, yet their early evolutionary history in the tropics is largely unknown. Molecular divergence estimates suggest that primates arrived in tropical Central America, the southern-most extent of the North American landmass, with several dispersals from South America starting with the emergence of the Isthmus of Panama 3-4 million years ago (Ma). The complete absence of primate fossils from Central America has, however, limited our understanding of their history in the New World. Here we present the first description of a fossil monkey recovered from the North American landmass, the oldest known crown platyrrhine, from a precisely dated 20.9-Ma layer in the Las Cascadas Formation in the Panama Canal Basin, Panama. This discovery suggests that family-level diversification of extant New World monkeys occurred in the tropics, with new divergence estimates for Cebidae between 22 and 25 Ma, and provides the oldest fossil evidence for mammalian interchange between South and North America. The timing is consistent with recent tectonic reconstructions of a relatively narrow Central American Seaway in the early Miocene epoch, coincident with over-water dispersals inferred for many other groups of animals and plants. Discovery of an early Miocene primate in Panama provides evidence for a circum-Caribbean tropical distribution of New World monkeys by this time, with ocean barriers not wholly restricting their northward movements, requiring a complex set of ecological factors to explain their absence in well-sampled similarly aged localities at higher latitudes of North America.

  4. First North American fossil monkey and early Miocene tropical biotic interchange

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bloch, Jonathan I.; Woodruff, Emily D.; Wood, Aaron R.; Rincon, Aldo F.; Harrington, Arianna R.; Morgan, Gary S.; Foster, David A.; Montes, Camilo; Jaramillo, Carlos A.; Jud, Nathan A.; Jones, Douglas S.; MacFadden, Bruce J.

    2016-05-01

    New World monkeys (platyrrhines) are a diverse part of modern tropical ecosystems in North and South America, yet their early evolutionary history in the tropics is largely unknown. Molecular divergence estimates suggest that primates arrived in tropical Central America, the southern-most extent of the North American landmass, with several dispersals from South America starting with the emergence of the Isthmus of Panama 3-4 million years ago (Ma). The complete absence of primate fossils from Central America has, however, limited our understanding of their history in the New World. Here we present the first description of a fossil monkey recovered from the North American landmass, the oldest known crown platyrrhine, from a precisely dated 20.9-Ma layer in the Las Cascadas Formation in the Panama Canal Basin, Panama. This discovery suggests that family-level diversification of extant New World monkeys occurred in the tropics, with new divergence estimates for Cebidae between 22 and 25 Ma, and provides the oldest fossil evidence for mammalian interchange between South and North America. The timing is consistent with recent tectonic reconstructions of a relatively narrow Central American Seaway in the early Miocene epoch, coincident with over-water dispersals inferred for many other groups of animals and plants. Discovery of an early Miocene primate in Panama provides evidence for a circum-Caribbean tropical distribution of New World monkeys by this time, with ocean barriers not wholly restricting their northward movements, requiring a complex set of ecological factors to explain their absence in well-sampled similarly aged localities at higher latitudes of North America.

  5. New hominid fossils from Woranso-Mille (Central Afar, Ethiopia) and taxonomy of early Australopithecus.

    PubMed

    Haile-Selassie, Yohannes; Saylor, Beverly Z; Deino, Alan; Alene, Mulugeta; Latimer, Bruce M

    2010-03-01

    The phylogenetic relationship between Australopithecus anamensis and Australopithecus afarensis has been hypothesized as ancestor-descendant. However, the weakest part of this hypothesis has been the absence of fossil samples between 3.6 and 3.9 million years ago. Here we describe new fossil specimens from the Woranso-Mille site in Ethiopia that are directly relevant to this issue. They derive from sediments chronometrically dated to 3.57-3.8 million years ago. The new fossil specimens are largely isolated teeth, partial mandibles, and maxillae, and some postcranial fragments. However, they shed some light on the relationships between Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis. The dental morphology shows closer affinity with Au. anamensis from Allia Bay/Kanapoi (Kenya) and Asa Issie (Ethiopia) than with Au. afarensis from Hadar (Ethiopia). However, they are intermediate in dental and mandibular morphology between Au. anamensis and the older Au. afarensis material from Laetoli. The new fossils lend strong support to the hypothesized ancestor-descendant relationship between these two early Australopithecus species. The Woranso-Mille hominids cannot be unequivocally assigned to either taxon due to their dental morphological intermediacy. This could be an indication that the Kanapoi, Allia Bay, and Asa Issie Au. anamensis is the primitive form of Au. afarensis at Hadar with the Laetoli and Woranso-Mille populations sampling a mosaic of morphological features from both ends. It is particularly difficult to draw a line between Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis in light of the new discoveries from Woranso-Mille. The morphology provides no evidence that Au. afarensis and Au. anamensis represent distinct taxa.

  6. Limitations of a morphological criterion of adaptive inference in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Ravosa, Matthew J; Menegaz, Rachel A; Scott, Jeremiah E; Daegling, David J; McAbee, Kevin R

    2016-11-01

    Experimental analyses directly inform how an anatomical feature or complex functions during an organism's lifetime, which serves to increase the efficacy of comparative studies of living and fossil taxa. In the mammalian skull, food material properties and feeding behaviour have a pronounced influence on the development of the masticatory apparatus. Diet-related variation in loading magnitude and frequency induce a cascade of changes at the gross, tissue, cellular, protein and genetic levels, with such modelling and remodelling maintaining the integrity of oral structures vis-à-vis routine masticatory stresses. Ongoing integrative research using rabbit and rat models of long-term masticatory plasticity offers unique insight into the limitations of functional interpretations of fossilised remains. Given the general restriction of the palaeontological record to bony elements, we argue that failure to account for the disparity in the hierarchical network of responses of hard versus soft tissues may overestimate the magnitude of the adaptive divergence that is inferred from phenotypic differences. Second, we note that the developmental onset and duration of a loading stimulus associated with a given feeding behaviour can impart large effects on patterns of intraspecific variation that can mirror differences observed among taxa. Indeed, plasticity data are relevant to understanding evolutionary transformations because rabbits raised on different diets exhibit levels of morphological disparity comparable to those found between closely related primate species that vary in diet. Lastly, pronounced variation in joint form, and even joint function, can also characterise adult conspecifics that differ solely in age. In sum, our analyses emphasise the importance of a multi-site and hierarchical approach to understanding determinants of morphological variation, one which incorporates critical data on performance. © 2015 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

  7. Morphometric analysis of chameleon fossil fragments from the Early Pliocene of South Africa: a new piece of the chamaeleonid history.

    PubMed

    Dollion, Alexis Y; Cornette, Raphaël; Tolley, Krystal A; Boistel, Renaud; Euriat, Adelaïde; Boller, Elodie; Fernandez, Vincent; Stynder, Deano; Herrel, Anthony

    2015-02-01

    The evolutionary history of chameleons has been predominantly studied through phylogenetic approaches as the fossil register of chameleons is limited and fragmented. The poor state of preservation of these fossils has moreover led to the origin of numerous nomen dubia, and the identification of many chameleon fossils remains uncertain. We here examine chameleon fossil fragments from the Early Pliocene Varswater formation, exposed at the locality of Langebaanweg "E" Quarry along the southwestern coast of South Africa. Our aim was to explore whether these fossil fragments could be assigned to extant genera. To do so, we used geometric morphometric approaches based on microtomographic imaging of extant chameleons as well as the fossil fragments themselves. Our study suggests that the fossils from this deposit most likely represent at least two different forms that may belong to different genera. Most fragments are phenotypically dissimilar from the South African endemic genus Bradypodion and are more similar to other chameleon genera such as Trioceros or Kinyongia. However, close phenetic similarities between some of the fragments and the Seychelles endemic Archaius or the Madagascan genus Furcifer suggest that some of these fragments may not contain enough genus-specific information to allow correct identification. Other fragments such as the parietal fragments appear to contain more genus-specific information, however. Although our data suggest that the fossil diversity of chameleons in South Africa was potentially greater than it is today, this remains to be verified based on other and more complete fragments.

  8. Morphometric analysis of chameleon fossil fragments from the Early Pliocene of South Africa: a new piece of the chamaeleonid history

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dollion, Alexis Y.; Cornette, Raphaël; Tolley, Krystal A.; Boistel, Renaud; Euriat, Adelaïde; Boller, Elodie; Fernandez, Vincent; Stynder, Deano; Herrel, Anthony

    2015-02-01

    The evolutionary history of chameleons has been predominantly studied through phylogenetic approaches as the fossil register of chameleons is limited and fragmented. The poor state of preservation of these fossils has moreover led to the origin of numerous nomen dubia, and the identification of many chameleon fossils remains uncertain. We here examine chameleon fossil fragments from the Early Pliocene Varswater formation, exposed at the locality of Langebaanweg "E" Quarry along the southwestern coast of South Africa. Our aim was to explore whether these fossil fragments could be assigned to extant genera. To do so, we used geometric morphometric approaches based on microtomographic imaging of extant chameleons as well as the fossil fragments themselves. Our study suggests that the fossils from this deposit most likely represent at least two different forms that may belong to different genera. Most fragments are phenotypically dissimilar from the South African endemic genus Bradypodion and are more similar to other chameleon genera such as Trioceros or Kinyongia. However, close phenetic similarities between some of the fragments and the Seychelles endemic Archaius or the Madagascan genus Furcifer suggest that some of these fragments may not contain enough genus-specific information to allow correct identification. Other fragments such as the parietal fragments appear to contain more genus-specific information, however. Although our data suggest that the fossil diversity of chameleons in South Africa was potentially greater than it is today, this remains to be verified based on other and more complete fragments.

  9. Late Cretaceous Extreme Polar Warmth recorded by Vertebrate Fossils from the High Canadian Arctic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vandermark, D.; Tarduno, J. A.; Brinkman, D.

    2006-12-01

    A vertebrate fossil assemblage from Late Cretaceous (Coniacian-Turonian, ~92 to 86 Ma) rocks on Axel Heiberg Island in the High Canadian Arctic reflects what was once a diverse community of freshwater fishes and reptiles. Paleomagnetic data indicate a paleolatitude of ~71° N for the site; the fossils are from non-migratory fauna, so they can provide insight into Late Cretaceous polar climate. The fossil assemblage includes large (> 2.4 m long) champsosaurs (extinct crocodilelike reptiles). The presence of large champsosaurs suggests a mean annual temperature > 14 °C (and perhaps as great as 25 °C). Here we summarize findings and analyses following the discovery of the fossil-bearing strata in 1996. Examination of larger fish elements, isolated teeth and SEM studies of microstructures indicates the presence of lepisosteids, amiids and teleosts (Friedman et al., 2003) Interestingly, the only other known occurrence of amiids and lepisosteids, fossil or recent, are from intervals of extreme warmth during the Tertiary. Turtles present in the assemblage include Boreralochelys axelheibergensis, a generically indeterminate eucryptodire and a trioychid (Brinkman and Tarduno, 2005). The level of turtle diversity is also comparable to mid-latitude assemblages with a mean annual paleotemperature of at least 14 °C. A large portion of the champsosaur fossil assemblage is comprised of elements from subadults. This dominance of subadults is similar to that seen from low latitude sites. Because of the sensitivity of juveniles to ice formation, the make-up of the Arctic champsosaur population further indicates that the Late Cretaceous saw an interval of extreme warmth and low seasonality. We note the temporal coincidence of these fossils with volcanism at large igneous provinces (including high Arctic volcanism) and suggest that a pulse in volcanic carbon dioxide emissions helped cause the global warmth.

  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. Phylogeny of early Australopithecus: new fossil evidence from the Woranso-Mille (central Afar, Ethiopia)

    PubMed Central

    Haile-Selassie, Yohannes

    2010-01-01

    The earliest evidence of Australopithecus goes back to ca 4.2 Ma with the first recorded appearance of Australopithecus ‘anamensis’ at Kanapoi, Kenya. Australopithecus afarensis is well documented between 3.6 and 3.0 Ma mainly from deposits at Laetoli (Tanzania) and Hadar (Ethiopia). The phylogenetic relationship of these two ‘species’ is hypothesized as ancestor–descendant. However, the lack of fossil evidence from the time between 3.6 and 3.9 Ma has been one of its weakest points. Recent fieldwork in the Woranso-Mille study area in the Afar region of Ethiopia has yielded fossil hominids dated between 3.6 and 3.8 Ma. These new fossils play a significant role in testing the proposed relationship between Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis. The Woranso-Mille hominids (3.6–3.8 Ma) show a mosaic of primitive, predominantly Au. anamensis-like, and some derived (Au. afarensis-like) dentognathic features. Furthermore, they show that, as currently known, there are no discrete and functionally significant anatomical differences between Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis. Based on the currently available evidence, it appears that there is no compelling evidence to falsify the hypothesis of ‘chronospecies pair’ or ancestor–descendant relationship between Au. anamensis and Au. afarensis. Most importantly, however, the temporally and morphologically intermediate Woranso-Mille hominids indicate that the species names Au. afarensis and Au. anamensis do not refer to two real species, but rather to earlier and later representatives of a single phyletically evolving lineage. However, if retaining these two names is necessary for communication purposes, the Woranso-Mille hominids are best referred to as Au. anamensis based on new dentognathic evidence. PMID:20855306

  12. Reassessing the biogenicity of Earth’s oldest trace fossil with implications for biosignatures in the search for early life

    PubMed Central

    Grosch, Eugene G.; McLoughlin, Nicola

    2014-01-01

    Microtextures in metavolcanic pillow lavas from the Barberton greenstone belt of South Africa have been argued to represent Earth’s oldest trace fossil, preserving evidence for microbial life in the Paleoarchean subseafloor. In this study we present new in situ U–Pb age, metamorphic, and morphological data on these titanite microtextures from fresh drill cores intercepting the type locality. A filamentous microtexture representing a candidate biosignature yields a U–Pb titanite age of 2.819 ± 0.2 Ga. In the same drill core hornfelsic-textured titanite discovered adjacent to a local mafic sill records an indistinguishable U–Pb age of 2.913 ± 0.31 Ga, overlapping with the estimated age of intrusion. Quantitative microscale compositional mapping, combined with chlorite thermodynamic modeling, reveals that the titanite filaments are best developed in relatively low-temperature microdomains of the chlorite matrix. We find that the microtextures exhibit a morphological continuum that bears no similarity to candidate biotextures found in the modern oceanic crust. These new findings indicate that the titanite formed during late Archean ca. 2.9 Ga thermal contact metamorphism and not in an early ca. 3.45 Ga subseafloor environment. We therefore question the syngenicity and biogenicity of these purported trace fossils. It is argued herein that the titanite microtextures are more likely abiotic porphyroblasts of thermal contact metamorphic origin that record late-stage retrograde cooling in the pillow lava country rock. A full characterization of low-temperature metamorphic events and alternative biosignatures in greenstone belt pillow lavas is thus required before candidate traces of life can be confirmed in Archean subseafloor environments. PMID:24912193

  13. Reassessing the biogenicity of Earth's oldest trace fossil with implications for biosignatures in the search for early life.

    PubMed

    Grosch, Eugene G; McLoughlin, Nicola

    2014-06-10

    Microtextures in metavolcanic pillow lavas from the Barberton greenstone belt of South Africa have been argued to represent Earth's oldest trace fossil, preserving evidence for microbial life in the Paleoarchean subseafloor. In this study we present new in situ U-Pb age, metamorphic, and morphological data on these titanite microtextures from fresh drill cores intercepting the type locality. A filamentous microtexture representing a candidate biosignature yields a U-Pb titanite age of 2.819 ± 0.2 Ga. In the same drill core hornfelsic-textured titanite discovered adjacent to a local mafic sill records an indistinguishable U-Pb age of 2.913 ± 0.31 Ga, overlapping with the estimated age of intrusion. Quantitative microscale compositional mapping, combined with chlorite thermodynamic modeling, reveals that the titanite filaments are best developed in relatively low-temperature microdomains of the chlorite matrix. We find that the microtextures exhibit a morphological continuum that bears no similarity to candidate biotextures found in the modern oceanic crust. These new findings indicate that the titanite formed during late Archean ca. 2.9 Ga thermal contact metamorphism and not in an early ca. 3.45 Ga subseafloor environment. We therefore question the syngenicity and biogenicity of these purported trace fossils. It is argued herein that the titanite microtextures are more likely abiotic porphyroblasts of thermal contact metamorphic origin that record late-stage retrograde cooling in the pillow lava country rock. A full characterization of low-temperature metamorphic events and alternative biosignatures in greenstone belt pillow lavas is thus required before candidate traces of life can be confirmed in Archean subseafloor environments.

  14. Evolutionary History of the Asian Horned Frogs (Megophryinae): Integrative Approaches to Timetree Dating in the Absence of a Fossil Record.

    PubMed

    Mahony, Stephen; Foley, Nicole M; Biju, S D; Teeling, Emma C

    2017-03-01

    Molecular dating studies typically need fossils to calibrate the analyses. Unfortunately, the fossil record is extremely poor or presently nonexistent for many species groups, rendering such dating analysis difficult. One such group is the Asian horned frogs (Megophryinae). Sampling all generic nomina, we combined a novel ∼5 kb dataset composed of four nuclear and three mitochondrial gene fragments to produce a robust phylogeny, with an extensive external morphological study to produce a working taxonomy for the group. Expanding the molecular dataset to include out-groups of fossil-represented ancestral anuran families, we compared the priorless RelTime dating method with the widely used prior-based Bayesian timetree method, MCMCtree, utilizing a novel combination of fossil priors for anuran phylogenetic dating. The phylogeny was then subjected to ancestral phylogeographic analyses, and dating estimates were compared with likely biogeographic vicariant events. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that previously proposed systematic hypotheses were incorrect due to the paraphyly of genera. Molecular phylogenetic, morphological, and timetree results support the recognition of Megophryinae as a single genus, Megophrys, with a subgenus level classification. Timetree results using RelTime better corresponded with the known fossil record for the out-group anuran tree. For the priorless in-group, it also outperformed MCMCtree when node date estimates were compared with likely influential historical biogeographic events, providing novel insights into the evolutionary history of this pan-Asian anuran group. Given a relatively small molecular dataset, and limited prior knowledge, this study demonstrates that the computationally rapid RelTime dating tool may outperform more popular and complex prior reliant timetree methodologies. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved. For

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

    SciT

    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 swiftmore » 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.« less

  16. 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

  17. New transitional fossil snakeflies from China illuminate the early evolution of Raphidioptera.

    PubMed

    Liu, Xingyue; Ren, Dong; Yang, Ding

    2014-04-18

    Raphidioptera (snakeflies) is a holometabolous order of the superorder Neuropterida characterized by the narrowly elongate adult prothorax and the long female ovipositor. Mesozoic snakeflies were markedly more diverse than the modern ones are. However, the evolutionary history of Raphidioptera is largely unexplored, as a result of the poorly studied phylogeny among fossil and extant lineages within the order. In this paper, we report a new snakefly family, Juroraphidiidae fam. nov., based on exquisitely preserved fossils, attributed to a new species Juroraphidia longicollumgen. et sp. nov., from the Jiulongshan Formation (Middle Jurassic) in Inner Mongolia, China. The new family is characterized by an unexpected combination of plesiomorphic and apomorphic characters of Raphidioptera. Based on our phylogenetic analysis, Juroraphidiidae fam. nov. together with Raphidiomorpha form a monophyletic clade, which is the sister to Priscaenigmatomorpha. The snakefly affinity of Priscaenigmatomorpha is confirmed and another new family, Chrysoraphidiidae fam. nov., is erected in this suborder. Juroraphidiidae fam. nov. is determined to be a transitional lineage between Priscaenigmatomorpha and Raphidiomorpha. Diversification of higher snakefly taxa had occurred by the Early Jurassic, suggesting that these insects had already had a long but undocumented history by this time.

  18. Fossil Crinoids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1999-10-01

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

  19. Fossil Crinoids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2003-01-01

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

  20. Biotic association and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of the "Loma del Pterodaustro" fossil site (Early Cretaceous, Argentina)

    Chiappe, L.; Rivarola, D.; Cione, A.; Fregenal-Martinez, M.; Sozzi, H.; Buatois, L.; Gallego, O.; Laza, J.; Romero, E.; Lopez-Arbarello, A.; Buscalioni, A.; Marsicano, C.; Adamonis, S.; Ortega, F.; McGehee, S.; Di, Iorio O.

    1998-01-01

    A sedimentological analysis of the basal section of the Early Cretaceous, lacustrine Lagarcito Formation at "Loma del Pterodaustro" (San Luis, Argentina) and a summary of its biological components are presented. Three sedimentological facies can be recognized in the basal sequence of the Lagarcito Formation. Fossil remains are particularly abundant in laminated claystones of a facies interpreted as deposits formed in offshore areas of the lake. The preservation of delicate structures allows recognition of these deposits as a Konservat Lagersta??tte. Up to now, rocks at "Loma del Pterodaustro" have yielded plants, conchostracans, semionotid and pleuropholid fishes, pterodactyloid pterosaurs, and a variety of invertebrate traces. The chronology of the Lagarcito Formation is discussed and it is concluded that this unit is of Albian age. The palaeoenvironment of deposition of the basal sequence of the Lagarcito Formation at "Loma del Pterodaustro" is interpreted as a perennial, shallow lake developed within an alluvial plain, under semiarid climatic conditions.

  1. Fossil palm beetles refine upland winter temperatures in the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum

    PubMed Central

    Archibald, S. Bruce; Morse, Geoffrey E.; Greenwood, David R.; Mathewes, Rolf W.

    2014-01-01

    Eocene climate and associated biotic patterns provide an analog system to understand their modern interactions. The relationship between mean annual temperatures and winter temperatures—temperature seasonality—may be an important factor in this dynamic. Fossils of frost-intolerant palms imply low Eocene temperature seasonality into high latitudes, constraining average winter temperatures there to >8 °C. However, their presence in a paleocommunity may be obscured by taphonomic and identification factors for macrofossils and pollen. We circumvented these problems by establishing the presence of obligate palm-feeding beetles (Chrysomelidae: Pachymerina) at three localities (a fourth, tentatively) in microthermal to lower mesothermal Early Eocene upland communities in Washington and British Columbia. This provides support for warmer winter Eocene climates extending northward into cooler Canadian uplands. PMID:24821798

  2. Fossil palm beetles refine upland winter temperatures in the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum.

    PubMed

    Archibald, S Bruce; Morse, Geoffrey E; Greenwood, David R; Mathewes, Rolf W

    2014-06-03

    Eocene climate and associated biotic patterns provide an analog system to understand their modern interactions. The relationship between mean annual temperatures and winter temperatures-temperature seasonality-may be an important factor in this dynamic. Fossils of frost-intolerant palms imply low Eocene temperature seasonality into high latitudes, constraining average winter temperatures there to >8 °C. However, their presence in a paleocommunity may be obscured by taphonomic and identification factors for macrofossils and pollen. We circumvented these problems by establishing the presence of obligate palm-feeding beetles (Chrysomelidae: Pachymerina) at three localities (a fourth, tentatively) in microthermal to lower mesothermal Early Eocene upland communities in Washington and British Columbia. This provides support for warmer winter Eocene climates extending northward into cooler Canadian uplands.

  3. Quantifying long-term human impact in contrasting environments: Statistical analysis of modern and fossil pollen records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Broothaerts, Nils; López-Sáez, José Antonio; Verstraeten, Gert

    2017-04-01

    Reconstructing and quantifying human impact is an important step to understand human-environment interactions in the past. Quantitative measures of human impact on the landscape are needed to fully understand long-term influence of anthropogenic land cover changes on the global climate, ecosystems and geomorphic processes. Nevertheless, quantifying past human impact is not straightforward. Recently, multivariate statistical analysis of fossil pollen records have been proposed to characterize vegetation changes and to get insights in past human impact. Although statistical analysis of fossil pollen data can provide useful insights in anthropogenic driven vegetation changes, still it cannot be used as an absolute quantification of past human impact. To overcome this shortcoming, in this study fossil pollen records were included in a multivariate statistical analysis (cluster analysis and non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS)) together with modern pollen data and modern vegetation data. The information on the modern pollen and vegetation dataset can be used to get a better interpretation of the representativeness of the fossil pollen records, and can result in a full quantification of human impact in the past. This methodology was applied in two contrasting environments: SW Turkey and Central Spain. For each region, fossil pollen data from different study sites were integrated, together with modern pollen data and information on modern vegetation. In this way, arboreal cover, grazing pressure and agricultural activities in the past were reconstructed and quantified. The data from SW Turkey provides new integrated information on changing human impact through time in the Sagalassos territory, and shows that human impact was most intense during the Hellenistic and Roman Period (ca. 2200-1750 cal a BP) and decreased and changed in nature afterwards. The data from central Spain shows for several sites that arboreal cover decreases bellow 5% from the Feudal period

  4. Early cave art and ancient DNA record the origin of European bison

    PubMed Central

    Soubrier, Julien; Gower, Graham; Chen, Kefei; Richards, Stephen M.; Llamas, Bastien; Mitchell, Kieren J.; Ho, Simon Y. W.; Kosintsev, Pavel; Lee, Michael S. Y.; Baryshnikov, Gennady; Bollongino, Ruth; Bover, Pere; Burger, Joachim; Chivall, David; Crégut-Bonnoure, Evelyne; Decker, Jared E.; Doronichev, Vladimir B.; Douka, Katerina; Fordham, Damien A.; Fontana, Federica; Fritz, Carole; Glimmerveen, Jan; Golovanova, Liubov V.; Groves, Colin; Guerreschi, Antonio; Haak, Wolfgang; Higham, Tom; Hofman-Kamińska, Emilia; Immel, Alexander; Julien, Marie-Anne; Krause, Johannes; Krotova, Oleksandra; Langbein, Frauke; Larson, Greger; Rohrlach, Adam; Scheu, Amelie; Schnabel, Robert D.; Taylor, Jeremy F.; Tokarska, Małgorzata; Tosello, Gilles; van der Plicht, Johannes; van Loenen, Ayla; Vigne, Jean-Denis; Wooley, Oliver; Orlando, Ludovic; Kowalczyk, Rafał; Shapiro, Beth; Cooper, Alan

    2016-01-01

    The two living species of bison (European and American) are among the few terrestrial megafauna to have survived the late Pleistocene extinctions. Despite the extensive bovid fossil record in Eurasia, the evolutionary history of the European bison (or wisent, Bison bonasus) before the Holocene (<11.7 thousand years ago (kya)) remains a mystery. We use complete ancient mitochondrial genomes and genome-wide nuclear DNA surveys to reveal that the wisent is the product of hybridization between the extinct steppe bison (Bison priscus) and ancestors of modern cattle (aurochs, Bos primigenius) before 120 kya, and contains up to 10% aurochs genomic ancestry. Although undetected within the fossil record, ancestors of the wisent have alternated ecological dominance with steppe bison in association with major environmental shifts since at least 55 kya. Early cave artists recorded distinct morphological forms consistent with these replacement events, around the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, ∼21–18 kya). PMID:27754477

  5. Decay of velvet worms (Onychophora), and bias in the fossil record of lobopodians.

    PubMed

    Murdock, Duncan Je; Gabbott, Sarah E; Mayer, Georg; Purnell, Mark A

    2014-11-29

    Fossil lobopodians, including animals proposed to have close affinity to modern onychophorans, are crucial to understanding the evolution of the panarthropod body plan and the phylum-level relationships between the ecdysozoan groups. Unfortunately, the key features of their anatomy are un-mineralized and subject to biases introduced during death, decay and preservation, yet the extent to which these fossils have been affected by the processes of post-mortem decay is entirely untested. Recent experimental work on chordates has highlighted a profound bias caused by decay, resulting in the erroneous interpretation of badly decayed specimens as primitive members of a clade (stemward slippage). The degree to which this bias affects organisms other than chordates is unknown. Here we use experimental decay of velvet worms (Onychophora) to examine the importance of decay bias in fossil lobopodians. Although we find stemward slippage is not significant in the interpretation of non-mineralized lobopodian fossils, the affect of decay is far from unbiased. Quantitative analysis reveals significant changes in body proportions during decay, a spectrum of decay resistance across anatomical features, and correlated decay of topologically associated characters. These results have significant implications for the interpretation of fossil lobopodian remains, demonstrating that features such as body outline and relative proportions are unreliable for taxonomy or phylogenetic reconstruction, unless decay is taken into account. Similarly, the non-independent loss of characters, due to juxtaposition in the body, during decay has the potential to bias phylogenetic analyses of non-biomineralized fossils. Our results are difficult to reconcile with interpretations of highly decay-prone tissues and structures, such as neural tissue, and complex musculature, in recently described Cambrian lobopodians. More broadly, we hypothesize that stemward slippage is unlikely to be a significant factor

  6. 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

  7. New Fossil Evidence on the Sister-Group of Mammals and Early Mesozoic Faunal Distributions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shubin, Neil H.; Crompton, A. W.; Sues, Hans-Dieter; Olsen, Paul E.

    1991-03-01

    Newly discovered remains of highly advanced mammal-like reptiles (Cynodontia: Tritheledontidae) from the Early Jurassic of Nova Scotia, Canada, have revealed that aspects of the characteristic mammalian occlusal pattern are primitive. Mammals and tritheledontids share an homologous pattern of occlusion that is not seen in other cynodonts. The new tritheledontids represent the first definite record of this family from North America. The extreme similarity of North American and African tritheledontids supports the hypothesis that the global distribution of terrestrial tetrapods was homogeneous in the Early Jurassic. This Early Jurassic cosmopolitanism represents the continuation of a trend toward increased global homogeneity among terrestrial tetrapod communities that began in the late Paleozoic.

  8. New records and species of Crepidodera Chevrolat (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) in Eocene European amber, with a brief review of described fossil beetles from Bitterfeld amber.

    PubMed

    Bukejs, Andris; Biondi, Maurizio; Alekseev, Vitalii I

    2016-11-15

    Based on six relatively well-preserved specimens from Eocene Baltic amber, Crepidodera tertiotertiaria sp. nov. is described. The new species is illustrated and compared with morphologically similar extant and fossil relatives. It is the third described fossil species of Crepidodera Chevrolat. In addition to the new taxon, new fossil records of C. decolorata Nadein & Perkovsky from Baltic and Bitterfeld amber are presented. A key to species of Crepidodera described from fossil resins is provided, and a checklist of Coleoptera described from Bitterfeld amber is compiled.

  9. Early evolution and historical biogeography of fishflies (Megaloptera: Chauliodinae): implications from a phylogeny combining fossil and extant taxa.

    PubMed

    Liu, Xingyue; Wang, Yongjie; Shih, Chungkun; Ren, Dong; Yang, Ding

    2012-01-01

    Fishflies (Corydalidae: Chauliodinae) are one of the main groups of the basal holometabolous insect order Megaloptera, with ca. 130 species distributed worldwide. A number of genera from the Southern Hemisphere show remarkably disjunctive distributions and are considered to be the austral remnants or "living fossils" of Gondwana. Hitherto, the evolutionary history of fishflies remains largely unexplored due to limited fossil record and incomplete knowledge of phylogenetic relationships. Here we describe two significant fossil species of fishflies, namely Eochauliodes striolatus gen. et sp. nov. and Jurochauliodes ponomarenkoi Wang & Zhang, 2010 (original designation for fossil larvae only), from the Middle Jurassic of Inner Mongolia, China. These fossils represent the earliest fishfly adults. Furthermore, we reconstruct the first phylogenetic hypothesis including all fossil and extant genera worldwide. Three main clades within Chauliodinae are recognized, i.e. the Dysmicohermes clade, the Protochauliodes clade, and the Archichauliodes clade. The phylogenetic and dispersal-vicariance (DIVA) analyses suggest Pangaean origin and global distribution of fishflies before the Middle Jurassic. The generic diversification of fishflies might have happened before the initial split of Pangaea, while some Gondwanan-originated clades were likely to be affected by the sequential breakup of Pangaea. The modern fauna of Asian fishflies were probably derived from their Gondwanan ancestor but not the direct descendents of the Mesozoic genera in Asia.

  10. 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.

  11. Estimation of divergence times in cnidarian evolution based on mitochondrial protein-coding genes and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Park, Eunji; Hwang, Dae-Sik; Lee, Jae-Seong; Song, Jun-Im; Seo, Tae-Kun; Won, Yong-Jin

    2012-01-01

    The phylum Cnidaria is comprised of remarkably diverse and ecologically significant taxa, such as the reef-forming corals, and occupies a basal position in metazoan evolution. The origin of this phylum and the most recent common ancestors (MRCAs) of its modern classes remain mostly unknown, although scattered fossil evidence provides some insights on this topic. Here, we investigate the molecular divergence times of the major taxonomic groups of Cnidaria (27 Hexacorallia, 16 Octocorallia, and 5 Medusozoa) on the basis of mitochondrial DNA sequences of 13 protein-coding genes. For this analysis, the complete mitochondrial genomes of seven octocoral and two scyphozoan species were newly sequenced and combined with all available mitogenomic data from GenBank. Five reliable fossil dates were used to calibrate the Bayesian estimates of divergence times. The molecular evidence suggests that cnidarians originated 741 million years ago (Ma) (95% credible region of 686-819), and the major taxa diversified prior to the Cambrian (543 Ma). The Octocorallia and Scleractinia may have originated from radiations of survivors of the Permian-Triassic mass extinction, which matches their fossil record well. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  12. Vascularization of the Selaginella rhizophore: anatomical fingerprints of polar auxin transport with implications for the deep fossil record.

    PubMed

    Matsunaga, Kelly K S; Cullen, Nevin P; Tomescu, Alexandru M F

    2017-10-01

    The Selaginella rhizophore is a unique and enigmatic organ whose homology with roots, shoots, or neither of the two remains unresolved. Nevertheless, rhizophore-like organs have been documented in several fossil lycophytes. Here we test the homology of these organs through comparisons with the architecture of rhizophore vascularization in Selaginella. We document rhizophore vascularization in nine Selaginella species using cleared whole-mounts and histological sectioning combined with three-dimensional reconstruction. Three patterns of rhizophore vascularization are present in Selaginella and each is comparable to those observed in rhizophore-like organs of fossil lycophytes. More compellingly, we found that all Selaginella species sampled exhibit tracheids that arc backward from the stem and side branch into the rhizophore base. This tracheid curvature is consistent with acropetal auxin transport previously documented in the rhizophore and is indicative of the redirection of basipetal auxin from the shoot into the rhizophore during development. The tracheid curvature observed in Selaginella rhizophores provides an anatomical fingerprint for the patterns of auxin flow that underpin rhizophore development. Similar tracheid geometry may be present and should be searched for in fossils to address rhizophore homology and the conservation of auxin-related developmental mechanisms from early stages of lycophyte evolution. © 2017 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust.

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

    Ager, Thomas A.

    2007-01-01

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

  14. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Using creation science to demonstrate evolution: application of a creationist method for visualizing gaps in the fossil record to a phylogenetic study of coelurosaurian dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Senter, P

    2010-08-01

    It is important to demonstrate evolutionary principles in such a way that they cannot be countered by creation science. One such way is to use creation science itself to demonstrate evolutionary principles. Some creation scientists use classic multidimensional scaling (CMDS) to quantify and visualize morphological gaps or continuity between taxa, accepting gaps as evidence of independent creation and accepting continuity as evidence of genetic relatedness. Here, I apply CMDS to a phylogenetic analysis of coelurosaurian dinosaurs and show that it reveals morphological continuity between Archaeopteryx, other early birds, and a wide range of nonavian coelurosaurs. Creation scientists who use CMDS must therefore accept that these animals are genetically related. Other uses of CMDS for evolutionary biologists include the identification of taxa with much missing evolutionary history and the tracing of the progressive filling of morphological gaps in the fossil record through successive years of discovery.

