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Sample records for fossilized vertebrate integument

  1. First investigation of the collagen D-band ultrastructure in fossilized vertebrate integument

    PubMed Central

    Lingham-Soliar, Theagarten; Wesley-Smith, James

    2008-01-01

    The ultrastructure of dermal fibres of a 200 Myr thunniform ichthyosaur, Ichthyosaurus, specifically the 67 nm axial repeat D-banding of the fibrils, which characterizes collagen, is presented for the first time by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis. The fragment of material investigated is part of previously described fossilized skin comprising an architecture of layers of oppositely oriented fibre bundles. The wider implication, as indicated by the extraordinary quality of preservation, is the robustness of the collagen molecule at the ultrastructural level, which presumably contributed to its survival during the initial processes of decomposition prior to mineralization. Investigation of the elemental composition of the sample by SEM–energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy indicates that calcite and phosphate played important roles in the rapid mineralization and fine replication of the collagen fibres and fibrils. The exceedingly small sample used in the investigation and high level of information achieved indicate the potential for minimal damage to prized museum specimens; for example, ultrastructural investigations by SEM may be used to help resolve highly contentious questions, for example, ‘protofeathers’ in the Chinese dinosaurs. PMID:18577504

  2. Exceptional preservation and the fossil record of tetrapod integument.

    PubMed

    Eliason, Chad M; Hudson, Leah; Watts, Taylor; Garza, Hector; Clarke, Julia A

    2017-09-13

    The fossil record of exceptionally preserved soft tissues in Konservat-Lagerstätten provides rare yet significant insight into past behaviours and ecologies. Such deposits are known to occur in bursts rather than evenly through time, but reasons for this pattern and implications for the origins of novel structures remain unclear. Previous assessments of these records focused on marine environments preserving chemically heterogeneous tissues from across animals. Here, we investigate the preservation of skin and keratinous integumentary structures in land-dwelling vertebrates (tetrapods) through time, and in distinct terrestrial and marine depositional environments. We also evaluate previously proposed biotic and abiotic controls on the distribution of 143 tetrapod Konservat-Lagerstätten from the Permian to the Pleistocene in a multivariate framework. Gap analyses taking into account sampling intensity and distribution indicate that feathers probably evolved close to their first appearance in the fossil record. By contrast, hair and archosaur filaments are weakly sampled (five times less common than feathers), and their origins may significantly pre-date earliest known occurrences in the fossil record. This work suggests that among-integument variation in preservation can bias the reconstructed first origins of integumentary novelties and has implications for predicting where, and in what depositional environments, to expect further discoveries of exquisitely preserved tetrapod integument. © 2017 The Author(s).

  3. Non-integumentary melanosomes can bias reconstructions of the colours of fossil vertebrate skin

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNamara, Maria; Kaye, Jonathan; Benton, Mike; Orr, Patrick

    2017-04-01

    The soft tissues of many fossil vertebrates preserve melanosomes - micron-scale organelles used to inform on original integumentary coloration and the evolution of visual signalling strategies through time. In extant vertebrates, however, melanosomes also occur in internal tissues, and hence melanosomes preserved in fossils may not derive solely from the integument. Here, by analyzing the internal tissues of extant and fossil frogs, we show that non-integumentary melanosomes are extremely abundant; they are usually localised to the torso in fossils but can also occur in the limbs, presumably due to dispersal during decay. Melanosomes from the body outlines of fossils cannot, therefore, reliably inform on integumentary coloration. Crucially, non-integumentary and integumentary melanosomes differ in geometry in both fossil and modern frogs and, in fossils, occur as discrete layers. Analysis of melanosome geometry, distribution and size-specific layering is required to differentiate integumentary from non-integumentary melanosomes and is essential to any attempt to reconstruct the original colours of vertebrate skin.

  4. Adaptation to the sky: Defining the feather with integument fossils from Mesozoic China and experimental evidence from molecular laboratories

    PubMed Central

    Chuong, Cheng-Ming; Wu, Ping; Zhang, Fu-Cheng; Xu, Xing; Yu, Minke; Widelitz, Randall B.; Jiang, Ting-Xin; Hou, Lianhai

    2015-01-01

    In this special issue of Evo-Devo of the amniote integument, Alibardi has discussed the adaptation of the integument to the land. Here we will discuss the adaptation to the sky. We first review a series of fossil discoveries representing intermediate forms of feathers or feather-like appendages from dinosaurs and Mesozoic birds from the Jehol Biota of China. We then discuss results from the molecular and developmental biological experiments using chicken integument as the model. Feather forms can be modulated using retrovirus mediated gene mis-expression that mimics those found in nature today and in the evolutionary past. The molecular conversions among different types of integument appendages (feather, scale, tooth) are discussed. From these evidences, we recognize that not all organisms with feathers are birds, and that not all skin appendages with hierarchical branches are feathers. We develop a set of criteria for true avian feathers: 1) possessing actively proliferating cells in the proximal follicle for a proximo – distal growth mode; 2) forming hierarchical branches of rachis, barbs and barbules, with barbs shaped by differential cell death into either bilaterally or radially symmetric structures; 3) having a follicle structure, with a mesenchyme core during development; 4) maturing into a structure consisting of epithelia without a mesenchyme core with two sides of the vane facing the previous basal and supra-basal layer, respectively; and 5) having stem cells and dermal papilla in the follicle and hence the ability to molt and regenerate. A model of feather evolution from feather bud → barbs → barbules → rachis is presented, which is opposite to the old view of scale plate → rachis → barbs → barbules. PMID:12949768

  5. Non-Retroviral Fossils in Vertebrate Genomes

    PubMed Central

    Horie, Masayuki; Tomonaga, Keizo

    2011-01-01

    Although no physical fossils of viruses have been found, retroviruses are known to leave their molecular fossils in the genomes of their hosts, the so-called endogenous retroviral elements. These have provided us with important information about retroviruses in the past and their co-evolution with their hosts. On the other hand, because non-retroviral viruses were considered not to leave such fossils, even the existence of prehistoric non-retroviral viruses has been enigmatic. Recently, we discovered that elements derived from ancient bornaviruses, non-segmented, negative strand RNA viruses, are found in the genomes of several mammalian species, including humans. In addition, at approximately the same time, several endogenous elements of RNA viruses, DNA viruses and reverse-transcribing DNA viruses have been independently reported, which revealed that non-retroviral viruses have played significant roles in the evolution of their hosts and provided novel insights into virology and cell biology. Here we review non-retroviral virus-like elements in vertebrate genomes, non-retroviral integration and the knowledge obtained from these endogenous non-retroviral virus-like elements. PMID:22069518

  6. Facts and fancies about early fossil chordates and vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Janvier, Philippe

    2015-04-23

    The interrelationships between major living vertebrate, and even chordate, groups are now reasonably well resolved thanks to a large amount of generally congruent data derived from molecular sequences, anatomy and physiology. But fossils provide unexpected combinations of characters that help us to understand how the anatomy of modern groups was progressively shaped over millions of years. The dawn of vertebrates is documented by fossils that are preserved as either soft-tissue imprints, or minute skeletal fragments, and it is sometimes difficult for palaeontologists to tell which of them are reliable vertebrate remains and which merely reflect our idea of an ancestral vertebrate.

  7. 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)

  8. 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)

  9. REE compositions in fossil vertebrate dental tissues indicate biomineral preservation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Žigaite, Ž.; Kear, B.; Pérez-Huerta, A.; Jeffries, T.; Blom, H.

    2012-04-01

    Rare earth element (REE) abundances have been measured in a number of Palaeozoic and Mesozoic dental tissues using Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass-spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). Fossil vertebrates analysed comprise scales and tesserae of Silurian and Devonian acanthodians, chondrichthyans, galeaspids, mongolepids, thelodonts, as well as teeth of Cretaceous lungfish and marine reptiles. The evaluation of fossil preservation level has been made by semi-quantitative spot geochemistry analyses on fine polished teeth and scale thin sections, using Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS). Fossil teeth and scales with significant structure and colour alteration have shown elevated heavy element concentrations, and the silicification of bioapatite has been common in their tissues. Stable oxygen isotope measurements (δ18O) of bulk biomineral have been conducted in parallel, and showed comparatively lower heavy oxygen values in the same fossil tissues with stronger visible alteration. Significant difference in REE concentrations has been observed between the dentine and enamel of Cretaceous plesiosaurs, suggesting the enamel to be more geochemically resistant to diagenetic overprint.

  10. Vertebral anomaly in fossil sea cows (Mammalia, Sirenia).

    PubMed

    Voss, Manja; Asbach, Patrick; Hilger, André

    2011-06-01

    Four incompletely preserved caudal vertebrae lacking the neural arches of two fossil sirenian individuals of Halitherium schinzii (Oligocene) from the Rhine area in Germany and northern Belgium reveal osteological alterations. The caudal vertebrae possess a transverse process with growth retardation. This asymmetry indicates that the affected transverse processes are less developed than their counterparts and, consequently, deviate from the norm. Computed tomography (CT) scans reveal osteosclerotic patterns, a morphological feature that characterizes sea cows and supports the nonpathological state of the vertebrae. Additionally, no indications of vertebral fractures or any other occurrences due to external factors are present. This is the oldest documentation of such an anomaly in any sirenian and is interpreted here as hypoplasia, the underdevelopment of an organ or parts of it that might cause a functional deficiency.

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-04-22

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1993-05-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1993-01-01

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

  15. Experimental taphonomy and the anatomy and diversity of the earliest fossil vertebrates (Chengjiang Biota, Cambrian, China)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Purnell, Mark; Gabbott, Sarah; Murdock, Duncan; Cong, Peiyun

    2016-04-01

    The oldest fossil vertebrates are from the Lower Cambrian Chengjiang biota of China, which contains four genera of fish-like, primitive vertebrates: Haikouichthys, Myllokunmingia, Zhongjianichthys and Zhongxiniscus. These fossils play key roles in calibrating molecular clocks and informing our view of the anatomy of animals close to the origin of vertebrates, potentially including transitional forms between vertebrates and their nearest relatives. Despite the evident importance of these fossils, the degree to which taphonomic processes have affected their anatomical completeness has not been investigated. For example, some or all might have been affected by stemward slippage - the pattern observed in experimental decay of non-biomineralised chordates in which preferential decay of synapomorphies and retention of plesiomorphic characters would cause fossil taxa to erroneously occupy more basal positions than they should. This hypothesis is based on experimental data derived from decay of non-biomineralised chordates under laboratory conditions. We have expanded this analysis to include a broader range of potentially significant environmental variables; we have also compared and combined the results of experiments from several taxa to identify general patterns of chordate decay. Examination of the Chengjiang vertebrates in the light of these results demonstrates that, contrary to some assertions, experimentally derived models of phylogenetic bias are applicable to fossils. Anatomical and phylogenetic interpretations of early vertebrates that do not take taphonomic biases into account risk overestimating diversity and the evolutionary significance of differences between fossil specimens.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bell, C. M.; Suárez, M.

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

  17. Fossil jawless fish from China foreshadows early jawed vertebrate anatomy.

    PubMed

    Gai, Zhikun; Donoghue, Philip C J; Zhu, Min; Janvier, Philippe; Stampanoni, Marco

    2011-08-17

    Most living vertebrates are jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes), and the living jawless vertebrates (cyclostomes), hagfishes and lampreys, provide scarce information about the profound reorganization of the vertebrate skull during the evolutionary origin of jaws. The extinct bony jawless vertebrates, or 'ostracoderms', are regarded as precursors of jawed vertebrates and provide insight into this formative episode in vertebrate evolution. Here, using synchrotron radiation X-ray tomography, we describe the cranial anatomy of galeaspids, a 435-370-million-year-old 'ostracoderm' group from China and Vietnam. The paired nasal sacs of galeaspids are located anterolaterally in the braincase, and the hypophyseal duct opens anteriorly towards the oral cavity. These three structures (the paired nasal sacs and the hypophyseal duct) were thus already independent of each other, like in gnathostomes and unlike in cyclostomes and osteostracans (another 'ostracoderm' group), and therefore have the condition that current developmental models regard as prerequisites for the development of jaws. This indicates that the reorganization of vertebrate cranial anatomy was not driven deterministically by the evolutionary origin of jaws but occurred stepwise, ultimately allowing the rostral growth of ectomesenchyme that now characterizes gnathostome head development.

  18. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-07

    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.

  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. Do fossil vertebrate biominerals hold the key to the Palaeozoic climate?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Žigaitė, Ž.

    2012-04-01

    Fossil vertebrate hard tissues - teeth and dermoskeleton - are considered among the most geochemically stable biominerals, and therefore are widely used for palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic reconstructions. Elemental and isotopic compositions of fossil dental tissues may provide unique palaeoenvironmental information, ranging from the diet and trophic positions on a food chain, to the palaeosalinity and water temperatures of ancient seas. However, the post-mortem alteration and re-crystallisation of fossil hard tissues may hamper these interpretations. Chemical composition and isotopic equilibrium of the biomineral change readily at any time from the earliest diagenesis to the final laboratory acid treatment during the fossil preparation. This is why particular attention shall be given to the preservation of fossil tissues, evaluating carefully the level of possible alteration in the primary geochemical composition. Pre-evaluation of fossil preservation can be made by semi-quantitative spot geochemistry analyses on fine polished teeth and scale thin sections using Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS), and help to preview the chemical composition of biomineral. The Electron Backscatter Diffractometry (EBSD) is useful to examine the cristallinity and possible structural alterations. In addition, rare earth element (REE) abundances can be measured in situ within the fine fossil tissues (such as enamel) using Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass-spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), giving evidence on the selective geochemical resilience between separate vertebrate hard tissues. Therefore, in order to decipher the geochemical signal correctly, the evaluation of preservation is a necessary starting point to any further studies of fossil biomineral geochemistry.

  2. 3D Microstructural Architecture of Muscle Attachments in Extant and Fossil Vertebrates Revealed by Synchrotron Microtomography

    PubMed Central

    Sanchez, Sophie; Dupret, Vincent; Tafforeau, Paul; Trinajstic, Katherine M.; Ryll, Bettina; Gouttenoire, Pierre-Jean; Wretman, Lovisa; Zylberberg, Louise; Peyrin, Françoise; Ahlberg, Per E.

    2013-01-01

    Background Firm attachments binding muscles to skeleton are crucial mechanical components of the vertebrate body. These attachments (entheses) are complex three-dimensional structures, containing distinctive arrangements of cells and fibre systems embedded in the bone, which can be modified during ontogeny. Until recently it has only been possible to obtain 2D surface and thin section images of entheses, leaving their 3D histology largely unstudied except by extrapolation from 2D data. Entheses are frequently preserved in fossil bones, but sectioning is inappropriate for rare or unique fossil material. Methodology/Principal Findings Here we present the first non-destructive 3D investigation, by propagation phase contrast synchrotron microtomography (PPC-SRµCT), of enthesis histology in extant and fossil vertebrates. We are able to identify entheses in the humerus of the salamander Desmognathus from the organization of bone-cell lacunae and extrinsic fibres. Statistical analysis of the lacunae differentiates types of attachments, and the orientation of the fibres, reflect the approximate alignment of the muscle. Similar histological structures, including ontogenetically related pattern changes, are perfectly preserved in two 380 million year old fossil vertebrates, the placoderm Compagopiscis croucheri and the sarcopterygian fish Eusthenopteron foordi. Conclusions/Significance We are able to determine the position of entheses in fossil vertebrates, the approximate orientation of the attached muscles, and aspects of their ontogenetic histories, from PPC-SRµCT data. Sub-micron microtomography thus provides a powerful tool for studying the structure, development, evolution and palaeobiology of muscle attachments. PMID:23468901

  3. 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.

  4. Lucy's back: Reassessment of fossils associated with the A.L. 288-1 vertebral column.

    PubMed

    Meyer, Marc R; Williams, Scott A; Smith, Michael P; Sawyer, Gary J

    2015-08-01

    The Australopithecus afarensis partial skeleton A.L. 288-1, popularly known as "Lucy" is associated with nine vertebrae. The vertebrae were given provisional level assignments to locations within the vertebral column by their discoverers and later workers. The continuity of the thoracic series differs in these assessments, which has implications for functional interpretations and comparative studies with other fossil hominins. Johanson and colleagues described one vertebral element (A.L. 288-1am) as uniquely worn amongst the A.L. 288-1 fossil assemblage, a condition unobservable on casts of the fossils. Here, we reassess the species attribution and serial position of this vertebral fragment and other vertebrae in the A.L. 288-1 series. When compared to the other vertebrae, A.L. 288-1am falls well below the expected size within a given spinal column. Furthermore, we demonstrate this vertebra exhibits non-metric characters absent in hominoids but common in large-bodied papionins. Quantitative analyses situate this vertebra within the genus Theropithecus, which today is solely represented by the gelada baboon but was the most abundant cercopithecoid in the KH-1s deposit at Hadar where Lucy was discovered. Our additional analyses confirm that the remainder of the A.L. 288-1 vertebral material belongs to A. afarensis, and we provide new level assignments for some of the other vertebrae, resulting in a continuous articular series of thoracic vertebrae, from T6 to T11. This work does not refute previous work on Lucy or its importance for human evolution, but rather highlights the importance of studying original fossils, as well as the efficacy of the scientific method.

  5. A comprehensive database of quality-rated fossil ages for Sahul’s Quaternary vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Rodríguez-Rey, Marta; Herrando-Pérez, Salvador; Brook, Barry W.; Saltré, Frédérik; Alroy, John; Beeton, Nicholas; Bird, Michael I.; Cooper, Alan; Gillespie, Richard; Jacobs, Zenobia; Johnson, Christopher N.; Miller, Gifford H.; Prideaux, Gavin J.; Roberts, Richard G.; Turney, Chris S.M.; Bradshaw, Corey J.A.

    2016-01-01

    The study of palaeo-chronologies using fossil data provides evidence for past ecological and evolutionary processes, and is therefore useful for predicting patterns and impacts of future environmental change. However, the robustness of inferences made from fossil ages relies heavily on both the quantity and quality of available data. We compiled Quaternary non-human vertebrate fossil ages from Sahul published up to 2013. This, the FosSahul database, includes 9,302 fossil records from 363 deposits, for a total of 478 species within 215 genera, of which 27 are from extinct and extant megafaunal species (2,559 records). We also provide a rating of reliability of individual absolute age based on the dating protocols and association between the dated materials and the fossil remains. Our proposed rating system identified 2,422 records with high-quality ages (i.e., a reduction of 74%). There are many applications of the database, including disentangling the confounding influences of hypothetical extinction drivers, better spatial distribution estimates of species relative to palaeo-climates, and potentially identifying new areas for fossil discovery. PMID:27434208

  6. A comprehensive database of quality-rated fossil ages for Sahul's Quaternary vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Rey, Marta; Herrando-Pérez, Salvador; Brook, Barry W; Saltré, Frédérik; Alroy, John; Beeton, Nicholas; Bird, Michael I; Cooper, Alan; Gillespie, Richard; Jacobs, Zenobia; Johnson, Christopher N; Miller, Gifford H; Prideaux, Gavin J; Roberts, Richard G; Turney, Chris S M; Bradshaw, Corey J A

    2016-07-19

    The study of palaeo-chronologies using fossil data provides evidence for past ecological and evolutionary processes, and is therefore useful for predicting patterns and impacts of future environmental change. However, the robustness of inferences made from fossil ages relies heavily on both the quantity and quality of available data. We compiled Quaternary non-human vertebrate fossil ages from Sahul published up to 2013. This, the FosSahul database, includes 9,302 fossil records from 363 deposits, for a total of 478 species within 215 genera, of which 27 are from extinct and extant megafaunal species (2,559 records). We also provide a rating of reliability of individual absolute age based on the dating protocols and association between the dated materials and the fossil remains. Our proposed rating system identified 2,422 records with high-quality ages (i.e., a reduction of 74%). There are many applications of the database, including disentangling the confounding influences of hypothetical extinction drivers, better spatial distribution estimates of species relative to palaeo-climates, and potentially identifying new areas for fossil discovery.

  7. A comprehensive database of quality-rated fossil ages for Sahul’s Quaternary vertebrates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rodríguez-Rey, Marta; Herrando-Pérez, Salvador; Brook, Barry W.; Saltré, Frédérik; Alroy, John; Beeton, Nicholas; Bird, Michael I.; Cooper, Alan; Gillespie, Richard; Jacobs, Zenobia; Johnson, Christopher N.; Miller, Gifford H.; Prideaux, Gavin J.; Roberts, Richard G.; Turney, Chris S. M.; Bradshaw, Corey J. A.

    2016-07-01

    The study of palaeo-chronologies using fossil data provides evidence for past ecological and evolutionary processes, and is therefore useful for predicting patterns and impacts of future environmental change. However, the robustness of inferences made from fossil ages relies heavily on both the quantity and quality of available data. We compiled Quaternary non-human vertebrate fossil ages from Sahul published up to 2013. This, the FosSahul database, includes 9,302 fossil records from 363 deposits, for a total of 478 species within 215 genera, of which 27 are from extinct and extant megafaunal species (2,559 records). We also provide a rating of reliability of individual absolute age based on the dating protocols and association between the dated materials and the fossil remains. Our proposed rating system identified 2,422 records with high-quality ages (i.e., a reduction of 74%). There are many applications of the database, including disentangling the confounding influences of hypothetical extinction drivers, better spatial distribution estimates of species relative to palaeo-climates, and potentially identifying new areas for fossil discovery.

  8. Homeotic effects, somitogenesis and the evolution of vertebral numbers in recent and fossil amniotes.

    PubMed

    Müller, Johannes; Scheyer, Torsten M; Head, Jason J; Barrett, Paul M; Werneburg, Ingmar; Ericson, Per G P; Pol, Diego; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    2010-02-02

    The development of distinct regions in the amniote vertebral column results from somite formation and Hox gene expression, with the adult morphology displaying remarkable variation among lineages. Mammalian regionalization is reportedly very conservative or even constrained, but there has been no study investigating vertebral count variation across Amniota as a whole, undermining attempts to understand the phylogenetic, ecological, and developmental factors affecting vertebral column variation. Here, we show that the mammalian (synapsid) and reptilian lineages show early in their evolutionary histories clear divergences in axial developmental plasticity, in terms of both regionalization and meristic change, with basal synapsids sharing the conserved axial configuration of crown mammals, and basal reptiles demonstrating the plasticity of extant taxa. We conducted a comprehensive survey of presacral vertebral counts across 436 recent and extinct amniote taxa. Vertebral counts were mapped onto a generalized amniote phylogeny as well as individual ingroup trees, and ancestral states were reconstructed by using squared-change parsimony. We also calculated the relationship between presacral and cervical numbers to infer the relative influence of homeotic effects and meristic changes and found no correlation between somitogenesis and Hox-mediated regionalization. Although conservatism in presacral numbers characterized early synapsid lineages, in some cases reptiles and synapsids exhibit the same developmental innovations in response to similar selective pressures. Conversely, increases in body mass are not coupled with meristic or homeotic changes, but mostly occur in concert with postembryonic somatic growth. Our study highlights the importance of fossils in large-scale investigations of evolutionary developmental processes.

  9. Homeotic effects, somitogenesis and the evolution of vertebral numbers in recent and fossil amniotes

    PubMed Central

    Müller, Johannes; Scheyer, Torsten M.; Head, Jason J.; Barrett, Paul M.; Werneburg, Ingmar; Ericson, Per G. P.; Pol, Diego; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R.

    2010-01-01

    The development of distinct regions in the amniote vertebral column results from somite formation and Hox gene expression, with the adult morphology displaying remarkable variation among lineages. Mammalian regionalization is reportedly very conservative or even constrained, but there has been no study investigating vertebral count variation across Amniota as a whole, undermining attempts to understand the phylogenetic, ecological, and developmental factors affecting vertebral column variation. Here, we show that the mammalian (synapsid) and reptilian lineages show early in their evolutionary histories clear divergences in axial developmental plasticity, in terms of both regionalization and meristic change, with basal synapsids sharing the conserved axial configuration of crown mammals, and basal reptiles demonstrating the plasticity of extant taxa. We conducted a comprehensive survey of presacral vertebral counts across 436 recent and extinct amniote taxa. Vertebral counts were mapped onto a generalized amniote phylogeny as well as individual ingroup trees, and ancestral states were reconstructed by using squared-change parsimony. We also calculated the relationship between presacral and cervical numbers to infer the relative influence of homeotic effects and meristic changes and found no correlation between somitogenesis and Hox-mediated regionalization. Although conservatism in presacral numbers characterized early synapsid lineages, in some cases reptiles and synapsids exhibit the same developmental innovations in response to similar selective pressures. Conversely, increases in body mass are not coupled with meristic or homeotic changes, but mostly occur in concert with postembryonic somatic growth. Our study highlights the importance of fossils in large-scale investigations of evolutionary developmental processes. PMID:20080660

  10. 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.

  11. Growth patterns of fossil vertebrates as deduced from bone microstructure: case studies from India.

    PubMed

    Ray, S; Mukherjee, D; Bandyopadhyay, S

    2009-11-01

    Bone microstructure is affected by ontogeny, phylogeny, biomechanics and environments. These aspects of life history of an extinct animal, especially its growth patterns, may be assessed as fossil bone generally maintains its histological integrity. Recent studies on the bone histology of fossil vertebrates from India encompass different types of temnospondyls and dicynodonts from different Permian and Triassic horizons. The examined taxa show that they had distinct bone histology and varied growth patterns. The Early Triassic trematosaurids had an overall fast growth, which contrasts with that of the Middle and Late Triassic temnospondyl taxa examined. The dicynodonts on the other hand, were characterized by an overall fast growth with periodic interruptions, variable growth rates dependent on ontogeny and indeterminate growth strategy. A comparative study encompassing several neotherapsid genera including the dicynodonts shows signifi cant evolutionary trends towards determinate growth strategy and reduced developmental plasticity.

  12. X-ray computed tomography datasets for forensic analysis of vertebrate fossils

    PubMed Central

    Rowe, Timothy B.; Luo, Zhe-Xi; Ketcham, Richard A.; Maisano, Jessica A.; Colbert, Matthew W.

    2016-01-01

    We describe X-ray computed tomography (CT) datasets from three specimens recovered from Early Cretaceous lakebeds of China that illustrate the forensic interpretation of CT imagery for paleontology. Fossil vertebrates from thinly bedded sediments often shatter upon discovery and are commonly repaired as amalgamated mosaics grouted to a solid backing slab of rock or plaster. Such methods are prone to inadvertent error and willful forgery, and once required potentially destructive methods to identify mistakes in reconstruction. CT is an efficient, nondestructive alternative that can disclose many clues about how a specimen was handled and repaired. These annotated datasets illustrate the power of CT in documenting specimen integrity and are intended as a reference in applying CT more broadly to evaluating the authenticity of comparable fossils. PMID:27272251

  13. X-ray computed tomography datasets for forensic analysis of vertebrate fossils.

    PubMed

    Rowe, Timothy B; Luo, Zhe-Xi; Ketcham, Richard A; Maisano, Jessica A; Colbert, Matthew W

    2016-06-07

    We describe X-ray computed tomography (CT) datasets from three specimens recovered from Early Cretaceous lakebeds of China that illustrate the forensic interpretation of CT imagery for paleontology. Fossil vertebrates from thinly bedded sediments often shatter upon discovery and are commonly repaired as amalgamated mosaics grouted to a solid backing slab of rock or plaster. Such methods are prone to inadvertent error and willful forgery, and once required potentially destructive methods to identify mistakes in reconstruction. CT is an efficient, nondestructive alternative that can disclose many clues about how a specimen was handled and repaired. These annotated datasets illustrate the power of CT in documenting specimen integrity and are intended as a reference in applying CT more broadly to evaluating the authenticity of comparable fossils.

  14. Nd and Sr isotope compositions in modern and fossil bones - Proxies for vertebrate provenance and taphonomy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tütken, Thomas; Vennemann, Torsten W.; Pfretzschner, Hans-U.

    2011-10-01

    Rare earth elements (REE), while not essential for the physiologic functions of animals, are ingested and incorporated in ppb concentrations in bones and teeth. Nd isotope compositions of modern bones of animals from isotopically distinct habitats demonstrate that the 143Nd/ 144Nd of the apatite can be used as a fingerprint for bedrock geology or ambient water mass. This potentially allows the provenance and migration of extant vertebrates to be traced, similar to the use of Sr isotopes. Although REE may be enriched by up to 5 orders of magnitude during diagenesis and recrystallization of bone apatite, in vivo143Nd/ 144Nd may be preserved in the inner cortex of fossil bones or enamel. However, tracking the provenance of ancient or extinct vertebrates is possible only for well-preserved archeological and paleontological skeletal remains with in vivo-like Nd contents at the ppb-level. Intra-bone and -tooth REE analysis can be used to screen for appropriate areas. Large intra-bone Nd concentration gradients of 10 1-10 3 are often measured. Nd concentrations in the inner bone cortex increase over timescales of millions of years, while bone rims may be enriched over millenial timescales. Nevertheless, ɛ Nd values are often similar within one ɛ Nd unit within a single bone. Larger intra-bone differences in specimens may either reflect a partial preservation of in vivo values or changing ɛ Nd values of the diagenetic fluid during fossilization. However, most fossil specimens and the outer rims of bones will record taphonomic 143Nd/ 144Nd incorporated post mortem during diagenesis. Unlike REE patterns, 143Nd/ 144Nd are not biased by fractionation processes during REE-uptake into the apatite crystal lattice, hence the ɛ Nd value is an important tracer for taphonomy and reworking. Bones and teeth from autochthonous fossil assemblages have small variations of ±1 ɛ Nd unit only. In contrast, fossil bones and teeth from over 20 different marine and terrestrial fossil

  15. Evidence of inherent spontaneous polarization in the metazoan integument epithelia.

    PubMed Central

    Athenstaedt, H; Claussen, H

    1983-01-01

    The live integument epithelia of the metazoa have an inherent spontaneous polarization (an inherent permanent electric dipole moment) of corresponding direction perpendicular to the integument surface. The existence of the inherent polarization was proved by their temperature dependence, i.e., by the pyroelectric (PE) effect. Quantitative PE measurements were carried out on a number of integument epithelia of vertebrates (a) in vivo, (b) on fresh epidermis preparations, and (c) on dead, air-dried epidermis specimens of the same species. The demonstrated spontaneous polarization is not dependent on the living state and not caused by a potential difference between the outer and inner integument surface. Dead, dry epidermis samples (potential difference less than 0.01 mV) as well as dead, dry integument appendages (bristles, hairs), and dead cuticles (of arthropoda, annelida, nematoda) showed an inherent dipole moment of the same orientation as the live epidermis. The findings reveal a relationship between the direction (vector) of inherent spontaneous polarization and that of growth (morphogenesis) in the animal epidermis, their appendages, and cuticles. We conclude (a) that the inherent spontaneous polarization is present in live individual epithelial cells of the metazoan integument, and (b) that this physical property is related to the structural and functional cell polarity of integument epithelia and possibly of other epithelia. Images FIGURE 10 PMID:6838974

  16. Upper Devonian vertebrate taphonomy and sedimentology from the Klunas fossil site, Tervete Formation, Latvia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vasiļkova, J.; Lukševičs, E.; Stinkulis, Ä.¢.; Zupinš, I.

    2012-04-01

    The deposits of the Tervete Formation, Famennian Stage of Latvia, comprising weakly cemented sandstone and sand intercalated with dolomitic marls, siltstone and clay, have been traditionally interpreted as having formed in a shallow, rather restricted sea with lowered salinity. During seven field seasons the excavations took place in the south-western part of Latvia, at the Klunas site, and resulted in extensive palaeontological and sedimentological data. The taphonomical analysis has been performed, having evaluated the size, sorting, orientation of the fossils, articulation and skeletal preservation as well as the degree of fragmentation and abrasion. The sedimentological analysis involved interpretation of sedimentary structures, palaeocurrent direction reconstruction, grain-size analysis and approximate water depth calculations. The vertebrate assemblage of the Klunas site represents all known taxa of the Sparnene Regional Stage of the Baltic Devonian, comprising placoderms Bothriolepis ornata Eichwald, B. jani Lukševičs, Phyllolepis tolli Vasiliauskas, Dunkleosteus sp. and Chelyophorus sp., sarcopterygians Holoptychius nobilissimus Agassiz, Platycephalichthys skuenicus Vorobyeva, Cryptolepis sp., Conchodus sp., Glyptopomus ? sp., "Strunius" ? sp., and Dipterus sp., as well as an undetermined actinopterygian. Placoderms Bothriolepis ornata and B. jani dominate the assemblage. The fossils are represented in the main by fully disarticulated placoderm plates and plate fragments, sarcopterygian scales and teeth, rarely bones of the head and shoulder girdle, and acanthodian spines and scales. The characteristic feature is the great amount of fragmentary remains several times exceeding the number of intact bones. The horizontal distribution of the bones over the studied area is not homogenous, distinct zones of increased or decreased density of fossils can be traced. Zones of the increased density usually contain many elements of various sizes, whereas zones of the

  17. Fossil vertebrate footprints in the Coconino Sandstone (Permian) of northern Arizona: Evidence for underwater origin

    SciTech Connect

    Brand, L.R.; Thu Tang )

    1991-12-01

    Numerous fossil vertebrate trackways in the Coconino Sandstone of northern Arizona exhibit several features that imply that these trackways were not made in subaerial conditions. Some trackways begin or end abruptly on undisturbed bedding planes, and in other trackways the individual prints are oriented in a different direction from that of the trackway. These features indicate buoyancy of the animals in water. The animals were swimming in the water part of the time and at other times walking on the substrate, and they were sometimes orienting upslope on the surface of the underwater dunes, while being drifted sideways by lateral currents. Observations on salamander locomotion in a sedimentation tank with flowing water support this model.

  18. 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

  19. Rare earth and trace elements of fossil vertebrate bioapatite as palaeoenvironmental and sedimentological proxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Žigaitė, Živilė; Fadel, Alexandre; Pérez-Huerta, Alberto; Jeffries, Teresa

    2015-04-01

    Rare earth (REE) and trace element compositions of fossil vertebrate dental microremains have been studied in Silurian and Devonian vertebrate dental scales and spines in-situ, using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). Samples were selected from the well-known Silurian bone beds of Vesiku and Ohesaare in Saaremaa island of Estonia, and a number of Lower Devonian localities from Spitsbergen (Svalbard), Andrée Land group. Biomineral preservation was assessed using spot semi-quantitative elemental chemistry (SEM-EDS) and electron back-scatter difractometry (EBSD) for cristallinity imaging. The obtained PAAS shale-normalised REE concentrations were evaluated using basic geochemical calculations and quantifications. The REE patterns from the Lower Devonian vertebrate apatite from Andrée Land, Spitsbergen (Wood Bay and Grey Hœk formations) did not show any recognisable taxon-specific behavior, but had rather well expressed differences of REE compositions related to biomineral structure and sedimentary settings, suggesting REE instead to reflect burial environments and sedimentological history. The Eu anomaly recorded in two of the studied localities but not in the other indicate different taphonomic conditions and palaeoenvironment, while La/Sm, La/Yb ratios sugeest considerable influence of terrestrial freshwater during the early diagenesis. The La/Yb and La/Sm plots also agree with the average REE concentrations, reflecting domination of the adsoption over substitution as principal REE uptake mechanism in the fossils which had significantly lower overall REE concentrations, and vice versa. Vesiku (Homerian, Wenlock) microremains yielded very uniform REE patterns with slightly lower overall REE concentrations in enameloid than in dentine, with strong enrichment in middle REE and depletion in heavy REE. Negative Europium (Eu) anomaly was pronounced in all the profiles, but Cerium (Ce) anomalies were not detected suggesting possible

  20. 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.

  1. Vertebrate paleontology, stratigraphy, and paleohydrology of Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, Nevada (USA)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Springer, Kathleen; Pigati, Jeffery S.; Scott, Eric

    2017-01-01

    Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument (TUSK) preserves 22,650 acres of the upper Las Vegas Wash in the northern Las Vegas Valley (Nevada, USA). TUSK is home to extensive and stratigraphically complex groundwater discharge (GWD) deposits, called the Las Vegas Formation, which represent springs and desert wetlands that covered much of the valley during the late Quaternary. The GWD deposits record hydrologic changes that occurred here in a dynamic and temporally congruent response to abrupt climatic oscillations over the last ~300 ka (thousands of years). The deposits also entomb the Tule Springs Local Fauna (TSLF), one of the most significant late Pleistocene (Rancholabrean) vertebrate assemblages in the American Southwest. The TSLF is both prolific and diverse, and includes a large mammal assemblage dominated by Mammuthus columbi and Camelops hesternus. Two (and possibly three) distinct species of Equus, two species of Bison, Panthera atrox, Smilodon fatalis, Canis dirus, Megalonyx jeffersonii, and Nothrotheriops shastensis are also present, and newly recognized faunal components include micromammals, amphibians, snakes, and birds. Invertebrates, plant macrofossils, and pollen also occur in the deposits and provide important and complementary paleoenvironmental information. This field compendium highlights the faunal assemblage in the classic stratigraphic sequences of the Las Vegas Formation within TUSK, emphasizes the significant hydrologic changes that occurred in the area during the recent geologic past, and examines the subsequent and repeated effect of rapid climate change on the local desert wetland ecosystem.

  2. Exceptionally well preserved late Quaternary plant and vertebrate fossils from a blue hole on Abaco, The Bahamas.

    PubMed

    Steadman, David W; Franz, Richard; Morgan, Gary S; Albury, Nancy A; Kakuk, Brian; Broad, Kenneth; Franz, Shelley E; Tinker, Keith; Pateman, Michael P; Lott, Terry A; Jarzen, David M; Dilcher, David L

    2007-12-11

    We report Quaternary vertebrate and plant fossils from Sawmill Sink, a "blue hole" (a water-filled sinkhole) on Great Abaco Island, The Bahamas. The fossils are well preserved because of deposition in anoxic salt water. Vertebrate fossils from peat on the talus cone are radiocarbon-dated from approximately 4,200 to 1,000 cal BP (Late Holocene). The peat produced skeletons of two extinct species (tortoise Chelonoidis undescribed sp. and Caracara Caracara creightoni) and two extant species no longer in The Bahamas (Cuban crocodile, Crocodylus rhombifer; and Cooper's or Gundlach's Hawk, Accipiter cooperii or Accipiter gundlachii). A different, inorganic bone deposit on a limestone ledge in Sawmill Sink is a Late Pleistocene owl roost that features lizards (one species), snakes (three species), birds (25 species), and bats (four species). The owl roost fauna includes Rallus undescribed sp. (extinct; the first Bahamian flightless rail) and four other locally extinct species of birds (Cooper's/Gundlach's Hawk, A. cooperii/gundlachii; flicker Colaptes sp.; Cave Swallow, Petrochelidon fulva; and Eastern Meadowlark, Sturnella magna) and mammals (Bahamian hutia, Geocapromys ingrahami; and a bat, Myotis sp.). The exquisitely preserved fossils from Sawmill Sink suggest a grassy pineland as the dominant plant community on Abaco in the Late Pleistocene, with a heavier component of coppice (tropical dry evergreen forest) in the Late Holocene. Important in its own right, this information also will help biologists and government planners to develop conservation programs in The Bahamas that consider long-term ecological and cultural processes.

  3. Exceptionally well preserved late Quaternary plant and vertebrate fossils from a blue hole on Abaco, The Bahamas

    PubMed Central

    Steadman, David W.; Franz, Richard; Morgan, Gary S.; Albury, Nancy A.; Kakuk, Brian; Broad, Kenneth; Franz, Shelley E.; Tinker, Keith; Pateman, Michael P.; Lott, Terry A.; Jarzen, David M.; Dilcher, David L.

    2007-01-01

    We report Quaternary vertebrate and plant fossils from Sawmill Sink, a “blue hole” (a water-filled sinkhole) on Great Abaco Island, The Bahamas. The fossils are well preserved because of deposition in anoxic salt water. Vertebrate fossils from peat on the talus cone are radiocarbon-dated from ≈4,200 to 1,000 cal BP (Late Holocene). The peat produced skeletons of two extinct species (tortoise Chelonoidis undescribed sp. and Caracara Caracara creightoni) and two extant species no longer in The Bahamas (Cuban crocodile, Crocodylus rhombifer; and Cooper's or Gundlach's Hawk, Accipiter cooperii or Accipiter gundlachii). A different, inorganic bone deposit on a limestone ledge in Sawmill Sink is a Late Pleistocene owl roost that features lizards (one species), snakes (three species), birds (25 species), and bats (four species). The owl roost fauna includes Rallus undescribed sp. (extinct; the first Bahamian flightless rail) and four other locally extinct species of birds (Cooper's/Gundlach's Hawk, A. cooperii/gundlachii; flicker Colaptes sp.; Cave Swallow, Petrochelidon fulva; and Eastern Meadowlark, Sturnella magna) and mammals (Bahamian hutia, Geocapromys ingrahami; and a bat, Myotis sp.). The exquisitely preserved fossils from Sawmill Sink suggest a grassy pineland as the dominant plant community on Abaco in the Late Pleistocene, with a heavier component of coppice (tropical dry evergreen forest) in the Late Holocene. Important in its own right, this information also will help biologists and government planners to develop conservation programs in The Bahamas that consider long-term ecological and cultural processes. PMID:18077421

  4. Surface drag reduction and flow separation control in pelagic vertebrates, with implications for interpreting scale morphologies in fossil taxa

    PubMed Central

    Palmer, Colin; Young, Mark T.

    2015-01-01

    Living in water imposes severe constraints on the evolution of the vertebrate body. As a result of these constraints, numerous extant and extinct aquatic vertebrate groups evolved convergent osteological and soft-tissue adaptations. However, one important suite of adaptations is still poorly understood: dermal cover morphologies and how they influence surface fluid dynamics. This is especially true for fossil aquatic vertebrates where the soft tissue of the dermis is rarely preserved. Recent studies have suggested that the keeled scales of mosasaurids (pelagic lizards that lived during the Late Cretaceous) aided in surface frictional drag reduction in a manner analogous to the riblets on shark placoid scales. However, here we demonstrate that mosasaurid scales were over an order of magnitude too large to have this effect. More likely they increased the frictional drag of the body and may have played a role in controlling flow separation by acting as surface roughness that turbulated the boundary layer. Such a role could have reduced pressure drag and enhanced manoeuvrability. We caution those studying fossil aquatic vertebrates from positing the presence of surface drag reducing morphologies, because as we show herein, to be effective such features need to have a spacing of approximately 0.1 mm or less. PMID:26064576

  5. Middle Pleistocene vertebrate fossils from the Nefud Desert, Saudi Arabia: Implications for biogeography and palaeoecology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stimpson, Christopher M.; Lister, Adrian; Parton, Ash; Clark-Balzan, Laine; Breeze, Paul S.; Drake, Nick A.; Groucutt, Huw S.; Jennings, Richard; Scerri, Eleanor M. L.; White, Tom S.; Zahir, Muhammad; Duval, Mathieu; Grün, Rainer; Al-Omari, Abdulaziz; Al Murayyi, Khalid Sultan M.; Zalmout, Iyaed S.; Mufarreh, Yahya A.; Memesh, Abdullah M.; Petraglia, Michael D.

    2016-07-01

    The current paucity of Pleistocene vertebrate records from the Arabian Peninsula - a landmass of over 3 million km2 - is a significant gap in our knowledge of the Quaternary. Such data are critical lines of contextual evidence for considering animal and hominin dispersals between Africa and Eurasia generally, and hominin palaeoecology in the Pleistocene landscapes of the Arabian interior specifically. Here, we describe an important contribution to the record and report stratigraphically-constrained fossils of mammals, birds and reptiles from recent excavations at Ti's al Ghadah in the southwestern Nefud Desert. Combined U-series and ESR analyses of Oryx sp. teeth indicate that the assemblage is Middle Pleistocene in age and dates to ca. 500 ka. The identified fauna is a biogeographical admixture that consists of likely endemics and taxa of African and Eurasian affinity and includes extinct and extant (or related Pleistocene forms of) mammals (Palaeoloxodon cf. recki, Panthera cf. gombaszogenis, Equus hemionus, cf. Crocuta crocuta, Vulpes sp., Canis anthus, Oryx sp.), the first Pleistocene records of birds from the Arabian Peninsula (Struthio sp., Neophron percnopterus, Milvus cf. migrans, Tachybaptus sp. Anas sp., Pterocles orientalis, Motacilla cf. alba) and reptiles (Varanidae/Uromastyx sp.). We infer that the assemblage reflects mortality in populations of herbivorous animals and their predators and scavengers that were attracted to freshwater and plant resources in the inter-dune basin. At present, there is no evidence to suggest hominin agency in the accumulation of the bone assemblages. The inferred ecological characteristics of the taxa recovered indicate the presence, at least periodically, of substantial water-bodies and open grassland habitats.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Conservation of globin genes in the "living fossil" Latimeria chalumnae and reconstruction of the evolution of the vertebrate globin family.

    PubMed

    Schwarze, Kim; Burmester, Thorsten

    2013-09-01

    The (hemo-)globins are among the best-investigated proteins in biomedical sciences. These small heme-proteins play an important role in oxygen supply, but may also have other functions. In addition to well known hemoglobin and myoglobin, six other vertebrate globin types have been identified in recent years: neuroglobin, cytoglobin, globin E, globin X, globin Y, and androglobin. Analyses of the genome of the "living fossil" Latimeria chalumnae show that the coelacanth is the only known vertebrate that includes all eight globin types. Thus, Latimeria can also be considered as a "globin fossil". Analyses of gene synteny and phylogenetic reconstructions allow us to trace the evolution and the functional changes of the vertebrate globin family. Neuroglobin and globin X diverged from the other globin types before the separation of Protostomia and Deuterostomia. The cytoglobins, which are unlikely to be involved in O2 supply, form the earliest globin branch within the jawed vertebrates (Gnathostomata), but do not group with the agnathan hemoglobins, as it has been proposed before. There is strong evidence from phylogenetic reconstructions and gene synteny that the eye-specific globin E and muscle-specific myoglobin constitute a common clade, suggesting a similar role in intracellular O2 supply. Latimeria possesses two α- and two β-hemoglobin chains, of which one α-chain emerged prior to the divergence of Actinopterygii and Sarcopterygii, but has been retained only in the coelacanth. Notably, the embryonic hemoglobin α-chains of Gnathostomata derive from a common ancestor, while the embryonic β-chains - with the exception of a more complex pattern in the coelacanth and amphibians - display a clade-specific evolution. Globin Y is associated with the hemoglobin gene cluster, but its phylogenetic position is not resolved. Our data show an early divergence of distinct globin types in the vertebrate evolution before the emergence of tetrapods. The subsequent loss of

  10. Heart fossilization is possible and informs the evolution of cardiac outflow tract in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Maldanis, Lara; Carvalho, Murilo; Almeida, Mariana Ramos; Freitas, Francisco Idalécio; de Andrade, José Artur Ferreira Gomes; Nunes, Rafael Silva; Rochitte, Carlos Eduardo; Poppi, Ronei Jesus; Freitas, Raul Oliveira; Rodrigues, Fábio; Siljeström, Sandra; Lima, Frederico Alves; Galante, Douglas; Carvalho, Ismar S; Perez, Carlos Alberto; de Carvalho, Marcelo Rodrigues; Bettini, Jefferson; Fernandez, Vincent; Xavier-Neto, José

    2016-04-19

    Elucidating cardiac evolution has been frustrated by lack of fossils. One celebrated enigma in cardiac evolution involves the transition from a cardiac outflow tract dominated by a multi-valved conus arteriosus in basal actinopterygians, to an outflow tract commanded by the non-valved, elastic, bulbus arteriosus in higher actinopterygians. We demonstrate that cardiac preservation is possible in the extinct fish Rhacolepis buccalis from the Brazilian Cretaceous. Using X-ray synchrotron microtomography, we show that Rhacolepis fossils display hearts with a conus arteriosus containing at least five valve rows. This represents a transitional morphology between the primitive, multivalvar, conal condition and the derived, monovalvar, bulbar state of the outflow tract in modern actinopterygians. Our data rescue a long-lost cardiac phenotype (119-113 Ma) and suggest that outflow tract simplification in actinopterygians is compatible with a gradual, rather than a drastic saltation event. Overall, our results demonstrate the feasibility of studying cardiac evolution in fossils.

  11. High-elevation late Pleistocene (MIS 6-5) vertebrate faunas from the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, Snowmass Village, Colorado

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sertich, Joseph J. W.; Stucky, Richard K.; McDonald, H. Gregory; Newton, Cody; Fisher, Daniel C.; Scott, Eric; Demboski, John R.; Lucking, Carol; McHorse, Brianna K.; Davis, Edward B.

    2014-11-01

    The vertebrate record at the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site (ZRFS) near Snowmass Village, Colorado ranges from ~ 140 to 77 ka, spanning all of Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 5. The site contains at least 52 taxa of macro- and microvertebrates, including one fish, three amphibian, four reptile, ten bird, and 34 mammal taxa. The most common vertebrate is Ambystoma tigrinum (tiger salamander), which is represented by > 22,000 elements representing the entire life cycle. The mastodon, Mammut americanum, is the most common mammal, and is documented by > 1800 skeletal elements making the ZRFS one of the largest accumulations of proboscidean remains in North America. Faunas at the ZRFS can be divided into two groups, a lake-margin group dating to ~ 140-100 ka that is dominated by woodland taxa, and a lake-center group dating to ~ 87-77 ka characterized by taxa favoring more open conditions. The change in faunal assemblages occurred between MIS 5c and 5a (vertebrates were absent from MIS 5b deposits), which were times of significant environmental change at the ZRFS. Furthermore, the ZRFS provides a well-dated occurrence of the extinct Bison latifrons, which has implications for the timing of the Rancholabrean Mammal Age in the region.

  12. The brain in the early fossil jawless vertebrates: evolutionary information from an empty nutshell.

    PubMed

    Janvier, P

    2008-03-18

    Various 535-365 million year-old extinct jawless vertebrates taxa provide either direct or indirect information about brain and cranial nerve morphology. The paraphyletic group referred to as "ostracoderms", includes some forms in which the braincase closely encapsulated the brain, thereby providing relatively accurate data about its overall external morphology. Current morphology-based phylogenies suggests that "ostracoderms" are in fact jawless stem gnathostomes, and the closely similar aspect of their brain cavity suggests that it illustrates the ancestral condition of the gnathostome brain and fills the morphological gap between the brain condition of the extant cyclostomes and that of the extant jawed vertebrates.

  13. Heart fossilization is possible and informs the evolution of cardiac outflow tract in vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Maldanis, Lara; Carvalho, Murilo; Almeida, Mariana Ramos; Freitas, Francisco Idalécio; de Andrade, José Artur Ferreira Gomes; Nunes, Rafael Silva; Rochitte, Carlos Eduardo; Poppi, Ronei Jesus; Freitas, Raul Oliveira; Rodrigues, Fábio; Siljeström, Sandra; Lima, Frederico Alves; Galante, Douglas; Carvalho, Ismar S; Perez, Carlos Alberto; de Carvalho, Marcelo Rodrigues; Bettini, Jefferson; Fernandez, Vincent; Xavier-Neto, José

    2016-01-01

    Elucidating cardiac evolution has been frustrated by lack of fossils. One celebrated enigma in cardiac evolution involves the transition from a cardiac outflow tract dominated by a multi-valved conus arteriosus in basal actinopterygians, to an outflow tract commanded by the non-valved, elastic, bulbus arteriosus in higher actinopterygians. We demonstrate that cardiac preservation is possible in the extinct fish Rhacolepis buccalis from the Brazilian Cretaceous. Using X-ray synchrotron microtomography, we show that Rhacolepis fossils display hearts with a conus arteriosus containing at least five valve rows. This represents a transitional morphology between the primitive, multivalvar, conal condition and the derived, monovalvar, bulbar state of the outflow tract in modern actinopterygians. Our data rescue a long-lost cardiac phenotype (119-113 Ma) and suggest that outflow tract simplification in actinopterygians is compatible with a gradual, rather than a drastic saltation event. Overall, our results demonstrate the feasibility of studying cardiac evolution in fossils. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.14698.001 PMID:27090087

  14. Fossil vertebrates from Antigua, Lesser Antilles: Evidence for late Holocene human-caused extinctions in the West Indies

    PubMed Central

    Steadman, David W.; Pregill, Gregory K.; Olson, Storrs L.

    1984-01-01

    Vertebrate remains recovered from a limestone fissure filling on Antigua, Lesser Antilles, are associated with radiocarbon dates ranging from 4300 to 2500 yr B.P., contemporaneous with the earliest aboriginal human occupation of the island. Nine taxa of lizards, snakes, birds, bats, and rodents (one-third of the total number of species represented as fossils) are either completely extinct or have never been recorded historically from Antigua. These extinctions came long after any major climatic changes of the Pleistocene and are best attributed to human-caused environmental degradation in the past 3500 yr. Such unnatural influences have probably altered patterns of distribution and species diversity throughout the West Indies, thus rendering unreliable the data traditionally used in ecological and biogeographic studies that consider only the historically known fauna. PMID:16593490

  15. On Mesopithecus habitat: Insights from late Miocene fossil vertebrate localities of Bulgaria.

    PubMed

    Clavel, Julien; Merceron, Gildas; Hristova, Latinka; Spassov, Nikolaï; Kovachev, Dimitar; Escarguel, Gilles

    2012-07-01

    The aim of this study is to describe the environments where the cercopithecid Mesopithecus was found during latest Miocene in Europe. For this purpose, we investigate the paleoecology of the herbivorous ungulate mesofauna of three very rich late Miocene fossil localities from southwestern Bulgaria: Hadjidimovo, Kalimantsi and Strumyani. While Mesopithecus has been found in the two first localities, no primate remains have yet been identified in Strumyani. Comparison between localities with and without primates using the herbivore mesofauna allows the cross-corroboration of paleoenvironmental conditions where this primate did and did not live. A multi-parameter statistical approach involving 117 equid and 345 bovid fossil dental and postcranial (phalanges, metapodia, astragali) remains from these three localities provides species to generic-level diet and locomotor habit information in order to characterize the environment in which Mesopithecus evolved. The analysis of dental mesowear indicates that the bovids were mainly mixed feeders, while coeval equids were more engaged in grazing. Meanwhile, postcranial remains show that the ungulate species from Hadjidimovo and Kalimantsi evolved in dry environments with a continuum of habitats ranging from slightly wooded areas to relatively open landscapes, whereas the Mesopithecus-free Strumyani locality was in comparison reflecting a rather contrasted mosaic of environments with predominant open and some more closed and wet areas. Environments in which Mesopithecus is known during the late Miocene were not contrasted landscapes combining open grassy areas and dense forested patches, but instead rather restricted to slightly wooded and homogeneous landscapes including a developed grassy herbaceous layer.

  16. Fossil vertebrates from the Pranhita-Godavari Valley (India) and their stratigraphic correlation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jain, Sohan L.; Roychowdhury, Tapan

    Little comprehensive information on Gondwana vertebrates from India is available which enables useful stratigraphic correlations with the world's better known faunas. In this context the Upper Gondwana sequence from the Pranhita-Godavari Valley presents a unique vertebrate faunal record. During the last 25 years, this faunal record has been considerably improved with the discovery of new faunas and better material than earlier records. A Middle Triassic age fauna (Yerrapalli fauna) in the valley consists of two large dicynodonts, two labyrinthodonts, a cynodont, a rhynchosaur, and a saurichthyid fish. In many respects this fauna is comparable to the Middle Triassic Manda beds of Tanzania. An Upper Triassic fauna (Maleri fauna) is represented by a labyrinthodont (Metoposaurus), a rhynchosaur (Paradapedon), a parasuchid (Parasuchus), a cynodont (Exaeretodon), and a protorosaur (Malerisaurus). In addition, fishes are represented by dipnoans and xenacanths. This fauna is comparable to several well-documented Upper Triassic faunas elsewhere. Another fauna (Dharmaram fauna), which may be Upper Norian to Rhaetian in age, has been found (but not described) that includes at least two prosauropods (a plateosaurid and a thecodondotosaurid) and at least two more archosaurs. This fauna is comparable to a Rhaetic fauna. An Early Jurassic fauna (Kota fauna) includes a large sauropod (Barapasaurus) a pterosaur (Compylognathoides), a? teleosaurid crocodile, and a few symmetrodont mammals besides a number of piscine members (Lepidotes, Paradapedium, Tetragonolepis, Indocoelacanthus and Pholidophorus). The presence of four distinct faunas from the Pranhita-Godavari Valley has suggested possibilities of meaningful stratigraphic correlations.

  17. Pigmented anatomy in Carboniferous cyclostomes and the evolution of the vertebrate eye

    PubMed Central

    Gabbott, Sarah E.; Sansom, Robert S.; Vinther, Jakob; Dolocan, Andrei; Purnell, Mark A.

    2016-01-01

    The success of vertebrates is linked to the evolution of a camera-style eye and sophisticated visual system. In the absence of useful data from fossils, scenarios for evolutionary assembly of the vertebrate eye have been based necessarily on evidence from development, molecular genetics and comparative anatomy in living vertebrates. Unfortunately, steps in the transition from a light-sensitive ‘eye spot’ in invertebrate chordates to an image-forming camera-style eye in jawed vertebrates are constrained only by hagfish and lampreys (cyclostomes), which are interpreted to reflect either an intermediate or degenerate condition. Here, we report—based on evidence of size, shape, preservation mode and localized occurrence—the presence of melanosomes (pigment-bearing organelles) in fossil cyclostome eyes. Time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry analyses reveal secondary ions with a relative intensity characteristic of melanin as revealed through principal components analyses. Our data support the hypotheses that extant hagfish eyes are degenerate, not rudimentary, that cyclostomes are monophyletic, and that the ancestral vertebrate had a functional visual system. We also demonstrate integument pigmentation in fossil lampreys, opening up the exciting possibility of investigating colour patterning in Palaeozoic vertebrates. The examples we report add to the record of melanosome preservation in Carboniferous fossils and attest to surprising durability of melanosomes and biomolecular melanin. PMID:27488650

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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. PMID:26423843

  20. On the importance of stratigraphic control for vertebrate fossil sites in Channel Islands National Park, California, USA: Examples from new Mammuthus finds on San Miguel Island

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pigati, Jeffery S.; Muhs, Daniel R.; McGeehin, John P.

    2016-01-01

    Quaternary vertebrate fossils, most notably mammoth remains, are relatively common on the northern Channel Islands of California. Well-preserved cranial, dental, and appendicular elements of Mammuthus exilis (pygmy mammoth) and Mammuthus columbi (Columbian mammoth) have been recovered from hundreds of localities on the islands during the past half-century or more. Despite this paleontological wealth, the geologic context of the fossils is described in the published literature only briefly or not at all, which has hampered the interpretation of associated 14C ages and reconstruction of past environmental conditions. We recently discovered a partial tusk, several large bones, and a tooth enamel plate (all likely mammoth) at two sites on the northwest flank of San Miguel Island, California. At both localities, we documented the stratigraphic context of the fossils, described the host sediments in detail, and collected charcoal and terrestrial gastropod shells for radiocarbon dating. The resulting 14C ages indicate that the mammoths were present on San Miguel Island between ∼20 and 17 ka as well as between ∼14 and 13 ka (thousands of calibrated 14C years before present), similar to other mammoth sites on San Miguel, Santa Cruz, and Santa Rosa Islands. In addition to documenting the geologic context and ages of the fossils, we present a series of protocols for documenting and reporting geologic and stratigraphic information at fossil sites on the California Channel Islands in general, and in Channel Islands National Park in particular, so that pertinent information is collected prior to excavation of vertebrate materials, thus maximizing their scientific value.

  1. Heterogeneous rare earth element (REE) patterns and concentrations in a fossil bone: Implications for the use of REE in vertebrate taphonomy and fossilization history

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suarez, Celina A.; Macpherson, G. L.; González, Luis A.; Grandstaff, David E.

