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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. 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.

  3. 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)

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-04-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-01

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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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. PMID:20665232

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

    2016-01-01

    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

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brand, Leonard R.; Tang, Thu

    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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-01-22

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

  8. Integument und Anhangsorgane

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schliemann, Harald

    Das Integument umhüllt den Wirbeltierkörper lückenlos. In der embryonalen Mundbucht (Stomodaeum) und der Afterbucht (Proctodaeum) grenzt es an die Auskleidung des Darmrohres. Über die generelle Bedeutung einer Haut als Abgrenzung zwischen Körperinnenraum und Außenmedium hinaus hat es bei Schädeltieren ein breites Spektrum von Funktionen. Die wichtigsten sind: Mechanischer Schutz durch Verhornungen und Verknöch erungen; Wundheilung; Schutz vor Wasserverlust; Schutz vor Infektionen durch bakterizide Drüsensekrete und immunkompetente Zellen; Schutz vor kurzwelliger Strahlung durch Pigmente; Schutz vor Überwärmung durch Schweißdrüsensekrete und Schutz vor Wärmeverlust durch Federn und Haare; Ausbildung lokomotorisch wichtiger Strukturen wie Federn, Flug- und Schwimmhäute, Krallen und Hufe; Redukt ion des Strömungswiderstandes durch Dämpfungshaut; Abgabe von Sekreten zur Ernährung (Milch); Ausbildung von Strukturen zu Nahrungserwerb und_-bearbeitung, z. B. Zähne, Barten;

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-25

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-25

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

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

    PubMed

    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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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. PMID:18077421

  15. 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

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

    PubMed

    Norell, M A; Novacek, M J

    1992-03-27

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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. The many functions of fish integument

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Elliott, D.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.

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

    PubMed

    Gabbott, Sarah E; Donoghue, Philip C J; Sansom, Robert S; Vinther, Jakob; Dolocan, Andrei; Purnell, Mark A

    2016-08-17

    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

  7. 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

  8. 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

    2015-10-01

    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.

  9. 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

  10. Dermatology in the Darwin anniversary. Part 1: Evolution of the integument.

    PubMed

    Schempp, Christoph; Emde, Matthias; Wölfle, Ute

    2009-09-01

    The present review highlights the development of the integument and its adnexa from the primitive metazoans to man. The different stages of development represent independent, partially convergent evolutions rather than a continuous evolutionary line. The epidermis of the invertebrates (sponges, cnidaria, worms, echinoderms and arthropods) always consists of one layer of pluripotent cells. The barrier function of the integument at this level is achieved with physico-chemical barriers, toxin production, fortification of the epidermis in the form of a cuticula, a syncytium or a neodermis. The lower vertebrates (cyclostoma, fishes and amphibians) have a stratified epidermis harboring many secretory cells. In terrestrial amphibians the outermost cell layer of the epidermis is cornified, and the secretory cells are relocated in the dermis. Terminal differentiation and cornification of the epidermis in the birds and mammals result in a more uniform shape of the epithelium. Stem cells are now restricted to some basal regions of the epithelium. In the mammals the glands are located in the deeper layers of the skin. In contrast to other vertebrate integuments the human skin does not possess specialized structures such as feathers, scales or coats. However, waiving specialization allows for unique universality of the human skin compared to other vertebrates. PMID:19712227

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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. PMID:26819855

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. Expression pattern of glycoconjugates in the integument of Bufo ictericus (Anuran, Bufonidae): biochemical and histochemical (lectin) profiles.

    PubMed

    de Brito Gitirana, Lycia; Azevedo, Rodrigo Alves; Pelli, Adriana Alves

    2007-12-01

    Mucous consists of glycoproteins and proteoglycans produced by specific secretory cells (mucocytes). In anurans the cutaneous mucous is produced by intradermal glands and displays both mechanical and chemical protection functions. Indeed, mucous maintains the integument moist and facilitates gas exchange (cutaneous respiration). In this work, the carbohydrate moiety distribution was investigated in the integument of Bufo ictericus using conventional and lectin histochemistry to describe the pattern of cutaneous glycoconjugate expression, including both secretory and structural proteoglycans. As a preliminary step, the descendent chromatography in Whatmann 1MM paper was undertaken to prepare the histochemical trials involving the lectins. In B. ictericus, the integument exhibits the basic morphological structure found in lower terrestrial vertebrates: the epidermis is a keratinized squamous stratified epithelium supported by spongious and compact layers. The spongy dermis contain secretory portion of both mucous and serous (or poison) glands. The paper chromatography identified galactose, fucose and mannose as characteristic sugar residues. The secretory cells of the mucous gland in the dermis, as well as the interstice between the stratum corneum and the subjacent stratum spinosum in the epidermis exhibit alpha-l-fucose and alpha-galactose residues. The serous glands give no reaction. The alpha-mannose residue was detected in the extracellular matrix of spongious dermis, but not in the dermal glands. The different glycoconjugate location reflects in two glycoconjugates categories: the secretory which participate in the water flow regulation, and the structural which is involved in the dermal maintenance. PMID:17900644

  1. Fossil Horses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacFadden, Bruce J.

    1994-06-01

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

  2. 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

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

    PubMed

    Prado, Gustavo M E M; 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.

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

    PubMed

    Prado, Gustavo M E M; 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. "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)

  12. 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,…

  13. 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…

  14. 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

  15. 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…

  16. 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…

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  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. PMID:26469049

  1. 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

  2. A seed coat outer integument-specific promoter for Brassica napus.

    PubMed

    Wu, Limin; El-Mezawy, Aliaa; Shah, Saleh

    2011-01-01

    In search for seed coat-specific promoters for canola (Brassica napus), transgenic plants carrying a 2,121 bp fragment of Arabidopsis thaliana At4g12960 promoter (AtGILTpro) fused to the uidA reporter gene (GUS) were generated. Out of 7 independent events in transgenic canola plants raised, 2 exhibited GUS activity exclusively in the outer integument of the seed coat. GUS activity in other tissues was also observed in the remaining five transformants. Therefore, the AtGILT promoter can be used as a canola seed coat outer integument-specific promoter after the generation and selection of desired transformants from several transgenic lines. PMID:21052676

  3. [Alterations of the integument of fattening pigs in different housing systems].

    PubMed

    Mayer, C; Hauser, R

    2001-04-01

    Alterations of the integument of fattening pigs were investigated on a total of eleven farms with the following housing systems: "Krieger" system, fully slatted floors, partially slatted floors and kennel housing systems. For this purpose, the alterations of the integument of the animals were visually assessed at different times during fattening. In addition, spot investigations were carried out on three farms with deep litter systems. In the non-littered systems, significantly more changes at the limbs were observed than in the littered systems. The least damages occurred in the deep litter system. Similar as with cattle, soft and deformable lying areas seem to be a prerequisite for the prevention of such alterations. With respect to injuries caused by tailbiting, apart from possibilities of activity, other parameters such as air quality and space availability also play an important role. PMID:11344943

  4. 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.

  5. 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. PMID:25991552

  6. 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

  7. Travels with the Fossil Hunters

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whybrow, Peter J.

    2000-04-01

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

  8. 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. PMID:27686784

  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. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Developmental mechanisms of vertebrate limb evolution.

    PubMed

    Cohn, M J

    2001-01-01

    Over the past few years, our understanding of the evolution of limbs has been improved by important new discoveries in the fossil record. Additionally, rapid progress has been made in identifying the molecular basis of vertebrate limb development. It is now possible to integrate these two areas of research in order to identify the molecular developmental mechanisms underlying the evolution of paired appendages in vertebrates. After the origin of paired appendages, several vertebrate lineages reduced or eliminated fins and limbs and returned to the limbless condition. Examples include eels, caecilians, snakes, slow worms and several marine mammals. Analyses of fossil and extant vertebrates show that evolution of limblessness frequently occurred together with elongation of the trunk and loss of clear morphological boundaries in the vertebral column. This may be suggestive of a common developmental mechanism linking these two processes. We have addressed this question by analysing python embryonic development at tissue, cellular and molecular levels, and we have identified a developmental mechanism which may account for evolution of limb loss in these animals.

  17. Developmental mechanisms of vertebrate limb evolution.

    PubMed

    Cohn, M J

    2001-01-01

    Over the past few years, our understanding of the evolution of limbs has been improved by important new discoveries in the fossil record. Additionally, rapid progress has been made in identifying the molecular basis of vertebrate limb development. It is now possible to integrate these two areas of research in order to identify the molecular developmental mechanisms underlying the evolution of paired appendages in vertebrates. After the origin of paired appendages, several vertebrate lineages reduced or eliminated fins and limbs and returned to the limbless condition. Examples include eels, caecilians, snakes, slow worms and several marine mammals. Analyses of fossil and extant vertebrates show that evolution of limblessness frequently occurred together with elongation of the trunk and loss of clear morphological boundaries in the vertebral column. This may be suggestive of a common developmental mechanism linking these two processes. We have addressed this question by analysing python embryonic development at tissue, cellular and molecular levels, and we have identified a developmental mechanism which may account for evolution of limb loss in these animals. PMID:11277086

  18. 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

  19. The ultrastructure of the integument of the American eel, Anguilla rostrata.

    PubMed

    Leonard, J B; Summers, R G

    1976-08-16

    The morphology and ultrastructure of the lateral body integument of the leptocephalus, glass eel, pigmented elver, and adult stages of the American eel, Anguilla rostrata, were examined with light and electron microscopy. The integument consists of an epidermis separated by a basal lamina from the underlying dermis. Three cell types are present in the epidermis in all stages. Filament-containing cells, which are the principal structural cell type, are increasingly numerous at each stage. Mucous cells, which secrete the mucous that compose the mucous surface coat, are also more numerous in each subsequent stage and are more numerous in the anterior lateral body epidermis than in the posterior lateral body epidermis of the adult. Club cells, whose function is unknown, are most numerous in the glass eel and pigmented elver. Chloride cells are common in the leptocephalus which is marine and infrequent in the glass eel. They are not present in the pigmented elver and adult which inhabit estuaries and freshwater. Lymphocytes and melanocytes are also present in some stages. The dermis comprises two layers: a layer of collagenous lamellae, the stratum compactum, and an underlying layer of loose connective tissue, the stratum spongiosum. There is a progressive increase in epidermal thickness at each stage which is paralleled by an increase in the thickness of the stratum compactum. Rudimentary scales are present in the dermis of the adult. The increase in the number of epidermal filament-containing cells, epidermal thickness and stratum compactum thickness is correlated with an increased need for protection from abrasion and mechanical damage as the eel moves from a pelagic, oceanic habitat to a benthic, freshwater habitat. The increase in mucous cell numbers is likewise correlated with an increased need for the protective and anti-bacterial action of the mucous surface coat in the freshwater environment.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  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. 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.

  4. 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. PMID:11324019

  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. 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.

  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. Insect diversity in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1993-01-01

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

  9. Insect diversity in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Labandeira, C C; Sepkoski, J J

    1993-07-16

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

  10. The evolution of early vertebrate photoreceptors.

    PubMed

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

    2009-10-12

    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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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. PMID:25831331

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

    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.

  19. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

    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. 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.

  2. 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…

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Atypical vertebral Paget's disease.

    PubMed

    Beaudouin, Constance; Dohan, Anthony; Nasrallah, Toufic; Parlier, Caroline; Touraine, Sébastien; Ea, Korng; Kaci, Rachid; Laredo, Jean-Denis

    2014-07-01

    A 40-year-old Mauritanian man consulted for back pain. A computed tomography of the spine showed patchy sclerosis of the fifth and seventh thoracic vertebral bodies with normal neural arch of T5 and sclerosis and hypertrophy of the neural arch of T7, as well as diffuse sclerosis of the T11 vertebral body with a normal neural arch. At MRI, low signal-intensity on T1-weighted images and high signal-intensity on T2-weighted images involved the whole T5 and T7 vertebrae and the vertebral body of T11. Working diagnoses included metastatic disease and lymphoma, and a biopsy of T7 and then T11 was carried out. Both showed pathological findings very suggestive of Paget's disease. Since CT is usually the more specific radiological examination in vertebral Paget's disease, we thought it could be useful to report this atypical CT presentation (patchy sclerosis of the vertebral body without diffuse bone texture changes and isolated involvement of the vertebral body) of vertebral Paget's disease. PMID:24445956

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-01

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

  10. The Arabidopsis B-sister MADS-box protein, GORDITA, represses fruit growth and contributes to integument development.

    PubMed

    Prasad, Kalika; Zhang, Xiuwen; Tobón, Emilio; Ambrose, Barbara A

    2010-04-01

    The MADS-box family of transcription factors have diverse developmental roles in flower pattern formation, gametophyte cell division and fruit differentiation. The B-sister MADS-box proteins are most similar to the B-class floral homeotic proteins, and are expressed in female reproductive organs. The Arabidopsis B-sister MADS-box protein, TT16, is necessary for inner integument differentiation. We have functionally characterized the only other B-sister MADS-box gene in Arabidopsis, AGL63, renamed here as GORDITA (GOA). A loss-of-function mutation in goa or reduction of endogenous GOA expression results in larger fruits, illustrating its novel function in regulating fruit growth. Consistent with its function, GOA expression is detected in the walls of the valves and throughout the replum of the fruit. Our phenotypic and molecular analyses of 35S::GOA and goa plants show that GOA controls organ size via cell expansion. Further, functional studies of goa tt16 double mutants have shown their additive role in controlling seed coat development, and have revealed the importance of GOA expression in the outer integument. Together, our studies provide evidence of a new regulatory role for a B-sister MADS-box gene in the control of organ growth. PMID:20088901

  11. 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. PMID:27307255

  12. [Vertebral vacuum phenomena].

    PubMed

    Hamzé, B; Leaute, F; Wybier, M; Laredo, J D

    1995-01-01

    The spinal vacuum phenomenon is a collection of gas within the disk space, the vertebral body, the apophyseal joint or the spinal canal. The intradiscal vacuum phenomenon is frequently observed in degenerative disk disease and crystal-induced diskopathy. This has obvious significance to the radiologist, who, on observing a narrowed disk space or collapsed vertebral body, might otherwise consider infectious or neoplastic spondylitis, a likely possibility. The presence of vacuum phenomenon militates against the diagnosis of infection or tumor.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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…

  16. 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. PMID:22296848

  17. Osteoporotic vertebral fractures redux.

    PubMed

    Lentle, B C; Gordon, P; Ward, L

    2008-02-01

    Osteoporosis remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality especially in the elderly. This fact is largely due to fractures of the proximal femur and spine. As recently recognized, vertebral fractures are as much a threat to health and longevity as fractures of the proximal femur. In recent decades, the development of tools to evaluate fracture risk as well as medications to treat osteoporosis has altered the management of people who are at fracture risk. At the same time identification and management procedures concerning spinal fracturing are not very clear. Besides there is not even clear consensus about what exactly constitutes a vertebral fracture, particularly those of minor degree. While height loss is a simple and valuable tool to detect vertebral fractures, it is neither sensitive nor specific enough to replace radiographs. Some 65% of fractures cause no symptoms. Often vertebral fractures are misdiagnosed, especially if they have occurred silently and if the opportunity for diagnosis arises fortuitously. It is to the patient's benefit that radiologists report and physicians identify vertebral fractures evident on a chest or other radiograph, no matter how incidental to the immediate clinical indication for the examination. Technological evolution now allows dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry machines to be used to take spine images while doing a densitometry. The images are adequate, even if not of high radiographic quality, and, more important, the patient undergoes a smaller radiation dose than with conventional spinal radiographs. Such technology may promote fracture recognition. The recognition of vertebral fractures, as well as the prevention and treatment of further fractures, will likely do much to reduce both the burden of osteoporosis-related morbidity and mortality, as well as fracture-related costs to healthcare systems.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Management of osteoporotic vertebral fractures

    PubMed Central

    Dionyssiotis, Yannis

    2010-01-01

    Osteoporotic vertebral fractures are associated with considerable reduction of quality of life, morbidity, and mortality. The management of patients with vertebral fractures should include treatment for osteoporosis and measures to reduce pain and improve mobility. This article provides information for management and rehabilitation of vertebral fractures based on clinical experience and literature. PMID:20689689

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. [Vertebral hydatidosis: case report].

    PubMed

    Varela, R; Santelices, J P; Cuzmar, D; Aldunate, J T; Plaza-Guzmán, N; Lizama-Calvo, P

    2015-01-01

    Hydatidosis caused by echinococcus granulosus may affect any organ in the body, with the lungs and the liver as the most commonly affected organs. Vertebral compromise resulting from echinococcus granulosus has a low prevalence and accounts for less than 1% of bone compromise. We report the case of a 50 year-old female who presented at the Trauma Service with progressive low back pain with 5 months of duration that irradiated to the right lower limb, and led to neurologic compromise of the limb. Imaging studies showed spondylodiscitis at T12-L1, confirmed by a biopsy. Treatment of this condition is both orthopedic and surgical. The recurrence rate is high, between 30 and 40%. The objective of describing this case is to propose the differential diagnosis of a vertebral mass of unknown origin and provide details as to how to manage this condition. PMID:27012085

  4. 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. PMID:11550762

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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)

  8. 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

  9. [The structure of the skin of the ear in domesticated pigs, with special reference to their use for human dermatological research. 2. Specific histology of the integument].

    PubMed

    Meyer, W; Zschemisch, N H; Godynicki, S; Neurand, K

    2001-01-01

    Based on light microscopy, the study describes the specific histology of the ear integument of the white domesticated pig. After careful tissue fixation and embedding, routine histological staining, collagen fibre staining, fat demonstration based on frozen sections, and ink injection of the integumental blood vessel system were applied. A detailed description is presented of the structure of the skin layers (epidermis, dermis, hypodermis), the ear cartilage envelopes (fascia, perichondrium), the plica scaphae, the blood vessel distribution, the architecture of the collagen fibre bundles, as well as the hair follicles and the skin glands (sebaceous glands, apocrine tubular glands). The results are discussed with regard to a direct comparison with the histological structure of the human integument, and the advantages and disadvantages of the use of the porcine ear skin as model system in human dermatological research are emphasized. PMID:11314580

  10. Fossilization of feathers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1995-09-01

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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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. PMID:25130979

  14. 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

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

    PubMed

    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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Fossil-Fired Boilers

    1993-09-23

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

  20. Advanced fossil energy utilization

    SciTech Connect

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

    2010-01-01

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Vertebral function during tadpole locomotion.

    PubMed

    Azizi, Emanuel; Landberg, Tobias; Wassersug, Richard J

    2007-01-01

    Most anuran larvae show large lateral oscillations at both the tip of the tail and the snout while swimming in a straight line. Although the lateral deflections at the snout have long been considered an inefficient aspect of tadpole locomotion, a recent hydrodynamic model suggests that they may in fact help generate thrust. It is not clear though exactly where this bending takes place. The vertebral column is extremely short and seemingly inflexible in anurans, and any axial flexion that might occur there is hidden within the globose body of the tadpole. Here we test the hypothesis that lateral deflections of the snout correlate with bending of the vertebral column within the torso of tadpoles. To quantify vertebral curvature, three sonomicrometry crystals were surgically implanted along the dorsal midline in locations corresponding to the anterior, middle, and posterior region of the presacral vertebral column. Swimming trials were conducted in a flume where synchronized video recordings were collected in dorsal view. Our results confirm that cyclic lateral bending occurs along the vertebral column during swimming and indicate that vertebral curvature is temporally in phase with lateral oscillation of the snout. Lateral oscillation of the snout increased significantly with increasing vertebral curvature. Similarly, tail beat amplitude also increases significantly with increasing vertebral curvature. Our results suggest that cyclic lateral flexion of the vertebral column, activated by the axial muscle within the torso of tadpoles contributes to snout oscillations and the generation of thrust during undulatory swimming in anuran larvae.