  16. A new fossil species supports an early origin for toothed whale echolocation.

    PubMed

    Geisler, Jonathan H; Colbert, Matthew W; Carew, James L

    2014-04-17

    Odontocetes (toothed whales, dolphins and porpoises) hunt and navigate through dark and turbid aquatic environments using echolocation; a key adaptation that relies on the same principles as sonar. Among echolocating vertebrates, odontocetes are unique in producing high-frequency vocalizations at the phonic lips, a constriction in the nasal passages just beneath the blowhole, and then using air sinuses and the melon to modulate their transmission. All extant odontocetes seem to echolocate; however, exactly when and how this complex behaviour--and its underlying anatomy--evolved is largely unknown. Here we report an odontocete fossil, Oligocene in age (approximately 28 Myr ago), from South Carolina (Cotylocara macei, gen. et sp. nov.) that has several features suggestive of echolocation: a dense, thick and downturned rostrum; air sac fossae; cranial asymmetry; and exceptionally broad maxillae. Our phylogenetic analysis places Cotylocara in a basal clade of odontocetes, leading us to infer that a rudimentary form of echolocation evolved in the early Oligocene, shortly after odontocetes diverged from the ancestors of filter-feeding whales (mysticetes). This was followed by enlargement of the facial muscles that modulate echolocation calls, which in turn led to marked, convergent changes in skull shape in the ancestors of Cotylocara, and in the lineage leading to extant odontocetes.

  17. New fossils from Tadkeshwar Mine (Gujarat, India) increase primate diversity from the early Eocene Cambay Shale.

    PubMed

    Rose, Kenneth D; Dunn, Rachel H; Kumar, Kishor; Perry, Jonathan M G; Prufrock, Kristen A; Rana, Rajendra S; Smith, Thierry

    2018-06-07

    Several new fossil specimens from the Cambay Shale Formation at Tadkeshwar Lignite Mine in Gujarat document the presence of two previously unknown early Eocene primate species from India. A new species of Asiadapis is named based on a jaw fragment preserving premolars similar in morphology to those of A. cambayensis but substantially larger. Also described is an exceptionally preserved edentulous dentary (designated cf. Asiadapis, unnamed sp. nov.) that is slightly larger and much more robust than previously known Cambay Shale primates. Its anatomy most closely resembles that of Eocene adapoids, and the dental formula is the same as in A. cambayensis. A femur and calcaneus are tentatively allocated to the same taxon. Although the dentition is unknown, exquisite preservation of the dentary of cf. Asiadapis sp. nov. enables an assessment of masticatory musculature, function, and gape adaptations, as well as comparison with an equally well-preserved dentary of the asiadapid Marcgodinotius indicus, also from Tadkeshwar. The new M. indicus specimen shows significant gape adaptations but was probably capable of only weak bite force, whereas cf. Asiadapis sp. nov. probably used relatively smaller gapes but could generate relatively greater bite forces. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. The early Eocene birds of the Messel fossil site: a 48 million-year-old bird community adds a temporal perspective to the evolution of tropical avifaunas.

    PubMed

    Mayr, Gerald

    2017-05-01

    Birds play an important role in studies addressing the diversity and species richness of tropical ecosystems, but because of the poor avian fossil record in all extant tropical regions, a temporal perspective is mainly provided by divergence dates derived from calibrated molecular analyses. Tropical ecosystems were, however, widespread in the Northern Hemisphere during the early Cenozoic, and the early Eocene German fossil site Messel in particular has yielded a rich avian fossil record. The Messel avifauna is characterized by a considerable number of flightless birds, as well as a high diversity of aerial insectivores and the absence of large arboreal birds. With about 70 currently known species in 42 named genus-level and at least 39 family-level taxa, it approaches extant tropical biotas in terms of species richness and taxonomic diversity. With regard to its taxonomic composition and presumed ecological characteristics, the Messel avifauna is more similar to the Neotropics, Madagascar, and New Guinea than to tropical forests in continental Africa and Asia. Because the former regions were geographically isolated during most of the Cenozoic, their characteristics may be due to the absence of biotic factors, especially those related to the diversification of placental mammals, which impacted tropical avifaunas in Africa and Asia. The crown groups of most avian taxa that already existed in early Eocene forests are species-poor. This does not support the hypothesis that the antiquity of tropical ecosystems is key to the diversity of tropical avifaunas, and suggests that high diversification rates may be of greater significance. © 2016 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

  19. Scenes from the past: initial investigation of early jurassic vertebrate fossils with multidetector CT.

    PubMed

    Bolliger, Stephan A; Ross, Steffen; Thali, Michael J; Hostettler, Bernhard; Menkveld-Gfeller, Ursula

    2012-01-01

    The study of fossils permits the reconstruction of past life on our planet and enhances our understanding of evolutionary processes. However, many fossils are difficult to recognize, being encased in a lithified matrix whose tedious removal is required before examination is possible. The authors describe the use of multidetector computed tomography (CT) in locating, identifying, and examining fossil remains of crocodilians (Mesosuchia) embedded in hard shale, all without removing the matrix. In addition, they describe how three-dimensional (3D) reformatted CT images provided details that were helpful for extraction and preparation. Multidetector CT can help experienced paleontologists localize and characterize fossils in the matrix of a promising rock specimen in a nondestructive manner. Moreover, with its capacity to generate highly accurate 3D images, multidetector CT can help determine whether the fossils warrant extraction and can assist in planning the extraction process. Thus, multidetector CT may well become an invaluable tool in the field of paleoradiology.

  20. A fresh look at the fossil evidence for early Archaean cellular life

    PubMed Central

    Brasier, Martin; McLoughlin, Nicola; Green, Owen; Wacey, David

    2006-01-01

    The rock record provides us with unique evidence for testing models as to when and where cellular life first appeared on Earth. Its study, however, requires caution. The biogenicity of stromatolites and ‘microfossils’ older than 3.0 Gyr should not be accepted without critical analysis of morphospace and context, using multiple modern techniques, plus rejection of alternative non-biological (null) hypotheses. The previous view that the co-occurrence of biology-like morphology and carbonaceous chemistry in ancient, microfossil-like objects is a presumptive indicator of biogenicity is not enough. As with the famous Martian microfossils, we need to ask not ‘what do these structures remind us of?’, but ‘what are these structures?’ Earth's oldest putative ‘microfossil’ assemblages within 3.4–3.5 Gyr carbonaceous cherts, such as the Apex Chert, are likewise self-organizing structures that do not pass tests for biogenicity. There is a preservational paradox in the fossil record prior to ca 2.7 Gyr: suitable rocks (e.g. isotopically light carbonaceous cherts) are widely present, but signals of life are enigmatic and hard to decipher. One new approach includes detailed mapping of well-preserved sandstone grains in the ca 3.4 Gyr Strelley Pool Chert. These can contain endolithic microtubes showing syngenicity, grain selectivity and several levels of geochemical processing. Preliminary studies invite comparison with a class of ambient inclusion trails of putative microbial origin and with the activities of modern anaerobic proteobacteria and volcanic glass euendoliths. PMID:16754605

  1. The first Loranthaceae fossils from Africa

    PubMed Central

    2018-01-01

    Abstract An ongoing re-investigation of the early Miocene Saldanha Bay (South Africa) palynoflora, using combined light and scanning electron microscopy (single grain method), is revealing several pollen types new to the African fossil record. One of the elements identified is Loranthaceae pollen. These grains represent the first and only fossil record of Loranthaceae in Africa. The fossil pollen grains resemble those produced by the core Lorantheae and are comparable to recent Asian as well as some African taxa/lineages. Molecular and fossil signals indicate that Loranthaceae dispersed into Africa via Asia sometime during the Eocene. The present host range of African Loranthaceae and the composition of the palynoflora suggest that the fossil had a range of potential host taxa to parasitise during the early Miocene in the Saldanha Bay region. PMID:29780299

  2. 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

    2016-04-05

    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. © 2016 The Authors.

  3. 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. © 2015 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2015 New Phytologist Trust.

  4. Leaf fossil record suggests limited influence of atmospheric CO2 on terrestrial productivity prior to angiosperm evolution

    PubMed Central

    Boyce, C. Kevin; Zwieniecki, Maciej A.

    2012-01-01

    Declining CO2 over the Cretaceous has been suggested as an evolutionary driver of the high leaf vein densities (7–28 mm mm−2) that are unique to the angiosperms throughout all of Earth history. Photosynthetic modeling indicated the link between high vein density and productivity documented in the modern low-CO2 regime would be lost as CO2 concentrations increased but also implied that plants with very low vein densities (less than 3 mm mm−2) should experience substantial disadvantages with high CO2. Thus, the hypothesized relationship between CO2 and plant evolution can be tested through analysis of the concurrent histories of alternative lineages, because an extrinsic driver like atmospheric CO2 should affect all plants and not just the flowering plants. No such relationship is seen. Regardless of CO2 concentrations, low vein densities are equally common among nonangiosperms throughout history and common enough to include forest canopies and not just obligate shade species that will always be of limited productivity. Modeling results can be reconciled with the fossil record if maximum assimilation rates of nonflowering plants are capped well below those of flowering plants, capturing biochemical and physiological differences that would be consistent with extant plants but previously unrecognized in the fossil record. Although previous photosynthetic modeling suggested that productivity would double or triple with each Phanerozoic transition from low to high CO2, productivity changes are likely to have been limited before a substantial increase accompanying the evolution of flowering plants. PMID:22689947

  5. Early Evolution and Historical Biogeography of Fishflies (Megaloptera: Chauliodinae): Implications from a Phylogeny Combining Fossil and Extant Taxa

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Xingyue; Wang, Yongjie; Shih, Chungkun; Ren, Dong; Yang, Ding

    2012-01-01

    Fishflies (Corydalidae: Chauliodinae) are one of the main groups of the basal holometabolous insect order Megaloptera, with ca. 130 species distributed worldwide. A number of genera from the Southern Hemisphere show remarkably disjunctive distributions and are considered to be the austral remnants or “living fossils” of Gondwana. Hitherto, the evolutionary history of fishflies remains largely unexplored due to limited fossil record and incomplete knowledge of phylogenetic relationships. Here we describe two significant fossil species of fishflies, namely Eochauliodes striolatus gen. et sp. nov. and Jurochauliodes ponomarenkoi Wang & Zhang, 2010 (original designation for fossil larvae only), from the Middle Jurassic of Inner Mongolia, China. These fossils represent the earliest fishfly adults. Furthermore, we reconstruct the first phylogenetic hypothesis including all fossil and extant genera worldwide. Three main clades within Chauliodinae are recognized, i.e. the Dysmicohermes clade, the Protochauliodes clade, and the Archichauliodes clade. The phylogenetic and dispersal-vicariance (DIVA) analyses suggest Pangaean origin and global distribution of fishflies before the Middle Jurassic. The generic diversification of fishflies might have happened before the initial split of Pangaea, while some Gondwanan-originated clades were likely to be affected by the sequential breakup of Pangaea. The modern fauna of Asian fishflies were probably derived from their Gondwanan ancestor but not the direct descendents of the Mesozoic genera in Asia. PMID:22792287

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

    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

  7. A new hynobiid-like salamander (Amphibia, Urodela) from Inner Mongolia, China, provides a rare case study of developmental features in an Early Cretaceous fossil urodele

    PubMed Central

    Jia, Jia

    2016-01-01

    A new fossil salamander, Nuominerpeton aquilonaris (gen. et sp. nov.), is named and described based on specimens from the Lower Cretaceous Guanghua Formation of Inner Mongolia, China. The new discovery documents a far northern occurrence of Early Cretaceous salamanders in China, extending the geographic distribution for the Mesozoic fossil record of the group from the Jehol area (40th–45th parallel north) to near the 49th parallel north. The new salamander is characterized by having the orbitosphenoid semicircular in shape; coracoid plate of the scapulocoracoid greatly expanded with a convex ventral and posterior border; ossification of two centralia in carpus and tarsus; and first digit being about half the length of the second digit in both manus and pes. The new salamander appears to be closely related to hynobiids, although this inferred relationship awaits confirmation by research in progress by us on a morphological and molecular combined analysis of cryptobranchoid relationships. Comparison of adult with larval and postmetamorphic juvenile specimens provides insights into developmental patterns of cranial and postcranial skeletons in this fossil species, especially resorption of the palatine and anterior portions of the palatopterygoid in the palate and the coronoid in the mandible during metamorphosis, and postmetamorphic ossification of the mesopodium in both manus and pes. Thus, this study provides a rare case study of developmental features in a Mesozoic salamander. PMID:27761316

  8. 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. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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

    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.

  10. The early evolution of land plants, from fossils to genomics: a commentary on Lang (1937) 'On the plant-remains from the Downtonian of England and Wales'.

    PubMed

    Edwards, Dianne; Kenrick, Paul

    2015-04-19

    During the 1920s, the botanist W. H. Lang set out to collect and investigate some very unpromising fossils of uncertain affinity, which predated the known geological record of life on land. His discoveries led to a landmark publication in 1937, 'On the plant-remains from the Downtonian of England and Wales', in which he revealed a diversity of small fossil organisms of great simplicity that shed light on the nature of the earliest known land plants. These and subsequent discoveries have taken on new relevance as botanists seek to understand the plant genome and the early evolution of fundamental organ systems. Also, our developing knowledge of the composition of early land-based ecosystems and the interactions among their various components is contributing to our understanding of how life on land affects key Earth Systems (e.g. carbon cycle). The emerging paradigm is one of early life on land dominated by microbes, small bryophyte-like organisms and lichens. Collectively called cryptogamic covers, these are comparable with those that dominate certain ecosystems today. This commentary was written to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society.

  11. Penetrative trace fossils from the late Ediacaran of Mongolia: early onset of the agronomic revolution.

    PubMed

    Oji, Tatsuo; Dornbos, Stephen Q; Yada, Keigo; Hasegawa, Hitoshi; Gonchigdorj, Sersmaa; Mochizuki, Takafumi; Takayanagi, Hideko; Iryu, Yasufumi

    2018-02-01

    The Cambrian radiation of complex animals includes a dramatic increase in the depth and intensity of bioturbation in seafloor sediment known as the 'agronomic revolution'. This bioturbation transition was coupled with a shift in dominant trace fossil style from horizontal surficial traces in the late Precambrian to vertically penetrative trace fossils in the Cambrian. Here we show the existence of the first vertically penetrative trace fossils from the latest Ediacaran: dense occurrences of the U-shaped trace fossil Arenicolites from late Precambrian marine carbonates of Western Mongolia. Their Ediacaran age is established through stable carbon isotope chemostratigraphy and their occurrence stratigraphically below the first appearance of the trace fossil Treptichnus pedum . These Arenicolites are large in diameter, penetrate down to at least 4 cm into the sediment, and were presumably formed by the activity of bilaterian animals. They are preserved commonly as paired circular openings on bedding planes with maximum diameters ranging up to almost 1 cm, and as U- and J-shaped tubes in vertical sections of beds. Discovery of these complex penetrative trace fossils demonstrates that the agronomic revolution started earlier than previously considered.

  12. Penetrative trace fossils from the late Ediacaran of Mongolia: early onset of the agronomic revolution

    PubMed Central

    Dornbos, Stephen Q.; Yada, Keigo; Hasegawa, Hitoshi; Gonchigdorj, Sersmaa; Mochizuki, Takafumi; Takayanagi, Hideko; Iryu, Yasufumi

    2018-01-01

    The Cambrian radiation of complex animals includes a dramatic increase in the depth and intensity of bioturbation in seafloor sediment known as the ‘agronomic revolution’. This bioturbation transition was coupled with a shift in dominant trace fossil style from horizontal surficial traces in the late Precambrian to vertically penetrative trace fossils in the Cambrian. Here we show the existence of the first vertically penetrative trace fossils from the latest Ediacaran: dense occurrences of the U-shaped trace fossil Arenicolites from late Precambrian marine carbonates of Western Mongolia. Their Ediacaran age is established through stable carbon isotope chemostratigraphy and their occurrence stratigraphically below the first appearance of the trace fossil Treptichnus pedum. These Arenicolites are large in diameter, penetrate down to at least 4 cm into the sediment, and were presumably formed by the activity of bilaterian animals. They are preserved commonly as paired circular openings on bedding planes with maximum diameters ranging up to almost 1 cm, and as U- and J-shaped tubes in vertical sections of beds. Discovery of these complex penetrative trace fossils demonstrates that the agronomic revolution started earlier than previously considered. PMID:29515908

  13. Penetrative trace fossils from the late Ediacaran of Mongolia: early onset of the agronomic revolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oji, Tatsuo; Dornbos, Stephen Q.; Yada, Keigo; Hasegawa, Hitoshi; Gonchigdorj, Sersmaa; Mochizuki, Takafumi; Takayanagi, Hideko; Iryu, Yasufumi

    2018-02-01

    The Cambrian radiation of complex animals includes a dramatic increase in the depth and intensity of bioturbation in seafloor sediment known as the `agronomic revolution'. This bioturbation transition was coupled with a shift in dominant trace fossil style from horizontal surficial traces in the late Precambrian to vertically penetrative trace fossils in the Cambrian. Here we show the existence of the first vertically penetrative trace fossils from the latest Ediacaran: dense occurrences of the U-shaped trace fossil Arenicolites from late Precambrian marine carbonates of Western Mongolia. Their Ediacaran age is established through stable carbon isotope chemostratigraphy and their occurrence stratigraphically below the first appearance of the trace fossil Treptichnus pedum. These Arenicolites are large in diameter, penetrate down to at least 4 cm into the sediment, and were presumably formed by the activity of bilaterian animals. They are preserved commonly as paired circular openings on bedding planes with maximum diameters ranging up to almost 1 cm, and as U- and J-shaped tubes in vertical sections of beds. Discovery of these complex penetrative trace fossils demonstrates that the agronomic revolution started earlier than previously considered.

  14. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-09-01

    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 (13C/12C 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Seawater 234U/238U recorded by modern and fossil corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chutcharavan, Peter M.; Dutton, Andrea; Ellwood, Michael J.

    2018-03-01

    U-series dating of corals is a crucial tool for generating absolute chronologies of Late Quaternary sea-level change and calibrating the radiocarbon timescale. Unfortunately, coralline aragonite is susceptible to post-depositional alteration of its primary geochemistry. One screening technique used to identify unaltered corals relies on the back-calculation of initial 234U/238U activity (δ234Ui) at the time of coral growth and implicitly assumes that seawater δ234U has remained constant during the Late Quaternary. Here, we test this assumption using the most comprehensive compilation to date of coral U-series measurements. Unlike previous compilations, this study normalizes U-series measurements to the same decay constants and corrects for offsets in interlaboratory calibrations, thus reducing systematic biases between reported δ234U values. Using this approach, we reassess (a) the value of modern seawater δ234U, and (b) the evolution of seawater δ234U over the last deglaciation. Modern coral δ234U values (145.0 ± 1.5‰) agree with previous measurements of seawater and modern corals only once the data have been normalized. Additionally, fossil corals in the surface ocean display δ234Ui values that are ∼5-7‰ lower during the last glacial maximum regardless of site, taxon, or diagenetic setting. We conclude that physical weathering of U-bearing minerals exposed during ice sheet retreat drives the increase in δ234U observed in the oceans, a mechanism that is consistent with the interpretation of the seawater Pb-isotope signal over the same timescale.

  18. Formation of the Lunar Fossil Bulges and its Implication for the Early Earth and Moon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Qin, C.; Zhong, S.; Phillips, R. J.

    2017-12-01

    First recognized by Laplace more than two centuries ago, the lunar gravitational and shape anomalies associated with rotational and tidal bulges are significantly larger than predicted from the hydrostatic theory. The harmonic degree-2 gravitational coefficients of the Moon, C20 and C22 (measuring the size of the rotational and tidal bulges), are 17 and 14 times of their hydrostatic counterparts, respectively, after removal of the effect from large impact basins. The bulges are commonly considered as remnant hydrostatic features, "frozen-in" when the Moon was closer to the Earth, experiencing larger tidal-rotational forces. The extant hypothesis is that as the Moon cooled and migrated outwards, a strong outer layer (lithosphere) thickened and reached a stress state that supported the bulges, which no longer tracked the hydrostatic ellipticity. However, this process is poorly understood and an appropriate dynamical model has not been engaged. Here we present the first dynamically self-consistent model of lunar bulge formation that couples a lunar interior thermal evolution model to the tidal-rotational forcing of the Moon. The forcing magnitude decreases with time as the Moon despins on the receding orbit, while the recession rate is controlled by the Earth's tidal dissipation factor Q. Assuming a viscoelastic rheology, the cooling of the Moon is described by a model with high viscosity lithosphere thickening with time. While conventional methods are not suitable for models with time-dependent viscoelastic structure, a semi-analytical method has been developed to address this problem. We show that the bulge formation is controlled by the relative timing of lithosphere thickening and lunar orbit recession. Based on our calculations, we conclude that the development of the fossil bulges may have taken as long as 400 million years after the formation of lunar lithosphere and was complete when the lunar orbit semi-major axis, a, was 32 Earth's radius, RE. We find a

  19. Disc-shaped fossils resembling porpitids or eldonids from the early Cambrian (Series 2: Stage 4) of western USA

    PubMed Central

    Kurkewicz, Richard; Shinogle, Heather; Kimmig, Julien; MacGabhann, Breandán Anraoi

    2017-01-01

    The morphology and affinities of newly discovered disc-shaped, soft-bodied fossils from the early Cambrian (Series 2: Stage 4, Dyeran) Carrara Formation are discussed. These specimens show some similarity to the Ordovician Discophyllum Hall, 1847; traditionally this taxon had been treated as a fossil porpitid. However, recently it has instead been referred to as another clade, the eldonids, which includes the enigmatic Eldonia Walcott, 1911 that was originally described from the Cambrian Burgess Shale. The status of various Proterozoic and Phanerozoic taxa previously referred to porpitids and eldonids is also briefly considered. To help ascertain that the specimens were not dubio- or pseudofossils, elemental mapping using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) was conducted. This, in conjunction with the morphology of the specimens, indicated that the fossils were not hematite, iron sulfide, pyrolusite, or other abiologic mineral precipitates. Instead, their status as biologic structures and thus actual fossils is supported. Enrichment in the element carbon, and also possibly to some extent the elements magnesium and iron, seems to be playing some role in the preservation process. PMID:28603667

  20. Disc-shaped fossils resembling porpitids or eldonids from the early Cambrian (Series 2: Stage 4) of western USA.

    PubMed

    Lieberman, Bruce S; Kurkewicz, Richard; Shinogle, Heather; Kimmig, Julien; MacGabhann, Breandán Anraoi

    2017-01-01

    The morphology and affinities of newly discovered disc-shaped, soft-bodied fossils from the early Cambrian (Series 2: Stage 4, Dyeran) Carrara Formation are discussed. These specimens show some similarity to the Ordovician Discophyllum Hall, 1847; traditionally this taxon had been treated as a fossil porpitid. However, recently it has instead been referred to as another clade, the eldonids, which includes the enigmatic Eldonia Walcott, 1911 that was originally described from the Cambrian Burgess Shale. The status of various Proterozoic and Phanerozoic taxa previously referred to porpitids and eldonids is also briefly considered. To help ascertain that the specimens were not dubio- or pseudofossils, elemental mapping using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) was conducted. This, in conjunction with the morphology of the specimens, indicated that the fossils were not hematite, iron sulfide, pyrolusite, or other abiologic mineral precipitates. Instead, their status as biologic structures and thus actual fossils is supported. Enrichment in the element carbon, and also possibly to some extent the elements magnesium and iron, seems to be playing some role in the preservation process.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Biotic immigration events, speciation, and the accumulation of biodiversity in the fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stigall, Alycia L.; Bauer, Jennifer E.; Lam, Adriane R.; Wright, David F.

    2017-01-01

    Biotic Immigration Events (BIMEs) record the large-scale dispersal of taxa from one biogeographic area to another and have significantly impacted biodiversity throughout geologic time. BIMEs associated with biodiversity increases have been linked to ecologic and evolutionary processes including niche partitioning, species packing, and higher speciation rates. Yet substantial biodiversity decline has also been documented following BIMEs due to elevated extinction and/or reduced speciation rates. In this review, we develop a conceptual model for biodiversity accumulation that links BIMEs and geographic isolation with local (α) diversity, regional (β) diversity, and global (γ) diversity metrics. Within the model, BIME intervals are characterized by colonization of existing species within new geographic regions and a lack of successful speciation events. Thus, there is no change in γ-diversity, and α-diversity increases at the cost of β-diversity. An interval of regional isolation follows in which lineage splitting results in successful speciation events and diversity increases across all three metrics. Alternation of these two regimes can result in substantial biodiversity accumulation. We tested this conceptual model using a series of case studies from the paleontological record. We primarily focus on two intervals during the Middle through Late Ordovician Period (470-458 Ma): the globally pervasive BIMEs during the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event (GOBE) and a regional BIME, the Richmondian Invasion. We further test the conceptual model by examining the Great Devonian Interchange, Neogene mollusk migrations and diversification, and the Great American Biotic Interchange. Paleontological data accord well with model predictions. Constraining the mechanisms of biodiversity accumulation provides context for conservation biology. Because α-, β-, and γ-diversity are semi-independent, different techniques should be considered for sustaining various

  5. A new U-Pb zircon age and a volcanogenic model for the early Permian Chemnitz Fossil Forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luthardt, Ludwig; Hofmann, Mandy; Linnemann, Ulf; Gerdes, Axel; Marko, Linda; Rößler, Ronny

    2018-04-01

    The Chemnitz Fossil Forest depicts one of the most completely preserved forest ecosystems in late Paleozoic Northern Hemisphere of tropical Pangaea. Fossil biota was preserved as a T0 taphocoenosis resulting from the instantaneous entombment by volcanic ashes of the Zeisigwald Tuff. The eruption depicts one of the late magmatic events of post-variscan rhyolitic volcanism in Central Europe. This study represents a multi-method evaluation of the pyroclastic ejecta encompassing sedimentological and (isotope) geochemical approaches to shed light on magmatic and volcanic processes, and their role in preserving the fossil assemblage. The Zeisigwald Tuff pyroclastics (ZTP) reveal a radiometric age of 291 ± 2 Ma, pointing to a late Sakmarian/early Artinskian (early Permian) stratigraphic position for the Chemnitz Fossil Forest. The initial eruption was of phreatomagmatic style producing deposits of cool, wet ashes, which deposited from pyroclastic fall out and density currents. Culmination of the eruption is reflected by massive hot and dry ignimbrites. Whole-rock geochemistry and zircon grain analysis show that pyroclastic deposits originated from a felsic, highly specialised magma, which underwent advanced fractionation, and is probably related to post-Carboniferous magmatism in the Western Erzgebirge. The ascending magma recycled old cadomic crust of the Saxo-thuringian zone, likely induced by a mantle-derived heat flow during a phase of post-variscan crustal delamination. Geochemical trends within the succession of the basal pyroclastic horizons reflect inverse zonation of the magma chamber and provide evidence for the continuous eruption and thus a simultaneous burial of the diverse ecosystem.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horacek, Ivan; Lozek, Vojen

    2010-05-01

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

  9. The performance of field scientists undertaking observations of early life fossils while in simulated space suit

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Willson, D.; Rask, J. C.; George, S. C.; de Leon, P.; Bonaccorsi, R.; Blank, J.; Slocombe, J.; Silburn, K.; Steele, H.; Gargarno, M.; McKay, C. P.

    2014-01-01

    We conducted simulated Apollo Extravehicular Activity's (EVA) at the 3.45 Ga Australian 'Pilbara Dawn of life' (Western Australia) trail with field and non-field scientists using the University of North Dakota's NDX-1 pressurizable space suit to overview the effectiveness of scientist astronauts employing their field observation skills while looking for stromatolite fossil evidence. Off-world scientist astronauts will be faced with space suit limitations in vision, human sense perception, mobility, dexterity, the space suit fit, time limitations, and the psychological fear of death from accidents, causing physical fatigue reducing field science performance. Finding evidence of visible biosignatures for past life such as stromatolite fossils, on Mars, is a very significant discovery. Our preliminary overview trials showed that when in simulated EVAs, 25% stromatolite fossil evidence is missed with more incorrect identifications compared to ground truth surveys but providing quality characterization descriptions becomes less affected by simulated EVA limitations as the science importance of the features increases. Field scientists focused more on capturing high value characterization detail from the rock features whereas non-field scientists focused more on finding many features. We identified technologies and training to improve off-world field science performance. The data collected is also useful for NASA's "EVA performance and crew health" research program requirements but further work will be required to confirm the conclusions.

  10. Involvement of microbial mats in early fossilization by decay delay and formation of impressions and replicas of vertebrates and invertebrates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iniesto, Miguel; Buscalioni, Ángela D.; Carmen Guerrero, M.; Benzerara, Karim; Moreira, David; López-Archilla, Ana I.

    2016-05-01

    Microbial mats have been hypothesized to improve the persistence and the preservation of organic remains during fossilization processes. We test this hypothesis with long-term experiments (up to 5.5 years) using invertebrate and vertebrate corpses. Once placed on mats, the microbial community coats the corpses and forms a three-dimensional sarcophagus composed of microbial cells and exopolymeric substances (EPS). This coverage provides a template for i) moulding superficial features, resulting in negative impressions, and ii) generating replicas. The impressions of fly setulae, fish scales and frog skin verrucae are shaped mainly by small cells in an EPS matrix. Microbes also replicate delicate structures such as the three successive layers that compose a fish eye. The sarcophagus protects the body integrity, allowing the persistence of inner organs such as the ovaries and digestive apparatus in flies, the swim bladder and muscles in fish, and the bone marrow in frog legs. This study brings strong experimental evidence to the idea that mats favour metazoan fossilization by moulding, replicating and delaying decay. Rapid burial has classically been invoked as a mechanism to explain exceptional preservation. However, mats may play a similar role during early fossilization as they can preserve complex features for a long time.

  11. Retrieving chronological age from dental remains of early fossil hominins to reconstruct human growth in the past.

    PubMed

    Dean, M Christopher

    2010-10-27

    A chronology of dental development in Pan troglodytes is arguably the best available model with which to compare and contrast reconstructed dental chronologies of the earliest fossil hominins. Establishing a time scale for growth is a requirement for being able to make further comparative observations about timing and rate during both dento-skeletal growth and brain growth. The absolute timing of anterior tooth crown and root formation appears not to reflect the period of somatic growth. In contrast, the molar dentition best reflects changes to the total growth period. Earlier initiation of molar mineralization, shorter crown formation times, less root length formed at gingival emergence into functional occlusion are cumulatively expressed as earlier ages at molar eruption. Things that are similar in modern humans and Pan, such as the total length of time taken to form individual teeth, raise expectations that these would also have been the same in fossil hominins. The best evidence there is from the youngest fossil hominin specimens suggests a close resemblance to the model for Pan but also hints that Gorilla may be a better developmental model for some. A mosaic of great ape-like features currently best describes the timing of early hominin dental development.

  12. Retrieving chronological age from dental remains of early fossil hominins to reconstruct human growth in the past

    PubMed Central

    Dean, M. Christopher

    2010-01-01

    A chronology of dental development in Pan troglodytes is arguably the best available model with which to compare and contrast reconstructed dental chronologies of the earliest fossil hominins. Establishing a time scale for growth is a requirement for being able to make further comparative observations about timing and rate during both dento-skeletal growth and brain growth. The absolute timing of anterior tooth crown and root formation appears not to reflect the period of somatic growth. In contrast, the molar dentition best reflects changes to the total growth period. Earlier initiation of molar mineralization, shorter crown formation times, less root length formed at gingival emergence into functional occlusion are cumulatively expressed as earlier ages at molar eruption. Things that are similar in modern humans and Pan, such as the total length of time taken to form individual teeth, raise expectations that these would also have been the same in fossil hominins. The best evidence there is from the youngest fossil hominin specimens suggests a close resemblance to the model for Pan but also hints that Gorilla may be a better developmental model for some. A mosaic of great ape-like features currently best describes the timing of early hominin dental development. PMID:20855313

  13. Involvement of microbial mats in early fossilization by decay delay and formation of impressions and replicas of vertebrates and invertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Iniesto, Miguel; Buscalioni, Ángela D.; Carmen Guerrero, M.; Benzerara, Karim; Moreira, David; López-Archilla, Ana I.

    2016-01-01

    Microbial mats have been hypothesized to improve the persistence and the preservation of organic remains during fossilization processes. We test this hypothesis with long-term experiments (up to 5.5 years) using invertebrate and vertebrate corpses. Once placed on mats, the microbial community coats the corpses and forms a three-dimensional sarcophagus composed of microbial cells and exopolymeric substances (EPS). This coverage provides a template for i) moulding superficial features, resulting in negative impressions, and ii) generating replicas. The impressions of fly setulae, fish scales and frog skin verrucae are shaped mainly by small cells in an EPS matrix. Microbes also replicate delicate structures such as the three successive layers that compose a fish eye. The sarcophagus protects the body integrity, allowing the persistence of inner organs such as the ovaries and digestive apparatus in flies, the swim bladder and muscles in fish, and the bone marrow in frog legs. This study brings strong experimental evidence to the idea that mats favour metazoan fossilization by moulding, replicating and delaying decay. Rapid burial has classically been invoked as a mechanism to explain exceptional preservation. However, mats may play a similar role during early fossilization as they can preserve complex features for a long time. PMID:27162204

  14. 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.

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

    Mángano, M. Gabriela; Buatois, Luis A.; Claps, Guillermo L.

    1996-01-01

    Recent trails formed by soldier fly larvae (Díptera: 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 ichno‐genus Helminthopsis, a common element in ancient freshwater ichno‐faunas. 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 reex‐amination 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.

  16. The Xenon record of Earth's early differentiaiton

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peto, M. K.; Mukhopadhyay, S.; Kelley, K. A.

    2011-12-01

    Xenon isotopes in mantle derived rocks provide information on the early differentiation of the silicate mantle of our planet. {131,132 134,136}Xe isotopes are produced by the spontaneous fission of two different elements: the now extinct radionuclide 244Pu, and the long-lived 238U. These two parent nuclides, however, yield rather different proportion of fissiogenic Xenon isotopes. Hence, the proportion of Pu- to U-derived fission xenon is indicative of the degree and rate of outgassing of a mantle reservoir. Recent data obtained from Iceland in our lab confirm that the Xenon isotopic composition of the plume source(s) is characterized by lower 136Xe/130Xe ratios than the MORB source and the Iceland plume is more enriched in the Pu-derived Xenon component. These features are interpreted as reflecting different degrees of outgassing and appear not to be the result of preferential recycling of Xenon to the deep mantle. To further investigate how representative the Icelandic measurements might be of other mantle plumes, we measured noble gases (He, Ne, Ar, Xe) in gas-rich basalt glasses from the Rochambeau Ridge (RR) in the Northern Lau Basin. Recent work suggests the presence of a "Samoan-like" OIB source in the northern Lau Basin and our measurements were performed on samples with plume-like 3He/4He ratios (15-28 RA) [1]. The Xenon isotopic measurements indicate that the maximum measured 136Xe/130Xe ratios in the Rochambeau samples are similar to Iceland. In particular, for one of the gas rich samples we were able to obtain 77 different isotopic measurements through step-crushing. Preliminary investigation of this sample suggests higher Pu- to U-derived fission Xenon than in MORBs. To quantitatively evaluate the degree and rate of outgassing of the plume and MORB reservoirs, particularly during the first few hundred million years of Earth's history, we have modified a geochemical reservoir model that was previously developed to investigate mantle overturn and mixing

  17. Constraints on Early Triassic carbon cycle dynamics from paired organic and inorganic carbon isotope records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meyer, K. M.; Yu, M.; Lehrmann, D.; van de Schootbrugge, B.; Payne, J. L.