    2010-05-01

    A bone fragment (CGDQ-3) of Falcariusutahensis, a therizinosaur from the Early Cretaceous Cedar Mountain Formation, Utah, contained within a carbonate nodule, was analyzed by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) in order to investigate REE variability within a thin-walled phalanx. Previous studies have found depth-related REE pattern variations; however, in CGDQ-3 variation occurs along the circumference of the bone. NASC-normalized REE patterns and concentrations vary between two apparent end members. A light-REE enriched (LREE) pattern, similar to solution ICP-MS analysis of this bone, characterizes approximately two-thirds of the bone fragment. Total REE concentrations are high and do not vary significantly from the periosteal surface to the medullar surface. Conversely, the remaining one-third of the bone has REE patterns that are MREE-depleted and low in total REE concentrations. REE concentrations in this part of the bone do not vary significantly from the periosteal to the medullar surface. A positive Ce anomaly is found throughout the entire bone, and is greatest within the LREE-enriched portion of the bone. This, in combination with the LREE-enrichment, suggests that the bone fossilized under reducing conditions. The distance between the LREE-enriched and MREE-depleted regions is less than 1 mm. Isotopic and petrographic analyses of the bone and surrounding carbonate matrix suggest the REE patterns in the bone were the result of partial fossilization/incomplete filling of micro-pore spaces around bone crystallites in an environment with changing redox conditions. The lower, MREE-depleted part of the bone fossilized contemporaneously with a pendant cement that formed on the underside of the bone in the vadose zone. Formation of the pendant cement restricted water flow through the bone, isolating the lower portion, which incorporated a MREE-depleted pattern. The upper part of the bone (LREE-enriched side) fossilized under

  2. Tyrannosauroid integument reveals conflicting patterns of gigantism and feather evolution.

    PubMed

    Bell, Phil R; Campione, Nicolás E; Persons, W Scott; Currie, Philip J; Larson, Peter L; Tanke, Darren H; Bakker, Robert T

    2017-06-01

    Recent evidence for feathers in theropods has led to speculations that the largest tyrannosaurids, including Tyrannosaurus rex, were extensively feathered. We describe fossil integument from Tyrannosaurus and other tyrannosaurids (Albertosaurus, Daspletosaurus, Gorgosaurus and Tarbosaurus), confirming that these large-bodied forms possessed scaly, reptilian-like skin. Body size evolution in tyrannosauroids reveals two independent occurrences of gigantism; specifically, the large sizes in Yutyrannus and tyrannosaurids were independently derived. These new findings demonstrate that extensive feather coverings observed in some early tyrannosauroids were lost by the Albian, basal to Tyrannosauridae. This loss is unrelated to palaeoclimate but possibly tied to the evolution of gigantism, although other mechanisms exist. © 2017 The Author(s).

  3. Investigating the stratigraphy and palaeoenvironments for a suite of newly discovered mid-Cretaceous vertebrate fossil-localities in the Winton Formation, Queensland, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tucker, Ryan T.; Roberts, Eric M.; Darlington, Vikie; Salisbury, Steven W.

    2017-08-01

    The Winton Formation of central Queensland is recognized as a quintessential source of mid-Cretaceous terrestrial faunas and floras in Australia. However, sedimentological investigations linking fossil assemblages and palaeoenvironments across this unit remain limited. The intent of this study was to interpret depositional environments and improve stratigraphic correlations between multiple fossil localities within the preserved Winton Formation in the Eromanga Basin, including Isisford, Lark Quarry, and Bladensburg National Park. Twenty-three facies and six repeated facies associations were documented, indicating a mosaic of marginal marine to inland alluvial depositional environments. These developed synchronously with the final regression of the Eromanga Seaway from central Australia during the late Albian-early Turonian. Investigations of regional- and local-scale structural features and outcrop, core and well analysis were combined with detrital zircon provenance signatures to help correlate stratigraphy and vertebrate faunas across the basin. Significant palaeoenvironmental differences exist between the lower and upper portions of the preserved Winton Formation, warranting informal subdivisions; a lower tidally influenced fluvial-deltaic member and an upper inland alluvial member. This work further demonstrates that the Isisford fauna is part of the lower member of the preserved Winton Formation; whereas, fossil localities around Winton, including Lark Quarry and Bladensburg National Park, are part of the upper member of the Winton Formation. These results permit a more meaningful framework for both regional and global comparisons of the Winton flora and fauna.

  4. Vertebrate fossil-bearing paleosol units (Willwood Formation, Lower Eocene, Northwest Wyoming, U.S.A.): Implications for taphonomy, biostratigraphy, and assemblage analysis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bown, T.M.; Kraus, M.J.

    1981-01-01

    In the lower 300 m of the fluvial Willwood Formation of northwest Wyoming, most large concentrations of vertebrate fossils consist of disarticulated and broken skeletal remains that occur in widespread, tubular, thin (2 cm-1 m) greenish- and bluish-gray mudstones that are low in percentage of free iron, aluminum, and manganese, relatively high in percentages of organic carbon, and often show evidence of clay eluviation. These units lie atop sesquioxide-rich, sometimes clay-illuviated variegated unit (red, yellow, purple, and mottled variants) and are relicts of the A horizons of podzolic spodosols (aquods). The wide distribution of bone fragments, the numerical proportions of bone elements, weathering of the fragments, and biogenic evidence indicate the vertebrate remains accumulated gradually as litter on the surface of the soils and became incorporated into the A horizon. The bones were disarticulated, broken, and otherwise disturbed by the action of scavengers prior to burial. Occurrence of abundant vertebrate remains in discrete, readily identifiable, and widespread paleosol units makes these units valuable biostratigraphic markers (zonules, faunules). Evidence of geologically short-term lag accumulation of the bones is important to assemblage analysis; the paleosol concentrations result from attritional mortalities that more closely reflect composition of the life assemblage than do remains concentrated by fluvial transport or predators. ?? 1981.

  5. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-18

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

  8. An ultrastructural study of connective tissue in mollusc integument III. Cephalopoda.

    PubMed

    Bairati, A; Comazzi, M; Gioria, M

    2003-06-01

    We studied structure and ultrastructure of the subepidermal connective tissue (SEC) of the integument of three cephalopods (Sepia officinalis, Octopus vulgaris and Loligo pealii). In all species, three distinct regions of the SEC were recognised: (a) an outer zone (OZ) that included the dermal-epidermal junction, and consisted of a thin layer of connective tissue containing muscles, (b) an extensive middle zone (MZ) containing a compact network of collagen fibres and numerous cells, (c) an inner zone (IZ) of loose connective tissue that merged with muscular fascia. This arrangement differs from that in bivalves and gastropods and recalls vertebrate integument. The dermal-epidermal junction of cephalopods differed from that of bivalves, gastropods and mammals in that the epidermal cells did not possess hemidesmosomes, and their intermediate filaments terminated directly in the plasmamembrane. The thick (120-500 nm) basal membrane (BM) had a superficial zone containing a regular array of granules; a lamina densa composed of a compact network of small filaments and granules; and an IZ distinguished by expansions of granular material protruding into underlying structures. Collagen fibres contained fibroblast-derived cytoplasmic thread, running through their centres and were surrounded by granular material that joins them to adjacent fibres. The collagen fibrils were of medium diameter (30-80 nm) had the typical ultrastructure of fibrillar collagens, and were surrounded by abundant interfibrillar material. The hypodermis was loose, with a network of small bundles of collagen fibrils. Cephalopod integument appears to represent a major evolutionary step distinguishing this class of molluscs.

  9. Fossil Horses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacFadden, Bruce J.

    1994-06-01

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

  10. Microscopical and elemental FESEM and Phenom ProX-SEM-EDS analysis of osteocyte- and blood vessel-like microstructures obtained from fossil vertebrates of the Eocene Messel Pit, Germany.

    PubMed

    Cadena, Edwin

    2016-01-01

    The Eocene (∾48 Ma) Messel Pit in Germany is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its exceptionally preserved fossils, including vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants. Messel fossil vertebrates are typically characterized by their articulated state, and in some cases the skin, hair, feathers, scales and stomach contents are also preserved. Despite the exceptional macroscopic preservation of Messel fossil vertebrates, the microstructural aspect of these fossils has been poorly explored. In particular, soft tissue structures such as hair or feathers have not been chemically analyzed, nor have bone microstructures. I report here the preservation and recovery of osteocyte-like and blood vessel-like microstructures from the bone of Messel Pit specimens, including the turtles Allaeochelys crassesculpta and Neochelys franzeni, the crocodile Diplocynodon darwini, and the pangolin Eomanis krebsi. I used a Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FESEM) and a Phenom ProX desktop scanning electron microscope (LOT-QuantumDesign) equipped with a thermionic CeB6 source and a high sensitivity multi-mode backscatter electron (BSE) for microscopical and elemental characterization of these bone microstructures. Osteocyte-like and blood vessel-like microstructures are constituted by a thin layer (∾50 nm thickness), external and internal mottled texture with slightly marked striations. Circular to linear marks are common on the external surface of the osteocyte-like microstructures and are interpreted as microbial troughs. Iron (Fe) is the most abundant element found in the osteocyte-like and blood vessel-like microstructures, but not in the bone matrix or collagen fibril-like microstructures. The occurrence of well-preserved soft-tissue elements (at least their physical form) establishes a promising background for future studies on preservation of biomolecules (proteins or DNA) in Messel Pit fossils.

  11. Microscopical and elemental FESEM and Phenom ProX-SEM-EDS analysis of osteocyte- and blood vessel-like microstructures obtained from fossil vertebrates of the Eocene Messel Pit, Germany

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    The Eocene (∾48 Ma) Messel Pit in Germany is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its exceptionally preserved fossils, including vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants. Messel fossil vertebrates are typically characterized by their articulated state, and in some cases the skin, hair, feathers, scales and stomach contents are also preserved. Despite the exceptional macroscopic preservation of Messel fossil vertebrates, the microstructural aspect of these fossils has been poorly explored. In particular, soft tissue structures such as hair or feathers have not been chemically analyzed, nor have bone microstructures. I report here the preservation and recovery of osteocyte-like and blood vessel-like microstructures from the bone of Messel Pit specimens, including the turtles Allaeochelys crassesculpta and Neochelys franzeni, the crocodile Diplocynodon darwini, and the pangolin Eomanis krebsi. I used a Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FESEM) and a Phenom ProX desktop scanning electron microscope (LOT-QuantumDesign) equipped with a thermionic CeB6 source and a high sensitivity multi-mode backscatter electron (BSE) for microscopical and elemental characterization of these bone microstructures. Osteocyte-like and blood vessel-like microstructures are constituted by a thin layer (∾50 nm thickness), external and internal mottled texture with slightly marked striations. Circular to linear marks are common on the external surface of the osteocyte-like microstructures and are interpreted as microbial troughs. Iron (Fe) is the most abundant element found in the osteocyte-like and blood vessel-like microstructures, but not in the bone matrix or collagen fibril-like microstructures. The occurrence of well-preserved soft-tissue elements (at least their physical form) establishes a promising background for future studies on preservation of biomolecules (proteins or DNA) in Messel Pit fossils. PMID:26819855

  12. Integument colouration in relation to persistent organic pollutants and body condition in arctic breeding black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla).

    PubMed

    Blévin, Pierre; Tartu, Sabrina; Angelier, Frédéric; Leclaire, Sarah; Bustnes, Jan Ove; Moe, Børge; Herzke, Dorte; Gabrielsen, Geir Wing; Chastel, Olivier

    2014-02-01

    Vertebrates cannot synthetize carotenoids de novo but have to acquire them through their diet. In birds, carotenoids are responsible for the yellow to red colouration of many secondary sexual traits. They are also involved in physiological functions such as immunostimulation and immunoregulation. Consequently, carotenoid-based colouration is very often considered as a reliable signal for health and foraging abilities. Although a few studies have suggested that carotenoid-based coloured traits could be sensitive to environmental pollution such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) contamination, the relationships between pollutants and colouration remain unclear. Here, we examined the relationships between the colouration of carotenoid-based integuments and individual POP levels in pre-laying female black-legged kittiwakes from very high latitudes. In this area, these arctic seabirds are exposed to high POPs contamination. Additionally, we investigated the relationships between colouration and body condition, a frequently used index of individual quality. We found a negative relationship between POP levels and several components of integument colouration: saturation of eye-ring, gapes and tongue, suggesting that POPs could disrupt colouration of labile integuments in female kittiwakes. In addition, we found that females in better body condition displayed more orange and brighter gapes and tongue than females in poor body condition. These results demonstrate that hue and brightness are sensitive to the current health and nutritional status of female kittiwakes. Overall, our study shows that carotenoid-based colour integuments can be affected by several environmental-driven variables.

  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

    Here we describe three fossil feathers from the Early Cretaceous Santana Formation of the Araripe Basin, Brazil. Feathers are the most complex multiform vertebrate integuments; they perform different functions, occurring in both avian and non-avian dinosaurs. Despite their rarity, fossil feathers have been found across the world. Most of the Brazilian feather fossil record comes from the Santana Formation. This formation is composed of two members: Crato (lake) and Romualdo (lagoon); both of which are predominantly reduced deposits, precluding bottom dwelling organisms, resulting in exceptional preservation of the fossils. Despite arid and hot conditions during the Cretaceous, life teemed in the adjacency of this paleolake. Feathered non-avian dinosaurs have not yet been described from the Crato Member, even though there are suggestions of their presence in nearby basins. Our description of the three feathers from the Crato laminated limestone reveals that, despite the small sample size, they can be referred to coelurosaurian theropods. Moreover, based on comparisons with extant feather morphotypes they can be identified as one contour feather and two downy feathers. Despite their rareness and low taxonomic potential, fossilized feathers can offer insights about the paleobiology of its owners and the paleoecology of the Araripe Basin. PMID:27441102

  14. The skin: The many functions of fish integument

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Elliott, Diane G.; Farrell, Anthony P.

    2011-01-01

    The integument or skin is the envelope that not only separates and protects a fish from its environment, but also provides the means through which most contacts with the outer world are made. It is a large organ and is continuous with the linings of all body openings, and also covers the fins. Fish integument is a multifunctional organ, and its components may serve important roles in protection, communication, sensory perception, locomotion, respiration, ion regulation, excretion, and thermal regulation.

  15. Histological study of white rhinoceros integument

    PubMed Central

    Ruiz, Saul; Rodriguez-Sosa, José R.

    2017-01-01

    In this study, we report findings from a microscopic analysis of the white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) integumentary ultrastructure. Skin samples from the cheek, shoulder, flank and rump were taken from a 46-year-old female southern white rhinoceros and examined using H&E and elastic histological stains. The epidermis was thickest in the flank (1.003 mm) followed by the rump, cheek and shoulder. The stratum corneum comprised more than half the epidermal thickness. Numerous melanin granules were found in the basal and spinosum layers. The epidermal-dermal junction was characterized by abundant papillary folds increasing surface contact between integument layers. Most of the dermal thickness consisted of organized collagen bundles with scattered elastic fibers. Collagen fiber bundles were thickest in the flank (210.9 μm) followed by shoulder, rump and cheek. Simple coiled sweat glands were present in the dermis, but hair and sebaceous glands were absent. Together, these data suggest the white rhinoceros has a unique integumentary system among large terrestrial herbivores. PMID:28441468

  16. Histological study of white rhinoceros integument.

    PubMed

    Plochocki, Jeffrey H; Ruiz, Saul; Rodriguez-Sosa, José R; Hall, Margaret I

    2017-01-01

    In this study, we report findings from a microscopic analysis of the white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) integumentary ultrastructure. Skin samples from the cheek, shoulder, flank and rump were taken from a 46-year-old female southern white rhinoceros and examined using H&E and elastic histological stains. The epidermis was thickest in the flank (1.003 mm) followed by the rump, cheek and shoulder. The stratum corneum comprised more than half the epidermal thickness. Numerous melanin granules were found in the basal and spinosum layers. The epidermal-dermal junction was characterized by abundant papillary folds increasing surface contact between integument layers. Most of the dermal thickness consisted of organized collagen bundles with scattered elastic fibers. Collagen fiber bundles were thickest in the flank (210.9 μm) followed by shoulder, rump and cheek. Simple coiled sweat glands were present in the dermis, but hair and sebaceous glands were absent. Together, these data suggest the white rhinoceros has a unique integumentary system among large terrestrial herbivores.

  17. Structure of the integument of southern right whales, Eubalaena australis.

    PubMed

    Reeb, Desray; Best, Peter Barrington; Kidson, Susan Hillary

    2007-06-01

    Skin (integument) anatomy reflects adaptations to particular environments. It is hypothesized that cetacean (whale) integument will show unique anatomical adaptations to an aquatic environment, particularly regarding differences in temperature, density, and pressure. In this study, the gross and histological structure of the southern right whale integument is described and compared with terrestrial mammals and previous descriptions of mysticete (baleen whale) and odontocete (toothed whale) species. Samples were taken of the integument of 98 free-swimming southern right whales, Eubalaena australis, and examined by both light and electron microscopy. Results show that three epidermal layers are present, with the stratum corneum being parakeratotic in nature. As in bowhead whales, southern right whales possess an acanthotic epidermis and a notably thick hypodermis, with epidermal rods and extensive papillomatosis. However, unlike bowhead whales, southern right whales possess an uninterrupted hypodermal layer. Surprisingly, the integument of balaenids (right and bowhead mysticetes) in general is more like that of odontocetes than that of the more closely related balaenopterids (rorqual mysticetes). Similarities to odontocetes were found specifically in the collagen fibers in a fat-free zone of the reticular dermal layer and the elastic fibers in the dermal and hypodermal layers. Callosities, a distinctive feature of this genus, have a slightly thicker stratum corneum and are usually associated with hairs that have innervated and vascularized follicles. These hairs may function as vibrissae, thus aiding in aquatic foraging by allowing rapid detection of changes in prey density. Although the thick insulatory integument makes right whales bulky and slow-moving, it is an adaptation for living in cold water. Epidermal thickness, presence of epidermal rods, and callosities may act as barriers against mechanical injury from bodily contact with conspecifics or hard surfaces in

  18. Evo-Devo of amniote integuments and appendages.

    PubMed

    Wu, Ping; Hou, Lianhai; Plikus, Maksim; Hughes, Michael; Scehnet, Jeffrey; Suksaweang, Sanong; Widelitz, Randall; Jiang, Ting-Xin; Chuong, Cheng-Ming

    2004-01-01

    Integuments form the boundary between an organism and the environment. The evolution of novel developmental mechanisms in integuments and appendages allows animals to live in diverse ecological environments. Here we focus on amniotes. The major achievement for reptile skin is an adaptation to the land with the formation of a successful barrier. The stratum corneum enables this barrier to prevent water loss from the skin and allowed amphibian / reptile ancestors to go onto the land. Overlapping scales and production of beta-keratins provide strong protection. Epidermal invagination led to the formation of avian feather and mammalian hair follicles in the dermis. Both adopted a proximal - distal growth mode which maintains endothermy. Feathers form hierarchical branches which produce the vane that makes flight possible. Recent discoveries of feathered dinosaurs in China inspire new thinking on the origin of feathers. In the laboratory, epithelial - mesenchymal recombinations and molecular mis-expressions were carried out to test the plasticity of epithelial organ formation. We review the work on the transformation of scales into feathers, conversion between barbs and rachis and the production of "chicken teeth". In mammals, tilting the balance of the BMP pathway in K14 noggin transgenic mice alters the number, size and phenotypes of different ectodermal organs, making investigators rethink the distinction between morpho-regulation and pathological changes. Models on the evolution of feathers and hairs from reptile integuments are discussed. A hypothetical Evo-Devo space where diverse integument appendages can be placed according to complex phenotypes and novel developmental mechanisms is presented.

  19. Continental fossil vertebrates from the mid-Cretaceous (Albian-Cenomanian) Alcântara Formation, Brazil, and their relationship with contemporaneous faunas from North Africa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Candeiro, Carlos Roberto A.; Fanti, Federico; Therrien, François; Lamanna, Matthew C.

    2011-05-01

    The Albian-Cenomanian Alcântara Formation of northeastern Brazil preserves the most diverse continental vertebrate fauna of this age yet known from northern South America. The Alcântara vertebrate assemblage, consisting of elasmobranchs, actinopterygians, sarcopterygians, turtles, crocodyliforms, pterosaurs, and non-avian dinosaurs, displays close similarities to contemporaneous faunas from North Africa. The co-occurrence of as many as eight freshwater or estuarine fish taxa ( Onchopristis, Bartschichthys, Lepidotes, Stephanodus, Mawsonia, Arganodus, Ceratodus africanus, and possibly Ceratodus humei) and up to seven terrestrial archosaur taxa ( Sigilmassasaurus, Rebbachisauridae, Baryonychinae, Spinosaurinae, Carcharodontosauridae, possibly Pholidosauridae, and doubtfully Bahariasaurus) suggests that a land route connecting northeastern Brazil and North Africa existed at least until the Albian. Interestingly, most components of this mid-Cretaceous northern South American/North African assemblage are not shared with coeval southern South American faunas, which are themselves characterized by a number of distinct freshwater and terrestrial vertebrate taxa (e.g., chelid turtles, megaraptoran and unenlagiine theropods). These results suggest that, although mid-Cretaceous faunal interchange was probably possible between northern South America and North Africa, paleogeographic, paleoclimatic, and/or paleoenvironmental barriers may have hindered continental vertebrate dispersal between northern and southern South America during this time.

  20. Development and evolution of the amniote integument: current landscape and future horizon.

    PubMed

    Chuong, Cheng-Ming; Homberger, Dominique G

    2003-08-15

    This special issue on the development and evolution of the amniote integument begins with a discussion of the adaptations to terrestrial conditions, the acquisition of water-impermeability of the reptilian integument, and the initial formation of filamentous integumentary appendages that prepare the way towards avian flight. Recent feather fossils are reviewed, and a definition of feathers is developed. Hierarchical models are proposed for the formation of complex structures, such as feathers. Molecular signals that alter the phenotype of integumentary appendages at different levels of the hierarchy are presented. Tissue interactions and the roles of keratins in evolution are discussed and linked to their bio-mechanical properties. The role of mechanical forces on patterning is explored. Elaborate extant feather variants are introduced. The regeneration/gene mis-expression protocol for the chicken feather is established as a testable model for the study of biological structures. The adaptations of the mammalian distal limb end organs to terrestrial, arboreal and aquatic conditions are discussed. The development and cycling of hair are reviewed from a molecular perspective. These contributions reveal that the structure and function of diverse integumentary appendages are variations that are superimposed on a common theme, and that their formation is modular, hierarchical and cyclical. They further reveal that these mechanisms can be understood at the molecular level, and that an integrative and organismal approach to studying integumentary appendages is called for. We propose that future research should foster interdisciplinary approaches, pursue understanding at the cellular and molecular level, analyze interactions between the environment and genome, and recognize the contributions of variation in morphogenesis and evolution. Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  1. Development and Evolution of the Amniote Integument: Current Landscape and Future Horizon

    PubMed Central

    CHUONG, CHENG-MING; HOMBERGER, DOMINIQUE G.

    2015-01-01

    This special issue on the development and evolution of the amniote integument begins with a discussion of the adaptations to terrestrial conditions, the acquisition of water-impermeability by the reptilian integument, and the initial formation of filamentous integumentary appendages that pave the way towards avian flight. Recent feather fossils are reviewed and a definition of feathers is developed. Hierarchical models are proposed for the formation of complex structures, such as feathers. Molecular signals that alter the phenotype of integumentary appendages at different levels of the hierarchy are presented. Tissue interactions and the roles of keratins in evolution are discussed and linked to their bio-mechanical properties. The role of mechanical forces on patterning is explored. Elaborate extant feather variants are introduced. The regeneration/gene mis-expression protocol for the chicken feather is established as a testable model for the study of biological structures. The adaptations of the mammalian distal limb end organs to terrestrial, arboreal and aquatic conditions are discussed. The development and cycling of hair are reviewed from a molecular perspective. These contributions reveal that the structure and function of diverse integumentary appendages are variations superimposed on a common theme, and that their formation is modular, hierarchical, and cyclical. They further reveal that these mechanisms can be understood at the molecular level, and that an integrative and organismal approach to studying integumentary appendages is needed. We propose that future research should foster interdisciplinary approaches, pursue understanding at the cellular and molecular level, analyze interactions between the environment and genome, and recognize the contributions of variation in morphogenesis and evolution. PMID:12949766

  2. From frog integument to human skin: dermatological perspectives from frog skin biology.

    PubMed

    Haslam, Iain S; Roubos, Eric W; Mangoni, Maria Luisa; Yoshizato, Katsutoshi; Vaudry, Hubert; Kloepper, Jennifer E; Pattwell, David M; Maderson, Paul F A; Paus, Ralf

    2014-08-01

    For over a century, frogs have been studied across various scientific fields, including physiology, embryology, neuroscience, (neuro)endocrinology, ecology, genetics, behavioural science, evolution, drug development, and conservation biology. In some cases, frog skin has proven very successful as a research model, for example aiding in the study of ion transport through tight epithelia, where it has served as a model for the vertebrate distal renal tubule and mammalian epithelia. However, it has rarely been considered in comparative studies involving human skin. Yet, despite certain notable adaptations that have enabled frogs to survive in both aquatic and terrestrial environments, frog skin has many features in common with human skin. Here we present a comprehensive overview of frog (and toad) skin ontogeny, anatomy, cytology, neuroendocrinology and immunology, with special attention to its unique adaptations as well as to its similarities with the mammalian integument, including human skin. We hope to provide a valuable reference point and a source of inspiration for both amphibian investigators and mammalian researchers studying the structural and functional properties of the largest organ of the vertebrate body.

  3. Evo-Devo of Amniote Integuments and Appendages

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Ping; Hou, Lianhai; Plikus, Maksim; Hughes, Michael; Scehnet, Jeffrey; Suksaweang, Sanong; Widelitz, Randall B.; Jiang, Ting-Xin; Chuong, Cheng-Ming

    2015-01-01

    Integuments form the boundary between an organism and the environment. The evolution of novel developmental mechanisms in integuments and appendages allows animals to live in diverse ecological environments. Here we focus on amniotes. The major achievement for reptile skin is an adaptation to the land with the formation of a successful barrier. The stratum corneum enables this barrier to prevent water loss from the skin and allowed amphibian/reptile ancestors to go onto the land. Overlapping scales and production of β-keratins provide strong protection. Epidermal invagination led to the formation of avian feather and mammalian hair follicles in the dermis. Both adopted a proximal - distal growth mode that maintains endothermy. Feathers form hierarchical branches which produce the vane that makes flight possible. Recent discoveries of feathered dinosaurs in China inspire new thinking on the origin of feathers. In the laboratory, epithelial - mesenchymal recombinations and molecular mis-expressions were carried out to test the plasticity of epithelial organ formation. We review the work on the transformation of scales into feathers, conversion between barbs and rachis, and the production of “chicken teeth”. In mammals, tilting the balance of the BMP pathway in K14 noggin transgenic mice alters the number, size and phenotypes of different ectodermal organs, making investigators rethink the distinction between morpho-regulation and pathological changes. Models on the evolution of feathers and hairs from reptile integuments are discussed. A hypothetical Evo-Devo space where diverse integument appendages can be placed according to complex phenotypes and novel developmental mechanisms is presented. PMID:15272390

  4. Dinosaur’s feather and chicken’s tooth? Tissue engineering of the integument

    PubMed Central

    Chuong, Cheng-Ming; Hou, Lianhai; Chen, Pei-Ji; Wu, Ping; Patel, Nila; Chen, Yiping

    2015-01-01

    The integument forms the interface between animals and the environment. During evolution, diverse integument and integument appendages have evolved to adapt animals to different niches. The formation of these different integument forms is based on the acquisition of novel developmental mechanisms. This is the way Nature does her tissue/organ engineering and experiments. To do tissue engineering of the integument in the new century for medical applications, we need to learn more principles from developmental and evolutionary studies. A novel diagram showing the evolution and development of integument complexity is presented, and the molecular pathways involved discussed. We then discuss two examples in which the gain and loss of appendages are modulated: transformation of avian scale epidermis into feathers with mutated beta catenin, and induction of chicken tooth like appendages with FGF, BMP and feather mesenchyme. PMID:11399531

  5. "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)

  6. "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)

  7. 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,…

  8. 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…

  9. Marquee Fossils

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clary, Renee; Wandersee, James

    2008-01-01

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

  10. 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,…

  11. Deadly hairs, lethal feathers--convergent evolution of poisonous integument in mammals and birds.

    PubMed

    Plikus, Maksim V; Astrowski, Aliaksandr A

    2014-07-01

    Hairs and feathers are textbook examples of the convergent evolution of the follicular appendage structure between mammals and birds. While broadly recognized for their convergent thermoregulatory, camouflage and sexual display functions, hairs and feathers are rarely thought of as deadly defence tools. Several recent studies, however, show that in some species of mammals and birds, the integument can, in fact, be a de facto lethal weapon. One mammalian example is provided by African crested rats, which seek for and chew on the bark of plants containing the highly potent toxin, ouabain. These rats then coat their fur with ouabain-containing saliva. For efficient toxin retention, the rodents have evolved highly specialized fenestrated and mostly hollow hair shafts that soak up liquids, which essentially function as wicks. On the avian side of the vertebrate integumental variety spectrum, several species of birds of New Guinea have evolved resistance to highly potent batrachotoxins, which they acquire from their insect diet. While the mechanism of bird toxicity remains obscure, in a recently published issue of the journal, Dumbacher and Menon explore the intriguing idea that to achieve efficient storage of batrachotoxins in their skin, some birds exploit the basic permeability barrier function of their epidermis. Batrachotoxins become preferentially sequestered in their epidermis and are then transferred to feathers, likely through the exploitation of specialized avian lipid-storing multigranular body organelles. Here, we discuss wider implications of this intriguing concept. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  12. Developmental patterning of the sub-epidermal integument cell layer in Arabidopsis seeds.

    PubMed

    Coen, Olivier; Fiume, Elisa; Xu, Wenjia; De Vos, Delphine; Lu, Jing; Pechoux, Christine; Lepiniec, Loïc; Magnani, Enrico

    2017-04-15

    Angiosperm seed development is a paradigm of tissue cross-talk. Proper seed formation requires spatial and temporal coordination of the fertilization products - embryo and endosperm - and the surrounding seed coat maternal tissue. In early Arabidopsis seed development, all seed integuments were thought to respond homogenously to endosperm growth. Here, we show that the sub-epidermal integument cell layer has a unique developmental program. We characterized the cell patterning of the sub-epidermal integument cell layer, which initiates a previously uncharacterized extra cell layer, and identified TRANSPARENT TESTA 16 and SEEDSTICK MADS box transcription factors as master regulators of its polar development and cell architecture. Our data indicate that the differentiation of the sub-epidermal integument cell layer is insensitive to endosperm growth alone and to the repressive mechanism established by FERTILIZATION INDEPENDENT ENDOSPERM and MULTICOPY SUPPRESSOR OF IRA1 Polycomb group proteins. This work demonstrates the different responses of epidermal and sub-epidermal integument cell layers to fertilization.

  13. Evidence for pyroelectric and piezoelectric sensory mechanisms in the insect integument.

    PubMed Central

    Athenstaedt, H; Claussen, H

    1981-01-01

    Quantitative pyroelectric (PE) and piezoelectric (PZE) measurements were carried out on the insect integument of live Blaberus giganteus (cockroach) and on dry integument preparations of the same species. Voltage responses to optical pulses of 10--500 ms, absorbed in the live integument, were PE: interference filter measurements showed the responses to be proportional to the absorbed thermal radiation flux and independent of the wavelength. The voltage/time-course of the responses was in agreement with theoretically calculated PE signals. Voltage responses to mechanical pulses were PZE. The responses of the inner and outer integument surfaces always had opposite electric signs. The polar character of the integument was confirmed by means of a separate dielectric heating method. To explain these results, we hypothesize that the PE properties are for the most part localized in the two outermost layers (outer and inner epicuticle) of the integument, which consists mainly of polar lipids and proteins. Parallel alignment of these polar molecules perpendicular to the integument surface is very likely. PE and PZE responses, therefore, will not only occur in live insects but will also be measurable in dead, dry integument preparations as long as the polar tissue texture remains intact. Due to its polar texture, the insect integument will react to rapid changes in temperature, illumination, or uniaxial pressure in the same way as nonbiological PE materials, where the voltage responses depend on dX/dt (X, pressure or temperature). It seems clear, therefore, that the well-known physiological reactions of various arthropods to such physical outside influences may be related to the PE property of their integument. Images FIGURE 3 FIGURE 4 PMID:7272444

  14. Exceptional fossil preservation and the cambrian explosion.

    PubMed

    Butterfield, Nicholas J

    2003-02-01

    Exceptionally preserved, non-biomineralizing fossils contribute importantly to resolving details of the Cambrian explosion, but little to its overall patterns. Six distinct "types" of exceptional preservation are identified for the terminal Proterozoic-Cambrian interval, each of which is dependent on particular taphonomic circumstances, typically restricted both in space and time. Taphonomic pathways yielding exceptional preservation were particularly variable through the Proterozoic-Cambrian transition, at least in part a consequence of contemporaneous evolutionary innovations. Combined with the reasonably continuous record of "Doushantuo-type preservation," and the fundamentally more robust records of shelly fossils, phytoplankton cysts and trace fossils, these taphonomic perturbations contribute to the documentation of major evolutionary and biogeochemical shifts through the terminal Proterozoic and early Cambrian.Appreciation of the relationship between taphonomic pathway and fossil expression serves as a useful tool for interpreting exceptionally preserved, often problematic, early Cambrian fossils. In shale facies, for example, flattened non-biomineralizing structures typically represent the remains of degradation-resistant acellular and extracellular "tissues" such as chaetae and cuticles, whereas three-dimensional preservation represents labile cellular tissues with a propensity for attracting and precipitating early diagenetic minerals. Such distinction helps to identify the acuticular integument of hyolithids, the chaetae-like nature of Wiwaxia sclerites, the chaetognath-like integument of Amiskwia, the midgut glands of various Burgess Shale arthropods, and the misidentification of deposit-feeding arthropods in the Chengjiang biota. By the same reasoning, putative lobopods in the Sirius Passet biota and putative deuterostomes in the Chengiang biota are better interpreted as arthropods.

  15. Identification of ommin in the integument of the silkworm, Bombyx mori.

    PubMed

    Sawada, H; Tsusué, M; Iino, T

    1994-06-01

    An ommin was isolated from the integument of the quail mutant of the silkworm, Bombyx mori, using column chromatography on SP-Sephadex and cellulose powder. As a standard, ommin was isolated from diapause eggs of the normal silkworm. The red pigment from the larval integument of quail mutants was identical to the standard compound with respect to absorption spectrum, infrared spectrum and RF values in thin-layer chromatography (TLC). After acid hydrolysis of the pigment, 3-hydroxykynurenine was detected by TLC. This is the first report of an ommin in a lepidopteran larval integument.

  16. 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…

  17. 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…

  18. 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…

  19. 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…

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Fossil spiders.

    PubMed

    Selden, Paul A; Penney, David

    2010-02-01

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

  3. Maternal control of integument cell elongation and zygotic control of endosperm growth are coordinated to determine seed size in Arabidopsis.

    PubMed

    Garcia, Damien; Fitz Gerald, Jonathan N; Berger, Frédéric

    2005-01-01

    We use Arabidopsis thaliana as a model to investigate coordination of cell proliferation and cell elongation in the three components that develop side by side in the seed. Two of these, the embryo and its nurturing annex, the endosperm, are placed under zygotic control and develop within the seed integument placed under maternal control. We show that integument cell proliferation and endosperm growth are largely independent from each other. By contrast, prevention of cell elongation in the integument by the mutation transparent testa glabra2 (ttg2) restricts endosperm and seed growth. Conversely, endosperm growth controlled by the HAIKU (IKU) genetic pathway modulates integument cell elongation. Combinations of TTG2 defective seed integument with reduction of endosperm size by iku mutations identify integument cell elongation and endosperm growth as the primary regulators of seed size. Our results strongly suggest that a cross talk between maternal and zygotic controls represents the primary regulator of the coordinated control of seed size in Arabidopsis.

  4. Hydrodynamic role of fish squamosal integument as an analog of the surfaces directly formed by the turbulent flow. Report 2: Hydrodynamic function of squamosal integument

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kudryashov, A. F.; Barsukov, V. V.

    1980-01-01

    The stream flowing round the slowly swimming squama free fish can be laminized with the aid of the external slime coat alone. The slime of the fish with well developed squamae can laminize the stream together with the squamatic integument. Adjustments preventing a loss of the slime during laminization are better developed in the fastest squama free fishes.

  5. Travels with the Fossil Hunters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whybrow, Peter J.

    2000-04-01

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

  6. Dermatan sulfate is the major metachromatic glycosaminoglycan in the integument of the anuran Bufo ictericus.

    PubMed

    Pelli, A A; Azevedo, R A; Cinelli, L P; Mourão, P A S; de Brito-Gitirana, L

    2007-02-01

    Glycosaminoglycans from the ventral and dorsal integuments of the anuran Bufo ictericus were characterized based on biochemical and histochemical methods. Dermatan sulfate is the major metachromatic glycosaminoglycan found in these tissues, but small amount of heparan sulfate was also detected. The average molecular mass of the dermatan sulfate is approximately 20 kDa, similar to the glycosaminoglycan isolated from mammalian skin. In addition, the amphibian integument contains high amounts of hyaluronic acid, especially in the ventral area. We also observed that the glycosaminoglycans occur in the anuran integument as irregular deposits through the spongious dermis and in the mast cells, as revealed by histochemical analysis using Alcian blue, dimethylmethylene blue and toluidine blue stains. The concentration and composition of glycosaminoglycans found in the amphibian integument resemble those from mammalian skin except for the higher concentration of hyaluronic acid in the amphibian tissue. Possibly, this observation indicates that the function of the sulfated glycosaminoglycan in these tissues has been preserved during evolution, although the amphibian integument and the human skin have their own particular physiology.

  7. Gd3+-sensitive Na+ transport across the integument of Hirudo medicinalis.

    PubMed

    Schnizler, Mikael; Clauss, Wolfgang

    2003-01-01

    Leeches Hirudo medicinalis were exposed to either artificial pond water (APW; 1 mM NaCl) or to high-salinity conditions (HS; 200 mM NaCl) for several days. The aim of the study was to assess whether transepithelial ion conductances in their dorsal integuments were affected by this long-term acclimation. In voltage-clamp experiments using Ussing-type chambers, the transepithelial potential V(T) was clamped to 0 mV, and amiloride-sensitive currents (I(ami)) and total Na(+) transport (I(Na)) were determined. Apical Ca(2+)-free conditions strongly increased I(ami) to a similar magnitude in both differently acclimated integuments. Apical application of the lanthanide gadolinium <0.1 mM decreased the short-circuit current (I(sc)). In contrast, higher concentrations up to 10 mM Gd(3+) upregulated I(sc) by an additional 90% in APW integuments and by an additional 300% in HS integuments. This Gd(3+) effect was due to a doubling of I(Na) in APW and a more than sixfold increase of I(Na) in HS integuments. In summary, the macroscopic electrophysiological variables, including I(Na), were generally not affected by long-term exposure to high salinity. However, the presence of Gd(3+)-sensitive Na(+) conductances or regulating structures were greatly upregulated during HS acclimation.

  8. Fossilization of melanosomes via sulfurization.

    PubMed

    McNamara, Maria E; van Dongen, Bart E; Lockyer, Nick P; Bull, Ian D; Orr, Patrick J

    2016-05-01

    Fossil melanin granules (melanosomes) are an important resource for inferring the evolutionary history of colour and its functions in animals. The taphonomy of melanin and melanosomes, however, is incompletely understood. In particular, the chemical processes responsible for melanosome preservation have not been investigated. As a result, the origins of sulfur-bearing compounds in fossil melanosomes are difficult to resolve. This has implications for interpretations of original colour in fossils based on potential sulfur-rich phaeomelanosomes. Here we use pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometry (Py-GCMS), fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) to assess the mode of preservation of fossil microstructures, confirmed as melanosomes based on the presence of melanin, preserved in frogs from the Late Miocene Libros biota (NE Spain). Our results reveal a high abundance of organosulfur compounds and non-sulfurized fatty acid methyl esters in both the fossil tissues and host sediment; chemical signatures in the fossil tissues are inconsistent with preservation of phaeomelanin. Our results reflect preservation via the diagenetic incorporation of sulfur, i.e. sulfurization (natural vulcanization), and other polymerization processes. Organosulfur compounds and/or elevated concentrations of sulfur have been reported from melanosomes preserved in various invertebrate and vertebrate fossils and depositional settings, suggesting that preservation through sulfurization is likely to be widespread. Future studies of sulfur-rich fossil melanosomes require that the geochemistry of the host sediment is tested for evidence of sulfurization in order to constrain interpretations of potential phaeomelanosomes and thus of original integumentary colour in fossils.

  9. The structure of integument and wax glands of Phenacoccus fraxinus (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Pseudococcidae).

    PubMed

    Zhang, Yanfeng; Xie, Yingping; Xue, Jiaoliang; Fu, Xiaohong; Liu, Weimin

    2012-06-01

    Using scanning electron microscopy and optical microscopy, we studied the structure of the integument and wax glands of the mealybug, Phenacoccus fraxinus Tang (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Pseudococcidae). We observed the ultrastructure of four wax pores including trilocular, quinquelocular, and multilocular pores as well as tubular ducts, recording characteristics of their structure, size and distribution. We found that that the integument of the mealybug consists of three main layers-the procuticle, epidermis and basement membrane-and four sub-layers of the procuticle-the epicuticle, exocuticle, endocuticle and formation zone. The wax-secreting gland cells were closely arranged in epidermis. All of them were complex and composed of one central cell and two or more lateral cells. These complex cells possess a large common reservoir for collection and storage. Synthesized by the glandular cells, the wax is excreted outside integument through canals.

  10. Mud fossils

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    ,

    1997-01-01

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

  11. Brochosomal coats turn leafhopper (Insecta, Hemiptera, Cicadellidae) integument to superhydrophobic state.

    PubMed

    Rakitov, Roman; Gorb, Stanislav N

    2013-02-07

    Leafhoppers (Insecta, Hemiptera, Cicadellidae) actively coat their integuments with brochosomes, hollow proteinaceous spheres of usually 200-700 nm in diameter, with honeycombed walls. The coats have been previously suggested to act as a water-repellent and anti-adhesive protective barrier against the insect's own exudates. We estimated their wettability through contact angle (CA) measurements of water, diiodomethane, ethylene glycol and ethanol on detached wings of the leafhoppers Alnetoidia alneti, Athysanus argentarius and Cicadella viridis. Intact brochosome-coated integuments were repellent to all test liquids, except ethanol, and exhibited superhydrophobicity, with the average water CAs of 165-172°, and the apparent surface free energy (SFE) estimates not exceeding 0.74 mN m(-1). By contrast, the integuments from which brochosomes were removed with a peeling technique using fluid polyvinylsiloxane displayed water CAs of only 103-129° and SFEs above 20 mN m(-1). Observations of water-sprayed wings in a cryo-scanning electron microscope confirmed that brochosomal coats prevented water from contacting the integument. Their superhydrophobic properties appear to result from fractal roughness, which dramatically reduces the area of contact with high-surface-tension liquids, including, presumably, leafhopper exudates.

  12. Brochosomal coats turn leafhopper (Insecta, Hemiptera, Cicadellidae) integument to superhydrophobic state

    PubMed Central

    Rakitov, Roman; Gorb, Stanislav N.

    2013-01-01

    Leafhoppers (Insecta, Hemiptera, Cicadellidae) actively coat their integuments with brochosomes, hollow proteinaceous spheres of usually 200–700 nm in diameter, with honeycombed walls. The coats have been previously suggested to act as a water-repellent and anti-adhesive protective barrier against the insect's own exudates. We estimated their wettability through contact angle (CA) measurements of water, diiodomethane, ethylene glycol and ethanol on detached wings of the leafhoppers Alnetoidia alneti, Athysanus argentarius and Cicadella viridis. Intact brochosome-coated integuments were repellent to all test liquids, except ethanol, and exhibited superhydrophobicity, with the average water CAs of 165–172°, and the apparent surface free energy (SFE) estimates not exceeding 0.74 mN m−1. By contrast, the integuments from which brochosomes were removed with a peeling technique using fluid polyvinylsiloxane displayed water CAs of only 103–129° and SFEs above 20 mN m−1. Observations of water-sprayed wings in a cryo-scanning electron microscope confirmed that brochosomal coats prevented water from contacting the integument. Their superhydrophobic properties appear to result from fractal roughness, which dramatically reduces the area of contact with high-surface-tension liquids, including, presumably, leafhopper exudates. PMID:23235705

  13. The Arabidopsis SUPERMAN Gene Mediates Asymmetric Growth of the Outer Integument of Ovules.

    PubMed Central

    Gaiser, J. C.; Robinson-Beers, K.; Gasser, C. S.

    1995-01-01

    Arabidopsis superman (sup, also referred to as floral mutant10) mutants have previously been shown to have flowers with supernumerary stamens and reduced carpels as a result of ectopic expression of the floral homeotic gene APETALA3 (AP3). Here, we report that sup mutations also cause specific alterations in ovule development. Growth of the outer integument of wild-type ovules occurs almost exclusively on the abaxial side of the ovule, resulting in a bilaterally symmetrical hoodlike structure. In contrast, the outer integument of sup mutant ovules grows equally on all sides of the ovule, resulting in a nearly radially symmetrical tubular shape. Thus, one role of SUP is to suppress growth of the outer integument on the adaxial side of the ovule. Genetic analyses showed that the effects of sup mutations on ovule development are independent of the presence or absence of AP3 activity. Thus, SUP acts through different mechanisms in its early role in ensuring proper determination of carpel identity and in its later role in asymmetric suppression of outer integument growth. PMID:12242374

  14. The Arabidopsis SUPERMAN Gene Mediates Asymmetric Growth of the Outer Integument of Ovules.

    PubMed

    Gaiser, J. C.; Robinson-Beers, K.; Gasser, C. S.

    1995-03-01

    Arabidopsis superman (sup, also referred to as floral mutant10) mutants have previously been shown to have flowers with supernumerary stamens and reduced carpels as a result of ectopic expression of the floral homeotic gene APETALA3 (AP3). Here, we report that sup mutations also cause specific alterations in ovule development. Growth of the outer integument of wild-type ovules occurs almost exclusively on the abaxial side of the ovule, resulting in a bilaterally symmetrical hoodlike structure. In contrast, the outer integument of sup mutant ovules grows equally on all sides of the ovule, resulting in a nearly radially symmetrical tubular shape. Thus, one role of SUP is to suppress growth of the outer integument on the adaxial side of the ovule. Genetic analyses showed that the effects of sup mutations on ovule development are independent of the presence or absence of AP3 activity. Thus, SUP acts through different mechanisms in its early role in ensuring proper determination of carpel identity and in its later role in asymmetric suppression of outer integument growth.

  15. Microscopic identification of novel cell types in the integument of larval lake sturgeon, Acipenser fulvescens.

    PubMed

    Shute, Lauren; Huebner, Erwin; Anderson, W Gary

    2016-01-01

    Osmoregulation, respiration, nutrient/mineral transport, and defense mechanisms are all evident in the integument of fish. The role of the integument in these physiological processes is particularly important during early life history in larval fishes, as functional systems such as the gills and gastrointestinal tract are not fully developed. Using a variety of microscopy techniques, we describe the morphology of keratinocytes, mitochondria rich cells, ciliated cells and mucous cells of the skin, yolk sac, and gills. The cytology we observed was similar to previous studies describing the integument of larval fish, however, we have also identified two novel cell types on the integument of larval Lake Sturgeon, Acipenser fulvescens, between 9 and 34 days post fertilization. Our detailed analysis included a multifaceted microscopy approach using scanning electron, transmission electron, and light microscopy to elucidate the histology of the tissue and cellular morphology in addition to quantification and distribution of these novel cell types. The first cell type had a characteristic ampullary shape with a central cavity and a pore opening at the surface. The second, located on the free surface of the epidermis, had an uneven plasma membrane surface. Based on the abundance of secretory vesicles, organelles necessary for protein synthesis, and the lack of neural connection in both cell types, we propose these cells to be involved in the release of semiochemicals that may act as a pheromone, alarm substance, or chemical defense mechanism. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  16. Effects of extracellular purines on ion transport across the integument of Hirudo medicinalis.

    PubMed

    Schnizler, Mikael; Buss, Mirjam; Clauss, Wolfgang

    2002-09-01

    Little is known about the long-term regulation of epithelial ion transport in invertebrates and the specific mediators involved. For some years, we have been investigating the short-term regulation of transepithelial ion transport across the dorsal integument of the leech Hirudo medicinalis, and we have established a model of Na+ uptake. In the present study, we investigated the effect of long-term acclimation on transintegumental ion transport by adapting leeches to high-salinity conditions. We dissected segments of dorsal integument and measured ion currents in Ussing chamber experiments. Electrophysiological variables, such as transepithelial potential (V(T)) and short-circuit-current (I(sc)), were profoundly affected by adaptation to high-salinity conditions. The total transepithelial Na+ current (I(Na)) decreased from 7.66+/-0.82 to 4.6+/-0.54 microA cm(-2) in preparations adapted to high salinity. The involvement of epithelial Na+ channels was determined as current inhibition (I(ami)) by apical application of amiloride; Na+ channels were equally active in control epithelia and epithelia from leeches adapted to high salinity. Removal of Ca2+ from the apical solutions, which is believed to reduce intracellular Ca2+ concentrations, equalized transepithelial variables between high-salt-adapted integuments and control integuments. Extracellular purines regulate transepithelial Cl- secretion and Na+ absorption. In a variety of tissues we tested ATP and adenosine for their effects on epithelial transport. Examination of integuments from pondwater- and high-salinity-adapted leeches revealed different sensitivities for these purines. Apical and basolateral application of ATP both stimulated transepithelial Na+ uptake and I(ami). Adenosine upregulated non-Na+ currents and acted from the basolateral side only. Apical Ca2+-free conditions attenuated these effects of purines on transepithelial currents. Extracellular UTP had no effect on ion transport.

  17. The evolution of vertebral formulae in Hominoidea.

    PubMed

    Thompson, Nathan E; Almécija, Sergio

    2017-09-01

    Primate vertebral formulae have long been investigated because of their link to locomotor behavior and overall body plan. Knowledge of the ancestral vertebral formulae in the hominoid tree of life is necessary to interpret the pattern of evolution among apes, and to critically evaluate the morphological adaptations involved in the transition to hominin bipedalism. Though many evolutionary hypotheses have been proposed based on living and fossil species, the application of quantitative phylogenetic methods for thoroughly reconstructing ancestral vertebral formulae and formally testing patterns of vertebral evolution is lacking. To estimate the most probable scenarios of hominoid vertebral evolution, we utilized an iterative ancestral state reconstruction approach to determine likely ancestral vertebral counts in apes, humans, and other anthropoid out-groups. All available ape and hominin fossil taxa with an inferred regional vertebral count were included in the analysis. Sensitivity iterations were performed both by changing the phylogenetic position of fossil taxa with a contentious placement, and by changing the inferred number of vertebrae in taxa with uncertain morphology. Our ancestral state reconstruction results generally support a short-backed hypothesis of human evolution, with a Pan-Homo last common ancestor possessing a vertebral formulae of 7:13:4:6 (cervical:thoracic:lumbar:sacral). Our results indicate that an initial reduction in lumbar vertebral count and increase in sacral count is a synapomorphy of crown hominoids (supporting an intermediate-backed hypothesis for the origins of the great ape-human clade). Further reduction in lumbar count occurs independently in orangutans and African apes. Our results highlight the complexity and homoplastic nature of vertebral count evolution, and give little support to the long-backed hypothesis of human evolution. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  18. Vestibular blueprint in early vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Straka, Hans; Baker, Robert

    2013-01-01

    Central vestibular neurons form identifiable subgroups within the boundaries of classically outlined octavolateral nuclei in primitive vertebrates that are distinct from those processing lateral line, electrosensory, and auditory signals. Each vestibular subgroup exhibits a particular morpho-physiological property that receives origin-specific sensory inputs from semicircular canal and otolith organs. Behaviorally characterized phenotypes send discrete axonal projections to extraocular, spinal, and cerebellar targets including other ipsi- and contralateral vestibular nuclei. The anatomical locations of vestibuloocular and vestibulospinal neurons correlate with genetically defined hindbrain compartments that are well conserved throughout vertebrate evolution though some variability exists in fossil and extant vertebrate species. The different vestibular subgroups exhibit a robust sensorimotor signal processing complemented with a high degree of vestibular and visual adaptive plasticity. PMID:24312016

  19. A Cretaceous eutriconodont and integument evolution in early mammals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martin, Thomas; Marugán-Lobón, Jesús; Vullo, Romain; Martín-Abad, Hugo; Luo, Zhe-Xi; Buscalioni, Angela D.

    2015-10-01

    The Mesozoic era (252-66 million years ago), known as the domain of dinosaurs, witnessed a remarkable ecomorphological diversity of early mammals. The key mammalian characteristics originated during this period and were prerequisite for their evolutionary success after extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Many ecomorphotypes familiar to modern mammal fauna evolved independently early in mammalian evolutionary history. Here we report a 125-million-year-old eutriconodontan mammal from Spain with extraordinary preservation of skin and pelage that extends the record of key mammalian integumentary features into the Mesozoic era. The new mammalian specimen exhibits such typical mammalian features as pelage, mane, pinna, and a variety of skin structures: keratinous dermal scutes, protospines composed of hair-like tubules, and compound follicles with primary and secondary hairs. The skin structures of this new Mesozoic mammal encompass the same combination of integumentary features as those evolved independently in other crown Mammalia, with similarly broad structural variations as in extant mammals. Soft tissues in the thorax and abdomen (alveolar lungs and liver) suggest the presence of a muscular diaphragm. The eutriconodont has molariform tooth replacement, ossified Meckel's cartilage of the middle ear, and specialized xenarthrous articulations of posterior dorsal vertebrae, convergent with extant xenarthran mammals, which strengthened the vertebral column for locomotion.

  20. A Cretaceous eutriconodont and integument evolution in early mammals.

    PubMed

    Martin, Thomas; Marugán-Lobón, Jesús; Vullo, Romain; Martín-Abad, Hugo; Luo, Zhe-Xi; Buscalioni, Angela D

    2015-10-15

    The Mesozoic era (252-66 million years ago), known as the domain of dinosaurs, witnessed a remarkable ecomorphological diversity of early mammals. The key mammalian characteristics originated during this period and were prerequisite for their evolutionary success after extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Many ecomorphotypes familiar to modern mammal fauna evolved independently early in mammalian evolutionary history. Here we report a 125-million-year-old eutriconodontan mammal from Spain with extraordinary preservation of skin and pelage that extends the record of key mammalian integumentary features into the Mesozoic era. The new mammalian specimen exhibits such typical mammalian features as pelage, mane, pinna, and a variety of skin structures: keratinous dermal scutes, protospines composed of hair-like tubules, and compound follicles with primary and secondary hairs. The skin structures of this new Mesozoic mammal encompass the same combination of integumentary features as those evolved independently in other crown Mammalia, with similarly broad structural variations as in extant mammals. Soft tissues in the thorax and abdomen (alveolar lungs and liver) suggest the presence of a muscular diaphragm. The eutriconodont has molariform tooth replacement, ossified Meckel's cartilage of the middle ear, and specialized xenarthrous articulations of posterior dorsal vertebrae, convergent with extant xenarthran mammals, which strengthened the vertebral column for locomotion.

  1. 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.

  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. Fossil proboscidea and edentata of the San Pedro Valley, Arizona

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gidley, James Williams

    1926-01-01

    A preliminary report on the fossil vertebrates of the San Pedro Valley, Ariz., collected by Kirk Bryan and me in the winter of 1920 and 1921 was published in 1922. This report includes a brief statement regarding the geology of the locality and a preliminary list of fossil vertebrates obtained by the expedition of 1921, with descriptions of the rodents and rabbits. Two additional papers on this interesting fauna have also appeared, one on the turtles by C.W. Gilmore and one on the birds by Alexander Wetmore. The present contribution deals with the proboscideans and edentates and gives a somewhat fuller discussion of the geology of the fossil-bearing beds.

  4. 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)

  5. 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)

  6. First Evidence of Reproductive Adaptation to “Island Effect” of a Dwarf Cretaceous Romanian Titanosaur, with Embryonic Integument In Ovo

    PubMed Central

    Grellet-Tinner, Gerald; Codrea, Vlad; Folie, Annelise; Higa, Alessandra; Smith, Thierry

    2012-01-01

    Background The Cretaceous vertebrate assemblages of Romania are famous for geographically endemic dwarfed dinosaur taxa. We report the first complete egg clutches of a dwarf lithostrotian titanosaur, from Toteşti, Romania, and its reproductive adaptation to the “island effect”. Methodology/Findings The egg clutches were discovered in sequential sedimentary layers of the Maastrichtian Sânpetru Formation, Toteşti. The occurrence of 11 homogenous clutches in successive strata suggests philopatry by the same dinosaur species, which laid clutches averaging four ∼12 cm diameters eggs. The eggs and eggshells display numerous characters shared with the positively identified material from egg-bearing level 4 of the Auca Mahuevo (Patagonia, Argentina) nemegtosaurid lithostrotian nesting site. Microscopic embryonic integument with bacterial evidences was recovered in one egg. The millimeter-size embryonic integument displays micron size dermal papillae implying an early embryological stage at the time of death, likely corresponding to early organogenesis before the skeleton formation. Conclusions/Significance The shared oological characters between the Haţeg specimens and their mainland relatives suggest a highly conservative reproductive template, while the nest decrease in egg numbers per clutch may reflect an adaptive trait to a smaller body size due to the “island effect”. The combined presence of the lithostrotian egg and its embryo in the Early Cretaceous Gobi coupled with the oological similarities between the Haţeg and Auca Mahuevo oological material evidence that several titanosaur species migrated from Gondwana through the Haţeg Island before or during the Aptian/Albian. It also suggests that this island might have had episodic land bridges with the rest of the European archipelago and Asia deep into the Cretaceous. PMID:22412852

  7. Trace metals as biomarkers for eumelanin pigment in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Wogelius, R A; Manning, P L; Barden, H E; Edwards, N P; Webb, S M; Sellers, W I; Taylor, K G; Larson, P L; Dodson, P; You, H; Da-qing, L; Bergmann, U

    2011-09-16

    Well-preserved fossils of pivotal early bird and nonavian theropod species have provided unequivocal evidence for feathers and/or downlike integuments. Recent studies have reconstructed color on the basis of melanosome structure; however, the chemistry of these proposed melanosomes has remained unknown. We applied synchrotron x-ray techniques to several fossil and extant organisms, including Confuciusornis sanctus, in order to map and characterize possible chemical residues of melanin pigments. Results show that trace metals, such as copper, are present in fossils as organometallic compounds most likely derived from original eumelanin. The distribution of these compounds provides a long-lived biomarker of melanin presence and density within a range of fossilized organisms. Metal zoning patterns may be preserved long after melanosome structures have been destroyed.

  8. Lamprey: a model for vertebrate evolutionary research.

    PubMed

    Xu, Yang; Zhu, Si-Wei; Li, Qing-Wei

    2016-09-18

    Lampreys belong to the superclass Cyclostomata and represent the most ancient group of vertebrates. Existing for over 360 million years, they are known as living fossils due to their many evolutionally conserved features. They are not only a keystone species for studying the origin and evolution of vertebrates, but also one of the best models for researching vertebrate embryonic development and organ differentiation. From the perspective of genetic information, the lamprey genome remains primitive compared with that of other higher vertebrates, and possesses abundant functional genes. Through scientific and technological progress, scientists have conducted in-depth studies on the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems of lampreys. Such research has significance for understanding and revealing the origin and evolution of vertebrates, and could contribute to a greater understanding of human diseases and treatments. This review presents the current progress and significance of lamprey research.