  5. Molecules, fossils, and the origin of tetrapods.

    PubMed

    Meyer, A; Dolven, S I

    1992-08-01

    Since the discovery of the coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae, more than 50 years ago, paleontologists and comparative morphologists have debated whether coelacanths or lungfishes, two groups of lobe-finned fishes, are the closest living relatives of land vertebrates (Tetrapoda). Previously, Meyer and Wilson (1990) determined partial DNA sequences from two conservative mitochondrial genes and found support for a close relationship of lungfishes to tetrapods. We present additional DNA sequences from the 12S rRNA mitochondrial gene for three species of the two lineages of lungfishes that were not represented in the first study: Protopterus annectens and Protopterus aethiopicus from Africa and Neoceratodus forsteri (kindly provided by B. Hedges and L. Maxson) from Australia. This extended data set tends to group the two lepidosirenid lungfish lineages (Lepidosiren and Protopterus) with Neoceratodus as their sister group. All lungfishes seem to be more closely related to tetrapods than the coelacanth is. This result appears to rule out the possibility that the coelacanth lineage gave rise to land vertebrates. The common ancestor of lungfishes and tetrapods might have possessed multiple morphological traits that are shared by lungfishes and tetrapods [Meyer and Wilson (1990) listed 14 such traits]. Those traits that seem to link Latimeria and tetrapods are arguably due to convergent evolution or reversals and not to common descent. In this way, the molecular tree facilitates an evolutionary interpretation of the morphological differences among the living forms. We recommended that the extinct groups of lobe-finned fishes be placed onto the molecular tree that has lungfishes and not the coelacanth more closely related to tetrapods. The placement of fossils would help to further interpret the sequence of morphological events and innovations associated with the origin of tetrapods but appears to be problematic because the quality of fossils is not always high enough, and

  6. 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. PMID:26982721

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Vertebral fracture classification

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Bruijne, Marleen; Pettersen, Paola C.; Tankó, László B.; Nielsen, Mads

    2007-03-01

    A novel method for classification and quantification of vertebral fractures from X-ray images is presented. Using pairwise conditional shape models trained on a set of healthy spines, the most likely unfractured shape is estimated for each of the vertebrae in the image. The difference between the true shape and the reconstructed normal shape is an indicator for the shape abnormality. A statistical classification scheme with the two shapes as features is applied to detect, classify, and grade various types of deformities. In contrast with the current (semi-)quantitative grading strategies this method takes the full shape into account, it uses a patient-specific reference by combining population-based information on biological variation in vertebra shape and vertebra interrelations, and it provides a continuous measure of deformity. Good agreement with manual classification and grading is demonstrated on 204 lateral spine radiographs with in total 89 fractures.

  11. 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.

  12. 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. PMID:27074512

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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. PMID:26412139

  16. Chemical ecology of vertebrate carrion

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    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...

  17. 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. PMID:23566460

  18. Radiation and functional diversification of alpha keratins during early vertebrate evolution.

    PubMed

    Vandebergh, Wim; Bossuyt, Franky

    2012-03-01

    The conquest of land was arguably one of the most fundamental ecological transitions in vertebrates and entailed significant changes in skin structure and appendages to cope with the new environment. In extant tetrapods, the rigidity of the integument is largely created by type I and type II keratins, which are structural proteins essential in forming a strong cytoplasmic network. It is expected that such proteins have undergone fundamental changes in both stem and crown tetrapods. Here, we integrate genomic, phylogenetic, and expression data in a comprehensive study on the early evolution and functional diversification of tetrapod keratins. Our analyses reveal that all type I and type II tetrapod keratins evolved from only two genes that were present in the ancestor of extant vertebrates. Subsequently, the water-to-land transition in the stem lineage of tetrapods was associated with a major radiation and functional diversification of keratin genes. These duplications acquired functions that serve rigidity in integumental hard structures and were the prime for subsequent independent keratin diversification in tetrapod lineages. PMID:22046002

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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. PMID:11074582

  3. 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. PMID:26923825

  4. 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.

  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. 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.

  7. Cycles in fossil diversity

    SciTech Connect

    Rohde, Robert A.; Muller, Richard A.

    2004-10-20

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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. PMID:23640588

  12. Evolution of vertebrate opioid receptors

    PubMed Central

    Dreborg, Susanne; Sundström, Görel; Larsson, Tomas A.; Larhammar, Dan

    2008-01-01

    The opioid peptides and receptors have prominent roles in pain transmission and reward mechanisms in mammals. The evolution of the opioid receptors has so far been little studied, with only a few reports on species other than tetrapods. We have investigated species representing a broader range of vertebrates and found that the four opioid receptor types (delta, kappa, mu, and NOP) are present in most of the species. The gene relationships were deduced by using both phylogenetic analyses and chromosomal location relative to 20 neighboring gene families in databases of assembled genomes. The combined results show that the vertebrate opioid receptor gene family arose by quadruplication of a large chromosomal block containing at least 14 other gene families. The quadruplication seems to coincide with, and, therefore, probably resulted from, the two proposed genome duplications in early vertebrate evolution. We conclude that the quartet of opioid receptors was already present at the origin of jawed vertebrates ≈450 million years ago. A few additional opioid receptor gene duplications have occurred in bony fishes. Interestingly, the ancestral receptor gene duplications coincide with the origin of the four opioid peptide precursor genes. Thus, the complete vertebrate opioid system was already established in the first jawed vertebrates. PMID:18832151

  13. Ultrastructural changes of the anterior and posterior sternal integument of the terrestrial isopod Porcellio scaber Latr. (Crustacea) during the moult cycle.

    PubMed

    Ziegler, A

    1997-02-01

    The ultrastructure of the anterior (ASE) and posterior sternal epithelium (PSE) was investigated during the biphasic moult cycle. During early premoult the sternal epithelial cells increase in size, accumulate huge amounts of glycogen, and increase the abundance of cellular organelles. CaCO(3) deposit formation begins before the secretion of the epicuticle in the anterior sternal integument and continues through the secretion of the first exocuticular layers. The deposition of cuticle is delayed in the ASE until the CaCO(3) deposit is fully resorbed between the anterior and posterior moult. The development of the interstitial network (IN), which enormously increases the basolateral compartment of the plasma membrane, starts at the beginning of the exocuticle deposition. During CaCO(3) deposit formation and resorption the volume fraction of the mitochondria is much larger in the ASE than in the PSE, although the cuticle is secreted faster in the posterior integument. The results suggest that the exocuticular and epicuticular layers are permeable to calcium and probably also carbonate ions; that the IN is required during late premoult, when CaCO(3) deposition is accelerated, but not during early CaCO(3) deposition; and that active mechanisms contribute to transepithelial ion transport during CaCO(3) deposit formation and resorption.

  14. 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).

  15. Clinical consequences of vertebral fractures.

    PubMed

    Ross, P D

    1997-08-18

    People with vertebral fractures have greater pain, disability, and healthcare utilization, on average, than those without fractures. Most studies of acute pain and disability have been limited to patients with clinically diagnosed fractures (a subset of all symptomatic patients), representing about one third of all patients with fractures identified radiographically. Acute symptoms vary widely. Some patients experience intolerable pain that can be completely debilitating for several weeks or months, whereas about half of all patients with radiographically identified fractures report having had no symptoms. The reasons for this variability are unknown. Chronic pain and disability among patients with vertebral fractures are significantly greater on average than among people without fractures, even after adjusting for comorbid conditions that are common among the elderly. Similar to acute symptoms, chronic symptoms vary widely and often persist for at least several years. The risk of pain and disability increases progressively with the number and severity of vertebral deformities: the risk is multiplied several times with each additional fracture. On average, physical function is impaired among people with vertebral fractures, whether or not they currently report back pain. Declines in physical function and changes in appearance contribute to social isolation and loss of self-esteem, impairing quality of life. The cumulative impact of vertebral fractures on quality of life may rival that of hip fractures because hip fractures are less frequent and occur later in life. As many as 40% of symptomatic vertebral fractures are initially misdiagnosed, signaling a need for greater awareness among physicians and patients. Prevention of initial vertebral fractures should be actively encouraged; even if the initial fracture is asymptomatic, it indicates a greatly increased risk of subsequent fractures, pain, and physical impairment. PMID:9302895

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. Medical treatment of vertebral osteoporosis.

    PubMed

    Lippuner, K

    2003-10-01

    Although osteoporosis is a systemic disease, vertebral fractures due to spinal bone loss are a frequent, sometimes early and often neglected complication of the disease, generally associated with considerable disability and pain. As osteoporotic vertebral fractures are an important predictor of future fracture risk, including at the hip, medical management is targeted at reducing fracture risk. A literature search for randomized, double-blind, prospective, controlled clinical studies addressing medical treatment possibilities of vertebral fractures in postmenopausal Caucasian women was performed on the leading medical databases. For each publication, the number of patients with at least one new vertebral fracture and the number of randomized patients by treatment arm was retrieved. The relative risk (RR) and the number needed to treat (NNT, i.e. the number of patients to be treated to avoid one radiological vertebral fracture over the duration of the study), together with the respective 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) were calculated for each study. Treatment of steroid-induced osteoporosis and treatment of osteoporosis in men were reviewed separately, based on the low number of publications available. Forty-five publications matched with the search criteria, allowing for analysis of 15 different substances tested regarding their anti-fracture efficacy at the vertebral level. Bisphosphonates, mainly alendronate and risedronate, were reported to have consistently reduced the risk of a vertebral fracture over up to 50 months of treatment in four (alendronate) and two (risedronate) publications. Raloxifene reduced vertebral fracture risk in one study over 36 months, which was confirmed by 48 months' follow-up data. Parathormone (PTH) showed a drastic reduction in vertebral fracture risk in early studies, while calcitonin may also be a treatment option to reduce fracture risk. For other substances published data are conflicting (calcitriol, fluoride) or insufficient

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Early evolution of vertebrate photoreception: lessons from lampreys and lungfishes.

    PubMed

    Collin, Shaun P

    2009-03-01

    Lampreys (Agnatha) and lungfish (Dipnoi) are representatives of the earliest and the intermediate stages in vertebrate evolution, respectively, and survived in the Cambrian (approximately 540 mA, lampreys) and Devonian (approximately 400 mA, lungfishes) Periods. The unique phylogenetic position of these two groups presents us with an exciting opportunity to understand life in ancient times and to begin to trace the evolution of vision and photoreception in vertebrates. Using a multidisciplinary approach employing anatomical and molecular techniques, the evolution of photoreception is explored in these extant, living fossils to predict the environmental lighting conditions to which our vertebrate ancestors were exposed. Contrary to expectations, the retinae of the southern hemisphere lamprey (Geotria australis Gray, 1851) and the Australian lungfish (Neoceratodus forsteri Krefft, 1870) are far from "primitive," each possessing five types of photoreceptors, many with spectral filters for tuning the light. Detailed ultrastructural analysis reveals that all five receptor types in G. australis are cone-like, whereas N. forsteri possesses four cone types and a single type of rod. Each receptor type also contains a different visual pigment (opsin gene); that is, LWS, SWS1, SWS2, RhA and RhB in G. australis and LWS, SWS1, SWS2, Rh1 and Rh2 in N. forsteri, all of which are expressed within the retina and are sensitive to different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, providing the potential for pentachromatic and tetrachromatic color vision, respectively.

  5. Molecular synapomorphies resolve evolutionary relationships of extant jawed vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Venkatesh, Byrappa; Erdmann, Mark V.; Brenner, Sydney

    2001-01-01

    The evolutionary relationships of gnathostomes (jawed vertebrates), which comprise chondrichthyans (cartilaginous fishes), lobe-finned fishes (coelacanths and lungfishes), tetrapods, and actinopterygians (ray-finned fishes), have been debated for almost a century. Phylogenetic analyses based on fossils, morphology, and molecular sequences have generated different models of relationships that remain unresolved. We identified 13 derived shared molecular markers (synapomorphies) that define clades in the vertebrate lineage and used them to resolve the phylogenetic relationships of extant jawed vertebrates. Our markers include the presence or absence of insertions and deletions in coding sequences, nuclear introns, and alternatively spliced transcripts. The synapomorphies identified by us are congruent with each other and give rise to a single phylogenetic tree. This tree confirms that chondrichthyans are basal to all living gnathostomes, that lungfishes (Dipnoi) are the closest living relatives of tetrapods, and that bichirs (Cladistia) are the living members of the most ancient family of ray-finned fishes. Our study also provides molecular evidence to support the monophyly of living tetrapods and teleosts. PMID:11553795

  6. 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.

  7. 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).

  8. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-10-01

    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

  11. 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…

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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)

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Three-dimensional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of fossils across taxa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mietchen, D.; Aberhan, M.; Manz, B.; Hampe, O.; Mohr, B.; Neumann, C.; Volke, F.

    2008-01-01

    The frequency of life forms in the fossil record is largely determined by the extent to which they were mineralised at the time of their death. In addition to mineral structures, many fossils nonetheless contain detectable amounts of residual water or organic molecules, the analysis of which has become an integral part of current palaeontological research. The methods available for this sort of investigations, though, typically require dissolution or ionisation of the fossil sample or parts thereof, which is an issue with rare taxa and outstanding materials like pathological or type specimens. In such cases, non-destructive techniques could provide a valuable methodological alternative. While Computed Tomography has long been used to study palaeontological specimens, a number of complementary approaches have recently gained ground. These include Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) which had previously been employed to obtain three-dimensional images of pathological belemnites non-invasively on the basis of intrinsic contrast. The present study was undertaken to investigate whether 1H MRI can likewise provide anatomical information about non-pathological belemnites and specimens of other fossil taxa. To this end, three-dimensional MR image series were acquired from intact non-pathological invertebrate, vertebrate and plant fossils. At routine voxel resolutions in the range of several dozens to some hundreds of micrometers, these images reveal a host of anatomical details and thus highlight the potential of MR techniques to effectively complement existing methodological approaches for palaeontological investigations in a wide range of taxa. As for the origin of the MR signal, relaxation and diffusion measurements as well as 1H and 13C MR spectra acquired from a belemnite suggest intracrystalline water or hydroxyl groups, rather than organic residues.

  19. Three-dimensional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of fossils across taxa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mietchen, D.; Aberhan, M.; Manz, B.; Hampe, O.; Mohr, B.; Neumann, C.; Volke, F.

    2007-08-01

    The visibility of life forms in the fossil record is largely determined by the extent to which they were mineralised at the time of their death. In addition to mineral structures, many fossils nonetheless contain detectable amounts of residual water or organic molecules, the analysis of which has become an integral part of current palaeontological research. The methods available for this sort of investigations, though, typically require dissolution or ionisation of the fossil sample or parts thereof, which is an issue with rare taxa and outstanding materials like pathological or type specimens. In such cases, non-destructive techniques could provide an interesting methodological alternative. While Computed Tomography has long been used to study palaeontological specimens, a number of complementary approaches have recently gained ground. These include Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) which had previously been employed to obtain three-dimensional images of pathological belemnites non-invasively on the basis of intrinsic contrast. The present study was undertaken to investigate whether 1H MRI can likewise provide anatomical information about non-pathological belemnites and specimens of other fossil taxa. To this end, three-dimensional MR image series were acquired from intact non-pathological invertebrate, vertebrate and plant fossils. At routine voxel resolutions in the range of several dozens to some hundreds of micrometers, these images reveal a host of anatomical details and thus highlight the potential of MR techniques to effectively complement existing methodological approaches for palaeontological investigations in a wide range of taxa. As for the origin of the MR signal, relaxation and diffusion measurements as well as 1H and 13C MR spectra acquired from a belemnite suggest intracrystalline water or hydroxyl groups, rather than organic residues.

  20. Evolutionary origins of the vertebrate dentition: phylogenetic patterns and developmental evolution.

    PubMed

    Smith, M M; Coates, M I

    1998-01-01

    The theory that teeth evolved from dermal denticles linked with the origin of jaws no longer accounts for the diversity of new data emerging from the fossil record. We have reviewed oropharyngeal dental patterns in all fossil groups of early vertebrates to establish the primitive condition, in order to understand the polarity of change. The evolutionary precedence of dermal denticles before teeth now seems less likely; both may be alternative manifestations of a common morphogenetic system. This developmental system involves regulatory changes affecting the odontode, a fundamental exoskeletal unit, and can explain skeletal diversity. However, tooth and denticle differences may have diverged at loci deep within vertebrate phylogeny, as real differences exist between them. Teeth were conceived as evolving from non-growing odontodes with regulation of precise increase in size, position, sequence of time of development, and polarity of shape. A characteristic feature of teeth is the ability to replace from a developing sequence, programmed with these parameters, prior to demand. Tooth whorls, a feature of denticles in the oropharyngeal region, may be regarded as a preadaptation of this tooth replacement mechanism. The new fossil evidence suggests that teeth may have evolved from these more specialised oropharyngeal denticles in agnathan vertebrates.

  1. Morphological castes in a vertebrate.

    PubMed

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

    2000-11-21

    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.

  2. 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. PMID:26564847

  3. 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.

  4. Extraneural Glioblastoma Multiforme Vertebral Metastasis

    PubMed Central

    Goodwin, C. Rory; Liang, Lydia; Abu-Bonsrah, Nancy; Hdeib, Alia; Elder, Benjamin D.; Kosztowski, Thomas; Bettegowda, Chetan; Laterra, John; Burger, Peter; Sciubba, Daniel M.

    2016-01-01

    Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common malignant central nervous system tumor; however, extraneural metastasis is uncommon. Of those that metastasize extraneurally, metastases to the vertebral bodies represent a significant proportion. We present a review of 28 cases from the published literature of GBM metastasis to the vertebra. The mean age at presentation was 38.4 years with an average overall survival of 26 months. Patients were either asymptomatic with metastasis discovered at autopsy or presented with varying degrees of pain, weakness of the extremities, or other neurologic deficits. Of the cases that included the time to spinal metastasis, the average time was 26.4 months with a reported survival of 10 months after diagnosis of vertebral metastasis. A significant number of patients had no treatments for their spinal metastasis, although the intracranial lesions were treated extensively with surgery and/or adjuvant therapy. With increasing incremental gains in the survival of patients with GBM, clinicians will encounter patients with extracranial metastasis. As such, this review presents timely information concerning the presentation and outcomes of patients with vertebral metastasis. PMID:26704201

  5. Extraneural Glioblastoma Multiforme Vertebral Metastasis.

    PubMed

    Goodwin, C Rory; Liang, Lydia; Abu-Bonsrah, Nancy; Hdeib, Alia; Elder, Benjamin D; Kosztowski, Thomas; Bettegowda, Chetan; Laterra, John; Burger, Peter; Sciubba, Daniel M

    2016-05-01

    Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common malignant central nervous system tumor; however, extraneural metastasis is uncommon. Of those that metastasize extraneurally, metastases to the vertebral bodies represent a significant proportion. We present a review of 28 cases from the published literature of GBM metastasis to the vertebra. The mean age at presentation was 38.4 years with an average overall survival of 26 months. Patients were either asymptomatic with metastasis discovered at autopsy or presented with varying degrees of pain, weakness of the extremities, or other neurologic deficits. Of the cases that included the time to spinal metastasis, the average time was 26.4 months with a reported survival of 10 months after diagnosis of vertebral metastasis. A significant number of patients had no treatments for their spinal metastasis, although the intracranial lesions were treated extensively with surgery and/or adjuvant therapy. With increasing incremental gains in the survival of patients with GBM, clinicians will encounter patients with extracranial metastasis. As such, this review presents timely information concerning the presentation and outcomes of patients with vertebral metastasis. PMID:26704201

  6. The early eukaryotic fossil record.

    PubMed

    Javaux, Emmanuelle J

    2007-01-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Bilateral mechanical rotational vertebral artery occlusion.