    2013-01-01

    Large δ13C excursions, anomalous carbonate precipitates, low diversity assemblages of small fossils, and evidence for marine euxinia in uppermost Permian and Lower Triassic strata bear more similarity to Neoproterozoic carbonates than to the remainders of the Permian and Triassic systems. Middle Triassic diversification of marine ecosystems coincided with the waning of anoxia and stabilization of the global carbon cycle, suggesting that environment-ecosystem linkages were important to biological recovery. However, the Earth system behavior responsible for these large δ13C excursions remains poorly constrained. Here we present a continuous Early Triassic δ13Corg record from south China and use it to test the extent to which Early Triassic excursions in δ13Ccarb record changes in the δ13C of marine dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). Regression analysis demonstrates a significant positive correlation between δ13Corg and δ13Ccarb across multiple sections that span a paleoenvironmental gradient. Such a correlation is incompatible with diagenetic alteration because no likely mechanism will alter both δ13Corg and δ13Ccarb records in parallel and therefore strongly indicates a primary depositional origin. A simple explanation for this correlation is that a substantial portion of the preserved Corg was derived from the contemporaneous DIC pool, implying that the observed excursions reflect variation in the δ13C of the exogenic carbon reservoir (ocean, atmosphere, biomass). These findings support existing evidence that large δ13C excursions are primary and therefore strengthen the case that large-scale changes to the carbon cycle were mechanistically linked to the low diversity and small size of Early Triassic fossils. Associated sedimentary and biogeochemical phenomena further suggest that similar associations in Neoproterozoic and Cambrian strata may reflect the same underlying controls.

  18. Sources of non-fossil-fuel emissions in carbonaceous aerosols during early winter in Chinese cities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Di; Li, Jun; Cheng, Zhineng; Zhong, Guangcai; Zhu, Sanyuan; Ding, Ping; Shen, Chengde; Tian, Chongguo; Chen, Yingjun; Zhi, Guorui; Zhang, Gan

    2017-09-01

    China experiences frequent and severe haze outbreaks from the beginning of winter. Carbonaceous aerosols are regarded as an essential factor in controlling the formation and evolution of haze episodes. To elucidate the carbon sources of air pollution, source apportionment was conducted using radiocarbon (14C) and unique molecular organic tracers. Daily 24 h PM2. 5 samples were collected continuously from October 2013 to November 2013 in 10 Chinese cities. The 14C results indicated that non-fossil-fuel (NF) emissions were predominant in total carbon (TC; average = 65 ± 7 %). Approximately half of the EC was derived primarily from biomass burning (BB) (average = 46 ± 11 %), while over half of the organic carbon (OC) fraction comprised NF (average = 68 ± 7 %). On average, the largest contributor to TC was NF-derived secondary OC (SOCnf), which accounted for 46 ± 7 % of TC, followed by SOC derived from fossil fuels (FF) (SOCf; 16 ± 3 %), BB-derived primary OC (POCbb; 13 ± 5 %), POC derived from FF (POCf; 12 ± 3 %), EC derived from FF (ECf; 7 ± 2 %) and EC derived from BB (ECbb; 6 ± 2 %). The regional background carbonaceous aerosol composition was characterized by NF sources; POCs played a major role in northern China, while SOCs contributed more in other regions. However, during haze episodes, there were no dramatic changes in the carbon source or composition in the cities under study, but the contribution of POC from both FF and NF increased significantly.

  19. Noncanonical RNA Nucleosides as Molecular Fossils of an Early Earth-Generation by Prebiotic Methylations and Carbamoylations.

    PubMed

    Schneider, Christina; Becker, Sidney; Okamura, Hidenori; Crisp, Antony; Amatov, Tynchtyk; Stadlmeier, Michael; Carell, Thomas

    2018-05-14

    The RNA-world hypothesis assumes that life on Earth started with small RNA molecules that catalyzed their own formation. Vital to this hypothesis is the need for prebiotic routes towards RNA. Contemporary RNA, however, is not only constructed from the four canonical nucleobases (A, C, G, and U), it also contains many chemically modified (noncanonical) bases. A still open question is whether these noncanonical bases were formed in parallel to the canonical bases (chemical origin) or later, when life demanded higher functional diversity (biological origin). Here we show that isocyanates in combination with sodium nitrite establish methylating and carbamoylating reactivity compatible with early Earth conditions. These reactions lead to the formation of methylated and amino acid modified nucleosides that are still extant. Our data provide a plausible scenario for the chemical origin of certain noncanonical bases, which suggests that they are fossils of an early Earth. © 2018 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  20. Early to mid-Miocene palaeoclimate of Antarctica based on terrestrial records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ashworth, Allan; Lewis, Adam

    2017-04-01

    Paleontological and stratigraphic studies of sites in the Transantarctic Mountains (TAM) are advancing knowledge of the landscape, vegetation and climate that existed immediately before the growth of the modern East Antarctic Ice Sheet. The sites are located in the Friis Hills and the western Olympus Range in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. In both localities, parts of ancient landscapes are preserved on upland surfaces high above modern valley floors. The early to mid-Miocene interval is bracketed by 40Ar/39Ar ages on volcanic ashes of 19.76 ± 0.11 Ma to 13.85 ± 0.03 Ma. Like all glacial records it is discontinuous but even so several trends can be detected. The record is one of an evolving glacial system during which ice caps coalesced to form an ice sheet. Initially, small alpine glaciers flowed southwestward toward the continental interior eroding shallow troughs into granitic bedrock. By the close of the interval, large glaciers flowed eastward from the continental interior to the Ross Sea. The interval was marked by numerous glacial advances and retreats. Tills are matrix-rich, and outwash sands and gravels ripple-laminated and cross-bedded, typical of those associated with wet-based glaciation. The vegetation during the interval was in a dynamic flux retreating downslope during glacial advances and recolonizing valleys after retreats. Fossils accumulated in peat beds and organic silts representing lacustrine, fluvial and paludal environments. Fossils include diatoms, fungal ascomycetes, pollen and spores, lycopod megaspores, mosses, wood and leaves of Nothofagus (southern beech), fruits of vascular plants, and insect skeletal parts of Diptera (flies) and Coleoptera (beetles). The vegetation was a tundra, initially shrub- and later moss-dominated. During the interval there was a marked decline in biodiversity. Initially, there were 4 species of Nothofagus represented by different leaf types and at least 9 species of vascular plants by their seeds. At the close of

  1. Diverse Early Paleocene Fossil Floras from the San Juan Basin (New Mexico, USA) Linked to Warm and Wet Climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flynn, A. G.; Peppe, D. J.

    2017-12-01

    Early Paleocene floras from the Northern Great Plains of North America are typically far less diverse than floras from the latest Cretaceous, and are commonly dominated by long-ranging, cosmopolitan taxa. Additionally, there is pattern of decreasing species richness from the early to the middle Paleocene concurrent with a decrease in mean annual temperature (MAT). However, a diverse rainforest flora from the Denver Basin, Colorado 1.5 Myr after the K-Pg boundary run contrary to these trends. Whether this flora represents an isolated response to the extinction and climate change or regional differences between floras in the Northern Great Plains and southern North America is unclear. The majority of early Paleocene floras from North America are derived from the Northern Great Plains inhibiting regional comparisons of floral diversity, paleoclimate, and floral response to climate change or north-gradients in diversity and species richness. The San Juan Basin (SJB), located in northwest New Mexico, preserves a continuous sequence of early Paleocene terrestrial deposits making it an ideal area to study early Paleocene fossil floras from southern North America. Here we present an assessment of floral diversity and terrestrial paleoclimate reconstruction using leaf physiognomy during the first 2.6 Myrs of the early Paleocene from the SJB. Fossil plants were collected from the early Paleocene Ojo Alamo Sandstone and lower Nacimiento Formation corresponding to magnetic polarity chrons 29r - 28n ( 66.0 - 63.5 Mya). The SJB flora is more diverse than contemporaneous floras from the Northern Great Plains. The majority of SJB taxa are endemic, while taxa common in the Northern Great Plains are absent. Paleoclimate estimates using leaf physiognomy indicate high MAT ( 22-28 oC) and relatively high mean annual precipitation ( 1400-2000 mm/yr). These paleoclimate estimates are significantly warmer and wetter than previously studied localities in the Northern Great Plains. A

  2. Fossilized skin reveals coevolution with feathers and metabolism in feathered dinosaurs and early birds.

    PubMed

    McNamara, Maria E; Zhang, Fucheng; Kearns, Stuart L; Orr, Patrick J; Toulouse, André; Foley, Tara; Hone, David W E; Rogers, Chris S; Benton, Michael J; Johnson, Diane; Xu, Xing; Zhou, Zhonghe

    2018-05-25

    Feathers are remarkable evolutionary innovations that are associated with complex adaptations of the skin in modern birds. Fossilised feathers in non-avian dinosaurs and basal birds provide insights into feather evolution, but how associated integumentary adaptations evolved is unclear. Here we report the discovery of fossil skin, preserved with remarkable nanoscale fidelity, in three non-avian maniraptoran dinosaurs and a basal bird from the Cretaceous Jehol biota (China). The skin comprises patches of desquamating epidermal corneocytes that preserve a cytoskeletal array of helically coiled α-keratin tonofibrils. This structure confirms that basal birds and non-avian dinosaurs shed small epidermal flakes as in modern mammals and birds, but structural differences imply that these Cretaceous taxa had lower body heat production than modern birds. Feathered epidermis acquired many, but not all, anatomically modern attributes close to the base of the Maniraptora by the Middle Jurassic.

  3. The geological record and phylogeny of spider wasps (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae): A revision of fossil species and their phylogenetic placement

    PubMed Central

    Waichert, Cecilia; von Dohlen, Carol D.; Pitts, James P.

    2017-01-01

    Accurate fossil identification has become increasingly relevant with the widespread use of phylogenetic divergence time estimation methods, which rely on fossil data to determine clade hard-minimum ages. Here we revise, diagnose and illustrate known spider wasp (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae) fossil species and place them within the latest Pompilidae phylogenetic hypothesis. Ceropalites infelix Cockerell, from the Florissant Fossil Beds (Priabonian), is no longer recognized as Pompilidae, but as Aulacidae. Agenioideus saxigenus (Cockerell) comb. nov., Deuteragenia wettweri (Statz) comb. nov., Caputelus scudderi (Cockerell, 1906) comb. nov., Pepsinites avitula (Cockerell, 1941) comb. nov., Pepsinites contentus (Theobald, 1937) comb. nov., Pepsinites florissantensis (Cockerell, 1906) comb. nov., Pepsinites laminarum (Rohwer, 1909) comb. nov., Pepsinites scelerosus (Meunier, 1919) comb. nov., Pepsinites cockerellae (Rohwer, 1909) comb. nov., Pompilinites coquandi (Theobald, 1937) comb. nov., Pompilinites depressus (Statz, 1936) comb. nov., Pompilites incertus (Theobald, 1937) comb. nov., Pompilites induratus (Heer, 1849) comb. nov., Pompilites fasciatus (Theobald, 1937) comb. nov., and Pompilites senex comb. nov. are new combinations. Twenty-three fossil species of spider wasps are now recognized in 13 genera. Four new genera are proposed: Caputelus Waichert & Pitts gen. nov., Pompilites Rodriguez gen. nov., Pompilinites Rodriguez & Waichert gen. nov., and Pepsinites Rodriguez & Waichert gen. nov., of which the three latter are collective-group names for fossils with taxonomic uncertainty. One species of fossil spider wasp is described: Deuteragenia catalunyia Rodriguez, Waichert & Pitts sp. nov., from the Bellver deposits in Catalonia, Spain. Five of the 23 known species can be used to determine hard-minimum age for calibrations of genera stem-groups (Agenioideus, Anoplius, Cryptocheilus, Deuteragenia, Priocnemis). The fossil belonging to the stem-group of the tribe

  4. The geological record and phylogeny of spider wasps (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae): A revision of fossil species and their phylogenetic placement.

    PubMed

    Rodriguez, Juanita; Waichert, Cecilia; von Dohlen, Carol D; Pitts, James P

    2017-01-01

    Accurate fossil identification has become increasingly relevant with the widespread use of phylogenetic divergence time estimation methods, which rely on fossil data to determine clade hard-minimum ages. Here we revise, diagnose and illustrate known spider wasp (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae) fossil species and place them within the latest Pompilidae phylogenetic hypothesis. Ceropalites infelix Cockerell, from the Florissant Fossil Beds (Priabonian), is no longer recognized as Pompilidae, but as Aulacidae. Agenioideus saxigenus (Cockerell) comb. nov., Deuteragenia wettweri (Statz) comb. nov., Caputelus scudderi (Cockerell, 1906) comb. nov., Pepsinites avitula (Cockerell, 1941) comb. nov., Pepsinites contentus (Theobald, 1937) comb. nov., Pepsinites florissantensis (Cockerell, 1906) comb. nov., Pepsinites laminarum (Rohwer, 1909) comb. nov., Pepsinites scelerosus (Meunier, 1919) comb. nov., Pepsinites cockerellae (Rohwer, 1909) comb. nov., Pompilinites coquandi (Theobald, 1937) comb. nov., Pompilinites depressus (Statz, 1936) comb. nov., Pompilites incertus (Theobald, 1937) comb. nov., Pompilites induratus (Heer, 1849) comb. nov., Pompilites fasciatus (Theobald, 1937) comb. nov., and Pompilites senex comb. nov. are new combinations. Twenty-three fossil species of spider wasps are now recognized in 13 genera. Four new genera are proposed: Caputelus Waichert & Pitts gen. nov., Pompilites Rodriguez gen. nov., Pompilinites Rodriguez & Waichert gen. nov., and Pepsinites Rodriguez & Waichert gen. nov., of which the three latter are collective-group names for fossils with taxonomic uncertainty. One species of fossil spider wasp is described: Deuteragenia catalunyia Rodriguez, Waichert & Pitts sp. nov., from the Bellver deposits in Catalonia, Spain. Five of the 23 known species can be used to determine hard-minimum age for calibrations of genera stem-groups (Agenioideus, Anoplius, Cryptocheilus, Deuteragenia, Priocnemis). The fossil belonging to the stem-group of the tribe

  5. An Early Holocene Record of Cimex (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) From Western North America.

    PubMed

    Adams, Martin E; Jenkins, Dennis L

    2017-07-01

    The subfossil remains of 14 cimicids (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) were recovered during archaeological investigations of the Paisley Five Mile Point Cave site (35LK3400), an exceptionally well-dated (n = 229 radiocarbon dates) late Pleistocene-early Holocene rock shelter site in south-central Oregon. Nine of the specimens have been assigned to three modern species of Nearctic Cimicidae-Cimex antennatus Usinger & Ueshima, Cimex latipennis Usinger & Ueshima, and Cimex pilosellus (Horváth)-whereas the remaining five individuals were too fragmentary to positively identify. The chronology of the insect assemblage puts one specimen at circa 5,100 calibrated years before present (cal. yr BP), and the remaining 13 range in age from 9,400 to almost 11,000 cal. yr BP. Although fossil and subfossil cimicid remains have been recovered at other archaeological sites, the fossil record for bed bugs is largely undocumented. The Paisley Caves specimens thus far represent the oldest remains of the genus in probable contact with humans on record. © The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  6. Remnants of an ancient forest provide ecological context for Early Miocene fossil apes.

    PubMed

    Michel, Lauren A; Peppe, Daniel J; Lutz, James A; Driese, Steven G; Dunsworth, Holly M; Harcourt-Smith, William E H; Horner, William H; Lehmann, Thomas; Nightingale, Sheila; McNulty, Kieran P

    2014-01-01

    The lineage of apes and humans (Hominoidea) evolved and radiated across Afro-Arabia in the early Neogene during a time of global climatic changes and ongoing tectonic processes that formed the East African Rift. These changes probably created highly variable environments and introduced selective pressures influencing the diversification of early apes. However, interpreting the connection between environmental dynamics and adaptive evolution is hampered by difficulties in locating taxa within specific ecological contexts: time-averaged or reworked deposits may not faithfully represent individual palaeohabitats. Here we present multiproxy evidence from Early Miocene deposits on Rusinga Island, Kenya, which directly ties the early ape Proconsul to a widespread, dense, multistoried, closed-canopy tropical seasonal forest set in a warm and relatively wet, local climate. These results underscore the importance of forested environments in the evolution of early apes.

  7. Unmixing the young fossil record using radiocarbon-calibrated amino-acid racemization (Gulf of Trieste, northern Adriatic Sea)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tomašových, Adam; Gallmetzer, Ivo; Haselmair, Alex; Kaufman, Darrell S.; Vidović, Jelena; Zuschin, Martin

    2017-04-01

    Marine coastal habitats globally have been affected by eutrophication, hypoxia, habitat alteration, overfishing, and resource exploitation over recent decades. However, reconstruction of past natural ecosystem states is compromised by short-term archives and biotic surveys limited to the past decades and/or by low stratigraphic resolution of fossil assemblages in sedimentary cores due to slow sedimentation and bioturbation. In the northern Adriatic Sea, which was affected by eutrophication, algal blooms and mucilage blooms, and hypoxia during the second half of the 20th century, the composition of natural baseline states of benthic ecosystems and their responses to natural and anthropogenic disturbances over longer, centennial scales are poorly known. In this study, we evaluate the timing and forcing of past hypoxia events in the northern Adriatic Sea (Gulf of Trieste) based on the production history of the opportunistic, hypoxia-tolerant bivalve Corbula gibba, using 210Pb data, radiocarbon dating, amino acid racemization, and distribution of foraminifers in 1.5-m-thick sediment cores that capture the past 500 yr. Corbula gibba tolerates eutrophied and polluted conditions and survives seasonal hypoxic and mass mortality events affecting most of the benthic macrofauna in the northern Adriatic Sea. In the aftermath of such events, it can achieve density of thousands of individuals/1 m2 and can contribute with more than 80% of individuals to the bivalve assemblage. Unmixing the stratigraphic record of cores on the basis of 311 shells of C. gibba, we show that production of this species underwent major decadal-scale fluctuations since the 18th century, with outbreaks corresponding to density of more than 1000 individuals per square meter. A positive correlation between abundances of hypoxia-tolerant foraminifers and C. gibba, the temporal coincidence between the peak in abundance at 1980 and several hypoxic crises in the Gulf of Trieste in 1974, 1980, and 1983, and the

  8. Pronounced occurrence of long-chain alkenones and dinosterol in a 25,000-year lipid molecular fossil record from Lake Titicaca, South America

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Theissen, Kevin M.; Zinniker, David A.; Moldowan, J. Michael; Dunbar, Robert B.; Rowe, Harold D.

    2005-02-01

    Our analysis of lipid molecular fossils from a Lake Titicaca (16° S, 69° W) sediment core reveals distinct changes in the ecology of the lake over an ˜25,000-yr period spanning latest Pleistocene to late Holocene time. Previous investigations have shown that over this time period Lake Titicaca was subject to large changes in lake level in response to regional climatic variability. Our results indicate that lake algal populations were greatly affected by the changing physical and chemical conditions in Lake Titicaca. Hydrocarbons are characterized by a combination of odd-numbered, mid- to long-chain (C 21-C 31) normal alkanes and alkenes. During periods when lake level was higher (latest Pleistocene, early Holocene, and late Holocene), the C 21n-alkane, and the C 25 and C 27 alkenes dominate hydrocarbon distributions and indicate contribution from an algal source, potentially the freshwater alga Botryococcus braunii. The C 30 4 α-methyl sterol (dinosterol) increases sharply during the mid-Holocene, suggesting a greatly increased dinoflagellate presence at that time. Long-chain alkenones (LCAs) become significant during the early Holocene and are highly abundant in mid-Holocene samples. There are relatively few published records of LCA detection in lake sediments but their occurrence is geographically widespread (Antarctica, Asia, Europe, North America). Lake Titicaca represents the first South American lake and the first low-latitude lake in which LCAs have been reported. LCA abundance and distribution may be related to the temperature-dependent response of an unidentified algal precursor. Although the LCA unsaturation indices cannot be used to determine absolute Lake Titicaca temperatures, we suspect that the published LCA U37K unsaturation calibrations can be applied to infer relative temperatures for early to mid-Holocene time when LCA concentrations are high. Using these criteria, the U37K unsaturation indices suggest relatively warmer temperatures in the

  9. Exceptional fossil preservation demonstrates a new mode of axial skeleton elongation in early ray-finned fishes.

    PubMed

    Maxwell, Erin E; Furrer, Heinz; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    2013-01-01

    Elongate body plans have evolved independently multiple times in vertebrates, and involve either an increase in the number or in the length of the vertebrae. Here, we describe a new mechanism of body elongation in saurichthyids, an extinct group of elongate early ray-finned fishes. The rare preservation of soft tissue in a specimen of Saurichthys curionii from the Middle Triassic (Ladinian) of Switzerland provides significant new information on the relationship between the musculature and the skeleton. This new fossil material shows that elongation in these fishes results from doubling the number of neural arch-like elements per myomeric segment. This unique way of generating an elongate body plan demonstrates the evolutionary lability of the vertebral column in non-teleostean fishes. The shape and arrangement of preserved myosepta suggest that S. curionii was not a highly flexible fish, in spite of the increase in the number of neural arch-like elements.

  10. †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

  11. First record of lobed trace fossils in Brazil's Upper Cretaceous paleosols: Rhizoliths or evidence of insects and their social behavior?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luciano do Nascimento, Diego; Batezelli, Alessandro; Bernardes Ladeira, Francisco Sérgio

    2017-11-01

    This is the first report of trace fossils potentially associated with insect social behavior in sandy and well-drained paleosols of the Upper Cretaceous continental sequence of Brazil. The trace fossils consist of dozens of lobed and vertical structures cemented by CaCO3 and preserved mainly in full relief in paleosols of the Marilia Formation (Bauru Basin) in the state of Minas Gerais. The described ichnofossils are predominantly vertical, up to 2 m long, and are composed of horizontal lobed structures connected by vertical tunnel-like structures that intersect in the center and at the edges. The lobed structures range from 3 to 15 cm long and 2-6 cm thick. Two different hypotheses are analyzed to explain the origin of the trace fossils; the less probable one is that the structures are laminar calcretes associated with rhizoliths and rhizoconcretions. The hypothesis involving social insects was considered because the trace fossils described herein partially resemble a modern ant nest and the ichnofossil Daimoniobarax. The micromorphological analysis of the lobed and tunnel-like structures indicates modifications of the walls, such as the presence of inorganic fluidized linings, dark linings and oriented grains, supporting the hypothesis that they are chambers and shafts. The architecture and size of the reported nests suggest the possibility that social insect colonies existed during the Maastrichtian and are direct evidence of the social behavior and reproductive strategies of the Cretaceous pedofauna.

  12. Early Modern Humans and Morphological Variation in Southeast Asia: Fossil Evidence from Tam Pa Ling, Laos

    PubMed Central

    Demeter, Fabrice; Shackelford, Laura; Westaway, Kira; Duringer, Philippe; Bacon, Anne-Marie; Ponche, Jean-Luc; Wu, Xiujie; Sayavongkhamdy, Thongsa; Zhao, Jian-Xin; Barnes, Lani; Boyon, Marc; Sichanthongtip, Phonephanh; Sénégas, Frank; Karpoff, Anne-Marie; Patole-Edoumba, Elise; Coppens, Yves; Braga, José

    2015-01-01

    Little is known about the timing of modern human emergence and occupation in Eastern Eurasia. However a rapid migration out of Africa into Southeast Asia by at least 60 ka is supported by archaeological, paleogenetic and paleoanthropological data. Recent discoveries in Laos, a modern human cranium (TPL1) from Tam Pa Ling‘s cave, provided the first evidence for the presence of early modern humans in mainland Southeast Asia by 63-46 ka. In the current study, a complete human mandible representing a second individual, TPL 2, is described using discrete traits and geometric morphometrics with an emphasis on determining its population affinity. The TPL2 mandible has a chin and other discrete traits consistent with early modern humans, but it retains a robust lateral corpus and internal corporal morphology typical of archaic humans across the Old World. The mosaic morphology of TPL2 and the fully modern human morphology of TPL1 suggest that a large range of morphological variation was present in early modern human populations residing in the eastern Eurasia by MIS 3. PMID:25849125

  13. 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

  14. Casebooks in early modern England: medicine, astrology, and written records.

    PubMed

    Kassell, Lauren

    2014-01-01

    Casebooks are the richest sources that we have for encounters between early modern medical practitioners and their patients. This article compares astrological and medical records across two centuries, focused on England, and charts developments in the ways in which practitioners kept records and reflected on their practices. Astrologers had a long history of working from particular moments, stellar configurations, and events to general rules. These practices required systematic notation. Physicians increasingly modeled themselves on Hippocrates, recording details of cases as the basis for reasoned expositions of the histories of disease. Medical records, as other scholars have demonstrated, shaped the production of medical knowledge. Instead, this article focuses on the nature of casebooks as artifacts of the medical encounter. It establishes that casebooks were serial records of practice, akin to diaries, testimonials, and registers; identifies extant English casebooks and the practices that led to their production and preservation; and concludes that the processes of writing, ordering, and preserving medical records are as important for understanding the medical encounter as the records themselves.

  15. Aural exostoses (surfer's ear) provide vital fossil evidence of an aquatic phase in Man's early evolution.

    PubMed

    Rhys Evans, P H; Cameron, M

    2017-11-01

    For over a century, otolaryngologists have recognised the condition of aural exostoses, but their significance and aetiology remains obscure, although they tend to be associated with frequent swimming and cold water immersion of the auditory canal. The fact that this condition is usually bilateral is predictable since both ears are immersed in water. However, why do exostoses only grow in swimmers and why do they grow in the deep bony meatus at two or three constant sites? Furthermore, from an evolutionary point of view, what is or was the purpose and function of these rather incongruous protrusions? In recent decades, paleoanthropological evidence has challenged ideas about early hominid evolution. In 1992 the senior author suggested that aural exostoses were evolved in early hominid Man for protection of the delicate tympanic membrane during swimming and diving by narrowing the ear canal in a similar fashion to other semiaquatic species. We now provide evidence for this theory and propose an aetiological explanation for the formation of exostoses.

  16. "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)

  17. 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…

  18. 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,…

  19. A unique fossil record from neptunian sills: the world's most extreme example of stratigraphic condensation (Jurassic, western Sicily)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wendt, Jobst

    2017-06-01

    Neptunian sills at Rocca Busambra, a fragment of the Trapanese/Saccense Domain in western Sicily, host the most abundant ammonite and gastropod fauna which has ever been recorded from the Jurassic of the western Tethys. The fauna is dominated by parautochthonous organisms which were swept into the sills by gentle transport. Ammonites are characterized by perfect preservation and small size, a feature which is due to the predominance of microconchs but also of stunting. The most complete sill is 0.7 m thick and could be separated into 17 levels which range in age from the early Toarcian into the late Kimmeridgian, thus representing the most extreme case of palaeontologically and depositionally documented stratigraphic condensation in Earth history. The unique feature of the Rocca Busambra sills is due to the interaction of three processes: extreme stratigraphic condensation on the sea floor, weak tectonic fracturing of the host rock and repeated reopening on top of already existing sills. Contrasting percentages of gastropods in individual levels reflect sea-level oscillations which correspond to long known low- and highstands during the Jurassic of the western Tethys. Comparisons with other ammonite-bearing sill faunas reveal several similarities, but represent only short-timed phases of tectonic pulses and deposition.

  20. 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.

  1. A reappraisal of the stratigraphy and chronology of Early Pliocene palaeontological sites from Lanzarote Island containing fossil terrestrial animals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lomoschitz, Alejandro; Sánchez Marco, Antonio; Huertas, María José; Betancort, Juan F.; Isern, Arnau; Sanz, Elena; Meco, Joaquín

    2016-11-01

    The Famara massif, in the north of Lanzarote Island, constitutes the remains of a former island inhabited by the oldest known vertebrate fauna of the Canary archipelago off the coast of Africa. In this study, new ages are offered for the underlying and overlying basaltic lava flows of two paleontological sites. The island's three major palaeontological sites, which contain remains of this ancient fauna (Valle Grande, Valle Chico and Fuente de Gusa), are intercorrelated according to their lithologies, sedimentology, palaeontological content and geochronology. The new K/Ar age interval for the fossiliferous sedimentary deposits ranges between 4.3 ± 0.7 and 3.78 ± 0.71 Ma, within the Early Pliocene, and shows that the first known terrestrial animals in Lanzarote were present on the island for about 500 ka. The principal component of the deposits is a bioclastic calcarenite of aeolian origin (sand sheet deposits), which is present in all three sites and constitutes 65% of the beds. The remaining 35% is of fluvial-aeolian origin (mainly stream deposits). All the beds contain the same fossils (insect egg pods, land snails, avian eggshells and tortoise eggshells). The local palaeogeography and the formation of the deposits were conditioned by a flat plain, larger than 16 km2, over which aeolian sands moved freely with a prevailing NNE-WSW wind direction. In agreement with previous investigations, the palaeoclimate in this interval (ca. 4.3 to 3.8 Ma) must have been mainly dry with some rainy episodes.

  2. Eumetazoan fossils in terminal Proterozoic phosphorites?

    PubMed Central

    Xiao, Shuhai; Yuan, Xunlai; Knoll, Andrew H.

    2000-01-01

    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

  3. Fossil amphibians and reptiles from Tegelen (Province of Limburg) and the early Pleistocene palaeoclimate of The Netherlands

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Villa, Andrea; Blain, Hugues-Alexandre; van den Hoek Ostende, Lars W.; Delfino, Massimo

    2018-05-01

    Few Quaternary herpetofaunas have been recovered from The Netherlands. Among these, the one coming from the early Pleistocene site of the Russel-Tiglia-Egypte pit near Tegelen is of particular interest, because it is the type locality of the recently described, last western European palaeobatrachid anuran, Palaeobatrachus eurydices. The large number of fossil remains of amphibians and reptiles found in the pit are representative of a very diverse fauna, including at least 17 taxa: Triturus gr. T. cristatus, Lissotriton sp., Pelobates fuscus, Bufo bufo, Bombina sp., Pelophylax sp., Rana sp., Hyla gr. H. arborea, Pelodytes sp., Mauremys sp., Lacerta sp., Lacertidae indet., Anguis gr. A. fragilis, cf. Pseudopus sp., "colubrines" indet., Natrix natrix and Vipera sp. Emys orbicularis, previously reported from a different Tegelen pit, is not present in this assemblage. Palaeoclimatic conditions reconstructed based on the herpetofaunistic association indicate a humid subtropical climate (Cfa according to the Köppen-Geiger classification of climates) for Tegelen during the TC5 section of the Tiglian, with low, but fairly regular rainfalls during the year. Mean annual temperature was 13.4 ± 0.3 °C and mean annual precipitation was 542 ± 50 mm. Moreover, three dry months were present during summer and early autumn, resulting in a much drier climate than the one present at Tegelen today. Nevertheless, the occurrence of the water-dwelling P. eurydices suggests the persistence of suitable permanent water bodies during the whole year, and the survival of this taxon in this part of Europe might have been allowed by the generally humid climate.

  4. Chronology for the Cueva Victoria fossil site (SE Spain): Evidence for Early Pleistocene Afro-Iberian dispersals.

    PubMed

    Gibert, Luis; Scott, Gary R; Scholz, Denis; Budsky, Alexander; Ferràndez, Carles; Ribot, Francesc; Martin, Robert A; Lería, María

    2016-01-01

    Cueva Victoria has provided remains of more than 90 species of fossil vertebrates, including a hominin phalanx, and the only specimens of the African cercopithecid Theropithecus oswaldi in Europe. To constrain the age of the vertebrate remains we used paleomagnetism, vertebrate biostratigraphy and (230)Th/U dating. Normal polarity was identified in the non-fossiliferous lowest and highest stratigraphic units (red clay and capping flowstones) while reverse polarity was found in the intermediate stratigraphic unit (fossiliferous breccia). A lower polarity change occurred during the deposition of the decalcification clay, when the cave was closed and karstification was active. A second polarity change occurred during the capping flowstone formation, when the upper galleries were filled with breccia. The mammal association indicates a post-Jaramillo age, which allows us to correlate this upper reversal with the Brunhes-Matuyama boundary (0.78 Ma). Consequently, the lower reversal (N-R) is interpreted as the end of the Jaramillo magnetochron (0.99 Ma). These ages bracket the age of the fossiliferous breccia between 0.99 and 0.78 Ma, suggesting that the capping flowstone was formed during the wet Marine Isotopic Stage 19, which includes the Brunhes-Matuyama boundary. Fossil remains of Theropithecus have been only found in situ ∼1 m below the B/M boundary, which allows us to place the arrival of Theropithecus to Cueva Victoria at ∼0.9-0.85 Ma. The fauna of Cueva Victoria lived during a period of important climatic change, known as the Early-Middle Pleistocene Climatic Transition. The occurrence of the oldest European Acheulean tools at the contemporaneous nearby site of Cueva Negra suggest an African dispersal into SE Iberia through the Strait of Gibraltar during MIS 22, when sea-level was ∼100 m below its present position, allowing the passage into Europe of, at least, Theropithecus and Homo bearing Acheulean technology. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All

  5. An early record of ball lightning: Oliva (Spain), 1619

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Domínguez-Castro, Fernando

    2018-05-01

    In a primary documentary source we found an early record of ball lightning (BL), which was observed in the monastery of Pi (Oliva, southeastern Spain) on 18 October 1619. The ball lightning was observed by at least three people and was described as a rolling burning vessel and a ball of fire. The ball lightning appeared following a lightning flash, showed a mainly horizontal motion, crossed a wall, smudged an image of the Lady of Rebollet (then known as Lady of Pi) and burnt her ruff, and overturned a cross.

  6. 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.

  7. Fossil moonseeds from the Paleogene of West Gondwana (Patagonia, Argentina).

    PubMed

    Jud, Nathan A; Iglesias, Ari; Wilf, Peter; Gandolfo, Maria A

    2018-06-08

    The fossil record is critical for testing biogeographic hypotheses. Menispermaceae (moonseeds) are a widespread family with a rich fossil record and alternative hypotheses related to their origin and diversification. The family is well-represented in Cenozoic deposits of the northern hemisphere, but the record in the southern hemisphere is sparse. Filling in the southern record of moonseeds will improve our ability to evaluate alternative biogeographic hypotheses. Fossils were collected from the Salamanca (early Paleocene, Danian) and the Huitrera (early Eocene, Ypresian) formations in Chubut Province, Argentina. We photographed them using light microscopy, epifluorescence, and scanning electron microscopy and compared the fossils with similar extant and fossil Menispermaceae using herbarium specimens and published literature. We describe fossil leaves and endocarps attributed to Menispermaceae from Argentinean Patagonia. The leaves are identified to the family, and the endocarps are further identified to the tribe Cissampelideae. The Salamancan endocarp is assigned to the extant genus Stephania. These fossils significantly expand the known range of Menispermaceae in South America, and they include the oldest (ca. 64 Ma) unequivocal evidence of the family worldwide. Our findings highlight the importance of West Gondwana in the evolution of Menispermaceae during the Paleogene. Currently, the fossil record does not discern between a Laurasian or Gondwanan origin; however, it does demonstrate that Menispermaceae grew well outside the tropics by the early Paleocene. The endocarps' affinity with Cissampelideae suggests that diversification of the family was well underway by the earliest Paleocene. © 2018 The Authors. American Journal of Botany is published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of the Botanical Society of America.