  9. Lamprey: a model for vertebrate evolutionary research

    PubMed Central

    XU, Yang; ZHU, Si-Wei; LI, Qing-Wei

    2016-01-01

    Lampreys belong to the superclass Cyclostomata and represent the most ancient group of vertebrates. Existing for over 360 million years, they are known as living fossils due to their many evolutionally conserved features. They are not only a keystone species for studying the origin and evolution of vertebrates, but also one of the best models for researching vertebrate embryonic development and organ differentiation. From the perspective of genetic information, the lamprey genome remains primitive compared with that of other higher vertebrates, and possesses abundant functional genes. Through scientific and technological progress, scientists have conducted in-depth studies on the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems of lampreys. Such research has significance for understanding and revealing the origin and evolution of vertebrates, and could contribute to a greater understanding of human diseases and treatments. This review presents the current progress and significance of lamprey research. PMID:27686784

  10. Transition from two to one integument in Prunus species: expression pattern of INNER NO OUTER (INO), ABERRANT TESTA SHAPE (ATS) and ETTIN (ETT).

    PubMed

    Lora, Jorge; Hormaza, José I; Herrero, Maria

    2015-10-01

    While gymnosperm ovules have one integument, in most angiosperms two integuments surround the ovules. Unitegmic ovules have arisen independently several times during the evolution of angiosperms, but the ultimate genetic cause of the presence of a single integument remains elusive. We compared species of the genus Prunus that have different numbers of integuments: bitegmic species, such as Prunus armeniaca (apricot) and Prunus persica (peach), and unitegmic species, such as Prunus incisa, analyzing the expression pattern of genes that are involved in integument development in Arabidopsis thaliana: INNER NO OUTER (INO), ABERRANT TESTA SHAPE (ATS) and ETTIN (ETT). Bitegmic and unitegmic species showed similar INO expression patterns, indicative of the conservation of an outer integument. However, expression of ETT, which occurs in the boundary of the outer and inner integuments, was altered in unitegmic ovules, which showed lack of ETT expression. These results strongly suggest that the presence of a single integument could be attributable to the amalgamation of two integuments and support the role of ETT in the fusion of the outer and inner integuments in unitegmic ovules, a situation that could be widespread in other unitegmic species of angiosperms.

  11. Deciphering principles of morphogenesis from temporal and spatial patterns on the integument.

    PubMed

    Li, Ang; Lai, Yung-Chih; Figueroa, Seth; Yang, Tian; Widelitz, Randall B; Kobielak, Krzysztof; Nie, Qing; Chuong, Cheng Ming

    2015-08-01

    How tissue patterns form in development and regeneration is a fundamental issue remaining to be fully understood. The integument often forms repetitive units in space (periodic patterning) and time (cyclic renewal), such as feathers and hairs. Integument patterns are visible and experimentally manipulatable, helping us reveal pattern formative processes. Variability is seen in regional phenotypic specificities and temporal cycling at different physiological stages. Here we show some cellular/molecular bases revealed by analyzing integument patterns. (1) Localized cellular activity (proliferation, rearrangement, apoptosis, differentiation) transforms prototypic organ primordia into specific shapes. Combinatorial positioning of different localized activity zones generates diverse and complex organ forms. (2) Competitive equilibrium between activators and inhibitors regulates stem cells through cyclic quiescence and activation. Dynamic interactions between stem cells and their adjacent niche regulate regenerative behavior, modulated by multi-layers of macro-environmental factors (dermis, body hormone status, and external environment). Genomics studies may reveal how positional information of localized cellular activity is stored. In vivo skin imaging and lineage tracing unveils new insights into stem cell plasticity. Principles of self-assembly obtained from the integumentary organ model can be applied to help restore damaged patterns during regenerative wound healing and for tissue engineering to rebuild tissues. Developmental Dynamics 244:905-920, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  12. Gibberellins Regulate Ovule Integument Development by Interfering with the Transcription Factor ATS1[OPEN

    PubMed Central

    Sacristan, Raquel

    2016-01-01

    Gibberellins (GAs) are plant hormones that regulate most plant life cycle aspects, including flowering and fruit development. Here, we demonstrate the implication of GAs in ovule development. DELLA proteins, negative GA response regulators, act as positive factors for ovule integument development in a mechanism that involves transcription factor ABERRANT TESTA SHAPE (ATS). The seeds of the della global mutant, a complete loss-of-function of DELLA, and the ats-1 mutant are remarkably similar, with a round shape, a disorganized testa, and viviparism. These defects are the result of an alteration in integuments that fail to fully develop and are shorter than in wild-type plants. ats-1 also shows some GA-related phenotypes, for example, higher germination rates and early flowering. In fact, ats-1 has elevated GA levels due to the activation of GA biosynthesis genes, which indicates that ATS inhibits GA biosynthesis. Moreover, DELLAs and ATS proteins interact, which suggests the formation of a transcriptional complex that regulates the expression of genes involved in integument growth. Therefore, the repression of GA biosynthesis by ATS would result in the stabilization of DELLAs to ensure correct ATS-DELLA complex formation. The requirement of both activities to coordinate proper ovule development strongly argues that the ATS-DELLA complex acts as a key molecular factor. This work provides the first evidence for a role of GAs in ovule and seed development. PMID:27794102

  13. Deciphering principles of morphogenesis from temporal and spatial patterns on the integument

    PubMed Central

    Li, Ang; Lai, Yung-Chih; Figueroa, Seth; Yang, Tian; Widelitz, Randall B; Kobielak, Krzysztof; Nie, Qing; Chuong, Cheng Ming

    2015-01-01

    How tissue patterns form in development and regeneration is a fundamental issue remaining to be fully understood. The integument often forms repetitive units in space (periodic patterning) and time (cyclic renewal), such as feathers and hairs. Integument patterns are visible and experimentally manipulatable, helping us reveal pattern formative processes. Variability is seen in regional phenotypic specificities and temporal cycling at different physiological stages. Here we show some cellular / molecular bases revealed by analyzing integument patterns. 1) Localized cellular activity (proliferation, rearrangement, apoptosis, differentiation) transforms prototypic organ primordia into specific shapes. Combinatorial positioning of different localized activity zones generates diverse and complex organ forms. 2) Competitive equilibrium between activators and inhibitors regulates stem cells through cyclic quiescence and activation. Dynamic interactions between stem cells and their adjacent niche regulate regenerative behavior, modulated by multi-layers of macro-environmental factors (dermis, body hormone status and external environment). Genomics studies may reveal how positional information of localized cellular activity is stored. In vivo skin imaging and lineage tracing unveils new insights into stem cell plasticity. Principles of self-assembly obtained from the integumentary organ model can be applied to help restore damaged patterns during regenerative wound healing and for tissue engineering to rebuild tissues. PMID:25858668

  14. Isolation and characterization of pepsin-solubilized collagen from the integument of sea cucumber (Stichopus vastus).

    PubMed

    Abedin, Md Zainul; Karim, Alias A; Ahmed, Faiyaz; Latiff, Aishah A; Gan, Chee-Yuen; Che Ghazali, Farid; Islam Sarker, Md Zaidul

    2013-03-30

    Sea cucumber (Stichopus vastus) is considered an underutilized resource, since only its stomach and intestines are eaten raw as salad in a few countries and the remaining parts, especially the integument rich in collagen, is discarded. Hence a valuable by-product having potential nutraceutical and pharmaceutical applications is wasted. In the present investigation, pepsin-solubilized collagen (PSC) from the integument of S. vastus was isolated, purified and characterized. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoretic analysis showed that the purified collagen was of type I, consisting of three α1 chains of approximately 122 kDa each. The peptide map of PSC digested by V8 protease was different from that of calf skin type I collagen. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy revealed that the triple helical structure was well preserved in isolated collagen. The denaturation temperature of PSC was 21.23 °C and showed good gel-forming capability at pH 6.5 and 300 mmol L⁻¹ NaCl. It is inferred that the collagen isolated from S. vastus integument has potential for use as an alternative to land-based mammalian collagen in food, nutraceuticals and pharmaceutical industries. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry.

  15. Integument cell gelatinisation-the fate of the integumentary cells in Hieracium and Pilosella (Asteraceae).

    PubMed

    Płachno, Bartosz J; Świątek, Piotr; Kozieradzka-Kiszkurno, Małgorzata; Szeląg, Zbigniew; Stolarczyk, Piotr

    2017-05-15

    Members of the genera Hieracium and Pilosella are model plants that are used to study the mechanisms of apomixis. In order to have a proper understanding of apomixis, knowledge about the relationship between the maternal tissue and the gametophyte is needed. In the genus Pilosella, previous authors have described the specific process of the "liquefaction" of the integument cells that surround the embryo sac. However, these observations were based on data only at the light microscopy level. The main aim of our paper was to investigate the changes in the integument cells at the ultrastructural level in Pilosella officinarum and Hieracium alpinum. We found that the integument peri-endothelial zone in both species consisted of mucilage cells. The mucilage was deposited as a thick layer between the plasma membrane and the cell wall. The mucilage pushed the protoplast to the centre of the cell, and cytoplasmic bridges connected the protoplast to the plasmodesmata through the mucilage layers. Moreover, an elongation of the plasmodesmata was observed in the mucilage cells. The protoplasts had an irregular shape and were finally degenerated. After the cell wall breakdown of the mucilage cells, lysigenous cavities that were filled with mucilage were formed.

  16. SUPERMAN attenuates positive INNER NO OUTER autoregulation to maintain polar development of Arabidopsis ovule outer integuments.

    PubMed

    Meister, Robert J; Kotow, Louren M; Gasser, Charles S

    2002-09-01

    The outer integument of Arabidopsis ovules exhibits marked polarity in its development, growing extensively from the abaxial side, but only to a very limited extent from the adaxial side of the ovule. Mutations in two genes affect this asymmetric growth. In strong inner no outer (ino) mutants outer integument growth is eliminated, whereas in superman (sup) mutants integument growth on the adaxial side is nearly equal to wild-type growth on the abaxial side. Through complementation and reporter gene analysis, a region of INO 5'-flanking sequences was identified that contains sufficient information for appropriate expression of INO. Using this INO promoter (P-INO) we show that INO acts as a positive regulator of transcription from P-INO, but is not sufficient for de novo initiation of transcription in other plant parts. Protein fusions demonstrate nuclear localization of INO, consistent with a proposed role as a transcription factor for this member of the YABBY protein family. Through its ability to inhibit expression of the endogenous INO gene and transgenes driven by P-INO, SUP is shown to be a negative regulator of INO transcription. Substitution of another YABBY protein coding region (CRABS CLAW) for INO overcomes this negative regulation, indicating that SUP suppresses INO transcription through attenuation of the INO positive autoregulatory loop.

  17. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging for the study of fossils.

    PubMed

    Giovannetti, Giulio; Guerrini, Andrea; Salvadori, Piero A

    2016-07-01

    Computed tomography (CT) has long been used for investigating palaeontological specimens, as it is a nondestructive technique which avoids the need to dissolve or ionize the fossil sample. However, magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have recently gained ground as analytical tools for examination of palaeontological samples, by nondestructively providing information about the structure and composition of fossils. While MRI techniques are able to reveal the three-dimensional geometry of the trace fossil, MRS can provide information on the chemical composition of the samples. The multidimensional nature of MR (magnetic resonance) signals has potential to provide rich three-dimensional data on the palaeontological specimens and also to help in elucidating paleopathological and paleoecological questions. In this work the verified applications and the emerging uses of MRI and MRS in paleontology are reviewed, with particular attention to fossil spores, fossil plants, ambers, fossil invertebrates, and fossil vertebrate studies. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  18. Miocene vertebrates and North Florida shorelines

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Olsen, S.J.

    1968-01-01

    Vertebrate fossils from ten localities, spread across northern Florida, give evidence of shorelines and deltas that have previously been established on geologic evidence or invertebrates alone. Terrestrial mammal remains, in association with shallow-water forms, indicate a deltaic assemblage and in several instances specific animals suggest restricted water depths at the time of sediment deposition. Fortunately diagnostic fragments of Miocene horses, Merychippus and Parahippus, are present in these beds, allowing for a rather close age evaluation of these sediments. Adequate fossil material has been collected from these localities to suggest the past environment and ecological conditions for the forms represented. By utilizing a suggested course of experiments with stream table apparatus it is possible to use the orientation of the fossil vertebrate remains as aids in determining past conditions of sediment accumulation. ?? 1968.

  19. Shark-bitten vertebrate coprolites from the Miocene of Maryland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Godfrey, Stephen J.; Smith, Joshua B.

    2010-05-01

    Coprolites (fossilized feces) preserve a wide range of biogenic components, from bacteria and spores to a variety of vertebrate tissues. Two coprolites from the Calvert Cliffs outcrop belt (Miocene-aged Chesapeake Group), MD, USA, preserve shark tooth impressions in the form of partial dental arcades. The specimens are the first known coprolites to preserve vertebrate tooth marks. They provide another example of trace fossils providing evidence of prehistoric animal behaviors that cannot be directly approached through the study of body fossils. Shark behaviors that could account for these impressions include: (1) aborted coprophagy, (2) benthic or nektonic exploration, or (3) predation.

  20. Shark-bitten vertebrate coprolites from the Miocene of Maryland.

    PubMed

    Godfrey, Stephen J; Smith, Joshua B

    2010-05-01

    Coprolites (fossilized feces) preserve a wide range of biogenic components, from bacteria and spores to a variety of vertebrate tissues. Two coprolites from the Calvert Cliffs outcrop belt (Miocene-aged Chesapeake Group), MD, USA, preserve shark tooth impressions in the form of partial dental arcades. The specimens are the first known coprolites to preserve vertebrate tooth marks. They provide another example of trace fossils providing evidence of prehistoric animal behaviors that cannot be directly approached through the study of body fossils. Shark behaviors that could account for these impressions include: (1) aborted coprophagy, (2) benthic or nektonic exploration, or (3) predation.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. Vertebrate skeletogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Lefebvre, Véronique; Bhattaram, Pallavi

    2011-01-01

    Vertebrate skeletogenesis consists in elaborating an edifice of more than 200 pieces of bone and cartilage. Each skeletal piece is crafted at a distinct location in the body, is articulated with others, and reaches a specific size, shape, and tissue composition according to both species instructions and individual determinants. This complex, customized body frame fulfills multiple essential tasks. It confers morphological features, allows controlled postures and movements, protects vital organs, houses hematopoiesis, stores minerals, and adsorbs toxins. This review provides an overview of the multiple facets of this ingenious process for experts as well as non-experts of skeletogenesis. We explain how the developing vertebrate uses both specific and ubiquitously expressed genes to generate multipotent mesenchymal cells, specify them to a skeletogenic fate, control their survival and proliferation, and direct their differentiation into cartilage, bone and joint cells. We review milestone discoveries made towards uncovering the intricate networks of regulatory factors that are involved in these processes, with an emphasis on signaling pathways and transcription factors. We describe numerous skeletal malformation and degeneration diseases that occur in humans as a result of mutations in regulatory genes, and explain how these diseases both help and motivate us to further decipher skeletogenic processes. Upon discussing current knowledge and gaps in knowledge in the control of skeletogenesis, we highlight ultimate research goals, and propose research priorities and approaches for future endeavors. PMID:20691853

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Using laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) to explore geochemical taphonomy of vertebrate fossils in the upper cretaceous two medicine and Judith River formations of Montana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rogers, R.R.; Fricke, H.C.; Addona, V.; Canavan, R.R.; Dwyer, C.N.; Harwood, C.L.; Koenig, A.E.; Murray, R.; Thole, J.T.; Williams, J.

    2010-01-01

    Laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) was used to determine rare earth element (REE) content of 76 fossil bones collected from the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) Two Medicine (TMF) and Judith River (JRF) Formations of Montana. REE content is distinctive at the formation scale, with TMF samples exhibiting generally higher overall REE content and greater variability in REE enrichment than JRF samples. Moreover, JRF bones exhibit relative enrichment in heavy REE, whereas TMF bones span heavy and light enrichment fields in roughly equal proportions. TMF bones are also characterized by more negative Ce anomalies and greater U enrichment than JRF bones, which is consistent with more oxidizing diagenetic conditions in the TMF. Bonebeds in both formations show general consistency in REE content, with no indication of spatial or temporal mixing within sites. Previous studies, however, suggest that the bonebeds in question are attritional assemblages that accumulated over considerable time spans. The absence of geochemical evidence for mixing is consistent with diagenesis transpiring in settings that remained chemically and hydrologically stable during recrystallization. Lithology-related patterns in REE content were also compared, and TMF bones recovered from fluvial sandstones show relative enrichment in heavy REE when compared with bones recovered from fine-grained floodplain deposits. In contrast, JRF bones, regardless of lithologic context (sandstone versus mudstone), exhibit similar patterns of REE uptake. This result is consistent with previous reconstructions that suggest that channel-hosted microfossil bonebeds of the JRF developed via the reworking of preexisting concentrations embedded in the interfluve. Geochemical data further indicate that reworked elements were potentially delivered to channels in a recrystallized condition, which is consistent with rapid adsorption of REE postmortem. Copyright ?? 2010, SEPM (Society for

  7. U-Pb geochronology of the Santa Cruz Formation (early Miocene) at the Río Bote and Río Santa Cruz (southernmost Patagonia, Argentina): Implications for the correlation of fossil vertebrate localities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cuitiño, José I.; Fernicola, Juan Carlos; Kohn, Matthew J.; Trayler, Robin; Naipauer, Maximiliano; Bargo, M. Susana; Kay, Richard F.; Vizcaíno, Sergio F.

    2016-10-01

    The early Miocene Santa Cruz Formation (SCF) in southern Patagonia hosts the Santacrucian South American Land Mammal Age (SALMA), whose age is known mainly from exposures along the Atlantic coast. Zircon U-Pb ages were obtained from intercalated tuffs from four inland sections of the SCF: 17.36 ± 0.63 Ma for the westernmost Río Bote locality, and 17.04 ± 0.55 Ma-16.32 ± 0.62 Ma for central Río Santa Cruz localities. All ages agree with the bounding age of underlying marine units and with equivalent strata in coastal exposures. New ages and available sedimentation rates imply time spans for each section of ∼18.2 to 17.36 Ma for Río Bote and 17.45-15.63 Ma for central Río Santa Cruz (Burdigalian). These estimates support the view that deposition of the SCF began at western localities ∼1 Ma earlier than at eastern localities, and that the central Río Santa Cruz localities expose the youngest SCF in southern Santa Cruz Province. Associated vertebrate faunas are consistent with our geochronologic synthesis, showing older (Notohippidian) taxa in western localities and younger (Santacrucian) taxa in central localities. The Notohippidian fauna (19.0-18.0 Ma) of the western localities is synchronous with Pinturan faunas (19.0-18.0 Ma), but older than Santacrucian faunas of the Río Santa Cruz (17.2-15.6 Ma) and coastal localities (18.0-16.2 Ma). The Santacrucian faunas of the central Río Santa Cruz localities temporally overlap Colloncuran (15.7 Ma), Friasian (16.5 Ma), and eastern Santacrucian faunas.

  8. Inspiration for wing design: how forelimb specialization enables active flight in modern vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Chin, Diana D; Matloff, Laura Y; Stowers, Amanda Kay; Tucci, Emily R; Lentink, David

    2017-06-01

    Harnessing flight strategies refined by millions of years of evolution can help expedite the design of more efficient, manoeuvrable and robust flying robots. This review synthesizes recent advances and highlights remaining gaps in our understanding of how bird and bat wing adaptations enable effective flight. Included in this discussion is an evaluation of how current robotic analogues measure up to their biological sources of inspiration. Studies of vertebrate wings have revealed skeletal systems well suited for enduring the loads required during flight, but the mechanisms that drive coordinated motions between bones and connected integuments remain ill-described. Similarly, vertebrate flight muscles have adapted to sustain increased wing loading, but a lack of in vivo studies limits our understanding of specific muscular functions. Forelimb adaptations diverge at the integument level, but both bird feathers and bat membranes yield aerodynamic surfaces with a level of robustness unparalleled by engineered wings. These morphological adaptations enable a diverse range of kinematics tuned for different flight speeds and manoeuvres. By integrating vertebrate flight specializations-particularly those that enable greater robustness and adaptability-into the design and control of robotic wings, engineers can begin narrowing the wide margin that currently exists between flying robots and vertebrates. In turn, these robotic wings can help biologists create experiments that would be impossible in vivo. © 2017 The Author(s).

  9. Inspiration for wing design: how forelimb specialization enables active flight in modern vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    2017-01-01

    Harnessing flight strategies refined by millions of years of evolution can help expedite the design of more efficient, manoeuvrable and robust flying robots. This review synthesizes recent advances and highlights remaining gaps in our understanding of how bird and bat wing adaptations enable effective flight. Included in this discussion is an evaluation of how current robotic analogues measure up to their biological sources of inspiration. Studies of vertebrate wings have revealed skeletal systems well suited for enduring the loads required during flight, but the mechanisms that drive coordinated motions between bones and connected integuments remain ill-described. Similarly, vertebrate flight muscles have adapted to sustain increased wing loading, but a lack of in vivo studies limits our understanding of specific muscular functions. Forelimb adaptations diverge at the integument level, but both bird feathers and bat membranes yield aerodynamic surfaces with a level of robustness unparalleled by engineered wings. These morphological adaptations enable a diverse range of kinematics tuned for different flight speeds and manoeuvres. By integrating vertebrate flight specializations—particularly those that enable greater robustness and adaptability—into the design and control of robotic wings, engineers can begin narrowing the wide margin that currently exists between flying robots and vertebrates. In turn, these robotic wings can help biologists create experiments that would be impossible in vivo. PMID:28592663

  10. Third-harmonic generation microscopy reveals dental anatomy in ancient fossils.

    PubMed

    Chen, Yu-Cheng; Lee, Szu-Yu; Wu, Yana; Brink, Kirstin; Shieh, Dar-Bin; Huang, Timothy D; Reisz, Robert R; Sun, Chi-Kuang

    2015-04-01

    Fossil teeth are primary tools in the study of vertebrate evolution, but standard imaging modalities have not been capable of providing high-quality images in dentin, the main component of teeth, owing to small refractive index differences in the fossilized dentin. Our first attempt to use third-harmonic generation (THG) microscopy in fossil teeth has yielded significant submicrometer level anatomy, with an unexpectedly strong signal contrasting fossilized tubules from the surrounding dentin. Comparison between fossilized and extant teeth of crocodilians reveals a consistent evolutionary signature through time, indicating the great significance of THG microscopy in the evolutionary studies of dental anatomy in fossil teeth.

  11. Pollutants and diet influence carotenoid levels and integument coloration in nestlings of an endangered raptor.

    PubMed

    García-Heras, Marie-Sophie; Arroyo, Beatriz; Simmons, Robert E; Camarero, Pablo R; Mateo, Rafael; García, Jesús T; Mougeot, Francois

    2017-12-15

    Carotenoid-based traits or ornaments, such as yellow-red integuments (feathers, beaks, legs or eye-rings) displayed by birds, play key roles in social communication by reliably advertising an individual's quality or health. In some species, these traits are displayed not only by adults but also by nestlings, and function in parent-offspring communication or sibling competition by advertising an individual's physical or physiological condition. Pollutants such as organochlorine compounds (OCs) could have disruptive effects on the coloration of these traits, thereby interfering with communication processes. Such effects have been reported in adult birds, but are still largely unknown for nestlings. Here we investigated associations between polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) blood-levels, circulating carotenoid levels and the yellow-orange coloration of the cere and tarsi of wild Black Harrier Circus maurus nestlings, a scarce raptor endemic to southern Africa. As carotenoid pigments must be acquired through the diet, we also tested for an effect of dietary composition. The orangeness-purity of cere and tarsi coloration positively correlated with circulating carotenoid levels, and increased with both nestling age and the proportion of birds consumed in the diet. Circulating carotenoid levels and the orangeness-purity of colored integuments were unrelated to blood PCB levels, although the brightness of integuments (i.e. lack of pigmentation) increased with PCB levels. Nestlings with more DDT had lower levels of circulating carotenoids and reduced carotenoid-based coloration (i.e. higher hue and lower saturation, reflecting a yellow rather than orange and less intense color, respectively). Together, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that OC contaminants, in particular DDT, may disrupt carotenoid-based signaling in exposed nestlings. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. Early jawless vertebrates and cyclostome origins.

    PubMed

    Janvier, Philippe

    2008-10-01

    Undoubted fossil lampreys are recorded since the Late Devonian (358 Ma), and probable fossil hagfishes since the Late Carboniferous (300 Ma), but molecular clock data suggest a much earlier divergence times for the two groups. In the early 20(th) century, hagfishes and lampreys were generally thought to have diverged much later from unknown ancestral cyclostomes, in turn derived through 'degeneracy' from some Paleozoic armored jawless vertebrates, or 'ostracoderms.' However, current vertebrate phylogenies suggest that most, if not all, 'ostracoderms' are in fact jawless stem gnathostomes, which retain certain features that were once regarded as unique to the cyclostomes, such as gill pouches or lack of horizontal semicircular canal. The dorsal, median, nasohypophysial complex of osteostracans has been regarded as identical and homologous to that of lampreys, but recent investigation (notably on the galeaspid braincase) now suggests that this resemblance is in fact a convergence. The anatomy and physiology of lampreys and hagfishes are so different that it is difficult to reconstruct an ancestral morphotype of the cyclostomes, assuming that they are a clade, and there is no clear evidence of any fossil taxon that is neither a fossil hagfish nor a fossil lamprey, but would be more closely related to the cyclostomes than to the gnathostomes. A possible exception is the Silurian-Devonian euphaneropids (or 'naked anaspids').

  13. Integument Mycobiota of Wild European Hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) from Catalonia, Spain.

    PubMed

    Molina-López, R A; Adelantado, C; Arosemena, E L; Obón, E; Darwich, L; Calvo, M A

    2012-01-01

    There are some reports about the risk of manipulating wild hedgehogs since they can be reservoirs of potential zoonotic agents like dermatophytes. The aim of this study was to describe the integument mycobiota, with special attention to dermatophytes of wild European hedgehogs. Samples from spines and fur were cultured separately in Sabouraud dextrose agar (SDA) with antibiotic and dermatophyte test medium (DTM) plates. Nineteen different fungal genera were isolated from 91 cultures of 102 hedgehogs. The most prevalent genera were Cladosporium (79.1%), Penicillium (74.7%), Alternaria (64.8%), and Rhizopus (63.7%). A lower prevalence of Aspergillus (P = 0,035; χ (2) = 8,633) and Arthrinium (P = 0,043; χ (2) = 8,173) was isolated during the spring time and higher frequencies of Fusarium (P = 0,015; χ (2) = 10,533) during the autumn. The prevalence of Acremonium was significantly higher in young animals (70%, 26/37) than in adults (30%, 11/37) (P = 0,019; χ (2) = 5,915). Moreover, the majority of the saprophytic species that grew at the SDA culture were also detected at the DTM. Finally, no cases of ringworm were diagnosed and no dermatophytes spp. were isolated. Concluding, this study provides the first description of fungal mycobiota of the integument of wild European hedgehogs in Spain, showing a large number of saprophytic species and the absence of dermatophytes.

  14. Integument Mycobiota of Wild European Hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) from Catalonia, Spain

    PubMed Central

    Molina-López, R. A.; Adelantado, C.; Arosemena, E. L.; Obón, E.; Darwich, L.; Calvo, M. A.

    2012-01-01

    There are some reports about the risk of manipulating wild hedgehogs since they can be reservoirs of potential zoonotic agents like dermatophytes. The aim of this study was to describe the integument mycobiota, with special attention to dermatophytes of wild European hedgehogs. Samples from spines and fur were cultured separately in Sabouraud dextrose agar (SDA) with antibiotic and dermatophyte test medium (DTM) plates. Nineteen different fungal genera were isolated from 91 cultures of 102 hedgehogs. The most prevalent genera were Cladosporium (79.1%), Penicillium (74.7%), Alternaria (64.8%), and Rhizopus (63.7%). A lower prevalence of Aspergillus (P = 0,035; χ 2 = 8,633) and Arthrinium (P = 0,043; χ 2 = 8,173) was isolated during the spring time and higher frequencies of Fusarium (P = 0,015; χ 2 = 10,533) during the autumn. The prevalence of Acremonium was significantly higher in young animals (70%, 26/37) than in adults (30%, 11/37) (P = 0,019; χ 2 = 5,915). Moreover, the majority of the saprophytic species that grew at the SDA culture were also detected at the DTM. Finally, no cases of ringworm were diagnosed and no dermatophytes spp. were isolated. Concluding, this study provides the first description of fungal mycobiota of the integument of wild European hedgehogs in Spain, showing a large number of saprophytic species and the absence of dermatophytes. PMID:23762757

  15. 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".

  16. 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".

  17. Fossilized bioelectric wire - the trace fossil Trichichnus.

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-16

    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".

  18. Vertebral development and amphibian evolution.

    PubMed

    Carroll, R L; Kuntz, A; Albright, K

    1999-01-01

    Amphibians provide an unparalleled opportunity to integrate studies of development and evolution through the investigation of the fossil record of larval stages. The pattern of vertebral development in modern frogs strongly resembles that of Paleozoic labyrinthodonts in the great delay in the ossification of the vertebrae, with the centra forming much later than the neural arches. Slow ossification of the trunk vertebrae in frogs and the absence of ossification in the tail facilitate the rapid loss of the tail during metamorphosis, and may reflect retention of the pattern in their specific Paleozoic ancestors. Salamanders and caecilians ossify their centra at a much earlier stage than frogs, which resembles the condition in Paleozoic lepospondyls. The clearly distinct patterns and rates of vertebral development may indicate phylogenetic separation between the ultimate ancestors of frogs and those of salamanders and caecilians within the early radiation of ancestral tetrapods. This divergence may date from the Lower Carboniferous. Comparison with the molecular regulation of vertebral development described in modern mammals and birds suggests that the rapid chondrification of the centra in salamanders relative to that of frogs may result from the earlier migration of sclerotomal cells expressing Pax1 to the area surrounding the notochord.

  19. Histology and histochemistry of the intermoult integument in the ghost crab Ocypoda platytarsis (Milne-Edwards) (Crustacea: Brachyura).

    PubMed

    Devi, K R; Shyamasundari, K; Rao, K H

    1991-01-01

    The histological and histochemical aspects of the integument have been described and discussed during the intermoult period of Ocypoda platytarsis. Histological observations revealed that the cuticle comprises of four layers namely epicuticle, exocuticle, endocuticle and membranous layers. Various types of cells in the subepidermal tissue have also been elucidated.

  20. 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.

  1. The origin and early phylogenetic history of jawed vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Brazeau, Martin D; Friedman, Matt

    2015-04-23

    Fossils of early gnathostomes (or jawed vertebrates) have been the focus of study for nearly two centuries. They yield key clues about the evolutionary assembly of the group's common body plan, as well the divergence of the two living gnathostome lineages: the cartilaginous and bony vertebrates. A series of remarkable new palaeontological discoveries, analytical advances and innovative reinterpretations of existing fossil archives have fundamentally altered a decades-old consensus on the relationships of extinct gnathostomes, delivering a new evolutionary framework for exploring major questions that remain unanswered, including the origin of jaws.

  2. Integument pattern formation involves genetic and epigenetic controls: feather arrays simulated by digital hormone models.

    PubMed

    Jiang, Ting-Xin; Widelitz, Randall B; Shen, Wei-Min; Will, Peter; Wu, Da-Yu; Lin, Chih-Min; Jung, Han-Sung; Chuong, Cheng-Ming

    2004-01-01

    Pattern formation is a fundamental morphogenetic process. Models based on genetic and epigenetic control have been proposed but remain controversial. Here we use feather morphogenesis for further evaluation. Adhesion molecules and/or signaling molecules were first expressed homogenously in feather tracts (restrictive mode, appear earlier) or directly in bud or inter-bud regions ( de novo mode, appear later). They either activate or inhibit bud formation, but paradoxically colocalize in the bud. Using feather bud reconstitution, we showed that completely dissociated cells can reform periodic patterns without reference to previous positional codes. The patterning process has the characteristics of being self-organizing, dynamic and plastic. The final pattern is an equilibrium state reached by competition, and the number and size of buds can be altered based on cell number and activator/inhibitor ratio, respectively. We developed a Digital Hormone Model which consists of (1) competent cells without identity that move randomly in a space, (2) extracellular signaling hormones which diffuse by a reaction-diffusion mechanism and activate or inhibit cell adhesion, and (3) cells which respond with topological stochastic actions manifested as changes in cell adhesion. Based on probability, the results are cell clusters arranged in dots or stripes. Thus genetic control provides combinational molecular information which defines the properties of the cells but not the final pattern. Epigenetic control governs interactions among cells and their environment based on physical-chemical rules (such as those described in the Digital Hormone Model). Complex integument patterning is the sum of these two components of control and that is why integument patterns are usually similar but non-identical. These principles may be shared by other pattern formation processes such as barb ridge formation, fingerprints, pigmentation patterning, etc. The Digital Hormone Model can also be applied to

  3. Moisture harvesting and water transport through specialized micro-structures on the integument of lizards

    PubMed Central

    Comanns, Philipp; Effertz, Christian; Hischen, Florian; Staudt, Konrad; Böhme, Wolfgang

    2011-01-01

    Summary Several lizard species that live in arid areas have developed special abilities to collect water with their bodies' surfaces and to ingest the so collected moisture. This is called rain- or moisture-harvesting. The water can originate from air humidity, fog, dew, rain or even from humid soil. The integument (i.e., the skin plus skin derivatives such as scales) has developed features so that the water spreads and is soaked into a capillary system in between the reptiles' scales. Within this capillary system the water is transported to the mouth where it is ingested. We have investigated three different lizard species which have developed the ability for moisture harvesting independently, viz. the Australian thorny devil (Moloch horridus), the Arabian toadhead agama (Phrynocephalus arabicus) and the Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum). All three lizards have a honeycomb like micro ornamentation on the outer surface of the scales and a complex capillary system in between the scales. By investigation of individual scales and by producing and characterising polymer replicas of the reptiles' integuments, we found that the honeycomb like structures render the surface superhydrophilic, most likely by holding a water film physically stable. Furthermore, the condensation of air humidity is improved on this surface by about 100% in comparison to unstructured surfaces. This allows the animals to collect moisture with their entire body surface. The collected water is transported into the capillary system. For Phrynosoma cornutum we found the interesting effect that, in contrast to the other two investigated species, the water flow in the capillary system is not uniform but directed to the mouth. Taken together we found that the micro ornamentation yields a superhydrophilic surface, and the semi-tubular capillaries allow for an efficient passive – and for Phrynosoma directed – transport of water. PMID:21977432

  4. Moisture harvesting and water transport through specialized micro-structures on the integument of lizards.

    PubMed

    Comanns, Philipp; Effertz, Christian; Hischen, Florian; Staudt, Konrad; Böhme, Wolfgang; Baumgartner, Werner

    2011-01-01

    Several lizard species that live in arid areas have developed special abilities to collect water with their bodies' surfaces and to ingest the so collected moisture. This is called rain- or moisture-harvesting. The water can originate from air humidity, fog, dew, rain or even from humid soil. The integument (i.e., the skin plus skin derivatives such as scales) has developed features so that the water spreads and is soaked into a capillary system in between the reptiles' scales. Within this capillary system the water is transported to the mouth where it is ingested. We have investigated three different lizard species which have developed the ability for moisture harvesting independently, viz. the Australian thorny devil (Moloch horridus), the Arabian toadhead agama (Phrynocephalus arabicus) and the Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum). All three lizards have a honeycomb like micro ornamentation on the outer surface of the scales and a complex capillary system in between the scales. By investigation of individual scales and by producing and characterising polymer replicas of the reptiles' integuments, we found that the honeycomb like structures render the surface superhydrophilic, most likely by holding a water film physically stable. Furthermore, the condensation of air humidity is improved on this surface by about 100% in comparison to unstructured surfaces. This allows the animals to collect moisture with their entire body surface. The collected water is transported into the capillary system. For Phrynosoma cornutum we found the interesting effect that, in contrast to the other two investigated species, the water flow in the capillary system is not uniform but directed to the mouth. Taken together we found that the micro ornamentation yields a superhydrophilic surface, and the semi-tubular capillaries allow for an efficient passive - and for Phrynosoma directed - transport of water.

  5. Integument pattern formation involves genetic and epigenetic controls: feather arrays simulated by digital hormone models

    PubMed Central

    Jiang, Ting-Xin; Widelitz, Randall B.; Shen, Wei-Min; Will, Peter; Wu, Da-Yu; Lin, Chih-Min; Jung, Han-Sung; Chuong, Cheng-Ming

    2015-01-01

    Pattern formation is a fundamental morphogenetic process. Models based on genetic and epigenetic control have been proposed but remain controversial. Here we use feather morphogenesis for further evaluation. Adhesion molecules and/or signaling molecules were first expressed homogenously in feather tracts (restrictive mode, appear earlier) or directly in bud or inter-bud regions (de novo mode, appear later). They either activate or inhibit bud formation, but paradoxically co-localize in the bud. Using feather bud reconstitution, we showed that completely dissociated cells can reform periodic patterns without reference to previous positional codes. The patterning process has the characteristics of being self-organizing, dynamic and plastic. The final pattern is an equilibrium state reached by competition, and the number and size of buds can be altered based on cell number and activator/inhibitor ratio, respectively. We developed a Digital Hormone Model which consists of (1) competent cells without identity that move randomly in a space, (2) extracellular signaling hormones which diffuse by a reaction-diffusion mechanism and activate or inhibit cell adhesion, and (3) cells which respond with topological stochastic actions manifested as changes in cell adhesion. Based on probability, the results are cell clusters arranged in dots or stripes. Thus genetic control provides combinational molecular information which defines the properties of the cells but not the final pattern. Epigenetic control governs interactions among cells and their environment based on physical-chemical rules (such as those described in the Digital Hormone Model). Complex integument patterning is the sum of these two components of control and that is why integument patterns are usually similar but non-identical. These principles may be shared by other pattern formation processes such as barb ridge formation, fingerprints, pigmentation patterning, etc. The Digital Hormone Model can also be applied to

  6. Modes of fossil preservation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schopf, J.M.

    1975-01-01

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

  7. Pleistocene vertebrates of the Yukon Territory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harington, C. R.

    2011-08-01

    Unglaciated parts of the Yukon constitute one of the most important areas in North America for yielding Pleistocene vertebrate fossils. Nearly 30 vertebrate faunal localities are reviewed spanning a period of about 1.6 Ma (million years ago) to the close of the Pleistocene some 10 000 BP (radiocarbon years before present, taken as 1950). The vertebrate fossils represent at least 8 species of fishes, 1 amphibian, 41 species of birds and 83 species of mammals. Dominant among the large mammals are: steppe bison ( Bison priscus), horse ( Equus sp.), woolly mammoth ( Mammuthus primigenius), and caribou ( Rangifer tarandus) - signature species of the Mammoth Steppe fauna ( Fig. 1), which was widespread from the British Isles, through northern Europe, and Siberia to Alaska, Yukon and adjacent Northwest Territories. The Yukon faunas extend from Herschel Island in the north to Revenue Creek in the south and from the Alaskan border in the west to Ketza River in the east. The Yukon holds evidence of the earliest-known people in North America. Artifacts made from bison, mammoth and caribou bones from Bluefish Caves, Old Crow Basin and Dawson City areas show that people had a substantial knowledge of making and using bone tools at least by 25 000 BP, and possibly as early as 40 000 BP. A suggested chronological sequence of Yukon Pleistocene vertebrates ( Table 1) facilitates comparison of selected faunas and indicates the known duration of various taxa.

  8. Abrupt and gradual extinction among Late Permian land vertebrates in the Karoo basin, South Africa.

    PubMed

    Ward, Peter D; Botha, Jennifer; Buick, Roger; De Kock, Michiel O; Erwin, Douglas H; Garrison, Geoffrey H; Kirschvink, Joseph L; Smith, Roger

    2005-02-04

    The Karoo basin of South Africa exposes a succession of Upper Permian to Lower Triassic terrestrial strata containing abundant terrestrial vertebrate fossils. Paleomagnetic/magnetostratigraphic and carbon-isotope data allow sections to be correlated across the basin. With this stratigraphy, the vertebrate fossil data show a gradual extinction in the Upper Permian punctuated by an enhanced extinction pulse at the Permian-Triassic boundary interval, particularly among the dicynodont therapsids, coinciding with negative carbon-isotope anomalies.

  9. 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…

  10. 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…

  11. V. Terrestrial vertebrates

    Treesearch

    Dean Pearson; Deborah Finch

    2011-01-01

    Within the Interior West, terrestrial vertebrates do not represent a large number of invasive species relative to invasive weeds, aquatic vertebrates, and invertebrates. However, several invasive terrestrial vertebrate species do cause substantial economic and ecological damage in the U.S. and in this region (Pimental 2000, 2007; Bergman and others 2002; Finch and...

  12. Daily grazing time as a risk factor for alterations at the hock joint integument in dairy cows.

    PubMed

    Burow, E; Thomsen, P T; Rousing, T; Sørensen, J T

    2013-01-01

    Structural changes lead to increasing sizes of dairy herds and a reduction in grazing use. Thus, cows spend more time in the barn and become more exposed to the barn environment. The cubicle surface can result in damages of the cows' hock joint integument. Pasture is generally seen as a beneficial environment for cows. We hypothesized that a higher number of daily grazing hours reduce the probability of hock joint alterations in dairy cows from large herds. In total, 3148 lactating cows from 36 grazing and 20 zero-grazing dairy herds, with an average herd size of 173 cows, were assessed individually on one randomly selected body side for alterations in hock integument (score 0 for no alterations or hairless areas <2 cm, 1 for at least one hairless area of ≥2 cm, 2 for lesion or swelling). The cows were further assessed for lameness and cleanliness. Information on breed, parity and days in milk per cow was extracted from a national database. Cubicle surface was evaluated for each herd. Daily grazing hours 30 days before herd visits were recorded by the stockmen and later categorized as follows: zero hours (zero-grazing), few hours (3 to 9) and many hours (>9 to 21). The effects of daily grazing hours and other potential cow and herd-level risk factors were evaluated for their impact on hock integument alterations using a logistic analysis with a multi-level model structure. The probability for hock integument alterations such as hair loss, lesions or swellings decreased with increasing amount of grazing hours (odds of 3 to 9 h 2.2 times and odds of >9 to 21 h 4.8 times lower than of zero-grazing). The probability for only lesions or swellings decreased with >9 to 21 grazing hours (odds 2.1 times) but not with 3 to 9 h (odds 1.0 times) compared with zero-grazing. Lameness, hard cubicle surface and Danish Holstein v. other breeds showed an increasing effect on the probability for integument alterations. Increase in days in milk only showed an increasing effect on

  13. Extracranial vertebral artery intervention.

    PubMed

    Mukherjee, Debabrata; Pineda, Guillermo

    2007-12-01

    Atherosclerosis is the commonest cause of vertebral artery stenosis and has a predilection for the origin and proximal section of the extracranial portion of the vessel and also the intracranial portion of the vessel. Although it has generally been thought that extracranial vertebral artery (ECVA) disease has a more benign outcome compared to intracranial vertebral artery disease, significant occlusive disease of the proximal vertebral artery is the primary cause of vertebral artery ischemia in a significant proportion of patients. We focus on the interventional management of patients with proximal ECVA disease in this article.

  14. Fossil fuels -- future fuels

    SciTech Connect

    1998-03-01

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

  15. Oxygen mask related nasal integument and osteocartilagenous disorders in F-16 fighter pilots.

    PubMed

    Schreinemakers, J Rieneke C; Westers, Paul; van Amerongen, Pieter; Kon, Moshe

    2013-01-01

    A preliminary survey showed half of the participating Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) F-16 fighter pilots to have nasal integument and osteocartilagenous disorders related to wearing in-flight oxygen masks. To make an inventory of these disorders and possible associated factors. All RNLAF F-16 pilots were requested to fill out a semi-structured questionnaire for a cross-sectional survey. Additionally, one squadron in The Netherlands and pilots in operational theater were asked to participate in a prospective study that required filling out a pain score after each flight. Pilot- and flight-related variables on all participants were collected from the RNLAF database. A linear mixed model was built to identify associated factors with the post-flight pain score. The response rate to the survey was 83%. Ninety of the 108 participants (88%, 6 missing) reported tenderness, irritation, pain, erythema, skin lesions, callous skin, or swelling of nasal bridge integument or architecture. Seventy-two participants (71%, 6 missing) reported their symptoms to be troublesome after a mean of 6±3 out of 10 flights (0;10, 54 missing). Sixty-six pilots participated in scoring post-flight pain. Pain scores were significantly higher if a participant had ≥3 nasal disorders, after longer than average flights, after flying abroad, and after flying with night vision goggles (respectively +2.7 points, p = 0.003; +0.2 points, p = 0.027; +1.8 points, p = 0.001; +1.2 points p = 0.005). Longer than average NVG flights and more than average NVG hours per annum decreased painscores (respectively -0.8 points, p = 0.017; -0.04 points, p = 0.005). The majority of the RNLAF F-16 fighter pilot community has nasal disorders in the contact area of the oxygen mask, including pain. Six pilot- or flight-related characteristics influence the experienced level of pain.

  16. Oxygen Mask Related Nasal Integument and Osteocartilagenous Disorders in F-16 Fighter Pilots

    PubMed Central

    Schreinemakers, J. Rieneke C.; Westers, Paul; van Amerongen, Pieter; Kon, Moshe

    2013-01-01

    Background A preliminary survey showed half of the participating Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) F-16 fighter pilots to have nasal integument and osteocartilagenous disorders related to wearing in-flight oxygen masks. Aim To make an inventory of these disorders and possible associated factors. Methods All RNLAF F-16 pilots were requested to fill out a semi-structured questionnaire for a cross-sectional survey. Additionally, one squadron in The Netherlands and pilots in operational theater were asked to participate in a prospective study that required filling out a pain score after each flight. Pilot- and flight-related variables on all participants were collected from the RNLAF database. A linear mixed model was built to identify associated factors with the post-flight pain score. Results The response rate to the survey was 83%. Ninety of the 108 participants (88%, 6 missing) reported tenderness, irritation, pain, erythema, skin lesions, callous skin, or swelling of nasal bridge integument or architecture. Seventy-two participants (71%, 6 missing) reported their symptoms to be troublesome after a mean of 6±3 out of 10 flights (0;10, 54 missing). Sixty-six pilots participated in scoring post-flight pain. Pain scores were significantly higher if a participant had ≥3 nasal disorders, after longer than average flights, after flying abroad, and after flying with night vision goggles (respectively +2.7 points, p = 0.003; +0.2 points, p = 0.027; +1.8 points, p = 0.001; +1.2 points p = 0.005). Longer than average NVG flights and more than average NVG hours per annum decreased painscores (respectively −0.8 points, p = 0.017; −0.04 points, p = 0.005). Conclusions The majority of the RNLAF F-16 fighter pilot community has nasal disorders in the contact area of the oxygen mask, including pain. Six pilot- or flight-related characteristics influence the experienced level of pain. PMID:23505413

  17. Transcriptome analysis of integument differentially expressed genes in the pigment mutant (quail) during molting of silkworm, Bombyx mori.

    PubMed

    Nie, Hongyi; Liu, Chun; Cheng, Tingcai; Li, Qiongyan; Wu, Yuqian; Zhou, Mengting; Zhang, Yinxia; Xia, Qingyou

    2014-01-01

    In the silkworm Bombyx mori, pigment mutants with diverse body colors have been maintained throughout domestication for about 5000 years. The silkworm larval body color is formed through the mutual interaction of melanin, ommochromes, pteridines and uric acid. These pigments/compounds are synthesized by the cooperative action of various genes and enzymes. Previous reports showed that melanin, ommochrome and pteridine are increased in silkworm quail (q) mutants. To understand the pigment increase and alterations in pigment synthesis in q mutant, transcriptome profiles of the silkworm integument were investigated at 16 h after head capsule slippage in the fourth molt in q mutants and wild-type (Dazao). Compared to the wild-type, 1161 genes were differentially expressed in the q mutant. Of these modulated genes, 62.4% (725 genes) were upregulated and 37.6% (436 genes) were downregulated in the q mutant. The molecular function of differently expressed genes was analyzed by Blast2GO. The results showed that upregulated genes were mainly involved in protein binding, small molecule binding, transferase activity, nucleic acid binding, specific DNA-binding transcription factor activity and chromatin binding, while exclusively down-expressed genes functioned in oxidoreductase activity, cofactor binding, tetrapyrrole binding, peroxidase activity and pigment binding. We focused on genes related to melanin, pteridine and ommochrome biosynthesis; transport of uric acid; and juvenile hormone metabolism because of their importance in integument coloration during molting. This study identified differently expressed genes implicated in silkworm integument formation and pigmentation using silkworm q mutant. The results estimated the number and types of genes that drive new integument formation.

  18. Transcriptome Analysis of Integument Differentially Expressed Genes in the Pigment Mutant (quail) during Molting of Silkworm, Bombyx mori

    PubMed Central

    Cheng, Tingcai; Li, Qiongyan; Wu, Yuqian; Zhou, Mengting; Zhang, Yinxia; Xia, Qingyou

    2014-01-01

    In the silkworm Bombyx mori, pigment mutants with diverse body colors have been maintained throughout domestication for about 5000 years. The silkworm larval body color is formed through the mutual interaction of melanin, ommochromes, pteridines and uric acid. These pigments/compounds are synthesized by the cooperative action of various genes and enzymes. Previous reports showed that melanin, ommochrome and pteridine are increased in silkworm quail (q) mutants. To understand the pigment increase and alterations in pigment synthesis in q mutant, transcriptome profiles of the silkworm integument were investigated at 16 h after head capsule slippage in the fourth molt in q mutants and wild-type (Dazao). Compared to the wild-type, 1161 genes were differentially expressed in the q mutant. Of these modulated genes, 62.4% (725 genes) were upregulated and 37.6% (436 genes) were downregulated in the q mutant. The molecular function of differently expressed genes was analyzed by Blast2GO. The results showed that upregulated genes were mainly involved in protein binding, small molecule binding, transferase activity, nucleic acid binding, specific DNA-binding transcription factor activity and chromatin binding, while exclusively down-expressed genes functioned in oxidoreductase activity, cofactor binding, tetrapyrrole binding, peroxidase activity and pigment binding. We focused on genes related to melanin, pteridine and ommochrome biosynthesis; transport of uric acid; and juvenile hormone metabolism because of their importance in integument coloration during molting. This study identified differently expressed genes implicated in silkworm integument formation and pigmentation using silkworm q mutant. The results estimated the number and types of genes that drive new integument formation. PMID:24718369

  19. Correlation between Hox code and vertebral morphology in archosaurs.

    PubMed

    Böhmer, Christine; Rauhut, Oliver W M; Wörheide, Gert

    2015-07-07

    The relationship between developmental genes and phenotypic variation is of central interest in evolutionary biology. An excellent example is the role of Hox genes in the anteroposterior regionalization of the vertebral column in vertebrates. Archosaurs (crocodiles, dinosaurs including birds) are highly variable both in vertebral morphology and number. Nevertheless, functionally equivalent Hox genes are active in the axial skeleton during embryonic development, indicating that the morphological variation across taxa is likely owing to modifications in the pattern of Hox gene expression. By using geometric morphometrics, we demonstrate a correlation between vertebral Hox code and quantifiable vertebral morphology in modern archosaurs, in which the boundaries between morphological subgroups of vertebrae can be linked to anterior Hox gene expression boundaries. Our findings reveal homologous units of cervical vertebrae in modern archosaurs, each with their specific Hox gene pattern, enabling us to trace these homologies in the extinct sauropodomorph dinosaurs, a group with highly variable vertebral counts. Based on the quantifiable vertebral morphology, this allows us to infer the underlying genetic mechanisms in vertebral evolution in fossils, which represents not only an important case study, but will lead to a better understanding of the origin of morphological disparity in recent archosaur vertebral columns.

  20. Correlation between Hox code and vertebral morphology in archosaurs

    PubMed Central

    Böhmer, Christine; Rauhut, Oliver W. M.; Wörheide, Gert

    2015-01-01

    The relationship between developmental genes and phenotypic variation is of central interest in evolutionary biology. An excellent example is the role of Hox genes in the anteroposterior regionalization of the vertebral column in vertebrates. Archosaurs (crocodiles, dinosaurs including birds) are highly variable both in vertebral morphology and number. Nevertheless, functionally equivalent Hox genes are active in the axial skeleton during embryonic development, indicating that the morphological variation across taxa is likely owing to modifications in the pattern of Hox gene expression. By using geometric morphometrics, we demonstrate a correlation between vertebral Hox code and quantifiable vertebral morphology in modern archosaurs, in which the boundaries between morphological subgroups of vertebrae can be linked to anterior Hox gene expression boundaries. Our findings reveal homologous units of cervical vertebrae in modern archosaurs, each with their specific Hox gene pattern, enabling us to trace these homologies in the extinct sauropodomorph dinosaurs, a group with highly variable vertebral counts. Based on the quantifiable vertebral morphology, this allows us to infer the underlying genetic mechanisms in vertebral evolution in fossils, which represents not only an important case study, but will lead to a better understanding of the origin of morphological disparity in recent archosaur vertebral columns. PMID:26085583

  1. Isolation, purification, and identification of an important pigment, sepiapterin, from integument of the lemon mutant of the silkworm, Bombyx mori.

    PubMed

    Gao, Junshan; Wang, Jing; Wang, Wenjing; Liu, Chaoliang; Meng, Yan

    2013-01-01

    Sepiapterin is the precursor of tetrahydrobiopterin, an important coenzyme of aromatic amino acid hydroxylases, the lack of which leads to a variety of physiological metabolic diseases or neurological syndromes in humans. Sepiapterin is a main pigment component in the integument of the lemon mutant of the silkworm, Bombyx mori (L.) (Lepidoptera: Bombycidae), and is present there in extremely high content, so lemon is a valuable genetic resource to extract sepiapterin. In this study, an effective experimental system was set up for isolation and purification of sepiapterin from lemon silkworms by optimizing homogenization solvent, elution buffer, and separation chromatographic column. The results showed that ethanol was the most suitable solvent to homogenize the integument, with a concentration of 50% and solid:liquid ratio of 1:20 (g/mL). Sepiapterin was purified successively by column chromatography of cellulose Ecteola, sephadex G-25-150, and cellulose phosphate, and was identified by ultraviolet-visible absorption spectrometry. A stable and accurate high performance liquid chromatography method was constructed to identify sepiapterin and conduct qualitative and quantitative analyses. Sepiapterin of high purity was achieved, and the harvest reached about 40 ug/g of integument in the experiments. This work helps to obtaining natural sepiapterin in large amounts in order to use the lemon B. mori mutant to produce BH4 in vitro.

  2. Ultrastructural analysis of the integument of a desert-adapted mammal, the one-humped camel (Camelus dromedarius).

    PubMed

    Pfeiffer, C J; Osman, A H K; Pfeiffer, D C

    2006-04-01

    In this study, we conducted a light microscopic and ultrastructural analysis of the integument of the one-humped camel (Camelus dromedarius). In general, the epidermal strata of the camel integument appeared typical of those found in non-desert mammals. Two cell populations were noted in the stratum basale: one with a flat, non-serrated base and the other with a highly serrated base. Typical fine structure was observed in keratinocytes of the stratum spinosum and stratum granulosum. The stratum corneum was six to 10 cells thick. Within the different strata, overall cell morphologies and the general distribution and relative abundance of cellular organelles appeared typical. Dermal features included the presence of myoepithelial cells surrounding apocrine tubular glands. Inter- or intracellular canaliculi within the secretory cells of the apocrine glands, reported to be present in certain other non-desert mammals, were not evident in the camel. Together, these data indicate that while the camel is clearly adapted for a desert lifestyle, these adaptations do not include significant specializations at the cellular or subcellular level in the integument.

  3. Integument coloration signals reproductive success, heterozygosity, and antioxidant levels in chick-rearing black-legged kittiwakes.

    PubMed

    Leclaire, Sarah; White, Joël; Arnoux, Emilie; Faivre, Bruno; Vetter, Nathanaël; Hatch, Scott A; Danchin, Etienne

    2011-09-01

    Carotenoid pigments are important for immunity and as antioxidants, and carotenoid-based colors are believed to provide honest signals of individual quality. Other colorless but more efficient antioxidants such as vitamins A and E may protect carotenoids from bleaching. Carotenoid-based colors have thus recently been suggested to reflect the concentration of such colorless antioxidants, but this has rarely been tested. Furthermore, although evidence is accruing for multiple genetic criteria for mate choice, carotenoid-based colors have rarely been shown to reflect both phenotypic and genetic quality. In this study, we investigated whether gape, tongue, eye-ring, and bill coloration of chick-rearing black-legged kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla reflected circulating levels of carotenoids and vitamins A and E. We further investigated whether integument coloration reflected phenotypic (body condition and fledging success) and genetic quality (heterozygosity). We found that the coloration of fleshy integuments was correlated with carotenoid and vitamin A levels and fledging success but only in males. Furthermore, the coloration of tongue and eye-ring was correlated with heterozygosity in both males and females. Integument colors might therefore be reliable signals of individual quality used by birds to adjust their parental care during the chick-rearing period.

  4. Integument coloration signals reproductive success, heterozygosity, and antioxidant levels in chick-rearing black-legged kittiwakes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leclaire, Sarah; White, Joël; Arnoux, Emilie; Faivre, Bruno; Vetter, Nathanaël; Hatch, Scott A.; Danchin, Étienne

    2011-09-01

    Carotenoid pigments are important for immunity and as antioxidants, and carotenoid-based colors are believed to provide honest signals of individual quality. Other colorless but more efficient antioxidants such as vitamins A and E may protect carotenoids from bleaching. Carotenoid-based colors have thus recently been suggested to reflect the concentration of such colorless antioxidants, but this has rarely been tested. Furthermore, although evidence is accruing for multiple genetic criteria for mate choice, carotenoid-based colors have rarely been shown to reflect both phenotypic and genetic quality. In this study, we investigated whether gape, tongue, eye-ring, and bill coloration of chick-rearing black-legged kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla reflected circulating levels of carotenoids and vitamins A and E. We further investigated whether integument coloration reflected phenotypic (body condition and fledging success) and genetic quality (heterozygosity). We found that the coloration of fleshy integuments was correlated with carotenoid and vitamin A levels and fledging success but only in males. Furthermore, the coloration of tongue and eye-ring was correlated with heterozygosity in both males and females. Integument colors might therefore be reliable signals of individual quality used by birds to adjust their parental care during the chick-rearing period.

  5. Integument coloration signals reproductive success, heterozygosity, and antioxidant levels in chick-rearing black-legged kittiwakes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Leclaire, S.; White, J.; Arnoux, E.; Faivre, B.; Vetter, N.; Hatch, Shyla A.; Danchin, E.

    2011-01-01

    Carotenoid pigments are important for immunity and as antioxidants, and carotenoid-based colors are believed to provide honest signals of individual quality. Other colorless but more efficient antioxidants such as vitamins A and E may protect carotenoids from bleaching. Carotenoid-based colors have thus recently been suggested to reflect the concentration of such colorless antioxidants, but this has rarely been tested. Furthermore, although evidence is accruing for multiple genetic criteria for mate choice, carotenoid-based colors have rarely been shown to reflect both phenotypic and genetic quality. In this study, we investigated whether gape, tongue, eye-ring, and bill coloration of chick-rearing black-legged kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla reflected circulating levels of carotenoids and vitamins A and E. We further investigated whether integument coloration reflected phenotypic (body condition and fledging success) and genetic quality (heterozygosity). We found that the coloration of fleshy integuments was correlated with carotenoid and vitamin A levels and fledging success but only in males. Furthermore, the coloration of tongue and eye-ring was correlated with heterozygosity in both males and females. Integument colors might therefore be reliable signals of individual quality used by birds to adjust their parental care during the chick-rearing period. ?? Springer-Verlag 2011.