    PubMed

    Dargon, Phong T; Liang, Conrad W; Kohal, Anmol; Dogan, Aclan; Barnwell, Stanley L; Landry, Gregory J

    2013-10-01

    Rotational vertebral artery occlusion, or bow hunter's stroke, is reversible, positional symptomatic vertebrobasilar ischemia. The typical mechanism of action is obstruction of a dominant vertebral artery with contralateral head rotation in the setting of baseline ipsilateral vertebral artery stenosis or occlusion. Here we present a rare case of mechanical occlusion of bilateral patent vertebral arteries manifesting as near syncope with rightward head rotation. Diagnostic cerebral angiography showed dynamic right C5 vertebral occlusion and left C2 vertebral occlusion. The patient underwent right C4/5 transverse process decompression. Postoperative angiogram showed patent flow through the right vertebral artery in neutral position and with head turn with resultant resolution of symptoms. PMID:23465174

  11. 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

  12. Palaeobiology: Argentinian unhatched pterosaur fossil.

    PubMed

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

    2004-12-01

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

  13. 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

  14. 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

    2015-12-01

    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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Fossils of big bang turbulence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gibson, C. H.

    2004-12-01

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

  18. 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.

  19. Mitochondrial genomes as living 'fossils'.

    PubMed

    Small, Ian

    2013-04-15

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

  20. Fossil power plant systems description

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1984-01-01

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

  1. Progress of fossil fuel science

    SciTech Connect

    Demirbas, M.F.

    2007-07-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. A primitive placoderm sheds light on the origin of the jawed vertebrate face.

    PubMed

    Dupret, Vincent; Sanchez, Sophie; Goujet, Daniel; Tafforeau, Paul; Ahlberg, Per E

    2014-03-27

    Extant vertebrates form two clades, the jawless Cyclostomata (lampreys and hagfishes) and the jawed Gnathostomata (all other vertebrates), with contrasting facial architectures. These arise during development from just a few key differences in the growth patterns of the cranial primordia: notably, the nasal sacs and hypophysis originate from a single placode in cyclostomes but from separate placodes in gnathostomes, and infraoptic ectomesenchyme migrates forward either side of the single placode in cyclostomes but between the placodes in gnathostomes. Fossil stem gnathostomes preserve cranial anatomies rich in landmarks that provide proxies for developmental processes and allow the transition from jawless to jawed vertebrates to be broken down into evolutionary steps. Here we use propagation phase contrast synchrotron microtomography to image the cranial anatomy of the primitive placoderm (jawed stem gnathostome) Romundina, and show that it combines jawed vertebrate architecture with cranial and cerebral proportions resembling those of cyclostomes and the galeaspid (jawless stem gnathostome) Shuyu. This combination seems to be primitive for jawed vertebrates, and suggests a decoupling between ectomesenchymal growth trajectory, ectomesenchymal proliferation, and cerebral shape change during the origin of gnathostomes.

  5. Fossil Energy: Drivers and Challenges.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Friedmann, Julio

    2007-04-01

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

  6. Placoderm fishes, pharyngeal denticles, and the vertebrate dentition.

    PubMed

    Johanson, Zerina; Smith, Moya M

    2003-09-01

    The correlation of the origin of teeth with jaws in vertebrate history has recently been challenged with an alternative to the canonical view of teeth deriving from separate skin denticles. This alternative proposes that organized denticle whorls on the pharyngeal (gill) arches in the fossil jawless fish Loganellia are precursors to tooth families developing from a dental lamina along the jaw, such as those occurring in sharks, acanthodians, and bony fishes. This not only indicates that homologs of tooth families were present, but also illustrates that they possessed the relevant developmental controls, prior to the evolution of jaws. However, in the Placodermi, a phylogenetically basal group of jawed fishes, the state of pharyngeal denticles is poorly known, tooth whorls are absent, and the presence of teeth homologous to those in extant jawed fishes (Chondrichthyes + Osteichthyes) is controversial. Thus, placoderms would seem to provide little evidence for the early evolution of dentitions, or of denticle whorls, or tooth families, at the base of the clade of jawed fishes. However, organized denticles do occur at the rear of the placoderm gill chamber, but are associated with the postbranchial lamina of the anterior trunkshield, assumed to be part of the dermal cover. Significantly, these denticles have a different organization and morphology relative to the external dermal trunkshield tubercles. We propose that they represent a denticulate part of the visceral skeleton, under the influence of pharyngeal patterning controls comparable to those for pharyngeal denticles in other jawed vertebrates and Loganellia.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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

    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.

  10. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-08-01

    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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Sepkoski, J J

    1992-03-01

    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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-11-01

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

  18. Third-generation percutaneous vertebral augmentation systems.

    PubMed

    Vanni, Daniele; Galzio, Renato; Kazakova, Anna; Pantalone, Andrea; Grillea, Giovanni; Bartolo, Marcello; Salini, Vincenzo; Magliani, Vincenzo

    2016-03-01

    Currently, there is no general consensus about the management of osteoporotic vertebral fractures (OVF). In the past, conservative treatment for at least one month was deemed appropriate for the majority of vertebral fractures. When pain persisted after conservative treatment, it was necessary to consider surgical interventions including: vertebroplasty for vertebral fractures with less than 30% loss of height of the affected vertebral body and kyphoplasty for vertebral fractures with greater than 30% loss of height. Currently, this type of treatment is not feasible. Herein we review the characteristics and methods of operation of three of the most common percutaneous vertebral augmentation systems (PVAS) for the treatment of OVF: Vertebral Body Stenting(®) (VBS), OsseoFix(®) and Spine Jack(®). VBS is a titanium device accompanied by a hydraulic (as opposed to mechanical) working system which allows a partial and not immediate possibility to control the opening of the device. On the other hand, OsseoFix(®) and Spine Jack(®) are accompanied by a mechanical working system which allows a progressive and controlled reduction of the vertebral fracture. Another important aspect to consider is the vertebral body height recovery. OsseoFix(®) has an indirect mechanism of action: the compaction of the trabecular bone causes an increase in the vertebral body height. Unlike the Vertebral Body Stenting(®) and Spine Jack(®), the OsseoFix(®) has no direct lift mechanism. Therefore, for these characteristics and for the force that this device is able to provide. In our opinion, Spine Jack(®) is the only device also suitable for the treatment OVF, traumatic fracture (recent, old or inveterate) and primary or secondary bone tumors. PMID:27683690

  19. Third-generation percutaneous vertebral augmentation systems

    PubMed Central

    Galzio, Renato; Kazakova, Anna; Pantalone, Andrea; Grillea, Giovanni; Bartolo, Marcello; Salini, Vincenzo; Magliani, Vincenzo

    2016-01-01

    Currently, there is no general consensus about the management of osteoporotic vertebral fractures (OVF). In the past, conservative treatment for at least one month was deemed appropriate for the majority of vertebral fractures. When pain persisted after conservative treatment, it was necessary to consider surgical interventions including: vertebroplasty for vertebral fractures with less than 30% loss of height of the affected vertebral body and kyphoplasty for vertebral fractures with greater than 30% loss of height. Currently, this type of treatment is not feasible. Herein we review the characteristics and methods of operation of three of the most common percutaneous vertebral augmentation systems (PVAS) for the treatment of OVF: Vertebral Body Stenting® (VBS), OsseoFix® and Spine Jack®. VBS is a titanium device accompanied by a hydraulic (as opposed to mechanical) working system which allows a partial and not immediate possibility to control the opening of the device. On the other hand, OsseoFix® and Spine Jack® are accompanied by a mechanical working system which allows a progressive and controlled reduction of the vertebral fracture. Another important aspect to consider is the vertebral body height recovery. OsseoFix® has an indirect mechanism of action: the compaction of the trabecular bone causes an increase in the vertebral body height. Unlike the Vertebral Body Stenting® and Spine Jack®, the OsseoFix® has no direct lift mechanism. Therefore, for these characteristics and for the force that this device is able to provide. In our opinion, Spine Jack® is the only device also suitable for the treatment OVF, traumatic fracture (recent, old or inveterate) and primary or secondary bone tumors.

  20. Third-generation percutaneous vertebral augmentation systems

    PubMed Central

    Galzio, Renato; Kazakova, Anna; Pantalone, Andrea; Grillea, Giovanni; Bartolo, Marcello; Salini, Vincenzo; Magliani, Vincenzo

    2016-01-01

    Currently, there is no general consensus about the management of osteoporotic vertebral fractures (OVF). In the past, conservative treatment for at least one month was deemed appropriate for the majority of vertebral fractures. When pain persisted after conservative treatment, it was necessary to consider surgical interventions including: vertebroplasty for vertebral fractures with less than 30% loss of height of the affected vertebral body and kyphoplasty for vertebral fractures with greater than 30% loss of height. Currently, this type of treatment is not feasible. Herein we review the characteristics and methods of operation of three of the most common percutaneous vertebral augmentation systems (PVAS) for the treatment of OVF: Vertebral Body Stenting® (VBS), OsseoFix® and Spine Jack®. VBS is a titanium device accompanied by a hydraulic (as opposed to mechanical) working system which allows a partial and not immediate possibility to control the opening of the device. On the other hand, OsseoFix® and Spine Jack® are accompanied by a mechanical working system which allows a progressive and controlled reduction of the vertebral fracture. Another important aspect to consider is the vertebral body height recovery. OsseoFix® has an indirect mechanism of action: the compaction of the trabecular bone causes an increase in the vertebral body height. Unlike the Vertebral Body Stenting® and Spine Jack®, the OsseoFix® has no direct lift mechanism. Therefore, for these characteristics and for the force that this device is able to provide. In our opinion, Spine Jack® is the only device also suitable for the treatment OVF, traumatic fracture (recent, old or inveterate) and primary or secondary bone tumors. PMID:27683690

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  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. Microbial denitrogenation of fossil fuels.

    PubMed

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

    1998-09-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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. PMID:25968309

  9. Vertebral fracture assessment in acromegaly.

    PubMed

    Madeira, Miguel; Neto, Leonardo Vieira; Torres, Carolina Hammes; de Mendonça, Laura Maria Carvalho; Gadelha, Mônica Roberto; de Farias, Maria Lúcia Fleiuss

    2013-01-01

    Most vertebral fractures (VFs) are asymptomatic and incidentally found on X-rays. The effects of acromegaly on bone mineral density (BMD) are still controversial, and the prevalence of VFs in this specific population remains uncertain. The objective of this study was to assess VFs in acromegaly through vertebral fracture assessment (VFA) by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Seventy-five acromegalic patients from the same center (53 female; age: 48.9±14.5yr) were enrolled in this study. None of them referred previous fragility fracture. They were divided according to the presence or absence of moderate or severe VFs on VFA, a densitometric spine imaging. Age, gender, estimated duration of disease, insulin-like growth factor I levels, disease control and gonadal status, as well as BMD and body composition (analyzed by DXA) were compared between these 2 groups. A prevalence of 10.6% of clinically unapparent VFs was observed. Eight patients had 13 moderate or severe VFs, and only one of them had osteoporosis at densitometry. There was a trend to longer duration of acromegaly before diagnosis, higher prevalence of hypogonadism, and higher BMD Z-score at lumbar spine and femoral neck in fractured patients, without reaching statistical significance. There is a significant prevalence of moderate and severe VFs in acromegalic patients, independently of BMD. More longitudinal and controlled studies are needed to recommend the use of VFA in all acromegalic patients submitted to DXA scan. VFA is simple, practical, uses low radiation, and may provide important information in the management of acromegaly.

  10. Idiopathic segmental sclerosis of vertebral bodies

    SciTech Connect

    McCarthy, E.F.; Dorfman, H.D.

    1982-12-01

    Five cases of idiopathic vetebral sclerosis are presented. The features of this condition are segmental vertebral sclerosis of a single lumbar vertebra in a young adult without disc space narrowing or alteration of vertebral contour. The differential diagnosis is discussed. Lumbar vertebra biopsies of three patients showed reactive nonspecific osteosclerosis.

  11. 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

  12. 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. PMID:26316746

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Melatonin Receptor Genes in Vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Li, Di Yan; Smith, David Glenn; Hardeland, Rüdiger; Yang, Ming Yao; Xu, Huai Liang; Zhang, Long; Yin, Hua Dong; Zhu, Qing

    2013-01-01

    Melatonin receptors are members of the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) family. Three genes for melatonin receptors have been cloned. The MT1 (or Mel1a or MTNR1A) and MT2 (or Mel1b or MTNR1B) receptor subtypes are present in humans and other mammals, while an additional melatonin receptor subtype, Mel1c (or MTNR1C), has been identified in fish, amphibians and birds. Another melatonin related orphan receptor, GPR50, which does not bind melatonin, is found exclusively in mammals. The hormone melatonin is secreted primarily by the pineal gland, with highest levels occurring during the dark period of a circadian cycle. This hormone acts systemically in numerous organs. In the brain, it is involved in the regulation of various neural and endocrine processes, and it readjusts the circadian pacemaker, the suprachiasmatic nucleus. This article reviews recent studies of gene organization, expression, evolution and mutations of melatonin receptor genes of vertebrates. Gene polymorphisms reveal that numerous mutations are associated with diseases and disorders. The phylogenetic analysis of receptor genes indicates that GPR50 is an outgroup to all other melatonin receptor sequences. GPR50 may have separated from a melatonin receptor ancestor before the split between MTNR1C and the MTNR1A/B ancestor. PMID:23712359

  1. 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.

  2. Aging and regeneration in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Sousounis, Konstantinos; Baddour, Joelle A; Tsonis, Panagiotis A

    2014-01-01

    Aging is marked by changes that affect organs and resident stem cell function. Shorting of telomeres, DNA damage, oxidative stress, deregulation of genes and proteins, impaired cell-cell communication, and an altered systemic environment cause the eventual demise of cells. At the same time, reparative activities also decline. It is intriguing to correlate aging with the decline of regenerative abilities. Animal models with strong regenerative capabilities imply that aging processes might not be affecting regeneration. In this review, we selectively present age-dependent changes in stem/progenitor cells that are vital for tissue homeostasis and repair. In addition, the aging effect on regeneration following injury in organs such as lung, skeletal muscle, heart, nervous system, cochlear hair, lens, and liver are discussed. These tissues are also known for diseases such as heart attack, stroke, cognitive impairment, cataract, and hearing loss that occur mostly during aging in humans. Conclusively, vertebrate regeneration declines with age with the loss of stem/progenitor cell function. Future studies on improving the function of stem cells, along with studies in fish and amphibians where regeneration does not decline with age, will undoubtedly provide insights into both processes. PMID:24512711

  3. 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.

  4. Exceptional record of mid-Pleistocene vertebrates helps differentiate climatic from anthropogenic ecosystem perturbations.

    PubMed

    Barnosky, Anthony D; Bell, Christopher J; Emslie, Steven D; Goodwin, H Thomas; Mead, Jim I; Repenning, Charles A; Scott, Eric; Shabel, Alan B

    2004-06-22

    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.

  5. 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

  6. Developmental evidence for serial homology of the vertebrate jaw and gill arch skeleton.

    PubMed

    Gillis, J Andrew; Modrell, Melinda S; Baker, Clare V H

    2013-01-01

    Gegenbaur's classical hypothesis of jaw-gill arch serial homology is widely cited, but remains unsupported by either palaeontological evidence (for example, a series of fossils reflecting the stepwise transformation of a gill arch into a jaw) or developmental genetic data (for example, shared molecular mechanisms underlying segment identity in the mandibular, hyoid and gill arch endoskeletons). Here we show that nested expression of Dlx genes--the 'Dlx code' that specifies upper and lower jaw identity in mammals and teleosts--is a primitive feature of the mandibular, hyoid and gill arches of jawed vertebrates. Using fate-mapping techniques, we demonstrate that the principal dorsal and ventral endoskeletal segments of the jaw, hyoid and gill arches of the skate Leucoraja erinacea derive from molecularly equivalent mesenchymal domains of combinatorial Dlx gene expression. Our data suggest that vertebrate jaw, hyoid and gill arch cartilages are serially homologous, and were primitively patterned dorsoventrally by a common Dlx blueprint.

  7. 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

  8. 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. PMID:22937155

  9. Nervous systems and scenarios for the invertebrate-to-vertebrate transition.

    PubMed

    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.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. Unusual anal fin in a Devonian jawless vertebrate reveals complex origins of paired appendages.

    PubMed

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

    2013-06-23

    Jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes) have undergone radical anatomical and developmental changes in comparison with their jawless cousins (cyclostomes). Key among these is paired appendages (fins, legs and wings), which first evolved at some point on the gnathostome stem. The anatomy of fossil stem gnathostomes is, therefore, fundamental to our understanding of the nature and timing of the origin of this complex innovation. Here, we show that Euphanerops, a fossil jawless fish from the Devonian, possessed paired anal-fin radials, but no pectoral or pelvic fins. This unique condition occurs at an early stage on the stem-gnathostome lineage. This condition, and comparison with the varied condition of paired fins in other ostracoderms, indicates that there was a large amount of developmental plasticity during this episode-rather than a gradual evolution of this complex feature. Apparently, a number of different clades were exploring morphospace or undergoing multiple losses.

  14. Unusual anal fin in a Devonian jawless vertebrate reveals complex origins of paired appendages

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Jawed vertebrates (gnathostomes) have undergone radical anatomical and developmental changes in comparison with their jawless cousins (cyclostomes). Key among these is paired appendages (fins, legs and wings), which first evolved at some point on the gnathostome stem. The anatomy of fossil stem gnathostomes is, therefore, fundamental to our understanding of the nature and timing of the origin of this complex innovation. Here, we show that Euphanerops, a fossil jawless fish from the Devonian, possessed paired anal-fin radials, but no pectoral or pelvic fins. This unique condition occurs at an early stage on the stem-gnathostome lineage. This condition, and comparison with the varied condition of paired fins in other ostracoderms, indicates that there was a large amount of developmental plasticity during this episode—rather than a gradual evolution of this complex feature. Apparently, a number of different clades were exploring morphospace or undergoing multiple losses. PMID:23576777

  15. Fossil energy biotechnology: A research needs assessment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    1993-11-01

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

  16. RFamide Peptides in Early Vertebrate Development

    PubMed Central

    Sandvik, Guro Katrine; Hodne, Kjetil; Haug, Trude Marie; Okubo, Kataaki; Weltzien, Finn-Arne

    2014-01-01

    RFamides (RFa) are neuropeptides involved in many different physiological processes in vertebrates, such as reproductive behavior, pubertal activation of the reproductive endocrine axis, control of feeding behavior, and pain modulation. As research has focused mostly on their role in adult vertebrates, the possible roles of these peptides during development are poorly understood. However, the few studies that exist show that RFa are expressed early in development in different vertebrate classes, perhaps mostly associated with the central nervous system. Interestingly, the related peptide family of FMRFa has been shown to be important for brain development in invertebrates. In a teleost, the Japanese medaka, knockdown of genes in the Kiss system indicates that Kiss ligands and receptors are vital for brain development, but few other functional studies exist. Here, we review the literature of RFa in early vertebrate development, including the possible functional roles these peptides may play. PMID:25538682

  17. A Case of Aerococcus Urinae Vertebral Osteomyelitis

    PubMed Central

    Jerome, Michael; Slim, Jihad; Sison, Raymund; Marton, Randy

    2015-01-01

    Aerococcus urinae is an aerobic, alpha hemolytic gram positive coccus bacterium that grows in pairs or clusters. We report the first case of vertebral osteomyelitis due to A. urinae. This has not been previously reported in the literature. PMID:26069429

  18. Sleep and orexins in nonmammalian vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Volkoff, Hélène

    2012-01-01

    Although a precise definition of "sleep" has yet to be established, sleep-like behaviors have been observed in all animals studied to date including mammals and nonmammalian vertebrates. Orexins are hypothalamic neuropeptides that are involved in the regulation of many physiological functions, including feeding, thermoregulation, cardiovascular control, as well as the control of the sleep-wakefulness cycle. To date, the knowledge on the functions of orexins in nonmammalian vertebrates is still limited, but the similarity of the structures of orexins and their receptors among vertebrates suggest that they have similar conserved physiological functions. This review describes our current knowledge on sleep in nonmammalian vertebrates (birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish) and the possible role of orexins in the regulation of their energy homeostasis and arousal states. PMID:22640621

  19. 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

  20. Radiotherapy in the treatment of vertebral hemangiomas

    SciTech Connect

    Faria, S.L.; Schlupp, W.R.; Chiminazzo, H. Jr.