  8. The early evolution of land plants, from fossils to genomics: a commentary on Lang (1937) ‘On the plant-remains from the Downtonian of England and Wales'

    PubMed Central

    Edwards, Dianne; Kenrick, Paul

    2015-01-01

    During the 1920s, the botanist W. H. Lang set out to collect and investigate some very unpromising fossils of uncertain affinity, which predated the known geological record of life on land. His discoveries led to a landmark publication in 1937, ‘On the plant-remains from the Downtonian of England and Wales’, in which he revealed a diversity of small fossil organisms of great simplicity that shed light on the nature of the earliest known land plants. These and subsequent discoveries have taken on new relevance as botanists seek to understand the plant genome and the early evolution of fundamental organ systems. Also, our developing knowledge of the composition of early land-based ecosystems and the interactions among their various components is contributing to our understanding of how life on land affects key Earth Systems (e.g. carbon cycle). The emerging paradigm is one of early life on land dominated by microbes, small bryophyte-like organisms and lichens. Collectively called cryptogamic covers, these are comparable with those that dominate certain ecosystems today. This commentary was written to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. PMID:25750238

  9. 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…

  10. 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…

  11. The Effect Of microbial Mats In The Decay Of Anurans With Implications For Understanding Taphonomic Processes In The Fossil Record

    PubMed Central

    Iniesto, M.; Villalba, I.; Buscalioni, A. D.; Guerrero, M. C.; López-Archilla, A. I.

    2017-01-01

    The pattern and sequence of the decomposition of the Pipidae African dwarf frog (Hymenochirus boettgeri) is tracked in an experiment with microbial mats in order to explore soft tissue preservation over three years. Frog decay in microbial mats is preceded by rapid entombment (25–30 days) and mediated by the formation of a sarcophagus, which is built by a complex microbial community. The frog carcasses maintained a variety of soft tissues for years. Labile organic structures show greater durability within the mat, cells maintain their general shape (bone marrow cells and adipocytes), and muscles and connective tissues (adipose and fibrous tendons) exhibit their original organic structures. In addition, other soft tissues are promptly mineralized (day 540) in a Ca-rich carbonate phase (encephalic tectum) or enriched in sulphur residues (integumentary system). The result is coherent with a bias in soft-tissue preservation, as some tissues are more likely to be conserved than others. The outcomes support observations of exceptionally preserved fossil anurans (adults and tadpoles). Decomposition in mats shows singular conditions of pH and dissolved oxygen. Mineralization processes could be more diverse than in simple heterotrophic biofilms, opening new taphonomic processes that have yet to be explored. PMID:28338095

  12. High-resolution δ13C record of fossil wood and bulk organic matter from a deep Oligocene lacustrine succession, Bach Long Vi Island, Vietnam

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rizzi, M.; Schovsbo, N. H.; Fyhn, M. B. W.; Korte, C.

    2017-12-01

    We present a high-resolution stable isotope record based on bulk organic matter (δ13Corg) and fossil wood (δ13Cwood) originating from Oligocene deep lacustrine sediments cored on the Bach Long Vi Island, northern Gulf of Tonkin, offshore Vietnam. The sediments are exceptionally well preserved. They are thus excellently suited for a detailed stratigraphical analysis of the stable isotope record and as proxy for environmental and climatic changes within this period. The sediments were deposited in rapid subsiding, narrow and elongated fault-bound graben (Fyhn and Phach, 2015) and are represented by deep pelagic lacustrine organic-rich mud interrupted by numerous density-flow deposits (Hovikoski et al., 2016). The density-flow deposits contain abundant fragments of fossil wood. Therefore it was possible to obtain 262 coalified wood fragments together with 1063 bulk organic samples throughout the span of the core. This allowed to establish a high resolution stable C isotope record (δ13Corg and δ13Cwood). In addition 2464 handheld XRF determinations were carried out to further characterize the depositional environment (Rizzi et al., 2017). The organic carbon isotope trend from the 500 m core succession provides insight into the palaeoenvironmental changes of the lake during the Oligocene. Both, global and local factors control the δ13C variations. The aim of the study is to obtain pure global δ13Corg and δ13Cwood signals that would allow comparison of the studied sediments with coeval syn-rift successions in the South China Sea region and other parts of the world. [1] Fyhn and Phach (2015) Tectonics, 34(2): 290-312. [2] Hovikoski et al. (2016) Journal of Sedimentary Research, 86(8): 982-1007. [3] Rizzi et al. (2017) EGU General Assembly Abstract EGU 2017-17584.

  13. Radiocarbon Records of Fossil Fuel Emissions From Urban Trees in the Greater Salt Lake Valley From Mid-Century to Present.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chritz, K.; Buchert, M.; Walker, J. C.; Mendoza, D.; Pataki, D. E.; Xu, X.; Lin, J. C.

    2017-12-01

    Generating long term records of fossil fuel emissions of urban environments is complicated by the fact that direct observations of emissions and urban atmospheric CO2 concentrations were only collected in the recent past. Radiocarbon (14C) in tree rings from urban trees can provide archives of fossil fuel emissions that may track population growth over time, as higher population density is typically correlated with increased vehicular traffic and associated CO2 emissions, which are radiocarbon dead. We present radiocarbon measurements (n=125) from five roadside green ash trees (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) located in three cities of northern Utah - Salt Lake City (urban, 2016 population: 193,744), Logan City (agricultural, 2016 population: 49,110) and Heber (rural, 2016 population: 14,969). Urban trees were cored in four cardinal directions and ring widths were measured and counted to establish a chronology. One ring from every third year in a single core from each tree was removed and holocellulose was extracted from bulk wood of individual rings for 14C analysis. Fraction CO2 from fossil fuel burning (CO2-ff) was calculated using a simple mass-balance calculation from measured 14C values and remote background atmospheric 14CO2 values for NH Zone 2. The data from all three cities indicate a general trend of increasing CO2-ff uptake by the trees from 1980s to present, as expected with increased population growth and vehicular traffic. However, records in all three cities show unique elevated CO2-ff prior to the 1980s, assuming similar climate patterns through time, diverging from historic population size. We employed atmospheric simulations from the STILT (Stochastic Time-Inverted Lagrangian Transport) models for each of these trees to create footprints to determine source areas for CO2. These footprints reveal that atmospheric sampling areas can be large for certain trees, and other sources of 14C dead carbon, such as coal and natural gas from industrial emissions

  14. 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.

  15. N zooming into the Mediterranean outflow fossil moat during the 1.2-1.8 million years period (Early-Pleistocene) - An approach by radiogenic and stable isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lebreiro, Susana M.; Antón, Laura; Reguera, M. Isabel; Fernández, Marta; Conde, Estefanía; Barrado, Ana I.; Yllera, Abel

    2015-12-01

    The fossil Alvarez Cabral erosive Moat contains hemipelagite, contourite and turbidite facies where oceanography changes in the Mediterranean outflow are archived over the 1.2-1.8 Myr time period. Here we used Pb and Sr radiogenic isotopes to trace water masses and sediment source changes, for the first time in twenty glacial-interglacial (G-I) cycles of the Early-Pleistocene interval, and the last Glacial Maximum through Holocene cycle (including the Younger Dryas and Heinrich Stadial-1). A mixing line of Pb isotopes gives reliable low radiogenic 208Pb/204Pb, 206Pb/204Pb, and 206Pb/207Pb typical of Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW) in one end-member and the signature of high radiogenic isotopes of Atlantic Waters (AW) towards the second end-member. The 87Sr/86Sr isotopes also display two end-members of the mixing line between eolian transport/dust source (0.71) and fluvial transport/weathering source (0.73) previously proposed in the Gulf of Cadiz. Combination of Pb and Sr radiogenic isotopes with O and C stable isotopes of planktonic and benthic foraminifera, and the response of foraminifera benthos over the Early-Pleistocene interval, reveals a direct link between water masses circulation and shifts in G-I. We found a persistent cyclic pattern of MOW circulation and fluvial deposition during glaciations and AW and aeolian influence during interglaciations. On site U1386B/C, the upper-MOW was less ventilated but productive and with high flux of organic flux matter during glacials, while Atlantic Waters were better ventilated, enriched in O, but less productive during interglacials. We infer that shifts in ocean and atmospheric processes in the Gulf of Cadiz were strongly controlled by Earth's obliquity (41 kyr-cycle) and 35°NH insolation during the Early-Pleistocene. We propose a correlation in changes in phase-relationship between precession and obliquity. In general terms, physical properties of fine sediments (glacials) show lower NGR, low reflectance and

  16. Internal carotid arterial canal size and scaling in Euarchonta: Re-assessing implications for arterial patency and phylogenetic relationships in early fossil primates.

    PubMed

    Boyer, Doug M; Kirk, E Christopher; Silcox, Mary T; Gunnell, Gregg F; Gilbert, Christopher C; Yapuncich, Gabriel S; Allen, Kari L; Welch, Emma; Bloch, Jonathan I; Gonzales, Lauren A; Kay, Richard F; Seiffert, Erik R

    2016-08-01

    Primate species typically differ from other mammals in having bony canals that enclose the branches of the internal carotid artery (ICA) as they pass through the middle ear. The presence and relative size of these canals varies among major primate clades. As a result, differences in the anatomy of the canals for the promontorial and stapedial branches of the ICA have been cited as evidence of either haplorhine or strepsirrhine affinities among otherwise enigmatic early fossil euprimates. Here we use micro X-ray computed tomography to compile the largest quantitative dataset on ICA canal sizes. The data suggest greater variation of the ICA canals within some groups than has been previously appreciated. For example, Lepilemur and Avahi differ from most other lemuriforms in having a larger promontorial canal than stapedial canal. Furthermore, various lemurids are intraspecifically variable in relative canal size, with the promontorial canal being larger than the stapedial canal in some individuals but not others. In species where the promontorial artery supplies the brain with blood, the size of the promontorial canal is significantly correlated with endocranial volume (ECV). Among species with alternate routes of encephalic blood supply, the promontorial canal is highly reduced relative to ECV, and correlated with both ECV and cranium size. Ancestral state reconstructions incorporating data from fossils suggest that the last common ancestor of living primates had promontorial and stapedial canals that were similar to each other in size and large relative to ECV. We conclude that the plesiomorphic condition for crown primates is to have a patent promontorial artery supplying the brain and a patent stapedial artery for various non-encephalic structures. This inferred ancestral condition is exhibited by treeshrews and most early fossil euprimates, while extant primates exhibit reduction in one canal or another. The only early fossils deviating from this plesiomorphic

  17. Early Terrestrial Mantle Differentiation Recorded in Paleoarchean Komatiites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Puchtel, I. S.; Blichert-Toft, J.; Touboul, M.; Horan, M. F.; Walker, R. J.

    2016-12-01

    Geochmical signatures generated in the manle as a result of radioactive decay of short- and long-lived nuclides can be used to constrain the timing of formation and the nature of now mostly vanished early terrestrial reservoirs. The 3.55 Ga komatiites from the Schapenburg Greenstone Remnant (SGR) located in the Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa have a unique combination of trace element abundances and isotopic compositions that place strong constraints on the origin of these reservoirs. The SGR komatiites define a Re-Os isochron with an age of 3550±87 Ma and an initial γ187Os = +3.7±0.2 (2SD). The absolute HSE abundances in the mantle source of the SGR komatiite system are estimated to be only 29±5% of those in the present-day bulk silicate Earth (BSE) estimates. The SGR komatiites show coupled depletion, relative to the modern mantle, in 142Nd and 182W (μ142Nd = -5.0±2.8, μ182W = -8.4±4.5), the decay products of the short-lived 146Sm and 182Hf nuclides, respectively, indicating derivation from a mantle domain that was enriched in incompatible elements 30 Ma after Solar System formation. Early Hadean contributors to this mantle domain could include high-pressure fractionates from a primordial magma ocean. By contrast, the long-lived Sm-Nd and Lu-Hf isotope systems (ɛ143Nd = +2.4±0.1, ɛ176Hf = +5.7±0.3) indicate that the mantle domain that the SGR komatiites were ultimately derived from underwent additional processing after the early Hadean, including melt depletion at lower pressures. The preservation of early-formed 182W and 142Nd anomalies in the mantle until at least 3.55 Ga indicates that the products of early planetary differentiation survived both later planetary accretion and convective mantle mixing during the Hadean. This study lends further support to the notion that variable late accretion, by itself, cannot account for all of the observed W isotope and absolute and relative HSE abundance variations in the Archean mantle recorded by

  18. Likelihood of Tree Topologies with Fossils and Diversification Rate Estimation.

    PubMed

    Didier, Gilles; Fau, Marine; Laurin, Michel

    2017-11-01

    Since the diversification process cannot be directly observed at the human scale, it has to be studied from the information available, namely the extant taxa and the fossil record. In this sense, phylogenetic trees including both extant taxa and fossils are the most complete representations of the diversification process that one can get. Such phylogenetic trees can be reconstructed from molecular and morphological data, to some extent. Among the temporal information of such phylogenetic trees, fossil ages are by far the most precisely known (divergence times are inferences calibrated mostly with fossils). We propose here a method to compute the likelihood of a phylogenetic tree with fossils in which the only considered time information is the fossil ages, and apply it to the estimation of the diversification rates from such data. Since it is required in our computation, we provide a method for determining the probability of a tree topology under the standard diversification model. Testing our approach on simulated data shows that the maximum likelihood rate estimates from the phylogenetic tree topology and the fossil dates are almost as accurate as those obtained by taking into account all the data, including the divergence times. Moreover, they are substantially more accurate than the estimates obtained only from the exact divergence times (without taking into account the fossil record). We also provide an empirical example composed of 50 Permo-Carboniferous eupelycosaur (early synapsid) taxa ranging in age from about 315 Ma (Late Carboniferous) to 270 Ma (shortly after the end of the Early Permian). Our analyses suggest a speciation (cladogenesis, or birth) rate of about 0.1 per lineage and per myr, a marginally lower extinction rate, and a considerable hidden paleobiodiversity of early synapsids. [Extinction rate; fossil ages; maximum likelihood estimation; speciation rate.]. © The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press, on behalf of the Society

  19. 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

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

    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.

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

    SciT

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

    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 bonesmore » 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« less

  2. Characterizing Early Adolescent Plate Waste Using the Mobile Food Record.

    PubMed

    Panizza, Chloe E; Boushey, Carol J; Delp, Edward J; Kerr, Deborah A; Lim, Eunjung; Gandhi, Krupa; Banna, Jinan C

    2017-01-26

    This study aimed to assess the amount of plate waste and how plate waste was disposed by early adolescent girls using a mobile food record (mFR). Participants were girls nine to thirteen years residing in O'ahu, Hawai'i ( n = 93). Foods selected and leftover were estimated using a three day mFR. Each leftover food was then classified as thrown into the trash, fed to a pet, eaten later, or other (e.g., composted). Repeated measures analyses of variance (ANOVA) were conducted and Tukey's post-hoc test were used to adjust for multiple comparisons between times (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack) on leftover food and leftover food thrown into the trash. The percentage of food leftover and thrown into the trash was highest at lunch. The percentage of protein, grain, vegetables, fruit, and dairy leftover at lunch were unexpectedly low compared to previous studies. The median for percentage of food thrown into the trash at lunch was <5% for all food groups, and was consistently low across the day (<10%). Average energy intake was 436 kcal (±216) at lunch, and 80% of caregivers reported total household income as ≥$70,000. Studies in real-time using technology over full days may better quantify plate waste among adolescents.

  3. Characterizing Early Adolescent Plate Waste Using the Mobile Food Record

    PubMed Central

    Panizza, Chloe E.; Boushey, Carol J.; Delp, Edward J.; Kerr, Deborah A.; Lim, Eunjung; Gandhi, Krupa; Banna, Jinan C.

    2017-01-01

    This study aimed to assess the amount of plate waste and how plate waste was disposed by early adolescent girls using a mobile food record (mFR). Participants were girls nine to thirteen years residing in O’ahu, Hawai’i (n = 93). Foods selected and leftover were estimated using a three day mFR. Each leftover food was then classified as thrown into the trash, fed to a pet, eaten later, or other (e.g., composted). Repeated measures analyses of variance (ANOVA) were conducted and Tukey’s post-hoc test were used to adjust for multiple comparisons between times (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack) on leftover food and leftover food thrown into the trash. The percentage of food leftover and thrown into the trash was highest at lunch. The percentage of protein, grain, vegetables, fruit, and dairy leftover at lunch were unexpectedly low compared to previous studies. The median for percentage of food thrown into the trash at lunch was <5% for all food groups, and was consistently low across the day (<10%). Average energy intake was 436 kcal (±216) at lunch, and 80% of caregivers reported total household income as ≥$70,000. Studies in real-time using technology over full days may better quantify plate waste among adolescents. PMID:28134757

  4. 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.

  5. Deciphering the preservation of fossil insects: a case study from the Crato Member, Early Cretaceous of Brazil

    PubMed Central

    Petri, Setembrino; Becker-Kerber, Bruno; Romero, Guilherme Raffaeli; Rizzutto, Marcia de Almeida; Rodrigues, Fabio; Galante, Douglas; da Silva, Tiago Fiorini; Curado, Jessica F.; Rangel, Elidiane Cipriano; Ribeiro, Rafael Parra; Pacheco, Mírian Liza Alves Forancelli

    2016-01-01

    Exceptionally well-preserved three-dimensional insects with fine details and even labile tissues are ubiquitous in the Crato Member Konservat Lagerstätte (northeastern Brazil). Here we investigate the preservational pathways which yielded such specimens. We employed high resolution techniques (EDXRF, SR-SXS, SEM, EDS, micro Raman, and PIXE) to understand their fossilisation on mineralogical and geochemical grounds. Pseudomorphs of framboidal pyrite, the dominant fossil microfabric, display size variation when comparing cuticle with inner areas or soft tissues, which we interpret as the result of the balance between ion diffusion rates and nucleation rates of pyrite through the originally decaying carcasses. Furthermore, the mineral fabrics are associated with structures that can be the remains of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). Geochemical data also point to a concentration of Fe, Zn, and Cu in the fossils in comparison to the embedding rock. Therefore, we consider that biofilms of sulphate reducing bacteria (SRB) had a central role in insect decay and mineralisation. Therefore, we shed light on exceptional preservation of fossils by pyritisation in a Cretaceous limestone lacustrine palaeoenvironment. PMID:28028459

  6. The Fossil Record of Two-phase Galaxy Assembly: Kinematics and Metallicities in the Nearest S0 Galaxy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arnold, Jacob A.; Romanowsky, Aaron J.; Brodie, Jean P.; Chomiuk, Laura; Spitler, Lee R.; Strader, Jay; Benson, Andrew J.; Forbes, Duncan A.

    2011-08-01

    We present a global analysis of kinematics and metallicity in the nearest S0 galaxy, NGC 3115, along with implications for its assembly history. The data include high-quality wide-field imaging from Suprime-Cam on the Subaru telescope, and multi-slit spectra of the field stars and globular clusters (GCs) obtained using Keck-DEIMOS/LRIS and Magellan-IMACS. Within two effective radii, the bulge (as traced by the stars and metal-rich GCs) is flattened and rotates rapidly (v/σ >~ 1.5). At larger radii, the rotation declines dramatically to v/σ ~ 0.7, but remains well aligned with the inner regions. The radial decrease in characteristic metallicity of both the metal-rich and metal-poor GC subpopulations produces strong gradients with power-law slopes of -0.17 ± 0.04 and -0.38 ± 0.06 dex dex-1, respectively. We argue that this pattern is not naturally explained by a binary major merger, but instead by a two-phase assembly process where the inner regions have formed in an early violent, dissipative phase, followed by the protracted growth of the outer parts via minor mergers with typical mass ratios of ~15-20:1.

  7. Fluid-rock interaction recorded in fault rocks of the Nobeoka Thrust, fossilized megasplay fault in an ancient accretionary complex

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hasegawa, R.; Yamaguchi, A.; Fukuchi, R.; Kitamura, Y.; Kimura, G.; Hamada, Y.; Ashi, J.; Ishikawa, T.

    2017-12-01

    The relationship between faulting and fluid behavior has been in debate. In this study, we clarify the fluid-rock interaction in the Nobeoka Thrust by major/trace element composition analysis using the boring core of the Nobeoka Thrust, an exhumed analogue of an ancient megasplay fault in Shimanto accretionary complex, southwest Japan. The hanging wall and the footwall of the Nobeoka Thrust show difference in lithology and metamorphic grade, and their maximum burial temperature is estimated from vitrinite reflectance analysis to be 320 330°C and 250 270°C, respectively (Kondo et al., 2005). The fault zone was formed in a fluid-rich condition, as evidenced by warm fluid migration suggested by fluid inclusion analysis (Kondo et al., 2005), implosion brecciation accompanied by carbonate precipitation followed by formation of pseudotachylyte (Okamoto et al., 2006), ankerite veins coseismically formed under reducing conditions (Yamaguchi et al., 2011), and quartz veins recording stress rotation in seismic cycles (Otsubo et al., 2016). In this study, first we analyzed the major/trace element composition across the principal slip zone (PSZ) of the Nobeoka Thrust by using fragments of borehole cores penetrated through the Nobeoka Thrust. Many elements fluctuated just above the PSZ, whereas K increase and Na, Si decrease suggesting illitization of plagioclase, as well as positive anomalies in Li and Cs were found within the PSZ. For more detail understanding, we observed polished slabs and thin sections of the PSZ. Although grain size reduction of deformed clast and weak development of foliation were observed entirely in the PSZ by macroscopic observation, remarkable development of composite planar fabric nor evidence of friction melting were absent. In this presentation, we show the result of major/trace element composition corresponding to the internal structure of PSZ, and discuss fluid-rock interaction and its impact to megasplay fault activity in subduction zones.

  8. Reprocessing VIIRS sensor data records from the early SNPP mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blonski, Slawomir; Cao, Changyong

    2016-10-01

    The Visible-Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument onboard the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite began acquiring Earth observations in November 2011. VIIRS data from all spectral bands became available three months after launch when all infrared-band detectors were cooled down to operational temperature. Before that, VIIRS sensor data record (SDR) products were successfully generated for the visible and near infrared (VNIR) bands. Although VIIRS calibration has been significantly improved through the four years of the SNPP mission, SDR reprocessing for this early mission phase has yet to be performed. Despite a rapid decrease in the telescope throughput that occurred during the first few months on orbit, calibration coefficients for the VNIR bands were recently successfully generated using an automated procedure that is currently deployed in the operational SDR production system. The reanalyzed coefficients were derived from measurements collected during solar calibration events that occur on every SNPP orbit since the beginning of the mission. The new coefficients can be further used to reprocess the VIIRS SDR products. In this study, they are applied to reprocess VIIRS data acquired over pseudo-invariant calibration sites Libya 4 and Sudan 1 in Sahara between November 2011 and February 2012. Comparison of the reprocessed SDR products with the original ones demonstrates improvements in the VIIRS calibration provided by the reprocessing. Since SNPP is the first satellite in a series that will form the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), calibration methods developed for the SNPP VIIRS will also apply to the future JPSS measurements.

  9. 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.

  10. 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…

  11. Running Records: Authentic Instruction in Early Childhood Education

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Shea, Mary

    2012-01-01

    The most effective way to understand what a child knows about the reading process is to take a running record. In "Running Records", Mary Shea demonstrates how teachers can use this powerful tool to design lessons that decrease reading difficulties, build on strengths, and stimulate motivation, ensuring that children develop self-sustaining…

  12. Modern Microbial Ecosystems are a Key to Understanding Our Biosphere's Early Evolution and its Contributions To The Atmosphere and Rock Record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    DesMarais, David J.; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    The survival of our early biosphere depended upon efficient coordination anion- diverse microbial populations. Microbial mats exhibit a 3.46-billion-year fossil record, thus they are the oldest known ecosystems. Photosynthetic microbial mats were key because, today, sunlight powers more than 99 percent of global primary productivity. Thus photosynthetic ecosystems have affected the atmosphere profoundly and have created the most pervasive, easily-detected fossils. Photosynthetic biospheres elsewhere will be most detectible via telescopes or spacecraft. As a part of the Astrobiology Institute, our Ames Microbial Ecosystems group examines the roles played by ecological processes in the early evolution of our biosphere, as recorded in geologic fossils and in the macromolecules of living cells: (1) We are defining the microbial mat microenvironment, which was an important milieu for early evolution. (2) We are comparing mats in contrasting environments to discern strategies of adaptation and diversification, traits that were key for long-term survival. (3) We have selected sites that mimic key environmental attributes of early Earth and thereby focus upon evolutionary adaptations to long-term changes in the global environment. (4) Our studies of gas exchange contribute to better estimates of biogenic gases in Earth's early atmosphere. This group therefore directly addresses the question: How have the Earth and its biosphere influenced each other over time Our studies strengthen the systematics for interpreting the microbial fossil record and thereby enhance astrobiological studies of martian samples. Our models of biogenic gas emissions will enhance models of atmospheres that might be detected on inhabited extrasolar planets. This work therefore also addresses the question: How can other biospheres be recogniZed" Our choice of field sites helps us explore Earth's evolving early environment. For example, modern mats that occupy thermal springs and certain freshwater

  13. Tracing climatic conditions during the deposition of late Cretaceous-early Eocene phosphate beds in Morocco by geochemical compositions of biogenic apatite fossils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kocsis, L.; Gheerbrant, E.; Mouflih, M.; Cappetta, H.; Yans, J.; Ulianov, A.; Amaghzaz, M.

    2012-04-01

    Morocco's Western Atlantic coast was covered by shallow seas during the late Cretaceous-early Eocene when large amount of phosphate rich sediments were deposited. This time interval envelops a major part of the last greenhouse period and gives the opportunity to study the event's characteristics in shallow water settings. These phosphate deposits are extremely rich in vertebrate fossils, while other types of fossils are rare or often poorly preserved. Hence the local stratigraphy is based on the most abundant marine vertebrate fossils, on the selachian fauna (sharks and rays). Our geochemical investigations were also carried out on these remains, though in some cases frequently found coprolites were involved as well. The main goal of our study was to test whether stable isotope compositions (δ18OPO4, δ13C) of these fossils reflect any of the hyperthermal events and/or the related perturbations in the carbon cycle during the early Paleogene (Lourens et al. 2005) and whether these geochemical signals can be used to refine the local stratigraphy. Additionally, the samples were analyzed for trace element composition in order to better assess local taphonomy and burial conditions. The samples came from two major phosphate regions, the Ouled Abdoun and the Ganntour Basins and they were collected either directly on the field during excavations (Sidi Chennane) or were obtained from museum collections with known stratigraphical position (Sidi Daoui, Ben Guerrir). The phosphate oxygen isotopic compositions of shark teeth display large range across the entire series (18.5-22.4 ) which can partly be related to the habitat of sharks. For instance the genus Striatolamnia often yielded the highest δ18O values indicating possible deep water habitat. Despite the large variation in δ18O values, a general isotope trend is apparent. In the Maastrichtian after a small negative shift, the δ18O values increase till the Danian from where the trend decrease till the Ypresian. The

  14. Mud fossils

    ,

    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.

  15. 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.

  16. Scratching an ancient itch: an Eocene bird louse fossil.

    PubMed Central

    Wappler, Torsten; Smith, Vincent S; Dalgleish, Robert C

    2004-01-01

    Out of the 30 extant orders of insects, all but one, the parasitic lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera), have a confirmed fossil record. Here, we report the discovery of what appears to be the first bird louse fossil: an exceptionally well-preserved specimen collected from the crater of the Eckfeld maar near Manderscheid, Germany. The 44-million-year-old specimen shows close phylogenetic affinities with modern feather louse ectoparasites of aquatic birds. Preservation of feather remnants in the specimen's foregut confirms its association as a bird ectoparasite. Based on a phylogenetic analysis of the specimen and palaeoecological data, we suggest that this louse was the parasite of a large ancestor to modern Anseriformes (swans, geese and ducks) or Charadriiformes (shorebirds). The crown group position of this fossil in the phylogeny of lice confirms the group's long coevolutionary history with birds and points to an early origin for lice, perhaps inherited from early-feathered theropod dinosaurs. PMID:15503987

  17. 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.

  18. Early development of rostrum saw-teeth in a fossil ray tests classical theories of the evolution of vertebrate dentitions.

    PubMed

    Smith, Moya Meredith; Riley, Alex; Fraser, Gareth J; Underwood, Charlie; Welten, Monique; Kriwet, Jürgen; Pfaff, Cathrin; Johanson, Zerina

    2015-10-07

    In classical theory, teeth of vertebrate dentitions evolved from co-option of external skin denticles into the oral cavity. This hypothesis predicts that ordered tooth arrangement and regulated replacement in the oral dentition were also derived from skin denticles. The fossil batoid ray Schizorhiza stromeri (Chondrichthyes; Cretaceous) provides a test of this theory. Schizorhiza preserves an extended cartilaginous rostrum with closely spaced, alternating saw-teeth, different from sawfish and sawsharks today. Multiple replacement teeth reveal unique new data from micro-CT scanning, showing how the 'cone-in-cone' series of ordered saw-teeth sets arrange themselves developmentally, to become enclosed by the roots of pre-existing saw-teeth. At the rostrum tip, newly developing saw-teeth are present, as mineralized crown tips within a vascular, cartilaginous furrow; these reorient via two 90° rotations then relocate laterally between previously formed roots. Saw-tooth replacement slows mid-rostrum where fewer saw-teeth are regenerated. These exceptional developmental data reveal regulated order for serial self-renewal, maintaining the saw edge with ever-increasing saw-tooth size. This mimics tooth replacement in chondrichthyans, but differs in the crown reorientation and their enclosure directly between roots of predecessor saw-teeth. Schizorhiza saw-tooth development is decoupled from the jaw teeth and their replacement, dependent on a dental lamina. This highly specialized rostral saw, derived from diversification of skin denticles, is distinct from the dentition and demonstrates the potential developmental plasticity of skin denticles. © 2015 The Authors.

  19. Record-Breaking Early Flowering in the Eastern United States

    PubMed Central

    Ellwood, Elizabeth R.; Temple, Stanley A.; Primack, Richard B.; Davis, Charles C.

    2013-01-01

    Flowering times are well-documented indicators of the ecological effects of climate change and are linked to numerous ecosystem processes and trophic interactions. Dozens of studies have shown that flowering times for many spring-flowering plants have become earlier as a result of recent climate change, but it is uncertain if flowering times will continue to advance as temperatures rise. Here, we used long-term flowering records initiated by Henry David Thoreau in 1852 and Aldo Leopold in 1935 to investigate this question. Our analyses demonstrate that record-breaking spring temperatures in 2010 and 2012 in Massachusetts, USA, and 2012 in Wisconsin, USA, resulted in the earliest flowering times in recorded history for dozens of spring-flowering plants of the eastern United States. These dramatic advances in spring flowering were successfully predicted by historical relationships between flowering and spring temperature spanning up to 161 years of ecological change. These results demonstrate that numerous temperate plant species have yet to show obvious signs of physiological constraints on phenological advancement in the face of climate change. PMID:23342001

  20. The Early Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event and its sedimentary record in Switzerland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fantasia, Alicia; Föllmi, Karl B.; Adatte, Thierry; Spangenberg, Jorge E.; Montero-Serrano, Jean-Carlos

    2015-04-01

    In the Jurassic period, the Early Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event (T-OAE), about 183 Ma ago, was a global perturbation of paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental conditions. This episode was associated with a crisis in marine carbonate accumulation, climate warming, an increase in sea level, ocean acidification, enhanced continental weathering, whereas organic-rich sediments are noticeable for example in the Atlantic and in the Tethys. This episode is associated with a negative carbon excursion, which is recorded both in marine and terrestrial environments. The cause(s) of this environmental crisis remain(s) still controversial. Nevertheless, the development of negative δ13C excursions is commonly interpreted as due to the injection of isotopically-light carbon associated with gas hydrate dissociation, the thermal metamorphism of carbon-rich sediments and input of thermogenic and volcanogenic carbon related to the formation of the Karoo-Ferrar basaltic province in southern Gondwana (Hesselbo et al., 2000, 2007; Beerling et al., 2002; Cohen et al., 2004, 2007; McElwain et al., 2005, Beerling and Brentnall, 2007; Svensen et al., 2007; Hermoso et al., 2009, 2012; Mazzini et al., 2010). Several studies of the T-OAE have been conducted on sediments in central and northwest Europe, but only few data are available concerning the Swiss sedimentary records. Therefore, we focused on two sections in the Jura Plateau (canton Aargau): the Rietheim section (Montero-Serrano et al., submitted) and the Gipf section (current study). A multidisciplinary approach has been chosen and the tools to be used are based on sedimentological observations (sedimentary condensation, etc.), biostratigraphy, mineralogy (bulk-rock composition), facies and microfacies analysis (presence or absence of benthos), clay-mineralogy composition (climatic conditions), major and trace-element analyses (productivity, redox conditions, etc.), phosphorus (trophic levels, anoxia), carbon isotopes and organic

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. A leaf wax biomarker record of early Pleistocene hydroclimate from West Turkana, Kenya

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lupien, R. L.; Russell, J. M.; Feibel, C.; Beck, C.; Castañeda, I.; Deino, A.; Cohen, A. S.

    2018-04-01

    Climate is thought to play a critical role in human evolution; however, this hypothesis is difficult to test due to a lack of long, high-quality paleoclimate records from key hominin fossil locales. To address this issue, we analyzed organic geochemical indicators of climate in a drill core from West Turkana, Kenya that spans ∼1.9-1.4 Ma, an interval that includes several important hominin evolutionary transitions. We analyzed the hydrogen isotopic composition of terrestrial plant waxes (δDwax) to reconstruct orbital-timescale changes in regional hydrology and their relationship with global climate forcings and the hominin fossil record. Our data indicate little change in the long-term mean hydroclimate during this interval, in contrast to inferred changes in the level of Lake Turkana, suggesting that lake level may be responding dominantly to deltaic progradation or tectonically-driven changes in basin configuration as opposed to hydroclimate. Time-series spectral analyses of the isotopic data reveal strong precession-band (21 kyr) periodicity, indicating that regional hydroclimate was strongly affected by changes in insolation. We observe an interval of particularly high-amplitude hydrologic variation at ∼1.7 Ma, which occurs during a time of high orbital eccentricity hence large changes in processionally-driven insolation amplitude. This interval overlaps with multiple hominin species turnovers, the appearance of new stone tool technology, and hominin dispersal out of Africa, supporting the notion that climate variability played an important role in hominin evolution.