  6. Isolation, Purification, and Identification of an Important Pigment, Sepiapterin, from Integument of the lemon Mutant of the Silkworm, Bombyx mori

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Jing; Wang, Wenjing; Liu, Chaoliang; Meng, Yan

    2013-01-01

    Sepiapterin is the precursor of tetrahydrobiopterin, an important coenzyme of aromatic amino acid hydroxylases, the lack of which leads to a variety of physiological metabolic diseases or neurological syndromes in humans. Sepiapterin is a main pigment component in the integument of the lemon mutant of the silkworm, Bombyx mori (L.) (Lepidoptera: Bombycidae), and is present there in extremely high content, so lemon is a valuable genetic resource to extract sepiapterin. In this study, an effective experimental system was set up for isolation and purification of sepiapterin from lemon silkworms by optimizing homogenization solvent, elution buffer, and separation chromatographic column. The results showed that ethanol was the most suitable solvent to homogenize the integument, with a concentration of 50% and solid:liquid ratio of 1:20 (g/mL). Sepiapterin was purified successively by column chromatography of cellulose Ecteola, sephadex G-25-150, and cellulose phosphate, and was identified by ultraviolet-visible absorption spectrometry. A stable and accurate high performance liquid chromatography method was constructed to identify sepiapterin and conduct qualitative and quantitative analyses. Sepiapterin of high purity was achieved, and the harvest reached about 40 ug/g of integument in the experiments. This work helps to obtaining natural sepiapterin in large amounts in order to use the lemon B. mori mutant to produce BH4 in vitro. PMID:24773269

  7. Natural Product Molecular Fossils.

    PubMed

    Falk, Heinz; Wolkenstein, Klaus

    2017-01-01

    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.

  8. Infrared Spectra of Fossils,

    DTIC Science & Technology

    fossil’s surface is accessible to the analyzing beams. The technique is potentially valuable for the examination of special samples of palaeontological and archaeological interest. Keywords include: Photothermal effect.

  9. Fossil power plant rehabilitation

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1989-01-01

    These proceedings discuss the papers presented at the conference on the subject of fossil power plants management. Some of the topics discussed were: Creep cavitation assessment using field replication; a remnant life assessment technique based on local strain measurements; a new lease on life for turbine rotors subject to low-cycle fatigue at elevated temperature; creep-fatigue crack growth behaviour of a 1CrMoV Rotor steel; data collection and monitoring; detection of high temperature fossil boiler tube degradation; metallographic studies of degenerative mechanism in fossil fuel fired boiler tubes; eddy current inspection of ferromagnetic materials using pulsed magnetic saturation; cause and prevention of fatigue failures in boiler tubing; design/operator feedback; and on-line monitors for creep and fatigue damage in fossil power plants.

  10. Teacher Training and Authentic Scientific Research Utilizing Cretaceous Fossil Resources

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Danch, J. M.

    2016-12-01

    The readily accessible Cretaceous fossil beds of central New Jersey provide an excellent opportunity for both teacher training in the utilization of paleontological resources in the classroom and authentic scientific student research at the middle and high school levels. Woodbridge Township New Jersey School District teachers participated in field trips to various fossiliferous sites to obtain photographic and video data and invertebrate and vertebrate fossil specimens for use in the classroom. Teachers were also presented with techniques allowing them to mentor students in performing authentic paleontological research. Students participated in multi-year research projects utilizing Cretaceous fossils collected in the field and presented their findings at science fairs and symposia. A workshop for K - 12 teachers statewide was developed for the New Jersey Science Convention providing information about New Jersey fossil resources and allowing participants to obtain, study and classify specimens. Additionally, the workshop provided participants with the information necessary for them to plan and conduct their own field trips.

  11. The characters of Palaeozoic jawed vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Brazeau, Martin D; Friedman, Matt

    2014-01-01

    Newly discovered fossils from the Silurian and Devonian periods are beginning to challenge embedded perceptions about the origin and early diversification of jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes). Nevertheless, an explicit cladistic framework for the relationships of these fossils relative to the principal crown lineages of the jawed vertebrates (osteichthyans: bony fishes and tetrapods; chondrichthyans: sharks, batoids, and chimaeras) remains elusive. We critically review the systematics and character distributions of early gnathostomes and provide a clearly stated hierarchy of synapomorphies covering the jaw-bearing stem gnathostomes and osteichthyan and chondrichthyan stem groups. We show that character lists, designed to support the monophyly of putative groups, tend to overstate their strength and lack cladistic corroboration. By contrast, synapomorphic hierarchies are more open to refutation and must explicitly confront conflicting evidence. Our proposed synapomorphy scheme is used to evaluate the status of the problematic fossil groups Acanthodii and Placodermi, and suggest profitable avenues for future research. We interpret placoderms as a paraphyletic array of stem-group gnathostomes, and suggest what we regard as two equally plausible placements of acanthodians: exclusively on the chondrichthyan stem, or distributed on both the chondrichthyan and osteichthyan stems. PMID:25750460

  12. Investigating integument alterations in cubicle housed dairy cows: which types and locations can be combined?

    PubMed

    Brenninkmeyer, C; Dippel, S; Brinkmann, J; March, S; Winckler, C; Knierim, U

    2016-02-01

    In this study, a data set of 2922 lactating dairy cows in a sample of 64 conventional and organic dairy farms with Holstein Friesian cows in Germany and 31 conventional dairy farms with the dual purpose breed Fleckvieh in Austria was used to screen for correlations between the occurrences of different integument alterations. All cows were housed in cubicle systems. Alterations were classified as hairless areas (H), scabs or wounds (W) or swellings (S) and assessed at 15 locations of the cows' body. Highest median farm prevalences were found at the joints of the legs, which are already commonly included in studies on integumentary alterations: median farm prevalence was 83% for S and 48% for H at the carpal joints, followed by H (38%) and S (20%) at the lateral tarsal joints and H at the lateral calcanei (20%). Additional body parts with notable median prevalences for H were the hip bones (13%), pin bones (12%) and sacrum (11%). Three cluster models, with 2, 5 and 14 clusters, were built by hierarchical clustering of prevalences of the 30 most relevant alteration location combinations. Clustering revealed that location overruled type of lesion in most cases. Occasionally, clusters represented body segments significantly distant from each other, for example the carpal joints and lateral and dorsal calcanei. However, some neighbouring areas such as the medial and lateral hock area should be analysed separately from each other for causal analysis as they formed distinct clusters.

  13. Three-Dimensionally Preserved Integument Reveals Hydrodynamic Adaptations in the Extinct Marine Lizard Ectenosaurus (Reptilia, Mosasauridae)

    PubMed Central

    Lindgren, Johan; Everhart, Michael J.; Caldwell, Michael W.

    2011-01-01

    The physical properties of water and the environment it presents to its inhabitants provide stringent constraints and selection pressures affecting aquatic adaptation and evolution. Mosasaurs (a group of secondarily aquatic reptiles that occupied a broad array of predatory niches in the Cretaceous marine ecosystems about 98–65 million years ago) have traditionally been considered as anguilliform locomotors capable only of generating short bursts of speed during brief ambush pursuits. Here we report on an exceptionally preserved, long-snouted mosasaur (Ectenosaurus clidastoides) from the Santonian (Upper Cretaceous) part of the Smoky Hill Chalk Member of the Niobrara Formation in western Kansas, USA, that contains phosphatized remains of the integument displaying both depth and structure. The small, ovoid neck and/or anterior trunk scales exhibit a longitudinal central keel, and are obliquely arrayed into an alternating pattern where neighboring scales overlap one another. Supportive sculpturing in the form of two parallel, longitudinal ridges on the inner scale surface and a complex system of multiple, superimposed layers of straight, cross-woven helical fiber bundles in the underlying dermis, may have served to minimize surface deformation and frictional drag during locomotion. Additional parallel fiber bundles oriented at acute angles to the long axis of the animal presumably provided stiffness in the lateral plane. These features suggest that the anterior torso of Ectenosaurus was held somewhat rigid during swimming, thereby limiting propulsive movements to the posterior body and tail. PMID:22110629

  14. Proliferative and non-proliferative lesions of the rat and mouse integument.

    PubMed

    Mecklenburg, Lars; Kusewitt, Donna; Kolly, Carine; Treumann, Silke; Adams, E Terence; Diegel, Kelly; Yamate, Jyoji; Kaufmann, Wolfgang; Müller, Susanne; Danilenko, Dimitry; Bradley, Alys

    2013-01-01

    The INHAND (International Harmonization of Nomenclature and Diagnostic Criteria for Lesions in Rats and Mice) project is a joint initiative of the societies of toxicological pathology from Europe (ESTP), Great Britain (BSTP), Japan (JSTP) and North America (STP). Its aim is to develop an internationally-accepted nomenclature for proliferative and non-proliferative lesions in laboratory rodents. A widely accepted international harmonization of nomenclature in laboratory animals will decrease confusion among regulatory and scientific research organizations in different countries and will provide a common language to increase and enrich international exchanges of information among toxicologists and pathologists. The purpose of this publication is to provide a standardized nomenclature for classifying microscopical lesions observed in the integument of laboratory rats and mice. Example colour images are provided for most lesions. The standardized nomenclature presented in this document and additional colour images are also available electronically at http://www.goreni.org. The nomenclature presented herein is based on histopathology databases from government, academia, and industrial laboratories throughout the world, and covers lesions that develop spontaneously as well as those induced by exposure to various test materials. (DOI: 10.1293/tox.26.27S; J Toxicol Pathol 2013; 26: 27S-57S).

  15. Proliferative and Non-Proliferative Lesions of the Rat and Mouse Integument

    PubMed Central

    Mecklenburg, Lars; Kusewitt, Donna; Kolly, Carine; Treumann, Silke; Adams, E. Terence; Diegel, Kelly; Yamate, Jyoji; Kaufmann, Wolfgang; Müller, Susanne; Danilenko, Dimitry; Bradley, Alys

    2014-01-01

    The INHAND (International Harmonization of Nomenclature and Diagnostic Criteria for Lesions in Rats and Mice) project is a joint initiative of the societies of toxicological pathology from Europe (ESTP), Great Britain (BSTP), Japan (JSTP) and North America (STP). Its aim is to develop an internationally-accepted nomenclature for proliferative and non-proliferative lesions in laboratory rodents. A widely accepted international harmonization of nomenclature in laboratory animals will decrease confusion among regulatory and scientific research organizations in different countries and will provide a common language to increase and enrich international exchanges of information among toxicologists and pathologists. The purpose of this publication is to provide a standardized nomenclature for classifying microscopical lesions observed in the integument of laboratory rats and mice. Example colour images are provided for most lesions. The standardized nomenclature presented in this document and additional colour images are also available electronically at http://www.goreni.org. The nomenclature presented herein is based on histopathology databases from government, academia, and industrial laboratories throughout the world, and covers lesions that develop spontaneously as well as those induced by exposure to various test materials. (DOI: 10.1293/tox.26.27S; J Toxicol Pathol 2013; 26: 27S–57S) PMID:25035577

  16. Chiton integument: ultrastructure of the sensory hairs of Mopalia muscosa (Mollusca: Polyplacophora).

    PubMed

    Leise, E M; Cloney, R A

    1982-01-01

    The dorsal integument of the girdle of the chiton Mopalia muscosa is covered by a chitinous cuticle about 0.1 mm in thickness. Within the cuticle are fusiform spicules composed of a central mass of pigment granules surrounded by a layer of calcium carbonate crystals. Tapered, curved chitinous hairs with a groove on the mesial surface pass through the cuticle and protrude above the surface. The spicules are produced by specialized groups of epidermal cells called spiniferous papillae and the hairs are produced by trichogenous papillae. Processes of pigment cells containing green granules are scattered among the cells of each type of papilla and among the common epidermal cells. The wall or cortex of each hair is composed of two layers. The cortex surrounds a central medulla that contains matrix material of low density and from 1 to 20 axial bundles of dendrites. The number of bundles within the medulla varies with the size of the hair. Each bundle contains from 1 to 25 dendrites ensheathed by processes of supporting cells. The dendrites and supporting sheath arise from epidermal cells of the central part of the papilla. At the base of each trichogenous papilla are several nerves that pass into the dermis. Two questions remain unresolved. The function of the hairs is unknown, and we have not determined whether the sensory cells are primary sensory neurons or secondary sensory cells.

  17. Vertebrate palaeontology of Australasia into the twenty-first century.

    PubMed

    Nguyen, Jacqueline M T; Molak, Martyna; Black, Karen H; Fitzgerald, Erich M G; Travouillon, Kenny J; Ho, Simon Y W

    2011-12-23

    The 13th Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution Palaeontology and Systematics (CAVEPS) took place in Perth, Western Australia, from 27 to 30 April 2011. This biennial meeting was jointly hosted by Curtin University, the Western Australian Museum, Murdoch University and the University of Western Australia. Researchers from diverse disciplines addressed many aspects of vertebrate evolution, including functional morphology, phylogeny, ecology and extinctions. New additions to the fossil record were reported, especially from hitherto under-represented ages and clades. Yet, application of new techniques in palaeobiological analyses dominated, such as dental microwear and geochronology, and technological advances, including computed tomography and ancient biomolecules. This signals a shift towards increased emphasis in interpreting broader evolutionary patterns and processes. Nonetheless, further field exploration for new fossils and systematic descriptions will continue to shape our understanding of vertebrate evolution in this little-studied, but most unusual, part of the globe.

  18. Vertebrate palaeontology of Australasia into the twenty-first century

    PubMed Central

    Nguyen, Jacqueline M. T.; Molak, Martyna; Black, Karen H.; Fitzgerald, Erich M. G.; Travouillon, Kenny J.; Ho, Simon Y. W.

    2011-01-01

    The 13th Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution Palaeontology and Systematics (CAVEPS) took place in Perth, Western Australia, from 27 to 30 April 2011. This biennial meeting was jointly hosted by Curtin University, the Western Australian Museum, Murdoch University and the University of Western Australia. Researchers from diverse disciplines addressed many aspects of vertebrate evolution, including functional morphology, phylogeny, ecology and extinctions. New additions to the fossil record were reported, especially from hitherto under-represented ages and clades. Yet, application of new techniques in palaeobiological analyses dominated, such as dental microwear and geochronology, and technological advances, including computed tomography and ancient biomolecules. This signals a shift towards increased emphasis in interpreting broader evolutionary patterns and processes. Nonetheless, further field exploration for new fossils and systematic descriptions will continue to shape our understanding of vertebrate evolution in this little-studied, but most unusual, part of the globe. PMID:21715395

  19. Palynologically calibrated vertebrate record from North Dakota consistent with abrupt dinosaur extinction at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pearson, D.A.; Schaefer, T.; Johnson, K.R.; Nichols, D.J.

    2001-01-01

    New data from 17 Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary sections and 53 vertebrate sites in the Hell Creek and Fort Union Formations in southwestern North Dakota document a 1.76 m barren interval between the highest Cretaceous vertebrate fossils and the palynologically recognized K-T boundary. The boundary is above the formational contact at 15 localities and coincident with it at two, demonstrating that the formational contact is diachronous. Dinosaurs are common in the highest Cretaceous vertebrate samples and a partial dinosaur skeleton in the Fort Union Formation is the highest recorded Cretaceous vertebrate fossil in this area.

  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. 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)

  2. First fossil chimpanzee.

    PubMed

    McBrearty, Sally; Jablonski, Nina G

    2005-09-01

    There are thousands of fossils of hominins, but no fossil chimpanzee has yet been reported. The chimpanzee (Pan) is the closest living relative to humans. Chimpanzee populations today are confined to wooded West and central Africa, whereas most hominin fossil sites occur in the semi-arid East African Rift Valley. This situation has fuelled speculation regarding causes for the divergence of the human and chimpanzee lineages five to eight million years ago. Some investigators have invoked a shift from wooded to savannah vegetation in East Africa, driven by climate change, to explain the apparent separation between chimpanzee and human ancestral populations and the origin of the unique hominin locomotor adaptation, bipedalism. The Rift Valley itself functions as an obstacle to chimpanzee occupation in some scenarios. Here we report the first fossil chimpanzee. These fossils, from the Kapthurin Formation, Kenya, show that representatives of Pan were present in the East African Rift Valley during the Middle Pleistocene, where they were contemporary with an extinct species of Homo. Habitats suitable for both hominins and chimpanzees were clearly present there during this period, and the Rift Valley did not present an impenetrable barrier to chimpanzee occupation.

  3. The evolution of early vertebrate photoreceptors

    PubMed Central

    Collin, Shaun P.; Davies, Wayne L.; Hart, Nathan S.; Hunt, David M.

    2009-01-01

    Meeting the challenge of sampling an ancient aquatic landscape by the early vertebrates was crucial to their survival and would establish a retinal bauplan to be used by all subsequent vertebrate descendents. Image-forming eyes were under tremendous selection pressure and the ability to identify suitable prey and detect potential predators was thought to be one of the major drivers of speciation in the Early Cambrian. Based on the fossil record, we know that hagfishes, lampreys, holocephalans, elasmobranchs and lungfishes occupy critical stages in vertebrate evolution, having remained relatively unchanged over hundreds of millions of years. Now using extant representatives of these ‘living fossils’, we are able to piece together the evolution of vertebrate photoreception. While photoreception in hagfishes appears to be based on light detection and controlling circadian rhythms, rather than image formation, the photoreceptors of lampreys fall into five distinct classes and represent a critical stage in the dichotomy of rods and cones. At least four types of retinal cones sample the visual environment in lampreys mediating photopic (and potentially colour) vision, a sampling strategy retained by lungfishes, some modern teleosts, reptiles and birds. Trichromacy is retained in cartilaginous fishes (at least in batoids and holocephalans), where it is predicted that true scotopic (dim light) vision evolved in the common ancestor of all living gnathostomes. The capacity to discriminate colour and balance the tradeoff between resolution and sensitivity in the early vertebrates was an important driver of eye evolution, where many of the ocular features evolved were retained as vertebrates progressed on to land. PMID:19720654

  4. Testing Skills in Vertebrates

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Funk, Mildred Sears; Tosto, Pat

    2007-01-01

    In this article, the authors present a project that gives students examples of basic skills that many vertebrate species develop as they grow and function in their ecosystem. These activities involve information gathering about surroundings, learning how to use objects, and tracking and searching skills. Different vertebrate species may acquire…

  5. Testing Skills in Vertebrates

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Funk, Mildred Sears; Tosto, Pat

    2007-01-01

    In this article, the authors present a project that gives students examples of basic skills that many vertebrate species develop as they grow and function in their ecosystem. These activities involve information gathering about surroundings, learning how to use objects, and tracking and searching skills. Different vertebrate species may acquire…

  6. A new arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase in silkworm (Bombyx mori) affects integument pigmentation.

    PubMed

    Long, Yaohang; Li, Jiaorong; Zhao, Tianfu; Li, Guannan; Zhu, Yong

    2015-04-01

    Dopamine is a precursor for melanin synthesis. Arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT) is involved in the melatonin formation in insects because it could catalyze the transformation from dopamine to dopamine-N-acetyldopamine. In this study, we identified a new AANAT gene in the silkworm (Bombyx mori) and assessed its role in the silkworm. The cDNA of this gene encodes 233 amino acids that shares 57 % amino acid identity with the Bm-iAANAT protein. We thus refer to this gene as Bm-iAANAT2. To investigate the role of Bm-iAANAT2, we constructed a transgenic interference system using a 3xp3 promoter to suppress the expression of Bm-iAANAT2 in the silkworm. We observed that melanin deposition occurs in the head and integument in transgenic lines. To verify the melanism pattern, dopamine content and the enzyme activity of AANAT were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). We found that an increase in dopamine levels affects melanism patterns on the heads of transgenic B. mori. A reduction in the enzyme activity of AANAT leads to changes in dopamine levels. We analyzed the expression of the Bm-iAANAT2 genes by qPCR and found that the expression of Bm-iAANAT2 gene is significantly lower in transgenic lines. Our results lead us to conclude that Bm-iAANAT2 is a new arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase gene in the silkworm and is involved in the metabolism of the dopamine to avoid the generation of melanin.

  7. Trace Fossil Analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hasiotis, Stephen T.

    2009-05-01

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

  8. Advanced fossil energy utilization

    SciTech Connect

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

    2010-01-01

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

  9. Molybdenum cofactor deficiency causes translucent integument, male-biased lethality, and flaccid paralysis in the silkworm Bombyx mori.

    PubMed

    Fujii, Tsuguru; Yamamoto, Kimiko; Banno, Yutaka

    2016-06-01

    Uric acid accumulates in the epidermis of Bombyx mori larvae and renders the larval integument opaque and white. Yamamoto translucent (oya) is a novel spontaneous mutant with a translucent larval integument and unique phenotypic characteristics, such as male-biased lethality and flaccid larval paralysis. Xanthine dehydrogenase (XDH) that requires a molybdenum cofactor (MoCo) for its activity is a key enzyme for uric acid synthesis. It has been observed that injection of a bovine xanthine oxidase, which corresponds functionally to XDH and contains its own MoCo activity, changes the integuments of oya mutants from translucent to opaque and white. This finding suggests that XDH/MoCo activity might be defective in oya mutants. Our linkage analysis identified an association between the oya locus and chromosome 23. Because XDH is not linked to chromosome 23 in B. mori, MoCo appears to be defective in oya mutants. In eukaryotes, MoCo is synthesized by a conserved biosynthesis pathway governed by four loci (MOCS1, MOCS2, MOCS3, and GEPH). Through a candidate gene approach followed by sequence analysis, a 6-bp deletion was detected in an exon of the B. mori molybdenum cofactor synthesis-step 1 gene (BmMOCS1) in the oya strain. Moreover, recombination was not observed between the oya and BmMOCS1 loci. These results indicate that the BmMOCS1 locus is responsible for the oya locus. Finally, we discuss the potential cause of male-biased lethality and flaccid paralysis observed in the oya mutants.

  10. Chemical, experimental, and morphological evidence for diagenetically altered melanin in exceptionally preserved fossils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Colleary, Caitlin; Dolocan, Andrei; Gardner, James; Singh, Suresh; Wuttke, Michael; Rabenstein, Renate; Habersetzer, Jörg; Schaal, Stephan; Feseha, Mulugeta; Clemens, Matthew; Jacobs, Bonnie F.; Currano, Ellen D.; Jacobs, Louis L.; Lyng Sylvestersen, Rene; Gabbott, Sarah E.; Vinther, Jakob

    2015-10-01

    In living organisms, color patterns, behavior, and ecology are closely linked. Thus, detection of fossil pigments may permit inferences about important aspects of ancient animal ecology and evolution. Melanin-bearing melanosomes were suggested to preserve as organic residues in exceptionally preserved fossils, retaining distinct morphology that is associated with aspects of original color patterns. Nevertheless, these oblong and spherical structures have also been identified as fossilized bacteria. To date, chemical studies have not directly considered the effects of diagenesis on melanin preservation, and how this may influence its identification. Here we use time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry to identify and chemically characterize melanin in a diverse sample of previously unstudied extant and fossil taxa, including fossils with notably different diagenetic histories and geologic ages. We document signatures consistent with melanin preservation in fossils ranging from feathers, to mammals, to amphibians. Using principal component analyses, we characterize putative mixtures of eumelanin and phaeomelanin in both fossil and extant samples. Surprisingly, both extant and fossil amphibians generally exhibit melanosomes with a mixed eumelanin/phaeomelanin composition rather than pure eumelanin, as assumed previously. We argue that experimental maturation of modern melanin samples replicates diagenetic chemical alteration of melanin observed in fossils. This refutes the hypothesis that such fossil microbodies could be bacteria, and demonstrates that melanin is widely responsible for the organic soft tissue outlines in vertebrates found at exceptional fossil localities, thus allowing for the reconstruction of certain aspects of original pigment patterns.

  11. Chemical, experimental, and morphological evidence for diagenetically altered melanin in exceptionally preserved fossils.

    PubMed

    Colleary, Caitlin; Dolocan, Andrei; Gardner, James; Singh, Suresh; Wuttke, Michael; Rabenstein, Renate; Habersetzer, Jörg; Schaal, Stephan; Feseha, Mulugeta; Clemens, Matthew; Jacobs, Bonnie F; Currano, Ellen D; Jacobs, Louis L; Sylvestersen, Rene Lyng; Gabbott, Sarah E; Vinther, Jakob

    2015-10-13

    In living organisms, color patterns, behavior, and ecology are closely linked. Thus, detection of fossil pigments may permit inferences about important aspects of ancient animal ecology and evolution. Melanin-bearing melanosomes were suggested to preserve as organic residues in exceptionally preserved fossils, retaining distinct morphology that is associated with aspects of original color patterns. Nevertheless, these oblong and spherical structures have also been identified as fossilized bacteria. To date, chemical studies have not directly considered the effects of diagenesis on melanin preservation, and how this may influence its identification. Here we use time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry to identify and chemically characterize melanin in a diverse sample of previously unstudied extant and fossil taxa, including fossils with notably different diagenetic histories and geologic ages. We document signatures consistent with melanin preservation in fossils ranging from feathers, to mammals, to amphibians. Using principal component analyses, we characterize putative mixtures of eumelanin and phaeomelanin in both fossil and extant samples. Surprisingly, both extant and fossil amphibians generally exhibit melanosomes with a mixed eumelanin/phaeomelanin composition rather than pure eumelanin, as assumed previously. We argue that experimental maturation of modern melanin samples replicates diagenetic chemical alteration of melanin observed in fossils. This refutes the hypothesis that such fossil microbodies could be bacteria, and demonstrates that melanin is widely responsible for the organic soft tissue outlines in vertebrates found at exceptional fossil localities, thus allowing for the reconstruction of certain aspects of original pigment patterns.

  12. Chemical, experimental, and morphological evidence for diagenetically altered melanin in exceptionally preserved fossils

    PubMed Central

    Colleary, Caitlin; Dolocan, Andrei; Gardner, James; Singh, Suresh; Wuttke, Michael; Rabenstein, Renate; Habersetzer, Jörg; Schaal, Stephan; Feseha, Mulugeta; Clemens, Matthew; Jacobs, Bonnie F.; Currano, Ellen D.; Jacobs, Louis L.; Sylvestersen, Rene Lyng; Gabbott, Sarah E.; Vinther, Jakob

    2015-01-01

    In living organisms, color patterns, behavior, and ecology are closely linked. Thus, detection of fossil pigments may permit inferences about important aspects of ancient animal ecology and evolution. Melanin-bearing melanosomes were suggested to preserve as organic residues in exceptionally preserved fossils, retaining distinct morphology that is associated with aspects of original color patterns. Nevertheless, these oblong and spherical structures have also been identified as fossilized bacteria. To date, chemical studies have not directly considered the effects of diagenesis on melanin preservation, and how this may influence its identification. Here we use time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry to identify and chemically characterize melanin in a diverse sample of previously unstudied extant and fossil taxa, including fossils with notably different diagenetic histories and geologic ages. We document signatures consistent with melanin preservation in fossils ranging from feathers, to mammals, to amphibians. Using principal component analyses, we characterize putative mixtures of eumelanin and phaeomelanin in both fossil and extant samples. Surprisingly, both extant and fossil amphibians generally exhibit melanosomes with a mixed eumelanin/phaeomelanin composition rather than pure eumelanin, as assumed previously. We argue that experimental maturation of modern melanin samples replicates diagenetic chemical alteration of melanin observed in fossils. This refutes the hypothesis that such fossil microbodies could be bacteria, and demonstrates that melanin is widely responsible for the organic soft tissue outlines in vertebrates found at exceptional fossil localities, thus allowing for the reconstruction of certain aspects of original pigment patterns. PMID:26417094

  13. Major African contributions to Palaeozoic and Mesozoic vertebrate palaeontology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Durand, J. F.

    2005-10-01

    Over more than two centuries, Africa has been an important source of knowledge with regard to the origins, evolution and distribution of important animal taxa. Not only did Africa south of the Sahara contain a second zoogeographical region virtually unknown four centuries ago, but also gave the world the first insight into the palaeontological wealth and the existence of Gondwana. The section on Agnatha includes a discussion on conodonts from South Africa, considered to be the some of the oldest and best-preserved vertebrate fossils in the world. The section on the Gnathostomata includes a very brief overview of the most important fish taxa from the Palaeozoic to Mesozoic of Africa. The section on the Tetrapoda includes an overview of the major taxa found in the fossil record of the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic of Africa. The Permian and Triassic tetrapod fossils that indicate the evolution and radiation of the parareptiles, eureptiles and synapsids are highlighted. The most important vertebrate fossils from Africa that contributed to our understanding of the radiation of evolutionary important groups such as the fish, tetrapods, tortoises, snakes, crocodiles, dinosaurs and mammals are discussed. The Jurassic and Cretaceous assemblages containing dinosaur and mammal remains, deposited after the break up of Gondwana, are discussed. Finally a perspective on the importance of Africa as fossil repository and the limitations of palaeontological endeavour in Africa is given.

  14. Centering on Fossils and Dinosaurs.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Coble, Charles R.; McCall, Gregory K.

    1986-01-01

    Describes a set of 10 activities which introduce mainstreamed junior high school students to concepts relating to fossils and dinosaurs. Provides students with opportunities for learning the concepts of change and adaptation, as well as fossil facts and terminology. (TW)

  15. Ants and the fossil record.

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. Vertebral Compression Fractures

    MedlinePlus

    ... OI: Information on Vertebral Compression Fractures 804 W. Diamond Ave., Ste. 210 Gaithersburg, MD 20878 (800) 981- ... osteogenesis imperfecta contact : Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation 804 W. Diamond Avenue, Suite 210, Gaithersburg, MD 20878 Tel: 800- ...

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. Vertebral numbers and human evolution.

    PubMed

    Williams, Scott A; Middleton, Emily R; Villamil, Catalina I; Shattuck, Milena R

    2016-01-01

    Ever since Tyson (1699), anatomists have noted and compared differences in the regional numbers of vertebrae among humans and other hominoids. Subsequent workers interpreted these differences in phylogenetic, functional, and behavioral frameworks and speculated on the history of vertebral numbers during human evolution. Even in a modern phylogenetic framework and with greatly expanded sample sizes of hominoid species, researchers' conclusions vary drastically, positing that hominins evolved from either a "long-backed" (numerically long lumbar column) or a "short-backed" (numerically short lumbar column) ancestor. We show that these disparate interpretations are due in part to the use of different criteria for what defines a lumbar vertebra, but argue that, regardless of which lumbar definition is used, hominins are similar to their great ape relatives in possessing a short trunk, a rare occurrence in mammals and one that defines the clade Hominoidea. Furthermore, we address the recent claim that the early hominin thoracolumbar configuration is not distinct from that of modern humans and conclude that early hominins show evidence of "cranial shifting," which might explain the anomalous morphology of several early hominin fossils. Finally, we evaluate the competing hypotheses on numbers of vertebrae and argue that the current data support a hominin ancestor with an African ape-like short trunk and lower back. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  2. 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

  3. The largest fossil rodent.

    PubMed

    Rinderknecht, Andrés; Blanco, R Ernesto

    2008-04-22

    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 1000kg 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 (4-2Myr ago), and the proposed palaeoenvironment where this rodent lived was characterized as an estuarine or deltaic system with forest communities.

  4. Integument and defence in larva and prepupa of a sawfly living on a semi-aquatic plant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boevé, Jean-Luc; Voigt, Dagmar; Gorb, Stanislav N.

    2013-01-01

    The larvae of the sawfly Rhadinoceraea micans live and feed on a semi-aquatic plant, Iris pseudacorus, and their integument is strongly hydrophobic. The hydrophobicity is part of a chemical defence strategy, easy bleeding, also known from congeners. The prepupae burrow into the soil where they form a cocoon in which they pupate, thus implying different micro-environmental conditions. The cuticle structure and wetting defensive effectiveness of R. micans were compared between larvae and prepupae. The two stages were similarly well defended against attacking ants by the bleeding of a deterrent hemolymph, whereas they were dissimilar in the cuticle surface that presented sculptures and wax crystals at the larval stage only. The integument of prepupae was less structured, and hydrophilic. Larvae of R. micans exhibit, among sawflies, an exceptional cuticle structuring and we assume that they occupy this particular niche of a semi-aquatic environment to avoid encounters with ground-dwelling predators whereas prepupae may benefit from the chemical defence acquired at larval stage.

  5. Prevalence of the genus Cladosporium on the integument of leaf-cutting ants characterized by 454 pyrosequencing.

    PubMed

    Duarte, A P M; Ferro, M; Rodrigues, A; Bacci, M; Nagamoto, N S; Forti, L C; Pagnocca, F C

    2016-09-01

    The relationship of attine ants with their mutualistic fungus and other microorganisms has been studied during the last two centuries. However, previous studies about the diversity of fungi in the ants' microenvironment are based mostly on culture-dependent approaches, lacking a broad characterization of the fungal ant-associated community. Here, we analysed the fungal diversity found on the integument of Atta capiguara and Atta laevigata alate ants using 454 pyrosequencing. We obtained 35,453 ITS reads grouped into 99 molecular operational taxonomic units (MOTUs). Data analysis revealed that A. capiguara drones had the highest diversity of MOTUs. Besides the occurrence of several uncultured fungi, the mycobiota analysis revealed that the most abundant taxa were the Cladosporium-complex, Cryptococcus laurentii and Epicoccum sp. Taxa in the genus Cladosporium were predominant in all samples, comprising 67.9 % of all reads. The remarkable presence of the genus Cladosporium on the integument of leaf-cutting ants alates from distinct ant species suggests that this fungus is favored in this microenvironment.

  6. Paleophysiology: From Fossils to the Future.

    PubMed

    Vermeij, Geerat J

    2015-10-01

    Future environments may resemble conditions that have not existed for millions of years. To assess the adaptive options available to organisms evolving under such circumstances, it is instructive to probe paleophysiology, the ways in which ancient life coped with its physical and chemical surroundings. To do this, we need reliable proxies that are based on fundamental principles, quantitatively verified in living species, and observable in fossil remains. Insights have already come from vertebrates and plants, and others will likely emerge for marine animals if promising proxies are validated. Many questions remain about the circumstances for the evolution of environmental tolerances, metabolic rates, biomineralization, and physiological responses to interacting species, and about how living organisms will perform under exceptional conditions.

  7. Modular evolution of the Cetacean vertebral column.

    PubMed

    Buchholtz, Emily A

    2007-01-01

    Modular theory predicts that hierarchical developmental processes generate hierarchical phenotypic units that are capable of independent modification. The vertebral column is an overtly modular structure, and its rapid phenotypic transformation in cetacean evolution provides a case study for modularity. Terrestrial mammals have five morphologically discrete vertebral series that are now known to be coincident with Hox gene expression patterns. Here, I present the hypothesis that in living Carnivora and Artiodactyla, and by inference in the terrestrial ancestors of whales, the series are themselves components of larger precaudal and caudal modular units. Column morphology in a series of fossil and living whales is used to predict the type and sequence of developmental changes responsible for modification of that ancestral pattern. Developmental innovations inferred include independent meristic additions to the precaudal column in basal archaeocetes and basilosaurids, stepwise homeotic reduction of the sacral series in protocetids, and dissociation of the caudal series into anterior tail and fluke subunits in basilosaurids. The most dramatic change was the novel association of lumbar and anterior caudal vertebrae in a module that crosses the precaudal/caudal boundary. This large unit is defined by shared patterns of vertebral morphology, count, and size in all living whales (Neoceti).

  8. Vertebral sclerosis in adults.

    PubMed Central

    Russell, A S; Percy, J S; Lentle, B C

    1979-01-01

    Narrowing of the intervertebral disc space with sclerosis of the adjacent vertebral bodies may occur as a consequence of infection, neoplasia, trauma, or rheumatic disease. Some patients have been described with backache and these radiological appearances without any primary cause being apparent. The lesions were almost always of 1 or, at most, 2 vertebrae and most frequently involved the inferior margin of L4. We describe 3 patients with far more extensive vertebral involvement and present the clinical, radiological, scintiscan, and histological findings. The only patient we have seen with the better known, isolated L4/5 lesion was shown on biopsy to have staphylococcal osteomyelitis. For this reason we would still recommend a biopsy of all such sclerotic vertebral lesions if they occur in the absence of other rheumatic disease. Images PMID:434941

  9. What fossils can tell us about the evolution of viviparity and placentation.

    PubMed

    Carter, A M

    2008-11-01

    Recently a fossil of one of the earliest jawed fishes was found with a fetal skeleton and the remains of a cord. It was from the Devonian period and takes the history of vertebrate placentation back to 380 million years ago. This and later fossil evidence for viviparity in marine reptiles and early mammals is reviewed. Of particular interest are the fossils of horses as they document that a reproductive strategy with a single precocial newborn was evolved early on. In one instance there is sufficient representation of soft tissue to imply that early horses had a diffuse placenta, much as had been predicted by phylogenetic analyses of placentation.

  10. 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.

  11. Cycles in fossil diversity

    SciTech Connect

    Rohde, Robert A.; Muller, Richard A.

    2004-10-20

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

  12. Biodesulfurization of fossil fuels.

    PubMed

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

    2003-06-01

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

  13. Incidental vertebral lesions.

    PubMed

    Coumans, Jean-Valery C E; Walcott, Brian P

    2011-12-01

    Incidental vertebral lesions on imaging of the spine are commonly encountered in clinical practice. Contributing factors include the aging population, the increasing prevalence of back pain, and increased usage of MR imaging. Additionally, refinements in CT and MR imaging have increased the number of demonstrable lesions. The management of incidental findings varies among practitioners and commonly depends more on practice style than on data or guidelines. In this article we review incidental findings within the vertebral column and review management of these lesions, based on available Class III data.

  14. Autophagy during vertebrate development.

    PubMed

    Aburto, María R; Hurlé, Juan M; Varela-Nieto, Isabel; Magariños, Marta

    2012-08-02

    Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved catabolic process by which cells degrade their own components through the lysosomal machinery. In physiological conditions, the mechanism is tightly regulated and contributes to maintain a balance between synthesis and degradation in cells undergoing intense metabolic activities. Autophagy is associated with major tissue remodeling processes occurring through the embryonic, fetal and early postnatal periods of vertebrates. Here we survey current information implicating autophagy in cellular death, proliferation or differentiation in developing vertebrates. In developing systems, activation of the autophagic machinery could promote different outcomes depending on the cellular context. Autophagy is thus an extraordinary tool for the developing organs and tissues.

  15. ETTIN (ARF3) physically interacts with KANADI proteins to form a functional complex essential for integument development and polarity determination in Arabidopsis.

    PubMed

    Kelley, Dior R; Arreola, Alexandra; Gallagher, Thomas L; Gasser, Charles S

    2012-03-01

    KANADI (KAN) transcription factors promote abaxial cell fate throughout plant development and are required for organ formation during embryo, leaf, carpel and ovule development. ABERRANT TESTA SHAPE (ATS, or KAN4) is necessary during ovule development to maintain the boundary between the two ovule integuments and to promote inner integument growth. Yeast two-hybrid assays identified ETTIN (ETT, or AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR 3) as a transcription factor that could physically interact with ATS. ATS and ETT were shown to physically interact in vivo in transiently transformed tobacco epidermal cells using bimolecular fluorescence complementation. ATS and ETT were found to share an overlapping expression pattern during Arabidopsis ovule development and loss of either gene resulted in congenital fusion of the integuments and altered seed morphology. We hypothesize that in wild-type ovules a physical interaction between ATS and ETT allows these proteins to act in concert to define the boundary between integument primordia. We further show protein-protein interaction in yeast between ETT and KAN1, a paralog of ATS. Thus, a direct physical association between ETT and KAN proteins underpins their previously described common role in polarity establishment and organogenesis. We propose that ETT-KAN protein complex(es) constitute part of an auxin-dependent regulatory module that plays a conserved role in a variety of developmental contexts.

  16. Chemistry of bone remodelling preserved in extant and fossil Sirenia.

    PubMed

    Anné, Jennifer; Wogelius, Roy A; Edwards, Nicholas P; van Veelen, Arjen; Ignatyev, Konstantin; Manning, Phillip L

    2016-05-01

    Bone remodelling is a crucial biological process needed to maintain elemental homeostasis. It is important to understand the trace elemental inventories that govern these processes as malfunctions in bone remodelling can have devastating effects on an organism. In this study, we use a combination of X-ray techniques to map, quantify, and characterise the coordination chemistry of trace elements within the highly remodelled bone tissues of extant and extinct Sirenia (manatees and dugongs). The dense bone structure and unique body chemistry of sirenians represent ideal tissues for studying both high remodelling rates as well as unique fossilisation pathways. Here, elemental maps revealed uncorrelated patterning of Ca and Zn within secondary osteons in both extant and fossil sirenians, as well as elevated Sr within the connecting canals of fossil sirenians. Concentrations of these elements are comparable between extant and fossil material indicating geochemical processing of the fossil bone has been minimal. Zn was found to be bound in the same coordination within the apatite structure in both extant and fossil bone. Accurate quantification of trace elements in extant material was only possible when the organic constituents of the bone were included. The comparable distributions, concentrations, and chemical coordination of these physiologically important trace elements indicate the chemistry of bone remodelling has been preserved for 19 million years. This study signifies the powerful potential of merging histological and chemical techniques in the understanding of physiological processes in both extant and extinct vertebrates.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. The origin of the myelination program in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Zalc, B; Goujet, D; Colman, D

    2008-06-24

    The myelin sheath was a transformative vertebrate acquisition, enabling great increases in impulse propagation velocity along axons. Not all vertebrates possess myelinated axons, however, and when myelin first appeared in the vertebrate lineage is an important open question. It has been suggested that the dual, apparently unrelated acquisitions of myelin and the hinged jaw were actually coupled in evolution [1,2]. If so, it would be expected that myelin was first acquired during the Devonian period by the oldest jawed fish, the placoderms [3]. Although myelin itself is not retained in the fossil record, within the skulls of fossilized Paleozoic vertebrate fish are exquisitely preserved imprints of cranial nerves and the foramina they traversed. Examination of these structures now suggests how the nerves functioned in vivo. In placoderms, the first hinge-jawed fish, oculomotor nerve diameters remained constant, but nerve lengths were ten times longer than in the jawless osteostraci. We infer that to accommodate this ten-fold increase in length, while maintaining a constant diameter, the oculomotor system in placoderms must have been myelinated to function as a rapidly conducting motor pathway. Placoderms were the first fish with hinged jaws and some can grow to formidable lengths, requiring a rapid conduction system, so it is highly likely that they were the first organisms with myelinated axons in the craniate lineage.

  1. Late Cretaceous terrestrial vertebrate fauna, North Slope, Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Clemens, W.A.; Allison, C.W.

    1985-01-01

    Closely related terrestrial vertebrates in Cretaceous mid-latitude (30/sup 0/ to 50/sup 0/) faunas of North America and Asia as well as scattered occurrences of footprints and skin impressions suggested that in the Late Mesozoic the Alaskan North Slope supported a diverse fauna. In 1961 abundant skeletal elements of Cretaceous, Alaskan dinosaurs (hadrosaurids) were discovered by the late R.L. Liscomb. This material is being described by K.L. Davies. Additional fossils collected by E.M. Brouwers and her associates include skeletal elements of hadrosaurid and carnosaurian (.tyrannosaurid) dinosaurs and other vertebrates. The fossil locality on the North Slope is not at about 70/sup 0/N. In the Late Cretaceous the members of this fauna were subject to the daylight regime and environment at a paleolatitude closer to 80/sup 0/N. Current hypotheses attributing extinctions of dinosaurs and some other terrestrial vertebrates to impact of an extraterrestrial object cite periods of darkness, decreased temperature (possibly followed by extreme warming) and acid rain as the direct causes of their demise. Unless members of this North Slope fauna undertook long-distance migrations, their high latitude occurrence indicates groups of dinosaurs and other terrestrial vertebrates regularly tolerated months of darkness.

  2. Congenital malformations of the vertebral column in ancient amphibians.

    PubMed

    Witzmann, F; Rothschild, B M; Hampe, O; Sobral, G; Gubin, Y M; Asbach, P

    2014-04-01

    Temnospondyls, the largest group of Palaeozoic and Mesozoic amphibians, primitively possess rhachitomous vertebrae with multipartite centra (consisting of one horse-shoe-shaped inter- and paired pleurocentra). In a group of temnospondyls, the stereospondyls, the intercentra became pronounced and disc-like, whereas the pleurocentra were reduced. We report the presence of congenital vertebral malformations (hemi, wedge and block vertebrae) in Permian and Triassic temnospondyls, showing that defects of formation and segmentation in the tetrapod vertebral column represent a fundamental failure of somitogenesis that can be followed throughout tetrapod evolution. This is irrespective of the type of affected vertebra, that is, rhachitomous or stereospondylous, and all components of the vertebra can be involved (intercentrum, pleurocentrum and neural arch), either together or independently on their own. This is the oldest known occurrence of wedge vertebra and congenital block vertebra described in fossil tetrapods. The frequency of vertebral congenital malformations in amphibians appears unchanged from the Holocene. © 2013 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

  3. Finding fossils in new ways: an artificial neural network approach to predicting the location of productive fossil localities.

    PubMed

    Anemone, Robert; Emerson, Charles; Conroy, Glenn

    2011-01-01

    Chance and serendipity have long played a role in the location of productive fossil localities by vertebrate paleontologists and paleoanthropologists. We offer an alternative approach, informed by methods borrowed from the geographic information sciences and using recent advances in computer science, to more efficiently predict where fossil localities might be found. Our model uses an artificial neural network (ANN) that is trained to recognize the spectral characteristics of known productive localities and other land cover classes, such as forest, wetlands, and scrubland, within a study area based on the analysis of remotely sensed (RS) imagery. Using these spectral signatures, the model then classifies other pixels throughout the study area. The results of the neural network classification can be examined and further manipulated within a geographic information systems (GIS) software package. While we have developed and tested this model on fossil mammal localities in deposits of Paleocene and Eocene age in the Great Divide Basin of southwestern Wyoming, a similar analytical approach can be easily applied to fossil-bearing sedimentary deposits of any age in any part of the world. We suggest that new analytical tools and methods of the geographic sciences, including remote sensing and geographic information systems, are poised to greatly enrich paleoanthropological investigations, and that these new methods should be embraced by field workers in the search for, and geospatial analysis of, fossil primates and hominins. Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  4. Vertebral-Basilar Insufficiency

    PubMed Central

    Cape, Ronald D. T.; Hogan, David B.

    1983-01-01

    Vertebral-basilar ischemia can result in giddiness, transient ischemic attacks, and drop attacks. Management involves controlling blood pressure, getting the patient to stop smoking, controlling diabetes and/or hyperlipidemia, and instituting antiplatelet therapy. Several facets of this problem remain unexplained. PMID:21283322

  5. 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)

  6. 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)

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-08-01

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

  8. Functional aspects of strepsirrhine lumbar vertebral bodies and spinous processes.

    PubMed

    Shapiro, Liza J; Simons, Cornelia V M

    2002-06-01

    , in accordance with their positional repertoire. The results of the study broaden our understanding of postcranial adaptation in primates, while providing an extensive comparative database for interpreting vertebral morphology in fossil primates. Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Gonadotropin releasing hormone in the primitive vertebrate family Myxinidae: reproductive neuroanatomy and evolutionary aspects.

    PubMed

    Sills, Eric Scott; Palermo, Gianpiero D

    2013-01-01

    The family Myxinidae embraces all hagfish species, and occupies an evolutionary niche intermediate between ancestral vertebrates and the gnathostomes (jawed vertebrates). Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) modulates neuroendocrine activity in vertebrates and works in the context of the hypothalamic-pituitary (H-P) axis. The appearance of this neuroendocrine axis marks one of the most crucial developmental achievements in vertebrate evolution, because it enabled further diversification in general growth, metabolism, osmoregulation and reproduction as jawed vertebrates evolved. GnRH studies in hagfish draw attention because such work may be considered as providing proxy data for similar investigations conducted upon long extinct species. Indeed, the fossil record reveals little anatomical difference between those hagfish living 300 million years ago and their modern descendants. Accordingly, the hagfish can offer important evolutionary lessons as they have some highly unusual characteristics not seen in any other vertebrate; they retain many representative features of an ancestral state from which all vertebrates originated. Indeed, because central control of reproduction is perhaps the most basic function of the vertebrate H-P axis, and given the importance of GnRH in this network, research on GnRH in hagfish can help elucidate the early evolution of the H-P system itself. Like all vertebrates, hagfish have a functional hypothalamic area and a pituitary gland, constituting a basic H-P axis. But what role does GnRH play in the reproductive system of this "living fossil"? How can understanding GnRH in hagfish help advance the knowledge of vertebrate neuroendocrinology? Here, information on neuroendocrine function and the role of GnRH specifically in this very basal vertebrate is reviewed.

  10. Synchrotron-aided reconstruction of the conodont feeding apparatus and implications for the mouth of the first vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Goudemand, Nicolas; Orchard, Michael J; Urdy, Séverine; Bucher, Hugo; Tafforeau, Paul

    2011-05-24

    The origin of jaws remains largely an enigma that is best addressed by studying fossil and living jawless vertebrates. Conodonts were eel-shaped jawless animals, whose vertebrate affinity is still disputed. The geometrical analysis of exceptional three-dimensionally preserved clusters of oro-pharyngeal elements of the Early Triassic Novispathodus, imaged using propagation phase-contrast X-ray synchrotron microtomography, suggests the presence of a pulley-shaped lingual cartilage similar to that of extant cyclostomes within the feeding apparatus of euconodonts ("true" conodonts). This would lend strong support to their interpretation as vertebrates and demonstrates that the presence of such cartilage is a plesiomorphic condition of crown vertebrates.

  11. Head segmentation in vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Kuratani, Shigeru; Schilling, Thomas

    2008-01-01

    Classic theories of vertebrate head segmentation clearly exemplify the idealistic nature of comparative embryology prior to the 20th century. Comparative embryology aimed at recognizing the basic, primary structure that is shared by all vertebrates, either as an archetype or an ancestral developmental pattern. Modern evolutionary developmental (Evo-Devo) studies are also based on comparison, and therefore have a tendency to reduce complex embryonic anatomy into overly simplified patterns. Here again, a basic segmental plan for the head has been sought among chordates. We convened a symposium that brought together leading researchers dealing with this problem, in a number of different evolutionary and developmental contexts. Here we give an overview of the outcome and the status of the field in this modern era of Evo-Devo. We emphasize the fact that the head segmentation problem is not fully resolved, and we discuss new directions in the search for hints for a way out of this maze. PMID:20607135

  12. Viruses of lower vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Essbauer, S; Ahne, W

    2001-08-01

    Viruses of lower vertebrates recently became a field of interest to the public due to increasing epizootics and economic losses of poikilothermic animals. These were reported worldwide from both wildlife and collections of aquatic poikilothermic animals. Several RNA and DNA viruses infecting fish, amphibians and reptiles have been studied intensively during the last 20 years. Many of these viruses induce diseases resulting in important economic losses of lower vertebrates, especially in fish aquaculture. In addition, some of the DNA viruses seem to be emerging pathogens involved in the worldwide decline in wildlife. Irido-, herpes- and polyomavirus infections may be involved in the reduction in the numbers of endangered amphibian and reptile species. In this context the knowledge of several important RNA viruses such as orthomyxo-, paramyxo-, rhabdo-, retro-, corona-, calici-, toga-, picorna-, noda-, reo- and birnaviruses, and DNA viruses such as parvo-, irido-, herpes-, adeno-, polyoma- and poxviruses, is described in this review.

  13. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-28

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

  16. 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

  17. Building the Vertebrate Spine

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pourquié, Olivier

    2008-03-01

    The vertebrate body can be subdivided along the antero-posterior (AP) axis into repeated structures called segments. This periodic pattern is established during embryogenesis by the somitogenesis process. Somites are generated in a rhythmic fashion from the paraxial mesoderm and subsequently differentiate to give rise to the vertebrae and skeletal muscles of the body. Somite formation involves an oscillator-the segmentation clock-whose periodic signal is converted into the periodic array of somite boundaries. This clock drives the dynamic expression of cyclic genes in the presomitic mesoderm and requires Notch and Wnt signaling. Microarray studies of the mouse presomitic mesoderm transcriptome reveal that the segmentation clock drives the periodic expression of a large network of cyclic genes involved in cell signaling. Mutually exclusive activation of the Notch/FGF and Wnt pathways during each cycle suggests that coordinated regulation of these three pathways underlies the clock oscillator. In humans, mutations in the genes associated to the function of this oscillator such as Dll3 or Lunatic Fringe result in abnormal segmentation of the vertebral column such as those seen in congenital scoliosis. Whereas the segmentation clock is thought to set the pace of vertebrate segmentation, the translation of this pulsation into the reiterated arrangement of segment boundaries along the AP axis involves dynamic gradients of FGF and Wnt signaling. The FGF signaling gradient is established based on an unusual mechanism involving mRNA decay which provides an efficient means to couple the spatio-temporal activation of segmentation to the posterior elongation of the embryo. Another striking aspect of somite production is the strict bilateral symmetry of the process. Retinoic acid was shown to control aspects of this coordination by buffering destabilizing effects from the embryonic left-right machinery. Defects in this embryonic program controlling vertebral symmetry might lead

  18. Vertebrate extinctions and survival across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buffetaut, Eric

    1990-01-01

    A critical analysis of the fossil vertebrate record across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary shows that the available evidence is far less accurate than that concerning invertebrates and microfossils. Far-reaching conclusions have been drawn from generalisations about vertebrate extinctions in the continental realm based on the local record from western North America, but little is known about patterns of terminal Cretaceous vertebrate extinctions in other parts of the world, and even the western North American record is ambiguous. Despite this unsatisfactory record, it clearly appears that terminal Cretaceous vertebrate extinctions were highly selective, with some groups (e.g. dinosaurs) becoming completely extinct, whereas others seem to be virtually unaffected. This argues against devastating catastrophes of the kind postulated by some recent impact scenarios. However, the survival of groups known to be sensitive to climatic deterioration (such as crocodilians and other non-dinosaurian reptiles) indicates that alternative hypotheses involving gradual but fairly important climatic changes on a world-wide scale are not convincing either. The pattern of extinction and survival among vertebrates across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary may be explained as a consequence of the disruption of some food chains following a crisis in the plant kingdom, which itself may have been the result of the atmospheric consequences of unusual extraterrestrial or internal events.

  19. Fossil mammals and paleoenvironments in the Omo-Turkana Basin.

    PubMed

    Bobe, René

    2011-01-01

    Although best known for its fossil hominins, the Omo-Turkana Basin of Kenya and Ethiopia is the source of one of the best records of vertebrate evolution from the Late Cenozoic of Africa. Located near the heart of the East African Rift Valley, the basin serves as an important frame of reference for the continent. The fossil record from this region plays a key role in our efforts to understand the environmental and ecological context of human evolution in Africa. The Omo-Turkana faunal data shed light on key questions of human evolution: What kinds of environments did early humans inhabit? How did these environments change over time? What is the relationship between faunal change in East Africa and broader patterns of climatic change?

  20. New occurrences of microvertebrate fossil accumulations in Bauru Group, Late Cretaceous of western São Paulo state, Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alveş, Y. M.; Bergqvist, L. P.; Brito, P. M.

    2016-08-01

    In this work, we present the results of several palaeontological expeditions to four Upper Cretaceous fossil microsites of the Adamantina and Presidente Prudente formations in western São Paulo State, Brazil. Despite the fragmentary condition of the fossils recovered, they represent an important record of vertebrate microremains. The material, recovered through screen washing, comprises teeth and scales of Lepisosteidae; two morphotypes of Halecostomi teeth with similarities to Characiformes and Amiiformes; a Teleostei tooth of molariform shape; fin spines of Siluriformes; teeth of possible Baurusuchidae, Notosuchia (probably Adamantinasuchus or Mariliasuchus), Neosuchia (probably Itasuchus or Goniopholis), and other Mesoeucrocodylia indet.; probable teeth of Abelisauroidea, other Theropoda indet., and a phalanx of Aves. The comparative microvertebrate fossil accumulation from western São Paulo State provides evidence that: 1) floodplain channels accumulate large concentrations of microremains; 2) coarse sandstone privileges enamel tissues like teeth and scales; 3) new vertebrate fossil records have been discovered in Florida Paulista, Alfredo Marcondes, and Alvares Machado outcrops.

  1. Fossil fuel furnace reactor

    DOEpatents

    Parkinson, William J.

    1987-01-01

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

  2. The 'Tully monster' is a vertebrate.

    PubMed

    McCoy, Victoria E; Saupe, Erin E; Lamsdell, James C; Tarhan, Lidya G; McMahon, Sean; Lidgard, Scott; Mayer, Paul; Whalen, Christopher D; Soriano, Carmen; Finney, Lydia; Vogt, Stefan; Clark, Elizabeth G; Anderson, Ross P; Petermann, Holger; Locatelli, Emma R; Briggs, Derek E G

    2016-04-28

    Problematic fossils, extinct taxa of enigmatic morphology that cannot be assigned to a known major group, were once a major issue in palaeontology. A long-favoured solution to the 'problem of the problematica', particularly the 'weird wonders' of the Cambrian Burgess Shale, was to consider them representatives of extinct phyla. A combination of new evidence and modern approaches to phylogenetic analysis has now resolved the affinities of most of these forms. Perhaps the most notable exception is Tullimonstrum gregarium, popularly known as the Tully monster, a large soft-bodied organism from the late Carboniferous Mazon Creek biota (approximately 309-307 million years ago) of Illinois, USA, which was designated the official state fossil of Illinois in 1989. Its phylogenetic position has remained uncertain and it has been compared with nemerteans, polychaetes, gastropods, conodonts, and the stem arthropod Opabinia. Here we review the morphology of Tullimonstrum based on an analysis of more than 1,200 specimens. We find that the anterior proboscis ends in a buccal apparatus containing teeth, the eyes project laterally on a long rigid bar, and the elongate segmented body bears a caudal fin with dorsal and ventral lobes. We describe new evidence for a notochord, cartilaginous arcualia, gill pouches, articulations within the proboscis, and multiple tooth rows adjacent to the mouth. This combination of characters, supported by phylogenetic analysis, identifies Tullimonstrum as a vertebrate, and places it on the stem lineage to lampreys (Petromyzontida). In addition to increasing the known morphological disparity of extinct lampreys, a chordate affinity for T. gregarium resolves the nature of a soft-bodied fossil which has been debated for more than 50 years.

  3. The Tully Monster is a Vertebrate

    SciTech Connect

    McCoy, Victoria E.; Saupe, Erin E.; Lamsdell, James C.; Tarhan, Lidya G.; McMahon, Sean; Lidgard, Scott; Mayer, Paul; Whalen, Christopher D.; Soriano, Carmen; Finney, Lydia; Vogt, Stefan; Clark, Elizabeth G.; Anderson, Ross P.; Petermann, Holger; Locatelli, Emma R.; Briggs, Derek E.G.

    2016-04-28

    Abstract Problematic fossils, extinct taxa of enigmatic morphology that cannot be assigned to a known major group, were once a major issue in palaeontology. A long-favoured solution to the 'problem of the problematica'(1), particularly the 'weird wonders'(2) of the Cambrian Burgess Shale, was to consider them representatives of extinct phyla. A combination of new evidence and modern approaches to phylogenetic analysis has now resolved the affinities of most of these forms. Perhaps the most notable exception is Tullimonstrum gregarium(3), popularly known as the Tully monster, a large soft-bodied organism from the late Carboniferous Mazon Creek biota (approximately 309-307 million years ago) of Illinois, USA, which was designated the official state fossil of Illinois in 1989. Its phylogenetic position has remained uncertain and it has been compared with nemerteans(4,5), polychaetes(4), gastropods(4), conodonts(6), and the stem arthropod Opabinia(4). Here we review the morphology of Tullimonstrum based on an analysis of more than 1,200 specimens. We find that the anterior proboscis ends in a buccal apparatus containing teeth, the eyes project laterally on a long rigid bar, and the elongate segmented body bears a caudal fin with dorsal and ventral lobes(3-6). We describe new evidence for a notochord, cartilaginous arcualia, gill pouches, articulations within the proboscis, and multiple tooth rows adjacent to the mouth. This combination of characters, supported by phylogenetic analysis, identifies Tullimonstrum as a vertebrate, and places it on the stem lineage to lampreys (Petromyzontida). In addition to increasing the known morphological disparity of extinct lampreys(7-9), a chordate affinity for T. gregarium resolves the nature of a soft-bodied fossil which has been debated for more than 50 years

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

    PubMed

    Skawiński, Tomasz; Tałanda, Mateusz

    2014-01-01

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

  5. FOSSIL2 energy policy model documentation: FOSSIL2 documentation

    SciTech Connect

    1980-10-01

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

  6. DEVELOPMENTAL PALEOBIOLOGY OF THE VERTEBRATE SKELETON

    PubMed Central

    RÜCKLIN, MARTIN; DONOGHUE, PHILIP C. J.; CUNNINGHAM, JOHN A.; MARONE, FEDERICA; STAMPANONI, MARCO

    2015-01-01

    Studies of the development of organisms can reveal crucial information on homology of structures. Developmental data are not peculiar to living organisms, and they are routinely preserved in the mineralized tissues that comprise the vertebrate skeleton, allowing us to obtain direct insight into the developmental evolution of this most formative of vertebrate innovations. The pattern of developmental processes is recorded in fossils as successive stages inferred from the gross morphology of multiple specimens and, more reliably and routinely, through the ontogenetic stages of development seen in the skeletal histology of individuals. Traditional techniques are destructive and restricted to a 2-D plane with the third dimension inferred. Effective non-invasive methods of visualizing paleohistology to reconstruct developmental stages of the skeleton are necessary. In a brief survey of paleohistological techniques we discuss the pros and cons of these methods. The use of tomographic methods to reconstruct development of organs is exemplified by the study of the placoderm dentition. Testing evidence for the presence of teeth in placoderms, the first jawed vertebrates, we compare the methods that have been used. These include inferring the development from morphology, and using serial sectioning, microCT or synchrotron X-ray tomographic microscopy (SRXTM) to reconstruct growth stages and directions of growth. The ensuing developmental interpretations are biased by the methods and degree of inference. The most direct and reliable method is using SRXTM data to trace sclerochronology. The resulting developmental data can be used to resolve homology and test hypotheses on the origin of evolutionary novelties. PMID:26306050

  7. Fossilized bioelectric wire – the trace fossil Trichichnus

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  8. The vertebral column of the Regourdou 1 Neandertal.