    1985-02-01

    Symptomatic vertebral hemangiomas are not common. Although radiotherapy has been used as treatment, the data are sparse concerning total dose, fractionation and results. The authors report nine patients with vertebral hemangioma treated with 3000-4000 rad, 200 rad/day, 5 fractions per week, followed from 6 to 62 months. Seventy-seven percent had complete or almost complete disappearance of the symptoms. Radiotherapy schedules are discussed.

  1. Vertebrate Cells Express Protozoan Antigen after Hybridization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crane, Mark St. J.; Dvorak, James A.

    1980-04-01

    Epimastigotes, the invertebrate host stage of Trypanosoma cruzi, the protozoan parasite causing Chagas' disease in man, were fused with vertebrate cells by using polyethylene glycol. Hybrid cells were selected on the basis of T. cruzi DNA complementation of biochemical deficiencies in the vertebrate cells. Some clones of the hybrid cells expressed T. cruzi-specific antigen. It might be possible to use selected antigens obtained from the hybrids as vaccines for immunodiagnosis or for elucidation of the pathogenesis of Chagas' disease.

  2. Percutaneous Vertebral Body Augmentation: An Updated Review

    PubMed Central

    Omidi-Kashani, Farzad

    2014-01-01

    There are many medical conditions like osteoporosis, tumor, or osteonecrosis that weaken the structural strength of the vertebral body and prone it to fracture. Percutaneous vertebral augmentation that is usually applied by polymethylmethacrylate is a relatively safe, effective, and long lasting procedure commonly performed in these situations. In this paper, we updated a review of biomechanics, indications, contraindications, surgical techniques, complications, and overall prognosis of these minimally invasive spinal procedures. PMID:25379561

  3. Role of Transpedicular Percutaneous Vertebral Biopsy for Diagnosis of Pathology in Vertebral Compression Fractures

    PubMed Central

    Nadkarni, Sunil; Hardikar, Sharad Moreshwar; Hardikar, Madan Sharad

    2016-01-01

    Study Design Retrospective observational study. Purpose To identify the role of percutaneous vertebral biopsy in histopathological diagnosis of vertebral compression fractures and to identify the frequency of unexpected malignancy in vertebral compression fractures. Overview of Literature Vertebral compression fractures are common in the Indian population. Magnetic resonance imaging and nuclear imaging have some limitations in the diagnosis of definitive pathology of vertebral compression fractures. Therefore, histological confirmation is necessary for definitive diagnosis and to plan appropriate management for patient. Methods A retrospective observational study was conducted involving 84 patients who underwent percutaneous vertebral biopsy between 2010 and 2014. We performed C-arm guided percutaneous transpedicular core vertebral biopsy of vertebral compression fractures under combination of local anesthesia and intravenous conscious sedation. Results Sufficient biopsy material was obtained in 79 of the 84 cases. In the other five cases, biopsy material was not sufficient for reporting. Out of the 79 cases, osteoporotic pathology was detected in 69 patients, malignancy was detected in 8 patients and no pathology was found in 2 patients. Two patients with distant metastases to vertebra were identified. Primary spinal malignancy was detected in 6 patients (1 unsuspected plasmacytoma, 5 diagnosed malignancy preoperatively). So, the frequency of unsuspected malignancy of this study was 1.19% (1/84). None of the patients had any complications. Conclusions C-arm guided percutaneous transpedicular vertebral biopsy is useful in obtaining definitive histopathological diagnosis of vertebral compression fractures, especially in differentiating malignant and non-malignant vertebral compression fractures and helping plan appropriate management of patients. The rate of unexpected malignancy in vertebral compression fracture was 1.19%. PMID:27790322

  4. 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

  5. Retroviral Diversity and Distribution in Vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Herniou, Elisabeth; Martin, Joanne; Miller, Karen; Cook, James; Wilkinson, Mark; Tristem, Michael

    1998-01-01

    We used the PCR to screen for the presence of endogenous retroviruses within the genomes of 18 vertebrate orders across eight classes, concentrating on reptilian, amphibian, and piscine hosts. Thirty novel retroviral sequences were isolated and characterized by sequencing approximately 1 kb of their encoded protease and reverse transcriptase genes. Isolation of novel viruses from so many disparate hosts suggests that retroviruses are likely to be ubiquitous within all but the most basal vertebrate classes and, furthermore, gives a good indication of the overall retroviral diversity within vertebrates. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that viruses clustering with (but not necessarily closely related to) the spumaviruses and murine leukemia viruses are widespread and abundant in vertebrate genomes. In contrast, we were unable to identify any viruses from hosts outside of mammals and birds which grouped with the other five currently recognized retroviral genera: the lentiviruses, human T-cell leukemia-related viruses, avian leukemia virus-related retroviruses, type D retroviruses, and mammalian type B retroviruses. There was also some indication that viruses isolated from individual vertebrate classes tended to cluster together in phylogenetic reconstructions. This implies that the horizontal transmission of at least some retroviruses, between some vertebrate classes, occurs relatively infrequently. It is likely that many of the retroviral sequences described here are distinct enough from those of previously characterized viruses to represent novel retroviral genera. PMID:9621058

  6. Evolution and development of the vertebrate neck

    PubMed Central

    Ericsson, Rolf; Knight, Robert; Johanson, Zerina

    2013-01-01

    Muscles of the vertebrate neck include the cucullaris and hypobranchials. Although a functional neck first evolved in the lobe-finned fishes (Sarcopterygii) with the separation of the pectoral/shoulder girdle from the skull, the neck muscles themselves have a much earlier origin among the vertebrates. For example, lampreys possess hypobranchial muscles, and may also possess the cucullaris. Recent research in chick has established that these two muscles groups have different origins, the hypobranchial muscles having a somitic origin but the cucullaris muscle deriving from anterior lateral plate mesoderm associated with somites 1–3. Additionally, the cucullaris utilizes genetic pathways more similar to the head than the trunk musculature. Although the latter results are from experiments in the chick, cucullaris homologues occur in a variety of more basal vertebrates such as the sharks and zebrafish. Data are urgently needed from these taxa to determine whether the cucullaris in these groups also derives from lateral plate mesoderm or from the anterior somites, and whether the former or the latter represent the basal vertebrate condition. Other lateral plate mesoderm derivatives include the appendicular skeleton (fins, limbs and supporting girdles). If the cucullaris is a definitive lateral plate-derived structure it may have evolved in conjunction with the shoulder/limb skeleton in vertebrates and thereby provided a greater degree of flexibility to the heads of predatory vertebrates. PMID:22697305

  7. The origins of colour vision in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Collin, Shaun P; Trezise, Ann E O

    2004-07-01

    The capacity for colour vision is mediated by the comparison of the signal intensities from photoreceptors of two or more types that differ in spectral sensitivity. Morphological, physiological and molecular analyses of the retina in an agnathan (jawless) fish, the lamprey Geotria australis, may hold important clues to the origins of colour vision in vertebrates. Lampreys are extant representatives of an ancient group of vertebrates, the origins of which are thought to date back to at least the early Cambrian, approximately 540 million years ago. G. australis possesses five photoreceptor types, each with cone-like ultrastructural features and different spectral sensitivities. Recent molecular genetic studies have also revealed that five visual pigment (opsin) genes are expressed in the retina, each of which is orthologous to the major classes of vertebrate opsin genes. These findings reveal that multiple opsin genes originated very early in vertebrate evolution, prior to the separation of the jawed and jawless vertebrate lineages, thereby providing the genetic basis for colour vision in all vertebrates.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  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. 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.

  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. Species-specific proteins in fossils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lowenstein, Jerold M.

    1980-07-01

    With a solid-phase radioimmunoassay it has been possible to detect species-specific collagen and albumin in fossils as old as 1.9 million years. This technique may provide new data on the genetic relations of fossil species to each other and to living forms.

  17. The non-uniformity of fossil preservation.

    PubMed

    Holland, Steven M

    2016-07-19

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

  18. 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. PMID:19138588

  19. 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'.

  20. Exceptional soft tissue fossilization of a Pleistocene vulture (Gyps fulvus): new evidence for emplacement temperatures of pyroclastic flow deposits

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Iurino, Dawid A.; Bellucci, Luca; Schreve, Danielle; Sardella, Raffaele

    2014-07-01

    Volcanic sediments are often unsuitable for the fossilization of both hard and soft organic tissues, however, in some circumstances, they can provide unusual conditions for the preservation of remains. Here we report an exceptional case of soft tissue fossilization of a Late Pleistocene Eurasian griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) in the pyroclastic sequence of the Alban Hills volcanic region (SE Rome, Italy). CT analyses have revealed an exceptional natural cast of the complete head and neck that preserve extraordinary detail including the fossilized everted tongue, beak, feather insertions and the first record of the nictitating membrane of the eye. This fossilization (superior in detail even to the victims of the AD 79 Plinian eruption of Vesuvius) reveals no evidence of burning and requires re-evaluation of the thermal constraints in operation for the preservation of organic materials within pyroclastic sediments. The analysis of the external morphological features has provided key information regarding the taphonomic processes in operation, the emplacement temperatures of distal pyroclastic flow deposits and the relationships between organic materials and low temperature phreatomagmatic flows. This sheds light not only on the extremely rare situation of fossilization in volcanic contexts but also provides a new perspective on taphonomic studies of highly detailed casts of fossil vertebrates.

  1. Immunolocalization of the PmSUC1 sucrose transporter in Plantago major flowers and reporter-gene analyses of the PmSUC1 promoter suggest a role in sucrose release from the inner integument.

    PubMed

    Lauterbach, C; Niedermeier, M; Besenbeck, R; Stadler, R; Sauer, N

    2007-05-01

    This paper presents a detailed analysis of the PmSUC1 gene from plantago major, of its promoter activity in Arabidopsis, and of the tissue specific localization of the encoded protein in Plantago. PmSUC1 promoter activity was detected in the innermost layer of the inner integument (the endothel) of Arabidopsis plants expressing the gene of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) under the control of the PmSUC1 promoter. This promoter activity was confirmed with a PmSUC1-specific antiserum that identified the PmSUC1 protein in the endothel of Plantago and of Arabidopsis plants expressing the PmSUC1 gene under the control of its own promoter. PmSUC1 promoter activity and PmSUC1 protein were also detected in pollen grains during maturation inside the anthers and in pollen tubes during and after germination. These results demonstrate that PmSUC1 is involved in sucrose partitioning to the young embryo and to the developing pollen and growing pollen tube. In the innermost cell layer of the inner integument, a tissue that delivers nutrients to the endosperm and the embryo, PmSUC1 may catalyze the release of sucrose into the apoplast.

  2. 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.

  3. Atomic force microscopy of Precambrian microscopic fossils.

    PubMed

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

    2002-07-01

    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 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Jack vertebral dilator kyphoplasty for treatment of osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures.

    PubMed

    Li, Dapeng; Huang, Yonghui; Yang, Huilin; Chen, Qi; Sun, Taicun; Wu, Yan; Li, Xuefeng

    2014-01-01

    Osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures (OVCFs) are common in the elderly population and often involve the thoracolumbar vertebrae. Clinical symptoms of OVCFs include severe pain, loss of vertebral height, progressive kyphosis and increased mortality. Jack vertebral dilator kyphoplasty is a recently developed OVCFs treatment modality, with few systematic studies present in the literature. This retrospective study was designed to investigate the safety and efficacy of Jack vertebral dilator kyphoplasty for treating thoracolumbar OVCFs. Sixteen elderly patients (55-85 years) with solitary thoracolumbar OVCFs were treated with this procedure and followed-up (10-27 months). The amount of injected bone cement and operative time, preoperative and postoperative visual analogue scores, anterior and middle vertebral body heights, local kyphosis angle, and complications was analysed. The results showed that the method provided long-term pain relief and restoration of the vertebral body height and spinal alignment. No serious complications occurred, but two patients experienced recompression of the vertebral body, and one patient experienced cement leakage into a disc. In conclusion, Jack vertebral dilator kyphoplasty is a safe and effective minimally invasive procedure for treatment of OVCFs.

  6. 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

  7. Confirmation of Romer's Gap as a low oxygen interval constraining the timing of initial arthropod and vertebrate terrestrialization.

    PubMed

    Ward, Peter; Labandeira, Conrad; Laurin, Michel; Berner, Robert A

    2006-11-01

    The first terrestrialization of species that evolved from previously aquatic taxa was a seminal event in evolutionary history. For vertebrates, one of the most important terrestrialized groups, this event was interrupted by a time interval known as Romer's Gap, for which, until recently, few fossils were known. Here, we argue that geochronologic range data of terrestrial arthropods show a pattern similar to that of vertebrates. Thus, Romer's Gap is real, occupied an interval from 360 million years before present (MYBP) to 345 MYBP, and occurred when environmental conditions were unfavorable for air-breathing, terrestrial animals. These model results suggest that atmospheric oxygen levels were the major driver of successful terrestrialization, and a low-oxygen interval accounts for Romer's Gap. Results also show that terrestrialization among members of arthropod and vertebrate clades occurred in two distinct phases. The first phase was a 65-million-year (My) interval from 425 to 360 MYBP, representing an earlier, prolonged event of complete arthropod terrestrialization of smaller-sized forms (425-385 MYBP) and a subsequent, modest, and briefer event of incipient terrestrialization of larger-sized, aquatic vertebrates (385-360 MYBP). The second phase began at 345 MYBP, characterized by numerous new terrestrial species emerging in both major clades. The first and second terrestrialization phases bracket Romer's Gap, which represents a depauperate spectrum of major arthropod and vertebrate taxa before a major Late Paleozoic colonization of terrestrial habitats.

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    2010-04-22

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

  12. Vertebral Adaptations to Large Body Size in Theropod Dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Wilson, John P; Woodruff, D Cary; Gardner, Jacob D; Flora, Holley M; Horner, John R; Organ, Chris L

    2016-01-01

    Rugose projections on the anterior and posterior aspects of vertebral neural spines appear throughout Amniota and result from the mineralization of the supraspinous and interspinous ligaments via metaplasia, the process of permanent tissue-type transformation. In mammals, this metaplasia is generally pathological or stress induced, but is a normal part of development in some clades of birds. Such structures, though phylogenetically sporadic, appear throughout the fossil record of non-avian theropod dinosaurs, yet their physiological and adaptive significance has remained unexamined. Here we show novel histologic and phylogenetic evidence that neural spine projections were a physiological response to biomechanical stress in large-bodied theropod species. Metaplastic projections also appear to vary between immature and mature individuals of the same species, with immature animals either lacking them or exhibiting smaller projections, supporting the hypothesis that these structures develop through ontogeny as a result of increasing bending stress subjected to the spinal column. Metaplastic mineralization of spinal ligaments would likely affect the flexibility of the spinal column, increasing passive support for body weight. A stiff spinal column would also provide biomechanical support for the primary hip flexors and, therefore, may have played a role in locomotor efficiency and mobility in large-bodied species. This new association of interspinal ligament metaplasia in Theropoda with large body size contributes additional insight to our understanding of the diverse biomechanical coping mechanisms developed throughout Dinosauria, and stresses the significance of phylogenetic methods when testing for biological trends, evolutionary or not. PMID:27442509

  13. Vertebral Adaptations to Large Body Size in Theropod Dinosaurs.

    PubMed

    Wilson, John P; Woodruff, D Cary; Gardner, Jacob D; Flora, Holley M; Horner, John R; Organ, Chris L

    2016-01-01

    Rugose projections on the anterior and posterior aspects of vertebral neural spines appear throughout Amniota and result from the mineralization of the supraspinous and interspinous ligaments via metaplasia, the process of permanent tissue-type transformation. In mammals, this metaplasia is generally pathological or stress induced, but is a normal part of development in some clades of birds. Such structures, though phylogenetically sporadic, appear throughout the fossil record of non-avian theropod dinosaurs, yet their physiological and adaptive significance has remained unexamined. Here we show novel histologic and phylogenetic evidence that neural spine projections were a physiological response to biomechanical stress in large-bodied theropod species. Metaplastic projections also appear to vary between immature and mature individuals of the same species, with immature animals either lacking them or exhibiting smaller projections, supporting the hypothesis that these structures develop through ontogeny as a result of increasing bending stress subjected to the spinal column. Metaplastic mineralization of spinal ligaments would likely affect the flexibility of the spinal column, increasing passive support for body weight. A stiff spinal column would also provide biomechanical support for the primary hip flexors and, therefore, may have played a role in locomotor efficiency and mobility in large-bodied species. This new association of interspinal ligament metaplasia in Theropoda with large body size contributes additional insight to our understanding of the diverse biomechanical coping mechanisms developed throughout Dinosauria, and stresses the significance of phylogenetic methods when testing for biological trends, evolutionary or not.

  14. Vertebrate community on an ice-age Caribbean island.

    PubMed

    Steadman, David W; Albury, Nancy A; Kakuk, Brian; Mead, Jim I; Soto-Centeno, J Angel; Singleton, Hayley M; Franklin, Janet

    2015-11-01

    We report 95 vertebrate taxa (13 fishes, 11 reptiles, 63 birds, 8 mammals) from late Pleistocene bone deposits in Sawmill Sink, Abaco, The Bahamas. The >5,000 fossils were recovered by scuba divers on ledges at depths of 27-35 m below sea level. Of the 95 species, 39 (41%) no longer occur on Abaco (4 reptiles, 31 birds, 4 mammals). We estimate that 17 of the 39 losses (all of them birds) are linked to changes during the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition (PHT) (∼ 15-9 ka) in climate (becoming more warm and moist), habitat (expansion of broadleaf forest at the expense of pine woodland), sea level (rising from -80 m to nearly modern levels), and island area (receding from ∼ 17,000 km(2) to 1,214 km(2)). The remaining 22 losses likely are related to the presence of humans on Abaco for the past 1,000 y. Thus, the late Holocene arrival of people probably depleted more populations than the dramatic physical and biological changes associated with the PHT. PMID:26483484

  15. Vertebral Adaptations to Large Body Size in Theropod Dinosaurs

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, John P.; Woodruff, D. Cary; Gardner, Jacob D.; Flora, Holley M.; Horner, John R.; Organ, Chris L.