  6. An early record of Meloidogyne fallax from Ireland

    PubMed Central

    Topalović, Olivera; Moore, John F.; Janssen, Toon; Bert, Wim; Karssen, Gerrit

    2017-01-01

    Abstract Root-knot nematodes, Meloidogyne spp., cause huge economic losses worldwide. Currently, three Meloidogyne spp. are present on the quarantine A2 list of EPPO, Meloidogyne chitwoodi, Meloidogyne fallax and Meloidogyne enterolobii. As a quarantine organism, Meloidogyne fallax has been detected in England and Northern Ireland on sport turf in 2011, and in England on leek in 2013. However, its presence in Ireland has probably been overlooked since 1965, when Mr. John F. Moore and Dr. Mary T. Franklin had detected a new Meloidogyne species for that time. While the relevant data was recorded and a preliminary manuscript describing the species was prepared but never submitted for publication, and together with the original slides, pictures and drawings, it was restudied recently. We compared the population of Irish Meloidogyne sp. to other similar Meloidogyne spp. Careful observation and comparison shows that it belongs to Meloidogyne fallax. The characters found to be common for Irish Meloidogyne sp. and Meloidogyne fallax are female stylet length (14.6 μm) with oval to rounded basal knobs, oval shaped perineal pattern with moderately high dorsal arch, slender stylet in males (18.5 μm) with set off and rounded basal knobs, slightly set off male head with one post-labial annule and incomplete transverse incisures, and second-stage juveniles with large and rounded stylet basal knobs, and a gradually tapering tail (46.9 μm) with a broadly rounded tip and a clearly delimitated smooth hyaline part sometimes marked by constrictions (12.9 μm). The host test and gall formation also correspond to Meloidogyne fallax. The identification could not be additionally supported by molecular analysis, as we were unable to extract DNA from the old permanent slides. Nevertheless, our study reveals that the Meloidogyne species detected in Ireland in 1965 belongs to Meloidogyne fallax. PMID:28144174

  7. ERPs recorded during early second language exposure predict syntactic learning.

    PubMed

    Batterink, Laura; Neville, Helen J

    2014-09-01

    Millions of adults worldwide are faced with the task of learning a second language (L2). Understanding the neural mechanisms that support this learning process is an important area of scientific inquiry. However, most previous studies on the neural mechanisms underlying L2 acquisition have focused on characterizing the results of learning, relying upon end-state outcome measures in which learning is assessed after it has occurred, rather than on the learning process itself. In this study, we adopted a novel and more direct approach to investigate neural mechanisms engaged during L2 learning, in which we recorded ERPs from beginning adult learners as they were exposed to an unfamiliar L2 for the first time. Learners' proficiency in the L2 was then assessed behaviorally using a grammaticality judgment task, and ERP data acquired during initial L2 exposure were sorted as a function of performance on this task. High-proficiency learners showed a larger N100 effect to open-class content words compared with closed-class function words, whereas low-proficiency learners did not show a significant N100 difference between open- and closed-class words. In contrast, amplitude of the N400 word category effect correlated with learners' L2 comprehension, rather than predicting syntactic learning. Taken together, these results indicate that learners who spontaneously direct greater attention to open- rather than closed-class words when processing L2 input show better syntactic learning, suggesting a link between selective attention to open-class content words and acquisition of basic morphosyntactic rules. These findings highlight the importance of selective attention mechanisms for L2 acquisition.

  8. 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

  9. 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)

  10. The emergence of modern type rain forests and mangroves and their traces in the palaeobotanical record during the Late Cretaceous and early Tertiary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mohr, Barbara; Coiffard, Clément

    2014-05-01

    The origin of modern rain forests is still very poorly known. This ecosystem could have potentially fully evolved only after the development of relatively high numbers of flowering plant families adapted to rain forest conditions. During the early phase of angiosperm evolution in the early Cretaceous the palaeo-equatorial region was located in a seasonally dry climatic belt, so that during this phase, flowering plants often show adaptations to drought, rather than to continuously wet climate conditions. Therefore it is not surprising that except for the Nymphaeales, the most basal members of extant angiosperm families have members that do not necessarily occur in the continuously wet tropics today. However, during the late Early Cretaceous several clades emerged that later would give rise to families that are typically found today mostly in (shady) moist places in warmer regions. This is especially seen among the monocotyledons, a group of the mesangiosperms, that developed in many cases large leaves often with very specific venation patterns that make these leaves very unique and well recognizable. Especially members of three groups are here of interest: the arum family (Araceae), the palms (Arecaceae) and the Ginger and allies (Zingiberales). The earliest fossil of Araceae are restricted to low latitudes during the lower Cretaceous. Arecaceae and Zingiberales do not appear in the fossil record before the early late Cretaceous and occur at mid latitudes. During the Late Cretaceous, Araceae are represented at mid latitudes by non-tropical early diverging members and at low latitudes by derived rainforest members. Palms became widespread during the Late Cretataceous and also Nypa, a typical element of tropical to subtropical mangrove environments evolved during this time period. During the Paleocene Arecaceae appear to be restricted to lower latitudes as well as Zingiberales. All three groups are again widespread during the Eocene, reaching higher latitudes and

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  12. 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. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  13. First Asian record of Panthera (Leo) fossilis (Mammalia, Carnivora, Felidae) in the Early Pleistocene of Western Siberia, Russia.

    PubMed

    Sotnikova, Marina V; Foronova, Irina V

    2014-08-01

    A lion-like pantherine felid is described as Panthera (Leo) fossilis from the late Early Pleistocene sediments of the Kuznetsk Basin (Western Siberia, Russia). The find of P. fossilis first recorded in Asia considerably extends the current notion of the eastward expansion of the most ancient lions. The Siberian lion is geologically the oldest form and is dimensionally among the largest members of the group of fossil lions on the Eurasian continent. Although known by mandibular remains only, it is readily distinguished from Panthera (Leo) spelaea by a heavy built mandibular corpus with rectangular profile in the cheek teeth area, a deep, well-outlined and narrow anterior section of the masseteric fossa, and a large p4 supported by a big unreduced anterior root. The Siberian lion shares these features with the European Middle Pleistocene P. fossilis and the American Late Pleistocene P. (Leo) atrox, which suggests their close relationship. P. atrox originated from P. fossilis and was isolated in North America south of the Late Pleistocene ice sheets. This explains why the American lion has retained more primitive features than the coeval Eurasian cave lion P. (L.) spelaea. © 2013 International Society of Zoological Sciences, Institute of Zoology/Chinese Academy of Sciences and Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.

  14. Two fossil species of Metrosideros (Myrtaceae) from the Oligo-Miocene Golden Fleece locality in Tasmania, Australia.

    PubMed

    Tarran, Myall; Wilson, Peter G; Macphail, Michael K; Jordan, Greg J; Hill, Robert S

    2017-06-01

    The capsular-fruited genus Metrosideros (Myrtaceae) is one of the most widely distributed flowering plant genera in the Pacific but is extinct in Australia today. The center of geographic origin for the genus and the reason for and timing of its extinction in Australia remain uncertain. We identify fossil Metrosideros fruits from the newly discovered Golden Fleece fossil flora in the Oligo-Miocene of Tasmania, Australia, shedding further light on these problems. Standard paleopalynological techniques were used to date the fossil-bearing sediments. Scanning electron microscopy and an auto-montage camera system were used to take high-resolution images of fossil and extant fruits taken from herbarium specimens. Fossils are identified using a nearest-living-relative approach. The fossil-bearing sediments are palynostratigraphically dated as being Proteacidites tuberculatus Zone Equivalent (ca. 33-16 Ma) in age and provide a confident Oligo-Miocene age for the macrofossils. Two new fossil species of Metrosideros are described and are here named Metrosideros dawsonii sp. nov. and Metrosideros wrightii sp. nov. These newly described fossil species of Metrosideros provide a second record of the genus in the Cenozoic of Australia, placing them in the late Early Oligocene to late Early Miocene. It is now apparent not only that Metrosideros was present in Australia, where the genus is now extinct, but that at least several Metrosideros species were present during the Cenozoic. These fossils further strengthen the case for an Australian origin of the genus. © 2017 Botanical Society of America.

  15. The oldest fossil mushroom.

    PubMed

    Heads, Sam W; Miller, Andrew N; Crane, J Leland; Thomas, M Jared; Ruffatto, Danielle M; Methven, Andrew S; Raudabaugh, Daniel B; Wang, Yinan

    2017-01-01

    A new fossil mushroom is described and illustrated from the Lower Cretaceous Crato Formation of northeast Brazil. Gondwanagaricites magnificus gen. et sp. nov. is remarkable for its exceptional preservation as a mineralized replacement in laminated limestone, as all other fossil mushrooms are known from amber inclusions. Gondwanagaricites represents the oldest fossil mushroom to date and the first fossil mushroom from Gondwana.

  16. The oldest fossil mushroom

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Andrew N.; Crane, J. Leland; Thomas, M. Jared; Ruffatto, Danielle M.; Methven, Andrew S.; Raudabaugh, Daniel B.; Wang, Yinan

    2017-01-01

    A new fossil mushroom is described and illustrated from the Lower Cretaceous Crato Formation of northeast Brazil. Gondwanagaricites magnificus gen. et sp. nov. is remarkable for its exceptional preservation as a mineralized replacement in laminated limestone, as all other fossil mushrooms are known from amber inclusions. Gondwanagaricites represents the oldest fossil mushroom to date and the first fossil mushroom from Gondwana. PMID:28591180

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  18. Right-handed fossil humans.

    PubMed

    Lozano, Marina; Estalrrich, Almudena; Bondioli, Luca; Fiore, Ivana; Bermúdez de Castro, José-Maria; Arsuaga, Juan Luis; Carbonell, Eudald; Rosas, Antonio; Frayer, David W

    2017-11-01

    Fossil hominids often processed material held between their upper and lower teeth. Pulling with one hand and cutting with the other, they occasionally left impact cut marks on the lip (labial) surface of their incisors and canines. From these actions, it possible to determine the dominant hand used. The frequency of these oblique striations in an array of fossil hominins documents the typically modern pattern of 9 right- to 1 left-hander. This ratio among living Homo sapiens differs from that among chimpanzees and bonobos and more distant primate relatives. Together, all studies of living people affirm that dominant right-handedness is a uniquely modern human trait. The same pattern extends deep into our past. Thus far, the majority of inferred right-handed fossils come from Europe, but a single maxilla from a Homo habilis, OH-65, shows a predominance of right oblique scratches, thus extending right-handedness into the early Pleistocene of Africa. Other studies show right-handedness in more recent African, Chinese, and Levantine fossils, but the sample compiled for non-European fossil specimens remains small. Fossil specimens from Sima del los Huesos and a variety of European Neandertal sites are predominately right-handed. We argue the 9:1 handedness ratio in Neandertals and the earlier inhabitants of Europe constitutes evidence for a modern pattern of handedness well before the appearance of modern Homo sapiens. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  19. Observation & Record Keeping in Early Childhood Programs. Australian Early Childhood Resource Booklets No. 1.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Veale, Ann; Piscitelli, Barbara

    Observing children is a task teachers and caregivers perform to understand the unique characteristics of each child. Observation alone can be helpful, but in combination with record keeping it becomes a valuable aid to understanding child development and can be used as a basis for making decisions about appropriate experiences to foster each…

  20. The origin and early evolution of metatherian mammals: the Cretaceous record

    PubMed Central

    Williamson, Thomas E.; Brusatte, Stephen L.; Wilson, Gregory P.

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Metatherians, which comprise marsupials and their closest fossil relatives, were one of the most dominant clades of mammals during the Cretaceous and are the most diverse clade of living mammals after Placentalia. Our understanding of this group has increased greatly over the past 20 years, with the discovery of new specimens and the application of new analytical tools. Here we provide a review of the phylogenetic relationships of metatherians with respect to other mammals, discuss the taxonomic definition and diagnosis of Metatheria, outline the Cretaceous history of major metatherian clades, describe the paleobiology, biogeography, and macroevolution of Cretaceous metatherians, and provide a physical and climatic background of Cretaceous metatherian faunas. Metatherians are a clade of boreosphendian mammals that must have originated by the Late Jurassic, but the first unequivocal metatherian fossil is from the Early Cretaceous of Asia. Metatherians have the distinctive tightly interlocking occlusal molar pattern of tribosphenic mammals, but differ from Eutheria in their dental formula and tooth replacement pattern, which may be related to the metatherian reproductive process which includes an extended period of lactation followed by birth of extremely altricial young. Metatherians were widespread over Laurasia during the Cretaceous, with members present in Asia, Europe, and North America by the early Late Cretaceous. In particular, they were taxonomically and morphologically diverse and relatively abundant in the Late Cretaceous of western North America, where they have been used to examine patterns of biogeography, macroevolution, diversification, and extinction through the Late Cretaceous and across the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary. Metatherian diversification patterns suggest that they were not strongly affected by a Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution, but they clearly underwent a severe extinction across the K-Pg boundary. PMID:25589872

  1. The origin and early evolution of metatherian mammals: the Cretaceous record.

    PubMed

    Williamson, Thomas E; Brusatte, Stephen L; Wilson, Gregory P

    2014-01-01

    Metatherians, which comprise marsupials and their closest fossil relatives, were one of the most dominant clades of mammals during the Cretaceous and are the most diverse clade of living mammals after Placentalia. Our understanding of this group has increased greatly over the past 20 years, with the discovery of new specimens and the application of new analytical tools. Here we provide a review of the phylogenetic relationships of metatherians with respect to other mammals, discuss the taxonomic definition and diagnosis of Metatheria, outline the Cretaceous history of major metatherian clades, describe the paleobiology, biogeography, and macroevolution of Cretaceous metatherians, and provide a physical and climatic background of Cretaceous metatherian faunas. Metatherians are a clade of boreosphendian mammals that must have originated by the Late Jurassic, but the first unequivocal metatherian fossil is from the Early Cretaceous of Asia. Metatherians have the distinctive tightly interlocking occlusal molar pattern of tribosphenic mammals, but differ from Eutheria in their dental formula and tooth replacement pattern, which may be related to the metatherian reproductive process which includes an extended period of lactation followed by birth of extremely altricial young. Metatherians were widespread over Laurasia during the Cretaceous, with members present in Asia, Europe, and North America by the early Late Cretaceous. In particular, they were taxonomically and morphologically diverse and relatively abundant in the Late Cretaceous of western North America, where they have been used to examine patterns of biogeography, macroevolution, diversification, and extinction through the Late Cretaceous and across the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary. Metatherian diversification patterns suggest that they were not strongly affected by a Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution, but they clearly underwent a severe extinction across the K-Pg boundary.

  2. The Early Cretaceous Sulfur Isotope Record: New Data, Revised Ages, and Updated Modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kristall, B.; Hurtgen, M.; Sageman, B. B.; Jacobson, A. D.

    2015-12-01

    The Early Cretaceous is a time of significant transformation with the continued break-up of Pangea, the emplacement of several LIPs, and a climatic shift from a cool greenhouse to a warm greenhouse. The timing of these major events and their relationship to seawater geochemistry (as recorded in isotope records) is critical for understanding changes in global biogeochemical cycles during this time. Within this context, recent revisions to the Cretaceous portion of the geologic timescale necessitate a reevaluation of the Cretaceous S isotope record as recorded in marine barite (Paytan et al., 2004). We present a revised Early Cretaceous S isotope record and present new δ34Sbarite data that extend the record further back in time and provide more detail during two major S isotope shifts of the Early Cretaceous. The new data maintain the major ~5‰ negative shift but raise questions on the timing and structure of this perturbation. Furthermore, recently updated estimates for global rates of marine microbial sulfate reduction (MSR) (Bowles et al., 2014) and sulfate burial during the Phanerozoic (Halevy et al., 2012) require notable revisions in the fluxes and isotopic values used to model the global S cycle. We present a revised global S cycle box model and reconstruct the evolution of the Early Cretaceous S isotope record primarily through perturbations in volcanic and hydrothermal fluxes (e.g., submarine LIPs). Changes to the weathering and pyrite burial fluxes and the global integrated fractionation factor for MSR are also used to modulate, balance, and smooth the LIP-driven perturbation. The massive evaporite burial during the Late Aptian post dates the major -5‰ shift and has little affect on the modeled S isotope composition of seawater sulfate, despite causing a major drop in sulfate concentration. The S cycle box model is coupled to a Sr cycle box model to provide additional constraints on the magnitude and timing of perturbations within the S isotope record.

  3. Taphonomic and paleoenvironmental considerations for the concentrations of macroinvertibrate fossils in the Romualdo Member, Santana Formation, Late Aptian - Early Albian, Araripe Basin, Araripina, NE, Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prado, Ludmila Alves Cadeira Do; Pereira, Priscilla Albuquerque; Sales, Alexandre Magno Feitosa; Barreto, Alcina Magnólia Franca

    2015-10-01

    Benthic macroinvertebrate fossils can be seen towards to the top of the Romualdo Member of the Santana Formation, in the Araripe Basin, Northeast Brazil, and can provide paleoenvironmental and paleobiogeographical information regarding the Cretaceous marine transgression which reached the interior basins in Northeast Brazil. We analyse taphonomic characteristics of macroinvertebrate concentrations of two outcrops (Torrinha and Torre Grande) within the municipality Araripina, Pernambuco, in order to enhance our understanding of the Cretaceous paleoenvironment in the western portion of the Araripe Basin. At the outcrop Torrinha, proximal tempestitic taphofacies were identified. These predominantly consist of ceritid, cassiopid, and later, naticid gastropods as well as undetermined bivalves. Given this lack of variability it can be deduced that there were no significant paleoenvironmental changes during the successive stages tempestitic sedimentation. In the Torre Grande outcrop distal to proximal tempestitic taphofacies were identified from the base to the top respectively pointing to a decrease in paleodepth. Asides from the macroinvertebrates present in Torrinha, there are also echinoids - unequivocal evidence for marine conditions. These occurrences appear to be restricted to Romualdo Member outcrops in the Araripina municipality (the Southeast portion of the Araripe Basin) confirming a previously published hypothesis suggesting that the Cretaceous marine transgression originated from the neighbouring Parnaíba Basin to the west. This study identified marine molluscs of a similar age to those in the Romualdo Member's equivalent rock units in the Parnaíba and Sergipe-Alagoas (SE-AL) basins suggesting a marine connection between these basins and the Araripe Basin during the Early Cretaceous.

  4. 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.

  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. Constraints on early events in Martian history as derived from the cratering record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barlow, Nadine G.

    1990-01-01

    Constrains on early events in Martian history are derived using the planet's cratering record. Variations in the shapes of the crater size-frequency distribution curves are interpreted as indicative of the size-frequency distribution of the production populations, thus providing information about the age of the unit relative to the end of the heavy bombardment period. Results from the analysis of craters superposed on heavily cratered units across the Martian surface provide constraints on the hemispheric dichotomy and the early erosional conditions on Mars.

  7. 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'. © 2016 The Author(s).

  8. The non-uniformity of fossil preservation

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    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

  9. Discovery of fossil lamprey larva from the Lower Cretaceous reveals its three-phased life cycle

    PubMed Central

    Chang, Mee-mann; Wu, Feixiang; Miao, Desui; Zhang, Jiangyong

    2014-01-01

    Lampreys are one of the two surviving jawless vertebrate groups and one of a few vertebrate groups with the best exemplified metamorphosis during their life cycle, which consists of a long-lasting larval stage, a peculiar metamorphosis, and a relatively short adulthood with a markedly different anatomy. Although the fossil records have revealed that many general features of extant lamprey adults were already formed by the Late Devonian (ca. 360 Ma), little is known about the life cycle of the fossil lampreys because of the lack of fossilized lamprey larvae or transformers. Here we report the first to our knowledge discovery of exceptionally preserved premetamorphic and metamorphosing larvae of the fossil lamprey Mesomyzon mengae from the Lower Cretaceous of Inner Mongolia, China. These fossil ammocoetes look surprisingly modern in having an eel-like body with tiny eyes, oral hood and lower lip, anteriorly positioned branchial region, and a continuous dorsal skin fin fold and in sharing a similar feeding habit, as judged from the detritus left in the gut. In contrast, the larger metamorphosing individuals have slightly enlarged eyes relative to large otic capsules, thickened oral hood or pointed snout, and discernable radials but still anteriorly extended branchial area and lack a suctorial oral disk, which characterize the early stages of the metamorphosis of extant lampreys. Our discovery not only documents the larval conditions of fossil lampreys but also indicates the three-phased life cycle in lampreys emerged essentially in their present mode no later than the Early Cretaceous. PMID:25313060

  10. Biogeographic distribution and metric dental variation of fossil and living orangutans (Pongo spp.).

    PubMed

    Tshen, Lim Tze

    2016-01-01

    The genus Pongo has a relatively richer Quaternary fossil record than those of the African great apes. Fossil materials are patchy in terms of anatomical parts represented, limited almost exclusively to isolated teeth, jaw and bone fragments. Fossil evidence indicates that the genus Pongo had a broadly continuous distribution across the southern part of the Indomalayan biogeographic region, ranging in time from Early Pleistocene to Holocene: southern China (77 fossil sites), Vietnam (15), Laos (6), Cambodia (2), Thailand (4), Peninsular Malaysia (6), Sumatra (4), Borneo (6) and Java (4). Within this distribution range, there are major geographical gaps with no known orangutan fossils, notably central and southern Indochina, central and southern Thailand, eastern Peninsular Malaysia, northern and southern Sumatra, and Kalimantan. The geological time and place of origin of the genus remain unresolved. Fossil orangutan assemblages usually show greater extent of dental metrical variation than those of modern-day populations. Such variability shown in prehistoric populations has partially contributed to confusion regarding past taxonomic diversity and systematic relationships among extinct and living forms. To date, no fewer than 14 distinct taxa have been identified and named for Pleistocene orangutans. Clear cases suggestive of predation by prehistoric human are few in number, and limited to terminal Pleistocene-Early Holocene sites in Borneo and a Late Pleistocene site in Vietnam.

  11. 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. © The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press

  12. 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

    Although the age and location is disputed, the rise of the first closed-canopy forest is likely linked with the expansion of angiosperms in the late Cretacous or early Cenozoic. The carbon isotope 'canopy effect' reflects the extent of canopy closure, and is well documented in δ13C values of the leaves and leaf lipids in modern forests. To test the extent of canopy closure among the oldest documented angiosperm tropical forests, we analyzed isotopic characteristics of leaf fossils and leaf waxes from the Guaduas and Cerrejón Formations. The Guaduas Fm. (Maastrichtian) contains some of the earliest angiosperm fossils in the Neotropics, and both leaf morphology and pollen records at this site suggest an open-canopy structure. The Cerrejón Fm. (Paleocene) contains what are believed to be the first recorded fossil leaves from a closed-canopy forest. We analyzed the bulk carbon isotope content (δ13Cleaf) of 199 fossil leaves, as well as the n-alkane concentration and chain-length distribution, and δ13C of alkanes (δ13Clipid) of 73 fossil leaves and adjacent sediment samples. Fossil leaves are dominated by eudicots and include ten modern plant families (Apocynaceae, Bombaceae, Euphorbaceae, Fabaceae, Lauraceae, Malvaceae, Meliaceae, Menispermaceae, Moraceae, Sapotaceae). We interpreted extent of canopy coverage based on the range of δ13Cleaf values. The narrow range of δ13C values in leaves from the Guaduas Fm (2.7‰) is consistent with an open canopy. A significantly wider range in values (6.3‰) suggests a closed-canopy signature for site 0315 of the Cerrejón Fm,. In contrast, at Site 0318, a lacustrine deposit, leaves had a narrow range (3.3‰) in δ13C values, and this is not consistent with a closed-canopy, but is consistent with leaf assemblages from a forest edge. Leaves that accumulate in lake sediments tend to be biased toward plants living at the lake edge, which do not experience closed-canopy conditions, and do not express the isotopic

  13. Fossilized bioelectric wire - the trace fossil Trichichnus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

    The trace fossil Trichichnus is proposed as an indicator of fossil bioelectric bacterial activity at the interface oxic - anoxic 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 produced by modern large, mat-forming, sulphide-oxidizing bacteria, belonging mostly to Trichichnus-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".

  14. Fossilized bioelectric wire - the trace fossil Trichichnus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-04-01

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

  15. Early Holocene humidity patterns in the Iberian Peninsula reconstructed from lake, pollen and speleothem records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morellón, Mario; Aranbarri, Josu; Moreno, Ana; González-Sampériz, Penélope; Valero-Garcés, Blas L.

    2018-02-01

    Comparison of selected, well-dated, lacustrine, speleothem and terrestrial pollen records spanning the Holocene onset and the Early Holocene (ca. 11.7-8 cal kyrs BP) in the Iberian Peninsula shows large hydrological fluctuations and landscape changes with a complex regional pattern in timing and intensity. Marine pollen records from Alboran, the Mediterranean and off shore Atlantic sites show a step-wise increase in moisture and forest during this transition. However, available continental records point to two main patterns of spatial and temporal hydrological variability: i) Atlantic-influenced sites located at the northwestern areas (Enol, Sanabria, Lucenza, PRD-4), characterized by a gradual increase in humidity from the end of the Younger Dryas to the Mid Holocene, similarly to most North Atlantic records; and ii) continental and Mediterranean-influenced sites (Laguna Grande, Villarquemado, Fuentillejo, Padul, Estanya, Banyoles, Salines), with prolonged arid conditions of variable temporal extension after the Younger Dryas, followed by an abrupt increase in moisture at 10-9 cal kyrs BP. Different local climate conditions influenced by topography or the variable sensitivity (gradual versus threshold values) of the proxies analyzed in each case are evaluated. Vegetation composition (conifers versus mesothermophilous taxa) and resilience would explain a subdued response of vegetation in central continental areas while in Mediterranean sites, insufficient summer moisture availability could not maintain high lake levels and promote mesophyte forest, in contrast to Atlantic-influenced areas. Comparison with available climate models, Greenland ice cores, North Atlantic marine sequences and continental records from Central and Northern Europe and the whole Mediterranean region underlines the distinctive character of the hydrological changes occurred in inner Iberia throughout the Early Holocene. The persistent arid conditions might be explained by the intensification

  16. Chimpanzee fauna isotopes provide new interpretations of fossil ape and hominin ecologies

    PubMed Central

    Nelson, Sherry V.

    2013-01-01

    Carbon and oxygen stable isotopes within modern and fossil tooth enamel record the aspects of an animal's diet and habitat use. This investigation reports the first isotopic analyses of enamel from a large chimpanzee community and associated fauna, thus providing a means of comparing fossil ape and early hominin palaeoecologies with those of a modern ape. Within Kibale National Park forest, oxygen isotopes differentiate primate niches, allowing for the first isotopic reconstructions of degree of frugivory versus folivory as well as use of arboreal versus terrestrial resources. In a comparison of modern and fossil community isotopic profiles, results indicate that Sivapithecus, a Miocene ape from Pakistan, fed in the forest canopy, as do chimpanzees, but inhabited a forest with less continuous canopy or fed more on leaves. Ardipithecus, an early hominin from Ethiopia, fed both arboreally and terrestrially in a more open habitat than inhabited by chimpanzees. PMID:24197413

  17. A reassessment of the early archaeological record at Leang Burung 2, a Late Pleistocene rock-shelter site on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

    PubMed

    Brumm, Adam; Hakim, Budianto; Ramli, Muhammad; Aubert, Maxime; van den Bergh, Gerrit D; Li, Bo; Burhan, Basran; Saiful, Andi Muhammad; Siagian, Linda; Sardi, Ratno; Jusdi, Andi; Abdullah; Mubarak, Andi Pampang; Moore, Mark W; Roberts, Richard G; Zhao, Jian-Xin; McGahan, David; Jones, Brian G; Perston, Yinika; Szabó, Katherine; Mahmud, M Irfan; Westaway, Kira; Jatmiko; Saptomo, E Wahyu; van der Kaars, Sander; Grün, Rainer; Wood, Rachel; Dodson, John; Morwood, Michael J

    2018-01-01

    This paper presents a reassessment of the archaeological record at Leang Burung 2, a key early human occupation site in the Late Pleistocene of Southeast Asia. Excavated originally by Ian Glover in 1975, this limestone rock-shelter in the Maros karsts of Sulawesi, Indonesia, has long held significance in our understanding of early human dispersals into 'Wallacea', the vast zone of oceanic islands between continental Asia and Australia. We present new stratigraphic information and dating evidence from Leang Burung 2 collected during the course of our excavations at this site in 2007 and 2011-13. Our findings suggest that the classic Late Pleistocene modern human occupation sequence identified previously at Leang Burung 2, and proposed to span around 31,000 to 19,000 conventional 14C years BP (~35-24 ka cal BP), may actually represent an amalgam of reworked archaeological materials. Sources for cultural materials of mixed ages comprise breccias from the rear wall of the rock-shelter-remnants of older, eroded deposits dated to 35-23 ka cal BP-and cultural remains of early Holocene antiquity. Below the upper levels affected by the mass loss of Late Pleistocene deposits, our deep-trench excavations uncovered evidence for an earlier hominin presence at the site. These findings include fossils of now-extinct proboscideans and other 'megafauna' in stratified context, as well as a cobble-based stone artifact technology comparable to that produced by late Middle Pleistocene hominins elsewhere on Sulawesi.

  18. A ~600 kyr duration Early Pleistocene record from the West Turkana (Kenya) HSPDP drill site: elemental XRF variability to reconstruct climate change in Turkana Boy's backyard

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stockhecke, M.; Beck, C. C.; Brown, E. T.; Cohen, A.; Deino, A. L.; Feibel, C. S.; Sier, M.

    2015-12-01

    Outcrops in the Kenyan and Ethiopian rift valleys document repeated occurrences of freshwater lakes and wooded landscapes over the past 4 million years at locations that are currently seasonally-dry savanna. Studies of the rich fossil records, in combination with outcropping lacustrine sequences, led to major breakthroughs in our knowledge of driving factors in human evolution. However, study of continuous drill core from ancient lake basins provides a basis for to unravel East African climate dynamics in an unseen fashion. The Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP), and the related Olorgesailie Drilling Project, recovered ~2 km of drill core since 2012. A major project goal is characterization of East African paleoclimate in order to evaluate its impact on hominin evolution. XRF core scanning data provide a means of evaluating records of past environmental conditions continuously and at high resolution. However, the HSPDP records contain complex lithologies reflecting repeated episodes of inundation and desiccation of the lake basins. Nevertheless, careful data evaluation based on detailed lithostratigraphy, which includes smear-slide microscopic analyses and X-radiographic images, allows disentanglement of complex signals and robust identification of continuous sequences for any cyclostratigraphic and statistical analysis. At the HSPDP Turkana Basin site a 175.6 m-long core the covers the Early Pleistocene time window during which hominids first expanded out of Africa and marine records document reorganization of tropical climate and the development of the strong Walker circulation. This drill site carries particular interest as it is located in only 2.5 km from the location of one of the most complete hominin skeletons ever recovered (Turkana Boy). Here we present a methodological approach to address the highly variable lithostratigraphy of the East African records to establish comprehensive and environmentally meaningful paleoclimate timeseries

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. O the Interpretation of Climatic Change from the Fossil Record: Climatic Change in Central and Eastern United States for the Past 2000 Years Estimated from Pollen Data.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gajewski, Konrad J.

    Pollen records from varved-lake sediments at seven locations in the northeastern United States record late Holocene climate changes over the past 1000-2000 years. Simplification of pollen diagrams by principal component analysis documents that climate changes affect vegetation at all sites, and not just at "sensitive" sites or ecotones. All seven pollen records show a long-term trend, medium frequency oscillations and higher frequency fluctuations. The between-site similarity of the trend and the coherency of the medium frequency oscillations demonstrates the importance of climate forcing to vegetation change at these scales. Response of vegetation to a climatic change is quite rapid, and depends not only on the nature of the climate fluctuation, but also on the pre-existing state of the vegetation. Multiple regression and canonical correlation techniques were used to calculate calibration functions from a spatial network of modern pollen and climate data. When analyzed at comparable scales, the spatial distribution of pollen assemblages in northeastern United States are related both to summer temperature and annual precipitation. Although summer temperature and annual precipitation are coupled, this coupling is not so strong as to negate the use of univariate calibration models. Over the 2000-year period of time, a gradual summer cooling of about 1.0(DEGREES)C/1000 years has occurred. Superimposed on the long-term trend are medium frequency temperature fluctuations of amplitude about 0.5(DEGREES)C that persist for several centuries. Annual precipitation is relatively constant, except for a period of increased rainfall from 600 years ago to the present in southern Maine.

  2. 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.

  3. Microbial trace-fossil formation, biogenous, and abiotic weathering in the Antarctic cold desert

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Friedmann, E. Imre; Weed, Rebecca

    1987-01-01

    In the Antarctic cold desert (Ross Desert), the survival of the cryptoendolithic microorganisms that colonize the near-surface layer of porous sandstone rocks depends on a precarious equilibrium of biological and geological factors. An unfavorable shift of this equilibrium results in death, and this may be followed by formation of trace fossils that preserve the characteristic iron-leaching pattern caused by microbial activity. Similar microbial trace fossils may exist in the geological record. If life ever arose on early Mars, similar processes may have occurred there and left recognizable traces.

  4. Fossil Energy Program

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNeese, L. E.

    1981-01-01

    Increased utilization of coal and other fossil fuel alternatives as sources of clean energy is reported. The following topics are discussed: coal conversion development, chemical research and development, materials technology, component development and process evaluation studies, technical support to major liquefaction projects, process analysis and engineering evaluations, fossil energy environmental analysis, flue gas desulfurization, solid waste disposal, coal preparation waste utilization, plant control development, atmospheric fluidized bed coal combustor for cogeneration, TVA FBC demonstration plant program technical support, PFBC systems analysis, fossil fuel applications assessments, performance assurance system support for fossil energy projects, international energy technology assessment, and general equilibrium models of liquid and gaseous fuel supplies.

  5. Modes of fossil preservation

    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.

  6. Tetrapod trackways from the early Middle Devonian period of Poland.

    PubMed

    Niedźwiedzki, Grzegorz; Szrek, Piotr; Narkiewicz, Katarzyna; Narkiewicz, Marek; Ahlberg, Per E

    2010-01-07

    The fossil record of the earliest tetrapods (vertebrates with limbs rather than paired fins) consists of body fossils and trackways. The earliest body fossils of tetrapods date to the Late Devonian period (late Frasnian stage) and are preceded by transitional elpistostegids such as Panderichthys and Tiktaalik that still have paired fins. Claims of tetrapod trackways predating these body fossils have remained controversial with regard to both age and the identity of the track makers. Here we present well-preserved and securely dated tetrapod tracks from Polish marine tidal flat sediments of early Middle Devonian (Eifelian stage) age that are approximately 18 million years older than the earliest tetrapod body fossils and 10 million years earlier than the oldest elpistostegids. They force a radical reassessment of the timing, ecology and environmental setting of the fish-tetrapod transition, as well as the completeness of the body fossil record.

  7. The termites of Early Eocene Cambay amber, with the earliest record of the Termitidae (Isoptera)

    PubMed Central

    Engel, Michael S.; Grimaldi, David A.; Nascimbene, Paul C.; Singh, Hukam

    2011-01-01

    Abstract The fauna of termites (Isoptera) preserved in Early Eocene amber from the Cambay Basin (Gujarat, India) are described and figured. Three new genera and four new species are recognized, all of them Neoisoptera – Parastylotermes krishnai Engel & Grimaldi, sp. n. (Stylotermitidae); Prostylotermes kamboja Engel & Grimaldi, gen. et sp. n. (Stylotermitidae?); Zophotermes Engel, gen. n., with Zophotermes ashoki Engel & Singh, sp. n. (Rhinotermitidae: Prorhinotermitinae); and Nanotermes isaacae Engel & Grimaldi, gen. et sp. n. (Termitidae: Termitinae?). Together these species represent the earliest Tertiary records of the Neoisoptera and the oldest definitive record of Termitidae, a family that comprises >75% of the living species of Isoptera. Interestingly, the affinities of the Cambay amber termites are with largely Laurasian lineages, in this regard paralleling relationships seen between the fauna of bees and some flies. Diversity of Neoisoptera in Indian amber may reflect origin of the amber deposit in Dipterocarpaceae forests formed at or near the paleoequator. PMID:22287892

  8. [Electroencephalography (EEG) recording techniques and artifact detection in early premature babies].

    PubMed

    Wallois, F; Vecchierini, M-F; Héberlé, C; Walls-Esquivel, E

    2007-01-01

    EEG recording techniques in early premature babies are not very different from those used for full-term neonates. Here, we emphasise the most important points: asepsis precautions, full knowledge of the clinical data and drug therapies, the fundamental role of a well-trained technician in supervising the EEG recording and monitoring the baby. The best electrode positions, the most informative montages and their standardisation between neurophysiological laboratories, are suggested. Artifact detection constitutes an important aspect of EEG signal analysis in preterm babies of less than 30 weeks. It is obviously necessary to discriminate between meaningful information and artefacts. The complexity of the signal in neonates makes artifact detection difficult. We present some characteristic features and describe some methods for eliminating them. We underline the positive aspect of some artifacts and their clinical use. We emphasise the crucial role of the technicians.