    PubMed

    Gómez-Olivencia, Asier; Couture-Veschambre, Christine; Madelaine, Stéphane; Maureille, Bruno

    2013-06-01

    The Regourdou 1 partial skeleton was found in 1957 in level IV of the eponymous site located in Montignac-sur-Vézère (Dordogne, France) and until now it has been only partially published. The ongoing revision of the faunal remains from the site has yielded additional fossils that pertain to this skeleton. Here we study the vertebral column of this individual, providing for the first time detailed descriptions for all of the fossils and reassessing the anatomical position of all of the fragments. The vertebral column of Regourdou 1 is one of the most complete in the Neandertal fossil record with at least 20 pre-sacral vertebrae (seven cervicals, nine thoracic and four lumbars), a partial sacrum and a fragmentary first coccygeal vertebra. When compared with modern humans, the vertebrae of Regourdou 1 display significant metric differences, and fit well within the range of Neandertal variability. A preliminary analysis of the most complete thoracic vertebrae of this individual indicates that Neandertals displayed significant differences from modern humans in the thoracic spine, which adds to the differences already observed in the cervical and lumbar regions. Finally, we have also observed mild signs of osteoarthrosis, albeit to a lower degree of that present in other Neandertals such as La Chapelle-aux-Saints, La Ferrassie 1 or Shanidar 3. This is consistent with the younger adult age for Regourdou 1.

  9. The eyes of Tullimonstrum reveal a vertebrate affinity.

    PubMed

    Clements, Thomas; Dolocan, Andrei; Martin, Peter; Purnell, Mark A; Vinther, Jakob; Gabbott, Sarah E

    2016-04-28

    Tullimonstrum gregarium is an iconic soft-bodied fossil from the Carboniferous Mazon Creek Lagerstätte (Illinois, USA). Despite a large number of specimens and distinct anatomy, various analyses over the past five decades have failed to determine the phylogenetic affinities of the 'Tully monster', and although it has been allied to such disparate phyla as the Mollusca, Annelida or Chordata, it remains enigmatic. The nature and phylogenetic affinities of Tullimonstrum have defied confident systematic placement because none of its preserved anatomy provides unequivocal evidence of homology, without which comparative analysis fails. Here we show that the eyes of Tullimonstrum possess ultrastructural details indicating homology with vertebrate eyes. Anatomical analysis using scanning electron microscopy reveals that the eyes of Tullimonstrum preserve a retina defined by a thick sheet comprising distinct layers of spheroidal and cylindrical melanosomes. Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry and multivariate statistics provide further evidence that these microbodies are melanosomes. A range of animals have melanin in their eyes, but the possession of melanosomes of two distinct morphologies arranged in layers, forming retinal pigment epithelium, is a synapomorphy of vertebrates. Our analysis indicates that in addition to evidence of colour patterning, ecology and thermoregulation, fossil melanosomes can also carry a phylogenetic signal. Identification in Tullimonstrum of spheroidal and cylindrical melanosomes forming the remains of retinal pigment epithelium indicates that it is a vertebrate; considering its body parts in this new light suggests it was an anatomically unusual member of total group Vertebrata.

  10. Fossil records of volcanism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bell, Peter M.

    Greenland glacial ice contains a fossil record of volcanic emissions transported in the stratosphere. C. V. Hammer, H. B. Clausen and W. Dansgaard (Nature, 288, 230, 1980) and M. W. Herron (Journal of Geophysical Research, 87, 3052, 1982) noted peaks of relatively high acidity in the Greenland glacial stratigraphic record that are assumed to be due to precipitation of sulfuric acid aerosols after major volcanic eruptions. R. B. Stothers and M. R. Rampino of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York recently did a search of historical records and found an unexpected correlation of European volcano activity in the period 1500 B.C. to A.D. 1500 with dated acid maxima in Greenland ice (Science, 222, 411-412, 1983).Stothers and Rampino's soon-to-be-reported search (Journal of Geophysical Research, in press) included examination of “about one quarter of a million pages of modern English test” (Science). In their analysis they took into account the statistical uncertainty of the icecore dates and the time lags that would be expected to delay the arrival of acid rain from distant European volcano sources. Of course the problem of the analysis is that whereas there are extensive records of European volcanos, there is precious little information on volcano activity that must have occurred during the same period in the western Pacific and in the western hemisphere. Beginning with the volcano in Thera, Greece, set at about 1450 B.C. (the volcano date having been determined from “archeology and legend”) and its Greenland ice acid peak date set at about 1390 B.C. (± 50, by radiocarbon methods), Stothers and Rampino correlate historical data through Vesuvius (217-216 B.C), Etna (44 B.C.), and others. There seems to be an acid peak to correlate in each instance in the data of Hammer et al.

  11. Dating Fossil Pollen: A Simulation.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sheridan, Philip

    1992-01-01

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

  12. An Introduction to Fossil Plants

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Thomas, B. A.

    1976-01-01

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

  13. The welfare of dairy cows is improved in relation to cleanliness and integument alterations on the hocks and lameness when sand is used as stall surface.

    PubMed

    Andreasen, S N; Forkman, B

    2012-09-01

    Lying down is a highly prioritized behavior in dairy cattle, and previous studies have shown that the type of stall surface has a great effect on the health and welfare of the cow. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of stall surface (rubber mats, mattresses, or sand) on cleanliness, integument alterations on the hocks, lameness, and milk yield of loosely housed dairy cows. Thirty-seven Danish dairy farms with Danish Holstein-Friesian cows were included in the study, and 2,593 cows were examined. Twelve of the farms used rubber mats, 17 of the farms used mattresses, and 8 used sand as the stall surface. Cows housed in facilities with sand in the freestalls were at lower risk of being dirty, had fewer integument alterations on the hocks (e.g., hairless patches, lesions, and swellings), and were less likely to be lame. The cows in facilities with sand in the freestalls also had a significantly higher milk yield compared with cows housed in facilities with mattresses. No differences in milk yield were found between cows housed in facilities with mattresses and rubber mats. Cleanliness, integument alterations, lameness, and milk yield are important indicators of cow welfare; this study showed that, compared with other stall surfaces, sand had a positive effect on these indicators. We therefore conclude that the use of sand as a stall surface is associated with improved welfare.

  14. CRISPR/Cas9 mediated BLOS2 knockout resulting in disappearance of yellow strips and white spots on the larval integument in Spodoptera litura.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Guan-Heng; Peng, Ying-Chuan; Zheng, Mei-Yan; Zhang, Xiao-Qing; Sun, Jia-Bin; Huang, Yongping; Dong, Shuang-Lin

    2017-09-16

    The custom-design bacterial CRISPR/Cas9 system has been recently used in some insects, indicating a powerful technique for studies on gene function and transgenic insects. However, its use in lepidopteran pests is scarce. Here, we reported a CRISPR/Cas9 system mediated mutagenesis of biogenesis of lysosome-related organelles complex1, subunit 2 (BLOS2) gene in a noctuid pest Spodoptera litura. A fragment of SlitBLOS2 was identified by analyzing a S. litura transcriptome database by local basic BLAST, and the full length cDNA was acquired by RACE strategy. To clarify the function of SlitBLOS2, CRISPR/Cas9 based target mutagenesis of SlitBLOS2 was achieved, displaying a mosaic translucent integument in 62.3-70.6% larvae of G0 generation. Further PCR-based genotype analysis demonstrated various mutations occurred at the SlitBLOS2 specific target site. A homozygote mutant individual was obtained in G1 generation, in which the yellow strips and white spots on the larval integument completely disappeared. Our study clearly demonstrates the function of SlitBLOS2 in the integument coloration, and thus provides a useful marker gene for genome editing based gene functional study and pest control strategy in S. litura as well as other lepidopteran pests. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  15. Morphological alterations in the synganglion and integument of Rhipicephalus sanguineus ticks exposed to aqueous extracts of neem leaves (Azadirachta indica A. JUSS).

    PubMed

    Remedio, R N; Nunes, P H; Anholeto, L A; Camargo-Mathias, M I

    2014-12-01

    Currently, the necessity of controlling infestation by ticks, especially by Rhipicephalus sanguineus, has led researchers and public health managers around the world to search for new and more efficient control methods. This way, we can highlight neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss) leaf, bark, and seed extracts, which have been very effective on tick control, and moreover causing less damage to the environment and to the host. This study showed the potential of neem as a control method for R. sanguineus through morphological and morphometric evaluation of the integument and synganglion of females, in semiengorged stage. To attain this, routine techniques of optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and morphometry of the cuticle and subcuticle of the integument were applied. Expressive morphological alterations were observed in both organs, presenting a dose-dependent effect. Integument epithelial cells and nerve cells of the synganglion showed signs of cell vacuolation, dilated intercellular boundaries, and cellular disorganization, alterations not previously reported in studies with neem. In addition, variations in subcuticle thickness were also observed. In general, the effects of neem are multiple, and affect the morphology and physiology of target animals in various ways. The results presented in this work are the first evidence of its effects in the coating and nervous system of ticks, thus allowing an indication of neem aqueous extracts as a potential control method of the brown dog tick and opening new perspectives on acaricide use.

  16. Fossilization causes organisms to appear erroneously primitive by distorting evolutionary trees

    PubMed Central

    Sansom, Robert S.; Wills, Matthew A.

    2013-01-01

    Fossils are vital for calibrating rates of molecular and morphological change through geological time, and are the only direct source of data documenting macroevolutionary transitions. Many evolutionary studies therefore require the robust phylogenetic placement of extinct organisms. Here, we demonstrate that the inevitable bias of the fossil record to preserve just hard, skeletal morphology systemically distorts phylogeny. Removal of soft part characters from 78 modern vertebrate and invertebrate morphological datasets resulted in significant changes to phylogenetic signal; it caused individual taxa to drift from their original position, predominately downward toward the root of their respective trees. This last bias could systematically inflate evolutionary rates inferred from molecular data because first fossil occurrences will not be recognised as such. Stem-ward slippage, whereby fundamental taphonomic biases cause fossils to be interpreted as erroneously primitive, is therefore a ubiquitous problem for all biologists attempting to infer macroevolutionary rates or sequences. PMID:23985991

  17. What's new in vertebral cementoplasty?

    PubMed Central

    Guarnieri, Gianluigi; Giurazza, Francesco; Manfrè, Luigi

    2016-01-01

    Vertebral cementoplasty is a well-known mini-invasive treatment to obtain pain relief in patients affected by vertebral porotic fractures, primary or secondary spine lesions and spine trauma through intrametameric cement injection. Two major categories of treatment are included within the term vertebral cementoplasty: the first is vertebroplasty in which a simple cement injection in the vertebral body is performed; the second is assisted technique in which a device is positioned inside the metamer before the cement injection to restore vertebral height and allow a better cement distribution, reducing the kyphotic deformity of the spine, trying to obtain an almost normal spine biomechanics. We will describe the most advanced techniques and indications of vertebral cementoplasty, having recently expanded the field of applications to not only patients with porotic fractures but also spine tumours and trauma. PMID:26728798

  18. The legacy of fossil fuels.

    PubMed

    Armaroli, Nicola; Balzani, Vincenzo

    2011-03-01

    Currently, over 80% of the energy used by mankind comes from fossil fuels. Harnessing coal, oil and gas, the energy resources contained in the store of our spaceship, Earth, has prompted a dramatic expansion in energy use and a substantial improvement in the quality of life of billions of individuals in some regions of the world. Powering our civilization with fossil fuels has been very convenient, but now we know that it entails severe consequences. We treat fossil fuels as a resource that anyone anywhere can extract and use in any fashion, and Earth's atmosphere, soil and oceans as a dump for their waste products, including more than 30 Gt/y of carbon dioxide. At present, environmental legacy rather than consistence of exploitable reserves, is the most dramatic problem posed by the relentless increase of fossil fuel global demand. Harmful effects on the environment and human health, usually not incorporated into the pricing of fossil fuels, include immediate and short-term impacts related to their discovery, extraction, transportation, distribution, and burning as well as climate change that are spread over time to future generations or over space to the entire planet. In this essay, several aspects of the fossil fuel legacy are discussed, such as alteration of the carbon cycle, carbon dioxide rise and its measurement, greenhouse effect, anthropogenic climate change, air pollution and human health, geoengineering proposals, land and water degradation, economic problems, indirect effects on the society, and the urgent need of regulatory efforts and related actions to promote a gradual transition out of the fossil fuel era. While manufacturing sustainable solar fuels appears to be a longer-time perspective, alternatives energy sources already exist that have the potential to replace fossil fuels as feedstocks for electricity production. Copyright © 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  19. Comparative analysis of the integument transcriptomes of the black dilute mutant and the wild-type silkworm Bombyx mori

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Songyuan; Tong, Xiaoling; Peng, Chenxing; Xiong, Gao; Lu, Kunpeng; hu, Hai; Tan, Duan; Li, Chunlin; Han, Minjin; Lu, Cheng; Dai, Fangyin

    2016-01-01

    The insect cuticle is a critical protective shell that is composed predominantly of chitin and various cuticular proteins and pigments. Indeed, insects often change their surface pigment patterns in response to selective pressures, such as threats from predators, sexual selection and environmental changes. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the construction of the epidermis and its pigmentation patterns are not fully understood. Among Lepidoptera, the silkworm is a favorable model for color pattern research. The black dilute (bd) mutant of silkworm is the result of a spontaneous mutation; the larval body color is notably melanized. We performed integument transcriptome sequencing of the wild-type strain Dazao and the mutant strains +/bd and bd/bd. In these experiments, during an early stage of the fourth molt, a stage at which approximately 51% of genes were expressed genome wide (RPKM ≥1) in each strain. A total of 254 novel transcripts were characterized using Cuffcompare and BLAST analyses. Comparison of the transcriptome data revealed 28 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) that may contribute to bd larval melanism, including 15 cuticular protein genes that were remarkably highly expressed in the bd/bd mutant. We suggest that these significantly up-regulated cuticular proteins may promote melanism in silkworm larvae. PMID:27193628

  20. Role of the integument in insect immunity: epicuticular abrasion and induction of cecropin synthesis in cuticular epithelial cells.

    PubMed Central

    Brey, P T; Lee, W J; Yamakawa, M; Koizumi, Y; Perrot, S; François, M; Ashida, M

    1993-01-01

    When the epicuticle of a silkworm larva, Bombyx mori, was lightly abraded in the presence of live Bacillus licheniformis, Enterobacter cloacae, or bacterial cell wall components, cecropin mRNAs were detected in the underlying epithelial cells and in fat body cells remote from the abraded area. Antibacterial activity due to cecropin was detected in the matrix of the lightly abraded cuticle but not in nonabraded portions of the cuticular matrix or in the hemolymph surrounding the fat body, unless a more severe cuticular abrasion was administered. A light abrasion to a larva of the giant silkworm moth, Hyalophora cecropia, in the presence of E. cloacae also induced antibacterial activity in the abraded cuticle. These data illustrate that the ectodermally derived lepidopteran larval integument, when challenged by live bacteria or their cell wall components, mounts an immune response. Hence, the insect exoskeleton, which is often considered as an inert protective armor, is indeed actively participating in defense. Images Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3 Fig. 4 PMID:8327509

  1. Non-random decay of chordate characters causes bias in fossil interpretation.

    PubMed

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

    2010-02-11

    Exceptional preservation of soft-bodied Cambrian chordates provides our only direct information on the origin of vertebrates. Fossil chordates from this interval offer crucial insights into how the distinctive body plan of vertebrates evolved, but reading this pre-biomineralization fossil record is fraught with difficulties, leading to controversial and contradictory interpretations. The cause of these difficulties is taphonomic: we lack data on when and how important characters change as they decompose, resulting in a lack of constraint on anatomical interpretation and a failure to distinguish phylogenetic absence of characters from loss through decay. Here we show, from experimental decay of amphioxus and ammocoetes, that loss of chordate characters during decay is non-random: the more phylogenetically informative are the most labile, whereas plesiomorphic characters are decay resistant. The taphonomic loss of synapomorphies and relatively higher preservation potential of chordate plesiomorphies will thus result in bias towards wrongly placing fossils on the chordate stem. Application of these data to Cathaymyrus (Cambrian period of China) and Metaspriggina (Cambrian period of Canada) highlights the difficulties: these fossils cannot be placed reliably in the chordate or vertebrate stem because they could represent the decayed remains of any non-biomineralized, total-group chordate. Preliminary data suggest that this decay filter also affects other groups of organisms and that 'stem-ward slippage' may be a widespread but currently unrecognized bias in our understanding of the early evolution of a number of phyla.

  2. Diagnosing vertebral fractures: missed opportunities.

    PubMed

    Borges, João Lindolfo Cunha; Maia, Julianne Lira; Silva, Renata Faria; Lewiecki, Edward Michael

    2015-01-01

    Vertebral fractures are the single most common type of osteoporotic fracture. Postmenopausal women are at increased risk for osteoporotic vertebral fractures compared with women of childbearing age. Vertebral fractures are associated with an increase in morbidity, mortality, and high risk of a subsequent vertebral fracture, regardless of bone mineral density. Despite the common occurrence and serious consequences of vertebral fractures, they are often unrecognized or misdiagnosed by radiologists. Moreover, vertebral fractures may be described by variable terminology that can confuse rather than enlighten referring physicians. We conducted a survey of spine X-ray reports from a group of postmenopausal women screened for participation in a study of osteoporosis at Centro de Pesquisa Clínica do Brasil. A descriptive analysis evaluated the variability of reports in 7 patients. Four independent general radiologists issued reports assessing vertebral fractures through a blinded analysis. The objective of this study was to evaluate for consistency in these reports. The analysis found marked variability in the diagnosis of vertebral fractures and the terminology used to describe them. In community medical practices, such variability could lead to differences in the management of patients with osteoporosis, with the potential for undertreatment or overtreatment depending on clinical circumstances. Accurate and unambiguous reporting of vertebral fractures is likely to be associated with improved clinical outcomes. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Editora Ltda. All rights reserved.

  3. Spermatogenesis in nonmammalian vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Pudney, J

    1995-12-15

    Spermatogenesis appears to be a fairly conserved process throughout the vertebrate series. Thus, spermatogonia develop into spermatocytes that undergo meiosis to produce spermatids which enter spermiogenesis where they undergo a morphological transformation into spermatozoa. There is, however, variation amongst the vertebrates in how germ cell development and maturation is accomplished. This difference can be broadly divided into two distinct patterns, one present in anamniotes (fish, amphibia) and the other in amniotes (reptiles, birds, mammals). For anamniotes, spermatogenesis occurs in spermatocysts (cysts) which for most species develop within seminiferous lobules. Cysts are produced when a Sertoli cell becomes associated with a primary spermatogonium. Mitotic divisions of the primary spermatogonium produce a cohort of secondary spermatogonia that are enclosed by the Sertoli cell which forms the wall of the cyst. With spermatogenic progression a clone of isogeneic spermatozoa is produced which are released, by rupture of the cyst, into the lumen of the seminiferous lobule. Following spermiation, the Sertoli cell degenerates. For anamniotes, therefore, there is no permanent germinal epithelium since spermatocysts have to be replaced during successive breeding seasons. By contrast, spermatogenesis in amniotes does not occur in cysts but in seminiferous tubules that possess a permanent population of Sertoli cells and spermatogonia which act as a germ cell reservoir for succeeding bouts of spermatogenic activity. There is, in general, a greater variation in the organization of the testis and pattern of spermatogenesis in the anamniotes compared to amniotes. This is primarily due to the fact there is more reproductive diversity in anamniotes ranging from a relatively unspecialized condition where gametes are simply released into the aqueous environment to highly specialized strategies involving internal fertilization. These differences are obviously reflected in the

  4. The potential of paleozoic nonmarine trace fossils for paleoecological interpretations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Maples, C.G.; Archer, A.W.

    1989-01-01

    Many Late Paleozoic environments have been interpreted as marine because of the co-occurrence of supposedly exclusively marine trace fossils. Beginning in the Late Ordovician, however, nonmarine trace-fossil diversity increased throughout the Paleozoic. This diversification of nonmarine organisms and nonmarine trace fossils was especially prevalent in Devonian and later times. Diversification of freshwater organisms is indicated by the large number of freshwater fish, arthropods, annelids and molluscs that had developed by the Carboniferous. In addition to diverse freshwater assemblages, entirely terrestrial vertebrate and invertebrate ecosystems had developed by the Devonian. This rapid diversification of freshwater and terrestrial organisms is inherently linked to development and diversification of land plants and subsequent shedding of large quantities of organic detritus in nonmarine and marginal-marine areas. Nearshore marine organisms and their larvae that are able to tolerate relatively short periods of lowered salinities will follow salt-water wedges inland during times of reduced freshwater discharge. Similarly, amphidromous marine organisms will migrate periodically inland into nonmarine environments. Undoubtedly, both of these processes were active in the Paleozoic. However, both processes are restricted to stream/distributary channels, interdistributary bays, or estuaries. Therefore, the presence of diverse trace-fossil assemblages in association with floodplain deposits is interpreted to reflect true nonmarine adaptation and diversity. Conversely, diverse trace-fossil assemblages in association with stream/distributary channel deposits, interdistributary-bay deposits, or estuarine deposits may reflect migration of salt-water wedges inland, or migration of marine organisms into freshwater environments (amphidromy), or both. ?? 1989.

  5. Modeling neck mobility in fossil turtles.

    PubMed

    Werneburg, Ingmar; Hinz, Juliane K; Gumpenberger, Michaela; Volpato, Virginie; Natchev, Nikolay; Joyce, Walter G

    2015-05-01

    Turtles have the unparalleled ability to retract their heads and necks within their shell but little is known about the evolution of this trait. Extensive analysis of neck mobility in turtles using radiographs, CT scans, and morphometry reveals that basal turtles possessed less mobility in the neck relative to their extant relatives, although the anatomical prerequisites for modern mobility were already established. Many extant turtles are able to achieve hypermobility by dislocating the central articulations, which raises cautions about reconstructing the mobility of fossil vertebrates. A 3D-model of the Late Triassic turtle Proganochelys quenstedti reveals that this early stem turtle was able to retract its head by tucking it sideways below the shell. The simple ventrolateral bend seen in this stem turtle, however, contrasts with the complex double-bend of extant turtles. The initial evolution of neck retraction therefore occurred in a near-synchrony with the origin of the turtle shell as a place to hide the unprotected neck. In this early, simplified retraction mode, the conical osteoderms on the neck provided further protection. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  6. Arthropod remains in the oral cavities of fossil reptiles support inference of early insectivory.

    PubMed

    Modesto, Sean P; Scott, Diane M; Reisz, Robert R

    2009-12-23

    Inference of feeding preferences in fossil terrestrial vertebrates (tetrapods) has been drawn predominantly from craniodental morphology, and less so from fossil specimens preserving conclusive evidence of diet in the form of oral and/or gut contents. Recently, the pivotal role of insectivory in tetrapod evolution was emphasized by the identification of putative insectivores as the closest relatives of the oldest known herbivorous amniotes. We provide the first compelling evidence for insectivory among early tetrapods on the basis of two 280-million-year-old (late Palaeozoic) fossil specimens of a new species of acleistorhinid parareptile with preserved arthropod cuticle on their toothed palates. Their dental morphology, consisting of homodont marginal dentition with cutting edges and slightly recurved tips, is consistent with an insectivorous diet. The intimate association of arthropod cuticle with the oral region of two small reptiles, from a rich fossil locality that has otherwise not produced invertebrate remains, strongly supports the inference of insectivory in the reptiles. These fossils lend additional support to the hypothesis that the origins and earliest stages of higher vertebrate evolution are associated with relatively small terrestrial insectivores.

  7. Chemical ecology of vertebrate carrion

    USDA-ARS?s Scientific Manuscript database

    Vertebrate carrion is a nutrient-rich, ephemeral resource that is utilized by many different organisms ranging from vertebrate and invertebrate scavengers to microbes. The organisms that consume carrion play an important ecological role, as decomposition is vital to ecosystem function. Without the...

  8. Opportunistic Identification of Vertebral Fractures.

    PubMed

    Adams, Judith E

    2016-01-01

    Vertebral fractures are powerful predictors of future fracture, so, their identification is important to ensure that patients are commenced on appropriate bone protective or bone-enhancing therapy. Risk factors (e.g., low bone mineral density and increasing age) and symptoms (back pain, loss of height) may herald the presence of vertebral fractures, which are usually confirmed by performing spinal radiographs or, increasingly, using vertebral fracture assessment with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scanners. However, a large number (30% or more) of vertebral fractures are asymptomatic and do not come to clinical attention. There is, therefore, scope for opportunistic (fortuitous) identification of vertebral fractures from various imaging modalities (radiographs, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and radionuclide scans) performed for other clinical indications and which include the spine in the field of view, with midline sagittal reformatted images from computed tomography having the greatest potential for such opportunistic detection. Numerous studies confirm this potential for identification but consistently find underreporting of vertebral fractures. So, a valuable opportunity to improve the management of patients at increased risk of future fracture is being squandered. Educational training programs for all clinicians and constant reiteration, stressing the importance of the accurate and clear reporting of vertebral fractures ("you only see what you look for"), can improve the situation, and automated computer-aided diagnostic tools also show promise to solve the problem of this underreporting of vertebral fractures. Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier Inc.

  9. Fossil evidence and stages of elongation of the Giraffa camelopardalis neck

    PubMed Central

    Danowitz, Melinda; Vasilyev, Aleksandr; Kortlandt, Victoria; Solounias, Nikos

    2015-01-01

    Several evolutionary theories have been proposed to explain the adaptation of the long giraffe neck; however, few studies examine the fossil cervical vertebrae. We incorporate extinct giraffids, and the okapi and giraffe cervical vertebral specimens in a comprehensive analysis of the anatomy and elongation of the neck. We establish and evaluate 20 character states that relate to general, cranial and caudal vertebral lengthening, and calculate a length-to-width ratio to measure the relative slenderness of the vertebrae. Our sample includes cervical vertebrae (n=71) of 11 taxa representing all seven subfamilies. We also perform a computational comparison of the C3 of Samotherium and Giraffa camelopardalis, which demonstrates that cervical elongation occurs disproportionately along the cranial–caudal vertebral axis. Using the morphological characters and calculated ratios, we propose stages in cervical lengthening, which are supported by the mathematical transformations using fossil and extant specimens. We find that cervical elongation is anisometric and unexpectedly precedes Giraffidae. Within the family, cranial vertebral elongation is the first lengthening stage observed followed by caudal vertebral elongation, which accounts for the extremely long neck of the giraffe. PMID:26587249

  10. The early eukaryotic fossil record.

    PubMed

    Javaux, Emmanuelle J

    2007-01-01

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

  11. Origin and evolution of the integumentary skeleton in non-tetrapod vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Sire, Jean-Yves; Donoghue, Philip C J; Vickaryous, Matthews K

    2009-04-01

    Most non-tetrapod vertebrates develop mineralized extra-oral elements within the integument. Known collectively as the integumentary skeleton, these elements represent the structurally diverse skin-bound contribution to the dermal skeleton. In this review we begin by summarizing what is known about the histological diversity of the four main groups of integumentary skeletal tissues: hypermineralized (capping) tissues; dentine; plywood-like tissues; and bone. For most modern taxa, the integumentary skeleton has undergone widespread reduction and modification often rendering the homology and relationships of these elements confused and uncertain. Fundamentally, however, all integumentary skeletal elements are derived (alone or in combination) from only two types of cell condensations: odontogenic and osteogenic condensations. We review the origin and diversification of the integumentary skeleton in aquatic non-tetrapods (including stem gnathostomes), focusing on tissues derived from odontogenic (hypermineralized tissues, dentines and elasmodine) and osteogenic (bone tissues) cell condensations. The novelty of our new scenario of integumentary skeletal evolution resides in the demonstration that elasmodine, the main component of elasmoid scales, is odontogenic in origin. Based on available data we propose that elasmodine is a form of lamellar dentine. Given its widespread distribution in non-tetrapod lineages we further propose that elasmodine is a very ancient tissue in vertebrates and predict that it will be found in ancestral rhombic scales and cosmoid scales.

  12. Origin and evolution of the integumentary skeleton in non-tetrapod vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Sire, Jean-Yves; Donoghue, Philip C J; Vickaryous, Matthews K

    2009-01-01

    Most non-tetrapod vertebrates develop mineralized extra-oral elements within the integument. Known collectively as the integumentary skeleton, these elements represent the structurally diverse skin-bound contribution to the dermal skeleton. In this review we begin by summarizing what is known about the histological diversity of the four main groups of integumentary skeletal tissues: hypermineralized (capping) tissues; dentine; plywood-like tissues; and bone. For most modern taxa, the integumentary skeleton has undergone widespread reduction and modification often rendering the homology and relationships of these elements confused and uncertain. Fundamentally, however, all integumentary skeletal elements are derived (alone or in combination) from only two types of cell condensations: odontogenic and osteogenic condensations. We review the origin and diversification of the integumentary skeleton in aquatic non-tetrapods (including stem gnathostomes), focusing on tissues derived from odontogenic (hypermineralized tissues, dentines and elasmodine) and osteogenic (bone tissues) cell condensations. The novelty of our new scenario of integumentary skeletal evolution resides in the demonstration that elasmodine, the main component of elasmoid scales, is odontogenic in origin. Based on available data we propose that elasmodine is a form of lamellar dentine. Given its widespread distribution in non-tetrapod lineages we further propose that elasmodine is a very ancient tissue in vertebrates and predict that it will be found in ancestral rhombic scales and cosmoid scales. PMID:19422423

  13. A Galactic Fossil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2007-05-01

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

  14. Comparative anatomy: all vertebrates do have vertebrae.

    PubMed

    Janvier, Philippe

    2011-09-13

    In contrast to lampreys and jawed vertebrates, hagfishes were thought to lack vertebrae. Now, long overlooked vertebral rudiments have been analysed in hagfish, suggesting that vertebrae existed in the last common ancestor of all vertebrates.

  15. Palaeobiology: Argentinian unhatched pterosaur fossil.

    PubMed

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

    2004-12-02

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

  16. New genomic and fossil data illuminate the origin of enamel.

    PubMed

    Qu, Qingming; Haitina, Tatjana; Zhu, Min; Ahlberg, Per Erik

    2015-10-01

    Enamel, the hardest vertebrate tissue, covers the teeth of almost all sarcopterygians (lobe-finned bony fishes and tetrapods) as well as the scales and dermal bones of many fossil lobe-fins. Enamel deposition requires an organic matrix containing the unique enamel matrix proteins (EMPs) amelogenin (AMEL), enamelin (ENAM) and ameloblastin (AMBN). Chondrichthyans (cartilaginous fishes) lack both enamel and EMP genes. Many fossil and a few living non-teleost actinopterygians (ray-finned bony fishes) such as the gar, Lepisosteus, have scales and dermal bones covered with a proposed enamel homologue called ganoine. However, no gene or transcript data for EMPs have been described from actinopterygians. Here we show that Psarolepis romeri, a bony fish from the the Early Devonian period, combines enamel-covered dermal odontodes on scales and skull bones with teeth of naked dentine, and that Lepisosteus oculatus (the spotted gar) has enam and ambn genes that are expressed in the skin, probably associated with ganoine formation. The genetic evidence strengthens the hypothesis that ganoine is homologous with enamel. The fossil evidence, further supported by the Silurian bony fish Andreolepis, which has enamel-covered scales but teeth and odontodes on its dermal bones made of naked dentine, indicates that this tissue originated on the dermal skeleton, probably on the scales. It subsequently underwent heterotopic expansion across two highly conserved patterning boundaries (scales/head-shoulder and dermal/oral) within the odontode skeleton.

  17. A comparative study of the ocular skeleton of fossil and modern chondrichthyans.

    PubMed

    Pilgrim, Brettney L; Franz-Odendaal, Tamara A

    2009-06-01

    Many vertebrates have an ocular skeleton composed of cartilage and/or bone situated within the sclera of the eye. In this study we investigated whether modern and fossil sharks have an ocular skeleton, and whether it is conserved in morphology. We describe the scleral skeletal elements of three species of modern sharks and compare them to those found in fossil sharks from the Cleveland Shale (360 Mya). We also compare the elements to contemporaneous arthrodires from the same deposit. Surprisingly, the morphology of the skeletal support of the eye was found to differ significantly between modern and fossil sharks. All three modern shark species examined (spiny dogfish shark Squalus acanthias, porbeagle shark Lamna nasus and blue shark Prionace glauca) have a continuous skeletal element that encapsulates much of the eyeball; however, the tissue composition is different in each species. Histological and morphological examination revealed scleral cartilage with distinct tesserae in parts of the sclera of the porbeagle and blue shark, and more diffuse calcification in the dogfish. Strengthening of the scleral cartilage by means of tesserae has not been reported previously in the shark eye. In striking contrast, the ocular skeleton of fossil sharks comprises a series of individual elements that are arranged in a ring, similar to the arrangement in modern and fossil reptiles. Fossil arthrodires also have a multi-unit sclerotic ring but these are composed of fewer elements than in fossil sharks. The morphology of these elements has implications for the behaviour and visual capabilities of sharks that lived during the Devonian Period. This is the first time that such a dramatic variation in the morphology of scleral skeletal elements has been observed in a single lineage (Chondrichthyes), making this lineage important for broadening our understanding of the evolution of these elements within jawed vertebrates.

  18. A comparative study of the ocular skeleton of fossil and modern chondrichthyans

    PubMed Central

    Pilgrim, Brettney L; Franz-Odendaal, Tamara A

    2009-01-01

    Many vertebrates have an ocular skeleton composed of cartilage and/or bone situated within the sclera of the eye. In this study we investigated whether modern and fossil sharks have an ocular skeleton, and whether it is conserved in morphology. We describe the scleral skeletal elements of three species of modern sharks and compare them to those found in fossil sharks from the Cleveland Shale (360 Mya). We also compare the elements to contemporaneous arthrodires from the same deposit. Surprisingly, the morphology of the skeletal support of the eye was found to differ significantly between modern and fossil sharks. All three modern shark species examined (spiny dogfish shark Squalus acanthias, porbeagle shark Lamna nasus and blue shark Prionace glauca) have a continuous skeletal element that encapsulates much of the eyeball; however, the tissue composition is different in each species. Histological and morphological examination revealed scleral cartilage with distinct tesserae in parts of the sclera of the porbeagle and blue shark, and more diffuse calcification in the dogfish. Strengthening of the scleral cartilage by means of tesserae has not been reported previously in the shark eye. In striking contrast, the ocular skeleton of fossil sharks comprises a series of individual elements that are arranged in a ring, similar to the arrangement in modern and fossil reptiles. Fossil arthrodires also have a multi-unit sclerotic ring but these are composed of fewer elements than in fossil sharks. The morphology of these elements has implications for the behaviour and visual capabilities of sharks that lived during the Devonian Period. This is the first time that such a dramatic variation in the morphology of scleral skeletal elements has been observed in a single lineage (Chondrichthyes), making this lineage important for broadening our understanding of the evolution of these elements within jawed vertebrates. PMID:19538630

  19. Behavioral fever in ectothermic vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Rakus, Krzysztof; Ronsmans, Maygane; Vanderplasschen, Alain

    2017-01-01

    Fever is an evolutionary conserved defense mechanism which is present in both endothermic and ectothermic vertebrates. Ectotherms in response to infection can increase their body temperature by moving to warmer places. This process is known as behavioral fever. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the mechanisms of induction of fever in mammals. We further discuss the evolutionary conserved mechanisms existing between fever of mammals and behavioral fever of ectothermic vertebrates. Finally, the experimental evidences supporting an adaptive value of behavioral fever expressed by ectothermic vertebrates are summarized. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  20. Rule Fossilization: A Tentative Model

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Vigil, Neddy A.; Oller, John W.

    1976-01-01

    A cybernetic model of factors involved in the fossilization of grammatical and lexical forms in learner grammars is offered. A distinction is made between affective and cognitive dimensions of a multidimensional channel of human communication; and the effect of expected and unexpected feedback on these two dimensions is discussed. (Author/POP)

  1. The colour of fossil feathers.

    PubMed

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

    2008-10-23

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

  2. Rule Fossilization: A Tentative Model

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Vigil, Neddy A.; Oller, John W.

    1976-01-01

    A cybernetic model of factors involved in the fossilization of grammatical and lexical forms in learner grammars is offered. A distinction is made between affective and cognitive dimensions of a multidimensional channel of human communication; and the effect of expected and unexpected feedback on these two dimensions is discussed. (Author/POP)

  3. The role of the integument as a barrier to penetration of ice into overwintering hatchlings of the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta).

    PubMed

    Willard, R; Packard, G C; Packard, M J; Tucker, J K

    2000-11-01

    Hatchlings of the North American painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) spend their first winter of life inside a shallow, subterranean hibernaculum (the natal nest) where they may be exposed for extended periods to ice and cold. Hatchlings seemingly survive exposure to such conditions by becoming supercooled (i.e., by remaining unfrozen at temperatures below the equilibrium freezing point for body fluids), so we investigated the role of their integument in preventing ice from penetrating into body compartments from surrounding soil. We first showed that hatchlings whose epidermis has been damaged are more likely to be penetrated by growing crystals of ice than are turtles whose cutaneous barrier is intact. We next studied integument from a forelimb by light microscopy and discovered that the basal part of the alpha-keratin layer of the epidermis contains a dense layer of lipid. Skin from the forelimb of other neonatal turtles lacks such a layer of lipid in the epidermis, and these other turtles also are highly susceptible to inoculative freezing. Moreover, epidermis from the neck of hatchling painted turtles lacks the lipid layer, and this region of the skin is readily penetrated by growing crystals of ice. We therefore conclude that the resistance to inoculation imposed by skin on the limbs of hatchling painted turtles results from the presence of lipids in the alpha-keratin layer of the epidermis. Neonates apparently are able to avoid freezing during winter by drawing much of the body inside the shell, leaving only the ice-resistant integument of the limbs exposed to ice in the environment. The combination of behavior and skin morphology enables overwintering hatchlings to exploit an adaptive strategy based on supercooling. Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  4. Fossil Energy: Drivers and Challenges.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Friedmann, Julio

    2007-04-01

    Concerns about rapid economic growth, energy security, and global climate change have created a new landscape for fossil energy exploration, production, and utilization. Since 85% of primary energy supply comes from fossil fuels, and 85% of greenhouse gas emissions come from fossil fuel consumption, new and difficult technical and political challenges confront commercial, governmental, and public stakeholders. As such, concerns over climate change are explicitly weighed against security of international and domestic energy supplies, with economic premiums paid for either or both. Efficiency improvements, fuel conservation, and deployment of nuclear and renewable supplies will help both concerns, but are unlikely to offset growth in the coming decades. As such, new technologies and undertakings must both provide high quality fossil energy with minimal environmental impacts. The largest and most difficult of these undertakings is carbon management, wherein CO2 emissions are sequestered indefinitely at substantial incremental cost. Geological formations provide both high confidence and high capacity for CO2 storage, but present scientific and technical challenges. Oil and gas supply can be partially sustained and replaced through exploitation of unconventional fossil fuels such as tar-sands, methane hydrates, coal-to-liquids, and oil shales. These fuels provide enormous reserves that can be exploited at current costs, but generally require substantial energy to process. In most cases, the energy return on investment (EROI) is dropping, and unconventional fuels are generally more carbon intensive than conventional, presenting additional carbon management challenges. Ultimately, a large and sustained science and technology program akin to the Apollo project will be needed to address these concerns. Unfortunately, real funding in energy research has dropped dramatically (75%) in the past three decades, and novel designs in fission and fusion are not likely to provide any

  5. The origin and diversification of the developmental mechanisms that pattern the vertebrate head skeleton.

    PubMed

    Square, Tyler; Jandzik, David; Romášek, Marek; Cerny, Robert; Medeiros, Daniel Meulemans

    2017-07-15

    The apparent evolvability of the vertebrate head skeleton has allowed a diverse array of shapes, sizes, and compositions of the head in order to better adapt species to their environments. This encompasses feeding, breathing, sensing, and communicating: the head skeleton somehow participated in the evolution of all these critical processes for the last 500 million years. Through evolution, present head diversity was made possible via developmental modifications to the first head skeletal genetic program. Understanding the development of the vertebrate common ancestor's head skeleton is thus an important step in identifying how different lineages have respectively achieved their many innovations in the head. To this end, cyclostomes (jawless vertebrates) are extremely useful, having diverged from jawed vertebrates approximately 400 million years ago, at the deepest node within living vertebrates. From this ancestral vantage point (that is, the node connecting cyclostomes and gnathostomes) we can best identify the earliest major differences in development between vertebrate classes, and start to address how these might translate onto morphology. In this review we survey what is currently known about the cell biology and gene expression during head development in modern vertebrates, allowing us to better characterize the developmental genetics driving head skeleton formation in the most recent common ancestor of all living vertebrates. By pairing this vertebrate composite with information from fossil chordates, we can also deduce how gene regulatory modules might have been arranged in the ancestral vertebrate head. Together, we can immediately begin to understand which aspects of head skeletal development are the most conserved, and which are divergent, informing us as to when the first differences appear during development, and thus which pathways or cell types might be involved in generating lineage specific shape and structure. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All

  6. Integrated Analyses Resolve Conflicts over Squamate Reptile Phylogeny and Reveal Unexpected Placements for Fossil Taxa

    PubMed Central

    Reeder, Tod W.; Townsend, Ted M.; Mulcahy, Daniel G.; Noonan, Brice P.; Wood, Perry L.; Sites, Jack W.; Wiens, John J.

    2015-01-01

    Squamate reptiles (lizards and snakes) are a pivotal group whose relationships have become increasingly controversial. Squamates include >9000 species, making them the second largest group of terrestrial vertebrates. They are important medicinally and as model systems for ecological and evolutionary research. However, studies of squamate biology are hindered by uncertainty over their relationships, and some consider squamate phylogeny unresolved, given recent conflicts between molecular and morphological results. To resolve these conflicts, we expand existing morphological and molecular datasets for squamates (691 morphological characters and 46 genes, for 161 living and 49 fossil taxa, including a new set of 81 morphological characters and adding two genes from published studies) and perform integrated analyses. Our results resolve higher-level relationships as indicated by molecular analyses, and reveal hidden morphological support for the molecular hypothesis (but not vice-versa). Furthermore, we find that integrating molecular, morphological, and paleontological data leads to surprising placements for two major fossil clades (Mosasauria and Polyglyphanodontia). These results further demonstrate the importance of combining fossil and molecular information, and the potential problems of estimating the placement of fossil taxa from morphological data alone. Thus, our results caution against estimating fossil relationships without considering relevant molecular data, and against placing fossils into molecular trees (e.g. for dating analyses) without considering the possible impact of molecular data on their placement. PMID:25803280

  7. Integrated analyses resolve conflicts over squamate reptile phylogeny and reveal unexpected placements for fossil taxa.

    PubMed

    Reeder, Tod W; Townsend, Ted M; Mulcahy, Daniel G; Noonan, Brice P; Wood, Perry L; Sites, Jack W; Wiens, John J

    2015-01-01

    Squamate reptiles (lizards and snakes) are a pivotal group whose relationships have become increasingly controversial. Squamates include >9000 species, making them the second largest group of terrestrial vertebrates. They are important medicinally and as model systems for ecological and evolutionary research. However, studies of squamate biology are hindered by uncertainty over their relationships, and some consider squamate phylogeny unresolved, given recent conflicts between molecular and morphological results. To resolve these conflicts, we expand existing morphological and molecular datasets for squamates (691 morphological characters and 46 genes, for 161 living and 49 fossil taxa, including a new set of 81 morphological characters and adding two genes from published studies) and perform integrated analyses. Our results resolve higher-level relationships as indicated by molecular analyses, and reveal hidden morphological support for the molecular hypothesis (but not vice-versa). Furthermore, we find that integrating molecular, morphological, and paleontological data leads to surprising placements for two major fossil clades (Mosasauria and Polyglyphanodontia). These results further demonstrate the importance of combining fossil and molecular information, and the potential problems of estimating the placement of fossil taxa from morphological data alone. Thus, our results caution against estimating fossil relationships without considering relevant molecular data, and against placing fossils into molecular trees (e.g. for dating analyses) without considering the possible impact of molecular data on their placement.

  8. Fossil group origins. VII. Galaxy substructures in fossil systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zarattini, S.; Girardi, M.; Aguerri, J. A. L.; Boschin, W.; Barrena, R.; del Burgo, C.; Castro-Rodriguez, N.; Corsini, E. M.; D'Onghia, E.; Kundert, A.; Méndez-Abreu, J.; Sánchez-Janssen, R.

    2016-02-01

    Context. Fossil groups (FG) are expected to be the final product of galaxy merging within galaxy groups. In simulations, they are predicted to assemble their mass at high redshift. This early formation allows for the innermost M∗ galaxies to merge into a massive central galaxy. Then, they are expected to maintain their fossil status because of the few interactions with the large-scale structure. In this context, the magnitude gap between the two brightest galaxies of the system is considered a good indicator of its dynamical status. As a consequence, the systems with the largest gaps should be dynamically relaxed. Aims: In order to examine the dynamical status of these systems, we systematically analyze, for the first time, the presence of galaxy substructures in a sample of 12 spectroscopically-confirmed fossil systems with redshift z ≤ 0.25. Methods: We apply a number of tests to investigate the substructure in fossil systems in the two-dimensional space of projected positions out to R200. Moreover, for a subsample of five systems with at least 30 spectroscopically-confirmed members we also analyze the substructure in the velocity and in the three-dimensional velocity-position spaces. Additionally, we look for signs of recent mergers in the regions around the central galaxies. Results: We find that an important fraction of fossil systems show substructure. The fraction depends critically on the adopted test, since each test is more sensitive to a particular type of substructure. Conclusions: Our interpretation of the results is that fossil systems are not, in general, as relaxed as expected from simulations. Our sample of 12 spectroscopically-confirmed fossil systems need to be extended to compute an accurate fraction, but our conclusion is that this fraction is similar to the fraction of substructure detected in nonfossil clusters. This result points out that the magnitude gap alone is not a good indicator of the dynamical status of a system. However, the

  9. Energy: Analysing fossil-fuel displacement

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jorgenson, Andrew K.

    2012-06-01

    It is commonly assumed that fossil fuels can be replaced by alternative forms of energy. Now research challenges this assumption, and highlights the role of non-technological solutions to reduce fossil-fuel consumption.

  10. A Biological Time Capsule. Fossil Fish.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dolph, Gary E.; Dolph, Laura L.

    1990-01-01

    Described is an activity where students prepare high-quality fossil specimens to demonstrate the theory of evolution. The technique needed for fossil removal, the geologic and paleoclimatic setting, and the fish morphology are discussed. (KR)

  11. A Biological Time Capsule. Fossil Fish.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dolph, Gary E.; Dolph, Laura L.

    1990-01-01

    Described is an activity where students prepare high-quality fossil specimens to demonstrate the theory of evolution. The technique needed for fossil removal, the geologic and paleoclimatic setting, and the fish morphology are discussed. (KR)

  12. Evolution of the vertebrate epididymis.

    PubMed

    Jones, R C

    1998-01-01

    This review examines the structure and function of the extratesticular sperm ducts of vertebrates in terms of their evolutionary development and adaptive significance. The primitive extratesticular duct system of Chondrichthyes is described as an example of the vertebrate archetype. Adaptations of the duct system in higher vertebrates have involved a loss of some structures and specialization of others. The duct system probably evolved as a homeostatic mechanism to facilitate fertilization and some embryological development under conditions protected from the external environment. However, it is argued that the ducts also play an important role in the competition between males to achieve paternity. In vertebrates that practise internal fertilization the ducts are involved in post-testicular maturation and storage of spermatozoa. The biological significance of post-testicular sperm maturation has not been resolved. By contrast, sperm storage is essential in most male vertebrates because of the slow rate of spermatogenesis, particularly in ectotherms. Sperm storage is also important in the competition between males for paternity as it enables a male to mate a 'partner' a number of times during an oestrus in order to reduce the prospect of being cuckolded by another male. The extent of sperm maturation and storage in the epididymis of particular vertebrates depends on the relative roles of the testis and its extragonadal ducts in the competition between males for paternity. These roles depend on a number of factors, including allometric limitations to testis size, metabolic rate and the development of endothermy, and the reproductive strategy of females of the species.

  13. Lymphatic regulation in nonmammalian vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Hedrick, Michael S; Hillman, Stanley S; Drewes, Robert C; Withers, Philip C

    2013-08-01

    All vertebrate animals share in common the production of lymph through net capillary filtration from their closed circulatory system into their tissues. The balance of forces responsible for net capillary filtration and lymph formation is described by the Starling equation, but additional factors such as vascular and interstitial compliance, which vary markedly among vertebrates, also have a significant impact on rates of lymph formation. Why vertebrates show extreme variability in rates of lymph formation and how nonmammalian vertebrates maintain plasma volume homeostasis is unclear. This gap hampers our understanding of the evolution of the lymphatic system and its interaction with the cardiovascular system. The evolutionary origin of the vertebrate lymphatic system is not clear, but recent advances suggest common developmental factors for lymphangiogenesis in teleost fishes, amphibians, and mammals with some significant changes in the water-land transition. The lymphatic system of anuran amphibians is characterized by large lymphatic sacs and two pairs of lymph hearts that return lymph into the venous circulation but no lymph vessels per se. The lymphatic systems of reptiles and some birds have lymph hearts, and both groups have extensive lymph vessels, but their functional role in both lymph movement and plasma volume homeostasis is almost completely unknown. The purpose of this review is to present an evolutionary perspective in how different vertebrates have solved the common problem of the inevitable formation of lymph from their closed circulatory systems and to point out the many gaps in our knowledge of this evolutionary progression.

  14. Vertebrate paleontological exploration of the Upper Cretaceous succession in the Dakhla and Kharga Oases, Western Desert, Egypt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sallam, Hesham M.; O'Connor, Patrick M.; Kora, Mahmoud; Sertich, Joseph J. W.; Seiffert, Erik R.; Faris, Mahmoud; Ouda, Khaled; El-Dawoudi, Iman; Saber, Sara; El-Sayed, Sanaa

    2016-05-01

    The Campanian and Maastrichtian stages are very poorly documented time intervals in Africa's record of terrestrial vertebrate evolution. Upper Cretaceous deposits exposed in southern Egypt, near the Dakhla and Kharga Oases in the Western Desert, preserve abundant vertebrate fossils in nearshore marine environments, but have not yet been the focus of intensive collection and description. Our recent paleontological work in these areas has resulted in the discovery of numerous new vertebrate fossil-bearing localities within the middle Campanian Qusier Formation and the upper Campanian-lower Maastrichtian Duwi Formation. Fossil remains recovered from the Campanian-aged Quseir Formation include sharks, rays, actinopterygian and sarcopterygian fishes, turtles, and rare terrestrial archosaurians, including some of the only dinosaurs known from this interval on continental Africa. The upper Campanian/lower Maastrichtian Duwi Formation preserves sharks, sawfish, actinopterygians, and marine reptiles (mosasaurs and plesiosaurs). Notably absent from these collections are representatives of Mammalia and Avialae, both of which remain effectively undocumented in the Upper Cretaceous rocks of Africa and Arabia. New age constraints on the examined rock units is provided by 23 nannofossil taxa, some of which are reported from the Duwi Formation for the first time. Fossil discoveries from rock units of this age are essential for characterizing the degree of endemism that may have developed as the continent became increasingly tectonically isolated from the rest of Gondwana, not to mention for fully evaluating origin and diversification hypotheses of major modern groups of vertebrates (e.g., crown birds, placental mammals).

  15. Evolution of hard proteins in the sauropsid integument in relation to the cornification of skin derivatives in amniotes

    PubMed Central

    Alibardi, Lorenzo; Valle, Luisa Dalla; Nardi, Alessia; Toni, Mattia

    2009-01-01

    Hard skin appendages in amniotes comprise scales, feathers and hairs. The cell organization of these appendages probably derived from the localization of specialized areas of dermal–epidermal interaction in the integument. The horny scales and the other derivatives were formed from large areas of dermal–epidermal interaction. The evolution of these skin appendages was characterized by the production of specific coiled-coil keratins and associated proteins in the inter-filament matrix. Unlike mammalian keratin-associated proteins, those of sauropsids contain a double beta-folded sequence of about 20 amino acids, known as the core-box. The core-box shows 60%–95% sequence identity with known reptilian and avian proteins. The core-box determines the polymerization of these proteins into filaments indicated as beta-keratin filaments. The nucleotide and derived amino acid sequences for these sauropsid keratin-associated proteins are presented in conjunction with a hypothesis about their evolution in reptiles-birds compared to mammalian keratin-associated proteins. It is suggested that genes coding for ancestral glycine-serine-rich sequences of alpha-keratins produced a new class of small matrix proteins. In sauropsids, matrix proteins may have originated after mutation and enrichment in proline, probably in a central region of the ancestral protein. This mutation gave rise to the core-box, and other regions of the original protein evolved differently in the various reptilians orders. In lepidosaurians, two main groups, the high glycine proline and the high cysteine proline proteins, were formed. In archosaurians and chelonians two main groups later diversified into the high glycine proline tyrosine, non-feather proteins, and into the glycine-tyrosine-poor group of feather proteins, which evolved in birds. The latter proteins were particularly suited for making the elongated barb/barbule cells of feathers. In therapsids-mammals, mutations of the ancestral proteins

  16. Evolution of hard proteins in the sauropsid integument in relation to the cornification of skin derivatives in amniotes.

    PubMed

    Alibardi, Lorenzo; Dalla Valle, Luisa; Nardi, Alessia; Toni, Mattia

    2009-04-01

    Hard skin appendages in amniotes comprise scales, feathers and hairs. The cell organization of these appendages probably derived from the localization of specialized areas of dermal-epidermal interaction in the integument. The horny scales and the other derivatives were formed from large areas of dermal-epidermal interaction. The evolution of these skin appendages was characterized by the production of specific coiled-coil keratins and associated proteins in the inter-filament matrix. Unlike mammalian keratin-associated proteins, those of sauropsids contain a double beta-folded sequence of about 20 amino acids, known as the core-box. The core-box shows 60%-95% sequence identity with known reptilian and avian proteins. The core-box determines the polymerization of these proteins into filaments indicated as beta-keratin filaments. The nucleotide and derived amino acid sequences for these sauropsid keratin-associated proteins are presented in conjunction with a hypothesis about their evolution in reptiles-birds compared to mammalian keratin-associated proteins. It is suggested that genes coding for ancestral glycine-serine-rich sequences of alpha-keratins produced a new class of small matrix proteins. In sauropsids, matrix proteins may have originated after mutation and enrichment in proline, probably in a central region of the ancestral protein. This mutation gave rise to the core-box, and other regions of the original protein evolved differently in the various reptilians orders. In lepidosaurians, two main groups, the high glycine proline and the high cysteine proline proteins, were formed. In archosaurians and chelonians two main groups later diversified into the high glycine proline tyrosine, non-feather proteins, and into the glycine-tyrosine-poor group of feather proteins, which evolved in birds. The latter proteins were particularly suited for making the elongated barb/barbule cells of feathers. In therapsids-mammals, mutations of the ancestral proteins formed

  17. Looking at Fossils in New Ways

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flannery, Maura C.

    2005-01-01

    Existing fossils could be studied from a different prospective with the use of new methods of analysis for gathering more information. The new techniques of studying fossils binds the new and the old techniques and information and provides another way to look at fossils.

  18. Cycads: Fossil evidence of late paleozoic origin

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mamay, S.H.

    1969-01-01

    Plant fossils from Lower Permian strata of the southwestern United States have been interpreted as cycadalean megasporophylls. They are evidently descended from spermopterid elements of the Pennsylvanian Taeniopteris complex; thus the known fossil history of the cycads is extended from the Late Triassic into the late Paleozoic. Possible implications of the Permian fossils toward evolution of the angiosperm carpel are considered.

  19. Cycads: fossil evidence of late paleozoic origin.

    PubMed

    Mamay, S H

    1969-04-18

    Plant fossils from Lower Permian strata of the southwestern United States have been interpreted as cycadalean megasporophylls. They are evidently descended from spermopterid elements of the Pennsylvanian Taeniopteris complex; thus the known fossil history of the cycads is extended from the Late Triassic into the late Paleozoic. Possible implications of the Permian fossils toward evolution of the angiosperm carpel are considered.

  20. Looking at Fossils in New Ways

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Flannery, Maura C.

    2005-01-01

    Existing fossils could be studied from a different prospective with the use of new methods of analysis for gathering more information. The new techniques of studying fossils binds the new and the old techniques and information and provides another way to look at fossils.

  1. FOSSIL SPRINGS ROADLESS AREA, ARIZONA.

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Beard, L.S.; Ellis, C.E.

    1984-01-01

    Based on field studies, the Fossil Springs Roadless Area in central Arizona is concluded to have little promise for the occurrence of mineral or energy resources. Rocks in the Supai Formation (Pennsylvanian-Permian) near the central part of the roadless area contain widespread but spotty copper mineralization and trace amounts of uranium. Analyses obtained during the study define geochemical anomalies in two portions of the area that remain unexplained. The suites of anomalous metals suggest the possibility of hydrothermal veins and the presence of ultramafic rocks; neither were found in the field. Although there is little promise for the occurrence of mineral resources in the Fossil Springs Roadless Area, studies to identify the source of the geochemical anomalies could have valuable implications for regional studies and mineral exploration in the surrounding area.

  2. Clustering fossils in solid inflation

    SciTech Connect

    Akhshik, Mohammad

    2015-05-01

    In solid inflation the single field non-Gaussianity consistency condition is violated. As a result, the long tenor perturbation induces observable clustering fossils in the form of quadrupole anisotropy in large scale structure power spectrum. In this work we revisit the bispectrum analysis for the scalar-scalar-scalar and tensor-scalar-scalar bispectrum for the general parameter space of solid. We consider the parameter space of the model in which the level of non-Gaussianity generated is consistent with the Planck constraints. Specializing to this allowed range of model parameter we calculate the quadrupole anisotropy induced from the long tensor perturbations on the power spectrum of the scalar perturbations. We argue that the imprints of clustering fossil from primordial gravitational waves on large scale structures can be detected from the future galaxy surveys.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. Extinction and the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1994-01-01

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

  6. Characterization of an entomopathogenic fungi target integument protein, Bombyx mori single domain von Willebrand factor type C, in the silkworm, Bombyx mori.