    2016-01-01

    Rugose projections on the anterior and posterior aspects of vertebral neural spines appear throughout Amniota and result from the mineralization of the supraspinous and interspinous ligaments via metaplasia, the process of permanent tissue-type transformation. In mammals, this metaplasia is generally pathological or stress induced, but is a normal part of development in some clades of birds. Such structures, though phylogenetically sporadic, appear throughout the fossil record of non-avian theropod dinosaurs, yet their physiological and adaptive significance has remained unexamined. Here we show novel histologic and phylogenetic evidence that neural spine projections were a physiological response to biomechanical stress in large-bodied theropod species. Metaplastic projections also appear to vary between immature and mature individuals of the same species, with immature animals either lacking them or exhibiting smaller projections, supporting the hypothesis that these structures develop through ontogeny as a result of increasing bending stress subjected to the spinal column. Metaplastic mineralization of spinal ligaments would likely affect the flexibility of the spinal column, increasing passive support for body weight. A stiff spinal column would also provide biomechanical support for the primary hip flexors and, therefore, may have played a role in locomotor efficiency and mobility in large-bodied species. This new association of interspinal ligament metaplasia in Theropoda with large body size contributes additional insight to our understanding of the diverse biomechanical coping mechanisms developed throughout Dinosauria, and stresses the significance of phylogenetic methods when testing for biological trends, evolutionary or not. PMID:27442509

  16. Horizontal transfer of non-LTR retrotransposons in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Kordis, D; Gubensek, F

    1999-01-01

    Since their discovery in family Bovidae (bovids), Bov-B LINEs, believed to be order-specific SINEs, have been found in all ruminants and recently also in Viperidae snakes. The distribution and the evolutionary relationships of Bov-B LINEs provide an indication of their origin and evolutionary dynamics in different species. The evolutionary origin of Bov-B LINE elements has been shown unequivocally to be in Squamata (squamates). The horizontal transfer of Bov-B LINE elements in vertebrates has been confirmed by their discontinuous phylogenetic distribution in Squamata (Serpentes and two lizard infra-orders) as well as in Ruminantia, by the high level of nucleotide identity, and by their phylogenetic relationships. The direction of horizontal transfer from Squamata to the ancestor of Ruminantia is evident from the genetic distances and discontinuous phylogenetic distribution of Bov-B LINE elements. The ancestral snake lineage (Boidae) has been recognized as a possible donor of Bov-B LINE elements to Ruminantia. The timing of horizontal transfer has been estimated from the distribution of Bov-B LINE elements in Ruminantia and the fossil data of Ruminantia to be 40-50 mya. The phylogenetic relationships of Bov-B LINE elements from the various Squamata species agrees with that of the species phylogeny, suggesting that Bov-B LINE elements have been stably maintained by vertical transmission since the origin of Squamata in the Mesozoic era.

  17. Molecular evolution of Bov-B LINEs in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Kordis, D; Gubensek, F

    1999-09-30

    Since their discovery in family Bovidae (bovids), Bov-B LINEs, believed to be order-specific SINEs, have been found in all ruminants and recently also in Viperidae snakes. The distribution and the evolutionary relationships of Bov-B LINEs provide an indication of their origin and evolutionary dynamics in different species. The evolutionary origin of Bov-B LINE elements has been shown unequivocally to be in Squamata (squamates). The horizontal transfer of Bov-B LINE elements in vertebrates has been confirmed by their discontinuous phylogenetic distribution in Squamata (Serpentes and two lizard infra-orders) as well as in Ruminantia, by the high level of nucleotide identity, and by their phylogenetic relationships. The direction of horizontal transfer from Squamata to the ancestor of Ruminantia is evident from the genetic distances and discontinuous phylogenetic distribution of Bov-B LINE elements. The ancestor of Colubroidea snakes has been recognized as a possible donor of Bov-B LINE elements to Ruminantia. The timing of horizontal transfer has been estimated from the distribution of Bov-B LINE elements in Ruminantia and the fossil data of Ruminantia to be 40-50 My ago. The phylogenetic relationships of Bov-B LINE elements from the various Squamata species agrees with that of the species phylogeny, suggesting that Bov-B LINE elements have been stably maintained by vertical transmission since the origin of Squamata in the Mesozoic era.

  18. Vertebrate community on an ice-age Caribbean island

    PubMed Central

    Steadman, David W.; Albury, Nancy A.; Kakuk, Brian; Mead, Jim I.; Soto-Centeno, J. Angel; Singleton, Hayley M.; Franklin, Janet

    2015-01-01

    We report 95 vertebrate taxa (13 fishes, 11 reptiles, 63 birds, 8 mammals) from late Pleistocene bone deposits in Sawmill Sink, Abaco, The Bahamas. The >5,000 fossils were recovered by scuba divers on ledges at depths of 27–35 m below sea level. Of the 95 species, 39 (41%) no longer occur on Abaco (4 reptiles, 31 birds, 4 mammals). We estimate that 17 of the 39 losses (all of them birds) are linked to changes during the Pleistocene–Holocene Transition (PHT) (∼15–9 ka) in climate (becoming more warm and moist), habitat (expansion of broadleaf forest at the expense of pine woodland), sea level (rising from −80 m to nearly modern levels), and island area (receding from ∼17,000 km2 to 1,214 km2). The remaining 22 losses likely are related to the presence of humans on Abaco for the past 1,000 y. Thus, the late Holocene arrival of people probably depleted more populations than the dramatic physical and biological changes associated with the PHT. PMID:26483484

  19. Vertebrate community on an ice-age Caribbean island.

    PubMed

    Steadman, David W; Albury, Nancy A; Kakuk, Brian; Mead, Jim I; Soto-Centeno, J Angel; Singleton, Hayley M; Franklin, Janet

    2015-11-01

    We report 95 vertebrate taxa (13 fishes, 11 reptiles, 63 birds, 8 mammals) from late Pleistocene bone deposits in Sawmill Sink, Abaco, The Bahamas. The >5,000 fossils were recovered by scuba divers on ledges at depths of 27-35 m below sea level. Of the 95 species, 39 (41%) no longer occur on Abaco (4 reptiles, 31 birds, 4 mammals). We estimate that 17 of the 39 losses (all of them birds) are linked to changes during the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition (PHT) (∼ 15-9 ka) in climate (becoming more warm and moist), habitat (expansion of broadleaf forest at the expense of pine woodland), sea level (rising from -80 m to nearly modern levels), and island area (receding from ∼ 17,000 km(2) to 1,214 km(2)). The remaining 22 losses likely are related to the presence of humans on Abaco for the past 1,000 y. Thus, the late Holocene arrival of people probably depleted more populations than the dramatic physical and biological changes associated with the PHT.

  20. Vertebrate records in polar sediments: Biological responses to past climate change and human activities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sun, L. G.; Emslie, S. D.; Huang, T.; Blais, J. M.; Xie, Z. Q.; Liu, X. D.; Yin, X. B.; Wang, Y. H.; Huang, W.; Hodgson, D. A.; Smol, J. P.

    2013-11-01

    Biological responses to climate and environmental changes in remote polar regions are of increasing interest in global change research. Terrestrial and marine polar ecosystems have suffered from impacts of both rapid climate change and intense human activities, and large fluctuations in the population sizes of seabirds, seals, and Antarctic krill have been observed in the past decades. To understand the mechanisms driving these regime shifts in polar ecosystems, it is important to first distinguish the influences of natural forcing from anthropogenic activities. Therefore, investigations of past changes of polar ecosystems prior to human contact are relevant for placing recent human-induced changes within a long-term historical context. Here we focus our review on the fossil, sub-fossil, archaeological, and biogeochemical remains of marine vertebrates in polar sediments. These remains include well-preserved tissues such as bones, hairs and feathers, and biogeochemical markers and other proxy indicators, including deposits of guano and excrement, which can accumulate in lake and terrestrial sediments over thousands of years. Analyses of these remains have provided insight into both natural and anthropogenic impacts on marine vertebrates over millennia and have helped identify the causal agents for these impacts. Furthermore, land-based seabirds and marine mammals have been shown to play an important role as bio-vectors in polar environments as they transport significant amounts of nutrients and anthropogenic contaminants between ocean and terrestrial ecosystems.

  1. Late Miocene/Early Pliocene vertebrate fauna from Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Western Mediterranean): an update.

    PubMed

    Bover, Pere; Rofes, Juan; Bailon, Salvador; Agustí, Jordi; Cuenca-Bescós, Gloria; Torres, Enric; Alcover, Josep Antoni

    2014-03-01

    The vertebrate fossil record from the Balearic Islands (western Mediterranean) has improved considerably over the past decade, especially in Mallorca and Menorca. In Menorca, the Pliocene terrestrial fauna was updated by the discovery and description of the large-sized leporid Nuralagus, several reptiles and an amphibian. In Mallorca, paleontological exploration yielded 2 deposits with a Late Miocene/Early Pliocene chronology, Caló den Rafelino (CdR) and Na Burguesa-1 (NB-1). So far, 4 new mammalian taxa and 2 new reptiles have been identified for the CdR deposit, whereas the faunal assemblage from the recently discovered deposit (Apr 2012) of NB-1 is currently composed of, at least, 6 terrestrial mammals, 8 reptiles and an amphibian. Its faunal composition and some primitive characteristics of the obtained taxa suggest that the chronology of this deposit is slightly earlier than the CdR. The terrestrial vertebrates recorded in these 2 Mallorcan deposits are changing the view of the paleofaunal assemblage previously known for the Plio-Pleistocene of the island. Morphological characteristics displayed by some of the taxa suggest that these faunas would be at the beginning of an isolated evolution. In this paper we present a preliminary report on the fossils recovered from the NB-1 deposit, as well as some unpublished data from CdR, and we analyze the whole fauna from both Mallorcan deposits, focusing on taxonomical and paleobiogeographical aspects. PMID:24673762

  2. Biomechanical aspects of bone microstructure in vertebrates: potential approach to palaeontological investigations.

    PubMed

    Mishra, S

    2009-11-01

    Biomechanical or biophysical principles can be applied to study biological structures in their modern or fossil form. Bone is an important tissue in paleontological studies as it is a commonly preserved element in most fossil vertebrates, and can often allow its microstructures such as lacuna and canaliculi to be studied in detail. In this context, the principles of Fluid Mechanics and Scaling Laws have been previously applied to enhance the understanding of bone microarchitecture and their implications for the evolution of hydraulic structures to transport fluid. It has been shown that the microstructure of bone has evolved to maintain efficient transport between the nutrient supply and cells, the living components of the tissue. Application of the principle of minimal expenditure of energy to this analysis shows that the path distance comprising five or six lamellar regions represents an effective limit for fluid and solute transport between the nutrient supply and cells; beyond this threshold, hydraulic resistance in the network increases and additional energy expenditure is necessary for further transportation. This suggests an optimization of the size of the bone's building blocks (such as osteon or trabecular thickness) to meet the metabolic demand concomitant to minimal expenditure of energy. This biomechanical aspect of bone microstructure is corroborated from the ratio of osteon to Haversian canal diameters and scaling constants of several mammals considered in this study. This aspect of vertebrate bone microstructure and physiology may provide a basis of understanding of the form and function relationship in both extinct and extant taxa. PMID:20009272

  3. Cycling operation of fossil plants

    SciTech Connect

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

    1991-05-01

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

  4. The vertebral column of Australopithecus sediba.

    PubMed

    Williams, Scott A; Ostrofsky, Kelly R; Frater, Nakita; Churchill, Steven E; Schmid, Peter; Berger, Lee R

    2013-04-12

    Two partial vertebral columns of Australopithecus sediba grant insight into aspects of early hominin spinal mobility, lumbar curvature, vertebral formula, and transitional vertebra position. Au. sediba likely possessed five non-rib-bearing lumbar vertebrae and five sacral elements, the same configuration that occurs modally in modern humans. This finding contrasts with other interpretations of early hominin regional vertebral numbers. Importantly, the transitional vertebra is distinct from and above the last rib-bearing vertebra in Au. sediba, resulting in a functionally longer lower back. This configuration, along with a strongly wedged last lumbar vertebra and other indicators of lordotic posture, would have contributed to a highly flexible spine that is derived compared with earlier members of the genus Australopithecus and similar to that of the Nariokotome Homo erectus skeleton.

  5. Hedgehog Secretion and Signal Transduction in Vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Ryan, Kaitlyn E.; Chiang, Chin

    2012-01-01

    Signaling by the Hedgehog (Hh) family of secreted proteins is essential for proper embryonic patterning and development. Dysregulation of Hh signaling is associated with a variety of human diseases ranging from developmental disorders such as holoprosencephaly to certain forms of cancer, including medulloblastoma and basal cell carcinoma. Genetic studies in flies and mice have shaped our understanding of Hh signaling and revealed that nearly all core components of the pathway are highly conserved. Although many aspects of the Drosophila Hh pathway are conserved in vertebrates, mechanistic differences between the two species have begun to emerge. Perhaps the most striking divergence in vertebrate Hh signaling is its dependence on the primary cilium, a vestigial organelle that is largely absent in flies. This minireview will provide an overview of Hh signaling and present recent insights into vertebrate Hh secretion, receptor binding, and signal transduction. PMID:22474285

  6. [Amphioxus: how to become a vertebrate].

    PubMed

    Bertrand, Stéphanie; Camasses, Alain; Escriva, Hector

    2007-01-01

    Evo-devo is a young disciplin, which aims to explain the morphological evolution of organisms through developmental mechanisms and genes networks. A major question within this discipline is the origin of vertebrates. It seems now admitted that vertebrates derive from an invertebrate chordate ancestor. Several models among living chordate representatives are used today to answer this question. The small world of evo-evo interested in the emergence of vertebrates is ebullient about the advent of several totally sequenced genomes allowing comparative analyses to become evermore reliable. Furthermore "non classical" models are developed which can be submitted to refined developmental analysis. One of these is amphioxus (genus Branchyostoma), "a peaceful anchory fillet to illuminate chordate evolution" (Garcia-Fernandez, 2006a, b). The features of this model are described in this review.

  7. The vertebral column of Australopithecus sediba.

    PubMed

    Williams, Scott A; Ostrofsky, Kelly R; Frater, Nakita; Churchill, Steven E; Schmid, Peter; Berger, Lee R

    2013-04-12

    Two partial vertebral columns of Australopithecus sediba grant insight into aspects of early hominin spinal mobility, lumbar curvature, vertebral formula, and transitional vertebra position. Au. sediba likely possessed five non-rib-bearing lumbar vertebrae and five sacral elements, the same configuration that occurs modally in modern humans. This finding contrasts with other interpretations of early hominin regional vertebral numbers. Importantly, the transitional vertebra is distinct from and above the last rib-bearing vertebra in Au. sediba, resulting in a functionally longer lower back. This configuration, along with a strongly wedged last lumbar vertebra and other indicators of lordotic posture, would have contributed to a highly flexible spine that is derived compared with earlier members of the genus Australopithecus and similar to that of the Nariokotome Homo erectus skeleton. PMID:23580532

  8. The origin of the vertebrate skeleton

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pivar, Stuart

    2011-01-01

    The anatomy of the human and other vertebrates has been well described since the days of Leonardo da Vinci and Vesalius. The causative origin of the configuration of the bones and of their shapes and forms has been addressed over the ensuing centuries by such outstanding investigators as Goethe, Von Baer, Gegenbauer, Wilhelm His and D'Arcy Thompson, who sought to apply mechanical principles to morphogenesis. However, no coherent causative model of morphogenesis has ever been presented. This paper presents a causative model for the origin of the vertebrate skeleton, based on the premise that the body is a mosaic enlargement of self-organized patterns engrained in the membrane of the egg cell. Drawings illustrate the proposed hypothetical origin of membrane patterning and the changes in the hydrostatic equilibrium of the cytoplasm that cause topographical deformations resulting in the vertebrate body form.

  9. Three Distinct Glutamate Decarboxylase Genes in Vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Grone, Brian P.; Maruska, Karen P.

    2016-01-01

    Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a widely conserved signaling molecule that in animals has been adapted as a neurotransmitter. GABA is synthesized from the amino acid glutamate by the action of glutamate decarboxylases (GADs). Two vertebrate genes, GAD1 and GAD2, encode distinct GAD proteins: GAD67 and GAD65, respectively. We have identified a third vertebrate GAD gene, GAD3. This gene is conserved in fishes as well as tetrapods. We analyzed protein sequence, gene structure, synteny, and phylogenetics to identify GAD3 as a homolog of GAD1 and GAD2. Interestingly, we found that GAD3 was lost in the hominid lineage. Because of the importance of GABA as a neurotransmitter, GAD3 may play important roles in vertebrate nervous systems. PMID:27461130

  10. The efficacy of radiotherapy for vertebral hemangiomas.

    PubMed

    Miszczyk, L; Ficek, K; Trela, K; Spindel, J

    2001-01-01

    Vertebral hemangiomas are benign, slowly growing tumors sometimes causing local pain in the spine and/or neurologic disorders. The present paper includes 14 cases of painful vertebral hemangiomas treated by radiotherapy. All patients were irradiated using standard fractionation scheme with a total dose 20-30 Gy. One month after the treatment complete pain relief was noted in 36% of cases, five months later in 67% of cases, but in the remaining cases partial pain relief was noted. No correlation between treatment outcome and different biological and technical factors was found. No dose-response relationship was noted. The results suggest that anti-inflamatory effect of radiation plays the major role in this kind of treatment and that radiotherapy for vertebral hemangiomas is easy, short and highly effective analgetic treatment modality.

  11. Cervical Vertebral Body Chordoma in a Cat.

    PubMed

    Hampel, R; Taylor-Brown, F; Priestnall, S L

    2016-05-01

    A 9-year-old, neutered female Maine Coon cat with a 6-week history of progressive ataxia was diagnosed with a cervical vertebral body mass using magnetic resonance imaging. The mass displaced and compressed the cervical spinal cord. The cat was humanely destroyed and necropsy examination confirmed a mass within the second cervical vertebral body. Microscopically, the mass was composed of large, clear, vacuolated ('physaliferous') cells. Immunohistochemically, the neoplastic cells expressed both cytokeratin and vimentin and the final diagnosis was a cervical, vertebral body chordoma. This is only the third report of a chordoma in this species and the first in this location. Chordoma should be considered as a potential differential diagnosis for tumours arising from the cervical vertebrae in the cat.

  12. Chitin is endogenously produced in vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Sohn, Joel J.; Amemiya, Chris T.

    2015-01-01

    Chitin, a biopolymer of N-acetylglucosamine, is abundant in invertebrates and fungi, and is an important structural molecule. There has been a longstanding belief that vertebrates do not produce chitin, however, we have obtained compelling evidence to the contrary. Chitin synthase genes are present in numerous fishes and amphibians, and chitin is localized in situ to the lumen of the developing zebrafish gut, in epithelial cells of fish scales, and in at least three different cell types in larval salamander appendages. Chitin synthase gene knockdowns and various histochemical experiments in zebrafish further authenticated our results. Finally, a polysaccharide was extracted from scales of salmon that exhibited all the chemical hallmarks of chitin. Our data and analyses demonstrate the existence of endogenous chitin in vertebrates and suggest that it serves multiple roles in vertebrate biology. PMID:25772447

  13. Vertebral fractures in males with prolactinoma.

    PubMed

    Mazziotti, Gherardo; Porcelli, Teresa; Mormando, Marilda; De Menis, Ernesto; Bianchi, Antonio; Mejia, Carola; Mancini, Tatiana; De Marinis, Laura; Giustina, Andrea

    2011-06-01

    Data on osteoporotic fractures in hyperprolactinemia are limited. An increased prevalence of radiological vertebral fractures was recently observed in women with prolactin (PRL)-secreting adenoma, whereas it is unknown whether this observation may reflect a more general increased risk of fractures in this disease and whether the prevalence of fractures in males is affected by gonadal status. Thirty-two males (median age 47 years, range: 22-79) with PRL-secreting pituitary adenoma (10 with microadenoma and 22 with macroadenoma) and 64 control males, with normal PRL values and with comparable age to patients with hyperprolactinemia, were evaluated for vertebral fractures by a morphometric approach and for bone mineral density (BMD) by a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry at lumbar spine. Vertebral fractures were shown in 12 patients with PRL-secreting adenoma (37.5%) and in 5 controls (7.8%, P < 0.001). Fractured patients had lower BMD T-score (P = 0.007) and longer duration of disease (P < 0.001) as compared to patients who did not fracture. Fractures occurred more frequently (P = 0.03) in patients with untreated hyperprolactinemia versus patients treated with cabergoline whose frequency of vertebral fractures was still higher than control subjects. The prevalence of vertebral fractures was not significantly different between eugonadal and hypogonadal patients (33.3% vs. 38.5%; P = 0.8). Moreover, no significant (P = 0.4) difference in serum testosterone values was found between fractured and not fractured males. Hyperprolactinemia is associated with high prevalence of radiological vertebral fractures in men with PRL-secreting adenoma. These findings would also suggest that PRL excess may produce negative skeletal effects independently of hypogonadism.

  14. 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.