  9. Pine nut use in the Early Holocene and beyond: The danger cave archaeobotanical record

    Rhode, D.; Madsen, D.B.

    1998-01-01

    Nuts of limber pine (Pinus flexilis) from Early Holocene strata in Danger Cave, Utah, are distinguishable by seed-coat sculpturing from pine nuts of single-needled pinyon (Pinus monophylla), which occur in strata dating <7000 years BP. Owls and other taphonomic agents may deposit pine nuts in archaeological sites, but the morphology of the pine nuts in Danger Cave strongly indicate they were deposited by human foragers who brought small quantities with them for food for at least the last 7500 years. Large-scale transport of pine nuts to Danger Cave from distant hinterlands is unlikely, however. The seamless transition from limber pine to pinyon pine nuts in the Danger Cave record suggests that foragers who had utilized limber pine as a food resource easily switched to using pinyon pine nuts when pinyon pine migrated into the region at the close of the Early Holocene.

  10. Fossils, molecules and embryos: new perspectives on the Cambrian explosion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Valentine, J. W.; Jablonski, D.; Erwin, D. H.

    1999-01-01

    The Cambrian explosion is named for the geologically sudden appearance of numerous metazoan body plans (many of living phyla) between about 530 and 520 million years ago, only 1.7% of the duration of the fossil record of animals. Earlier indications of metazoans are found in the Neoproterozic; minute trails suggesting bilaterian activity date from about 600 million years ago. Larger and more elaborate fossil burrows appear near 543 million years ago, the beginning of the Cambrian Period. Evidence of metazoan activity in both trace and body fossils then increased during the 13 million years leading to the explosion. All living phyla may have originated by the end of the explosion. Molecular divergences among lineages leading to phyla record speciation events that have been earlier than the origins of the new body plans, which can arise many tens of millions of years after an initial branching. Various attempts to date those branchings by using molecular clocks have disagreed widely. While the timing of the evolution of the developmental systems of living metazoan body plans is still uncertain, the distribution of Hox and other developmental control genes among metazoans indicates that an extensive patterning system was in place prior to the Cambrian. However, it is likely that much genomic repatterning occurred during the Early Cambrian, involving both key control genes and regulators within their downstream cascades, as novel body plans evolved.

  11. 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…

  12. Influence of microbial biofilms on the preservation of primary soft tissue in fossil and extant archosaurs.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Joseph E; Lenczewski, Melissa E; Scherer, Reed P

    2010-10-12

    Mineralized and permineralized bone is the most common form of fossilization in the vertebrate record. Preservation of gross soft tissues is extremely rare, but recent studies have suggested that primary soft tissues and biomolecules are more commonly preserved within preserved bones than had been presumed. Some of these claims have been challenged, with presentation of evidence suggesting that some of the structures are microbial artifacts, not primary soft tissues. The identification of biomolecules in fossil vertebrate extracts from a specimen of Brachylophosaurus canadensis has shown the interpretation of preserved organic remains as microbial biofilm to be highly unlikely. These discussions also propose a variety of potential mechanisms that would permit the preservation of soft-tissues in vertebrate fossils over geologic time. This study experimentally examines the role of microbial biofilms in soft-tissue preservation in vertebrate fossils by quantitatively establishing the growth and morphology of biofilms on extant archosaur bone. These results are microscopically and morphologically compared with soft-tissue extracts from vertebrate fossils from the Hell Creek Formation of southeastern Montana (Latest Maastrichtian) in order to investigate the potential role of microbial biofilms on the preservation of fossil bone and bound organic matter in a variety of taphonomic settings. Based on these analyses, we highlight a mechanism whereby this bound organic matter may be preserved. Results of the study indicate that the crystallization of microbial biofilms on decomposing organic matter within vertebrate bone in early taphonomic stages may contribute to the preservation of primary soft tissues deeper in the bone structure.

  13. Using extant taxa to inform studies of fossil footprints

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Falkingham, Peter; Gatesy, Stephen

    2016-04-01

    Attempting to use the fossilized footprints of extinct animals to study their palaeobiology and palaeoecology is notoriously difficult. The inconvenient extinction of the trackmaker makes direct correlation between footprints and foot far from straightforward. However, footprints are the only direct evidence of vertebrate motion recorded in the fossil record, and are potentially a source of data on palaeobiology that cannot be obtained from osteological remains alone. Our interests lie in recovering information about the movements of dinosaurs from their tracks. In particular, the Hitchcock collection of early Jurassic tracks held at the Beneski Museum of Natural History, Amherst, provide a rare look into the 3D form of tracks at and below the surface the animal walked on. Breaking naturally along laminations into 'track books', the specimens present sediment deformation at multiple levels, and in doing so record more of the foot's motion than a single surface might. In order to utilize this rich information source to study the now extinct trackmakers, the process of track formation must be understood at a fundamental level; the interaction of the moving foot and compliant substrate. We used bi-planar X-ray techniques (X-ray Reconstruction of Moving Morphology) to record the limb and foot motions of a Guineafowl traversing both granular and cohesive substrates. This data was supplemented with photogrammetric records of the resultant track surfaces, as well as the motion of metal beads within the sediment, to provide a full experimental dataset of foot and footprint formation. The physical experimental data was used to generate computer simulations of the process using high performance computing and the Discrete Element Method. The resultant simulations showed excellent congruence with reality, and enabled visualization within the sediment volume, and throughout the track-forming process. This physical and virtual experimental set-up has provided major insight into

  14. Microbial-caddisfly bioherm association from the Lower Cretaceous Shinekhudag Formation, Mongolia: Earliest record of plant armoring in fossil caddisfly cases

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, Cari L.; Loewen, Mark A.; Ritterbush, Kathleen A.; Constenius, Kurt N.; Dinter, Cory M.

    2017-01-01

    Caddisfly larvae construct underwater protective cases using surrounding materials, thus providing information on environmental conditions in both modern and ancient systems. Microbial bioherms associated with caddisfly cases are found in the Berriassian-Hauterivian (~140–130 Ma) Shinekhudag Formation of Mongolia, and yield new insights into aspects of lacustrine paleoecosystems and paleoenvironments. This formation contains the earliest record of plant-armored caddisfly cases and a rare occurrence of microbial-caddisfly association from the Mesozoic. The bioherms are investigated within the context of stratigraphic correlations, depositional environment interpretations, and basin-evolution models of the sedimentary fill. The bioherms form 0.5–2.0 m diameter mound-shaped bodies and are concentrated within a single, oil shale-bound stratigraphic interval. Each bioherm is composed of up to 40% caddisfly cases along with stromatolites of millimeter-scale, micritic laminations. Petrographic analyses reveal these bioherms are composed of non-systematic associations of columnar and oncoidal microbialites, constructed around colonies of caddisfly cases. The cases are straight to curved, slightly tapered, and tube-shaped, with a progressively increasing length and width trend (7–21 mm by 1.5–2.5 mm). Despite these variations, the case architectures reveal similar construction materials; the particles used for cases are dominated by plant fragments, ostracod valves, carbonate rocks, and rare mica and feldspar grains. Allochems within the bioherms include ooids, ostracods, plant fragments, rare gastropods, feldspar grains bound in micritic matrices, and are consolidated by carbonate dominated cements. The combination of microbial-caddisfly association, plant fragment case particles, and ooids/oncoids are indicative of a shallow, littoral lake setting. Stratigraphic juxtaposition of nearshore bioherms and the bounding distal oil-shale facies suggests that the bioherms

  15. Microbial-caddisfly bioherm association from the Lower Cretaceous Shinekhudag Formation, Mongolia: Earliest record of plant armoring in fossil caddisfly cases.

    PubMed

    Adiya, Tsolmon; Johnson, Cari L; Loewen, Mark A; Ritterbush, Kathleen A; Constenius, Kurt N; Dinter, Cory M

    2017-01-01

    Caddisfly larvae construct underwater protective cases using surrounding materials, thus providing information on environmental conditions in both modern and ancient systems. Microbial bioherms associated with caddisfly cases are found in the Berriassian-Hauterivian (~140-130 Ma) Shinekhudag Formation of Mongolia, and yield new insights into aspects of lacustrine paleoecosystems and paleoenvironments. This formation contains the earliest record of plant-armored caddisfly cases and a rare occurrence of microbial-caddisfly association from the Mesozoic. The bioherms are investigated within the context of stratigraphic correlations, depositional environment interpretations, and basin-evolution models of the sedimentary fill. The bioherms form 0.5-2.0 m diameter mound-shaped bodies and are concentrated within a single, oil shale-bound stratigraphic interval. Each bioherm is composed of up to 40% caddisfly cases along with stromatolites of millimeter-scale, micritic laminations. Petrographic analyses reveal these bioherms are composed of non-systematic associations of columnar and oncoidal microbialites, constructed around colonies of caddisfly cases. The cases are straight to curved, slightly tapered, and tube-shaped, with a progressively increasing length and width trend (7-21 mm by 1.5-2.5 mm). Despite these variations, the case architectures reveal similar construction materials; the particles used for cases are dominated by plant fragments, ostracod valves, carbonate rocks, and rare mica and feldspar grains. Allochems within the bioherms include ooids, ostracods, plant fragments, rare gastropods, feldspar grains bound in micritic matrices, and are consolidated by carbonate dominated cements. The combination of microbial-caddisfly association, plant fragment case particles, and ooids/oncoids are indicative of a shallow, littoral lake setting. Stratigraphic juxtaposition of nearshore bioherms and the bounding distal oil-shale facies suggests that the bioherms

  16. Mapping the Early Language Environment Using All-Day Recordings and Automated Analysis.

    PubMed

    Gilkerson, Jill; Richards, Jeffrey A; Warren, Steven F; Montgomery, Judith K; Greenwood, Charles R; Kimbrough Oller, D; Hansen, John H L; Paul, Terrance D

    2017-05-17

    This research provided a first-generation standardization of automated language environment estimates, validated these estimates against standard language assessments, and extended on previous research reporting language behavior differences across socioeconomic groups. Typically developing children between 2 to 48 months of age completed monthly, daylong recordings in their natural language environments over a span of approximately 6-38 months. The resulting data set contained 3,213 12-hr recordings automatically analyzed by using the Language Environment Analysis (LENA) System to generate estimates of (a) the number of adult words in the child's environment, (b) the amount of caregiver-child interaction, and (c) the frequency of child vocal output. Child vocalization frequency and turn-taking increased with age, whereas adult word counts were age independent after early infancy. Child vocalization and conversational turn estimates predicted 7%-16% of the variance observed in child language assessment scores. Lower socioeconomic status (SES) children produced fewer vocalizations, engaged in fewer adult-child interactions, and were exposed to fewer daily adult words compared with their higher socioeconomic status peers, but within-group variability was high. The results offer new insight into the landscape of the early language environment, with clinical implications for identification of children at-risk for impoverished language environments.

  17. High resolution windows into early Holocene climate: Sr/(Ca) coral records from the Huon Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McCulloch, Malcolm; Mortimer, Graham; Esat, Tezer; Xianhua, Li; Pillans, Brad; Chappell, John

    1996-02-01

    High-precision measurements of Sr/Ca ratios are reported for Porites corals from the uplifted Holocene coral terraces at Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea. The early Holocene Porites have UTh mass spectrometric ages of 8920 ± 60 yr and 7370 ± 50 yr, and δ 234U(t) values of 145 ± 2, similar to modern seawater. The Sr/Ca coral records provide 5-6 year high resolution (near weekly) time windows into early Holocene sea surface temperatures. Seasonal temperature fluctuations are generally in the range of ± 1°C, with occasional excursions of ± 2°C, which may indicate the more frequent recurrence of very strong ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) events. Mean annual Sr/Ca temperatures of 24.2 ± 1.1°C and 22.9 ± 0.8°C have been obtained, which are ˜ 2-3°C cooler than that exhibited by a modern Porites. These results indicate that, during the early Holocene, the equatorial western Pacific ocean was at least several degrees cooler than present-day temperatures. This is consistent with late glacial coral records from the Caribbean that indicate lower (˜ 6°C) sea surface temperatures for the equatorial oceans. The Huon Peninsula corals also indicate that SSTs were several degrees cooler than those in the Caribbean during the early Holocene. Thus, although the northern hemisphere summer radiation maximum occurred at ˜ 10 ka, there appears to have been a significant lag in the response of the equatorial western Pacific ocean to this warming. Cooler early Holocene sea surface temperatures in the western Pacific may have been due to changing patterns of ocean-atmosphere circulation, resulting from the exposure of large areas of continental shelf in the southeast Asia region, a consequence of lower glacial sea levels. It is likely that ocean temperatures in the Huon Peninsula were influenced by the opening at ˜ 7 ka of the Torres Strait, that now separates New Guinea from the Australian mainland.

  18. The first fossil salmonfly (Insecta: Plecoptera: Pteronarcyidae), back to the Middle Jurassic.

    PubMed

    Cui, Yingying; Béthoux, Olivier; Kondratieff, Boris; Shih, Chungkun; Ren, Dong

    2016-10-18

    The fossil record of Plecoptera (stoneflies) is considered relatively complete, with stem-groups of each of the three major lineages, viz. Antarctoperlaria, Euholognatha and Systellognatha (and some of their families) represented in the Mesozoic. However, the family Pteronarcyidae (the salmonflies; including two genera, Pteronarcys and Pteronarcella) has no fossil record to date, and the family has been suggested to have diverged recently. In this paper, we report on a set of specimens belonging to a new fossil species of stonefly, discovered from the Middle Jurassic Daohugou locality (China). Our comparative analysis of wing venation and body characters demonstrates that the new species belongs to the Pteronarcyidae, and is more closely related to Pteronarcys than to Pteronarcella. However, it differs from all known species of the former genus. It is therefore assigned to a new genus and named Pteroliriope sinitshenkovae gen. et sp. nov. under the traditional nomenclatural procedure. The cladotypic nomenclatural procedure is also employed, with the resulting combination Pteroliriope nec Pteronarcys sinitshenkovae sp. nov. The first discovery of a fossil member of the Pteronarcyidae demonstrates that the corresponding lineage is not a very recent offshoot but was already present ca. 165 million years ago. This discovery concurs with the view that divergence of most stonefly families took place very early, probably in the Triassic, or even in the Permian. This contribution demonstrates the need for (re-)investigations of the systematics of fossil stoneflies to refine divergence date estimates for Plecoptera lineages.

  19. Big data from electronic health records for early and late translational cardiovascular research: challenges and potential.

    PubMed

    Hemingway, Harry; Asselbergs, Folkert W; Danesh, John; Dobson, Richard; Maniadakis, Nikolaos; Maggioni, Aldo; van Thiel, Ghislaine J M; Cronin, Maureen; Brobert, Gunnar; Vardas, Panos; Anker, Stefan D; Grobbee, Diederick E; Denaxas, Spiros

    2018-04-21

    Cohorts of millions of people's health records, whole genome sequencing, imaging, sensor, societal and publicly available data present a rapidly expanding digital trace of health. We aimed to critically review, for the first time, the challenges and potential of big data across early and late stages of translational cardiovascular disease research. We sought exemplars based on literature reviews and expertise across the BigData@Heart Consortium. We identified formidable challenges including: data quality, knowing what data exist, the legal and ethical framework for their use, data sharing, building and maintaining public trust, developing standards for defining disease, developing tools for scalable, replicable science and equipping the clinical and scientific work force with new inter-disciplinary skills. Opportunities claimed for big health record data include: richer profiles of health and disease from birth to death and from the molecular to the societal scale; accelerated understanding of disease causation and progression, discovery of new mechanisms and treatment-relevant disease sub-phenotypes, understanding health and diseases in whole populations and whole health systems and returning actionable feedback loops to improve (and potentially disrupt) existing models of research and care, with greater efficiency. In early translational research we identified exemplars including: discovery of fundamental biological processes e.g. linking exome sequences to lifelong electronic health records (EHR) (e.g. human knockout experiments); drug development: genomic approaches to drug target validation; precision medicine: e.g. DNA integrated into hospital EHR for pre-emptive pharmacogenomics. In late translational research we identified exemplars including: learning health systems with outcome trials integrated into clinical care; citizen driven health with 24/7 multi-parameter patient monitoring to improve outcomes and population-based linkages of multiple EHR sources

  20. Total-Evidence Dating under the Fossilized Birth–Death Process

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Chi; Stadler, Tanja; Klopfstein, Seraina; Heath, Tracy A.; Ronquist, Fredrik

    2016-01-01

    Bayesian total-evidence dating involves the simultaneous analysis of morphological data from the fossil record and morphological and sequence data from recent organisms, and it accommodates the uncertainty in the placement of fossils while dating the phylogenetic tree. Due to the flexibility of the Bayesian approach, total-evidence dating can also incorporate additional sources of information. Here, we take advantage of this and expand the analysis to include information about fossilization and sampling processes. Our work is based on the recently described fossilized birth–death (FBD) process, which has been used to model speciation, extinction, and fossilization rates that can vary over time in a piecewise manner. So far, sampling of extant and fossil taxa has been assumed to be either complete or uniformly at random, an assumption which is only valid for a minority of data sets. We therefore extend the FBD process to accommodate diversified sampling of extant taxa, which is standard practice in studies of higher-level taxa. We verify the implementation using simulations and apply it to the early radiation of Hymenoptera (wasps, ants, and bees). Previous total-evidence dating analyses of this data set were based on a simple uniform tree prior and dated the initial radiation of extant Hymenoptera to the late Carboniferous (309 Ma). The analyses using the FBD prior under diversified sampling, however, date the radiation to the Triassic and Permian (252 Ma), slightly older than the age of the oldest hymenopteran fossils. By exploring a variety of FBD model assumptions, we show that it is mainly the accommodation of diversified sampling that causes the push toward more recent divergence times. Accounting for diversified sampling thus has the potential to close the long-discussed gap between rocks and clocks. We conclude that the explicit modeling of fossilization and sampling processes can improve divergence time estimates, but only if all important model aspects

  1. An Early Middle Eocene Orbital Scale Benthic Isotope Record From IODP Site 1408, Newfoundland Rise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, F.; Lawler, N.; Penman, D. E.; Zachos, J. C.; Kirtland Turner, S.; Norris, R. D.; Wilson, P. A.; Hull, P. M.

    2014-12-01

    The long-term Paleogene global cooling trend and eventual glaciation of Antarctica has been attributed to a reduction in greenhouse gas levels as well as changes in the configuration of high-latitude oceanic gateways. This major trend in climate and forcing is known to have initiated in the early middle Eocene, between 44-49 Mya, yet our understanding of the detailed evolution of climate and oceanic circulation and carbon chemistry of this critical interval has been limited for lack of high-resolution proxy climate records. Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 342, designed in part to address this deficiency, successfully recovered highly expanded sequences of middle Eocene sediment from multiple sites in the western North Atlantic, with several sites characterized by high sedimentation rates (>2.8 cm/kyr) and pronounced lithologic cycles. Using samples from cores recovered at one of these sites, 1408, located on Southeast Newfoundland Ridge, we are reconstructing the first orbital-scale deep sea δ18O and δ13C records spanning a ~1.6 million year interval (~Chron 20r) of the middle Eocene. Based on analyses of benthic foraminifer N. truempyi, our preliminary data reveal distinct high-frequency cycles with periods matching those of the orbital cycles, particularly precession and obliquity. Cross spectral analysis of δ18O, δ13C and lithologic records reveal a high degree of coherency, implying a high sensitivity in local sediment fluxes and bottom water chemistry (and circulation) to orbital forcing. Also, given the location and depth (~2600 m at 50 Ma), Site 1408 constrains the end-member composition of northern component bathyal bottom waters so that comparison with benthic isotope records from the south Atlantic and other basins can be used to assess ocean circulation patterns in the mid-Eocene. In general, bottom water temperatures appear to have been warmer, and DIC δ13C lower than observed elsewhere. Thus, our preliminary results are

  2. A fossil unicorn crestfish (Teleostei, Lampridiformes, Lophotidae) from the Eocene of Iran.

    PubMed

    Davesne, Donald

    2017-01-01

    Lophotidae, or crestfishes, is a family of rare deep-sea teleosts characterised by an enlarged horn-like crest on the forehead. They are poorly represented in the fossil record, by only three described taxa. One specimen attributed to Lophotidae has been described from the pelagic fauna of the middle-late Eocene Zagros Basin, Iran. Originally considered as a specimen of the fossil lophotid † Protolophotus , it is proposed hereby as a new genus and species † Babelichthys olneyi , gen. et sp. nov., differs from the other fossil lophotids by its relatively long and strongly projecting crest, suggesting a close relationship with the modern unicorn crestfish, Eumecichthys . This new taxon increases the diversity of the deep-sea teleost fauna to which it belongs, improving our understanding of the taxonomic composition of the early Cenozoic mesopelagic ecosystems.

  3. A fossil unicorn crestfish (Teleostei, Lampridiformes, Lophotidae) from the Eocene of Iran

    PubMed Central

    2017-01-01

    Lophotidae, or crestfishes, is a family of rare deep-sea teleosts characterised by an enlarged horn-like crest on the forehead. They are poorly represented in the fossil record, by only three described taxa. One specimen attributed to Lophotidae has been described from the pelagic fauna of the middle-late Eocene Zagros Basin, Iran. Originally considered as a specimen of the fossil lophotid †Protolophotus, it is proposed hereby as a new genus and species †Babelichthys olneyi, gen. et sp. nov., differs from the other fossil lophotids by its relatively long and strongly projecting crest, suggesting a close relationship with the modern unicorn crestfish, Eumecichthys. This new taxon increases the diversity of the deep-sea teleost fauna to which it belongs, improving our understanding of the taxonomic composition of the early Cenozoic mesopelagic ecosystems. PMID:28674642

  4. Primate diversification inferred from phylogenies and fossils.

    PubMed

    Herrera, James P

    2017-12-01

    Biodiversity arises from the balance between speciation and extinction. Fossils record the origins and disappearance of organisms, and the branching patterns of molecular phylogenies allow estimation of speciation and extinction rates, but the patterns of diversification are frequently incongruent between these two data sources. I tested two hypotheses about the diversification of primates based on ∼600 fossil species and 90% complete phylogenies of living species: (1) diversification rates increased through time; (2) a significant extinction event occurred in the Oligocene. Consistent with the first hypothesis, analyses of phylogenies supported increasing speciation rates and negligible extinction rates. In contrast, fossils showed that while speciation rates increased, speciation and extinction rates tended to be nearly equal, resulting in zero net diversification. Partially supporting the second hypothesis, the fossil data recorded a clear pattern of diversity decline in the Oligocene, although diversification rates were near zero. The phylogeny supported increased extinction ∼34 Ma, but also elevated extinction ∼10 Ma, coinciding with diversity declines in some fossil clades. The results demonstrated that estimates of speciation and extinction ignoring fossils are insufficient to infer diversification and information on extinct lineages should be incorporated into phylogenetic analyses. © 2017 The Author(s). Evolution © 2017 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  5. Natural Product Molecular Fossils.

    PubMed

    Falk, Heinz; Wolkenstein, Klaus

    The natural products synthesized by organisms that were living a long time ago gave rise to their molecular fossils. These can consist of either the original unchanged compounds or they may undergo peripheral transformations in which their skeletons remain intact. In cases when molecular fossils can be traced to their organismic source, they are termed "geological biomarkers".This contribution describes apolar and polar molecular fossils and, in particular biomarkers, along the lines usually followed in organic chemistry textbooks, and points to their bioprecursors when available. Thus, the apolar compounds are divided in linear and branched alkanes followed by alicyclic compounds and aromatic and heterocyclic molecules, and, in particular, the geoporphyrins. The polar molecular fossils contain as functional groups or constituent units ethers, alcohols, phenols, carbonyl groups, flavonoids, quinones, and acids, or are polymers like kerogen, amber, melanin, proteins, or nucleic acids. The final sections discuss the methodology used and the fundamental processes encountered by the biomolecules described, including diagenesis, catagenesis, and metagenesis.

  6. Globular cluster formation - The fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1992-01-01

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

  7. Text mining approach to predict hospital admissions using early medical records from the emergency department.

    PubMed

    Lucini, Filipe R; S Fogliatto, Flavio; C da Silveira, Giovani J; L Neyeloff, Jeruza; Anzanello, Michel J; de S Kuchenbecker, Ricardo; D Schaan, Beatriz

    2017-04-01

    Emergency department (ED) overcrowding is a serious issue for hospitals. Early information on short-term inward bed demand from patients receiving care at the ED may reduce the overcrowding problem, and optimize the use of hospital resources. In this study, we use text mining methods to process data from early ED patient records using the SOAP framework, and predict future hospitalizations and discharges. We try different approaches for pre-processing of text records and to predict hospitalization. Sets-of-words are obtained via binary representation, term frequency, and term frequency-inverse document frequency. Unigrams, bigrams and trigrams are tested for feature formation. Feature selection is based on χ 2 and F-score metrics. In the prediction module, eight text mining methods are tested: Decision Tree, Random Forest, Extremely Randomized Tree, AdaBoost, Logistic Regression, Multinomial Naïve Bayes, Support Vector Machine (Kernel linear) and Nu-Support Vector Machine (Kernel linear). Prediction performance is evaluated by F1-scores. Precision and Recall values are also informed for all text mining methods tested. Nu-Support Vector Machine was the text mining method with the best overall performance. Its average F1-score in predicting hospitalization was 77.70%, with a standard deviation (SD) of 0.66%. The method could be used to manage daily routines in EDs such as capacity planning and resource allocation. Text mining could provide valuable information and facilitate decision-making by inward bed management teams. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Fossil energy program

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNeese, L. E.

    1981-12-01

    The progress made during the period from July 1 through September 30 for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory research and development projects in support of the increased utilization of coal and other fossil fuels as sources of clean energy is reported. The following topics are discussed: coal conversion development, chemical research and development, materials technology, fossil energy materials program, liquefaction projects, component development, process analysis, environmental control technology, atmospheric fluidized bed combustion, underground coal gasification, coal preparation and waste utilization.

  9. Accessory Mineral Records of Early Earth Crust-Mantle Systematics: an Example From West Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Storey, C. D.; Hawkesworth, C. J.

    2008-12-01

    Conditions for the formation and the nature of Earth's early crust are enigmatic due to poor preservation. Before c.4 Ga the only archives are detrital minerals eroded from earlier crust, such as the Jack Hills zircons in western Australia, or extinct isotope systematics. Zircons are particularly powerful since they retain precise records of their ages of crystallisation, and the Lu-Hf radiogenic isotope and O stable isotope systematics of the reservoir from which they crystallised. In principle, this allows insight into the nature of the crust, the mantle reservoir from which the melt was extracted and any reworked material incorporated into that melt. We have used in situ methods to measure U-Pb, O and Lu-Hf within single zircon crystals from tonalitic gneisses from West Greenland in the vicinity of the Isua Supracrustal Belt. They have little disturbed ages of c.3.8 Ga, mantle-like O isotope signatures and Lu-Hf isotope signatures that lie on the CHUR evolution line at 3.8 Ga. These samples have previously been subjected to Pb isotope feldspar and 142Nd whole rock analysis and have helped constrain models in which early differentiation of a proto-crust must have occurred. The CHUR-like Lu-Hf signature, along with mantle-like O signature from these zircons suggests juvenile melt production at 3.8 Ga from undifferentiated mantle, yet the other isotope systems preclude this possibility. Alternatively, this is further strong evidence for a heterogeneous mantle in the early Earth. Whilst zircons afford insight into the nature of the early crust and mantle, it is through the Sm-Nd system that the mantle has traditionally been viewed. Titanite often contains several thousand ppm Nd, making it amenable to precise analysis, and is a common accessory phase. It has a reasonably high closure temperature for Pb and O, and it can retain cores with older ages and distinct REE chemistry. It is often the main accessory phase alongside zircon, and it is the main carrier of Nd

  10. Early Evaluation of the VIIRS Calibration, Cloud Mask and Surface Reflectance Earth Data Records

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vermote, Eric; Justice, Chris; Csiszar, Ivan

    2014-01-01

    Surface reflectance is one of the key products fromVIIRS and as withMODIS, is used in developing several higherorder land products. The VIIRS Surface Reflectance (SR) Intermediate Product (IP) is based on the heritageMODIS Collection 5 product (Vermote, El Saleous, & Justice, 2002). The quality and character of surface reflectance depend on the accuracy of the VIIRS Cloud Mask (VCM), the aerosol algorithms and the adequate calibration of the sensor. The focus of this paper is the early evaluation of the VIIRS SR product in the context of the maturity of the operational processing system, the Interface Data Processing System (IDPS). After a brief introduction, the paper presents the calibration performance and the role of the surface reflectance in calibration monitoring. The analysis of the performance of the cloud mask with a focus on vegetation monitoring (no snow conditions) shows typical problems over bright surfaces and high elevation sites. Also discussed is the performance of the aerosol input used in the atmospheric correction and in particular the artifacts generated by the use of the Navy Aerosol Analysis and Prediction System. Early quantitative results of the performance of the SR product over the AERONET sites showthatwith the fewadjustments recommended, the accuracy iswithin the threshold specifications. The analysis of the adequacy of the SR product (Land PEATE adjusted version) in applications of societal benefits is then presented. We conclude with a set of recommendations to ensure consistency and continuity of the JPSS mission with the MODIS Land Climate Data Record.

  11. Detection of Mild Cognitive Impairment and early stage dementia with an audio-recorded cognitive scale

    PubMed Central

    Sewell, Margaret C.; Luo, Xiaodong; Neugroschl, Judith; Sano, Mary

    2014-01-01

    BACKGROUND Physicians often miss a diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or early dementia and screening measures can be insensitive to very mild impairments. Other cognitive assessments may take too much time or be frustrating to seniors. This study examined the ability of an audio-recorded scale, developed in Australia, to detect MCI or mild Alzheimer’s disease and compared cognitive domain specific performance on the audio-recorded scale to in-person battery and common cognitive screens. METHOD Seventy-six subjects from the Mount Sinai Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center were recruited. Subjects were 75 years or older, with clinical diagnosis of AD or MCI (n=51) or normal control (n=25). Participants underwent in-person neuropsychological testing followed by testing with the Audio-recorded Cognitive Screen (ARCS). RESULTS ARCS provided better discrimination between normal and impaired elders than either the Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE) or the clock drawing test. The in-person battery and ARCS analogous variables were significantly correlated, most in the .4 to .7 range, including verbal memory, executive function/attention, naming, and verbal fluency. The area under the curve generated from ROC curves indicated high and equivalent discrimination for ARCS and the in-person battery (0.972 vs. 0.988; p=0.23). CONCLUSION The ARCS demonstrated better discrimination between normal controls and those with mild deficits than typical screening measures. Performance on cognitive domains within the ARCS was well correlated with the in-person battery. Completion of the ARCS was accomplished despite mild difficulty hearing the instructions even in very elderly subjects, indicating that it may be a useful measure in primary care settings. PMID:23635663

  12. A reassessment of the early archaeological record at Leang Burung 2, a Late Pleistocene rock-shelter site on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi

    PubMed Central

    Hakim, Budianto; Ramli, Muhammad; Aubert, Maxime; van den Bergh, Gerrit D.; Li, Bo; Burhan, Basran; Saiful, Andi Muhammad; Siagian, Linda; Sardi, Ratno; Jusdi, Andi; Abdullah; Mubarak, Andi Pampang; Moore, Mark W.; Roberts, Richard G.; Zhao, Jian-xin; McGahan, David; Jones, Brian G.; Perston, Yinika; Szabó, Katherine; Mahmud, M. Irfan; Westaway, Kira; Jatmiko; Saptomo, E. Wahyu; van der Kaars, Sander; Grün, Rainer; Wood, Rachel; Dodson, John

    2018-01-01

    This paper presents a reassessment of the archaeological record at Leang Burung 2, a key early human occupation site in the Late Pleistocene of Southeast Asia. Excavated originally by Ian Glover in 1975, this limestone rock-shelter in the Maros karsts of Sulawesi, Indonesia, has long held significance in our understanding of early human dispersals into ‘Wallacea’, the vast zone of oceanic islands between continental Asia and Australia. We present new stratigraphic information and dating evidence from Leang Burung 2 collected during the course of our excavations at this site in 2007 and 2011–13. Our findings suggest that the classic Late Pleistocene modern human occupation sequence identified previously at Leang Burung 2, and proposed to span around 31,000 to 19,000 conventional 14C years BP (~35–24 ka cal BP), may actually represent an amalgam of reworked archaeological materials. Sources for cultural materials of mixed ages comprise breccias from the rear wall of the rock-shelter–remnants of older, eroded deposits dated to 35–23 ka cal BP–and cultural remains of early Holocene antiquity. Below the upper levels affected by the mass loss of Late Pleistocene deposits, our deep-trench excavations uncovered evidence for an earlier hominin presence at the site. These findings include fossils of now-extinct proboscideans and other ‘megafauna’ in stratified context, as well as a cobble-based stone artifact technology comparable to that produced by late Middle Pleistocene hominins elsewhere on Sulawesi. PMID:29641524

  13. Boron Isotopes in Modern and Cenozoic Scleractinian Fossil Corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gothmann, A.; Bender, M. L.; Adkins, J. F.

    2016-12-01

    Recent measurements of boron isotopes in modern coral support the hypothesis that coral biologically up-regulate the pH of the fluid from which they calcify to facilitate skeletal mineralization [1]. While this evidence of biological pH adjustment provides important insight into the mechanism by which coral make their skeletons, it also complicates the use of coral boron isotopes as a paleoseawater pH proxy. We measured boron isotopes in 11 modern and well preserved fossil corals using Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry to characterize fine-scale ( 30 µm) patterns of δ11B variability. In addition to δ11B, we measured B/Ca, Mg/Ca, Sr/Ca, and Mn/Ca ratios in order to compare isotopes with element/Ca variability and monitor for diagenetic alteration. We find that in different species of modern and well preserved fossil coral, the measured range of δ11B varies from 5 to 15 ‰. Also, while corals of similar geologic age have similar average δ11B compositions, at the scale of our measurements they do not appear to share a consistent pattern of minimum δ11B, maximum δ11B, or range in δ11B. The δ11B of fossil corals increases by 7 ‰ between the Early Cenozoic and today. While the general pattern of coral δ11B change is similar to the pattern found in foraminifera-based δ11B records [e.g., 2], the magnitude of the coral change is approximately 2-3 times as large as changes inferred from foraminifera. Although it is not possible to separate the influence of changing seawater pH and changing δ11Bseawater on fossil coral boron isotope compositions, the record can be explained by a combination of lower seawater pH and lower seawater δ11B during the the Early Cenozoic. Our coral results suggest an Early Cenozoic δ11Bseawater composition that is much lower than inferred from other approaches, and similar to Early Cenozoic δ11Bseawater as inferred from brine inclusions in halite [3]. [1.] McCulloch, M.T., Trotter, J., Montagna, P., Falter, J., Dunbar, R., Freiwald

  14. Near-Record Early Snowmelt and Signs of Environmental Change in Barrow, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stanitski, D.; Cox, C.; Sweeney, C.; Divoky, G.; George, C.; Stone, R.