    PubMed

    Han, F; Lu, A; Yuan, Y; Huang, W; Beerntsen, B T; Huang, J; Ling, E

    2017-06-01

    The insect cuticle works as the first line of defence to protect insects from pathogenic infections and water evaporation. However, the old cuticle must be shed in order to enter the next developmental stage. During each ecdysis, moulting fluids are produced and secreted into the area among the old and new cuticles. In a previous study, the protein Bombyx mori single domain von Willebrand factor type C (BmSVWC; BGIBMGA011399) was identified in the moulting fluids of Bo. mori and demonstrated to regulate ecdysis. In this study we show that in Bo. mori larvae, BmSVWC primarily locates to the integument (epidermal cells and cuticle), wing discs and head. During the moulting stage, BmSVWC is released into the moulting fluids, and is then produced again by epidermal cells after ecdysis. Fungal infection was shown to decrease the amount of BmSVWC in the cuticle, which indicates that BmSVWC is a target protein of entomopathogenic fungi. Thus, BmSVWC is mainly involved in maintaining the integrity of the integument structure, which serves to protect insects from physical damage and pathogenic infection. © 2017 The Royal Entomological Society.

  7. Fossils and Fossil Climate: The Case for Equable Continental Interiors in the Eocene

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wing, Scott L.; Greenwood, David R.

    1993-08-01

    There are many methods for inferring terrestrial palaeoclimates from palaeontological data, including the size and species diversity of ectothermic vertebrates, the locomotor and dental adaptations of mammals, characteristics of leaf shape, size, and epidermis, wood anatomy, and the climatic preferences of nearest living relatives of fossil taxa. Estimates of palaeotemperature have also been based on stable oxygen isotope ratios in shells and bones. Interpretation of any of these data relies in some way on uniformitarian assumptions, although at different levels depending on the method. Most of these methods can be applied to a palaeoclimatic reconstruction for the interior of North America during the early Eocene, which is thought to be the warmest interval of global climate in the Cenozoic. Most of the data indicate warm equable climates with little frost. Rainfall was variable, but strong aridity was local or absent. The inferred palaeoclimate is very different from the present climate of the region and from model simulations for the Eocene. This suggests that models fail to incorporate forcing factors that were present at that time, that they treat the heat regime of continents unrealistically, and/or that model inputs such as sea surface temperature gradients or palaeotopography are incorrect.

  8. [Neural crest and vertebrate evolution].

    PubMed

    Le Douarin, Nicole M; Creuzet, Sophie

    2011-01-01

    The neural crest (NC) is a remarkable structure of the Vertebrate embryo, which forms from the lateral borders of the neural plate (designated as neural folds) during neural tube closure. As soon as the NC is formed, its constitutive cells detach and migrate away from the neural primordium along definite pathways and at precise periods of time according to a rostro-caudal progression. The NC cells aggregate in definite places in the developing embryo, where they differentiate into a large variety of cell types including the neurons and glial cells of the peripheral nervous system, the pigment cells dispersed throughout the body and endocrine cells such as the adrenal medulla and the calcitonin producing cells. At the cephalic level only, in higher Vertebrates (but along the whole neural axis in Fishes and Amphibians), the NC is also at the origin of mesenchymal cells differentiating into connective tissue chondrogenic and osteogenic cells. Vertebrates belong to the larger group of Cordates which includes also the Protocordates (Cephalocordates and the Urocordates). All Cordates are characterized by the same body plan with a dorsal neural tube and a notochord which, in Vertebrates, exists only at embryonic stages. The main difference between Protocordates and Vertebrates is the very rudimentary development of cephalic structures in the former. As a result, the process of cephalization is one of the most obvious characteristics of Vertebrates. It was accompanied by the apparition of the NC which can therefore be considered as an innovation of Vertebrates during evolution. The application of a cell marking technique which consists in constructing chimeric embryos between two species of birds, the quail and the chicken, has led to show that the vertebrate head is mainly formed by cells originating from the NC, meaning that this structure was an important asset in Vertebrate evolution. Recent studies, described in this article, have strengthened this view by showing

  9. [Serine proteinases of lower vertebrates].

    PubMed

    Kolodzeĭskaia, M V

    1986-01-01

    Recent data on the effect of serine proteinases of lower vertebrates are generalized. Hydrolysis specificity and kinetics of different synthetic substrates, dependence of the activity of enzymes on pH, their irreversible inhibition by chloromethyl ketones of amino acids and peptides as well as high-molecular proteinase inhibitors are considered in detail. The data testify to the fact that chymotrypsins and trypsins of higher vertebrates and serine proteinases of lower vertebrates act as an acid-base catalysis. Enzymes in the pyloric cacca of fishes are in the state of proenzymes and are transformed into an active form with the aid of their own proteolytic factors. The esterase and proteolytic activity of fish proteinases is concentrated in the same active site and reaches the highest values at pH 7,8. New data are presented on particularities of the lower vertebrate proteinases, on the similarity and differences in their specificity. A distinct difference is shown in the nature of the binding site of the active centre in a number of serine proteinases of fishes as compared to chymotrypsin and trypsin of higher vertebrates.

  10. A compendium of fossil marine animal families, 2nd edition

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1992-01-01

    A comprehensive listing of 4075 taxonomic families of marine animals known from the fossil record is presented. This listing covers invertebrates, vertebrates, and animal-like protists, gives time intervals of apparent origination and extinction, and provides literature sources for these data. The time intervals are mostly 81 internationally recognized stratigraphic stages; more than half of the data are resolved to one of 145 substage divisions, providing more highly resolved data for studies of taxic macroevolution. Families are classified by order, class, and phylum, reflecting current classifications in the published literature. This compendium is a new edition of the 1982 publication, correcting errors and presenting greater stratigraphic resolution and more current ideas about acceptable families and their classification.

  11. THE NATURE OF FOSSIL GALAXY GROUPS: ARE THEY REALLY FOSSILS?

    SciTech Connect

    La Barbera, F.; Sorrentino, G.; De Carvalho, R. R.; De la Rosa, I. G.; Gal, R. R.; Kohl-Moreira, J. L.

    2009-04-15

    We use SDSS-DR4 photometric and spectroscopic data out to redshift z {approx} 0.1 combined with ROSAT All Sky Survey X-ray data to produce a sample of 25 fossil groups (FGs), defined as bound systems dominated by a single, luminous elliptical galaxy with extended X-ray emission. We examine possible biases introduced by varying the parameters used to define the sample, and the main pitfalls are also discussed. The spatial density of FGs, estimated via the V/V {sub MAX} test, is 2.83 x 10{sup -6} h {sup 3} {sub 75} Mpc{sup -3} for L{sub X} > 0.89 x 10{sup 42} h {sup -2} {sub 75} erg s{sup -1} consistent with Vikhlinin et al., who examined an X-ray overluminous elliptical galaxy sample (OLEG). We compare the general properties of FGs identified here with a sample of bright field ellipticals generated from the same data set. These two samples show no differences in the distribution of neighboring faint galaxy density excess, distance from the red sequence in the color-magnitude diagram, and structural parameters such as a {sub 4} and internal color gradients. Furthermore, examination of stellar populations shows that our 25 FGs have similar ages, metallicities, and {alpha}-enhancement as the bright field ellipticals, undermining the idea that these systems represent fossils of a physical mechanism that occurred at high redshift. Our study reveals no difference between FGs and field ellipticals, suggesting that FGs might not be a distinct family of true fossils, but rather the final stage of mass assembly in the universe.

  12. Quaternary vertebrate faunas from Sumba, Indonesia: implications for Wallacean biogeography and evolution

    PubMed Central

    Crees, Jennifer J.; Hansford, James; Jeffree, Timothy E.; Crumpton, Nick; Kurniawan, Iwan; Setiyabudi, Erick; Paranggarimu, Umbu; Dosseto, Anthony; van den Bergh, Gerrit D.

    2017-01-01

    Historical patterns of diversity, biogeography and faunal turnover remain poorly understood for Wallacea, the biologically and geologically complex island region between the Asian and Australian continental shelves. A distinctive Quaternary vertebrate fauna containing the small-bodied hominin Homo floresiensis, pygmy Stegodon proboscideans, varanids and giant murids has been described from Flores, but Quaternary faunas are poorly known from most other Lesser Sunda Islands. We report the discovery of extensive new fossil vertebrate collections from Pleistocene and Holocene deposits on Sumba, a large Wallacean island situated less than 50 km south of Flores. A fossil assemblage recovered from a Pleistocene deposit at Lewapaku in the interior highlands of Sumba, which may be close to 1 million years old, contains a series of skeletal elements of a very small Stegodon referable to S. sumbaensis, a tooth attributable to Varanus komodoensis, and fragmentary remains of unidentified giant murids. Holocene cave deposits at Mahaniwa dated to approximately 2000–3500 BP yielded extensive material of two new genera of endemic large-bodied murids, as well as fossils of an extinct frugivorous varanid. This new baseline for reconstructing Wallacean faunal histories reveals that Sumba's Quaternary vertebrate fauna, although phylogenetically distinctive, was comparable in diversity and composition to the Quaternary fauna of Flores, suggesting that similar assemblages may have characterized Quaternary terrestrial ecosystems on many or all of the larger Lesser Sunda Islands. PMID:28855367

  13. Quaternary vertebrate faunas from Sumba, Indonesia: implications for Wallacean biogeography and evolution.

    PubMed

    Turvey, Samuel T; Crees, Jennifer J; Hansford, James; Jeffree, Timothy E; Crumpton, Nick; Kurniawan, Iwan; Setiyabudi, Erick; Guillerme, Thomas; Paranggarimu, Umbu; Dosseto, Anthony; van den Bergh, Gerrit D

    2017-08-30

    Historical patterns of diversity, biogeography and faunal turnover remain poorly understood for Wallacea, the biologically and geologically complex island region between the Asian and Australian continental shelves. A distinctive Quaternary vertebrate fauna containing the small-bodied hominin Homo floresiensis, pygmy Stegodon proboscideans, varanids and giant murids has been described from Flores, but Quaternary faunas are poorly known from most other Lesser Sunda Islands. We report the discovery of extensive new fossil vertebrate collections from Pleistocene and Holocene deposits on Sumba, a large Wallacean island situated less than 50 km south of Flores. A fossil assemblage recovered from a Pleistocene deposit at Lewapaku in the interior highlands of Sumba, which may be close to 1 million years old, contains a series of skeletal elements of a very small Stegodon referable to S. sumbaensis, a tooth attributable to Varanus komodoensis, and fragmentary remains of unidentified giant murids. Holocene cave deposits at Mahaniwa dated to approximately 2000-3500 BP yielded extensive material of two new genera of endemic large-bodied murids, as well as fossils of an extinct frugivorous varanid. This new baseline for reconstructing Wallacean faunal histories reveals that Sumba's Quaternary vertebrate fauna, although phylogenetically distinctive, was comparable in diversity and composition to the Quaternary fauna of Flores, suggesting that similar assemblages may have characterized Quaternary terrestrial ecosystems on many or all of the larger Lesser Sunda Islands. © 2017 The Authors.

  14. Dinosaur Fossils Predict Body Temperatures

    PubMed Central

    Allen, Andrew P; Charnov, Eric L

    2006-01-01

    Perhaps the greatest mystery surrounding dinosaurs concerns whether they were endotherms, ectotherms, or some unique intermediate form. Here we present a model that yields estimates of dinosaur body temperature based on ontogenetic growth trajectories obtained from fossil bones. The model predicts that dinosaur body temperatures increased with body mass from approximately 25 °C at 12 kg to approximately 41 °C at 13,000 kg. The model also successfully predicts observed increases in body temperature with body mass for extant crocodiles. These results provide direct evidence that dinosaurs were reptiles that exhibited inertial homeothermy. PMID:16817695

  15. Identification of carotenoid pigments and their fatty acid esters in an avian integument combining HPLC-DAD and LC-MS analyses.

    PubMed

    García-de Blas, Esther; Mateo, Rafael; Viñuela, Javier; Alonso-Alvarez, Carlos

    2011-02-15

    Yellow-orange-red ornaments present in the integuments (feathers, bare parts) of birds are often produced by carotenoid pigments and may serve to signal the quality of the bearer. Although carotenoid esterification in tissues is a common phenomenon, most of the work on avian carotenoids has been focused on the identification of free forms or have been done after sample saponification. Here we determined free and esterified carotenoid composition in a bird species with red ornaments: the red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa). Carotenoids from leg integument were extracted and processed by TLC to separate three major carotenoid groups (free form, mono- and diesters with fatty acids), whereas saponified extracts gave only free forms of carotenoids. TLC fractions were then analyzed by HPLC-DAD with C18 phase column for a preliminary identification of carotenoid groups. The final characterization of free carotenoids and its esters with fatty acids was performed with direct extracts analyzed by LC-MS and LC-MS/MS with a C30 phase, always with a system coupled to DAD. The main carotenoid (λ(max) 478 nm and [M+H](+) at m/z 597.2) was identified as astaxanthin by comparison with standards. A second carotenoid (λ(max) between 440 and 480 nm and [M+H](+) at m/z 581.3) was not identified among any of the commercially available carotenoid standards, although it could correspond to pectenolone according to its fragmentation pattern. Both the unidentified carotenoid and astaxanthin formed monoesters with fatty acids, but only astaxanthin was in its diesterified form. Monoesters were mainly formed with palmitic, stearic, oleic and linoleic acids. Complementary analyses of fatty acid composition in partridge integument by GC-MS revealed high amounts of these and other fatty acids, such as myristic, arachidic and docosanoic acids. The combination of HPLC-DAD and LC-MS/MS spectra was especially useful to identify the carotenoids present in the esterified forms and the probable

  16. The coelacanth: Can a "living fossil" have active transposable elements in its genome?

    PubMed

    Naville, Magali; Chalopin, Domitille; Casane, Didier; Laurenti, Patrick; Volff, Jean-Nicolas

    2015-01-01

    The coelacanth has long been regarded as a "living fossil," with extant specimens looking very similar to fossils dating back to the Cretaceous period. The hypothesis of a slowly or even not evolving genome has been proposed to account for this apparent morphological stasis. While this assumption seems to be sustained by different evolutionary analyses on protein-coding genes, recent studies on transposable elements have provided more conflicting results. Indeed, the coelacanth genome contains many transposable elements and has been shaped by several major bursts of transposition during evolution. In addition, comparison of orthologous genomic regions from the genomes of the 2 extant coelacanth species L. chalumnae and L. menadoensis revealed multiple species-specific insertions, indicating transposable element recent activity and contribution to post-speciation genome divergence. These observations, which do not support the genome stasis hypothesis, challenge either the impact of transposable elements on organismal evolution or the status of the coelacanth as a "living fossil." Closer inspection of fossil and molecular data indicate that, even if coelacanths might evolve more slowly than some other lineages due to demographic and/or ecological factors, this variation is still in the range of a "non-fossil" vertebrate species.

  17. Learning about Vertebrate Limb Development

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Liang, Jennifer O.; Noll, Matthew; Olsen, Shayna

    2014-01-01

    We have developed an upper-level undergraduate laboratory exercise that enables students to replicate a key experiment in developmental biology. In this exercise, students have the opportunity to observe live chick embryos and stain the apical ectodermal ridge, a key tissue required for development of the vertebrate limb. Impressively, every…

  18. Learning about Vertebrate Limb Development

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Liang, Jennifer O.; Noll, Matthew; Olsen, Shayna

    2014-01-01

    We have developed an upper-level undergraduate laboratory exercise that enables students to replicate a key experiment in developmental biology. In this exercise, students have the opportunity to observe live chick embryos and stain the apical ectodermal ridge, a key tissue required for development of the vertebrate limb. Impressively, every…

  19. Vertebrate Embryonic Cleavage Pattern Determination.

    PubMed

    Hasley, Andrew; Chavez, Shawn; Danilchik, Michael; Wühr, Martin; Pelegri, Francisco

    2017-01-01

    The pattern of the earliest cell divisions in a vertebrate embryo lays the groundwork for later developmental events such as gastrulation, organogenesis, and overall body plan establishment. Understanding these early cleavage patterns and the mechanisms that create them is thus crucial for the study of vertebrate development. This chapter describes the early cleavage stages for species representing ray-finned fish, amphibians, birds, reptiles, mammals, and proto-vertebrate ascidians and summarizes current understanding of the mechanisms that govern these patterns. The nearly universal influence of cell shape on orientation and positioning of spindles and cleavage furrows and the mechanisms that mediate this influence are discussed. We discuss in particular models of aster and spindle centering and orientation in large embryonic blastomeres that rely on asymmetric internal pulling forces generated by the cleavage furrow for the previous cell cycle. Also explored are mechanisms that integrate cell division given the limited supply of cellular building blocks in the egg and several-fold changes of cell size during early development, as well as cytoskeletal specializations specific to early blastomeres including processes leading to blastomere cohesion. Finally, we discuss evolutionary conclusions beginning to emerge from the contemporary analysis of the phylogenetic distributions of cleavage patterns. In sum, this chapter seeks to summarize our current understanding of vertebrate early embryonic cleavage patterns and their control and evolution.

  20. The ISCD and Vertebral Fractures.

    PubMed

    Vokes, Tamara; Lentle, Brian

    2016-01-01

    Some 30 years ago the diagnosis of osteoporosis relied primarily on the measurement of bone mineral density by DXA. More recently, however, it was recognized that vertebral fractures are an important predictor of future fractures and that they reflect some aspect of bone fragility not captured by BMD measurement. In response to that, DXA manufacturers developed VFA, spine imaging on the densitometer, which allowed integration of BMD with information on vertebral fractures obtained at the same visit. ISCD has been instrumental in several aspects of VFA use such as developing and teaching courses for VFA or more broadly, for recognition of vertebral fractures; in developing guidelines for performance, interpretation and reporting of the VFA; and in advocating for reimbursement for VFA tests performed in the clinical practice. ISCD is poised to continue as a leader in vertebral fracture recognition and application of VFA to clinical practice and research. Copyright © 2016 The International Society for Clinical Densitometry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  1. C-isotope composition of fossil sedges and grasses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kurschner, Wolfram M.

    2010-05-01

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

  2. Fossil energy program. Summary document

    SciTech Connect

    1980-05-01

    This program summary document presents a comprehensive overview of the research, development, and demonstration (RD and D) activities that will be performed in FY 1981 by the Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy (ASFE), US Department of Energy (DOE). The ASFE technology programs for the fossil resources of coal, petroleum (including oil shale) and gas have been established with the goal of making substantive contributions to the nation's future supply and efficienty use of energy. On April 29, 1977, the Administration submitted to Congress the National Energy Plan (NEP) and accompanying legislative proposals designed to establish a coherent energy policy structure for the United States. Congress passed the National Energy Act (NEA) on October 15, 1978, which allows implementation of the vital parts of the NEP. The NEP was supplemented by additional energy policy statements culminating in the President's address on July 15, 1979, presenting a program to further reduce dependence on imported petroleum. The passage of the NEA-related energy programs represent specific steps by the Administration and Congress to reorganize, redirect, and clarify the role of the Federal Government in the formulation and execution of national energy policy and programs. The energy technology RD and D prog4rams carried out by ASFE are an important part of the Federal Government's effort to provide the combination and amounts of energy resources needed to ensure national security and continued economic growth.

  3. Fossil energy biotechnology: A research needs assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    1993-11-01

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

  4. Symptomatic vertebral hemangiomas during pregnancy.

    PubMed

    Moles, Alexis; Hamel, Olivier; Perret, Christophe; Bord, Eric; Robert, Roger; Buffenoir, Kevin

    2014-05-01

    Symptomatic vertebral hemangiomas during pregnancy are rare, as only 27 cases have been reported in the literature since 1948. However, symptomatic vertebral hemangiomas can be responsible for spinal cord compression, in which case they constitute a medical emergency, which raises management difficulties in the context of pregnancy. Pregnancy is a known factor responsible for deterioration of these vascular tumors. In this paper, the authors report 2 clinical cases of symptomatic vertebral hemangiomas during pregnancy, including 1 case of spontaneous fracture that has never been previously reported in the literature. The authors then present a brief review of the literature to discuss emergency management of this condition. The first case was a 28-year-old woman at 35 weeks of gestation, who presented with paraparesis. Spinal cord MRI demonstrated a vertebral hemangioma invading the body and posterior arch of T-3 with posterior epidural extension. Laminectomy and vertebroplasty were performed after cesarean section, allowing neurological recovery. The second case involved a 35-year-old woman who presented with spontaneous fracture of T-7 at 36 weeks of gestation, revealing a vertebral hemangioma with no neurological deficit, but it was responsible for pain and local instability. Treatment consisted of postpartum posterior interbody fusion. With a clinical and radiological follow-up of 2 years, no complications and no modification of the hemangiomas were observed. A review of the literature reveals discordant management of these rare cases, which is why the treatment course must be decided by a multidisciplinary team as a function of fetal gestational age and maternal neurological features.

  5. New dinosaur fossils from ANA locality, Arcillas de Morella Formation (Aptian, Lower Cretaceous, Cinctorres, Spain)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Santos-Cubedo, A.; de Santisteban, C.; Suñer, M.; Galobart, A.

    2009-04-01

    Ana is one of the several dinosaur bone sites located in the Arcillas de Morella Formation (Aptian, Lower Cretaceous; eastern Iberian Chain, Spain). This site was discovered in 1998, but it remained unexcavated until 2002, when a palaeontologist team formed by members of the Institut Paleontología Miquel Crusafont from Sabadell and the Grup Guix from Vila-real unearthed the first fossil from the locality. Nowadays there are five hundred fossils collected, including vertebrate and invertebrate species. Dinosaur bones (Theropoda and Ornithopoda) are abundant in this assemblage and in the last field season bones determined as Sauropoda were found. Taxonomically, Ana is dominated by disarticulated remains of Ornithopoda, which are usually fragmentary and abraded. Many of the elements may have been reworked (spatial averaging and/or time averaging), and the fossil concentration constitutes an autochthonous to parautochthonous association, in a spatial sense. The remains found in the Ana fossils site are placed in sandstones and limes containing marine autochthonous fauna. These deposits were formed during the transgressive infilling of an incised valley. Sedimentological features indicate that fossils were finally deposited in starved shallow estuarine environment. Mineralogically, the sediment including the fossils contains grains of quartz, illite/mica, kaolinite/clorite, K-feldspar and plagioclase, distributed in two mainly grain populations, a silty-clay and a coarse sand size grain, indicating that the sediments were bedded in a low-medium energy depositional environment. Nowadays we identified in Ana, teeth of Theropoda indet. and Baryonychinae indet., and bones of Iguanodon sp. Herein, we report new fossil findings from Ana site. These materials have been determined as Iguanodontia, Titanosauriformes and Theropoda. These new findings will help to understand the dinosaur fauna present in the Lower Cretaceous of Els Ports (Castellón, Spain). Acknowledgments This

  6. Early development of the vertebral column.

    PubMed

    Scaal, Martin

    2016-01-01

    The segmental organization of the vertebrate body is most obviously visible in the vertebral column, which consists of a series of vertebral bones and interconnecting joints and ligaments. During embryogenesis, the vertebral column derives from the somites, which are the primary segments of the embryonic paraxial mesoderm. Anatomical, cellular and molecular aspects of vertebral column development have been of interest to developmental biologists for more than 150 years. This review briefly summarizes the present knowledge on early steps of vertebral column development in amniotes, starting from sclerotome formation and leading to the establishment of the anatomical bauplan of the spine composed of vertebral bodies, vertebral arches, intervertebral discs and ribs, and their specific axial identities along the body axis.

  7. Results and assessment of uranium series dating of vertebrate fossils from Quaternary alluvium in Colorado

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Szabo, B. J.

    1980-01-01

    An average uranium-series age of 102,000 ± 14,000 yr for bones from Louviers Alluvium, near Denver, Colorado, is compatible with the inferred geologic age of from 120,000 to 150,000 yr. A uranium-series date of about 190,000 yr for a bone from Slocum Alluvium, near Canon City, Colorado, is consistent with the inferred geologic age of from 150,000 to 260,000 yr. Age determinations for the Broadway Alluvium are inconsistent but its geologic age is considered to be 15,000 to 30,000 yr BP.

  8. Survey of Fossil Vertebrates from East-Central Kansas, Kansas River Bank Stabilization Study

    DTIC Science & Technology

    1979-01-01

    finned fishes related to lungfish and amphibians. They survive today in the Indian Ocean. Colubrinae - The most common North American snakes Coluber...Lophodytes cucullatus - Hooded Merganser Lungfish - Lobe-finned fishes which live today on the southern continents Lutra canadensis - River Otter Mammut...fishes, coelacanth fishes, lungfish , lepospondyl and labyrinthodont amphibians, and pelycosaurian reptiles. Reference: Rasmussen, Martin, Chorn, and

  9. Effects of dietary supplementation of ferulic acid and gamma-oryzanol on integument color and suppression of oxidative stress in cultured red sea bream, Pagrus major.

    PubMed

    Maoka, Takashi; Tanimoto, Fumio; Sano, Mitsuhiko; Tsurukawa, Kanji; Tsuno, Takuo; Tsujiwaki, Satomi; Ishimaru, Katsuya; Takii, Kenji

    2008-01-01

    The effects of ferulic acid (FA) and gamma-oryzanol (OZ) supplementation on cultured red sea bream were examined. Commercial brown fish meal diets supplemented with FA (0.01-0.5%) or OZ (0.05-0.5%) were given to zero-year, cultured red sea bream for 98 days. After the experiment, the brightness of the integument color ("L" value) of FA- and OZ-administrated fish was higher than that of control fish. Furthermore, 2-Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) in the liver of FA- and OZ-administrated fish was lower than in control fish. These results indicate that FA and OZ suppressed not only dark-color pigmentation but also oxidative stress in cultured red sea bream.

  10. Disturbances in cellular features and elemental homeostasis in the integument of a freshwater fish Channa punctatus (Bloch) in relation to hydrogen ion concentration of polluted water.

    PubMed

    Dey, S; Ramanujam, S N; Dkhar, R S; Bhattacharjee, C R; Purkayastha, D

    2001-01-01

    Scanning electron microscopy revealed that the cellular and morphological defects in the integument of Channa punctatus, associated with heavy metal and other environmental pollution was related to a significant extent to the hydrogen ion concentration of the water. At low pH, the epidermis showed severe lesions, and the scale lost its attachment with the skin, due to lepidontal alterations of the circuli. Atomic absorption spectroscopic analysis of the tissue indicated disturbances in the homeostasis of several elements, which probably played a major role in causing the cellular and morphological defects. Experimental monitoring of the pH of the polluted water to near-neutral, reduced significantly the extent of cellular and morphological defects and disturbances in elemental homeostasis.

  11. The Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor: A Review of Its Role in the Physiology and Pathology of the Integument and Its Relationship to the Tryptophan Metabolism

    PubMed Central

    Noakes, Rowland

    2015-01-01

    The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is a cytosolic receptor for low molecular weight molecules, of which the most widely recognized ligand is 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), and the most widely recognized effect, chloracne. Adverse effects of manipulation were most recently and graphically demonstrated by the poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko during the Ukrainian presidential elections of 2004. However, recent research has revealed a receptor with wide-ranging, and at times, paradoxical actions. It was arguably among the first biological receptors to be utilized by dermatologists, dating from the time of topical tar preparations as a therapeutic agent. I provide a review outlining the role AHR plays in the development, cellular oxidation/antioxidation, responses to ultraviolet light, melanogenesis, epidermal barrier function, and immune regulation and its relationship to tryptophan metabolism. Finally, I will review the role of AHR in diseases of the integument. PMID:25733915

  12. Stratigraphical investigations on a new Miocene fossil-bearing sequence in Central Inner Mongolia, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaakinen, Anu; Aziz, Hayfaa Abdul; Passey, Benjamin H.; Zhang, Zhaoqun; Liu, Liping; Krijgsman, Wout; Fortelius, Mikael

    2014-05-01

    Central Inner Mongolia has been an area of great paleontological interest since the beginning of the 20th century. Although the area has produced numerous diverse collections of Miocene faunas, fossil records from the early Miocene of Inner Mongolia are relatively rare. The localities occur mainly as scattered faunal horizons and their stratigraphy is challenging owing to lack of continuous vertical exposures. Consequently, most age estimations of these Miocene sites are based on paleontological evidence alone, with very few sites having been dated independently based on paleomagnetics. The Damiao site in Siziwang Qi, Inner Mongolia, was discovered in 2006, and during the following four years extensive field activities were undertaken. The focus was on paleontological studies and on the stratigraphy of the Neogene sediments. The field survey led to the recovery of approximately 30 new fossiliferous localities, which have produced a rich mammalian fauna, including pliopithecid remains. The bulk of the vertebrate fossils and localities have been recovered from three main fossil horizons. We have interpreted the Damiao sequence as the remains of a fluvio-lacustrine system comprising channels, subaerially exposed floodplains and ephemeral/marginal lacustrine environments. This study presents the litho- and magnetostratigraphy of the Damiao area and provides age estimations for the important fossil-bearing localities. The two local stratigraphic sections measured and sampled for paleomagnetic analysis coincide with important vertebrate fossil localities. The western section is about 30 m thick and includes fossil locality DM16 while the eastern section spans up 40 m and comprises localities DM01 and DM02. The paleomagnetic results and faunal evidence suggest a correlation in the magnetozones C6Ar through C5r with an age range of ca 21 to 11 Ma. The interval of reversed polarity at the base of the section (C6Ar) coincides with fossil locality DM16. The pliopithecid

  13. Synchrotron-aided reconstruction of the conodont feeding apparatus and implications for the mouth of the first vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Goudemand, Nicolas; Orchard, Michael J.; Urdy, Séverine; Bucher, Hugo; Tafforeau, Paul

    2011-01-01

    The origin of jaws remains largely an enigma that is best addressed by studying fossil and living jawless vertebrates. Conodonts were eel-shaped jawless animals, whose vertebrate affinity is still disputed. The geometrical analysis of exceptional three-dimensionally preserved clusters of oro-pharyngeal elements of the Early Triassic Novispathodus, imaged using propagation phase-contrast X-ray synchrotron microtomography, suggests the presence of a pulley-shaped lingual cartilage similar to that of extant cyclostomes within the feeding apparatus of euconodonts (“true” conodonts). This would lend strong support to their interpretation as vertebrates and demonstrates that the presence of such cartilage is a plesiomorphic condition of crown vertebrates. PMID:21555584

  14. Taphonomic aspects of the Pleistocene vertebrate assemblage of Itaboraí, state of Rio de Janeiro, southeastern Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Araújo Júnior, Hermínio Ismael de; Dominato, Victor Hugo; Bertoni-Machado, Cristina; Avilla, Leonardo dos Santos

    2013-10-01

    Pleistocene vertebrates from Itaboraí Basin have not been taphonomically studied prior to this work, limiting the understanding of the deposition and preservation of the only Pleistocene vertebrate accumulation known for the state of Rio de Janeiro. In this work, the taphonomic signatures of the Pleistocene vertebrate assemblage of Itaboraí are identified and interpreted in order to increase the knowledge about the formation of this fossil association and the paleoecology of the region of Rio de Janeiro during the late Pleistocene. Our analysis shows that the thanatocoenosis was exposed to the biostratinomic processes during a small time span; that it is parautochthonous; and experienced short transport distances by normal fluvial streams and floods. Subsequently, the fossiliferous horizon was quickly covered by the superjacent soil. Yet, the skeletal elements were fractured and deformed during the sedimentary compaction. The differential preservation of megamammal bones is associated to the bone resistance against those destructive processes and to the specific anatomical features. Comparison between Itaboraí and other Brazilian Pleistocene vertebrate accumulations shows that the Itaboraí fossil accumulation was less affected by taphonomic processes, although it is also a time-averaged fossil concentration. Finally, some of the taphonomic features indicate an arid paleoclimate.

  15. Cell-to-cell movement of green fluorescent protein reveals post-phloem transport in the outer integument and identifies symplastic domains in Arabidopsis seeds and embryos.

    PubMed

    Stadler, Ruth; Lauterbach, Christian; Sauer, Norbert

    2005-10-01

    Developing Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) seeds and embryos represent a complex set of cell layers and tissues that mediate the transport and partitioning of carbohydrates, amino acids, hormones, and signaling molecules from the terminal end of the funicular phloem to and between these seed tissues and eventually to the growing embryo. This article provides a detailed analysis of the symplastic domains and the cell-to-cell connectivity from the end of the funiculus to the embryo, and within the embryo during its maturation. The cell-to-cell movement of the green fluorescent protein or of mobile and nonmobile green fluorescent protein fusions was monitored in seeds and embryos of plants expressing the corresponding cDNAs under the control of various promoters (SUC2, SUC3, TT12, and GL2) shown to be active in defined seed or embryo cell layers (SUC3, TT12, and GL2) or only outside the developing Arabidopsis seed (AtSUC2). Cell-to-cell movement was also analyzed with the low-molecular-weight fluorescent dye 8-hydroxypyrene-1,3,6-trisulfonate. The analyses presented identify a phloem-unloading domain at the end of the funicular phloem, characterize the entire outer integument as a symplastic extension of the phloem, and describe the inner integument and the globular stage embryo plus the suspensor as symplastic domains. The results also show that, at the time of hypophysis specification, the symplastic connectivity between suspensor and embryo is reduced or interrupted and that the embryo develops from a single symplast (globular and heart stage) to a mature embryo with new symplastic domains.

  16. Evolution of endothelin receptors in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Braasch, Ingo; Schartl, Manfred

    2014-12-01

    Endothelin receptors are G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) of the β-group of rhodopsin receptors that bind to endothelin ligands, which are 21 amino acid long peptides derived from longer prepro-endothelin precursors. The most basal Ednr-like GPCR is found outside vertebrates in the cephalochordate amphioxus, but endothelin ligands are only present among vertebrates, including the lineages of jawless vertebrates (lampreys and hagfishes), cartilaginous vertebrates (sharks, rays, and chimaeras), and bony vertebrates (ray-finned fishes and lobe-finned vertebrates including tetrapods). A bona fide endothelin system is thus a vertebrate-specific innovation with important roles for regulating the cardiovascular system, renal and pulmonary processes, as well as for the development of the vertebrate-specific neural crest cell population and its derivatives. Expectedly, dysregulation of endothelin receptors and the endothelin system leads to a multitude of human diseases. Despite the importance of different types of endothelin receptors for vertebrate development and physiology, current knowledge on endothelin ligand-receptor interactions, on the expression of endothelin receptors and their ligands, and on the functional roles of the endothelin system for embryonic development and in adult vertebrates is very much biased towards amniote vertebrates. Recent analyses from a variety of vertebrate lineages, however, have shown that the endothelin system in lineages such as teleost fish and lampreys is more diverse and is divergent from the mammalian endothelin system. This diversity is mainly based on differential evolution of numerous endothelin system components among vertebrate lineages generated by two rounds of whole genome duplication (three in teleosts) during vertebrate evolution. Here we review current understanding of the evolutionary history of the endothelin receptor family in vertebrates supplemented with surveys on the endothelin receptor gene complement of

  17. Fossilization Processes in Thermal Springs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1995-01-01

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

  18. 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

  19. Vertebral Augmentation for Osteoporotic Compression Fractures.

    PubMed

    Richmond, Bradford J

    2016-01-01

    Vertebral augmentation procedures such as vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty were developed to reduce pain and improve quality of life for patients with osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures. However, the use of vertebral augmentation has been debated and questioned since its inception. This article addresses some of these issues.

  20. Cervical vertebral bone age in girls.

    PubMed

    Mito, Toshinori; Sato, Koshi; Mitani, Hideo

    2002-10-01

    The purpose of this study was to establish cervical vertebral bone age as a new index for objectively evaluating skeletal maturation on cephalometric radiographs. Using cephalometric radiographs of 176 girls (ages 7.0-14.9 years), we measured cervical vertebral bodies and determined a regression formula to obtain cervical vertebral bone age. Next, using cephalometric and hand-wrist radiographs of another 66 girls (ages 8.0-13.9 years), we determined the correlation between cervical vertebral bone age and bone age using the Tanner-Whitehouse 2 method. The following results were obtained: (1) a regression formula was determined to obtain cervical vertebral bone age based on ratios of measurements in the third and fourth cervical vertebral bodies; (2) the correlation coefficient for the relationship between cervical vertebral bone age and bone age (0.869) was significantly (P <.05) higher than that for the relationship between cervical vertebral bone age and chronological age (0.705); and (3) the difference (absolute value) between the cervical vertebral bone age and bone age (0.75 years) was significantly (P <.001) smaller than that between cervical vertebral bone age and chronological age (1.17 years). These results suggest that cervical vertebral bone age reflects skeletal maturity because it approximates bone age, which is considered to be the most reliable method for evaluating skeletal maturation. Using cervical vertebral bone age, it might be possible to evaluate maturity in a detailed and objective manner on cephalometric radiographs.

  1. 40Ar/39Ar ages for the fossil-bearing Gyeongsang Supergroup in South Korea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chang, S. C.; Hemming, S. R.

    2016-12-01

    Since the 1970s, abundant vertebrate fossils have been documented from the Cretaceous Gyeongsang Supergroup in the Gyeongsang Basin and some small nearby basins of the Korean Peninsula, including dinosaurs, pterosaurs, crocodilians, turtles and fish. In addition to body fossils, well-preserved dinosaur, bird and pterosaur tracks have been found from these formations. Well-preserved and extensive vertebrate ichnofaunas from the Gyeongsang Supergroup represent the largest known concentration of Cretaceous vertebrate track sites reported from the Asian continent. Determining the age of the Gyeongsang Supergroup is critical to understanding several fundamental questions related to evolution and paleo-biogeography. However, limited radioisotopic studies for the Gyeongsang Supergroup have been previously reported. Additionally, the large uncertainties of previous data and the incomplete stratigraphic description of the samples limit their value for high-resolution chronostratigraphy. In this study, we aim to establish high-precision 40Ar/39Ar ages for two well-known tuffs from the middle and the upper part of the Gyeongsang Supergroup, and one rhyolite from the uppermost Gyeongsang Supergroup. Our preliminary 40Ar/39Ar data for the Kusandong Tuff indicates that the middle part of the Gyeongsang Supergroup is 78-82 Ma. This is consistent with the hypothesized extension of the Jehol biota into Korea and the preliminary results suggest that refinement of the time scale for these strata is a practical goal. The Gyeongsang Supergroup sample has great potential for substantially increasing our knowledge of Mesozoic terrestrial ecosystems.

  2. Deoxygenation in cycling fossil plants

    SciTech Connect

    Pearl, W.L.; Hobart, R.L.; Hook, T.A.; McNea, D.A. )

    1992-04-01

    In a previous EPRI study (Phase 1 of RP1184-9) at the Port Everglades plant of Florida Power and Light, it was demonstrated that minimizing shutdown oxygen levels at a cycling plant could reduce corrosion product transport to the boilers. A continuation of the program was performed to demonstrate the use of two forms of activated carbon to catalyze the hydrazine/oxygen reaction as a method to minimize the oxygen levels of cycling fossil plants. An activated carbon impregnated fiber overlay on a powdered resin precoat was tested at TU Electric's Tradinghouse Creek Unit 1 and a carbon bed followed by a deep bed demineralizer was tested at Duquesne's Elrama Unit 4. The improvement in attainable oxygen control was demonstrated and the effect on corrosion product transport during cyclic operation was evaluated. The study also demonstrated the application of a data acquisition system for prompt data assessment, control of chemical additions, identification of problems, and development of responsive corrective actions.

  3. Fossil diatoms and neogene paleolimnology

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Platt, Bradbury J.

    1988-01-01

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

  4. Morphological castes in a vertebrate

    PubMed Central

    O'Riain, M. J.; Jarvis, J. U. M.; Alexander, R.; Buffenstein, R.; Peeters, C.

    2000-01-01

    Morphological specialization for a specific role has, until now, been assumed to be restricted to social invertebrates. Herein we show that complete physical dimorphism has evolved between reproductives and helpers in the eusocial naked mole-rat. Dimorphism is a consequence of the lumbar vertebrae lengthening after the onset of reproduction in females. This is the only known example of morphological castes in a vertebrate and is distinct from continuous size variation between breeders and helpers in other species of cooperatively breeding vertebrates. The evolution of castes in a mammal and insects represents a striking example of convergent evolution for enhanced fecundity in societies characterized by high reproductive skew. Similarities in the selective environment between naked mole-rats and eusocial insect species highlight the selective conditions under which queen/worker castes are predicted to evolve in animal societies. PMID:11087866

  5. Climate change and marine vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Sydeman, William J; Poloczanska, Elvira; Reed, Thomas E; Thompson, Sarah Ann

    2015-11-13

    Climate change impacts on vertebrates have consequences for marine ecosystem structures and services. We review marine fish, mammal, turtle, and seabird responses to climate change and discuss their potential for adaptation. Direct and indirect responses are demonstrated from every ocean. Because of variation in research foci, observed responses differ among taxonomic groups (redistributions for fish, phenology for seabirds). Mechanisms of change are (i) direct physiological responses and (ii) climate-mediated predator-prey interactions. Regional-scale variation in climate-demographic functions makes range-wide population dynamics challenging to predict. The nexus of metabolism relative to ecosystem productivity and food webs appears key to predicting future effects on marine vertebrates. Integration of climate, oceanographic, ecosystem, and population models that incorporate evolutionary processes is needed to prioritize the climate-related conservation needs for these species. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  6. A high resolution stratigraphic framework for the remarkable fossil cetacean assemblage of the Miocene/Pliocene Pisco Formation, Peru

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brand, Leonard; Urbina, Mario; Chadwick, Arthur; DeVries, Thomas J.; Esperante, Raul

    2011-04-01

    The Miocene/Pliocene Pisco Formation of Peru contains a rich marine vertebrate fossil record, providing a unique opportunity for the study of paleoecology and evolution, along with the sedimentological context of the fossils. The lack of a high-resolution stratigraphic framework has hampered such study. In this paper we develop the needed stratigraphy for the areas in the Pisco Formation where most of the vertebrate paleontological research is occurring. In the Ica Valley and in the vicinity of Lomas, series of lithologically or paleontologically unique marker beds were identified. These were walked out and documented with GPS technology. Measured sections connecting these marker beds provide a stratigraphic framework for the areas studied. GPS locations, maps of the marker beds on aerial photographs, and outcrop photographs allow field determination of the stratigraphic positions of study areas.

  7. Role of sediment size and biostratinomy on the development of biofilms in recent avian vertebrate remains

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peterson, Joseph E.; Lenczewski, Melissa E.; Clawson, Steven R.; Warnock, Jonathan P.

    2017-04-01

    Microscopic soft tissues have been identified in fossil vertebrate remains collected from various lithologies. However, the diagenetic mechanisms to preserve such tissues have remained elusive. While previous studies have described infiltration of biofilms in Haversian and Volkmann’s canals, biostratinomic alteration (e.g., trampling), and iron derived from hemoglobin as playing roles in the preservation processes, the influence of sediment texture has not previously been investigated. This study uses a Kolmogorov Smirnov Goodness-of-Fit test to explore the influence of biostratinomic variability and burial media against the infiltration of biofilms in bone samples. Controlled columns of sediment with bone samples were used to simulate burial and subsequent groundwater flow. Sediments used in this study include clay-, silt-, and sand-sized particles modeled after various fluvial facies commonly associated with fossil vertebrates. Extant limb bone samples obtained from Gallus gallus domesticus (Domestic Chicken) buried in clay-rich sediment exhibit heavy biofilm infiltration, while bones buried in sands and silts exhibit moderate levels. Crushed bones exhibit significantly lower biofilm infiltration than whole bone samples. Strong interactions between biostratinomic alteration and sediment size are also identified with respect to biofilm development. Sediments modeling crevasse splay deposits exhibit considerable variability; whole-bone crevasse splay samples exhibit higher frequencies of high-level biofilm infiltration, and crushed-bone samples in modeled crevasse splay deposits display relatively high frequencies of low-level biofilm infiltration. These results suggest that sediment size, depositional setting, and biostratinomic condition play key roles in biofilm infiltration in vertebrate remains, and may influence soft tissue preservation in fossil vertebrates.

  8. 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).

  9. Potential for travertine formation: Fossil Creek, Arizona

    Treesearch

    John Malusa; Steven T. Overby; Roderic A. Parnell

    2003-01-01

    Chemical analyses of water emanating from Fossil Springs in Central Arizona were conducted to predict changes in travertine deposition related to changes in stream discharge caused by diversion for hydroelectric power generation. During spring of 1996, water was sampled at 15 locations during normal seepage flow in a 6.7 km reach below Fossil Springs and at full...

  10. Dinosaur Fossil, Leonardo, at Ellington Field

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2008-03-14

    Documentation of NASA's partnership with the Houston Museum of Natural Science and Montana's Great Plains Dinosaur Museum to provide an insulated facility at Ellington Field in which the Leonardo Project Team was able to X-ray Leonardo, a 77 million year old dinosaur fossil. View of the Brachylophosaurus fossil called Leonardo.

  11. Forty Years Later: Updating the Fossilization Hypothesis

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Han, ZhaoHong

    2013-01-01

    A founding concept in second language acquisition (SLA) research, fossilization has been fundamental to understanding second language (L2) development. The Fossilization Hypothesis, introduced in Selinker's seminal text (1972), has thus been one of the most influential theories, guiding a significant bulk of SLA research for four decades; 2012…

  12. Do alternative energy sources displace fossil fuels?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    York, Richard

    2012-06-01

    A fundamental, generally implicit, assumption of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports and many energy analysts is that each unit of energy supplied by non-fossil-fuel sources takes the place of a unit of energy supplied by fossil-fuel sources. However, owing to the complexity of economic systems and human behaviour, it is often the case that changes aimed at reducing one type of resource consumption, either through improvements in efficiency of use or by developing substitutes, do not lead to the intended outcome when net effects are considered. Here, I show that the average pattern across most nations of the world over the past fifty years is one where each unit of total national energy use from non-fossil-fuel sources displaced less than one-quarter of a unit of fossil-fuel energy use and, focusing specifically on electricity, each unit of electricity generated by non-fossil-fuel sources displaced less than one-tenth of a unit of fossil-fuel-generated electricity. These results challenge conventional thinking in that they indicate that suppressing the use of fossil fuel will require changes other than simply technical ones such as expanding non-fossil-fuel energy production.

  13. Precambrian biota: protistan origin of trace fossils?

    PubMed

    Pawlowski, Jan; Gooday, Andrew J

    2009-01-13

    Some Precambrian trace fossils have been presented as evidence for the early origin of bilaterians; the recent finding that large amoeboid protists leave macroscopic traces at the bottom of the deep ocean questions the metazoan nature of early trace fossils, stressing the importance of single-cell organisms in Precambrian biota.

  14. 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

  15. Forty Years Later: Updating the Fossilization Hypothesis

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Han, ZhaoHong

    2013-01-01

    A founding concept in second language acquisition (SLA) research, fossilization has been fundamental to understanding second language (L2) development. The Fossilization Hypothesis, introduced in Selinker's seminal text (1972), has thus been one of the most influential theories, guiding a significant bulk of SLA research for four decades; 2012…

  16. The original colours of fossil beetles.

    PubMed

    McNamara, Maria E; Briggs, Derek E G; Orr, Patrick J; Noh, Heeso; Cao, Hui

    2012-03-22

    Structural colours, the most intense, reflective and pure colours in nature, are generated when light is scattered by complex nanostructures. Metallic structural colours are widespread among modern insects and can be preserved in their fossil counterparts, but it is unclear whether the colours have been altered during fossilization, and whether the absence of colours is always real. To resolve these issues, we investigated fossil beetles from five Cenozoic biotas. Metallic colours in these specimens are generated by an epicuticular multi-layer reflector; the fidelity of its preservation correlates with that of other key cuticular ultrastructures. Where these other ultrastructures are well preserved in non-metallic fossil specimens, we can infer that the original cuticle lacked a multi-layer reflector; its absence in the fossil is not a preservational artefact. Reconstructions of the original colours of the fossils based on the structure of the multi-layer reflector show that the preserved colours are offset systematically to longer wavelengths; this probably reflects alteration of the refractive index of the epicuticle during fossilization. These findings will allow the former presence, and original hue, of metallic structural colours to be identified in diverse fossil insects, thus providing critical evidence of the evolution of structural colour in this group.

  17. Atomic force microscopy of Precambrian microscopic fossils

    PubMed Central

    Kempe, André; Schopf, J. William; Altermann, Wladyslaw; Kudryavtsev, Anatoliy B.; Heckl, Wolfgang M.

    2002-01-01

    Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a technique used routinely in material science to image substances at a submicron (including nm) scale. We apply this technique to analysis of the fine structure of organic-walled Precambrian fossils, microscopic sphaeromorph acritarchs (cysts of planktonic unicellular protists) permineralized in ≈650-million-year-old cherts of the Chichkan Formation of southern Kazakhstan. AFM images, backed by laser-Raman spectroscopic analysis of individual specimens, demonstrate that the walls of these petrified fossils are composed of stacked arrays of ≈200-nm-sized angular platelets of polycyclic aromatic kerogen. Together, AFM and laser-Raman spectroscopy provide means by which to elucidate the submicron-scale structure of individual microscopic fossils, investigate the geochemical maturation of ancient organic matter, and, potentially, distinguish true fossils from pseudofossils and probe the mechanisms of fossil preservation by silica permineralization. PMID:12089337

  18. Atomic force microscopy of Precambrian microscopic fossils.

    PubMed

    Kempe, André; Schopf, J William; Altermann, Wladyslaw; Kudryavtsev, Anatoliy B; Heckl, Wolfgang M

    2002-07-09

    Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a technique used routinely in material science to image substances at a submicron (including nm) scale. We apply this technique to analysis of the fine structure of organic-walled Precambrian fossils, microscopic sphaeromorph acritarchs (cysts of planktonic unicellular protists) permineralized in approximately 650-million-year-old cherts of the Chichkan Formation of southern Kazakhstan. AFM images, backed by laser-Raman spectroscopic analysis of individual specimens, demonstrate that the walls of these petrified fossils are composed of stacked arrays of approximately 200-nm-sized angular platelets of polycyclic aromatic kerogen. Together, AFM and laser-Raman spectroscopy provide means by which to elucidate the submicron-scale structure of individual microscopic fossils, investigate the geochemical maturation of ancient organic matter, and, potentially, distinguish true fossils from pseudofossils and probe the mechanisms of fossil preservation by silica permineralization.

  19. Radio properties of fossil galaxy groups

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miraghaei, H.; Khosroshahi, H. G.

    2016-09-01

    We study 1.4 GHz radio properties of a sample of fossil galaxy groups using GMRT radio observations and the FIRST survey catalog. Fossil galaxy groups, having no recent major mergers in their dominant galaxies and also group scale mergers, give us the opportunity to investigate the effect of galaxy merger on AGN activity. In this work, we compare the radio properties of a rich sample of fossil groups with a sample of normal galaxy groups and clusters and show that the brightest group galaxies in fossil groups are under luminous at 1.4 GHz, relative to the general population of the brightest group galaxies, indicating that the dynamically relaxed nature of fossil groups has influenced the AGN activity in their dominant galaxy.

  20. The 'Goldilocks' effect: preservation bias in vertebrate track assemblages.

    PubMed

    Falkingham, P L; Bates, K T; Margetts, L; Manning, P L

    2011-08-07

    Finite-element analysis was used to investigate the extent of bias in the ichnological fossil record attributable to body mass. Virtual tracks were simulated for four dinosaur taxa of different sizes (Struthiomimus, Tyrannosaurus, Brachiosaurus and Edmontosaurus), in a range of substrate conditions. Outlines of autopodia were generated based upon osteology and published soft-tissue reconstructions. Loads were applied vertically to the feet equivalent to the weight of the animal, and distributed accordingly to fore- and hindlimbs where relevant. Ideal, semi-infinite elastic-plastic substrates displayed a 'Goldilocks' quality where only a narrow range of loads could produce tracks, given that small animals failed to indent the substrate, and larger animals would be unable to traverse the area without becoming mired. If a firm subsurface layer is assumed, a more complete assemblage is possible, though there is a strong bias towards larger, heavier animals. The depths of fossil tracks within an assemblage may indicate thicknesses of mechanically distinct substrate layers at the time of track formation, even when the lithified strata appear compositionally homogeneous. This work increases the effectiveness of using vertebrate tracks as palaeoenvironmental indicators in terms of inferring substrate conditions at the time of track formation. Additionally, simulated undertracks are examined, and it is shown that complex deformation beneath the foot may not be indicative of limb kinematics as has been previously interpreted, but instead ridges and undulations at the base of a track may be a function of sediment displacement vectors and pedal morphology.

  1. The Tule Springs local fauna: Rancholabrean vertebrates from the Las Vegas Formation, Nevada

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Scott, Eric; Springer, Kathleen; Sagebiel, James C.

    2017-01-01

    A middle to late Pleistocene sedimentary sequence in the upper Las Vegas Wash, north of Las Vegas, Nevada, has yielded the largest open-site Rancholabrean vertebrate fossil assemblage in the southern Great Basin and Mojave Deserts. Recent paleontologic field studies have led to the discovery of hundreds of fossil localities and specimens, greatly extending the geographic and temporal footprint of original investigations in the early 1960s. The significance of the deposits and their entombed fossils led to the preservation of 22,650 acres of the upper Las Vegas Wash as Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument. These discoveries also warrant designation of the assemblage as a local fauna, named for the site of the original paleontologic studies at Tule Springs.The large mammal component of the Tule Springs local fauna is dominated by remains of Mammuthus columbi as well as Camelops hesternus, along with less common remains of Equus (including E. scotti) and Bison. Large carnivorans including Canis dirus, Smilodon fatalis, and Panthera atrox are also recorded. Micromammals, amphibians, lizards, snakes, birds, invertebrates, plant macrofossils, and pollen also occur in the deposits and provide important and complementary paleoenvironmental information. The fauna occurs within the Las Vegas Formation, an extensive and stratigraphically complex sequence of groundwater discharge deposits that represent a mosaic of desert wetland environments. Radiometric and luminescence dating indicates the sequence spans the last ∼570 ka, and records hydrologic changes in a dynamic and temporally congruent response to northern hemispheric abrupt climatic oscillations. The vertebrate fauna occurs in multiple stratigraphic horizons in this sequence, with ages of the fossils spanning from ∼100 to ∼12.5 ka.

  2. The ‘Tully monster’ is a vertebrate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McCoy, Victoria E.; Saupe, Erin E.; Lamsdell, James C.; Tarhan, Lidya G.; McMahon, Sean; Lidgard, Scott; Mayer, Paul; Whalen, Christopher D.; Soriano, Carmen; Finney, Lydia; Vogt, Stefan; Clark, Elizabeth G.; Anderson, Ross P.; Petermann, Holger; Locatelli, Emma R.; Briggs, Derek E. G.

    2016-04-01

    Problematic fossils, extinct taxa of enigmatic morphology that cannot be assigned to a known major group, were once a major issue in palaeontology. A long-favoured solution to the ‘problem of the problematica’, particularly the ‘weird wonders’ of the Cambrian Burgess Shale, was to consider them representatives of extinct phyla. A combination of new evidence and modern approaches to phylogenetic analysis has now resolved the affinities of most of these forms. Perhaps the most notable exception is Tullimonstrum gregarium, popularly known as the Tully monster, a large soft-bodied organism from the late Carboniferous Mazon Creek biota (approximately 309-307 million years ago) of Illinois, USA, which was designated the official state fossil of Illinois in 1989. Its phylogenetic position has remained uncertain and it has been compared with nemerteans, polychaetes, gastropods, conodonts, and the stem arthropod Opabinia. Here we review the morphology of Tullimonstrum based on an analysis of more than 1,200 specimens. We find that the anterior proboscis ends in a buccal apparatus containing teeth, the eyes project laterally on a long rigid bar, and the elongate segmented body bears a caudal fin with dorsal and ventral lobes. We describe new evidence for a notochord, cartilaginous arcualia, gill pouches, articulations within the proboscis, and multiple tooth rows adjacent to the mouth. This combination of characters, supported by phylogenetic analysis, identifies Tullimonstrum as a vertebrate, and places it on the stem lineage to lampreys (Petromyzontida). In addition to increasing the known morphological disparity of extinct lampreys, a chordate affinity for T. gregarium resolves the nature of a soft-bodied fossil which has been debated for more than 50 years.

  3. The Purisima Formation at Capitola Beach, Santa Cruz County, CA: A Deeper Examination of Pliocene Fossils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    White, L. D.; Brooks, K.; Chen, R.; Chen, T.; James, T.; Gonzales, J.; Schumaker, D.; Williams, D.

    2005-12-01

    Fossil samples from the Pliocene Purisima Formation at Capitola Beach in Santa Cruz County, CA were collected in July-August 2005. The Purisima Formation composes the bulk of the cliffs exposed at Capitola Beach and a rich assemblage of well-preserved fossils occur in gray to brown sandstone and siltstone. Erosion of the cliff face averages 0.3 meter/year and fresh cliff falls in the winter and spring months of 2005 provided an excellent opportunity to resample the Capitola Beach section of the Purisima Formation previously documented by Perry (1988). Organisms were identified from information in Perry (1988) and were compared with collections at the California Academy of Sciences. The most abundant fossils found are from the phylum Mollusca, classes Bivalvia and Gastropoda. Abundant bivalve taxa are: Anadara trilineata, Clinocardium meekianum, Macoma sp., Protothaca staleyi, and Tresus pajaroanus. Also common are the gastropods, Calyptraea fastigata, Crepdiula princeps, Mitrella gausapata, Nassarius grammatus, Nassarius californianus, Natica clausa, and Olivella pedroana. Less common invertebrate fossils are from the phylum Echinodermata ( Dendraster sp., the extinct fossil sand dollar) and from the phylum Arthropoda ( Crustacea), crab fragments ( Cancer) and barnacles ( Balanus). Because numerous fossils are concentrated as fragments in shell beds, Norris (1986) and Perry (1988) believe many were redeposited as storm beds during strong current events that promoted rapid burial. In contrast, whale and other vertebrate bones are common in certain horizons and their presence may be related to the conditions that promoted phosphate mineralization, such as episodes of low sedimentation rates and prolonged exposure on the seafloor (Föllmi and Garrison, 1991). The bone beds, together with the rich infaunal and epifaunal invertebrate assemblages, represent a community of invertebrate organisms that thrived in a shallow marine sea during the Pliocene epoch, approximately

  4. Influence of depositional environment in fossil teeth: a micro-XRF and XAFS study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zougrou, I. M.; Katsikini, M.; Pinakidou, F.; Papadopoulou, L.; Tsoukala, E.; Paloura, E. C.

    2014-04-01

    The formation of metal-rich phases during the fossilization of vertebrate fossil teeth, recovered from various deposition environments in northern Greece, is studied by means of synchrotron radiation X-ray fluorescence (SR-XRF) as well as Fe and Mn K edge X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) spectroscopy. XRF line-scans from the samples' cross-sections revealed different contamination paths for Mn and Fe. The two-dimensional XRF maps illustrate the spatial distribution of P, Ca, Mn and Fe as well as the precipitation of Fe-rich phases in cementum, dentin and dentinal tubules. Goethite, lepidocrocite and ferrihydrite were detected in the samples' cross-section by means of Fe K edge EXAFS spectroscopy. Moreover the Fe and Mn K edge EXAFS revealed the presence of vivianite and birnessite (MnO2) on the external surface of two samples.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Benton, Michael J.

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

  6. Cycling operation of fossil plants

    SciTech Connect

    Bhatnagar, U.S.; Weiss, M.D.; White, W.H. ); Buchanan, T.L.; Harvey, L.E.; Shewchuk, P.K.; Weinstein, R.E. )

    1991-05-01

    This report presents a methodology for examining the economic feasibility of converting fossil power plants from baseload to cycling service. It employs this approach to examine a proposed change of Pepco's Potomac River units 3, 4, and 5 from baseload operation of two-shift cycling. The project team first reviewed all components and listed potential cycling effects involved in the conversion of Potomac River units 3, 4, and 5. They developed general cycling plant screening criteria including the number of hot, warm, or cold restart per year and desired load ramp rates. In addition, they evaluated specific limitations on the boiler, turbine, and the balance of plant. They estimated the remaining life of the facility through component evaluation and boiler testing and also identified and prioritized potential component deficiencies by their impact on key operational factors: safety, heat rate, turn down, startup/shutdown time, and plant availability. They developed solutions to these problems; and, since many solutions mitigate more than one problem, they combined and reprioritized these synergistic solutions. Economic assessments were performed on all solutions. 13 figs., 20 tabs.