  15. Cretaceous Vertebrate Tracksites - Korean Cretaceous Dinosaur Coast World Heritage Nomination Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huh, M.; Woo, K. S.; Lim, J. D.; Paik, I. S.

    2009-04-01

    South Korea is one of the best known regions in the world for Cretaceous fossil footprints, which are also world-renowned. Korea has produced more scientifically named bird tracks (ichnotaxa) than any other region in the world. It has also produced the world's largest pterosaur tracks. Dinosaur tracksites also have the highest frequency of vertebrate track-bearing levels currently known in any stratigraphic sequence. Among the areas that have the best track records, and the greatest scientific significance with best documentation, Korea ranks very highly. Objective analysis of important individual tracksites and tracksite regions must be based on multiple criteria including: size of site, number of tracks, trackways and track bearing levels, number of valid named ichnotaxa including types, number of scientific publications, quality of preservation. The unique and distinctive dinosaur tracksites are known as one of the world's most important dinosaur track localities. In particular, the dinosaur track sites in southern coastal area of Korea are very unique. In the sites, we have excavated over 10,000 dinosaur tracks. The Hwasun sites show diverse gaits with unusual walking patterns and postures in some tracks. The pterosaur tracks are the most immense in the world. The longest pterosaur trackway yet known from any track sites suggests that pterosaurs were competent terrestrial locomotors. This ichnofauna contains the first pterosaur tracks reported from Asia. The Haenam Uhangri pterosaur assigns to a new genus Haenamichnus which accomodates the new ichnospecies, Haenamichnus uhangriensis. At least 12 track types have been reported from the Haman and Jindong Formations (probably late Lower Cretaceous). These include the types of bird tracks assigned to Koreanornis, Jindongornipes, Ignotornis and Goseongornipes. In addition the bird tracks Hwangsanipes, Uhangrichnus, the pterosaur track Haenamichnus and the dinosaur tracks, Brontopodus, Caririchnium, Minisauripus and

  16. The evolution of vertebrate color vision.

    PubMed

    Jacobs, Gerald H

    2012-01-01

    Color vision is conventionally defined as the ability of animals to reliably discriminate among objects and lights based solely on differences in their spectral properties. Although the nature of color vision varies widely in different animals, a large majority of all vertebrate species possess some color vision and that fact attests to the adaptive importance this capacity holds as a tool for analyzing the environment. In recent years dramatic advances have been made in our understanding of the nature of vertebrate color vision and of the evolution of the biological mechanisms underlying this capacity. In this chapter I review and comment on these advances.

  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. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  1. Histology and affinity of anaspids, and the early evolution of the vertebrate dermal skeleton

    PubMed Central

    Keating, Joseph N.; Donoghue, Philip C. J.

    2016-01-01

    The assembly of the gnathostome bodyplan constitutes a formative episode in vertebrate evolutionary history, an interval in which the mineralized skeleton and its canonical suite of cell and tissue types originated. Fossil jawless fishes, assigned to the gnathostome stem-lineage, provide an unparalleled insight into the origin and evolution of the skeleton, hindered only by uncertainty over the phylogenetic position and evolutionary significance of key clades. Chief among these are the jawless anaspids, whose skeletal composition, a rich source of phylogenetic information, is poorly characterized. Here we survey the histology of representatives spanning anaspid diversity and infer their generalized skeletal architecture. The anaspid dermal skeleton is composed of odontodes comprising spheritic dentine and enameloid, overlying a basal layer of acellular parallel fibre bone containing an extensive shallow canal network. A recoded and revised phylogenetic analysis using equal and implied weights parsimony resolves anaspids as monophyletic, nested among stem-gnathostomes. Our results suggest the anaspid dermal skeleton is a degenerate derivative of a histologically more complex ancestral vertebrate skeleton, rather than reflecting primitive simplicity. Hypotheses that anaspids are ancestral skeletonizing lampreys, or a derived lineage of jawless vertebrates with paired fins, are rejected. PMID:26962140

  2. Unusual horizontal transfer of a long interspersed nuclear element between distant vertebrate classes.

    PubMed

    Kordis, D; Gubensek, F

    1998-09-01

    We have shown previously by Southern blot analysis that Bov-B long interspersed nuclear elements (LINEs) are present in different Viperidae snake species. To address the question as to whether Bov-B LINEs really have been transmitted horizontally between vertebrate classes, the analysis has been extended to a larger number of vertebrate, invertebrate, and plant species. In this paper, the evolutionary origin of Bov-B LINEs is shown unequivocally to be in Squamata. The previously proposed horizontal transfer of Bov-B LINEs in vertebrates has been confirmed by their discontinuous phylogenetic distribution in Squamata (Serpentes and two lizard infra-orders) as well as in Ruminantia, by the high level of nucleotide identity, and by their phylogenetic relationships. The horizontal transfer of Bov-B LINEs from Squamata to the ancestor of Ruminantia is evident from the genetic distances and discontinuous phylogenetic distribution. The ancestor of Colubroidea snakes is a possible donor of Bov-B LINEs to Ruminantia. The timing of horizontal transfer has been estimated from the distribution of Bov-B LINEs in Ruminantia and the fossil data of Ruminantia to be 40-50 My ago. The phylogenetic relationships of Bov-B LINEs from the various Squamata species agrees with that of the species phylogeny, suggesting that Bov-B LINEs have been maintained stably by vertical transmission since the origin of Squamata in the Mesozoic era.

  3. Histology and affinity of anaspids, and the early evolution of the vertebrate dermal skeleton.

    PubMed

    Keating, Joseph N; Donoghue, Philip C J

    2016-03-16

    The assembly of the gnathostome bodyplan constitutes a formative episode in vertebrate evolutionary history, an interval in which the mineralized skeleton and its canonical suite of cell and tissue types originated. Fossil jawless fishes, assigned to the gnathostome stem-lineage, provide an unparalleled insight into the origin and evolution of the skeleton, hindered only by uncertainty over the phylogenetic position and evolutionary significance of key clades. Chief among these are the jawless anaspids, whose skeletal composition, a rich source of phylogenetic information, is poorly characterized. Here we survey the histology of representatives spanning anaspid diversity and infer their generalized skeletal architecture. The anaspid dermal skeleton is composed of odontodes comprising spheritic dentine and enameloid, overlying a basal layer of acellular parallel fibre bone containing an extensive shallow canal network. A recoded and revised phylogenetic analysis using equal and implied weights parsimony resolves anaspids as monophyletic, nested among stem-gnathostomes. Our results suggest the anaspid dermal skeleton is a degenerate derivative of a histologically more complex ancestral vertebrate skeleton, rather than reflecting primitive simplicity. Hypotheses that anaspids are ancestral skeletonizing lampreys, or a derived lineage of jawless vertebrates with paired fins, are rejected.

  4. Oldest Pathology in a Tetrapod Bone Illuminates the Origin of Terrestrial Vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Bishop, Peter J.; Walmsley, Christopher W.; Phillips, Matthew J.; Quayle, Michelle R.

    2015-01-01

    The origin of terrestrial tetrapods was a key event in vertebrate evolution, yet how and when it occurred remains obscure, due to scarce fossil evidence. Here, we show that the study of palaeopathologies, such as broken and healed bones, can help elucidate poorly understood behavioural transitions such as this. Using high-resolution finite element analysis, we demonstrate that the oldest known broken tetrapod bone, a radius of the primitive stem tetrapod Ossinodus pueri from the mid-Viséan (333 million years ago) of Australia, fractured under a high-force, impact-type loading scenario. The nature of the fracture suggests that it most plausibly occurred during a fall on land. Augmenting this are new osteological observations, including a preferred directionality to the trabecular architecture of cancellous bone. Together, these results suggest that Ossinodus, one of the first large (>2m length) tetrapods, spent a significant proportion of its life on land. Our findings have important implications for understanding the temporal, biogeographical and physiological contexts under which terrestriality in vertebrates evolved. They push the date for the origin of terrestrial tetrapods further back into the Carboniferous by at least two million years. Moreover, they raise the possibility that terrestriality in vertebrates first evolved in large tetrapods in Gondwana rather than in small European forms, warranting a re-evaluation of this important evolutionary event. PMID:25938463

  5. Multi-variate models are essential for understanding vertebrate diversification in deep time

    PubMed Central

    Benson, Roger B. J.; Mannion, Philip D.

    2012-01-01

    Statistical models are helping palaeontologists to elucidate the history of biodiversity. Sampling standardization has been extensively applied to remedy the effects of uneven sampling in large datasets of fossil invertebrates. However, many vertebrate datasets are smaller, and the issue of uneven sampling has commonly been ignored, or approached using pairwise comparisons with a numerical proxy for sampling effort. Although most authors find a strong correlation between palaeodiversity and sampling proxies, weak correlation is recorded in some datasets. This has led several authors to conclude that uneven sampling does not influence our view of vertebrate macroevolution. We demonstrate that multi-variate regression models incorporating a model of underlying biological diversification, as well as a sampling proxy, fit observed sauropodomorph dinosaur palaeodiversity best. This bivariate model is a better fit than separate univariate models, and illustrates that observed palaeodiversity is a composite pattern, representing a biological signal overprinted by variation in sampling effort. Multi-variate models and other approaches that consider sampling as an essential component of palaeodiversity are central to gaining a more complete understanding of deep time vertebrate diversification. PMID:21697163

  6. Rapid vertebrate recuperation in the Karoo Basin of South Africa following the End-Permian extinction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Botha, J.; Smith, R. M. H.

    2006-08-01

    The mass extinction that occurred at the end of the Permian Period approximately 251 Mya is widely accepted as the most devastating extinction event in Earth's history. An estimated 75-90% of global diversity from both marine and terrestrial realms disappeared synchronously within at most one million and perhaps as little as 100,000 years. To date, most research has focused on the marine record and it is only recently that a few fully preserved terrestrial Permo-Triassic boundary sequences have been discovered. The main Karoo Basin of South Africa hosts several well-preserved non-marine Permo-Triassic boundary sequences that have been the focus of intensive research into the nature of the extinction and its possible causes. This study uses sedimentological and biostratigraphic data from boundary sequences near Bethulie in the southern Karoo Basin to make assumptions about the rates and timing of recovery of the terrestrial fauna in this portion of southern Gondwana after the extinction event. The biostratigraphic data gathered from 277 in situ vertebrate fossils allows us to define more accurately the temporal ranges of several taxa. These data also confirm a more precise extinction rate in this part of the basin of 54% of latest Permian vertebrate taxa, followed by the onset of a relatively rapid recovery, within an estimated 40-50 thousand years (based on the calculation of floodplain aggradation rates and compaction ratios) that included the origination of at least 12 new vertebrate taxa from amongst the survivors.

  7. 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.

  8. Oldest Near-Complete Acanthodian: The First Vertebrate from the Silurian Bertie Formation Konservat-Lagerstätte, Ontario

    PubMed Central

    Burrow, Carole J.; Rudkin, David

    2014-01-01

    Background The relationships between early jawed vertebrates have been much debated, with cladistic analyses yielding little consensus on the position (or positions) of acanthodians with respect to other groups. Whereas one recent analysis showed various acanthodians (classically known as ‘spiny sharks’) as stem osteichthyans (bony fishes) and others as stem chondrichthyans, another shows the acanthodians as a paraphyletic group of stem chondrichthyans, and the latest analysis shows acanthodians as the monophyletic sister group of the Chondrichthyes. Methodology/Principal Findings A small specimen of the ischnacanthiform acanthodian Nerepisacanthus denisoni is the first vertebrate fossil collected from the Late Silurian Bertie Formation Konservat-Lagerstätte of southern Ontario, Canada, a deposit well-known for its spectacular eurypterid fossils. The fish is the only near complete acanthodian from pre-Devonian strata worldwide, and confirms that Nerepisacanthus has dentigerous jaw bones, body scales with superposed crown growth zones formed of ondontocytic mesodentine, and a patch of chondrichthyan-like scales posterior to the jaw joint. Conclusions/Significance The combination of features found in Nerepisacanthus supports the hypothesis that acanthodians could be a group, or even a clade, on the chondrichthyan stem. Cladistic analyses of early jawed vertebrates incorporating Nerepisacanthus, and updated data on other acanthodians based on publications in press, should help clarify their relationships. PMID:25093877

  9. Integrated Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction and Taphonomy of a Unique Upper Cretaceous Vertebrate-Bearing Locality (Velaux, Southeastern France).

    PubMed

    Cincotta, Aude; Yans, Johan; Godefroit, Pascal; Garcia, Géraldine; Dejax, Jean; Benammi, Mouloud; Amico, Sauveur; Valentin, Xavier

    2015-01-01

    The Velaux-La Bastide Neuve fossil-bearing site (Bouches-du-Rhône, France) has yielded a diverse vertebrate assemblage dominated by dinosaurs, including the titanosaur Atsinganosaurus velauciensis. We here provide a complete inventory of vertebrate fossils collected during two large-scale field campaigns. Numerous crocodilian teeth occur together with complete skulls. Pterosaur, hybodont shark and fish elements are also represented but uncommon. Magnetostratigraphic analyses associated with biostratigraphic data from dinosaur eggshell and charophytes suggest a Late Campanian age for the locality. Lithologic and taphonomic studies, associated with microfacies and palynofacies analyses, indicate a fluvial setting of moderate energy with broad floodplain. Palynomorphs are quite rare; only three taxa of pollen grains occur: a bisaccate taxon, a second form probably belonging to the Normapolles complex, and another tricolporate taxon. Despite the good state of preservation, these taxa are generally difficult to identify, since they are scarce and have a very minute size. Most of the vertebrate remains are well preserved and suggest transport of the carcasses over short distances before accumulation in channel and overbank facies, together with reworked Aptian grains of glauconite, followed by a rapid burial. The bones accumulated in three thin layers that differ by their depositional modes and their taphonomic histories. Numerous calcareous and iron oxides-rich paleosols developed on the floodplain, suggesting an alternating dry and humid climate in the region during the Late Campanian. PMID:26287486

  10. Integrated Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction and Taphonomy of a Unique Upper Cretaceous Vertebrate-Bearing Locality (Velaux, Southeastern France).

    PubMed

    Cincotta, Aude; Yans, Johan; Godefroit, Pascal; Garcia, Géraldine; Dejax, Jean; Benammi, Mouloud; Amico, Sauveur; Valentin, Xavier

    2015-01-01

    The Velaux-La Bastide Neuve fossil-bearing site (Bouches-du-Rhône, France) has yielded a diverse vertebrate assemblage dominated by dinosaurs, including the titanosaur Atsinganosaurus velauciensis. We here provide a complete inventory of vertebrate fossils collected during two large-scale field campaigns. Numerous crocodilian teeth occur together with complete skulls. Pterosaur, hybodont shark and fish elements are also represented but uncommon. Magnetostratigraphic analyses associated with biostratigraphic data from dinosaur eggshell and charophytes suggest a Late Campanian age for the locality. Lithologic and taphonomic studies, associated with microfacies and palynofacies analyses, indicate a fluvial setting of moderate energy with broad floodplain. Palynomorphs are quite rare; only three taxa of pollen grains occur: a bisaccate taxon, a second form probably belonging to the Normapolles complex, and another tricolporate taxon. Despite the good state of preservation, these taxa are generally difficult to identify, since they are scarce and have a very minute size. Most of the vertebrate remains are well preserved and suggest transport of the carcasses over short distances before accumulation in channel and overbank facies, together with reworked Aptian grains of glauconite, followed by a rapid burial. The bones accumulated in three thin layers that differ by their depositional modes and their taphonomic histories. Numerous calcareous and iron oxides-rich paleosols developed on the floodplain, suggesting an alternating dry and humid climate in the region during the Late Campanian.

  11. Integrated Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction and Taphonomy of a Unique Upper Cretaceous Vertebrate-Bearing Locality (Velaux, Southeastern France)

    PubMed Central

    Cincotta, Aude; Yans, Johan; Godefroit, Pascal; Garcia, Géraldine; Dejax, Jean; Benammi, Mouloud; Amico, Sauveur; Valentin, Xavier

    2015-01-01

    The Velaux-La Bastide Neuve fossil-bearing site (Bouches-du-Rhône, France) has yielded a diverse vertebrate assemblage dominated by dinosaurs, including the titanosaur Atsinganosaurus velauciensis. We here provide a complete inventory of vertebrate fossils collected during two large-scale field campaigns. Numerous crocodilian teeth occur together with complete skulls. Pterosaur, hybodont shark and fish elements are also represented but uncommon. Magnetostratigraphic analyses associated with biostratigraphic data from dinosaur eggshell and charophytes suggest a Late Campanian age for the locality. Lithologic and taphonomic studies, associated with microfacies and palynofacies analyses, indicate a fluvial setting of moderate energy with broad floodplain. Palynomorphs are quite rare; only three taxa of pollen grains occur: a bisaccate taxon, a second form probably belonging to the Normapolles complex, and another tricolporate taxon. Despite the good state of preservation, these taxa are generally difficult to identify, since they are scarce and have a very minute size. Most of the vertebrate remains are well preserved and suggest transport of the carcasses over short distances before accumulation in channel and overbank facies, together with reworked Aptian grains of glauconite, followed by a rapid burial. The bones accumulated in three thin layers that differ by their depositional modes and their taphonomic histories. Numerous calcareous and iron oxides-rich paleosols developed on the floodplain, suggesting an alternating dry and humid climate in the region during the Late Campanian. PMID:26287486

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  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. Microbial Fossils Detected in Desert Varnish

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flood, B. E.; Allen, C.; Longazo, T.

    2003-03-01

    Desert varnish, a mixture of clays, Mn-oxides, and Fe-oxides, is a potential terrestrial analogue to Martian hematite. A scanning electron microscopic examination of samples from Pilbara, Australia revealed evidence of microbial fossilization.

  18. Evolution: Fossil Ears and Underwater Sonar.

    PubMed

    Lambert, Olivier

    2016-08-22

    A key innovation in the history of whales was the evolution of a sonar system together with high-frequency hearing. Fossils of an archaic toothed whale's inner ear bones provide clues for a stepwise emergence of underwater echolocation ability.

  19. 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.

  20. Transposon-mediated Genome Manipulations in Vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Ivics, Zoltán; Li, Meng Amy; Mátés, Lajos; Boeke, Jef D.; Bradley, Allan; Izsvák, Zsuzsanna

    2010-01-01

    Transposable elements are segments of DNA with the unique ability to move about in the genome. This inherent feature can be exploited to harness these elements as gene vectors for diverse genome manipulations. Transposon-based genetic strategies have been established in vertebrate species over the last decade, and current progress in this field indicates that transposable elements will serve as indispensable tools in the genetic toolkit of vertebrate models. In particular, transposons can be applied as vectors for somatic and germline transgenesis, and as insertional mutagens in both loss-of-function and gain-of-function forward mutagenesis screens. The major advantage of using transposons as genetic tools is that they facilitate analysis of gene function in an easy, controlled and scalable manner. Transposon-based technologies are beginning to be exploited to link sequence information to gene functions in vertebrate models. In this article, we provide an overview of transposon-based methods used in vertebrate model organisms, and highlight the most important considerations concerning genetic applications of the transposon systems. PMID:19478801

  1. Vertebral choristoma in lipomyelomeningocele: a case report.

    PubMed

    Joshua, S P; Singh, Pankaj Kumar; Mahapatra, A K

    2012-01-01

    Lipomeningocele is a type of occult spinal dysraphism characterized by a subcutaneous lipomatous mass that protrudes through a midline bony defect. We report a rare presentation of this condition--a vertebral choristoma wherein the lipomatous mass displaced the normally formed posterior elements--lamina and spinous process of L4 vertebra dorsally to an abnormal location in the absence of a bony defect.