    2015-12-01

    The 2015 spring transition in Barrow, AK, was notable with the second earliest date of snow melt on record (JD148, May 28) and earliest ice free conditions on a local lagoon (JD178, June 27). The 73-year time series from the NOAA Global Monitoring Division's Barrow Observatory (BRW) has shown a trend toward earlier spring snowmelt, reinforced in 2015. Anomalous early snowmelt was also observed at nearby Cooper Island where a colony of sea birds, the Black Guillemot, nests each year once snow disappears. The appearance of "first egg" is well correlated with the date of snowmelt at BRW (Fig. 1), as is the ice-out date at the Isaktoak Lagoon (ISK). In 2015, the first egg was observed on JD159 (June 8), the earliest in the 40-year record (source: Friends of Cooper Island, http://cooperisland.org/). Each day of advance in the melt date at BRW results in an annual net radiation increase at the surface of about 1%. The documented changes can influence biogeochemical cycles, permafrost temperatures, and potentially the release of stored carbon. By mid July 2015, a 1°C increase in soil temperature at 0.5-m depth was measured compared to prior years; therefore, the active layer is expected to be unusually deep by autumn. The anomalous warmth that prevailed during spring 2015 can be attributed, in part, to atmospheric circulation, influenced by two typhoons in the North Pacific and the onset of El Niño. Warming was likely amplified locally as the early melting of snow increased absorption of solar radiation. Key factors influencing the trend toward earlier spring snowmelt will be presented as well as those contributing to the anomalous 2015 spring at BRW (e.g., winter snowfall, cloud cover, advection, local sea ice extent), and the impact early melt had on the 2015 summer surface radiation budget. Analysis of interactions underlying this anomaly will aid in developing strategies for improving predictability of interannual variability of the melt season and long-term change.

  15. The Early Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event: A Southern Hemisphere record from Chile

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fantasia, Alicia; Föllmi, Karl B.; Adatte, Thierry; Spangenberg, Jorge E.; Bernárdez, Enrique; Mattioli, Emanuela

    2016-04-01

    The Early Toarcian was marked by important environmental changes, marine oxygen deficiency and extensive organic-rich sediment deposition (T-OAE; ˜182 Ma, Early Jurassic). The T-OAE coincides with a marked negative carbon isotope excursion (CIE) recorded in marine carbonate, and marine and terrestrial organic carbon. This is commonly attributed to the massive release of isotopically light carbon to the atmospheric and oceanic reservoirs derived from the destabilization of methane hydrates from marine sediments and/or the emissions of thermogenic methane from the eruption of the Karoo-Ferrar LIP (e.g., Hesselbo et al., 2000; Kemp et al., 2005; Svensen et al., 2007; Mazzini et al., 2010). Moreover, in most documented marine sections, this episode is marked by a generalized crisis in carbonate production and marine invertebrate extinctions (e.g. Jenkyns, 1988; Röhl et al., 2005; Suan et al., 2001). Several studies of the T-OAE have been conducted on sediments in central and northwest Europe, but only few data are available from the Southern Hemisphere, leading to large uncertainty concerning the exact expression of this event in this part of the world. The aims of this study are to characterize the sediments deposited during the Andean equivalents of the tenuicostatum and falciferum European Zones and establish in which way the T-OAE affected this region. In the Early Jurassic, the Andean basin was in a back-arc setting with marine corridors connected to Panthalassa. In this study, we have generated new high-resolution sedimentological, geochemical and mineralogical data from the sections of El Peñon and Quebrada Asiento, located in Chile in the northeastern area of the city of Copiapó, Atacama region. The biostratigraphy of these sections has been studied by von Hillebrandt and Schidt-Effing (1981) and complemented here by a biostratigraphy based on calcareous nannofossils. The sections consist of a succession of marl, limestone and siltstone of Pliensbachian and

  16. Miocene Fossils Reveal Ancient Roots for New Zealand's Endemic Mystacina (Chiroptera) and Its Rainforest Habitat.

    PubMed

    Hand, Suzanne J; Lee, Daphne E; Worthy, Trevor H; Archer, Michael; Worthy, Jennifer P; Tennyson, Alan J D; Salisbury, Steven W; Scofield, R Paul; Mildenhall, Dallas C; Kennedy, Elizabeth M; Lindqvist, Jon K

    2015-01-01

    The New Zealand endemic bat family Mystacinidae comprises just two Recent species referred to a single genus, Mystacina. The family was once more diverse and widespread, with an additional six extinct taxa recorded from Australia and New Zealand. Here, a new mystacinid is described from the early Miocene (19-16 Ma) St Bathans Fauna of Central Otago, South Island, New Zealand. It is the first pre-Pleistocene record of the modern genus and it extends the evolutionary history of Mystacina back at least 16 million years. Extant Mystacina species occupy old-growth rainforest and are semi-terrestrial with an exceptionally broad omnivorous diet. The majority of the plants inhabited, pollinated, dispersed or eaten by modern Mystacina were well-established in southern New Zealand in the early Miocene, based on the fossil record from sites at or near where the bat fossils are found. Similarly, many of the arthropod prey of living Mystacina are recorded as fossils in the same area. Although none of the Miocene plant and arthropod species is extant, most are closely related to modern taxa, demonstrating potentially long-standing ecological associations with Mystacina.

  17. Fossil Worm Burrows Reveal Very Early Terrestrial Animal Activity and Shed Light on Trophic Resources after the End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction

    PubMed Central

    Chin, Karen; Pearson, Dean; Ekdale, A. A.

    2013-01-01

    The widespread mass extinctions at the end of the Cretaceous caused world-wide disruption of ecosystems, and faunal responses to the one-two punch of severe environmental perturbation and ecosystem collapse are still unclear. Here we report the discovery of in situ terrestrial fossil burrows from just above the impact-defined Cretaceous-Paleogene (K/Pg) boundary in southwestern North Dakota. The crisscrossing networks of horizontal burrows occur at the interface of a lignitic coal and silty sandstone, and reveal intense faunal activity within centimeters of the boundary clay. Estimated rates of sedimentation and coal formation suggest that the burrows were made less than ten thousand years after the end-Cretaceous impact. The burrow characteristics are most consistent with burrows of extant earthworms. Moreover, the burrowing and detritivorous habits of these annelids fit models that predict the trophic and sheltering lifestyles of terrestrial animals that survived the K/Pg extinction event. In turn, such detritus-eaters would have played a critical role in supporting secondary consumers. Thus, some of the carnivorous vertebrates that radiated after the K/Pg extinction may owe their evolutionary success to thriving populations of earthworms. PMID:23951041

  18. Continuous estimates on the earthquake early warning magnitude by use of the near-field acceleration records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Jun; Jin, Xing; Wei, Yongxiang; Zhang, Hongcai

    2013-10-01

    In this article, the seismic records of Japan's Kik-net are selected to measure the acceleration, displacement, and effective peak acceleration of each seismic record within a certain time after P wave, then a continuous estimation is given on earthquake early warning magnitude through statistical analysis method, and Wenchuan earthquake record is utilized to check the method. The results show that the reliability of earthquake early warning magnitude continuously increases with the increase of the seismic information, the biggest residual happens if the acceleration is adopted to fit earthquake magnitude, which may be caused by rich high-frequency components and large dispersion of peak value in acceleration record, the influence caused by the high-frequency components can be effectively reduced if the effective peak acceleration and peak displacement is adopted, it is estimated that the dispersion of earthquake magnitude obviously reduces, but it is easy for peak displacement to be affected by long-period drifting. In various components, the residual enlargement phenomenon at vertical direction is almost unobvious, thus it is recommended in this article that the effective peak acceleration at vertical direction is preferred to estimate earthquake early warning magnitude. Through adopting Wenchuan strong earthquake record to check the method mentioned in this article, it is found that this method can be used to quickly, stably, and accurately estimate the early warning magnitude of this earthquake, which shows that this method is completely applicable for earthquake early warning.

  19. Reinterpreting the Early Cretaceous Sulfur Isotope Records: Implications for the Evolution of Seawater Chemistry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mills, J. V.; Gomes, M. L.; Sageman, B. B.; Jacobson, A. D.; Hurtgen, M. T.

    2013-12-01

    The geologic record of the Cretaceous is punctuated by several periods of high organic carbon burial interpreted to represent global Ocean Anoxic Events (OAEs). In addition to the short-term (<1-Myr) changes in carbon (C) cycling associated with OAEs, evidence from a number of geochemical proxies has been interpreted to represent large-scale changes in ocean chemistry during the period. Specifically, the sulfur (S) isotope composition of early Cretaceous seawater sulfate as recorded in marine barite exhibits an ~5 permil shift in d34Ssulfate that persists for ~15Myr before returning to pre-excursion values. Superimposed upon this long-term shift in S-isotopes is OAE1a, the second major anoxic event recognized in the Cretaceous. Two hypotheses have been proposed to explain this S isotope perturbation: (1) massive evaporite deposition associated with rifting during the opening of the South Atlantic and a corresponding decrease in pyrite burial rates and (2) increased inputs of volcanic-derived S due to extensive LIP-volcanism. While there is geologic evidence for both evaporite deposition and enhanced hydrothermal activity, the relative influence of these potential driving factors remains largely unconstrained. Variation in the strontium (Sr) isotope composition of marine carbonates provides a tool for distinguishing between these influences. We examine the S isotope composition of carbonate-associated sulfate (CAS) spanning the Barremian through Aptian from Resolution Guyot (ODP Site 866) and compare the S isotope record to time equivalent records of carbon and strontium isotopes. Correlative changes in the C, S, and Sr cycles are observed: an ~5 permil shift in d34Ssulfate, which begins at the onset of OAE1a and continues after the positive d13Ccarb excursion, is accompanied by a contemporaneous, parallel shift in 87Sr/86Sr to unradiogenic values. The tight coupling observed between S and Sr throughout the interval is highly suggestive of a common driving mechanism

  20. 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)

  1. Changing the picture of Earth's earliest fossils (3.5-1.9 Ga) with new approaches and new discoveries.

    PubMed

    Brasier, Martin D; Antcliffe, Jonathan; Saunders, Martin; Wacey, David

    2015-04-21

    New analytical approaches and discoveries are demanding fresh thinking about the early fossil record. The 1.88-Ga Gunflint chert provides an important benchmark for the analysis of early fossil preservation. High-resolution analysis of Gunflintia shows that microtaphonomy can help to resolve long-standing paleobiological questions. Novel 3D nanoscale reconstructions of the most ancient complex fossil Eosphaera reveal features hitherto unmatched in any crown-group microbe. While Eosphaera may preserve a symbiotic consortium, a stronger conclusion is that multicellular morphospace was differently occupied in the Paleoproterozoic. The 3.46-Ga Apex chert provides a test bed for claims of biogenicity of cell-like structures. Mapping plus focused ion beam milling combined with transmission electron microscopy data demonstrate that microfossil-like taxa, including species of Archaeoscillatoriopsis and Primaevifilum, are pseudofossils formed from vermiform phyllosilicate grains during hydrothermal alteration events. The 3.43-Ga Strelley Pool Formation shows that plausible early fossil candidates are turning up in unexpected environmental settings. Our data reveal how cellular clusters of unexpectedly large coccoids and tubular sheath-like envelopes were trapped between sand grains and entombed within coatings of dripstone beach-rock silica cement. These fossils come from Earth's earliest known intertidal to supratidal shoreline deposit, accumulated under aerated but oxygen poor conditions.

  2. Student nurses' recognition of early signs of abnormal vital sign recordings.

    PubMed

    Leonard, Martha M; Kyriacos, Una

    2015-09-01

    There is increasing urgency for nurses to recognize early signs of deterioration in patients and to take appropriate action to prevent serious adverse effects. To assess respondents' ability to identify abnormal recordings for respiratory and heart rate, oxygen saturation level, systolic blood pressure, level of consciousness, urinary output and normal temperature. A descriptive observational survey. A nursing college in Cape Town, South Africa. A sample of 77/212 (36.3%) fourth year students. A self-administered adapted questionnaire was employed to collect demographic data and respondents' selections of recorded physiological values for the purpose of deciding when to call for more skilled help. The median age for 62/77 (80.5%) of the respondents was 25years; 3/76 (3.9%) had a previous certificate in nursing. Most respondents were female (66/76, 85.7%). Afrikaans was the first language preference of 33 (42.9%) respondents, followed by isiXhosa (31/77, 40.3%) and English (10/77, 13.0%). Most respondents (48/77, 62.3%) recognized a normal temperature reading (35-38.4°C). However, overall there would have been delays in calling for more skilled assistance in 288/416 (69.2%) instances of critical illness for a high-score MEWS of 3 and in 226/639 (35.4%) instances at a medium-score MEWS of 2 for physiological parameters. In 96/562 (17.1%) instances, respondents would have called for assistance for a low-score MEWS of 1. Non-recognition of deterioration in patients' clinical status and delayed intervention by nurses has implications for the development of serious adverse events. The MEWS is recommended as a track-and-trigger system for nursing curricula in South Africa and for implementation in practice. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  3. Millennial-scale Climate Variations Recorded As Far Back As The Early Pliocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Steenbrink, J.; Hilgen, F. J.; Lourens, L. J.

    Quaternary climate proxy records show compelling evidence for climate variability on time scales of a few thousand years. The causes for these millennial-scale or sub- Milankovitch cycles are yet poorly understood, not in the least due to the complex feedback mechanisms of large ice-sheets during the Quaternary. We present evidence of millennial-scale climate variability in Early Pliocene lacustrine sediments from the intramontane Ptolemais Basin in northwestern Greece. The sediments are well ex- posed in a series of open-pit lignite mines and exhibit a distinct m-scale sedimentary cyclicity of alternating lignites and lacustrine marl beds that result from precession- induced variations in climate. A higher-frequency cyclicity is particular prominent within the marl segment of individual cycles. A stratigraphic interval of~115 kyr, cov- ering five precession-induced sedimentary cycles, was studied in nine parallel sections from two quarries located several km apart. Colour reflectance records were used to quantify the within-cycle variability and to determine its lateral continuity. Much of the within-cycle variability could be correlated between the parallel sections, even in fine detail, which suggests that these changes reflect basin-wide variations in environ- mental conditions related to (regional) climate fluctuations. Interbedded volcanic ash beds demonstrate the synchronicity of these fluctuations and spectral analysis of the reflectance time series shows a significant concentration of variability at periods of ~11,~5.5 and~2 kyr. Their occurrence at times before the intensification of the North- ern Hemisphere glaciation suggests that they cannot solely have resulted from internal ice-sheet dynamics. Possible candidates include harmonics or combination tones of the main orbital cycles, variations in solar output or periodic motions of the Earth and moon.

  4. Comparison of Passive Microwave-Derived Early Melt Onset Records on Arctic Sea Ice

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bliss, Angela C.; Miller, Jeffrey A.; Meier, Walter N.

    2017-01-01

    Two long records of melt onset (MO) on Arctic sea ice from passive microwave brightness temperatures (Tbs) obtained by a series of satellite-borne instruments are compared. The Passive Microwave (PMW) method and Advanced Horizontal Range Algorithm (AHRA) detect the increase in emissivity that occurs when liquid water develops around snow grains at the onset of early melting on sea ice. The timing of MO on Arctic sea ice influences the amount of solar radiation absorbed by the ice-ocean system throughout the melt season by reducing surface albedos in the early spring. This work presents a thorough comparison of these two methods for the time series of MO dates from 1979through 2012. The methods are first compared using the published data as a baseline comparison of the publically available data products. A second comparison is performed on adjusted MO dates we produced to remove known differences in inter-sensor calibration of Tbs and masking techniques used to develop the original MO date products. These adjustments result in a more consistent set of input Tbs for the algorithms. Tests of significance indicate that the trends in the time series of annual mean MO dates for the PMW and AHRA are statistically different for the majority of the Arctic Ocean including the Laptev, E. Siberian, Chukchi, Beaufort, and central Arctic regions with mean differences as large as 38.3 days in the Barents Sea. Trend agreement improves for our more consistent MO dates for nearly all regions. Mean differences remain large, primarily due to differing sensitivity of in-algorithm thresholds and larger uncertainties in thin-ice regions.

  5. A fossil brain from the Cretaceous of European Russia and avian sensory evolution.

    PubMed

    Kurochkin, Evgeny N; Dyke, Gareth J; Saveliev, Sergei V; Pervushov, Evgeny M; Popov, Evgeny V

    2007-06-22

    Fossils preserving traces of soft anatomy are rare in the fossil record; even rarer is evidence bearing on the size and shape of sense organs that provide us with insights into mode of life. Here, we describe unique fossil preservation of an avian brain from the Volgograd region of European Russia. The brain of this Melovatka bird is similar in shape and morphology to those of known fossil ornithurines (the lineage that includes living birds), such as the marine diving birds Hesperornis and Enaliornis, but documents a new stage in avian sensory evolution: acute nocturnal vision coupled with well-developed hearing and smell, developed by the Late Cretaceous (ca 90Myr ago). This fossil also provides insights into previous 'bird-like' brain reconstructions for the most basal avian Archaeopteryx--reduction of olfactory lobes (sense of smell) and enlargement of the hindbrain (cerebellum) occurred subsequent to Archaeopteryx in avian evolution, closer to the ornithurine lineage that comprises living birds. The Melovatka bird also suggests that brain enlargement in early avians was not correlated with the evolution of powered flight.

  6. Early Eocene biota (ostracoda, foraminifera) and paleoenvironment of the Blue Marls in the Corbieres Hills (Aude, France): building a framework for the identification of early Eocene hyperthermals in continental margin records.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pirkenseer, C.; King, C.; Steurbaut, E.; Speijer, R.

    2009-04-01

    The Corbières Foreland Basin represents the southeastern-most extension of the Aquitanian Basin and is thus palaeo(bio)geographically related to the West-European Cenozoic Basin. During the Ypresian (‘Ilerdien') a succession of marine carbonates (e.g., Calcaires blancs à Alvéolines), marine marls (Blue Marls, Marnes à Térebratulides), brackish marls to sandstones and subsequent fluvio-lacustrine sediments (e.g., Montlaur Molasse) were deposited in the Corbières Hills (Aude, France) area in several depositional sequences. The present study focuses on the upper part of the open marine Blue Marls and the overlying brackish marls and sandstones spanning about 120m thickness close to the village Pradelles-en-Val. Over one hundred samples were collected in 1m intervals in order to document the early Eocene biogeographical and paleoenvironmental evolution of this open marine sequence, through a quantitative analysis of the ostracod assemblages. Furthermore, we aim at identifying anomalous environmental conditions that might be expected to be associated with the early Eocene hyperthermals known as Elmo- (ETM2) and X-event (ETM3). These events are subordinate to the best known hyperthermal, the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, which has been recorded in deep-sea to non-marine depositional settings. ETM2 and ETM3, however, have until now only been demonstrated in deep-sea sequences, not in shelf deposits. In accordance with biostratigraphical data derived from other outcrops in the region, the sampled succession is attributed to the interval of calcareous nannofossil zones NP10-NP12. The occurrences of planktonic foraminifera of the Morozovella subbotinae-group are in agreement with this stratigraphic position (P6-7) for the lower part of the profile. Recorded fossil groups include generally abundant marine ostracoda, bryozoa, benthic and planktonic foraminifera, fragments of echinoderms including ophiuroidea, moulds of gastropods (often pyritised), large dinocysts

  7. A record of reversed polarity carries by the iron sulphide greigite in British early Pleistocene sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hallam, D. F.; Maher, B. A.

    1994-01-01

    Palaeomagnetic measurements were made on samples extracted from a short sequence of early Pleistocene estuarine clays, now exposed in a sea cliff near Sheringham on the north Norfolk coast, UK. On the basis of earlier palynological work, these clays had been ascribed a Pastonian (late Tiglian) age. The clays show marked changes in colour, from reddish-brown at the top of the unit, to blue-grey in the middle, and grey-brown at the base. The palaeomagnetic data vary in close association with these colour changes. The top and basal brown clays show scattered normal directions of low intensity, while the middle blue clays show strongly clustered reversed directions, of much higher intensities. Some samples taken from the boundary between the middle blue clays and upper red clays show upon demagnetisation a normal overprint on a stable reversed polarity. Using high-gradient magnetic extraction, magnetic concentrates have been obtained from the strongly magnetic middle blue clays. The presence of iron sulphide minerals in these concentrates was identified using energy-dispersive X-ray analysis during scanning electron microscopy. More specifically, X-ray diffraction identifies greigite as the only detectable ferrimagnetic mineral in the magnetic concentrates. Rock magnetic measurements show clear qualitative differences in the magnetic mineralogies of the three clay subunits, but absolute identification of the magnetic mineralogy of the weakly magnetic upper and basal brown clays has not yet been possible. We interpret the sequence as a primary reversed polarity record. This record is carried by the iron sulphide greigate as a chemical remanence acquired during `syn'-depositional reduction of iron via the decomposition of organic material in these anoxic tidal clays. Subsequently, the upper and basl subunits of the clay have been oxidised by permeation of groundwater from the adjacent coarse-grained sediments. Most of the griegite in the oxidised margins of the clay has

  8. Records of our Early Biosphere Illuminate our Origins and Guide our Search for Life Beyond Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    DesMarais, David J.

    2003-01-01

    A scientific "mission of exploration to early Earth" will help us chart the distribution of life elsewhere. We must discriminate between attributes of biospheres that are universal versus those attributes that represent principally the outcomes of long-term survival specifically on Earth. In addition to the basic physics and chemistry of matter, the geologic evolution of rocky habitable planets and their climates might be similar elsewhere in the Universe. Certain key agents that drive long-term environmental change (e.g., stellar evolution, impacts, geothermal heat flow, tectonics, etc.) can help us to reconstruct ancient climates and to compare their evolution among populations of Earth- like planets. Early Earth was tectonically more active than today and therefore it exhaled reduced chemical species into the more oxidized surface environment at greater rates. This tectonic activity thus sustained oxidation-reduction reactions that provided the basis for the development of biochemical pathways that harvest chemical energy ("bioenergetics"). Most examples of bioenergetics today that extract energy by reacting oxidized and reduced chemicals in the environment were likely more pervasive among our microbial ancestors than are the presently known examples of photosynthesis. The geologic rock record indicates that, as early as 3.5 billion years ago (3.5 Ga), microbial biofilms were widespread within the coastal environments of small continents and tectonically unstable volcanic islands. Non oxygen-producing (non-oxygenic) photosynthesis preceded oxygenic photosynthesis, but all types of photosynthesis contributed substantially to the long-term increase in global primary biological productivity. Evidence of photosynthesis is tentative by 3.5 Ga and compelling by 2.7 Ga. Evidence of oxygenic photosynthesis is strong by 2.7 Ga and compelling by 2.3 Ga. These successive innovations transformed life from local communities that survived principally by catalyzing chemical

  9. Late Eocene to early Oligocene quantitative paleotemperature record: Evidence from continental halite fluid inclusions

    PubMed Central

    Zhao, Yan-jun; Zhang, Hua; Liu, Cheng-lin; Liu, Bao-kun; Ma, Li-chun; Wang, Li-cheng

    2014-01-01

    Climate changes within Cenozoic extreme climate events such as the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum and the First Oligocene Glacial provide good opportunities to estimate the global climate trends in our present and future life. However, quantitative paleotemperatures data for Cenozoic climatic reconstruction are still lacking, hindering a better understanding of the past and future climate conditions. In this contribution, quantitative paleotemperatures were determined by fluid inclusion homogenization temperature (Th) data from continental halite of the first member of the Shahejie Formation (SF1; probably late Eocene to early Oligocene) in Bohai Bay Basin, North China. The primary textures of the SF1 halite typified by cumulate and chevron halite suggest halite deposited in a shallow saline water and halite Th can serve as an temperature proxy. In total, one-hundred-twenty-one Th data from primary and single-phase aqueous fluid inclusions with different depths were acquired by the cooling nucleation method. The results show that all Th range from 17.7°C to 50.7°C,with the maximum homogenization temperatures (ThMAX) of 50.5°C at the depth of 3028.04 m and 50.7°C at 3188.61 m, respectively. Both the ThMAX presented here are significantly higher than the highest temperature recorded in this region since 1954and agree with global temperature models for the year 2100 predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. PMID:25047483

  10. Late-Glacial to Early Holocene Climate Changes from a Central Appalachians Pollen and Macrofossil Record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kneller, Margaret; Peteet, Dorothy

    1997-01-01

    A Late-glacial to early Holocene record of pollen, plant macrofossils and charcoal, based on two cores, is presented for Browns Pond in the central Appalachians of Virginia. An AMS radiocarbon chronology defines the timing of moist and cold excursions, superimposed upon the overall warming trend from 14,200 to 7,500 C-14 yr B.P. This site shows cold, moist conditions from approximately 14,200 to 12,700 C-14 yr B.P., with warming at 12,730, 11,280 and 10,050 C-14 yr B.P. A decrease in deciduous broad-leaved tree taxa and Pinus strobus (haploxylon) pollen, simultaneous with a re-expansion of Abies denotes a brief, cold reversal from 12,260 to 12,200 C-14 yr B.P. A second cold reversal, inferred from increases in montane conifers, is centered at 7,500 C-14 yr B.P. The cold reversals at Browns Pond may be synchronous with climate change in Greenland, and northwestern Europe. Warming at 11,280 C-14 yr B.P. shows the complexity of regional climate responses during the Younger Dryas chronozone.

  11. Late Pliocene/Early Pleistocene environments inferred from the Lake El'gygytgyn pollen record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andreev, Andrei; Wennrich, Volker; Tarasov, Pavel; Raschke (Morozova), Elena; Brigham-Grette, Julie; Nowaczyk, Norbert; Melles, Martin

    2014-05-01

    The Arctic is known to play a crucial role within the global climate system. The mid-Pliocene (3-3.5 Ma) is considered to be the most probable scenario of the future climate changes. However, reliable climate projections are hampered by the complexity of the underlying natural variability and feedback mechanisms. An important prerequisite for the validation and improvement of the future projections is a better understanding of the long-term environmental history of the Arctic. Unfortunately, formation of continuous paleoenvironmental records in the Arctic was widely restricted due to repeated glaciations. Continuous sequences that penetrate the entire Quaternary and further into the Pliocene are highly desired and would enable to validate the temperature rise during the mid-Pliocene that was proposed by former studies. Such a record has now become available from Lake El'gygytgyn (67º30'N, 172º05E') located in a meteorite impact crater in north-eastern Siberia. The impact nearly 3.6 Ma ago formed an 18 km wide hole in the ground that then filled with water. The retrieved lake sediments have trapped pollen from a several thousand square-kilometer source area providing reliable insights into regional and over-regional millennial-scale vegetation and climate changes of the Arctic since the Pliocene. The ''El'gygytgyn Drilling Project" of ICDP has completed three holes in the center of the lake, penetrating about 318 m thick lake sediments and about 200 m of the impact rocks below. Because of its unusual origin and high-latitude setting in western Beringia, scientific drilling at Lake El'gygytgyn offered unique opportunities for paleoclimate research, allowing time-continuous climatic and environmental reconstructions back into the Pliocene. Late Pliocene and Early Pleistocene pollen assemblages can be subdivided into 55 pollen zones, which reflect the main environmental fluctuations in the region 3.55-2.15 Ma BP. Pollen-based climate reconstructions show that

  12. Changing Concepts of the Nature and Significance of Fossils.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gregory, Joseph T.

    1984-01-01

    Provides information on early written accounts of fossils and contrasts historical phases regarding their organic or inorganic origin. Topic areas discussed include the deluge as a stimulant to geological investigation, stratigraphic sequences and earth history, extinction, faunal succession and organic evolution, and fossil evidence of…

  13. New fossils of Australopithecus anamensis from Kanapoi, West Turkana, Kenya (2003-2008).

    PubMed

    Ward, C V; Manthi, F K; Plavcan, J M

    2013-11-01

    Renewed fieldwork from 2003 through 2008 at the Australopithecus anamensis type-site of Kanapoi, Kenya, yielded nine new fossils attributable to this species. These fossils all date to between 4.195 and 4.108 million years ago. Most were recovered from the lower fluvial sequence at the site, with one from the lacustrine sequence deltaic sands that overlie the lower fluvial deposits but are still below the Kanapoi Tuff. The new specimens include a partial edentulous mandible, partial maxillary dentition, two partial mandibular dentitions, and five isolated teeth. The new Kanapoi hominin fossils increase the sample known from the earliest Australopithecus, and provide new insights into morphology within this taxon. They support the distinctiveness of the early A. anamensis fossils relative to earlier hominins and to the later Australopithecus afarensis. The new fossils do not appreciably extend the range of observed variation in A. anamensis from Kanapoi, with the exception of some slightly larger molars, and a canine tooth root that is the largest in the hominin fossil record. All of the Kanapoi hominins share a distinctive morphology of the canine-premolar complex, typical early hominin low canine crowns but with mesiodistally longer honing teeth than seen in A. afarensis, and large, probably dimorphic, canine tooth roots. The new Kanapoi specimens support the observation that canine crown height, morphology, root size and dimorphism were not altered from a primitive ape-like condition as part of a single event in human evolution, and that there may have been an adaptive difference in canine function between A. anamensis and A. afarensis. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Early to middle Miocene climate evolution: benthic oxygen and carbon isotope records from Walvis Ridge Site 1264.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lourens, L. J.; Beddow, H.; Liebrand, D.; Schrader, C.; Hilgen, F. J.

    2016-12-01

    Across the early to middle Miocene, high-resolution records from the Pacific Ocean indicate a dynamic climate system, encompassing a 2 Myr global warming event from 17 Ma to 14.7 Ma, followed by a major Cenozoic cooling step at 14.2 Ma -13.8 Ma. Currently, no high-resolution benthic record from the Atlantic Ocean exists covering both events, limiting global coverage of this intriguing period in Cenozoic climate evolution. Here, we present the first early to middle Miocene high-resolution from the Atlantic basin. These records, from Site 1264 on the Walvis Ridge, span a 5.5 Myr long interval (13.24-18.90 ma) in high temporal resolution ( 4 kyr) and are tuned to eccentricity. The d18O record shows a sudden (high-latitude) warming/deglaciation on Antarctica at 17.1 Ma, a rapid cooling/glaciation of Antarctica at 13.8 Ma, and high-amplitude ( 1‰) variability on astronomical time-scales throughout this interval. Together with other records from this time interval located in the Pacific, which show similar features, the data strongly suggests a highly dynamic global climate system. We find cooling steps in d18O at 14.7, 14.2 and 13.8 Ma, suggesting concurrent cooling in the Pacific and Atlantic deep waters during the MMCT. The benthic foraminiferal stable isotope records reveal that the dominant astronomical frequencies present at ODP Site 1264 during the early to middle Miocene interval are the 405 kyr and 110 kyr eccentricity periodicities. This is a contrast to other early to middle Miocene records from drill-sites in the Pacific and South China Sea, which show a strong expression of obliquity in particular between 14.2 and 14.7 Ma.

  15. Himalayan fossils of the oldest known pantherine establish ancient origin of big cats

    PubMed Central

    Tseng, Z. Jack; Wang, Xiaoming; Slater, Graham J.; Takeuchi, Gary T.; Li, Qiang; Liu, Juan; Xie, Guangpu

    2014-01-01

    Pantherine felids (‘big cats’) include the largest living cats, apex predators in their respective ecosystems. They are also the earliest diverging living cat lineage, and thus are important for understanding the evolution of all subsequent felid groups. Although the oldest pantherine fossils occur in Africa, molecular phylogenies point to Asia as their region of origin. This paradox cannot be reconciled using current knowledge, mainly because early big cat fossils are exceedingly rare and fragmentary. Here, we report the discovery of a fossil pantherine from the Tibetan Himalaya, with an age of Late Miocene–Early Pliocene, replacing African records as the oldest pantherine. A ‘total evidence’ phylogenetic analysis of pantherines indicates that the new cat is closely related to the snow leopard and exhibits intermediate characteristics on the evolutionary line to the largest cats. Historical biogeographic models provide robust support for the Asian origin of pantherines. The combined analyses indicate that 75% of the divergence events in the pantherine lineage extended back to the Miocene, up to 7 Myr earlier than previously estimated. The deeper evolutionary origin of big cats revealed by the new fossils and analyses indicate a close association between Tibetan Plateau uplift and diversification of the earliest living cats. PMID:24225466

  16. Himalayan fossils of the oldest known pantherine establish ancient origin of big cats.

    PubMed

    Tseng, Z Jack; Wang, Xiaoming; Slater, Graham J; Takeuchi, Gary T; Li, Qiang; Liu, Juan; Xie, Guangpu

    2014-01-07

    Pantherine felids ('big cats') include the largest living cats, apex predators in their respective ecosystems. They are also the earliest diverging living cat lineage, and thus are important for understanding the evolution of all subsequent felid groups. Although the oldest pantherine fossils occur in Africa, molecular phylogenies point to Asia as their region of origin. This paradox cannot be reconciled using current knowledge, mainly because early big cat fossils are exceedingly rare and fragmentary. Here, we report the discovery of a fossil pantherine from the Tibetan Himalaya, with an age of Late Miocene-Early Pliocene, replacing African records as the oldest pantherine. A 'total evidence' phylogenetic analysis of pantherines indicates that the new cat is closely related to the snow leopard and exhibits intermediate characteristics on the evolutionary line to the largest cats. Historical biogeographic models provide robust support for the Asian origin of pantherines. The combined analyses indicate that 75% of the divergence events in the pantherine lineage extended back to the Miocene, up to 7 Myr earlier than previously estimated. The deeper evolutionary origin of big cats revealed by the new fossils and analyses indicate a close association between Tibetan Plateau uplift and diversification of the earliest living cats.

  17. Sharing Medical Data for Health Research: The Early Personal Health Record Experience

    PubMed Central

    Kaci, Liljana; Mandl, Kenneth D

    2010-01-01

    Background Engaging consumers in sharing information from personally controlled health records (PCHRs) for health research may promote goals of improving care and advancing public health consistent with the federal Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. Understanding consumer willingness to share data is critical to advancing this model. Objective The objective was to characterize consumer willingness to share PCHR data for health research and the conditions and contexts bearing on willingness to share. Methods A mixed method approach integrating survey and narrative data was used. Survey data were collected about attitudes toward sharing PCHR information for health research from early adopters (n = 151) of a live PCHR populated with medical records and self-reported behavioral and social data. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and logistic regression to characterize willingness, conditions for sharing, and variations by sociodemographic factors. Narrative data were collected through semistructured focus group and one-on-one interviews with a separate sample of community members (n = 30) following exposure to PCHR demonstrations. Two independent analysts coded narrative data for major and minor themes using a shared rubric of a priori defined codes and an iterative inductive process. Findings were triangulated with survey results to identify patterns. Results Of PHCR users, 138 out of 151 (91%) were willing to share medical information for health research with 89 (59%) favoring an opt-in sharing model. Willingness to share was conditioned by anonymity, research use, engagement with a trusted intermediary, transparency around PCHR access and use, and payment. Consumer-determined restrictions on content and timing of sharing may be prerequisites to sharing. Select differences in support for sharing under different conditions were observed across social groups. No gender differences were observed; however differences

  18. Fossil energy biotechnology: A research needs assessment. Final report

    SciT

    Not Available

    1993-11-01

    The Office of Program Analysis of the US Department of Energy commissioned this study to evaluate and prioritize research needs in fossil energy biotechnology. The objectives were to identify research initiatives in biotechnology that offer timely and strategic options for the more efficient and effective uses of the Nation`s fossil resource base, particularly the early identification of new and novel applications of biotechnology for the use or conversion of domestic fossil fuels. Fossil energy biotechnology consists of a number of diverse and distinct technologies, all related by the common denominator -- biocatalysis. The expert panel organized 14 technical subjects intomore » three interrelated biotechnology programs: (1) upgrading the fuel value of fossil fuels; (2) bioconversion of fossil feedstocks and refined products to added value chemicals; and, (3) the development of environmental management strategies to minimize and mitigate the release of toxic and hazardous petrochemical wastes.« less

  19. Early Days of Recorder Teaching in South Australian Schools: A Personal History

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Southcott, Jane

    2016-01-01

    As a primary school student in the 1960s I learnt the recorder. This paper explores how the recorder became a staple of Australian primary school music programs. At that time recorders were comparatively recently revived Renaissance musical instruments that were adopted by music educators as a way for children and their teachers to engage in…

  20. Sustainability of Fossil Fuels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lackner, K. S.

    2002-05-01

    For a sustainable world economy, energy is a bottleneck. Energy is at the basis of a modern, technological society, but unlike materials it cannot be recycled. Energy or more precisely "negentropy" (the opposite of entropy) is always consumed. Thus, one either accepts the use of large but finite resources or must stay within the limits imposed by dilute but self-renewing resources like sunlight. The challenge of sustainable energy is exacerbated by likely growth in world energy demand due to increased population and increased wealth. Most of the world still has to undergo the transition to a wealthy, stable society with the near zero population growth that characterizes a modern industrial society. This represents a huge unmet demand. If ten billion people were to consume energy like North Americans do today, world energy demand would be ten times higher. In addition, technological advances while often improving energy efficiency tend to raise energy demand by offering more opportunity for consumption. Energy consumption still increases at close to the 2.3% per year that would lead to a tenfold increase over the course of the next century. Meeting future energy demands while phasing out fossil fuels appears extremely difficult. Instead, the world needs sustainable or nearly sustainable fossil fuels. I propose the following definition of sustainable under which fossil fuels would well qualify: The use of a technology or resource is sustainable if the intended and unintended consequences will not force its abandonment within a reasonable planning horizon. Of course sustainable technologies must not be limited by resource depletion but this is only one of many concerns. Environmental impacts, excessive land use, and other constraints can equally limit the use of a technology and thus render it unsustainable. In the foreseeable future, fossil fuels are not limited by resource depletion. However, environmental concerns based on climate change and other environmental

  1. 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. Copyright © 2016 The Author. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  2. Virtual endocasts of Eocene Paramys (Paramyinae): oldest endocranial record for Rodentia and early brain evolution in Euarchontoglires.