  7. Clean Fossil Energy Conversion Processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fan, L.-S.

    2007-03-01

    Absolute and per-capita energy consumption is bound to increase globally, leading to a projected increase in energy requirements of 50% by 2020. The primary source for providing a majority of the energy will continue to be fossil fuels. However, an array of enabling technologies needs to be proven for the realization of a zero emission power, fuel or chemical plants in the near future. Opportunities to develop new processes, driven by the regulatory requirements for the reduction or elimination of gaseous and particulate pollutant abound. This presentation describes the chemistry, reaction mechanisms, reactor design, system engineering, economics, and regulations that surround the utilization of clean coal energy. The presentation will cover the salient features of the fundamental and process aspects of the clean coal technologies in practice as well as in development. These technologies include those for the cleaning of SO2, H2S, NOx, and heavy metals, and separation of CO2 from the flue gas or the syngas. Further, new combustion and gasification processes based on the chemical looping concepts will be illustrated in the context of the looping particle design, process heat integration, energy conversion efficiency, and economics.

  8. The Pipe Creek Sinkhole biota, a diverse late tertiary continental fossil assemblage from Grant County, Indiana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Farlow, J.O.; Sunderman, J.A.; Havens, J.J.; Swinehart, A.L.; Holman, J.A.; Richards, R.L.; Miller, N.G.; Martin, R.A.; Hunt, R.M.; Storrs, G.W.; Curry, B. Brandon; Fluegeman, R.H.; Dawson, M.; Flint, M.E.T.

    2001-01-01

    Quarrying in east-central Indiana has uncovered richly fossiliferous unconsolidated sediment buried beneath Pleistocene glacial till. The fossiliferous layer is part of a sedimentary deposit that accumulated in a sinkhole developed in the limestone flank beds of a Paleozoic reef. Plant and animal (mostly vertebrate) remains are abundant in the fossil assemblage. Plants are represented by a diversity of terrestrial and wetland forms, all of extant species. The vertebrate assemblage (here designated the Pipe Creek Sinkhole local fauna) is dominated by frogs and pond turtles, but fishes, birds; snakes and small and large mammals are also present; both extinct and extant taxa are represented. The mammalian assemblage indicates an early Pliocene age (latest Hemphillian or earliest Blancan North American Land Mammal Age). This is the first Tertiary continental biota discovered in the interior of the eastern half of North America.

  9. Is evolutionary history repeatedly rewritten in light of new fossil discoveries?

    PubMed

    Tarver, J E; Donoghue, P C J; Benton, M J

    2011-02-22

    Mass media and popular science journals commonly report that new fossil discoveries have 'rewritten evolutionary history'. Is this merely journalistic hyperbole or is our sampling of systematic diversity so limited that attempts to derive evolutionary history from these datasets are premature? We use two exemplars-catarrhine primates (Old World monkeys and apes) and non-avian dinosaurs-to investigate how the maturity of datasets can be assessed. Both groups have been intensively studied over the past 200 years and so should represent pinnacles in our knowledge of vertebrate systematic diversity. We test the maturity of these datasets by assessing the completeness of their fossil records, their susceptibility to changes in macroevolutionary hypotheses and the balance of their phylogenies through study time. Catarrhines have shown prolonged stability, with discoveries of new species being evenly distributed across the phylogeny, and thus have had little impact on our understanding of their fossil record, diversification and evolution. The reverse is true for dinosaurs, where the addition of new species has been non-random and, consequentially, their fossil record, tree shape and our understanding of their diversification is rapidly changing. The conclusions derived from these analyses are relevant more generally: the maturity of systematic datasets can and should be assessed before they are exploited to derive grand macroevolutionary hypotheses.

  10. 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

  11. Is evolutionary history repeatedly rewritten in light of new fossil discoveries?

    PubMed Central

    Tarver, J. E.; Donoghue, P. C. J.; Benton, M. J.

    2011-01-01

    Mass media and popular science journals commonly report that new fossil discoveries have ‘rewritten evolutionary history’. Is this merely journalistic hyperbole or is our sampling of systematic diversity so limited that attempts to derive evolutionary history from these datasets are premature? We use two exemplars—catarrhine primates (Old World monkeys and apes) and non-avian dinosaurs—to investigate how the maturity of datasets can be assessed. Both groups have been intensively studied over the past 200 years and so should represent pinnacles in our knowledge of vertebrate systematic diversity. We test the maturity of these datasets by assessing the completeness of their fossil records, their susceptibility to changes in macroevolutionary hypotheses and the balance of their phylogenies through study time. Catarrhines have shown prolonged stability, with discoveries of new species being evenly distributed across the phylogeny, and thus have had little impact on our understanding of their fossil record, diversification and evolution. The reverse is true for dinosaurs, where the addition of new species has been non-random and, consequentially, their fossil record, tree shape and our understanding of their diversification is rapidly changing. The conclusions derived from these analyses are relevant more generally: the maturity of systematic datasets can and should be assessed before they are exploited to derive grand macroevolutionary hypotheses. PMID:20810435

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

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    2010-04-22

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

  13. Fossil oak galls preserve ancient multitrophic interactions.

    PubMed

    Stone, Graham N; van der Ham, Raymond W J M; Brewer, Jan G

    2008-10-07

    Trace fossils of insect feeding have contributed substantially to our understanding of the evolution of insect-plant interactions. The most complex phenotypes of herbivory are galls, whose diagnostic morphologies often allow the identification of the gall inducer. Although fossil insect-induced galls over 300Myr old are known, most are two-dimensional impressions lacking adequate morphological detail either for the precise identification of the causer or for detection of the communities of specialist parasitoids and inquilines inhabiting modern plant galls. Here, we describe the first evidence for such multitrophic associations in Pleistocene fossil galls from the Eemian interglacial (130000-115000 years ago) of The Netherlands. The exceptionally well-preserved fossils can be attributed to extant species of Andricus gallwasps (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) galling oaks (Quercus), and provide the first fossil evidence of gall attack by herbivorous inquiline gallwasps. Furthermore, phylogenetic placement of one fossil in a lineage showing obligate host plant alternation implies the presence of a second oak species, Quercus cerris, currently unknown from Eemian fossils in northwestern Europe. This contrasts with the southern European native range of Q. cerris in the current interglacial and suggests that gallwasp invasions following human planting of Q. cerris in northern Europe may represent a return to preglacial distribution limits.

  14. Summary statistics for fossil spider species taxonomy.

    PubMed

    Penney, David; Dunlop, Jason A; Marusik, Yuri M

    2012-01-01

    Spiders (Araneae) are one of the most species-rich orders on Earth today, and also have one of the longest geological records of any terrestrial animal groups, as demonstrated by their extensive fossil record. There are currently around 1150 described fossil spider species, representing 2.6% of all described spiders (i.e. extinct and extant). Data for numbers of fossil and living spider taxa described annually (and various other metrics for the fossil taxa) were compiled from current taxonomic catalogues. Data for extant taxa showed a steady linear increase of approximately 500 new species per year over the last decade, reflecting a rather constant research activity in this area by a large number of scientists, which can be expected to continue. The results for fossil species were very different, with peaks of new species descriptions followed by long troughs, indicating minimal new published research activity for most years. This pattern is indicative of short bursts of research by a limited number of authors. Given the frequent discovery of new fossil deposits containing spiders, a wealth of new material coming to light from previously worked deposits, and the application of new imaging techniques in palaeoarachnology that allow us to extract additional data from historical specimens, e.g. X-ray computed tomography, it is important not only to ensure a sustained research activity on fossil spiders (and other arachnids) through training and enthusing the next generation of palaeoarachnologists, but preferably to promote increased research and expertise in this field.

  15. Selective Preservation of Fossil Ghost Fish

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meacham, Amanda

    2016-04-01

    A unique type of fossil fish preservation has been discovered in the Angelo Member (Fossil Lake) of the Green River Formation. The Angelo Member is a predominately evaporative deposit dominated by dolomite, but contains facies of fossiliferous laminated calcimicrite. Fossil fish occurring in two beds conspicuously lack bones. Fish in the lower bed are only preserved as organic material, including skin, pigments, and eyes. Fish in the upper bed have three-dimensional etching where bones once existed but also contain skin, pigments, and eyes. The top third of the upper bed often contains calcite crystals that are pseudomorphs after trona and possibly halite. Preliminary mineralogical analysis and mapping of evaporate facies suggests that this unique preservation may be related to lake geochemical conditions, such as high pH and alkalinity. To our knowledge, this is the first time this type of preservation has been observed and studied. Fossils and sediments within these beds are being studied both vertically and laterally through the one-meter thick sequence containing the fossil fish using XRD, isotopic, SEM, thin section, and total organic carbon analysis. Nine quarries, 0.5-1 meter square, were excavated for both fossils and rock samples along with 17 additional rock sample locations across an approximately 25-kilometer square region. This investigation has the capability of reconstructing the paleoenvironment and lake chemistry of Fossil Lake during the deposition of the "ghost-fish" beds and solving the mystery of the "missing bones" and the unusual process of preservation.

  16. Bayesian phylogenetic estimation of fossil ages.

    PubMed

    Drummond, Alexei J; Stadler, Tanja

    2016-07-19

    Recent advances have allowed for both morphological fossil evidence and molecular sequences to be integrated into a single combined inference of divergence dates under the rule of Bayesian probability. In particular, the fossilized birth-death tree prior and the Lewis-Mk model of discrete morphological evolution allow for the estimation of both divergence times and phylogenetic relationships between fossil and extant taxa. We exploit this statistical framework to investigate the internal consistency of these models by producing phylogenetic estimates of the age of each fossil in turn, within two rich and well-characterized datasets of fossil and extant species (penguins and canids). We find that the estimation accuracy of fossil ages is generally high with credible intervals seldom excluding the true age and median relative error in the two datasets of 5.7% and 13.2%, respectively. The median relative standard error (RSD) was 9.2% and 7.2%, respectively, suggesting good precision, although with some outliers. In fact, in the two datasets we analyse, the phylogenetic estimate of fossil age is on average less than 2 Myr from the mid-point age of the geological strata from which it was excavated. The high level of internal consistency found in our analyses suggests that the Bayesian statistical model employed is an adequate fit for both the geological and morphological data, and provides evidence from real data that the framework used can accurately model the evolution of discrete morphological traits coded from fossil and extant taxa. We anticipate that this approach will have diverse applications beyond divergence time dating, including dating fossils that are temporally unconstrained, testing of the 'morphological clock', and for uncovering potential model misspecification and/or data errors when controversial phylogenetic hypotheses are obtained based on combined divergence dating analyses.This article is part of the themed issue 'Dating species divergences using

  17. Bayesian phylogenetic estimation of fossil ages

    PubMed Central

    Drummond, Alexei J.; Stadler, Tanja

    2016-01-01

    Recent advances have allowed for both morphological fossil evidence and molecular sequences to be integrated into a single combined inference of divergence dates under the rule of Bayesian probability. In particular, the fossilized birth–death tree prior and the Lewis-Mk model of discrete morphological evolution allow for the estimation of both divergence times and phylogenetic relationships between fossil and extant taxa. We exploit this statistical framework to investigate the internal consistency of these models by producing phylogenetic estimates of the age of each fossil in turn, within two rich and well-characterized datasets of fossil and extant species (penguins and canids). We find that the estimation accuracy of fossil ages is generally high with credible intervals seldom excluding the true age and median relative error in the two datasets of 5.7% and 13.2%, respectively. The median relative standard error (RSD) was 9.2% and 7.2%, respectively, suggesting good precision, although with some outliers. In fact, in the two datasets we analyse, the phylogenetic estimate of fossil age is on average less than 2 Myr from the mid-point age of the geological strata from which it was excavated. The high level of internal consistency found in our analyses suggests that the Bayesian statistical model employed is an adequate fit for both the geological and morphological data, and provides evidence from real data that the framework used can accurately model the evolution of discrete morphological traits coded from fossil and extant taxa. We anticipate that this approach will have diverse applications beyond divergence time dating, including dating fossils that are temporally unconstrained, testing of the ‘morphological clock', and for uncovering potential model misspecification and/or data errors when controversial phylogenetic hypotheses are obtained based on combined divergence dating analyses. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Dating species divergences

  18. Beyond fossil calibrations: realities of molecular clock practices in evolutionary biology

    PubMed Central

    Hipsley, Christy A.; Müller, Johannes

    2014-01-01

    Molecular-based divergence dating methods, or molecular clocks, are the primary neontological tool for estimating the temporal origins of clades. While the appropriate use of vertebrate fossils as external clock calibrations has stimulated heated discussions in the paleontological community, less attention has been given to the quality and implementation of other calibration types. In lieu of appropriate fossils, many studies rely on alternative sources of age constraints based on geological events, substitution rates and heterochronous sampling, as well as dates secondarily derived from previous analyses. To illustrate the breadth and frequency of calibration types currently employed, we conducted a literature survey of over 600 articles published from 2007 to 2013. Over half of all analyses implemented one or more fossil dates as constraints, followed by geological events and secondary calibrations (15% each). Vertebrate taxa were subjects in nearly half of all studies, while invertebrates and plants together accounted for 43%, followed by viruses, protists and fungi (3% each). Current patterns in calibration practices were disproportionate to the number of discussions on their proper use, particularly regarding plants and secondarily derived dates, which are both relatively neglected in methodological evaluations. Based on our survey, we provide a comprehensive overview of the latest approaches in clock calibration, and outline strengths and weaknesses associated with each. This critique should serve as a call to action for researchers across multiple communities, particularly those working on clades for which fossil records are poor, to develop their own guidelines regarding selection and implementation of alternative calibration types. This issue is particularly relevant now, as time-calibrated phylogenies are used for more than dating evolutionary origins, but often serve as the backbone of investigations into biogeography, diversity dynamics and rates of

  19. Beyond fossil calibrations: realities of molecular clock practices in evolutionary biology.

    PubMed

    Hipsley, Christy A; Müller, Johannes

    2014-01-01

    Molecular-based divergence dating methods, or molecular clocks, are the primary neontological tool for estimating the temporal origins of clades. While the appropriate use of vertebrate fossils as external clock calibrations has stimulated heated discussions in the paleontological community, less attention has been given to the quality and implementation of other calibration types. In lieu of appropriate fossils, many studies rely on alternative sources of age constraints based on geological events, substitution rates and heterochronous sampling, as well as dates secondarily derived from previous analyses. To illustrate the breadth and frequency of calibration types currently employed, we conducted a literature survey of over 600 articles published from 2007 to 2013. Over half of all analyses implemented one or more fossil dates as constraints, followed by geological events and secondary calibrations (15% each). Vertebrate taxa were subjects in nearly half of all studies, while invertebrates and plants together accounted for 43%, followed by viruses, protists and fungi (3% each). Current patterns in calibration practices were disproportionate to the number of discussions on their proper use, particularly regarding plants and secondarily derived dates, which are both relatively neglected in methodological evaluations. Based on our survey, we provide a comprehensive overview of the latest approaches in clock calibration, and outline strengths and weaknesses associated with each. This critique should serve as a call to action for researchers across multiple communities, particularly those working on clades for which fossil records are poor, to develop their own guidelines regarding selection and implementation of alternative calibration types. This issue is particularly relevant now, as time-calibrated phylogenies are used for more than dating evolutionary origins, but often serve as the backbone of investigations into biogeography, diversity dynamics and rates of

  20. Evolution of vertebrate colour vision.

    PubMed

    Jacobs, Gerald H; Rowe, Mickey P

    2004-07-01

    Recent years have witnessed a growing interest in learning how colour vision has evolved. This trend has been fuelled by an enhanced understanding of the nature and extent of colour vision among contemporary species, by a deeper understanding of the paleontological record and by the application of new tools from molecular biology. This review provides an assessment of the progress in understanding the evolution of vertebrate colour vision. In so doing, we offer accounts of the evolution of three classes of mechanism important for colour vision--photopigment opsins, oil droplets and retinal organisation--and then examine details of how colour vision has evolved among mammals and, more specifically, among primates.

  1. Evolution of vertebrate visual pigments.

    PubMed

    Bowmaker, James K

    2008-09-01

    The visual pigments of vertebrates evolved about 500 million years ago, before the major evolutionary step of the development of jaws. Four spectrally distinct classes of cone opsin evolved through gene duplication, followed by the rod opsin class that arose from the duplication of the middle-wave-sensitive cone opsin. All four cone classes are present in many extant teleost fish, reptiles and birds, but one or more classes have been lost in primitive fish, amphibians and mammals. Gene duplication within the cone classes, especially in teleosts, has resulted in multiple opsins being available, both temporally and spatially, during development.

  2. Early steps in vertebrate cardiogenesis.

    PubMed

    Mohun, T; Sparrow, D

    1997-10-01

    Heart formation provides an excellent model for studying the molecular basis of cell determination in vertebrate embryos. By combining molecular assays with the experimental approaches of classic embryology, a model for the cell signalling events that initiate cardiogenesis is emerging. Studies of chick, amphibian, and fish embryos demonstrate the inductive role of dorso-anterior endoderm in specifying the cardiac fate of adjacent mesoderm. A consequence of this signalling is the onset of cardiomyogenesis and several transcription factors--Nkx2-5-related, HAND, GATA and MEF-2 families--contribute to these events.

  3. Topographical mapping of α- and β-keratins on developing chicken skin integuments: Functional interaction and evolutionary perspectives

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Ping; Ng, Chen Siang; Yan, Jie; Lai, Yung-Chih; Chen, Chih-Kuan; Lai, Yu-Ting; Wu, Siao-Man; Chen, Jiun-Jie; Luo, Weiqi; Widelitz, Randall B.; Li, Wen-Hsiung; Chuong, Cheng-Ming

    2015-01-01

    Avian integumentary organs include feathers, scales, claws, and beaks. They cover the body surface and play various functions to help adapt birds to diverse environments. These keratinized structures are mainly composed of corneous materials made of α-keratins, which exist in all vertebrates, and β-keratins, which only exist in birds and reptiles. Here, members of the keratin gene families were used to study how gene family evolution contributes to novelty and adaptation, focusing on tissue morphogenesis. Using chicken as a model, we applied RNA-seq and in situ hybridization to map α- and β-keratin genes in various skin appendages at embryonic developmental stages. The data demonstrate that temporal and spatial α- and β-keratin expression is involved in establishing the diversity of skin appendage phenotypes. Embryonic feathers express a higher proportion of β-keratin genes than other skin regions. In feather filament morphogenesis, β-keratins show intricate complexity in diverse substructures of feather branches. To explore functional interactions, we used a retrovirus transgenic system to ectopically express mutant α- or antisense β-keratin forms. α- and β-keratins show mutual dependence and mutations in either keratin type results in disrupted keratin networks and failure to form proper feather branches. Our data suggest that combinations of α- and β-keratin genes contribute to the morphological and structural diversity of different avian skin appendages, with feather-β-keratins conferring more possible composites in building intrafeather architecture complexity, setting up a platform of morphological evolution of functional forms in feathers. PMID:26598683

  4. Topographical mapping of α- and β-keratins on developing chicken skin integuments: Functional interaction and evolutionary perspectives.

    PubMed

    Wu, Ping; Ng, Chen Siang; Yan, Jie; Lai, Yung-Chih; Chen, Chih-Kuan; Lai, Yu-Ting; Wu, Siao-Man; Chen, Jiun-Jie; Luo, Weiqi; Widelitz, Randall B; Li, Wen-Hsiung; Chuong, Cheng-Ming

    2015-12-08

    Avian integumentary organs include feathers, scales, claws, and beaks. They cover the body surface and play various functions to help adapt birds to diverse environments. These keratinized structures are mainly composed of corneous materials made of α-keratins, which exist in all vertebrates, and β-keratins, which only exist in birds and reptiles. Here, members of the keratin gene families were used to study how gene family evolution contributes to novelty and adaptation, focusing on tissue morphogenesis. Using chicken as a model, we applied RNA-seq and in situ hybridization to map α- and β-keratin genes in various skin appendages at embryonic developmental stages. The data demonstrate that temporal and spatial α- and β-keratin expression is involved in establishing the diversity of skin appendage phenotypes. Embryonic feathers express a higher proportion of β-keratin genes than other skin regions. In feather filament morphogenesis, β-keratins show intricate complexity in diverse substructures of feather branches. To explore functional interactions, we used a retrovirus transgenic system to ectopically express mutant α- or antisense β-keratin forms. α- and β-keratins show mutual dependence and mutations in either keratin type results in disrupted keratin networks and failure to form proper feather branches. Our data suggest that combinations of α- and β-keratin genes contribute to the morphological and structural diversity of different avian skin appendages, with feather-β-keratins conferring more possible composites in building intrafeather architecture complexity, setting up a platform of morphological evolution of functional forms in feathers.

  5. [Spontaneous vertebral arteriovenous fistula manifestating as radiculopathy].

    PubMed

    Ito, Osamu; Nishimura, Ataru; Ishido, Katsuya; Hitotsumatsu, Tsutomu

    2011-08-01

    A 61-year-old man presented with a rare case of spontaneous vertebral arteriovenous fistula manifesting as radiculopathy of the left arm. MRI demonstrated an abnormal dilated vascular space on the left ventral aspect of the spinal canal and compression of the spinal cord and subarachnoid space. MRA disclosed a single high-flow vertebral arteriovenous fistula. Angiography showed a direct high-flow fistula at the C2-3 level between the left vertebral artery and the spinal extradural veinous plexus, and an abnormal dilated left vertebral artery with "string of beads"-like feature. The fistula was successfully obliterated by coil embolization with preservation of patency of the left vertebral artery, resulting in improvement of the signs and symptoms. Retrospectively this spontaneous vertebral arteriovenous fistula was considered in association with fibromuscular dysplasia.

  6. Spitzer Digs Up Galactic Fossil

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Figure 1

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Figure 2

    This false-color image taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows a globular cluster previously hidden in the dusty plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Globular clusters are compact bundles of old stars that date back to the birth of our galaxy, 13 or so billion years ago. Astronomers use these galactic 'fossils' as tools for studying the age and formation of the Milky Way.

    Most clusters orbit around the center of the galaxy well above its dust-enshrouded disc, or plane, while making brief, repeated passes through the plane that each last about a million years. Spitzer, with infrared eyes that can see into the dusty galactic plane, first spotted the newfound cluster during its current pass. A visible-light image (inset of Figure 1) shows only a dark patch of sky.

    The red streak behind the core of the cluster is a dust cloud, which may indicate the cluster's interaction with the Milky Way. Alternatively, this cloud may lie coincidentally along Spitzer's line of sight.

    Follow-up observations with the University of Wyoming Infrared Observatory helped set the distance of the new cluster at about 9,000 light-years from Earth - closer than most clusters - and set the mass at the equivalent of 300,000 Suns. The cluster's apparent size, as viewed from Earth, is comparable to a grain of rice held at arm's length. It is located in the constellation Aquila.

    Astronomers believe that this cluster may be one of the last in our galaxy to be uncovered.

    This image composite was taken on April 21, 2004, by Spitzer's infrared array camera. It is composed of images obtained at four wavelengths: 3.6 microns (blue), 4.5 microns (green), 5.8 microns (orange) and 8 microns (red).

    Galactic Fossil Found Behind Curtain of Dust In Figure 2, the image mosaic shows the same patch of sky in various wavelengths of light. While the

  7. Spitzer Digs Up Galactic Fossil

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Figure 1

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Figure 2

    This false-color image taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows a globular cluster previously hidden in the dusty plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Globular clusters are compact bundles of old stars that date back to the birth of our galaxy, 13 or so billion years ago. Astronomers use these galactic 'fossils' as tools for studying the age and formation of the Milky Way.

    Most clusters orbit around the center of the galaxy well above its dust-enshrouded disc, or plane, while making brief, repeated passes through the plane that each last about a million years. Spitzer, with infrared eyes that can see into the dusty galactic plane, first spotted the newfound cluster during its current pass. A visible-light image (inset of Figure 1) shows only a dark patch of sky.

    The red streak behind the core of the cluster is a dust cloud, which may indicate the cluster's interaction with the Milky Way. Alternatively, this cloud may lie coincidentally along Spitzer's line of sight.

    Follow-up observations with the University of Wyoming Infrared Observatory helped set the distance of the new cluster at about 9,000 light-years from Earth - closer than most clusters - and set the mass at the equivalent of 300,000 Suns. The cluster's apparent size, as viewed from Earth, is comparable to a grain of rice held at arm's length. It is located in the constellation Aquila.

    Astronomers believe that this cluster may be one of the last in our galaxy to be uncovered.

    This image composite was taken on April 21, 2004, by Spitzer's infrared array camera. It is composed of images obtained at four wavelengths: 3.6 microns (blue), 4.5 microns (green), 5.8 microns (orange) and 8 microns (red).

    Galactic Fossil Found Behind Curtain of Dust In Figure 2, the image mosaic shows the same patch of sky in various wavelengths of light. While the

  8. Spitzer Digs Up Galactic Fossil

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2004-10-12

    This false-color image taken by NASA Spitzer Space Telescope shows a globular cluster previously hidden in the dusty plane of our Milky Way galaxy. Globular clusters are compact bundles of old stars that date back to the birth of our galaxy, 13 or so billion years ago. Astronomers use these galactic "fossils" as tools for studying the age and formation of the Milky Way. Most clusters orbit around the center of the galaxy well above its dust-enshrouded disc, or plane, while making brief, repeated passes through the plane that each last about a million years. Spitzer, with infrared eyes that can see into the dusty galactic plane, first spotted the newfound cluster during its current pass. A visible-light image (inset of Figure 1) shows only a dark patch of sky. The red streak behind the core of the cluster is a dust cloud, which may indicate the cluster's interaction with the Milky Way. Alternatively, this cloud may lie coincidentally along Spitzer's line of sight. Follow-up observations with the University of Wyoming Infrared Observatory helped set the distance of the new cluster at about 9,000 light-years from Earth - closer than most clusters - and set the mass at the equivalent of 300,000 Suns. The cluster's apparent size, as viewed from Earth, is comparable to a grain of rice held at arm's length. It is located in the constellation Aquila. Astronomers believe that this cluster may be one of the last in our galaxy to be uncovered. This image composite was taken on April 21, 2004, by Spitzer's infrared array camera. It is composed of images obtained at four wavelengths: 3.6 microns (blue), 4.5 microns (green), 5.8 microns (orange) and 8 microns (red). http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA06928

  9. A Fossil Group in Formation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Eric D.; Rappaport, Saul A.; McDonald, Michael; Bautz, Mark W.; Grant, Catherine E.; Veilleux, Sylvain

    2016-04-01

    In the current picture of hierarchical structure formation, galaxy groups play a vital role as the seeds from which large assemblies of matter form. Compact groups are also important environments in which to watch the fueling of star formation and AGN activity, as the conditions are ideal for galaxy-galaxy interactions. We have identified a galaxy system that may represent an intermediate or transition stage in group evolution. Shakhbazyan 1 (or SHK 1) is a remarkably compact collection of about ten massive, red-sequence galaxies within a region 100 kpc across. Several of these galaxies show signs of AGN activity, and new, deep optical observations with the Discovery Channel Telescope reveal an extended stellar envelope surrounding the galaxies. This envelope is much more extended than what would be expected from a superposition of normal galaxy envelopes, and it indicates a large amount of intra-group starlight, evidence that the galaxies in SHK 1 are dynamically interacting.We here present new Chandra spectral imaging observations of this unusual system that confirm the presence of an X-ray-emitting diffuse intra-group medium (IGM), with a temperature of 1.5 keV and X-ray luminosity of 1043 erg/s. Assuming hydrostatic equilibrium, the system is about 1/3 as massive as expected from the optical richness. In addition, three of the ten central galaxies exhibit signatures of X-ray AGN. The under-luminous IGM, high density of bright galaxies, and evidence for galaxy-galaxy interaction indicate that this system may be in a transition stage of galaxy merging, similar to that expected in the formation of a fossil group. Alternatively, SHK 1 may consist of multiple poor groups in the final stages of merging along our line of sight. We explore these scenarios and outline paths of future study for this enigmatic system.

  10. Evolutionary Specialization of Tactile Perception in Vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Schneider, Eve R; Gracheva, Elena O; Bagriantsev, Slav N

    2016-05-01

    Evolution has endowed vertebrates with the remarkable tactile ability to explore the world through the perception of physical force. Yet the sense of touch remains one of the least well understood senses at the cellular and molecular level. Vertebrates specializing in tactile perception can highlight general principles of mechanotransduction. Here, we review cellular and molecular adaptations that underlie the sense of touch in typical and acutely mechanosensitive vertebrates. ©2016 Int. Union Physiol. Sci./Am. Physiol. Soc.

  11. Evolutionary Specialization of Tactile Perception in Vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Schneider, Eve R.

    2016-01-01

    Evolution has endowed vertebrates with the remarkable tactile ability to explore the world through the perception of physical force. Yet the sense of touch remains one of the least well understood senses at the cellular and molecular level. Vertebrates specializing in tactile perception can highlight general principles of mechanotransduction. Here, we review cellular and molecular adaptations that underlie the sense of touch in typical and acutely mechanosensitive vertebrates. PMID:27053733

  12. Endocrine disruption in aquatic vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Kloas, Werner; Urbatzka, Ralph; Opitz, Robert; Würtz, Sven; Behrends, Thomas; Hermelink, Björn; Hofmann, Frauke; Jagnytsch, Oana; Kroupova, Hana; Lorenz, Claudia; Neumann, Nadja; Pietsch, Constanze; Trubiroha, Achim; Van Ballegooy, Christoph; Wiedemann, Caterina; Lutz, Ilka

    2009-04-01

    Environmental compounds can interfere with endocrine systems of wildlife and humans. The main sink of such substances, called endocrine disrupters (ED), are surface waters. Thus, aquatic vertebrates, such as fish and amphibians, are most endangered. ED can adversely affect reproductive biology and the thyroid system. ED act by (anti)estrogenic and (anti)androgenic modes of action, resulting in abnormal sexual differentiation and impaired reproduction. These effects are mainly driven by direct interferences of ED with sex steroid receptors rather than indirectly by impacting synthesis and bioavailability of sex steroids, which in turn might affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Recent findings reveal that, in addition to the human-produced waste of ED, natural sources, such as parasites and decomposition of leaves, also might act as ED, markedly affecting sexual differentiation and reproduction in fish and amphibians. Although the thyroid system has essential functions in both fish and amphibians, amphibian metamorphosis has been introduced as the most sensitive model to detect thyroidal ED; no suitable fish model exists. Whereas ED may act primarily on only one specific endocrine target, all endocrine systems will eventually be deregulated as they are intimately connected to each other. The recent ecotoxicological issue of pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs) present in the aquatic environment indicates a high potential for further endocrine modes of action on aquatic vertebrates by ED derived from PhACs, such as glucocorticoids, progestins, and beta-agonists.

  13. Vertebral osteomyelitis: assessment using MR.

    PubMed

    Modic, M T; Feiglin, D H; Piraino, D W; Boumphrey, F; Weinstein, M A; Duchesneau, P M; Rehm, S

    1985-10-01

    Thirty-seven patients who were clinically suspected of having vertebral osteomyelitis were prospectively evaluated with magnetic resonance (MR), radiography, and radionuclide studies. These findings were correlated with the final clinical, microbiologic, or histologic diagnoses. Based on the results of these latter studies, 23 patients were believed to have osteomyelitis. MR examinations consisted of at least a sagittal image (TE = 30 msec, TR = 0.5 sec) and an image obtained at TE = 120 msec, TR = 2-3 sec. All patients underwent radiographic and MR examinations, 36 underwent technetium 99m-HDP bone scanning, and 20 patients underwent gallium 67 scanning. Nineteen patients underwent both bone and gallium scanning. The imaging studies were reviewed independently by investigators blinded to the final diagnoses. MR had a sensitivity of 96%, specificity of 92%, and accuracy of 94%. Combined gallium and bone scan studies (19 cases) had a sensitivity of 90%, specificity of 100%, and accuracy of 94%. Bone scans alone had a sensitivity of 90%, specificity of 78%, and accuracy of 86%. Plain radiographs had a sensitivity of 82%, specificity of 57%, and accuracy of 73%. The MR appearance of vertebral osteomyelitis in this study was characteristic, and MR was as accurate and sensitive as radionuclide scanning in the detection of osteomyelitis.

  14. 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.

  15. Fossil energy program. Progress report, July 1980

    SciTech Connect

    McNeese, L. E.

    1980-10-01

    This report - the seventy-second of a series - is a compendium of monthly progress reports for the ORNL research and development programs that are in support of the increased utilization of coal and other fossil fuel alternatives to oil and gas as sources of clean energy. The projects reported this month include those for coal conversion development, chemical research and development, materials technology, component development and process evaluation, technical support to major liquefaction projects, process and program analysis, fossil energy environmental analysis, coal preparation and waste utilization, coal preparation plant automation, atmospheric fluidized bed coal combustor for cogeneration, technical support to the TVA fluidized bed combustion demonstration plant program, fossil energy applications assessments, performance assurance system support for fossil energy projects, international assessment of atmospheric fluidized bed combustion technology, and PFBC systems analysis.

  16. Fossil Finds Expand Early Hominid Anatomy.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bower, B.

    1991-01-01

    Hominid fossils found in late 1990 in Ethiopia are reported. A controversy surrounding these remains and those of earlier expeditions, including Lucy, over whether more than one species of hominid are represented is discussed. (CW)

  17. 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.

  18. Fossil Finds Expand Early Hominid Anatomy.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bower, B.

    1991-01-01

    Hominid fossils found in late 1990 in Ethiopia are reported. A controversy surrounding these remains and those of earlier expeditions, including Lucy, over whether more than one species of hominid are represented is discussed. (CW)

  19. Proceedings: 1990 fossil plant cycling conference

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1991-12-01

    Fossil plant cycling continues to be a key issue for many electric utilities. EPRI's previous cycling workshops, held in 1983, 1985, and 1987, allowed utilities to benefit from collective industry experience in the conversion of baseload fossil units to cyclic operation. Continued improvements in equipment, retrofits, diagnostics, and controls were highlighted at the 1990 conference. The objective is to provide a forum for utility discussions of the cycling operation of fossil fuel power plants. Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) hosted the 1990 EPRI Fossil Fuel Cycling Conference in Washington, DC, on December 4--6, 1990. More than 130 representatives from utilities, vendors, government agencies, universities, and industry associations attended the conference. Following the general session, technical sessions covered such topics as plant modifications, utility retrofit experience, cycling economics, life assessment, controls, environmental controls, and energy storage. Attendees also toured PEPCO's Potomac River generating station, the site of an earlier EPRI cycling conversion study.

  20. Development incentives for fossil fuel subsidy reform

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jakob, Michael; Chen, Claudine; Fuss, Sabine; Marxen, Annika; Edenhofer, Ottmar

    2015-08-01

    Reforming fossil fuel subsidies could free up enough funds to finance universal access to water, sanitation, and electricity in many countries, as well as helping to cut global greenhouse-gas emissions.

  1. Ghrelin Receptors in Non-Mammalian Vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Kaiya, Hiroyuki; Kangawa, Kenji; Miyazato, Mikiya

    2012-01-01

    The growth hormone secretagogue-receptor (GHS-R) was discovered in humans and pigs in 1996. The endogenous ligand, ghrelin, was discovered 3 years later, in 1999, and our understanding of the physiological significance of the ghrelin system in vertebrates has grown steadily since then. Although the ghrelin system in non-mammalian vertebrates is a subject of great interest, protein sequence data for the receptor in non-mammalian vertebrates has been limited until recently, and related biological information has not been well organized. In this review, we summarize current information related to the ghrelin receptor in non-mammalian vertebrates. PMID:23882259

  2. Identification of immunoreactive material in mammoth fossils.

    PubMed

    Schweitzer, Mary; Hill, Christopher L; Asara, John M; Lane, William S; Pincus, Seth H

    2002-12-01

    The fossil record represents a history of life on this planet. Attempts to obtain molecular information from this record by analysis of nucleic acids found within fossils of extreme age have been unsuccessful or called into question. However, previous studies have demonstrated the long-term persistence of peptides within fossils and have used antibodies to extant proteins to demonstrate antigenic material. In this study we address two questions: Do immunogenic/antigenic materials persist in fossils? and; Can fossil material be used to raise antibodies that will cross-react with extant proteins? We have used material extracted from a well-preserved 100000-300000-year-old mammoth skull to produce antisera. The specificity of the antisera was tested by ELISA, western blotting, and immunohistochemistry. It was demonstrated that antisera reacted specifically with the fossils and not the surrounding sediments. Reactivity of antisera with modern proteins and tissues was also demonstrated, as was the ability to detect evolutionary relationships via antibody-antigen interactions. Mass spectrometry demonstrated the presence of amino acids and specific peptides within the fossil. Peptides were purified by anion-exchange chromatography and sequenced by tandem mass spectrometry. The collagen-derived peptides may have been the source of at least some of the immunologic reactivity, but the antisera identified molecules that were not observed by mass spectrometry, indicating that immunologic methods may have greater sensitivity. Although the presence of peptides and amino acids was demonstrated, the exact nature of the antigenic material was not fully clarified. This report demonstrates that antibodies may be used to obtain information from the fossil record.

  3. Suzaku Finds "Fossil" Fireballs from Supernovae

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2017-09-27

    Suzaku Finds "Fossil" Fireballs from Supernovae In a supernova remnant known as the Jellyfish Nebula, Suzaku detected X-rays from fully ionized silicon and sulfur -- an imprint of higher-temperature conditions immediately following the star's explosion. The nebula is about 65 light-years across. (12/30/2009) Credit: JAXA/NASA/Suzaku To learn more go to: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/astro-e2/news/fossil-fireballs...

  4. Fossil fuels in the 21st century.

    PubMed

    Lincoln, Stephen F

    2005-12-01

    An overview of the importance of fossil fuels in supplying the energy requirements of the 21st century, their future supply, and the impact of their use on global climate is presented. Current and potential alternative energy sources are considered. It is concluded that even with substantial increases in energy derived from other sources, fossil fuels will remain a major energy source for much of the 21st century and the sequestration of CO2 will be an increasingly important requirement.

  5. The shadow price of fossil groundwater

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bierkens, M. F.; Reinhard, S.; De Bruijn, J.; Wada, Y.

    2016-12-01

    The expansion of irrigated agriculture into areas with limited precipitation and surface water during the growing season has greatly increased the use of fossil groundwater (Wada et al., 2012). As a result, the depletion rate of fossil groundwater resources has shown an increasing rate during the last decades (Wada et al, 2010; Konikow, 2011; Wada et al., 2012; De Graaf et al. 2015; Ritchy et al., 2015). Although water pricing has been used extensively to stimulate efficient application of water to create maximum value (e.g. Medellín-Azuara et al., 2012; Rinaudo et al., 2012; Dinar et al., 2015), it does not preclude the use of non-renewable water resources. Here, we use a global hydrological model and historical crop production and price data to assess the shadow price of non-renewable or fossil groundwater applied to major crops in countries that use large quantities of fossil groundwater. Our results show that shadow prices for many crops are very low, indicating economically inefficient or even wasteful use of fossil groundwater resources. Using India as an example, we show that small changes in the crop mix could lead to large reductions in fossil groundwater use or alternatively, create additional financial means to invest in water saving technologies. Our study thus provides a hydro-economic basis to further the sustainable use of finite groundwater resources.

  6. Reconciling molecular phylogenies with the fossil record.

    PubMed

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

    2011-09-27

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

  7. Primate diversification inferred from phylogenies and fossils.

    PubMed

    Herrera, James P

    2017-09-14

    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 consistently 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. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

  8. The shadow price of fossil groundwater

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bierkens, Marc F. P.; Reinhard, Stijn; de Bruijn, Jens A.; Wada, Yoshihide

    2017-04-01

    The expansion of irrigated agriculture into areas with limited precipitation and surface water during the growing season has greatly increased the use of fossil groundwater (Wada et al., 2012). As a result, the depletion rate of fossil groundwater resources has shown an increasing rate during the last decades (Wada et al, 2010; Konikow, 2011; Wada et al., 2012; De Graaf et al. 2015; Ritchy et al., 2015). Although water pricing has been used extensively to stimulate efficient application of water to create maximum value (e.g. Medellín-Azuara et al., 2012; Rinaudo et al., 2012; Dinar et al., 2015), it does not preclude the use of non-renewable water resources. Here, we use a global hydrological model and historical crop production and price data to assess the shadow price of non-renewable or fossil groundwater applied to major crops in countries that use large quantities of fossil groundwater. Our results show that shadow prices for many crops are very low, indicating economically inefficient or even wasteful use of fossil groundwater resources. Using India as an example, we show that small changes in the crop mix could lead to large reductions in fossil groundwater use or alternatively, create additional financial means to invest in water saving technologies. Our study thus provides a hydro-economic basis to further the sustainable use of finite groundwater resources.

  9. Quantitative vertebral morphometry based on parametric modeling of vertebral bodies in 3D.

    PubMed

    Stern, D; Njagulj, V; Likar, B; Pernuš, F; Vrtovec, T

    2013-04-01

    Quantitative vertebral morphometry (QVM) was performed by parametric modeling of vertebral bodies in three dimensions (3D). Identification of vertebral fractures in two dimensions is a challenging task due to the projective nature of radiographic images and variability in the vertebral shape. By generating detailed 3D anatomical images, computed tomography (CT) enables accurate measurement of vertebral deformations and fractures. A detailed 3D representation of the vertebral body shape is obtained by automatically aligning a parametric 3D model to vertebral bodies in CT images. The parameters of the 3D model describe clinically meaningful morphometric vertebral body features, and QVM in 3D is performed by comparing the parameters to their statistical values. Thresholds and parameters that best discriminate between normal and fractured vertebral bodies are determined by applying statistical classification analysis. The proposed QVM in 3D was applied to 454 normal and 228 fractured vertebral bodies, yielding classification sensitivity of 92.5% at 7.5% specificity, with corresponding accuracy of 92.5% and precision of 86.1%. The 3D shape parameters that provided the best separation between normal and fractured vertebral bodies were the vertebral body height and the inclination and concavity of both vertebral endplates. The described QVM in 3D is able to efficiently and objectively discriminate between normal and fractured vertebral bodies and identify morphological cases (wedge, (bi)concavity, or crush) and grades (1, 2, or 3) of vertebral body fractures. It may be therefore valuable for diagnosing and predicting vertebral fractures in patients who are at risk of osteoporosis.

  10. Fossil group origins. IV. Characterization of the sample and observational properties of fossil systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zarattini, S.; Barrena, R.; Girardi, M.; Castro-Rodriguez, N.; Boschin, W.; Aguerri, J. A. L.; Méndez-Abreu, J.; Sánchez-Janssen, R.; Catalán-Torrecilla, C.; Corsini, E. M.; del Burgo, C.; D'Onghia, E.; Herrera-Ruiz, N.; Iglesias-Páramo, J.; Jimenez Bailon, E.; Lozada Muoz, M.; Napolitano, N.; Vilchez, J. M.

    2014-05-01

    Context. Virialized halos grow by the accretion of smaller ones in the cold dark matter scenario. The rate of accretion depends on the different properties of the host halo. Those halos for which this accretion rate was very fast and efficient resulted in systems dominated by a central galaxy surrounded by smaller galaxies that were at least two magnitudes fainter. These galaxy systems are called fossil systems, and they can be the fossil relics of ancient galaxy structures. Aims: We started an extensive observational program to characterize a sample of 34 fossil group candidates spanning a broad range of physical properties. Methods: Deep r-band images were obtained with the 2.5-m Isaac Newton Telescope and Nordic Optic Telescope. Optical spectroscopic observations were performed at the 3.5-m Telescopio Nazionale Galileo for ~1200 galaxies. This new dataset was completed with Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7 archival data to obtain robust cluster membership and global properties of each fossil group candidate. For each system, we recomputed the magnitude gaps between the two brightest galaxies (Δm12) and the first and fourth ranked galaxies (Δm14) within 0.5 R200. We consider fossil systems to be those with Δm12 ≥ 2 mag or Δm14 ≥ 2.5 mag within the errors. Results: We find that 15 candidates turned out to be fossil systems. Their observational properties agree with those of non-fossil systems. Both follow the same correlations, but the fossil systems are always extreme cases. In particular, they host the brightest central galaxies, and the fraction of total galaxy light enclosed in the brightest group galaxy is larger in fossil than in non-fossil systems. Finally, we confirm the existence of genuine fossil clusters. Conclusions: Combining our results with others in the literature, we favor the merging scenario in which fossil systems formed from mergers of L∗ galaxies. The large magnitude gap is a consequence of the extreme merger ratio within

  11. Fossil group origins - VI. Global X-ray scaling relations of fossil galaxy clusters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kundert, A.; Gastaldello, F.; D'Onghia, E.; Girardi, M.; Aguerri, J. A. L.; Barrena, R.; Corsini, E. M.; De Grandi, S.; Jiménez-Bailón, E.; Lozada-Muñoz, M.; Méndez-Abreu, J.; Sánchez-Janssen, R.; Wilcots, E.; Zarattini, S.

    2015-11-01

    We present the first pointed X-ray observations of 10 candidate fossil galaxy groups and clusters. With these Suzaku observations, we determine global temperatures and bolometric X-ray luminosities of the intracluster medium (ICM) out to r500 for six systems in our sample. The remaining four systems show signs of significant contamination from non-ICM sources. For the six objects with successfully determined r500 properties, we measure global temperatures in the range 2.8 ≤ TX ≤ 5.3 keV, bolometric X-ray luminosities of 0.8 × 1044 ≤ LX, bol ≤ 7.7 × 1044 erg s-1, and estimate masses, as derived from TX, of M500 ≳ 1014 M⊙. Fossil cluster scaling relations are constructed for a sample that combines our Suzaku observed fossils with fossils in the literature. Using measurements of global X-ray luminosity, temperature, optical luminosity, and velocity dispersion, scaling relations for the fossil sample are then compared with a control sample of non-fossil systems. We find the fits of our fossil cluster scaling relations are consistent with the relations for normal groups and clusters, indicating fossil clusters have global ICM X-ray properties similar to those of comparable mass non-fossil systems.

  12. Comparative taphonomy, taphofacies, and bonebeds of the Mio-Pliocene Purisima Formation, central California: strong physical control on marine vertebrate preservation in shallow marine settings.

    PubMed

    Boessenecker, Robert W; Perry, Frank A; Schmitt, James G

    2014-01-01

    Taphonomic study of marine vertebrate remains has traditionally focused on single skeletons, lagerstätten, or bonebed genesis with few attempts to document environmental gradients in preservation. As such, establishment of a concrete taphonomic model for shallow marine vertebrate assemblages is lacking. The Neogene Purisima Formation of Northern California, a richly fossiliferous unit recording nearshore to offshore depositional settings, offers a unique opportunity to examine preservational trends across these settings. Lithofacies analysis was conducted to place vertebrate fossils within a hydrodynamic and depositional environmental context. Taphonomic data including abrasion, fragmentation, phosphatization, articulation, polish, and biogenic bone modification were recorded for over 1000 vertebrate fossils of sharks, bony fish, birds, pinnipeds, odontocetes, mysticetes, sirenians, and land mammals. These data were used to compare both preservation of multiple taxa within a single lithofacies and preservation of individual taxa across lithofacies to document environmental gradients in preservation. Differential preservation between taxa indicates strong preservational bias within the Purisima Formation. Varying levels of abrasion, fragmentation, phosphatization, and articulation are strongly correlative with physical processes of sediment transport and sedimentation rate. Preservational characteristics were used to delineate four taphofacies corresponding to inner, middle, and outer shelf settings, and bonebeds. Application of sequence stratigraphic methods shows that bonebeds mark major stratigraphic discontinuities, while packages of rock between discontinuities consistently exhibit onshore-offshore changes in taphofacies. Changes in vertebrate preservation and bonebed character between lithofacies closely correspond to onshore-offshore changes in depositional setting, indicating that the dominant control of preservation is exerted by physical processes. The

  13. Comparative Taphonomy, Taphofacies, and Bonebeds of the Mio-Pliocene Purisima Formation, Central California: Strong Physical Control on Marine Vertebrate Preservation in Shallow Marine Settings

    PubMed Central

    Boessenecker, Robert W.; Perry, Frank A.; Schmitt, James G.

    2014-01-01

    Background Taphonomic study of marine vertebrate remains has traditionally focused on single skeletons, lagerstätten, or bonebed genesis with few attempts to document environmental gradients in preservation. As such, establishment of a concrete taphonomic model for shallow marine vertebrate assemblages is lacking. The Neogene Purisima Formation of Northern California, a richly fossiliferous unit recording nearshore to offshore depositional settings, offers a unique opportunity to examine preservational trends across these settings. Methodology/Principal Findings Lithofacies analysis was conducted to place vertebrate fossils within a hydrodynamic and depositional environmental context. Taphonomic data including abrasion, fragmentation, phosphatization, articulation, polish, and biogenic bone modification were recorded for over 1000 vertebrate fossils of sharks, bony fish, birds, pinnipeds, odontocetes, mysticetes, sirenians, and land mammals. These data were used to compare both preservation of multiple taxa within a single lithofacies and preservation of individual taxa across lithofacies to document environmental gradients in preservation. Differential preservation between taxa indicates strong preservational bias within the Purisima Formation. Varying levels of abrasion, fragmentation, phosphatization, and articulation are strongly correlative with physical processes of sediment transport and sedimentation rate. Preservational characteristics were used to delineate four taphofacies corresponding to inner, middle, and outer shelf settings, and bonebeds. Application of sequence stratigraphic methods shows that bonebeds mark major stratigraphic discontinuities, while packages of rock between discontinuities consistently exhibit onshore-offshore changes in taphofacies. Conclusions/Significance Changes in vertebrate preservation and bonebed character between lithofacies closely correspond to onshore-offshore changes in depositional setting, indicating that the

  14. No bones about it: an enigmatic Devonian fossil reveals a new skeletal framework--a potential role of loss of gene regulation.

    PubMed

    Johanson, Zerina; Kearsley, Anton; den Blaauwen, Jan; Newman, Michael; Smith, Moya Meredith

    2010-06-01

    Palaeospondylus gunni (Devonian, Scotland) is an enigmatic vertebrate, assigned to various jawless and jawed groups since its original description. New sections through the whole body allow description of a novel skeletal tissue for Palaeospondylus, comprising the entire skeleton. This tissue is mineralized cartilage and is characterized by large cell spaces embedded in minimal matrix. Bone is completely absent. Calcium phosphate mineralization has a differential topography of deposition within the cartilage that reflects a biogenic origin, despite subsequent diagenetic modification. This combination of hypertrophied cell spaces surrounded by regionalized mineralized matrix differs from all other cartilage in fossil and extant vertebrates. However, it compares most closely to gnathostome endochondral bone in early developmental stages. For example, Palaeospondylus skeletal histology differs from the Devonian agnathan Euphanerops and extant lamprey cartilage. Comparison with mineralized cartilage of armored fossil agnathans and placoderms shows the histology is not comparable to globular calcified cartilage. It also differs from that in extant chondrichthyan mineralized tesserae, which is restricted to a subperichondral zone. Amongst this diversity of calcified cartilage types we discuss various interpretations, including one that implicates tissue either in developmental stasis, before osteoblasts can deposit bone, or at a phylogenetic stage when this step has not evolved. These very different hypotheses highlight difficulties in interpreting fossil ontogenies when phylogenetic relationships are uncertain. Nevertheless, we propose that the composition of the Palaeospondylus skeleton represents a fossilized ontogenetic stage of endochondral bone, a type of bone characteristic of osteichthyan vertebrates.

  15. Ultrastructure of Wax-Producing Structures on the Integument of the Melaleuca Psyllid Boreioglycaspis melaleucae (Hemiptera: Psyllidae), with Honeydew Excretion Behavior in Males and Females

    PubMed Central

    Ammar, El-Desouky; Hentz, Matthew; Hall, David G.; Shatters, Robert G.

    2015-01-01

    The melaleuca psyllid, Boreioglycaspis melaleucae (Hemiptera: Psyllidae), was introduced to Florida as a biological control agent against Melaleuca quinquenervia, an invasive evergreen tree that has invaded large areas of Florida Everglades. Colonies of B. melaleucae nymphs are normally covered by white waxy secretions, and nymphs of various instars produce long bundles of white waxy filaments extending laterally and posteriorly from their abdomen. Scanning electron microscopy of ‘naturally waxed’ and ‘dewaxed’ nymphs (cleaned from wax) revealed two types of wax pore plates located dorsally and laterally on the integument of posterior abdominal segments starting with the 4th segment. Type-1 wax pore plates, with raised rim, peripheral groove, slits and pits, produce long ribbons and filaments of waxy secretions that are wound together forming long wax bundles, whereas type-2 wax pore plates, with slits only, produce shorter wax curls. Additionally, in both nymphs and adult females, the circumanal ring contained ornate rows of wax pores that produce wax filaments covering their honeydew excretions. Video recordings with stereomicroscopy showed that adult females produce whitish honeydew balls, powerfully propelled away from their body, probably to get these sticky excretions away from their eggs and newly hatched nymphs. Adult males, however, produce clear droplets of honeydew immediately behind them, simply by bending the posterior end of the abdomen downward. The possible role(s) of waxy secretions by nymphs and adults of B. melaleucae in reducing contamination of their colonies with honeydew, among other possibilities, are discussed. PMID:25793934

  16. Lectin histochemistry of the endothelium of blood vessels in the mammalian integument, with remarks on the endothelial glycocalyx and blood vessel system nomenclature.

    PubMed

    Meyer, Wilfried; Godynicki, Szymon; Tsukise, Azuma

    2008-01-01

    Based on sensitive light and electron microscopical lectin histochemistry, the distribution of saccharide residues is demonstrated in endothelial cells and/or the walls of integumental blood vessels of domesticated and wild mammals. In addition, the nomenclature of the blood vessel system in the skin is reviewed, and modified according to a generalized mammalian approach. Our comparative attempt demonstrated three (upper, mid-dermal, and dermal) plexus or retia in the integument of mammals of important systematic groups. The findings highlight a specific spectrum of terminal sugars in the endothelial cells and their glycocalyx and/or the blood vessel wall as related to the vessel retia and plexus present. The subepidermal blood vessel system, the capillary loops in particular, was marked by alpha-Man/alpha-Glc, alpha-D-GalNAc, beta-D-Gal/beta-D-GalNAc, and NANA-alpha(2,6)-GalNAc; the mid-dermal system by alpha-Man/alpha-Glc, and alpha-D-Gal/alpha-D-GalNAc; and the deep dermal system by alpha-Man/alpha-Glc, alpha-D-GalNAc, alpha-Gal, and beta-D-Gal/beta-D-GalNAc moieties. The results obtained are discussed from a comparative point of view, also with regard to certain basic functions of the endothelial cells and their glycocalyx.

  17. THE GB/3D Fossil Types Online Database

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Howe, M. P.; McCormick, T.

    2012-12-01

    The ICZN and the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi and plants require that every species or subspecies of organism (living & fossil), should have a type or reference specimen to define its characteristic features. These specimens are held in collections around the world and must be available for study. Over time, type specimens can deteriorate or become lost. The British Geological Survey, the National Museum of Wales, the Sedgwick Museum Cambridge and the Oxford Museum of Natural History are working together to create an online database of the type fossils they hold. The web portal provides data about each specimen, searchable on taxonomic, stratigraphic and spatial criteria. For each specimen it is possible to view and download high resolution photographs, and for many of them, 'anaglyph' stereo pairs and 3D scans are available. The portal also provides educational resources (OERs). The rise to prominence of the Web has transformed expectations in accessing information and the Web is now usually the first port of call. However, while many geological museums are providing web-searchable text catalogues, few have undertaken a large-scale program of providing images and 3D models. This project has tackled the issues of merging four distinct data holdings, and setting up workflows to image and scan large numbers of disparate fossils, ranging from small invertebrate macrofossils to large vertebrate skeletal elements. There are three advantages in providing such resources: (1) All users can exploit the collections more efficiently. End-users can view specimens remotely and assess their nature, preservation quality and completeness - in some cases this may be sufficient. It will reduce the need for institutions to send specimens (which are often fragile and always irreplaceable) to researchers by post, or for researchers to make possibly long, expensive and environmentally damaging journeys. (2) A public outreach and education dividend - the ability to

  18. The "terminal Triassic catastrophic extinction event" in perspective: a review of carboniferous through Early Jurassic terrestrial vertebrate extinction patterns

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Weems, R.E.

    1992-01-01

    A catastrophic terminal Triassic extinction event among terrestrial vertebrates is not supported by available evidence. The current model for such an extinction is based on at least eight weak or untenable assumptions: (1) a terminal Triassic extinction-inducing asteroid impact occurred, (2) a terminal Triassic synchronous mass extinction of terrestrial vertebrates occurred, (3) a concurrent terminal Triassic marine extinction occurred, (4) all terrestrial vertebrate families have similar diversities and ecologies, (5) changes in familial diversity can be gauged accurately from the known fossil record, (6) extinction of families can be compared through time without normalizing for changes in familial diversity through time, (7) extinction rates can be compared without normalizing for differing lengths of geologic stages, and (8) catastrophic mass extinctions do not select for small size. These assumptions have resulted in unsupportable and (or) erroneous conclusions. Carboniferous through Early Jurassic terrestrial vertebrate families mostly have evolution and extinction patterns unlike the vertebrate evolution and extinction patterns during the terminal Cretaceous event. Only the Serpukhovian (mid Carboniferous) extinction event shows strong analogy to the terminal Cretaceous event. Available data suggest no terminal Triassic extinction anomaly, but rather a prolonged and nearly steady decline in the global terrestrial vertebrate extinction rate throughout the Triassic and earliest Jurassic. ?? 1992.

  19. Building the backbone: the development and evolution of vertebral patterning.

    PubMed

    Fleming, Angeleen; Kishida, Marcia G; Kimmel, Charles B; Keynes, Roger J

    2015-05-15

    The segmented vertebral column comprises a repeat series of vertebrae, each consisting of two key components: the vertebral body (or centrum) and the vertebral arches. Despite being a defining feature of the vertebrates, much remains to be understood about vertebral development and evolution. Particular controversy surrounds whether vertebral component structures are homologous across vertebrates, how somite and vertebral patterning are connected, and the developmental origin of vertebral bone-mineralizing cells. Here, we assemble evidence from ichthyologists, palaeontologists and developmental biologists to consider these issues. Vertebral arch elements were present in early stem vertebrates, whereas centra arose later. We argue that centra are homologous among jawed vertebrates, and review evidence in teleosts that the notochord plays an instructive role in segmental patterning, alongside the somites, and contributes to mineralization. By clarifying the evolutionary relationship between centra and arches, and their varying modes of skeletal mineralization, we can better appreciate the detailed mechanisms that regulate and diversify vertebral patterning.

  20. The First Record of a Trans-Oceanic Sister-Group Relationship between Obligate Vertebrate Troglobites

    PubMed Central

    Chakrabarty, Prosanta; Davis, Matthew P.; Sparks, John S.

    2012-01-01

    We show using the most complete phylogeny of one of the most species-rich orders of vertebrates (Gobiiformes), and calibrations from the rich fossil record of teleost fishes, that the genus Typhleotris, endemic to subterranean karst habitats in southwestern Madagascar, is the sister group to Milyeringa, endemic to similar subterranean systems in northwestern Australia. Both groups are eyeless, and our phylogenetic and biogeographic results show that these obligate cave fishes now found on opposite ends of the Indian Ocean (separated by nearly 7,000 km) are each others closest relatives and owe their origins to the break up of the southern supercontinent, Gondwana, at the end of the Cretaceous period. Trans-oceanic sister-group relationships are otherwise unknown between blind, cave-adapted vertebrates and our results provide an extraordinary case of Gondwanan vicariance. PMID:22937155

  1. Sediments, geomorphology, magnetostratigraphy, and vertebrate paleontology in the San Pedro Valley, Arizona

    SciTech Connect

    Lindsay, E.H.; Smith, G.A.; Haynes, C.V.; Opdyke, N.D. )

    1990-07-01

    The San Pedro Valley in southern Arizona was probably formed by block faulting during the Miocene. Sediments that filled the valley, primarily the St. David Formation, have yielded a robust vertebrate fossil record, calibrated during the last 25 years by magnetostratigraphy and isotopic dating of volcanic ejecta. This chronologic framework is combined with new sedimentologic, paleomagnetic, and geomorphic data to evaluate the influence of subsequent tectonism within the basin. The authors conclude that tectonism in the San Pedro Valley has been relatively quiescent following the initial block faulting and suggest that ensuring rates of sedimentation and incision were most likely controlled by climatic factors rather than tectonic-geologic ones. Vertebrate datum planes established in 1975 are revised on the basis of new paleontologic and geologic-isotopic data. The authors now recognize only three faunal datum planes in the St. David Formation, and have abandoned the youngest (Lepus) datum plane.