  2. Vertebral osteomyelitis due to Staphylococcus lugdunensis.

    PubMed Central

    Murdoch, D R; Everts, R J; Chambers, S T; Cowan, I A

    1996-01-01

    We present the first reported case of vertebral osteomyelitis due to Staphylococcus lugdunensis. The infection occurred in an 80-year-old woman who had been taking glucocorticosteroids. S. lugdunensis is a coagulase-negative staphylococcus with considerable potential as a human pathogen. Isolation of this organism should be regarded as significant unless evidence suggests otherwise. PMID:8815128

  3. [Sex inversion and epigenetic regulation in Vertebrates].

    PubMed

    Trukhina, A V; Lukina, N A; Nekrasova, A A; Smirnov, A F

    2015-03-01

    This review discusses issues related to the regulation of sex determination and differentiation in various groups of Vertebrates. Special attention was paid to factors of external and internal control for various genetic systems of sex determination, as well as to the epigenetic control of this process. Opportunities for sex inversion in various animals were also discussed.

  4. Diagnosis and Management of Vertebral Compression Fractures.

    PubMed

    McCarthy, Jason; Davis, Amy

    2016-07-01

    Vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) are the most common complication of osteoporosis, affecting more than 700,000 Americans annually. Fracture risk increases with age, with four in 10 white women older than 50 years experiencing a hip, spine, or vertebral fracture in their lifetime. VCFs can lead to chronic pain, disfigurement, height loss, impaired activities of daily living, increased risk of pressure sores, pneumonia, and psychological distress. Patients with an acute VCF may report abrupt onset of back pain with position changes, coughing, sneezing, or lifting. Physical examination findings are often normal, but can demonstrate kyphosis and midline spine tenderness. More than two-thirds of patients are asymptomatic and diagnosed incidentally on plain radiography. Acute VCFs may be treated with analgesics such as acetaminophen, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, narcotics, and calcitonin. Physicians must be mindful of medication adverse effects in older patients. Other conservative therapeutic options include limited bed rest, bracing, physical therapy, nerve root blocks, and epidural injections. Percutaneous vertebral augmentation, including vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, is controversial, but can be considered in patients with inadequate pain relief with nonsurgical care or when persistent pain substantially affects quality of life. Family physicians can help prevent vertebral fractures through management of risk factors and the treatment of osteoporosis. PMID:27386723

  5. Control of Vertebrate Pests of Agricultural Crops.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wingard, Robert G.; Studholme, Clinton R.

    This agriculture extension service publication of Pennsylvania State University discusses the damage from and control of vertebrate pests. Specific discussions describe the habits, habitat, and various control measures for blackbirds and crows, deer, meadow and pine mice, European starlings, and woodchucks. Where confusion with non-harmful species…

  6. A Cambrian origin for vertebrate rods

    PubMed Central

    Asteriti, Sabrina; Grillner, Sten; Cangiano, Lorenzo

    2015-01-01

    Vertebrates acquired dim-light vision when an ancestral cone evolved into the rod photoreceptor at an unknown stage preceding the last common ancestor of extant jawed vertebrates (∼420 million years ago Ma). The jawless lampreys provide a unique opportunity to constrain the timing of this advance, as their line diverged ∼505 Ma and later displayed high-morphological stability. We recorded with patch electrodes the inner segment photovoltages and with suction electrodes the outer segment photocurrents of Lampetra fluviatilis retinal photoreceptors. Several key functional features of jawed vertebrate rods are present in their phylogenetically homologous photoreceptors in lamprey: crucially, the efficient amplification of the effect of single photons, measured by multiple parameters, and the flow of rod signals into cones. These results make convergent evolution in the jawless and jawed vertebrate lines unlikely and indicate an early origin of rods, implying strong selective pressure toward dim-light vision in Cambrian ecosystems. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.07166.001 PMID:26095697

  7. A comparative analysis of vertebrate sex determination.

    PubMed

    Sinclair, Andrew; Smith, Craig; Western, Patrick; McClive, Peter

    2002-01-01

    Sex determination in vertebrates is controlled by a variety of mechanisms. We compared the expression of SF1, DAX1, DMRT1, SOX9 and AMH during gonadogenesis in the mouse, chicken and alligator embryo. In contrast to the expression profile of Sf1 in mouse embryos, chicken and alligator embryos show higher levels of Sf1 expression in the developing ovaries compared to testes. This may reflect the higher level of sex hormone synthesis in the ovary compared to the testis in chickens and alligators. The DAX1 gene has a similar expression profile in all three vertebrate species but appears to have different gene structure. As in mouse, DMRT1 was expressed at very high levels in the chicken and alligator male gonad. The male-specific up-regulation of SOX9 expression appears to be a common feature in all three vertebrates. In the chicken and alligator AMH is expressed prior to SOX9, suggesting that in these species SOX9 cannot initiate AMH expression as it does in mammals. SOX9 acts at multiple points in the vertebrate testis pathway but it appears that only some of these functions have been conserved through evolution. PMID:11990786

  8. Vertebrate Pest Control. Sale Publication 4077.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stimmann, M. W.; Clark, Dell O.

    This guide gives descriptions of common vertebrate pests and guidelines for using some common pesticides. The pests discussed are rats, mice, bats, moles, muskrats, ground squirrels, and gophers. Information is given for each pest on the type of damage the pest can do, the habitat and biology of the pest, and the most effective control methods.…

  9. 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.

  10. Fossil facies of the Greater Caspian region

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Svitoch, A. A.

    2015-05-01

    The Pliocene-Pleistocene marine sediments of the Great Caspian region host various lithological fossil facies, which reflect specific sedimentation conditions caused by different structural-geomorphologic settings, tectonic regimes, climates, and hydrologies. The facies of shelf, epicontinental basins, ingression gulfs and estuaries, intermontane and mountainous basins, and deep-sea depressions form a hierarchy of geological bodies from types to subtypes. Paragenetic associations of fossil facies, which form various series in space and along the section, are typical of marine sediments.

  11. Mesozoic marine tetrapod diversity: mass extinctions and temporal heterogeneity in geological megabiases affecting vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Benson, Roger B J; Butler, Richard J; Lindgren, Johan; Smith, Adam S

    2010-03-22

    The fossil record is our only direct means for evaluating shifts in biodiversity through Earth's history. However, analyses of fossil marine invertebrates have demonstrated that geological megabiases profoundly influence fossil preservation and discovery, obscuring true diversity signals. Comparable studies of vertebrate palaeodiversity patterns remain in their infancy. A new species-level dataset of Mesozoic marine tetrapod occurrences was compared with a proxy for temporal variation in the volume and facies diversity of fossiliferous rock (number of marine fossiliferous formations: FMF). A strong correlation between taxic diversity and FMF is present during the Cretaceous. Weak or no correlation of Jurassic data suggests a qualitatively different sampling regime resulting from five apparent peaks in Triassic-Jurassic diversity. These correspond to a small number of European formations that have been the subject of intensive collecting, and represent 'Lagerstätten effects'. Consideration of sampling biases allows re-evaluation of proposed mass extinction events. Marine tetrapod diversity declined during the Carnian or Norian. However, the proposed end-Triassic extinction event cannot be recognized with confidence. Some evidence supports an extinction event near the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary, but the proposed end-Cenomanian extinction is probably an artefact of poor sampling. Marine tetrapod diversity underwent a long-term decline prior to the Cretaceous-Palaeogene extinction.

  12. Scale insect larvae preserved in vertebrate coprolites (Le Quesnoy, France, Lower Eocene): paleoecological insights

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Robin, Ninon; Foldi, Imre; Godinot, Marc; Petit, Gilles

    2016-10-01

    Coprolites of terrestrial vertebrates from the Sparnacian Le Quesnoy locality (Ypresian, Eocene, MP7, 53 Ma; Oise, France) were examined for possible parasitic helminth eggs. The extraction of the coprolite components was performed by a weak acetolyse and a slide mounting in glycerin. This long examination did not reveal paleoparasite remains, which may be explained through several arguments. However, some pollen grains, some enigmatic components, and two well-preserved first-instar cochineal nymphs (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha: Coccoidea) were evidenced in coprolites. Identified as Coccidae, these larvae are the earliest stage of the scale insect development ever reported as fossil, revealing the specific environment of preservation that fossilized scats may provide. These observations, combined to the coprolites morphotype, enable to ascribe the fossil scats producer to a small herbivorous mammal present in the deposit (early perissodactyls or Plesiadapidae). Regarding the ecology of extant representatives of Coccidae, this mammal was a likely foliage consumer, and the abundant Juglandaceae and/or Tiliaceae from Le Quesnoy might have lived parasitized by scale insects. These Early Eocene parasites had an already well-established dissemination strategy, with prevalent minute first-instar larvae. The herein performed extraction technique appears well-suited for the study of carbonate coprolites and could certainly be useful for evidencing other kind of microorganisms (including internal parasites).

  13. Mesozoic marine tetrapod diversity: mass extinctions and temporal heterogeneity in geological megabiases affecting vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Benson, Roger B J; Butler, Richard J; Lindgren, Johan; Smith, Adam S

    2010-03-22

    The fossil record is our only direct means for evaluating shifts in biodiversity through Earth's history. However, analyses of fossil marine invertebrates have demonstrated that geological megabiases profoundly influence fossil preservation and discovery, obscuring true diversity signals. Comparable studies of vertebrate palaeodiversity patterns remain in their infancy. A new species-level dataset of Mesozoic marine tetrapod occurrences was compared with a proxy for temporal variation in the volume and facies diversity of fossiliferous rock (number of marine fossiliferous formations: FMF). A strong correlation between taxic diversity and FMF is present during the Cretaceous. Weak or no correlation of Jurassic data suggests a qualitatively different sampling regime resulting from five apparent peaks in Triassic-Jurassic diversity. These correspond to a small number of European formations that have been the subject of intensive collecting, and represent 'Lagerstätten effects'. Consideration of sampling biases allows re-evaluation of proposed mass extinction events. Marine tetrapod diversity declined during the Carnian or Norian. However, the proposed end-Triassic extinction event cannot be recognized with confidence. Some evidence supports an extinction event near the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary, but the proposed end-Cenomanian extinction is probably an artefact of poor sampling. Marine tetrapod diversity underwent a long-term decline prior to the Cretaceous-Palaeogene extinction. PMID:19923126

  14. 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.

  15. Reconciling molecular phylogenies with the fossil record.

    PubMed

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

    2011-09-27

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. [Gas dissection of the vertebral body or the vertebral intrasomatic space phenomenon. Physiopathological arguments].

    PubMed

    Michel, J L; Bouzat, J; Rivoal, A; de Pradel de Lamaze, P; Viallet, J F; Belin, J; Merle, P

    1982-01-01

    Some features concerning the ischemic origin of the gaseous dissection of the vertebral body and the physiopathology of the necrose, are considered in the adult: --in the way, the anterior topography of vaccum phenomenon is on the model of the arterial distribution in the vertebral body, implying ischemic origin of gaseous dissection; --further, two cases of intravertebral vaccum cleft, noticed after minor trauma, suggest the major role of fractures at the origin of ischemia.

  19. Vertebral body stenting: a new method for vertebral augmentation versus kyphoplasty

    PubMed Central

    Martin, Heiner; Fuerderer, Sebastian; Gabl, Michael; Roeder, Christoph; Heini, Paul; Mittlmeier, Thomas

    2010-01-01

    Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are well-established minimally invasive treatment options for compression fractures of osteoporotic vertebral bodies. Possible procedural disadvantages, however, include incomplete fracture reduction or a significant loss of reduction after balloon tamp deflation, prior to cement injection. A new procedure called “vertebral body stenting” (VBS) was tested in vitro and compared to kyphoplasty. VBS uses a specially designed catheter-mounted stent which can be implanted and expanded inside the vertebral body. As much as 24 fresh frozen human cadaveric vertebral bodies (T11-L5) were utilized. After creating typical compression fractures, the vertebral bodies were reduced by kyphoplasty (n = 12) or by VBS (n = 12) and then stabilized with PMMA bone cement. Each step of the procedure was performed under fluoroscopic control and analysed quantitatively. Finally, static and dynamic biomechanical tests were performed. A complete initial reduction of the fractured vertebral body height was achieved by both systems. There was a significant loss of reduction after balloon deflation in kyphoplasty compared to VBS, and a significant total height gain by VBS (mean ± SD in %, p < 0.05, demonstrated by: anterior height loss after deflation in relation to preoperative height [kyphoplasty: 11.7 ± 6.2; VBS: 3.7 ± 3.8], and total anterior height gain [kyphoplasty: 8.0 ± 9.4; VBS: 13.3 ± 7.6]). Biomechanical tests showed no significant stiffness and failure load differences between systems. VBS is an innovative technique which allows for the possibly complete reduction of vertebral compression fractures and helps maintain the restored height by means of a stent. The height loss after balloon deflation is significantly decreased by using VBS compared to kyphoplasty, thus offering a new promising option for vertebral augmentation. PMID:20191393

  20. Determination of vertebral pose in 3D by minimization of vertebral asymmetry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vrtovec, Tomaž; Pernuš, Franjo; Likar, Boštjan

    2011-03-01

    The vertebral pose in three dimensions (3D) may provide valuable information for quantitative clinical measurements or aid the initialization of image analysis techniques. We propose a method for automated determination of the vertebral pose in 3D that, in an iterative registration scheme, estimates the position and rotation of the vertebral coordinate system in 3D images. By searching for the hypothetical points, which are located where the boundaries of anatomical structures would have maximal symmetrical correspondences when mirrored over the vertebral planes, the asymmetry of vertebral anatomical structures is minimized. The method was evaluated on 14 normal and 14 scoliotic vertebrae in images acquired by computed tomography (CT). For each vertebra, 1000 randomly initialized experiments were performed. The results show that the vertebral pose can be successfully determined in 3D with mean accuracy of 0.5mm and 0.6° and mean precision of 0.17mm and 0.17. according to the 3D position and 3D rotation, respectively.

  1. Pneumococcal Vertebral Osteomyelitis after Epidural Injection: A Rare Event

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, Tamara M; Chitturi, Chandrika; Lange, Michael; Suh, Jin S; Slim, Jihad

    2016-01-01

    Streptococcus pneumoniae vertebral infections have rarely been reported. Herein, we report a case of pneumococcal vertebral osteomyelitis with paraspinal and epidural abscesses as well as concomitant bacteremia following epidural injection. This will be the second case in the literature reporting pneumococcal vertebral osteomyelitis related to epidural manipulation. PMID:27621563

  2. Pneumococcal Vertebral Osteomyelitis after Epidural Injection: A Rare Event.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Tamara M; Chitturi, Chandrika; Lange, Michael; Suh, Jin S; Slim, Jihad

    2016-01-01

    Streptococcus pneumoniae vertebral infections have rarely been reported. Herein, we report a case of pneumococcal vertebral osteomyelitis with paraspinal and epidural abscesses as well as concomitant bacteremia following epidural injection. This will be the second case in the literature reporting pneumococcal vertebral osteomyelitis related to epidural manipulation. PMID:27621563

  3. The variety of vertebrate mechanisms of sex determination.

    PubMed

    Trukhina, Antonina V; Lukina, Natalia A; Wackerow-Kouzova, Natalia D; Smirnov, Alexander F

    2013-01-01

    The review deals with features of sex determination in vertebrates. The mechanisms of sex determination are compared between fishes, amphibians, reptilians, birds, and mammals. We focus on structural and functional differences in the role of sex-determining genes in different vertebrates. Special attention is paid to the role of estrogens in sex determination in nonmammalian vertebrates. PMID:24369014

  4. Dental development in living and fossil orangutans.

    PubMed

    Smith, Tanya M

    2016-05-01

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

  5. The properties of fossil groups of galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eigenthaler, P.; Zeilinger, W. W.

    2009-12-01

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

  6. African fossil tali: further multivariate morphometric studies.

    PubMed

    Lisowski, F P; Albrecht, G H

    1976-07-01

    Analysis of measurements from the tali of 21 individual fossil primates from Africa shows that the specimens fall into five clearly defined groups. Accordingly, these specimens have been included as groups along with extant species in a subsequent canonical analysis thus allowing the fossils to play their part in the determination of the canonical separations. The results of this procedure show that the five fossil groups lie in a part of the canonical space not occupied by any extant African primate. Their positions are between the envelope of Asiatic apes (Hylobates and Pongo) and the envelope of African forms near the edge which contains Pan and Papio. One fossil group is so similar to Hylobates that its talus may have functioned in locomotion in a parallel manner. Others lie near to Pongo in directions proceeding towards Pan and Papio and it is possible that this similarity may indicate remnants of morphological adaptation for climbing in these fossils. At the same time, however, individual specimens are closer to one or another of the extant groups and this considerable spread suggests that the locomotor adaptations as evidenced by talar morphology, of the primate fauna in Africa, may have been very different from those of the present day. This would not the inconsistent with the different habitats, floras and non-primate faunas that may have characterized the East African scene at these earlier times. Particular fossils from Olduvai and Kromdraai that are supposed to be australopithecine and therefore bipeds, are confirmed (Oxnard, '72; Lisowski et al., '74) as being totally different from man in their talar morphology and essentially rather similar to the majority of the other fossil tali examined. PMID:961834

  7. Vertebral Augmentation Involving Vertebroplasty or Kyphoplasty for Cancer-Related Vertebral Compression Fractures: An Economic Analysis

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Background Untreated vertebral compression fractures can have serious clinical consequences and impose a considerable impact on patients' quality of life and on caregivers. Since non-surgical management of these fractures has limited effectiveness, vertebral augmentation procedures are gaining acceptance in clinical practice for pain control and fracture stabilization. The objective of this analysis was to determine the cost-effectiveness and budgetary impact of kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty compared with non-surgical management for the treatment of vertebral compression fractures in patients with cancer. Methods We performed a systematic review of health economic studies to identify relevant studies that compare the cost-effectiveness of kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty with non-surgical management for the treatment of vertebral compression fractures in adults with cancer. We also performed a primary cost-effectiveness analysis to assess the clinical benefits and costs of kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty compared with non-surgical management in the same population. We developed a Markov model to forecast benefits and harms of treatments, and corresponding quality-adjusted life years and costs. Clinical data and utility data were derived from published sources, while costing data were derived using Ontario administrative sources. We performed sensitivity analyses to examine the robustness of the results. In addition, a 1-year budget impact analysis was performed using data from Ontario administrative sources. Two scenarios were explored: (a) an increase in the total number of vertebral augmentation procedures performed among patients with cancer in Ontario, maintaining the current proportion of kyphoplasty versus vertebroplasty; and (b) no increase in the total number of vertebral augmentation procedures performed among patients with cancer in Ontario but an increase in the proportion of kyphoplasties versus vertebroplasties. Results The base case considered each of

  8. Vertebral Augmentation Involving Vertebroplasty or Kyphoplasty for Cancer-Related Vertebral Compression Fractures: A Systematic Review

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Background Cancers that metastasize to the spine and primary cancers such as multiple myeloma can result in vertebral compression fractures or instability. Conservative strategies, including bed rest, bracing, and analgesic use, can be ineffective, resulting in continued pain and progressive functional disability limiting mobility and self-care. Surgery is not usually an option for cancer patients in advanced disease states because of their poor medical health or functional status and limited life expectancy. The objectives of this review were to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of percutaneous image-guided vertebral augmentation techniques, vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, for palliation of cancer-related vertebral compression fractures. Methods We performed a systematic literature search for studies on vertebral augmentation of cancer-related vertebral compression fractures published from January 1, 2000, to October 2014; abstracts were screened by a single reviewer. For those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Owing to the heterogeneity of the clinical reports, we performed a narrative synthesis based on an analytical framework constructed for the type of cancer-related vertebral fractures and the diversity of the vertebral augmentation interventions. Results The evidence review identified 3,391 citations, of which 111 clinical reports (4,235 patients) evaluated the effectiveness of vertebroplasty (78 reports, 2,545 patients) or kyphoplasty (33 reports, 1,690 patients) for patients with mixed primary spinal metastatic cancers, multiple myeloma, or hemangiomas. Overall the mean pain intensity scores often reported within 48 hours of vertebral augmentation (kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty), were significantly reduced. Analgesic use, although variably reported, usually involved parallel decreases, particularly in opioids, and mean pain-related disability scores were also significantly improved. In a randomized controlled

  9. Vertebral destruction due to abdominal aortic aneurysm

    PubMed Central

    Jiménez Viseu Pinheiro, J.F.; Blanco Blanco, J.F.; Pescador Hernández, D.; García García, F.J.