    PubMed

    Bertrand, Ornella C; Amador-Mughal, Farrah; Silcox, Mary T

    2016-01-27

    Understanding the pattern of brain evolution in early rodents is central to reconstructing the ancestral condition for Glires, and for other members of Euarchontoglires including Primates. We describe the oldest virtual endocasts known for fossil rodents, which pertain to Paramys copei (Early Eocene) and Paramys delicatus (Middle Eocene). Both specimens of Paramys have larger olfactory bulbs and smaller paraflocculi relative to total endocranial volume than later occurring rodents, which may be primitive traits for Rodentia. The encephalization quotients (EQs) of Pa. copei and Pa. delicatus are higher than that of later occurring (Oligocene) Ischyromys typus, which contradicts the hypothesis that EQ increases through time in all mammalian orders. However, both species of Paramys have a lower relative neocortical surface area than later rodents, suggesting neocorticalization occurred through time in this Order, although to a lesser degree than in Primates. Paramys has a higher EQ but a lower neocortical ratio than any stem primate. This result contrasts with the idea that primates were always exceptional in their degree of overall encephalization and shows that relative brain size and neocortical surface area do not necessarily covary through time. As such, these data contradict assumptions made about the pattern of brain evolution in Euarchontoglires. © 2016 The Author(s).

  3. Virtual endocasts of Eocene Paramys (Paramyinae): oldest endocranial record for Rodentia and early brain evolution in Euarchontoglires

    PubMed Central

    Amador-Mughal, Farrah

    2016-01-01

    Understanding the pattern of brain evolution in early rodents is central to reconstructing the ancestral condition for Glires, and for other members of Euarchontoglires including Primates. We describe the oldest virtual endocasts known for fossil rodents, which pertain to Paramys copei (Early Eocene) and Paramys delicatus (Middle Eocene). Both specimens of Paramys have larger olfactory bulbs and smaller paraflocculi relative to total endocranial volume than later occurring rodents, which may be primitive traits for Rodentia. The encephalization quotients (EQs) of Pa. copei and Pa. delicatus are higher than that of later occurring (Oligocene) Ischyromys typus, which contradicts the hypothesis that EQ increases through time in all mammalian orders. However, both species of Paramys have a lower relative neocortical surface area than later rodents, suggesting neocorticalization occurred through time in this Order, although to a lesser degree than in Primates. Paramys has a higher EQ but a lower neocortical ratio than any stem primate. This result contrasts with the idea that primates were always exceptional in their degree of overall encephalization and shows that relative brain size and neocortical surface area do not necessarily covary through time. As such, these data contradict assumptions made about the pattern of brain evolution in Euarchontoglires. PMID:26817776

  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. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  5. Fossil Energy organization restructured

    SciT

    Not Available

    The Department of Energy has restructured its fossil energy organization to accommodate increases in activity and visibility of the President's $2.5 billion clean coal technology initiative. The realignment also includes changes in the coal research and development program and in supporting staff functions. In the coal program, changes in the organization include the establishment of two associate deputy assistant secretaries, both reporting to the deputy Assistant Secretary for Coal Technology. One associate deputy assistant secretary will oversee the Clean Coal Technology Program. A second associate deputy assistant secretary will manage the coal research and development program. An organizational chart illustratesmore » the new fossil energy headquarters organization.« less

  6. Use of Molecular Fossils for the Interpretation of Paleoenvironments on Early Earth: The Synthesis of Lipid Biomarkers by Methane-Oxidizing Bacteria

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jahnke, Linda L.; Summons, Roger E.; Chang, Sherwood (Technical Monitor)

    1994-01-01

    Over the course of Earth's history, the most important biological influence has come from the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis and the development of an oxygen-rich biosphere. Although the availability of free oxygen had profound effects on subsequent biological and planetary evolution, clear paleobiological evidence of the timing of this transition is lacking. Recent technical advances in the microanalysis of organic matter has made it possible to detect residual molecules (biomarkers) in proterozoic (2.5 to 0.6 billion years) sedimentary rock characteristic of specific groups of microorganisms. When coupled with the carbon isotopic fractionations characteristic of biological systems and the new field of compound specific isotope analysis, biomarkers could prove to be a powerful tool for decoding ancient biochemistry from the geological record. We have been studying the carbon isotope fractionations associated with the synthesis of organic biomarker molecules in several types of methane-oxidizing bacteria that should have been key to carbon cycling in paleoenvironments after the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis.

  7. Stable isotopic investigations of early development in extant and fossil chambered cephalopods I. Oxygen isotopic composition of eggwater and carbon isotopic composition of siphuncle organic matter in Nautilus

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crocker, Kimberley C.; DeNiro, Michael J.; Ward, Peter D.

    1985-12-01

    Eggwaters from the chambered cephalopod Nautilus are depleted in both 18O and deuterium relative to ambient seawater. Eggwaters from six other species, including the related chambered cephalopod Sepia, do not show such depletion. These observations indicate that the previously observed step towards more positive δ 18O values in calcium carbonate laid down after Nautilus hatches, relative to carbonate precipitated prior to hatching, can be explained by equilibration of the carbonate with water in the egg before hatching and with seawater after hatching. The presence of an oxygen isotope difference between eggwater and seawater for Nautilus and its absence for Sepia suggest that hatching will be recorded in the δ 18O values of shell carbonates for some but not all extinct and extant chambered cephalopods. The δ 13C values of the organic fraction of the siphuncle in Nautilus do not show any consistent pattern with regard to the time of formation before or after hatching. This observation suggests that the minimum in δ 13C values previously observed for calcium carbonate precipitated after Nautilus hatches is not caused by a change in food sources once the animal becomes free-swimming, as has been suggested.

  8. Age Validation in the Long Life Family Study Through a Linkage to Early-Life Census Records

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Objectives. Studies of health and longevity require accurate age reporting. Age misreporting among older adults in the United States is common. Methods. Participants in the Long Life Family Study (LLFS) were matched to early-life census records. Age recorded in the census was used to evaluate age reporting in the LLFS. The study population was 99% non-Hispanic white. Results. About 88% of the participants were matched to 1910, 1920, or 1930 U.S. censuses. Match success depended on the participant’s education, place of birth, and the number of censuses available to be searched. Age at the time of the interview based on the reported date of birth and early-life census age were consistent for about 89% of the participants, and age consistency within 1 year was found for about 99% of the participants. Discussion. It is possible to match a high fraction of older study participants to their early-life census records when detailed information is available on participants’ family of origin. Such record linkage can provide an important source of information for evaluating age reporting among the oldest old participants. Our results are consistent with recent studies suggesting that age reporting among older whites in the United States appears to be quite good. PMID:23704206

  9. First description of a fossil chamaeleonid from Greece and its relevance for the European biogeographic history of the group

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Georgalis, Georgios L.; Villa, Andrea; Delfino, Massimo

    2016-02-01

    The fossil record of Chamaeleonidae is very scarce and any new specimen is therefore considered important for our understanding of the evolutionary and biogeographic history of the group. New specimens from the early Miocene of Aliveri (Evia Island), Greece constitute the only fossils of these lizards from southeastern Europe. Skull roofing material is tentatively attributed to the Czech species Chamaeleo cf. andrusovi, revealing a range extension for this taxon, whereas tooth-bearing elements are described as indeterminate chamaeleonids. The Aliveri fossils rank well among the oldest known reptiles from Greece, provide evidence for the dispersal routes of chameleons out of Africa towards the European continent and, additionally, imply strong affinities with coeval chamaeleonids from Central Europe.

  10. The first darter (Aves: Anhingidae) fossils from India (late Pliocene).

    PubMed

    Stidham, Thomas; Patnaik, Rajeev; Krishan, Kewal; Singh, Bahadur; Ghosh, Abhik; Singla, Ankita; Kotla, Simran S

    2017-01-01

    New fossils from the latest Pliocene portion of the Tatrot Formation exposed in the Siwalik Hills of northern India represent the first fossil record of a darter (Anhingidae) from India. The darter fossils possibly represent a new species, but the limited information on the fossil record of this group restricts their taxonomic allocation. The Pliocene darter has a deep pit on the distal face of metatarsal trochlea IV not reported in other anhingids, it has an open groove for the m. flexor perforatus et perforans digiti II tendon on the hypotarsus unlike New World anhingid taxa, and these darter specimens are the youngest of the handful of Neogene records of the group from Asia. These fossil specimens begin to fill in a significant geographic and temporal gap in the fossil record of this group that is largely known from other continents and other time periods. The presence of a darter and pelican (along with crabs, fish, turtles, and crocodilians) in the same fossil-bearing horizon strongly indicates the past presence of a substantial water body (large pond, lake, or river) in the interior of northern India in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains.

  11. 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. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  12. Influence of Microbial Biofilms on the Preservation of Primary Soft Tissue in Fossil and Extant Archosaurs

    PubMed Central

    Peterson, Joseph E.; Lenczewski, Melissa E.; Scherer, Reed P.

    2010-01-01

    Background Mineralized and permineralized bone is the most common form of fossilization in the vertebrate record. Preservation of gross soft tissues is extremely rare, but recent studies have suggested that primary soft tissues and biomolecules are more commonly preserved within preserved bones than had been presumed. Some of these claims have been challenged, with presentation of evidence suggesting that some of the structures are microbial artifacts, not primary soft tissues. The identification of biomolecules in fossil vertebrate extracts from a specimen of Brachylophosaurus canadensis has shown the interpretation of preserved organic remains as microbial biofilm to be highly unlikely. These discussions also propose a variety of potential mechanisms that would permit the preservation of soft-tissues in vertebrate fossils over geologic time. Methodology/Principal Findings This study experimentally examines the role of microbial biofilms in soft-tissue preservation in vertebrate fossils by quantitatively establishing the growth and morphology of biofilms on extant archosaur bone. These results are microscopically and morphologically compared with soft-tissue extracts from vertebrate fossils from the Hell Creek Formation of southeastern Montana (Latest Maastrichtian) in order to investigate the potential role of microbial biofilms on the preservation of fossil bone and bound organic matter in a variety of taphonomic settings. Based on these analyses, we highlight a mechanism whereby this bound organic matter may be preserved. Conclusions/Significance Results of the study indicate that the crystallization of microbial biofilms on decomposing organic matter within vertebrate bone in early taphonomic stages may contribute to the preservation of primary soft tissues deeper in the bone structure. PMID:20967227

  13. 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. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Global patterns of insect diversification: towards a reconciliation of fossil and molecular evidence?

    PubMed

    Condamine, Fabien L; Clapham, Matthew E; Kergoat, Gael J

    2016-01-18

    Macroevolutionary studies of insects at diverse taxonomic scales often reveal dynamic evolutionary patterns, with multiple inferred diversification rate shifts. Responses to major past environmental changes, such as the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution, or the development of major key innovations, such as wings or complete metamorphosis are usually invoked as potential evolutionary triggers. However this view is partially contradicted by studies on the family-level fossil record showing that insect diversification was relatively constant through time. In an attempt to reconcile both views, we investigate large-scale insect diversification dynamics at family level using two distinct types of diversification analyses on a molecular timetree representing ca. 82% of the extant families, and reassess the insect fossil diversity using up-to-date records. Analyses focusing on the fossil record recovered an early burst of diversification, declining to low and steady rates through time, interrupted by extinction events. Phylogenetic analyses showed that major shifts of diversification rates only occurred in the four richest holometabolous orders. Both suggest that neither the development of flight or complete metamorphosis nor the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution environmental changes induced immediate changes in diversification regimes; instead clade-specific innovations likely promoted the diversification of major insect orders.

  15. Global patterns of insect diversification: towards a reconciliation of fossil and molecular evidence?

    PubMed Central

    Condamine, Fabien L.; Clapham, Matthew E.; Kergoat, Gael J.

    2016-01-01

    Macroevolutionary studies of insects at diverse taxonomic scales often reveal dynamic evolutionary patterns, with multiple inferred diversification rate shifts. Responses to major past environmental changes, such as the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution, or the development of major key innovations, such as wings or complete metamorphosis are usually invoked as potential evolutionary triggers. However this view is partially contradicted by studies on the family-level fossil record showing that insect diversification was relatively constant through time. In an attempt to reconcile both views, we investigate large-scale insect diversification dynamics at family level using two distinct types of diversification analyses on a molecular timetree representing ca. 82% of the extant families, and reassess the insect fossil diversity using up-to-date records. Analyses focusing on the fossil record recovered an early burst of diversification, declining to low and steady rates through time, interrupted by extinction events. Phylogenetic analyses showed that major shifts of diversification rates only occurred in the four richest holometabolous orders. Both suggest that neither the development of flight or complete metamorphosis nor the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution environmental changes induced immediate changes in diversification regimes; instead clade-specific innovations likely promoted the diversification of major insect orders. PMID:26778170

  16. Miocene Fossils Reveal Ancient Roots for New Zealand’s Endemic Mystacina (Chiroptera) and Its Rainforest Habitat

    PubMed Central

    Hand, Suzanne J.; Lee, Daphne E.; Worthy, Trevor H.; Archer, Michael; Worthy, Jennifer P.; Tennyson, Alan J. D.; Salisbury, Steven W.; Scofield, R. Paul; Mildenhall, Dallas C.; Kennedy, Elizabeth M.; Lindqvist, Jon K.

    2015-01-01

    The New Zealand endemic bat family Mystacinidae comprises just two Recent species referred to a single genus, Mystacina. The family was once more diverse and widespread, with an additional six extinct taxa recorded from Australia and New Zealand. Here, a new mystacinid is described from the early Miocene (19–16 Ma) St Bathans Fauna of Central Otago, South Island, New Zealand. It is the first pre-Pleistocene record of the modern genus and it extends the evolutionary history of Mystacina back at least 16 million years. Extant Mystacina species occupy old-growth rainforest and are semi-terrestrial with an exceptionally broad omnivorous diet. The majority of the plants inhabited, pollinated, dispersed or eaten by modern Mystacina were well-established in southern New Zealand in the early Miocene, based on the fossil record from sites at or near where the bat fossils are found. Similarly, many of the arthropod prey of living Mystacina are recorded as fossils in the same area. Although none of the Miocene plant and arthropod species is extant, most are closely related to modern taxa, demonstrating potentially long-standing ecological associations with Mystacina. PMID:26083758

  17. Instabilities in biofilms: The Kinneyia Fossil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thomas, K. R.; Goehring, L.; Porada, H.; Wittig, R.; Herminghaus, S.

    2012-12-01

    Kinneyia structures are a wrinkle-type fossil pattern most often observed in ancient siliclastic sediment surfaces. Characterised by millimetre-scale ripples with flat-topped crests, these fossils are generally found in areas that were formally littoral habitats. Thin-section observations indicate that Kinneyia formed in surfaces covered by ancient microbial mats. However, to date there has been no conclusive explanation as to the process involved in the formation of these fossils. We propose that the key mechanism involved in the formation of the Kinneyia pattern is a Kelvin-Helmholtz-type instability induced in a viscoelastic film under flowing water. A ripple corrugation is spontaneously induced in the film, which grows in amplitude over time. Such a mechanism is expected to result in a ripple instability with a wavelength proportional to the thickness of the film. Experiments carried out using viscoelastic models microbial mats confirm this prediction, showing a wavelength roughly three times the thickness of the film. The behaviour is independent on the viscoelastic properties of the film. This model corresponds well with the fossil records, which show a reduced wavelength at the boundaries of the fossilised structures where the mat is expected to have been thinner. Fossils were collected from two ancient shallow sea bed sites in Namibia from the terminal Proterozoic period. The fossils are seen to overlay a storm deposit of 15-30cm in thickness. The ripples form on top of this deposit in the veneer, which sedimented after the storm event. Analysis of the shape of the fossilised patterns indicates a similar relationship between the wavelength and amplitude of the ripples to that observed experimentally. A strong directional dependence of the ripples is also observed.

  18. Cycles in fossil diversity

    SciT

    Rohde, Robert A.; Muller, Richard A.

    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.

  19. Cycles in fossil diversity.

    PubMed

    Rohde, Robert A; Muller, Richard A

    2005-03-10

    It is well known that the diversity of life appears to fluctuate during the course of the Phanerozoic, the eon during which hard shells and skeletons left abundant fossils (0-542 million years ago). Here we show, using Sepkoski's compendium of the first and last stratigraphic appearances of 36,380 marine genera, a strong 62 +/- 3-million-year cycle, which is particularly evident 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 the contributions of environmental factors, and possible causes.

  20. Early Oligocene paleosols of the Dagshai Formation, India: A record of the oldest tropical weathering in the Himalayan foreland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Srivastava, Pankaj; Patel, Subhra; Singh, Nandita; Jamir, Toshienla; Kumar, Nandan; Aruche, Manini; Patel, Ramesh C.

    2013-08-01

    This study reports paleopedological features of the fossil soils that formed during the earliest phase of continental sedimentation in the Himalayan foreland. The fluvial sequence of the Dagshai Formation (31.6 ± 3.9 Ma to 30.3 ± 3.9 Ma) exposed along the Koshaliya River, NW Himalaya, contains four pedofacies (named Pedofacies A-D) of ferruginous paleosol sequences contained within overbank sediments. The Dagshai Formation unconformably overlies the marine Subathu Formation. Pedofacies A consists of 3-4 well-developed ferruginous paleosols overlain by gray sandstone beds. Pedofacies B-D are marked by a progressive decrease in pedogenesis. These paleosols occur as 0.5 m to 1.5 m thick Bw/Bt/Btk/Bk/Bss horizons that are marked by extensive development of rhizoliths, pedogenic carbonate, and iron-rich clay pedofeatures that correspond to modern Entisols, Inceptisols, Alfisols and Vertisols. Based on early Oligocene paleogeographic position of the northward-drifting Indian Plate, it is inferred that these paleosols were formed at ~ 18°N paleolatitude in the Dagshai sub-basin in the Himalayan foreland. Micromorphology, geochemical analyses, weathering indices, and stable isotope composition of paleosols indicate tropical climate (paleoprecipitation of 947-1256 mm and paleotemperature of ~ 25 °C) with an initial phase of monsoonal conditions during pedogenesis. These paleoclimatic conditions favored C3 paleovegetation immediately after the transition from greenhouse to icehouse conditions.

  1. Charles Darwin's beagle voyage, fossil vertebrate succession, and "the gradual birth & death of species".

    PubMed

    Brinkman, Paul D

    2010-01-01

    The prevailing view among historians of science holds that Charles Darwin became a convinced transmutationist only in the early spring of 1837, after his Beagle collections had been examined by expert British naturalists. With respect to the fossil vertebrate evidence, some historians believe that Darwin was incapable of seeing or understanding the transmutationist implications of his specimens without the help of Richard Owen. There is ample evidence, however, that he clearly recognized the similarities between several of the fossil vertebrates he collected and some of the extant fauna of South America before he returned to Britain. These comparisons, recorded in his correspondence, his diary and his notebooks during the voyage, were instances of a phenomenon that he later called the "law of the succession of types." Moreover, on the Beagle, he was following a geological research agenda outlined in the second volume of Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology, which implies that paleontological data alone could provide an insight into the laws which govern the appearance of new species. Since Darwin claims in On the Origin of Species that fossil vertebrate succession was one of the key lines of evidence that led him to question the fixity of species, it seems certain that he was seriously contemplating transmutation during the Beagle voyage. If so, historians of science need to reconsider both the role of Britain's expert naturalists and the importance of the fossil vertebrate evidence in the development of Darwin's ideas on transmutation.

  2. Leaf fossils of Banksia (Proteaceae) from New Zealand: An Australian abroad.

    PubMed

    Carpenter, Raymond J; Jordan, Gregory J; Lee, Daphne E; Hill, Robert S

    2010-02-01

    Fossils can shed new light on plant biogeography and phylogeny. Pinnately lobed leaves from the Oligo-Miocene Newvale lignite mine, South Island, New Zealand are the first extra-Australian leaf fossils of the charismatic genus Banksia (Proteaceae), and they are assigned to a new species, B. novae-zelandiae. Comparison with extant taxa shows that the fossils are best regarded as an extinct stem relative of Banksia because their available features are either plesiomorphic for the genus (notably, the stomata are superficially placed, not sunken in balloon-like pits as in many extant species) or lack evidence of synapomorphies that would enable them to be placed in the crown group. Banksia novae-zelandiae does, however, exhibit two cuticular features that are unique or highly derived for Banksia. These are rugulate subsidiary cell ornamentation and the presence of complex papillae that extensively cover the abaxial leaf surface. The fossils add to the widespread records of the pinnately lobed leaf form in Banksia in Australia beginning in the late Paleocene. This form is now limited to species confined to sclerophyllous heathlands of Mediterranean climate in southwestern Australia. Banksia novae-zelandiae could be part of a lineage that had a long history in New Zealand, perhaps dating to the early Paleogene.

  3. Earliest Phanerozoic or latest Proterozoic fossils from the Arabian Shield

    Cloud, P.; Awramik, S.M.; Morrison, K.; Hadley, D.G.

    1979-01-01

    We report here the first biologically definable fossils from pre-Saq (pre-Middle Cambrian) rocks of the Arabian Shield. They include the distinctive helically coiled tubular filaments of the oscillatorialean blue-green alga Obruchevella parva as well as two size classes of spheroidal unicells of uncertain affinity. Also present is the conical stromatolite Conophyton and unidentified stromatolites. All occur in cherty limestones of the Jubaylah Group, northern Saudi Arabia, a nonmarine to locally marine taphrogeosynclinal sequence that fills depressions along the northwest-trending Najd faults. Conophyton has heretofore been found only in strata older than about 680 Ma (except for puzzling records in modern hot springs) while Obruchevella is so far known only from rocks between about 680 and 470 Ma old. Thus it appears that the Jubaylah Group is close to the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic transition. The simple spheroidal nanno-fossils are not diagnostic as to age. Their relationships within what appears to be early diagenetic chert suggest a classical algal-mat association. The brecciated and microchanneled appearance of much of the fossiliferous rock, its locally dolomitic nature, and the prevalence of cryptalgalaminate favors a very shallow, locally turbulent, and perhaps episodically exposed marine or marginal marine setting. The Jubaylah Group lies unconformably beneath the Siq Sandstone (basal member of the Saq Sandstone) of medial Cambrian age, rests nonconformably on crystalline basement, and has yielded a K-Ar whole-rock age (on andesitic basalt) of ???540 Ma. To judge from the fossils, however, that age may be as much as 100 Ma or more too young. ?? 1979.

  4. Records of auroral candidates and sunspots in Rikkokushi, chronicles of ancient Japan from early 7th century to 887

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hayakawa, Hisashi; Iwahashi, Kiyomi; Tamazawa, Harufumi; Ebihara, Yusuke; Kawamura, Akito Davis; Isobe, Hiroaki; Namiki, Katsuko; Shibata, Kazunari

    2017-12-01

    We present the results of the surveys on sunspots and auroral candidates in Rikkokushi, Japanese official histories from the early 7th century to 887, to review the solar and auroral activities. In total, we found one sunspot record and 13 auroral candidates in Rikkokushi. We then examine the records of the sunspots and auroral candidates, compare the auroral candidates with the lunar phase to estimate their reliability, and compare the records of the sunspots and auroral candidates with the contemporary total solar irradiance reconstructed from radioisotope data. We also identify the locations of the observational sites to review possible equatorward expansion of the auroral oval. These discussions suggest a major gap in auroral candidates from the late 7th to early 9th centuries, which includes the candidate of the grand minimum reconstructed from the radioisotope data, a similar tendency as the distributions of sunspot records in contemporary China, and a relatively high magnetic latitude of observational sites with a higher potential for observing aurorae more frequently than at present.

  5. Fossil diatoms and neogene paleolimnology

    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

  6. An evaluation of fossil tip-dating versus node-age calibrations in tetraodontiform fishes (Teleostei: Percomorphaceae).

    PubMed

    Arcila, Dahiana; Alexander Pyron, R; Tyler, James C; Ortí, Guillermo; Betancur-R, Ricardo

    2015-01-01

    Time-calibrated phylogenies based on molecular data provide a framework for comparative studies. Calibration methods to combine fossil information with molecular phylogenies are, however, under active development, often generating disagreement about the best way to incorporate paleontological data into these analyses. This study provides an empirical comparison of the most widely used approach based on node-dating priors for relaxed clocks implemented in the programs BEAST and MrBayes, with two recently proposed improvements: one using a new fossilized birth-death process model for node dating (implemented in the program DPPDiv), and the other using a total-evidence or tip-dating method (implemented in MrBayes and BEAST). These methods are applied herein to tetraodontiform fishes, a diverse group of living and extinct taxa that features one of the most extensive fossil records among teleosts. Previous estimates of time-calibrated phylogenies of tetraodontiforms using node-dating methods reported disparate estimates for their age of origin, ranging from the late Jurassic to the early Paleocene (ca. 150-59Ma). We analyzed a comprehensive dataset with 16 loci and 210 morphological characters, including 131 taxa (95 extant and 36 fossil species) representing all families of fossil and extant tetraodontiforms, under different molecular clock calibration approaches. Results from node-dating methods produced consistently younger ages than the tip-dating approaches. The older ages inferred by tip dating imply an unlikely early-late Jurassic (ca. 185-119Ma) origin for this order and the existence of extended ghost lineages in their fossil record. Node-based methods, by contrast, produce time estimates that are more consistent with the stratigraphic record, suggesting a late Cretaceous (ca. 86-96Ma) origin. We show that the precision of clade age estimates using tip dating increases with the number of fossils analyzed and with the proximity of fossil taxa to the node under

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

    PubMed Central

    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.

    2011-01-01

    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. PMID:21525049

  8. The Moon as a recorder of organic evolution in the early solar system: a lunar regolith analog study.

    PubMed

    Matthewman, Richard; Court, Richard W; Crawford, Ian A; Jones, Adrian P; Joy, Katherine H; Sephton, Mark A

    2015-02-01

    The organic record of Earth older than ∼3.8 Ga has been effectively erased. Some insight is provided to us by meteorites as well as remote and direct observations of asteroids and comets left over from the formation of the Solar System. These primitive objects provide a record of early chemical evolution and a sample of material that has been delivered to Earth's surface throughout the past 4.5 billion years. Yet an effective chronicle of organic evolution on all Solar System objects, including that on planetary surfaces, is more difficult to find. Fortunately, early Earth would not have been the only recipient of organic matter-containing objects in the early Solar System. For example, a recently proposed model suggests the possibility that volatiles, including organic material, remain archived in buried paleoregolith deposits intercalated with lava flows on the Moon. Where asteroids and comets allow the study of processes before planet formation, the lunar record could extend that chronicle to early biological evolution on the planets. In this study, we use selected free and polymeric organic materials to assess the hypothesis that organic matter can survive the effects of heating in the lunar regolith by overlying lava flows. Results indicate that the presence of lunar regolith simulant appears to promote polymerization and, therefore, preservation of organic matter. Once polymerized, the mineral-hosted newly formed organic network is relatively protected from further thermal degradation. Our findings reveal the thermal conditions under which preservation of organic matter on the Moon is viable.

  9. The Moon as a Recorder of Organic Evolution in the Early Solar System: A Lunar Regolith Analog Study

    PubMed Central

    Court, Richard W.; Crawford, Ian A.; Jones, Adrian P.; Joy, Katherine H.; Sephton, Mark A.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract The organic record of Earth older than ∼3.8 Ga has been effectively erased. Some insight is provided to us by meteorites as well as remote and direct observations of asteroids and comets left over from the formation of the Solar System. These primitive objects provide a record of early chemical evolution and a sample of material that has been delivered to Earth's surface throughout the past 4.5 billion years. Yet an effective chronicle of organic evolution on all Solar System objects, including that on planetary surfaces, is more difficult to find. Fortunately, early Earth would not have been the only recipient of organic matter–containing objects in the early Solar System. For example, a recently proposed model suggests the possibility that volatiles, including organic material, remain archived in buried paleoregolith deposits intercalated with lava flows on the Moon. Where asteroids and comets allow the study of processes before planet formation, the lunar record could extend that chronicle to early biological evolution on the planets. In this study, we use selected free and polymeric organic materials to assess the hypothesis that organic matter can survive the effects of heating in the lunar regolith by overlying lava flows. Results indicate that the presence of lunar regolith simulant appears to promote polymerization and, therefore, preservation of organic matter. Once polymerized, the mineral-hosted newly formed organic network is relatively protected from further thermal degradation. Our findings reveal the thermal conditions under which preservation of organic matter on the Moon is viable. Key Words: Moon—Regolith—Organic preservation—Biomarkers. Astrobiology 15, 154–168. PMID:25615648

  10. Changing the picture of Earth's earliest fossils (3.5–1.9 Ga) with new approaches and new discoveries

    PubMed Central

    Brasier, Martin D.; Antcliffe, Jonathan; Saunders, Martin; Wacey, David

    2015-01-01

    New analytical approaches and discoveries are demanding fresh thinking about the early fossil record. The 1.88-Ga Gunflint chert provides an important benchmark for the analysis of early fossil preservation. High-resolution analysis of Gunflintia shows that microtaphonomy can help to resolve long-standing paleobiological questions. Novel 3D nanoscale reconstructions of the most ancient complex fossil Eosphaera reveal features hitherto unmatched in any crown-group microbe. While Eosphaera may preserve a symbiotic consortium, a stronger conclusion is that multicellular morphospace was differently occupied in the Paleoproterozoic. The 3.46-Ga Apex chert provides a test bed for claims of biogenicity of cell-like structures. Mapping plus focused ion beam milling combined with transmission electron microscopy data demonstrate that microfossil-like taxa, including species of Archaeoscillatoriopsis and Primaevifilum, are pseudofossils formed from vermiform phyllosilicate grains during hydrothermal alteration events. The 3.43-Ga Strelley Pool Formation shows that plausible early fossil candidates are turning up in unexpected environmental settings. Our data reveal how cellular clusters of unexpectedly large coccoids and tubular sheath-like envelopes were trapped between sand grains and entombed within coatings of dripstone beach-rock silica cement. These fossils come from Earth’s earliest known intertidal to supratidal shoreline deposit, accumulated under aerated but oxygen poor conditions. PMID:25901305

  11. Ceratopetalum (Cunoniaceae) fruits of Australasian affinity from the early Eocene Laguna del Hunco flora, Patagonia, Argentina.

    PubMed

    Gandolfo, María A; Hermsen, Elizabeth J

    2017-03-01

    Radially symmetrical, five-winged fossil fruits from the highly diverse early Eocene Laguna del Hunco flora of Chubut Province, Patagonia, Argentina, are named, described and illustrated. The main goals are to assess the affinities of the fossils and to place them in an evolutionary, palaeoecological and biogeographic context. Specimens of fossil fruits were collected from the Tufolitas Laguna del Hunco. They were prepared, photographed and compared with similar extant and fossil fruits using published literature. Their structure was also evaluated by comparing them with that of modern Ceratopetalum (Cunoniaceae) fruits through examination of herbarium specimens. The Laguna del Hunco fossil fruits share the diagnostic features that characterize modern and fossil Ceratopetalum (symmetry, number of fruit wings, presence of a conspicuous floral nectary and overall venation pattern). The pattern of the minor wing (sepal) veins observed in the Patagonian fossil fruits is different from that of modern and previously described fossil Ceratopetalum fruits; therefore, a new fossil species is recognized. An apomorphy (absence of petals) suggests that the fossils belong within crown-group Ceratopetalum . The Patagonian fossil fruits are the oldest known record for Ceratopetalum . Because the affinities, provenance and age of the fossils are so well established, this new Ceratopetalum fossil species is an excellent candidate for use as a calibration point in divergence dating studies of the family Cunoniaceae. It represents the only record of Ceratopetalum outside Australasia, and further corroborates the biogeographic connection between the Laguna del Hunco flora and ancient and modern floras of the Australasian region. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company.

  12. Ceratopetalum (Cunoniaceae) fruits of Australasian affinity from the early Eocene Laguna del Hunco flora, Patagonia, Argentina

    PubMed Central

    Hermsen, Elizabeth J

    2017-01-01

    Abstract Background and Aims Radially symmetrical, five-winged fossil fruits from the highly diverse early Eocene Laguna del Hunco flora of Chubut Province, Patagonia, Argentina, are named, described and illustrated. The main goals are to assess the affinities of the fossils and to place them in an evolutionary, palaeoecological and biogeographic context. Methods Specimens of fossil fruits were collected from the Tufolitas Laguna del Hunco. They were prepared, photographed and compared with similar extant and fossil fruits using published literature. Their structure was also evaluated by comparing them with that of modern Ceratopetalum (Cunoniaceae) fruits through examination of herbarium specimens. Key Results The Laguna del Hunco fossil fruits share the diagnostic features that characterize modern and fossil Ceratopetalum (symmetry, number of fruit wings, presence of a conspicuous floral nectary and overall venation pattern). The pattern of the minor wing (sepal) veins observed in the Patagonian fossil fruits is different from that of modern and previously described fossil Ceratopetalum fruits; therefore, a new fossil species is recognized. An apomorphy (absence of petals) suggests that the fossils belong within crown-group Ceratopetalum. Conclusions The Patagonian fossil fruits are the oldest known record for Ceratopetalum. Because the affinities, provenance and age of the fossils are so well established, this new Ceratopetalum fossil species is an excellent candidate for use as a calibration point in divergence dating studies of the family Cunoniaceae. It represents the only record of Ceratopetalum outside Australasia, and further corroborates the biogeographic connection between the Laguna del Hunco flora and ancient and modern floras of the Australasian region. PMID:28110267

  13. New occurrences of fossilized feathers: systematics and taphonomy of the Santana Formation of the Araripe Basin (Cretaceous), NE, Brazil

    PubMed Central

    Anelli, Luiz Eduardo; Petri, Setembrino; Romero, Guilherme Raffaeli

    2016-01-01