  2. The first record of a trans-oceanic sister-group relationship between obligate vertebrate troglobites.

    PubMed

    Chakrabarty, Prosanta; Davis, Matthew P; Sparks, John S

    2012-01-01

    We show using the most complete phylogeny of one of the most species-rich orders of vertebrates (Gobiiformes), and calibrations from the rich fossil record of teleost fishes, that the genus Typhleotris, endemic to subterranean karst habitats in southwestern Madagascar, is the sister group to Milyeringa, endemic to similar subterranean systems in northwestern Australia. Both groups are eyeless, and our phylogenetic and biogeographic results show that these obligate cave fishes now found on opposite ends of the Indian Ocean (separated by nearly 7,000 km) are each others closest relatives and owe their origins to the break up of the southern supercontinent, Gondwana, at the end of the Cretaceous period. Trans-oceanic sister-group relationships are otherwise unknown between blind, cave-adapted vertebrates and our results provide an extraordinary case of Gondwanan vicariance.

  3. Exceptional record of mid-Pleistocene vertebrates helps differentiate climatic from anthropogenic ecosystem perturbations

    PubMed Central

    Barnosky, Anthony D.; Bell, Christopher J.; Emslie, Steven D.; Goodwin, H. Thomas; Mead, Jim I.; Repenning, Charles A.; Scott, Eric; Shabel, Alan B.

    2004-01-01

    Mid-Pleistocene vertebrates in North America are scarce but important for recognizing the ecological effects of climatic change in the absence of humans. We report on a uniquely rich mid-Pleistocene vertebrate sequence from Porcupine Cave, Colorado, which records at least 127 species and the earliest appearances of 30 mammals and birds. By analyzing >20,000 mammal fossils in relation to modern species and independent climatic proxies, we determined how mammal communities reacted to presumed glacial–interglacial transitions between 1,000,000 and 600,000 years ago. We conclude that climatic warming primarily affected mammals of lower trophic and size categories, in contrast to documented human impacts on higher trophic and size categories historically. Despite changes in species composition and minor changes in small-mammal species richness evident at times of climatic change, overall structural stability of mammal communities persisted >600,000 years before human impacts. PMID:15197254

  4. The oldest caseid synapsid from the Late Pennsylvanian of Kansas, and the evolution of herbivory in terrestrial vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Reisz, Robert R; Fröbisch, Jörg

    2014-01-01

    The origin and early evolution of amniotes (fully terrestrial vertebrates) led to major changes in the structure and hierarchy of terrestrial ecosystems. The first appearance of herbivores played a pivotal role in this transformation. After an early bifurcation into Reptilia and Synapsida (including mammals) 315 Ma, synapsids dominated Paleozoic terrestrial vertebrate communities, with the herbivorous caseids representing the largest vertebrates on land. Eocasea martini gen. et sp. nov., a small carnivorous caseid from the Late Carboniferous, extends significantly the fossil record of Caseidae, and permits the first clade-based study of the origin and initial evolution of herbivory in terrestrial tetrapods. Our results demonstrate for the first time that large caseid herbivores evolved from small, non-herbivorous caseids. This pattern is mirrored by three other clades, documenting multiple, independent, but temporally staggered origins of herbivory and increase in body size among early terrestrial tetrapods, leading to patterns consistent with modern terrestrial ecosystem.

  5. The Oldest Caseid Synapsid from the Late Pennsylvanian of Kansas, and the Evolution of Herbivory in Terrestrial Vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Reisz, Robert R.; Fröbisch, Jörg

    2014-01-01

    The origin and early evolution of amniotes (fully terrestrial vertebrates) led to major changes in the structure and hierarchy of terrestrial ecosystems. The first appearance of herbivores played a pivotal role in this transformation. After an early bifurcation into Reptilia and Synapsida (including mammals) 315 Ma, synapsids dominated Paleozoic terrestrial vertebrate communities, with the herbivorous caseids representing the largest vertebrates on land. Eocasea martini gen. et sp. nov., a small carnivorous caseid from the Late Carboniferous, extends significantly the fossil record of Caseidae, and permits the first clade-based study of the origin and initial evolution of herbivory in terrestrial tetrapods. Our results demonstrate for the first time that large caseid herbivores evolved from small, non-herbivorous caseids. This pattern is mirrored by three other clades, documenting multiple, independent, but temporally staggered origins of herbivory and increase in body size among early terrestrial tetrapods, leading to patterns consistent with modern terrestrial ecosystem. PMID:24739998

  6. A Nomenclature for Vertebral Fossae in Sauropods and Other Saurischian Dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, Jeffrey A.; D'Emic, Michael D.; Ikejiri, Takehito; Moacdieh, Emile M.; Whitlock, John A.

    2011-01-01

    Background The axial skeleton of extinct saurischian dinosaurs (i.e., theropods, sauropodomorphs), like living birds, was pneumatized by epithelial outpocketings of the respiratory system. Pneumatic signatures in the vertebral column of fossil saurischians include complex branching chambers within the bone (internal pneumaticity) and large chambers visible externally that are bounded by neural arch laminae (external pneumaticity). Although general aspects of internal pneumaticity are synapomorphic for saurischian subgroups, the individual internal pneumatic spaces cannot be homologized across species or even along the vertebral column, due to their variability and absence of topographical landmarks. External pneumatic structures, in contrast, are defined by ready topological landmarks (vertebral laminae), but no consistent nomenclatural system exists. This deficiency has fostered confusion and limited their use as character data in phylogenetic analysis. Methodology/Principal Findings We present a simple system for naming external neural arch fossae that parallels the one developed for the vertebral laminae that bound them. The nomenclatural system identifies fossae by pointing to reference landmarks (e.g., neural spine, centrum, costal articulations, zygapophyses). We standardize the naming process by creating tripartite names from “primary landmarks,” which form the zygodiapophyseal table, “secondary landmarks,” which orient with respect to that table, and “tertiary landmarks,” which further delineate a given fossa. Conclusions/Significance The proposed nomenclatural system for lamina-bounded fossae adds clarity to descriptions of complex vertebrae and allows these structures to be sourced as character data for phylogenetic analyses. These anatomical terms denote potentially homologous pneumatic structures within Saurischia, but they could be applied to any vertebrate with vertebral laminae that enclose spaces, regardless of their developmental origin

  7. Development of the Synarcual in the Elephant Sharks (Holocephali; Chondrichthyes): Implications for Vertebral Formation and Fusion

    PubMed Central

    Johanson, Zerina; Boisvert, Catherine; Maksimenko, Anton; Currie, Peter; Trinajstic, Kate

    2015-01-01

    The synarcual is a structure incorporating multiple elements of two or more anterior vertebrae of the axial skeleton, forming immediately posterior to the cranium. It has been convergently acquired in the fossil group ‘Placodermi’, in Chondrichthyes (Holocephali, Batoidea), within the teleost group Syngnathiformes, and to varying degrees in a range of mammalian taxa. In addition, cervical vertebral fusion presents as an abnormal pathology in a variety of human disorders. Vertebrae develop from axially arranged somites, so that fusion could result from a failure of somite segmentation early in development, or from later heterotopic development of intervertebral bone or cartilage. Examination of early developmental stages indicates that in the Batoidea and the ‘Placodermi’, individual vertebrae developed normally and only later become incorporated into the synarcual, implying regular somite segmentation and vertebral development. Here we show that in the holocephalan Callorhinchus milii, uniform and regular vertebral segmentation also occurs, with anterior individual vertebra developing separately with subsequent fusion into a synarcual. Vertebral elements forming directly behind the synarcual continue to be incorporated into the synarcual through growth. This appears to be a common pattern through the Vertebrata. Research into human disorders, presenting as cervical fusion at birth, focuses on gene misexpression studies in humans and other mammals such as the mouse. However, in chondrichthyans, vertebral fusion represents the normal morphology, moreover, taxa such Leucoraja (Batoidea) and Callorhinchus (Holocephali) are increasingly used as laboratory animals, and the Callorhinchus genome has been sequenced and is available for study. Our observations on synarcual development in three major groups of early jawed vertebrates indicate that fusion involves heterotopic cartilage and perichondral bone/mineralised cartilage developing outside the regular skeleton

  8. A nomenclature for vertebral fossae in sauropods and other saurischian dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Jeffrey A; D'Emic, Michael D; Ikejiri, Takehito; Moacdieh, Emile M; Whitlock, John A

    2011-02-28

    The axial skeleton of extinct saurischian dinosaurs (i.e., theropods, sauropodomorphs), like living birds, was pneumatized by epithelial outpocketings of the respiratory system. Pneumatic signatures in the vertebral column of fossil saurischians include complex branching chambers within the bone (internal pneumaticity) and large chambers visible externally that are bounded by neural arch laminae (external pneumaticity). Although general aspects of internal pneumaticity are synapomorphic for saurischian subgroups, the individual internal pneumatic spaces cannot be homologized across species or even along the vertebral column, due to their variability and absence of topographical landmarks. External pneumatic structures, in contrast, are defined by ready topological landmarks (vertebral laminae), but no consistent nomenclatural system exists. This deficiency has fostered confusion and limited their use as character data in phylogenetic analysis. We present a simple system for naming external neural arch fossae that parallels the one developed for the vertebral laminae that bound them. The nomenclatural system identifies fossae by pointing to reference landmarks (e.g., neural spine, centrum, costal articulations, zygapophyses). We standardize the naming process by creating tripartite names from "primary landmarks," which form the zygodiapophyseal table, "secondary landmarks," which orient with respect to that table, and "tertiary landmarks," which further delineate a given fossa. The proposed nomenclatural system for lamina-bounded fossae adds clarity to descriptions of complex vertebrae and allows these structures to be sourced as character data for phylogenetic analyses. These anatomical terms denote potentially homologous pneumatic structures within Saurischia, but they could be applied to any vertebrate with vertebral laminae that enclose spaces, regardless of their developmental origin or phylogenetic distribution.

  9. Development of the Synarcual in the Elephant Sharks (Holocephali; Chondrichthyes): Implications for Vertebral Formation and Fusion.

    PubMed

    Johanson, Zerina; Boisvert, Catherine; Maksimenko, Anton; Currie, Peter; Trinajstic, Kate

    2015-01-01

    The synarcual is a structure incorporating multiple elements of two or more anterior vertebrae of the axial skeleton, forming immediately posterior to the cranium. It has been convergently acquired in the fossil group 'Placodermi', in Chondrichthyes (Holocephali, Batoidea), within the teleost group Syngnathiformes, and to varying degrees in a range of mammalian taxa. In addition, cervical vertebral fusion presents as an abnormal pathology in a variety of human disorders. Vertebrae develop from axially arranged somites, so that fusion could result from a failure of somite segmentation early in development, or from later heterotopic development of intervertebral bone or cartilage. Examination of early developmental stages indicates that in the Batoidea and the 'Placodermi', individual vertebrae developed normally and only later become incorporated into the synarcual, implying regular somite segmentation and vertebral development. Here we show that in the holocephalan Callorhinchus milii, uniform and regular vertebral segmentation also occurs, with anterior individual vertebra developing separately with subsequent fusion into a synarcual. Vertebral elements forming directly behind the synarcual continue to be incorporated into the synarcual through growth. This appears to be a common pattern through the Vertebrata. Research into human disorders, presenting as cervical fusion at birth, focuses on gene misexpression studies in humans and other mammals such as the mouse. However, in chondrichthyans, vertebral fusion represents the normal morphology, moreover, taxa such Leucoraja (Batoidea) and Callorhinchus (Holocephali) are increasingly used as laboratory animals, and the Callorhinchus genome has been sequenced and is available for study. Our observations on synarcual development in three major groups of early jawed vertebrates indicate that fusion involves heterotopic cartilage and perichondral bone/mineralised cartilage developing outside the regular skeleton. We

  10. Vertebral architecture in the earliest stem tetrapods.

    PubMed

    Pierce, Stephanie E; Ahlberg, Per E; Hutchinson, John R; Molnar, Julia L; Sanchez, Sophie; Tafforeau, Paul; Clack, Jennifer A

    2013-02-14

    The construction of the vertebral column has been used as a key anatomical character in defining and diagnosing early tetrapod groups. Rhachitomous vertebrae--in which there is a dorsally placed neural arch and spine, an anteroventrally placed intercentrum and paired, posterodorsally placed pleurocentra--have long been considered the ancestral morphology for tetrapods. Nonetheless, very little is known about vertebral anatomy in the earliest stem tetrapods, because most specimens remain trapped in surrounding matrix, obscuring important anatomical features. Here we describe the three-dimensional vertebral architecture of the Late Devonian stem tetrapod Ichthyostega using propagation phase-contrast X-ray synchrotron microtomography. Our scans reveal a diverse array of new morphological, and associated developmental and functional, characteristics, including a possible posterior-to-anterior vertebral ossification sequence and the first evolutionary appearance of ossified sternal elements. One of the most intriguing features relates to the positional relationships between the vertebral elements, with the pleurocentra being unexpectedly sutured or fused to the intercentra that directly succeed them, indicating a 'reverse' rhachitomous design. Comparison of Ichthyostega with two other stem tetrapods, Acanthostega and Pederpes, shows that reverse rhachitomous vertebrae may be the ancestral condition for limbed vertebrates. This study fundamentally revises our current understanding of vertebral column evolution in the earliest tetrapods and raises questions about the presumed vertebral architecture of tetrapodomorph fish and later, more crownward, tetrapods.

  11. Spinal cord compression due to vertebral hemangioma.

    PubMed

    Aksu, Gorkem; Fayda, Merdan; Saynak, Mert; Karadeniz, Ahmet

    2008-02-01

    This article presents a case of multiple vertebral hemangiomas in a 58-year-old man with pain in the dorsal region and bilateral progressive foot numbness. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed multiple vertebral hemangiomas. One hemangioma at the T7 level demonstrated epidural extension, causing spinal cord compression. After treatment with radiotherapy, the patient's symptoms improved significantly.

  12. The evolution of adaptive immunity in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Hirano, Masayuki; Das, Sabyasachi; Guo, Peng; Cooper, Max D

    2011-01-01

    Approximately 500 million years ago, two types of recombinatorial adaptive immune systems (AISs) arose in vertebrates. The jawed vertebrates diversify their repertoire of immunoglobulin domain-based T and B cell antigen receptors mainly through the rearrangement of V(D)J gene segments and somatic hypermutation, but none of the fundamental AIS recognition elements in jawed vertebrates have been found in jawless vertebrates. Instead, the AIS of jawless vertebrates is based on variable lymphocyte receptors (VLRs) that are generated through recombinatorial usage of a large panel of highly diverse leucine-rich-repeat (LRR) sequences. Whereas the appearance of transposon-like, recombination-activating genes contributed uniquely to the origin of the AIS in jawed vertebrates, the use of activation-induced cytidine deaminase for receptor diversification is common to both the jawed and jawless vertebrates. Despite these differences in anticipatory receptor construction, the basic AIS design featuring two interactive T and B lymphocyte arms apparently evolved in an ancestor of jawed and jawless vertebrates within the context of preexisting innate immunity and has been maintained since as a consequence of powerful and enduring selection, most probably for pathogen defense purposes.

  13. Eye marks in vertebrates: AIDS to vision.

    PubMed

    Ficken, R W; Matthiae, P E; Horwich, R

    1971-09-03

    Lines leading forward from the eye may function as aiming sights in many small vertebrates. The chief evidence is the correlation of distribution and positions of eye-lines in various vertebrate groups with predatory feeding habits. Dark patches around the eye may serve to reduce glare in species in bright environments. Facial patterns often have multiple functions.

  14. Vertebral osteomyelitis in insulin-dependent diabetics.

    PubMed

    Cooppan, R; Schoenbaum, S; Younger, M D; Freidberg, S; D'elia, J

    1976-11-20

    Vertebral osteomyelitis continues to be a diagnostically and therapeutically challenging disease with a relatively high incidence in diabetics. The clinical features, investigations and treatment of 7 insulin-dependent diabetics with vertebral osteomyelitis are presented and possible aetiological factors in this group are discussed.

  15. 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

  16. The completeness of the fossil record of mesozoic birds: implications for early avian evolution.

    PubMed

    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 have

  17. New postcranial fossils of Australopithecus afarensis from Hadar, Ethiopia (1990-2007).

    PubMed

    Ward, Carol V; Kimbel, William H; Harmon, Elizabeth H; Johanson, Donald C

    2012-07-01

    Renewed fieldwork at Hadar, Ethiopia, from 1990 to 2007, by a team based at the Institute of Human Origins, Arizona State University, resulted in the recovery of 49 new postcranial fossils attributed to Australopithecus afarensis. These fossils include elements from both the upper and lower limbs as well as the axial skeleton, and increase the sample size of previously known elements for A. afarensis. The expanded Hadar sample provides evidence of multiple new individuals that are intermediate in size between the smallest and largest individuals previously documented, and so support the hypothesis that a single dimorphic species is represented. Consideration of the functional anatomy of the new fossils supports the hypothesis that no functional or behavioral differences need to be invoked to explain the morphological variation between large and small A. afarensis individuals. Several specimens provide important new data about this species, including new vertebrae supporting the hypothesis that A. afarensis may have had a more human-like thoracic form than previously appreciated, with an invaginated thoracic vertebral column. A distal pollical phalanx confirms the presence of a human-like flexor pollicis longus muscle in A. afarensis. The new fossils include the first complete fourth metatarsal known for A. afarensis. This specimen exhibits the dorsoplantarly expanded base, axial torsion and domed head typical of humans, revealing the presence of human-like permanent longitudinal and transverse arches and extension of the metatarsophalangeal joints as in human-like heel-off during gait. The new Hadar postcranial fossils provide a more complete picture of postcranial functional anatomy, and individual and temporal variation within this sample. They provide the basis for further in-depth analyses of the behavioral and evolutionary significance of A. afarensis anatomy, and greater insight into the biology and evolution of these early hominins.

  18. 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.

  19. Comparing primate crania: The importance of fossils.

    PubMed

    Fleagle, John G; Gilbert, Christopher C; Baden, Andrea L

    2016-10-01

    Extant primate crania represent a small subset of primate crania that have existed. The main objective here is to examine how the inclusion of fossil crania changes our understanding of primate cranial diversity relative to analyses of extant primates. We hypothesize that fossil taxa will change the major axes of cranial shape, occupy new areas of morphospace, change the relative diversity of major primate clades, and fill in notable gaps separating major primate taxa/clades. Eighteen 3D landmarks were collected on 157 extant and fossil crania representing 90 genera. Data were subjected to a Generalized Procrustes Analysis then principal components analysis. Relative diversity between clades was assessed using an F-statistic. Fossil taxa do not significantly alter major axes of cranial shape, but they do occupy unique areas of morphospace, change the relative diversity between clades, and fill in notable gaps in primate cranial evolution. Strepsirrhines remain significantly less diverse than anthropoids. Fossil hominins fill the gap in cranial morphospace between extant great apes and modern humans. The morphospace outlined by living primates largely includes that occupied by fossil taxa, suggesting that the cranial diversity of living primates generally encompasses the total diversity that has evolved in this Order. The evolution of the anthropoid cranium was a significant event allowing anthropoids to achieve significantly greater cranial diversity compared to strepsirrhines. Fossil taxa fill in notable gaps within and between clades, highlighting their transitional nature and eliminating the appearance of large morphological distances between extant taxa, particularly in the case of extant hominids. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  20. Nervous systems and scenarios for the invertebrate-to-vertebrate transition.

    PubMed

    Holland, Nicholas D

    2016-01-05

    Older evolutionary scenarios for the origin of vertebrates often gave nervous systems top billing in accordance with the notion that a big-brained Homo sapiens crowned a tree of life shaped mainly by progressive evolution. Now, however, tree thinking positions all extant organisms equidistant from the tree's root, and molecular phylogenies indicate that regressive evolution is more common than previously suspected. Even so, contemporary theories of vertebrate origin still focus on the nervous system because of its functional importance, its richness in characters for comparative biology, and its central position in the two currently prominent scenarios for the invertebrate-to-vertebrate transition, which grew out of the markedly neurocentric annelid and enteropneust theories of the nineteenth century. Both these scenarios compare phyla with diverse overall body plans. This diversity, exacerbated by the scarcity of relevant fossil data, makes it challenging to establish plausible homologies between component parts (e.g. nervous system regions). In addition, our current understanding of the relation between genotype and phenotype is too preliminary to permit us to convert gene network data into structural features in any simple way. These issues are discussed here with special reference to the evolution of nervous systems during proposed transitions from invertebrates to vertebrates. © 2015 The Author(s).

  1. Nervous systems and scenarios for the invertebrate-to-vertebrate transition

    PubMed Central

    Holland, Nicholas D.

    2016-01-01

    Older evolutionary scenarios for the origin of vertebrates often gave nervous systems top billing in accordance with the notion that a big-brained Homo sapiens crowned a tree of life shaped mainly by progressive evolution. Now, however, tree thinking positions all extant organisms equidistant from the tree's root, and molecular phylogenies indicate that regressive evolution is more common than previously suspected. Even so, contemporary theories of vertebrate origin still focus on the nervous system because of its functional importance, its richness in characters for comparative biology, and its central position in the two currently prominent scenarios for the invertebrate-to-vertebrate transition, which grew out of the markedly neurocentric annelid and enteropneust theories of the nineteenth century. Both these scenarios compare phyla with diverse overall body plans. This diversity, exacerbated by the scarcity of relevant fossil data, makes it challenging to establish plausible homologies between component parts (e.g. nervous system regions). In addition, our current understanding of the relation between genotype and phenotype is too preliminary to permit us to convert gene network data into structural features in any simple way. These issues are discussed here with special reference to the evolution of nervous systems during proposed transitions from invertebrates to vertebrates. PMID:26598728

  2. An overview of the South American fossil squamates.

    PubMed

    Albino, Adriana María; Brizuela, Santiago

    2014-03-01

    The evolution of squamates in South America is the result of the complex geological and paleoclimatic history of this part of the world. The incomplete and episodic fossil record allows us to know only a small part of this evolution. Most Mesozoic squamate remains come from the Patagonian region, but remarkable specimens have also been recovered from Brazil. Both major squamate clades (Iguania and Scleroglossa) are present in the South American Mesozoic. Remains of Mesozoic snakes are common and diverse in Cretaceous deposits, including some of the most primitive terrestrial forms. Paleogene and Neogene squamate remains have been recognized from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Paleogene lizard record appears to be scarce in comparison to that of the Mesozoic, whereas snakes show an important Paleogene diversity. At least two extant boid snakes appeared during this epoch (Boa and Corallus). The South American Miocene included some extant genera of Iguania, Teiidae, and Boidae but extinct genera were also present. "Colubrids" appeared at the early Miocene, whereas the first viperid is known from the late Miocene. Most of the Paleogene and early Neogene squamate families and genera have been recognized outside their current range of distribution following favorable climatic conditions for ectothermic vertebrates. During the latest Miocene and Pliocene few extant squamate taxa are found to occur outside their present distribution. The earliest amphisbaenian of South America is known from the Pliocene. Most Pleistocene and Holocene squamate remains are assigned to living genera, and some extant species were recognized. Copyright © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  3. Nanotechnology for treating osteoporotic vertebral fractures

    PubMed Central

    Gao, Chunxia; Wei, Donglei; Yang, Huilin; Chen, Tao; Yang, Lei

    2015-01-01

    Osteoporosis is a serious public health problem affecting hundreds of millions of aged people worldwide, with severe consequences including vertebral fractures that are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. To augment or treat osteoporotic vertebral fractures, a number of surgical approaches including minimally invasive vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty have been developed. However, these approaches face problems and difficulties with efficacy and long-term stability. Recent advances and progress in nanotechnology are opening up new opportunities to improve the surgical procedures for treating osteoporotic vertebral fractures. This article reviews the improvements enabled by new nanomaterials and focuses on new injectable biomaterials like bone cements and surgical instruments for treating vertebral fractures. This article also provides an introduction to osteoporotic vertebral fractures and current clinical treatments, along with the rationale and efficacy of utilizing nanomaterials to modify and improve biomaterials or instruments. In addition, perspectives on future trends with injectable bone cements and surgical instruments enhanced by nanotechnology are provided. PMID:26316746

  4. Nanotechnology for treating osteoporotic vertebral fractures.

    PubMed

    Gao, Chunxia; Wei, Donglei; Yang, Huilin; Chen, Tao; Yang, Lei

    2015-01-01

    Osteoporosis is a serious public health problem affecting hundreds of millions of aged people worldwide, with severe consequences including vertebral fractures that are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. To augment or treat osteoporotic vertebral fractures, a number of surgical approaches including minimally invasive vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty have been developed. However, these approaches face problems and difficulties with efficacy and long-term stability. Recent advances and progress in nanotechnology are opening up new opportunities to improve the surgical procedures for treating osteoporotic vertebral fractures. This article reviews the improvements enabled by new nanomaterials and focuses on new injectable biomaterials like bone cements and surgical instruments for treating vertebral fractures. This article also provides an introduction to osteoporotic vertebral fractures and current clinical treatments, along with the rationale and efficacy of utilizing nanomaterials to modify and improve biomaterials or instruments. In addition, perspectives on future trends with injectable bone cements and surgical instruments enhanced by nanotechnology are provided.

  5. The biology of gliding in flying lizards (genus Draco) and their fossil and extant analogs.

    PubMed

    McGuire, Jimmy A; Dudley, Robert

    2011-12-01

    The flying lizards of the genus Draco are among the most remarkable and successful clades of gliding vertebrates. Here, we evaluate the evolution of gliding in Draco and other lizards, describe the suite of morphological innovations that characterize Draco, discuss the ecological context of gliding in this genus, describe functions of their patagial membranes that are not related to gliding, and summarize the interspecific allometry of the Draco gliding apparatus, as well as the corresponding consequences for their now empirically quantified gliding performance. Several fossil reptilian lineages had morphologies similar to that of modern Draco, with patagial membranes supported by elongated ribs or rib-like dermal structures. Using Draco's snout-vent length/mass relationships, we provide improved estimates of wing loading for three of these fossil gliders (Icarosaurus seifkeri, Kuehneosaurus sp., Coelurosauravus elivensis) and then estimate absolute gliding performance for each taxon by extrapolating from Draco's wing loading/glide performance relationship. We find that I. seifkeri likely represented the best nonflapping terrestrial vertebrate glider yet described, whereas the larger Kuehneosaurus and Coelurosauravus probably required high descent velocities to achieve sufficient lift for gliding, with commensurately greater height loss with each glide.

  6. Fossil fuels in a trillion tonne world

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scott, Vivian; Haszeldine, R. Stuart; Tett, Simon F. B.; Oschlies, Andreas

    2015-05-01

    The useful energy services and energy density value of fossil carbon fuels could be retained for longer timescales into the future if their combustion is balanced by CO2 recapture and storage. We assess the global balance between fossil carbon supply and the sufficiency (size) and capability (technology, security) of candidate carbon stores. A hierarchy of value for extraction-to-storage pairings is proposed, which is augmented by classification of CO2 containment as temporary (<1,000 yr) or permanent (>100,000 yr). Using temporary stores is inefficient and defers an intergenerational problem. Permanent storage capacity is adequate to technically match current fossil fuel reserves. However, rates of storage creation cannot balance current and expected rates of fossil fuel extraction and CO2 consequences. Extraction of conventional natural gas is uniquely holistic because it creates the capacity to re-inject an equivalent tonnage of carbon for storage into the same reservoir and can re-use gas-extraction infrastructure for storage. By contrast, balancing the extraction of coal, oil, biomass and unconventional fossil fuels requires the engineering and validation of additional carbon storage. Such storage is, so far, unproven in sufficiency.

  7. The prevalence of vertebral fracture amongst patients presenting with non-vertebral fractures.

    PubMed

    Gallacher, S J; Gallagher, A P; McQuillian, C; Mitchell, P J; Dixon, T

    2007-02-01

    Despite vertebral fracture being a significant risk factor for further fracture, vertebral fractures are often unrecognised. A study was therefore conducted to determine the proportion of patients presenting with a non-vertebral fracture who also have an unrecognised vertebral fracture. Prospective study of patients presenting with a non-vertebral fracture in South Glasgow who underwent DXA evaluation with vertebral morphometry (MXA) from DV5/6 to LV4/5. Vertebral deformities (consistent with fracture) were identified by direct visualisation using the Genant semi-quantitative grading scale. Data were available for 337 patients presenting with low trauma non-vertebral fracture; 261 were female. Of all patients, 10.4% were aged 50-64 years, 53.2% were aged 65-74 years and 36.2% were aged 75 years or over. According to WHO definitions, 35.0% of patients had normal lumbar spine BMD (T-score -1 or above), 37.4% were osteopenic (T-score -1.1 to -2.4) and 27.6% osteoporotic (T-score -2.5 or lower). Humerus (n=103, 31%), radius-ulna (n=90, 27%) and hand/foot (n=53, 16%) were the most common fractures. For 72% of patients (n=241) the presenting fracture was the first low trauma fracture to come to clinical attention. The overall prevalence of vertebral deformity established by MXA was 25% (n=83); 45% (n=37) of patients with vertebral deformity had deformities of more than one vertebra. Of the patients with vertebral deformity and readable scans for grading, 72.5% (58/80) had deformities of grade 2 or 3. Patients presenting with hip fracture, or spine T-score vertebral fracture were all significantly more likely to have evidence of a prevalent vertebral deformity (p<0.05). However, 19.8% of patients with an osteopenic T-score had a vertebral deformity (48% of which were multiple), and 16.1% of patients with a normal T-score had a vertebral deformity (26.3% of which were multiple). Following non-vertebral fracture, some

  8. Soft tissue influence on ex vivo mobility in the hip of Iguana: comparison with in vivo movement and its bearing on joint motion of fossil sprawling tetrapods.

    PubMed

    Arnold, Patrick; Fischer, Martin S; Nyakatura, John A

    2014-07-01

    The reconstruction of a joint's maximum range of mobility (ROM) often is a first step when trying to understand the locomotion of fossil tetrapods. But previous studies suggest that the ROM of a joint is restricted by soft tissues surrounding the joint. To expand the limited informative value of ROM studies for the reconstruction of a fossil species' locomotor characteristics, it is moreover necessary to better understand the relationship of ex vivo ROM with the actual in vivo joint movement. To gain insight into the relationship between ex vivo mobility and in vivo movement, we systematically tested for the influence of soft tissues on joint ROM in the hip of the modern lizard Iguana iguana. Then, we compared the ex vivo mobility to in vivo kinematics of the hip joint in the same specimens using X-ray sequences of steady-state treadmill locomotion previously recorded. With stepwise removal of soft tissues and a repeated-measurement protocol, we show that soft tissues surrounding the hip joint considerably limit ROM, highlighting the problems when joint ROM is deduced from bare bones only. We found the integument to have the largest effect on the range of long-axis rotation, pro- and retraction. Importantly, during locomotion the iguana used only a fragment of the ROM that was measured in our least restrictive dissection situation (i.e. pelvis and femur only conjoined by ligaments), demonstrating the discrepancy between hip joint ROM and actual in vivo movement. Our study emphasizes the necessity for caution when attempting to reconstruct joint ROM or even locomotor kinematics from fossil bones only, as actual in vivo movement cannot be deduced directly from any condition of cadaver mobility in Iguana and likely in other tetrapods.

  9. Soft tissue influence on ex vivo mobility in the hip of Iguana: comparison with in vivo movement and its bearing on joint motion of fossil sprawling tetrapods

    PubMed Central

    Arnold, Patrick; Fischer, Martin S; Nyakatura, John A

    2014-01-01

    The reconstruction of a joint's maximum range of mobility (ROM) often is a first step when trying to understand the locomotion of fossil tetrapods. But previous studies suggest that the ROM of a joint is restricted by soft tissues surrounding the joint. To expand the limited informative value of ROM studies for the reconstruction of a fossil species’ locomotor characteristics, it is moreover necessary to better understand the relationship of ex vivo ROM with the actual in vivo joint movement. To gain insight into the relationship between ex vivo mobility and in vivo movement, we systematically tested for the influence of soft tissues on joint ROM in the hip of the modern lizard Iguana iguana. Then, we compared the ex vivo mobility to in vivo kinematics of the hip joint in the same specimens using X-ray sequences of steady-state treadmill locomotion previously recorded. With stepwise removal of soft tissues and a repeated-measurement protocol, we show that soft tissues surrounding the hip joint considerably limit ROM, highlighting the problems when joint ROM is deduced from bare bones only. We found the integument to have the largest effect on the range of long-axis rotation, pro- and retraction. Importantly, during locomotion the iguana used only a fragment of the ROM that was measured in our least restrictive dissection situation (i.e. pelvis and femur only conjoined by ligaments), demonstrating the discrepancy between hip joint ROM and actual in vivo movement. Our study emphasizes the necessity for caution when attempting to reconstruct joint ROM or even locomotor kinematics from fossil bones only, as actual in vivo movement cannot be deduced directly from any condition of cadaver mobility in Iguana and likely in other tetrapods. PMID:24762236

  10. Mitotic chromosome condensation in vertebrates

    SciTech Connect

    Vagnarelli, Paola

    2012-07-15

    Work from several laboratories over the past 10-15 years has revealed that, within the interphase nucleus, chromosomes are organized into spatially distinct territories [T. Cremer, C. Cremer, Chromosome territories, nuclear architecture and gene regulation in mammalian cells, Nat. Rev. Genet. 2 (2001) 292-301 and T. Cremer, M. Cremer, S. Dietzel, S. Muller, I. Solovei, S. Fakan, Chromosome territories-a functional nuclear landscape, Curr. Opin. Cell Biol. 18 (2006) 307-316]. The overall compaction level and intranuclear location varies as a function of gene density for both entire chromosomes [J.A. Croft, J.M. Bridger, S. Boyle, P. Perry, P. Teague,W.A. Bickmore, Differences in the localization and morphology of chromosomes in the human nucleus, J. Cell Biol. 145 (1999) 1119-1131] and specific chromosomal regions [N.L. Mahy, P.E. Perry, S. Gilchrist, R.A. Baldock, W.A. Bickmore, Spatial organization of active and inactive genes and noncoding DNA within chromosome territories, J. Cell Biol. 157 (2002) 579-589] (Fig. 1A, A'). In prophase, when cyclin B activity reaches a high threshold, chromosome condensation occurs followed by Nuclear Envelope Breakdown (NEB) [1]. At this point vertebrate chromosomes appear as compact structures harboring an attachment point for the spindle microtubules physically recognizable as a primary constriction where the two sister chromatids are held together. The transition from an unshaped interphase chromosome to the highly structured mitotic chromosome (compare Figs. 1A and B) has fascinated researchers for several decades now; however a definite picture of how this process is achieved and regulated is not yet in our hands and it will require more investigation to comprehend the complete process. From a biochemical point of view a vertebrate mitotic chromosomes is composed of DNA, histone proteins (60%) and non-histone proteins (40%) [6]. I will discuss below what is known to date on the contribution of these two different classes of

  11. Recent synchronous radiation of a living fossil.

    PubMed

    Nagalingum, N S; Marshall, C R; Quental, T B; Rai, H S; Little, D P; Mathews, S

    2011-11-11

    Modern survivors of previously more diverse lineages are regarded as living fossils, particularly when characterized by morphological stasis. Cycads are often cited as a classic example, reaching their greatest diversity during the Jurassic-Cretaceous (199.6 to 65.5 million years ago) then dwindling to their present diversity of ~300 species as flowering plants rose to dominance. Using fossil-calibrated molecular phylogenies, we show that cycads underwent a near synchronous global rediversification beginning in the late Miocene, followed by a slowdown toward the Recent. Although the cycad lineage is ancient, our timetrees indicate that living cycad species are not much older than ~12 million years. These data reject the hypothesized role of dinosaurs in generating extant diversity and the designation of today's cycad species as living fossils.

  12. Education Program on Fossil Resources Including Coal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Usami, Masahiro

    Fossil fuels including coal play a key role as crucial energies in contributing to economic development in Asia. On the other hand, its limited quantity and the environmental problems causing from its usage have become a serious global issue and a countermeasure to solve such problems is very much demanded. Along with the pursuit of sustainable development, environmentally-friendly use of highly efficient fossil resources should be therefore, accompanied. Kyushu-university‧s sophisticated research through long years of accumulated experience on the fossil resources and environmental sectors together with the advanced large-scale commercial and empirical equipments will enable us to foster cooperative research and provide internship program for the future researchers. Then, this program is executed as a consignment business from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry from 2007 fiscal year to 2009 fiscal year. The lecture that uses the textbooks developed by this program is scheduled to be started a course in fiscal year 2010.

  13. Fossil evidence of the zygomycetous fungi.

    PubMed

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

    2013-06-01

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

  14. Canyon Creek: A late Pleistocene vertebrate locality in interior Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weber, Florence R.; Hamilton, Thomas D.; Hopkins, David M.; Repenning, Charles A.; Haas, Herbert

    1981-09-01

    The Canyon Creek vertebrate-fossil locality is an extensive road cut near Fairbanks that exposes sediments that range in age from early Wisconsin to late Holocene. Tanana River gravel at the base of the section evidently formed during the Delta Glaciation of the north-central Alaska Range. Younger layers and lenses of fluvial sand are interbedded with arkosic gravel from Canyon Creek that contains tephra as well as fossil bones of an interstadial fauna about 40,000 years old. Solifluction deposits containing ventifacts, wedge casts, and rodent burrows formed during a subsequent period of periglacial activity that took place during the maximum phase of Donnelly Glaciation about 25,000-17,000 years ago. Overlying sheets of eolian sand are separated by a 9500-year-old paleosol that may correlate with a phase of early Holocene spruce expansion through central Alaska. The Pleistocene fauna from Canyon Creek consists of rodents (indicated by burrows), Mammuthus primigenius (woolly mammoth), Equus lambei (Yukon wild ass), Camelops hesternus (western camel), Bison sp. cf. B. crassicornis (large-horned bison), Ovis sp. cf. O. dalli (mountain sheep), Canis sp. cf. C. lupus (wolf), Lepus sp. cf. L. othus or L. arcticus (tundra hare), and Rangifer sp. (caribou). This assemblage suggests an open landscape in which trees and tall shrubs were either absent or confined to sheltered and moist sites. Camelops evidently was present in eastern Beringia during the middle Wisconsin interstadial interval but may have disappeared during the following glacial episode. The stratigraphic section at Canyon Creek appears to demonstrate that the Delta Glaciation of the north-central Alaska Range is at least in part of early Wisconsin age and was separated from the succeeding Donnelly Glaciation by an interstadial rather than interglacial episode.

  15. Canyon Creek: A late Pleistocene vertebrate locality in interior Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Weber, F.R.; Hamilton, T.D.; Hopkins, D.M.; Repenning, C.A.; Haas, H.

    1981-01-01

    The Canyon Creek vertebrate-fossil locality is an extensive road cut near Fairbanks that exposes sediments that range in age from early Wisconsin to late Holocene. Tanana River gravel at the base of the section evidently formed during the Delta Glaciation of the north-central Alaska Range. Younger layers and lenses of fluvial sand are interbedded with arkosic gravel from Canyon Creek that contains tephra as well as fossil bones of an interstadial fauna about 40,000 years old. Solifluction deposits containing ventifacts, wedge casts, and rodent burrows formed during a subsequent period of periglacial activity that took place during the maximum phase of Donnelly Glaciation about 25,000-17,000 years ago. Overlying sheets of eolian sand are separated by a 9500-year-old paleosol that may correlate with a phase of early Holocene spruce expansion through central Alaska. The Pleistocene fauna from Canyon Creek consists of rodents (indicated by burrows), Mammuthus primigenius (woolly mammoth), Equus lambei (Yukon wild ass), Camelops hesternus (western camel), Bison sp. cf. B. crassicornis (large-horned bison), Ovis sp. cf. O. dalli (mountain sheep), Canis sp. cf. C. lupus (wolf), Lepus sp. cf. L. othus or L. arcticus (tundra hare), and Rangifer sp. (caribou). This assemblage suggests an open landscape in which trees and tall shrubs were either absent or confined to sheltered and moist sites. Camelops evidently was present in eastern Beringia during the middle Wisconsin interstadial interval but may have disappeared during the following glacial episode. The stratigraphic section at Canyon Creek appears to demonstrate that the Delta Glaciation of the north-central Alaska Range is at least in part of early Wisconsin age and was separated from the succeeding Donnelly Glaciation by an interstadial rather than interglacial episode. ?? 1981.

  16. Ethnic difference of clinical vertebral fracture risk.

    PubMed

    Bow, C H; Cheung, E; Cheung, C L; Xiao, S M; Loong, C; Soong, C; Tan, K C; Luckey, M M; Cauley, J A; Fujiwara, S; Kung, A W C

    2012-03-01

    Vertebral fractures are the most common osteoporotic fractures. Data on the vertebral fracture risk in Asia remain sparse. This study observed that Hong Kong Chinese and Japanese populations have a less dramatic increase in hip fracture rates associated with age than Caucasians, but the vertebral fracture rates were higher, resulting in a high vertebral-to-hip fracture ratio. As a result, estimation of the absolute fracture risk for Asians may need to be readjusted for the higher clinical vertebral fracture rate. Vertebral fractures are the most common osteoporotic fractures. Data on the vertebral fracture risk in Asia remain sparse. The aim of this study was to report the incidence of clinical vertebral fractures among the Chinese and to compare the vertebral-to-hip fracture risk to other ethnic groups. Four thousand, three hundred eighty-six community-dwelling Southern Chinese subjects (2,302 women and 1,810 men) aged 50 or above were recruited in the Hong Kong Osteoporosis Study since 1995. Baseline demographic characteristics and medical history were obtained. Subjects were followed annually for fracture outcomes with a structured questionnaire and verified by the computerized patient information system of the Hospital Authority of the Hong Kong Government. Only non-traumatic incident hip fractures and clinical vertebral fractures that received medical attention were included in the analysis. The incidence rates of clinical vertebral fractures and hip fractures were determined and compared to the published data of Swedish Caucasian and Japanese populations. The mean age at baseline was 62 ± 8.2 years for women and 68 ± 10.3 years for men. The average duration of follow-up was 4.0 ± 2.8 (range, 1 to 14) years for a total of 14,733 person-years for the whole cohort. The incidence rate for vertebral fracture was 194/100,000 person-years in men and 508/100,000 person-years in women, respectively. For subjects above the age of 65, the clinical

  17. Molecular evolution of the vertebrate mechanosensory cell and ear

    PubMed Central

    Fritzsch, Bernd; Beisel, Kirk W.; Pauley, Sarah; Soukup, Garrett

    2014-01-01

    The molecular basis of mechanosensation, mechanosensory cell development and mechanosensory organ development is reviewed with an emphasis on its evolution. In contrast to eye evolution and development, which apparently modified a genetic program through intercalation of genes between the master control genes on the top (Pax6, Eya1, Six1) of the hierarchy and the structural genes (rhodopsin) at the bottom, the as yet molecularly unknown mechanosensory channel precludes such a firm conclusion for mechanosensors. However, recent years have seen the identification of several structural genes which are involved in mechanosensory tethering and several transcription factors controlling mechanosensory cell and organ development; these warrant the interpretation of available data in very much the same fashion as for eye evolution: molecular homology combined with potential morphological parallelism. This assertion of molecular homology is strongly supported by recent findings of a highly conserved set of microRNAs that appear to be associated with mechanosensory cell development across phyla. The conservation of transcription factors and their regulators fits very well to the known or presumed mechanosensory specializations which can be mostly grouped as variations of a common cellular theme. Given the widespread distribution of the molecular ability to form mechanosensory cells, it comes as no surprise that structurally different mechanosensory organs evolved in different phyla, presenting a variation of a common theme specified by a conserved set of transcription factors in their cellular development. Within vertebrates and arthropods, some mechanosensory organs evolved into auditory organs, greatly increasing sensitivity to sound through modifications of accessory structures to direct sound to the specific sensory epithelia. However, while great attention has been paid to the evolution of these accessory structures in vertebrate fossils, comparatively less attention has

  18. The Neandertal vertebral column 2: The lumbar spine.

    PubMed

    Gómez-Olivencia, Asier; Arlegi, Mikel; Barash, Alon; Stock, Jay T; Been, Ella

    2017-05-01

    Here we provide the most extensive metric and morphological analysis performed to date on the Neandertal lumbar spine. Neandertal lumbar vertebrae show differences from modern humans in both the vertebral body and in the neural arch, although not all Neandertal lumbar vertebrae differ from modern humans in the same way. Differences in the vertebral foramen are restricted to the lowermost lumbar vertebrae (L4 and L5), differences in the orientation of the upper articular facets appear in the uppermost lumbar vertebrae (probably in L1 and L2-L3), and differences in the horizontal angle of the transverse process appear in L2-L4. Neandertals, when compared to modern humans, show a smaller degree of lumbar lordosis. Based on a still limited fossil sample, early hominins (australopiths and Homo erectus) had a lumbar lordosis that was similar to but below the mean of modern humans. Here, we hypothesize that from this ancestral degree of lumbar lordosis, the Neandertal lineage decreased their lumbar lordosis and Homo sapiens slightly increased theirs. From a postural point of view, the lower degree of lordosis is related to a more vertical position of the sacrum, which is also positioned more ventrally with respect to the dorsal end of the pelvis. This results in a spino-pelvic alignment that, though different from modern humans, maintained an economic postural equilibrium. Some features, such as a lower degree of lumbar lordosis, were already present in the middle Pleistocene populations ancestral to Neandertals. However, these middle Pleistocene populations do not show the full suite of Neandertal lumbar morphologies, which probably means that the characteristic features of the Neandertal lumbar spine did not arise all at once. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Two Rare Variants of Left Vertebral Artery.

    PubMed

    Singh, Rajani

    2017-02-15

    Though the variations of vertebral artery are clinically asymptomatic yet abnormalities are of diagnostic importance either prior to vascular surgery in the neck region or in patients of intravascular diseases such as arteriovenous malformations or cerebral aneurysms. Therefore, the aim of the study is to bring out 2 variations in the configuration of vertebral artery and their clinical implication. During dissection of thorax of 2 female cadavers, 2 different variants of configurations of left vertebral arteries were observed. In 1 patient, the left vertebral artery arose aberrantly from arch of aorta between left common carotid artery and left subclavian artery. This artery then, following oblique course, abnormally entered into foramen transversarium of C4 vertebra. In the second patient, the left common stump emerged from arch of aorta in the left side of left common carotid artery and then instantly bifurcated into vertebral artery and subclavian artery. Then following the usual oblique course, the left vertebral artery anomalously entered into foramen transversarium of C3 vertebra at the level of upper border of thyroid cartilage. The knowledge of these rare variations in the origin of vertebral artery is of paramount importance to surgeons performing surgery in neck region, radiologist performing angiography to avoid misinterpretation of radiographs and to anatomists for rare variations in academics and research.

  20. Mid-Holocene vertebrate bone Concentration-Lagerstätte on oceanic island Mauritius provides a window into the ecosystem of the dodo ( Raphus cucullatus)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rijsdijk, Kenneth F.; Hume, Julian P.; Bunnik, Frans; Florens, F. B. Vincent; Baider, Claudia; Shapiro, Beth; van der Plicht, Johannes; Janoo, Anwar; Griffiths, Owen; van den Hoek Ostende, Lars W.; Cremer, Holger; Vernimmen, Tamara; De Louw, Perry G. B.; Bholah, Assenjee; Saumtally, Salem; Porch, Nicolas; Haile, James; Buckley, Mike; Collins, Matthew; Gittenberger, Edmund

    2009-01-01

    Although the recent history of human colonisation and impact on Mauritius is well documented, virtually no records of the pre-human native ecosystem exist, making it difficult to assess the magnitude of the changes brought about by human settlement. Here, we describe a 4000-year-old fossil bed at Mare aux Songes (MAS) in south-eastern Mauritius that contains both macrofossils (vertebrate fauna, gastropods, insects and flora) and microfossils (diatoms, pollen, spores and phytoliths). With >250 bone fragments/m 2 and comprising 50% of all known extinct and extant vertebrate species ( ns = 44) of Mauritius, MAS may constitute the first Holocene vertebrate bone Concentration-Lagerstätte identified on an oceanic volcanic island. Fossil remains are dominated by extinct giant tortoises Cylindraspis spp. (63%), passerines (˜10%), small bats (7.8%) and dodo Raphus cucullatus (7.1%). Twelve radiocarbon ages [four of them duplicates] from bones and other material suggest that accumulation of fossils took place within several centuries. An exceptional combination of abiotic conditions led to preservation of bones, bone collagen, plant tissue and microfossils. Although bone collagen is well preserved, DNA from dodo and other Mauritian vertebrates has proved difficult. Our analysis suggests that from ca 4000 years ago (4 ka), rising sea levels created a freshwater lake at MAS, generating an oasis in an otherwise dry environment which attracted a diverse vertebrate fauna. Subsequent aridification in the south-west Indian Ocean region may have increased carcass accumulation during droughts, contributing to the exceptionally high fossil concentration. The abundance of floral and faunal remains in this Lagerstätte offers a unique opportunity to reconstruct a pre-human ecosystem on an oceanic island, providing a key foundation for assessing the vulnerability of island ecosystems to human impact.

  1. Cerium anomaly at microscale in fossils.

    PubMed

    Gueriau, Pierre; Mocuta, Cristian; Bertrand, Loïc

    2015-09-01

    Patterns in rare earth element (REE) concentrations are essential instruments to assess geochemical processes in Earth and environmental sciences. Excursions in the "cerium anomaly" are widely used to inform on past redox conditions in sediments. This proxy resources to the specificity of cerium to adopt both the +III and +IV oxidation states, while most rare earths are purely trivalent and share very similar reactivity and transport properties. In practical terms, the level of cerium anomaly is established through elemental point quantification and profiling. All these models rely on a supposed homogeneity of the cerium oxidation state within the samples. However, this has never been demonstrated, whereas the cerium concentration can significantly vary within a sample, as shown for fossils, which would vastly complicate interpretation of REE patterns. Here, we report direct micrometric mapping of Ce speciation through synchrotron X-ray absorption spectroscopy and production of local rare earth patterns in paleontological fossil tissues through X-ray fluorescence mapping. The sensitivity of the approach is demonstrated on well-preserved fishes and crustaceans from the Late Cretaceous (ca. 95 million years (Myr) old). The presence of Ce under the +IV form within the fossil tissues is attributed to slightly oxidative local conditions of burial and agrees well with the limited negative cerium anomaly observed in REE patterns. The [Ce(IV)]/[Ce(tot)] ratio appears remarkably stable at the microscale within each fossil and is similar between fossils from the locality. Speciation maps were obtained from an original combination of synchrotron microbeam X-ray fluorescence, absorption spectroscopy, and diffraction, together with light and electron microscopy. This work also highlights the need for more systematic studies of cerium geochemistry at the microscale in paleontological contexts, in particular across fossil histologies.

  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. Developmental control of segment numbers in vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Gomez, Céline; Pourquié, Olivier

    2011-01-01

    Segmentation or metamery in vertebrates is best illustrated by the repetition of the vertebrae and ribs, their associated skeletal muscles and blood vessels, and the spinal nerves and ganglia. The segment number varies tremendously among the different vertebrate species, ranging from as few as six vertebrae in some frogs to as many as several hundred in some snakes and fish. In vertebrates, metameric segments or somites form sequentially during body axis formation. This results in the embryonic axis becoming entirely segmented into metameric units from the level of the otic vesicle almost to the very tip of the tail. The total segment number mostly depends on two parameters: (1) the control of the posterior growth of the body axis during somitogenesis—more same-size segments can be formed in a longer axis and (2) segment size—more smaller-size segments can be formed in a same-size body axis. During evolution, independent variations of these parameters could explain the huge diversity in segment numbers observed among vertebrate species. These variations in segment numbers are accompanied by diversity in the regionalization of the vertebral column. For example, amniotes can exhibit up to five different types of vertebrae: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral and caudal, the number of which varies according to the species. This regionalization of the vertebral column is controlled by the Hox family of transcription factors. We propose that during development, dissociation of the Hox- and segmentation-clock-dependent vertebral patterning systems explains the enormous diversity of vertebral formulae observed in vertebrates. PMID:19621429

  4. Fossil generation restructuring in the Ukraine

    SciTech Connect

    Galambas, J.W.

    1996-12-31

    This paper describes the Ukrainian electrical system as it was in 1991, defines the need for restructuring, outlines the restructuring process, identifies a number of major obstacles that are hindering the implementation of the fossil generation, restructuring process, and points out major problems in the coal procurement system. It describes the visits to several Ukrainian power plants, defines restructuring success to date, makes suggestions for improved restructuring progress, highlights lessons learned, and enlightens the audience on the opportunities of investing in the Ukrainian power generation industry. The primary focus is on the Fossil Generator Advisor task, which was carried out under the direction of Hagler Bailly Consulting, Inc. (Hagler Bailly).

  5. Microbial Fossils Detected in Desert Varnish

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Flood, B. E.; Allen, C.; Longazo, T.

    2003-01-01

    Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer data indicate regions with significant levels of hematite (_Fe2O3). Fe-oxides, like hematite, can form as aqueous mineral precipitates and as such may preserve microscopic fossils or other biosignatures. Several potential terrestrial analogues to martian hematite like hydrothermal vents have preserved microfossils. Microbial fossilization in Fe-oxides is often a function of biomineralization. For example, goethite (FeO2H) encrustation of fungal mycelia from the mid-Tertiary preserved fungal morphologies such that their genera could be determined.

  6. Fossils, Genes and The Origin of Organs

    SciTech Connect

    Shubin, Neil

    2011-04-20

    A toolkit of experimental and comparative biology can be applied to understand the great transformations in the history of life. Expeditionary paleontology can be used to target key nodes of the tree of life for which new fossils can provide insights into major morphological transformations. These fossils often have intermediate conditions that allow extant creatures to be compared in new ways. The tools of developmental genetics can then be used to explore these new comparisons to understand the genetic basis for macroevolutionary change. These different approaches can be used to predict new discoveries and this is only possible because of the empirical content of the tree of life.

  7. Aquatic ape theory and fossil hominids.

    PubMed

    Verhaegen, M J

    1991-06-01

    While most older palaeo-anthropological studies emphasise the similarities of the fossil hominids with modern man, recent studies often stress the unique and the apelike features of the australopithecine dentitions, skulls and postcranial bones. It is worth reconsidering the features of Australopithecus, Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis in the light of the so-called Aquatic Ape Theory (AAT) of Hardy and Morgan, and to compare the skeletal parts of our fossil relatives with those of (semi)aquatic animals. Possible convergences are observed with proboscis monkeys, beavers, sea-otters, hippopotamuses, seals, sea-lions, walruses, sea-cows, whales, dolphins, porpoises, penguins and crocodiles.

  8. Microbial Fossils Detected in Desert Varnish

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Flood, B. E.; Allen, C.; Longazo, T.

    2003-01-01

    Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer data indicate regions with significant levels of hematite (_Fe2O3). Fe-oxides, like hematite, can form as aqueous mineral precipitates and as such may preserve microscopic fossils or other biosignatures. Several potential terrestrial analogues to martian hematite like hydrothermal vents have preserved microfossils. Microbial fossilization in Fe-oxides is often a function of biomineralization. For example, goethite (FeO2H) encrustation of fungal mycelia from the mid-Tertiary preserved fungal morphologies such that their genera could be determined.

  9. [Spasmodic torticollis and vertebral hemangioma].

    PubMed

    Durán, E; Chacón, J R

    Spasmodic torticollis in young patients should give rise to a clinical suspicion that this is secondary to another primary disorder. Therefore a series of diagnostic tests should be carried out before it is labelled as idiopathic. The patient was a thirty year old man who had had difficulty in writing with his right hand since childhood. At the age of 20 years he was diagnosed as having writer's cramp and idiopathic spasmodic torticollis. On general physical examination no abnormalities were found. On neurological examination he had: absence of reflexes of both arms, limited but painless rotation of the neck towards the left and hypertrophy of the left trapezius muscle. Laboratory, neurophysiological and neuroimaging investigations seeking a secondary cause for the torticollis were all normal. There were no Keyser-Fleischer rings. Chest X-ray showed, dorsal scoliosis with convexity to the left. CAT and MR of the spine showed a hemangioma in the body of T1. On arteriography of the supra-aortic and vertebral trunks a hemangioma was found at T1 which received contrast material via a branch of the right thyro-bi-cervico-scapular trunk. Various treatments were tried (diazepam, Botox, Dysport, tetrabenazine, baclofen, etc.) with no improvement. A definite diagnosis of secondary torticollis could not be made since the hemangioma was supplied by a very narrow vascular pedicle, so embolization was contraindicated. Cervical spinal cord alterations may cause focal dystonia due to increased excitability of the spinal motor neurone, due to dysfunction of the disinhibitory descending reciprocal paths.

  10. Rotations in a Vertebrate Setting

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McCollum, Gin

    2003-05-01

    Rotational movements of the head are often considered to be measured in a single three dimensional coordinate system implemented by the semicircular canals of the vestibular system of the inner ear. However, the vertebrate body -- including the nervous system -- obeys rectangular symmetries alien to rotation groups. At best, nervous systems mimic the physical rotation group in a fragmented way, only partially reintegrating physical movements in whole organism responses. The vestibular canal reference frame is widely used in nervous systems, for example by eye movements. It is used to some extent even in the cerebrum, as evidenced by the remission of hemineglect -- in which half of space is ignored -- when the vestibular system is stimulated. However, reintegration of space by the organism remains incomplete. For example, compensatory eye movements (which in most cases aid visual fixation) may disagree with conscious self-motion perception. In addition, movement-induced nausea, illusions, and cue-free perceptions demonstrate symmetry breaking or incomplete spatial symmetries. As part of a long-term project to investigate rotation groups in nervous systems, we have analyzed the symmetry group of a primary vestibulo-spinal projection.

  11. Antibody Isotype Switching in Vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Senger, Kate; Hackney, Jason; Payandeh, Jian; Zarrin, Ali A

    2015-01-01

    The humoral or antibody-mediated immune response in vertebrates has evolved to respond to diverse antigenic challenges in various anatomical locations. Diversification of the immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) constant region via isotype switching allows for remarkable plasticity in the immune response, including versatile tissue distribution, Fc receptor binding, and complement fixation. This enables antibody molecules to exert various biological functions while maintaining antigen-binding specificity. Different immunoglobulin (Ig) classes include IgM, IgD, IgG, IgE, and IgA, which exist as surface-bound and secreted forms. High-affinity autoantibodies are associated with various autoimmune diseases such as lupus and arthritis, while defects in components of isotype switching are associated with infections. A major route of infection used by a large number of pathogens is invasion of mucosal surfaces within the respiratory, digestive, or urinary tract. Most infections of this nature are initially limited by effector mechanisms such as secretory IgA antibodies. Mucosal surfaces have been proposed as a major site for the genesis of adaptive immune responses, not just in fighting infections but also in tolerating commensals and constant dietary antigens. We will discuss the evolution of isotype switching in various species and provide an overview of the function of various isotypes with a focus on IgA, which is universally important in gut homeostasis as well as pathogen clearance. Finally, we will discuss the utility of antibodies as therapeutic modalities.

  12. Organizational heterogeneity of vertebrate genomes.

    PubMed

    Frenkel, Svetlana; Kirzhner, Valery; Korol, Abraham

    2012-01-01

    Genomes of higher eukaryotes are mo