    2014-01-01

    Introduction Low back pain is a common cause of medical consultation, and usually supposes a non-malignant prognostic. Presentation of case We report an atypical appearance of low back pain associated to shock and pulsatile abdominal mass that made us diagnose an abdominal aortic aneurysm as reason of vertebral lysis and pain. Discusion Surgical repair of contained AAA should be directed to secondary re-rupture prevention, with an approximate survival near to 100% at selected patients for elective surgery. Consequently, orthopedic surgery for back spine stabilization has to be elective in those cases when vertebral destruction is above 30% and clinic is directly related to spine instability. Conclusion We should consider AAA as other cause of low back pain and routinely examine the abdomen and seek complementary imaging proves when risk factors for AAA are present. PMID:25569196

  10. Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carroll, Robert Lynn

    1997-04-01

    This new text provides an integrated view of the forces that influence the patterns and rates of vertebrate evolution from the level of living populations and species to those that resulted in the origin of the major vertebrate groups. The evolutionary roles of behavior, development, continental drift, and mass extinctions are compared with the importance of variation and natural selection that were emphasized by Darwin. It is extensively illustrated, showing major transitions between fish and amphibians, dinosaurs and birds, and land mammals to whales. No book since Simpson's Major Features of Evolution has attempted such a broad study of the patterns and forces of evolutionary change. Undergraduate students taking a general or advanced course on evolution, and graduate students and professionals in evolutionary biology and paleontology will find the book of great interest.

  11. Acute compressive myelopathy due to vertebral haemangioma.

    PubMed

    Macki, Mohamed; Bydon, Mohamad; Kaloostian, Paul; Bydon, Ali

    2014-04-28

    A 47-year-old woman with a history of anaemia presented to the emergency room with an acute onset of leg weakness. Physical examination of the bilateral lower extremities was significant for 0/5 muscle strength in all muscle groups with decreased pinprick and temperature sensation. A sensory level at the umbilicus was appreciated. Fine touch and proprioception were preserved. Bowel and bladder function were intact. CT revealed several thoracic, vertebral haemangiomatas. An MRI was suggestive of an epidural clot at the T8-T10-weighted posterior epidural space. At the level of the lesion, the cerebrospinal fluid space was completely effaced, and the flattened spinal cord exhibited signs of oedema and compressive myelopathy. The patient immediately underwent surgical decompression of the spinal cord. An epidural clot and vessel conglomeration were identified. A postoperative spinal angiogram confirmed the diagnosis of vertebral haemangioma. At 1-month follow-up, the patient regained strength and sensation.

  12. Brain size varies with temperature in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Gillooly, James F; McCoy, Michael W

    2014-01-01

    The tremendous variation in brain size among vertebrates has long been thought to be related to differences in species' metabolic rates. It is thought that species with higher metabolic rates can supply more energy to support the relatively high cost of brain tissue. And yet, while body temperature is known to be a major determinant of metabolic rate, the possible effects of temperature on brain size have scarcely been explored. Thus, here we explore the effects of temperature on brain size among diverse vertebrates (fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals). We find that, after controlling for body size, brain size increases exponentially with temperature in much the same way as metabolic rate. These results suggest that temperature-dependent changes in aerobic capacity, which have long been known to affect physical performance, similarly affect brain size. The observed temperature-dependence of brain size may explain observed gradients in brain size among both ectotherms and endotherms across broad spatial and temporal scales.

  13. Population momentum across vertebrate life histories

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Koons, D.N.; Grand, J.B.; Arnold, J.M.

    2006-01-01

    Population abundance is critically important in conservation, management, and demographic theory. Thus, to better understand how perturbations to the life history affect long-term population size, we examined population momentum for four vertebrate classes with different life history strategies. In a series of demographic experiments we show that population momentum generally has a larger effect on long-term population size for organisms with long generation times than for organisms with short generation times. However, patterns between population momentum and generation time varied across taxonomic groups and according to the life history parameter that was changed. Our findings indicate that momentum may be an especially important aspect of population dynamics for long-lived vertebrates, and deserves greater attention in life history studies. Further, we discuss the importance of population momentum in natural resource management, pest control, and conservation arenas. ?? 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  14. Turning Heads: Development of Vertebrate Branchiomotor Neurons

    PubMed Central

    Chandrasekhar, Anand

    2007-01-01

    The cranial motor neurons innervate muscles that control eye, jaw, and facial movements of the vertebrate head and parasympathetic neurons that innervate certain glands and organs. These efferent neurons develop at characteristic locations in the brainstem, and their axons exit the neural tube in well-defined trajectories to innervate target tissues. This review is focused on a subset of cranial motor neurons called the branchiomotor neurons, which innervate muscles derived from the branchial (pharyngeal) arches. First, the organization of the branchiomotor pathways in zebrafish, chick, and mouse embryos will be compared, and the underlying axon guidance mechanisms will be addressed. Next, the molecular mechanisms that generate branchiomotor neurons and specify their identities will be discussed. Finally, the caudally directed or tangential migration of facial branchiomotor neurons will be examined. Given the advances in the characterization and analysis of vertebrate genomes, we can expect rapid progress in elucidating the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the development of these vital neuronal networks. PMID:14699587

  15. Photoreceptor cell fate specification in vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Brzezinski, Joseph A.; Reh, Thomas A.

    2015-01-01

    Photoreceptors – the light-sensitive cells in the vertebrate retina – have been extremely well-characterized with regards to their biochemistry, cell biology and physiology. They therefore provide an excellent model for exploring the factors and mechanisms that drive neural progenitors into a differentiated cell fate in the nervous system. As a result, great progress in understanding the transcriptional network that controls photoreceptor specification and differentiation has been made over the last 20 years. This progress has also enabled the production of photoreceptors from pluripotent stem cells, thereby aiding the development of regenerative medical approaches to eye disease. In this Review, we outline the signaling and transcription factors that drive vertebrate photoreceptor development and discuss how these function together in gene regulatory networks to control photoreceptor cell fate specification. PMID:26443631

  16. Dynamic epithelia of the developing vertebrate face

    PubMed Central

    Choe, Chong Pyo; Crump, J. Gage

    2015-01-01

    A segmental series of endoderm-derived pouch and ectoderm-derived cleft epithelia act as signaling centers in the developing face. Their precise morphogenesis is therefore essential for proper patterning of the vertebrate head. Intercellular adhesion and polarity are highly dynamic within developing facial epithelial cells, with signaling from the adjacent mesenchyme controlling both epithelial character and directional migration. Endodermal and ectodermal epithelia fuse to form the primary mouth and gill slits, which involves basement membrane dissolution, cell intercalations, and apoptosis, as well as undergo further morphogenesis to generate the middle ear cavity and glands of the neck. Recent studies of facial epithelia are revealing both core programs of epithelial morphogenesis and insights into the coordinated assembly of the vertebrate head. PMID:25748249

  17. 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.

  18. A fungal analog for newfoundland ediacaran fossils?

    PubMed

    Peterson, Kevin J; Waggoner, Ben; Hagadorn, James W

    2003-02-01

    We propose that some of the more conspicuous Ediacaran fossils from the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland, including Aspidella, Charnia, and Charniodiscus, were biologically similar to members of the Kingdom Fungi. These organisms were multicellular or multinuclear, lived below the photic zone, could not move or defoul themselves, did not exhibit taphonomic shrinkage, and were not transported or moved. Aspidella, in particular, appears to exhibit indeterminate growth without a maximum size constraint, and appears to show growth zonations similar to modern mycelia. Other fossils from this deposit exhibit a fractal-like growth pattern. Together, these features falsify algal, lichen, and metazoan interpretations of these fossils, yet reflect characteristics of modern fungal mycelia. We emphasize that although no Mistaken Point fossil appears to be a metazoan, not all of the Mistaken Point taxa, and not all of the Ediacaran organisms in general, can reasonably be interpreted using a fungal analogy. Furthermore, the hypothesis that these fossils were functionally fungus-like need not imply that the organisms were members of the crown-group Fungi. We propose further tests for evaluating both this functional hypothesis and the phylogenetic hypothesis that these organisms were members of the total-group Fungi.

  19. Mineralogy of fossil resins in Northern Eurasia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bogdasarov, M. A.

    2007-12-01

    The investigation is focused on identification and origin of fossil resins from the Cretaceous, Tertiary, and Quaternary sediments of Northern Eurasia on the basis of detailed study of their physical and chemical characteristics: morphology; size; mass; density; optical, mechanical, and thermal properties; chemical composition; etc. The composition of amorphous organic minerals with polymeric structure, fossil resins included, is studied with IR spectrometry, the EPR method, derivatography at low heating rates, XRD, chemical analysis, emission spectrometry, etc. The results of investigation summarized for the Baltic-Dnieper, North Siberian, and Far East amber-bearing provinces show some similarity of fossil resins in combination with specific features inherent to each province. Resins from the Baltic-Dnieper province should be termed as amber (succinite). Their variety is the most characteristic of Northern and Eastern Europe. Amber-like fossil resins from the North Siberian and Far East provinces are irrelevant to succinite. They usually occur as brittle resins, namely, retinite and gedanite, without jewelry value. Viscous fossil resin rumänite with an expected high economic value occurs in the Far East, on the shore of Sakhalin Island.

  20. n-Paraffins in the sediments and in situ fossils of the Lake Turkana Basin, Kenya

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Abell, Paul I.; Margolis, Marshall J.

    1982-09-01

    Residual hydrocarbons were extracted from a number of vertebrate fossils and their surrounding sediments collected at six sites in the Plio-Pleistocene sediments of paleo-Lake Turkana in northern Kenya. Gas chromatographic separation of these alkane fractions showed three recognizable suites of hydrocarbons, a C-15 to C-19 group derived from algae, a C-20 to C-30 group with no odd/ even preference derived from microbial action on soil organics, and a C-21 to C-35 group with high odd/even preference derived from plant waxes. No alkanes identifiable as being derived from the original animal fats were observed. The plant wax alkanes and microbial hydrocarbons were nearly ubiquitous, in sands, silts, clays and the fossils. The algal hydrocarbons, on the other hand, were found only in the sands and silts. There were no consistent differences between the hydrocarbon content of the fossils and the surrounding sediments. There were great local variations in alkane distribution, but no patterns were discernible. The total hydrocarbon content of these arid region sediments is almost vanishingly small compared to sediments in more temperate climates.

  1. A geochronologic framework for the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, Snowmass Village, Colorado

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mahan, Shannon; Gray, Harrison J.; Pigati, Jeffrey S.; Wilson, Jim; Lifton, Nathaniel A.; Paces, James B.; Blaauw, Maarten

    2014-01-01

    The Ziegler Reservoir fossil site near Snowmass Village, Colorado, provides a unique opportunity to reconstruct high-altitude paleoenvironmental conditions in the Rocky Mountains during the last interglacial period. We used four different techniques to establish a chronological framework for the site. Radiocarbon dating of lake organics, bone collagen, and shell carbonate, and in situ cosmogenic 10Be and 26Al ages on a boulder on the crest of a moraine that impounded the lake suggest that the ages of the sediments that hosted the fossils are between ~ 140 ka and > 45 ka. Uranium-series ages of vertebrate remains generally fall within these bounds, but extremely low uranium concentrations and evidence of open-system behavior limit their utility. Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) ages (n = 18) obtained from fine-grained quartz maintain stratigraphic order, were replicable, and provide reliable ages for the lake sediments. Analysis of the equivalent dose (DE) dispersion of the OSL samples showed that the sediments were fully bleached prior to deposition and low scatter suggests that eolian processes were likely the dominant transport mechanism for fine-grained sediments into the lake. The resulting ages show that the fossil-bearing sediments span the latest part of marine isotope stage (MIS) 6, all of MIS 5 and MIS 4, and the earliest part of MIS 3.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  3. A geochronologic framework for the Ziegler Reservoir fossil site, Snowmass Village, Colorado

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mahan, Shannon A.; Gray, Harrison J.; Pigati, Jeffrey S.; Wilson, Jim; Lifton, Nathaniel A.; Paces, James B.; Blaauw, Maarten

    2014-11-01

    The Ziegler Reservoir fossil site near Snowmass Village, Colorado (USA), provides a unique opportunity to reconstruct high-altitude paleoenvironmental conditions in the Rocky Mountains during the Last Interglacial Period. We used four different techniques to establish a chronological framework for the site. Radiocarbon dating of lake organics, bone collagen, and shell carbonate, and in situ cosmogenic 10Be and 26Al ages on a boulder on the crest of a moraine that impounded the lake suggest that the ages of the sediments that hosted the fossils are between ~ 140 ka and > 45 ka. Uranium-series ages of vertebrate remains generally fall within these bounds, but extremely low uranium concentrations and evidence of open-system behavior limit their utility. Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) ages (n = 18) obtained from fine-grained quartz maintain stratigraphic order, were replicable, and provide reliable ages for the lake sediments. Analysis of the equivalent dose (DE) dispersion of the OSL samples showed that the sediments were fully bleached prior to deposition and low scatter suggests that eolian processes were likely the dominant transport mechanism for fine-grained sediments into the lake. The resulting ages show that the fossil-bearing sediments span the latest part of Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 6, all of MIS 5 and MIS 4, and the earliest part of MIS 3.

  4. A fossil aardvark (Mammalia, Tubulidentata) from the lower Pliocene of Chad

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lehmann, Thomas; Vignaud, Patrick; Mackaye, Hassane Taïsso; Brunet, Michel

    2004-12-01

    The Mission Paléoanthropologique Franco-Tchadienne (MPFT) found a new species of Orycteropodidae (Mammalia, Tubulidentata) in the Kollé fossiliferous sector, northern Chad. After Orycteropus abundulafus [Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 20 (1) (2000) 205-209; Lehmann, T., Vignaud, P., Likius A., Brunet M., in press. A new Orycteropodidae (Mammalia, Tubulidentata) in the Mio-Pliocene of Northern Chad. Zool. J. Linnean Soc.], this specimen is the second complete skeleton of fossil aardvark found in the Djurab desert. It is the first complete representative of an Orycteropus species found in the Pliocene of Africa. In regard to the Miocene fossil aardvarks, this new taxon, Orycteropus djourabensis nov. sp., shows more affinities with the extant O. afer. The main differences are the larger teeth and the shorter hand in the fossil form. Kossom Bougoudi and Kollé represent a chronological series that gives a unique opportunity for studying the evolution of the African Tubulidentata around the Mio-Pliocene boundary (5.5-4 My). The new species is distinct from the older Chadian Orycteropodid from KB and it embodies the taxonomic turnover that took place within the order Tubulidentata around this boundary in Africa. Moreover, this new species is the oldest known Orycteropus species that clearly belongs to the modern forms including the extant aardvark.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  6. Transmission of ranavirus between ectothermic vertebrate hosts.

    PubMed

    Brenes, Roberto; Gray, Matthew J; Waltzek, Thomas B; Wilkes, Rebecca P; Miller, Debra L

    2014-01-01

    Transmission is an essential process that contributes to the survival of pathogens. Ranaviruses are known to infect different classes of lower vertebrates including amphibians, fishes and reptiles. Differences in the likelihood of infection among ectothermic vertebrate hosts could explain the successful yearlong persistence of ranaviruses in aquatic environments. The goal of this study was to determine if transmission of a Frog Virus 3 (FV3)-like ranavirus was possible among three species from different ectothermic vertebrate classes: Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) larvae, mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis), and red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans). We housed individuals previously exposed to the FV3-like ranavirus with naïve (unexposed) individuals in containers divided by plastic mesh screen to permit water flow between subjects. Our results showed that infected gray treefrog larvae were capable of transmitting ranavirus to naïve larval conspecifics and turtles (60% and 30% infection, respectively), but not to fish. Also, infected turtles and fish transmitted ranavirus to 50% and 10% of the naïve gray treefrog larvae, respectively. Nearly all infected amphibians experienced mortality, whereas infected turtles and fish did not die. Our results demonstrate that ranavirus can be transmitted through water among ectothermic vertebrate classes, which has not been reported previously. Moreover, fish and reptiles might serve as reservoirs for ranavirus given their ability to live with subclinical infections. Subclinical infections of ranavirus in fish and aquatic turtles could contribute to the pathogen's persistence, especially when highly susceptible hosts like amphibians are absent as a result of seasonal fluctuations in relative abundance.

  7. Light sensitivity in a vertebrate mechanoreceptor?

    PubMed Central

    Baker, Gary E.; de Grip, Willem J.; Turton, Michael; Wagner, Hans-Joachim; Foster, Russell G.; Douglas, Ron H.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Using immunohistochemistry and western blot analysis, we demonstrate that melanopsin is localised in cells around the central pore of lateral line neuromasts in the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. Since melanopsin is a known photoreceptor pigment with diverse functions in vertebrates, we suggest that the lateral line of Xenopus laevis, which is primarily a mechanoreceptor, might also be light sensitive. Potential functions of such photosensitivity are discussed, including its role in mediating locomotor responses following dermal illumination. PMID:26206352

  8. The Timing of Timezyme Diversification in Vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Cazaméa-Catalan, Damien; Besseau, Laurence; Falcón, Jack; Magnanou, Elodie

    2014-01-01

    All biological functions in vertebrates are synchronized with daily and seasonal changes in the environment by the time keeping hormone melatonin. Its nocturnal surge is primarily due to the rhythmic activity of the arylalkylamine N-acetyl transferase AANAT, which thus became the focus of many investigations regarding its evolution and function. Various vertebrate isoforms have been reported from cartilaginous fish to mammals but their origin has not been clearly established. Using phylogeny and synteny, we took advantage of the increasing number of available genomes in order to test whether the various rounds of vertebrate whole genome duplications were responsible for the diversification of AANAT. We highlight a gene secondary loss of the AANAT2 in the Sarcopterygii, revealing for the first time that the AAANAT1/2 duplication occurred before the divergence between Actinopterygii (bony fish) and Sarcopterygii (tetrapods, lobe-finned fish, and lungfish). We hypothesize the teleost-specific whole genome duplication (WDG) generated the appearance of the AANAT1a/1b and the AANAT2/2′paralogs, the 2′ isoform being rapidly lost in the teleost common ancestor (ray-finned fish). We also demonstrate the secondary loss of the AANAT1a in a Paracantopterygii (Atlantic cod) and of the 1b in some Ostariophysi (zebrafish and cave fish). Salmonids present an even more diverse set of AANATs that may be due to their specific WGD followed by secondary losses. We propose that vertebrate AANAT diversity resulted from 3 rounds of WGD followed by previously uncharacterized secondary losses. Extant isoforms show subfunctionalized localizations, enzyme activities and affinities that have increased with time since their emergence. PMID:25486407

  9. The timing of Timezyme diversification in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Cazaméa-Catalan, Damien; Besseau, Laurence; Falcón, Jack; Magnanou, Elodie

    2014-01-01

    All biological functions in vertebrates are synchronized with daily and seasonal changes in the environment by the time keeping hormone melatonin. Its nocturnal surge is primarily due to the rhythmic activity of the arylalkylamine N-acetyl transferase AANAT, which thus became the focus of many investigations regarding its evolution and function. Various vertebrate isoforms have been reported from cartilaginous fish to mammals but their origin has not been clearly established. Using phylogeny and synteny, we took advantage of the increasing number of available genomes in order to test whether the various rounds of vertebrate whole genome duplications were responsible for the diversification of AANAT. We highlight a gene secondary loss of the AANAT2 in the Sarcopterygii, revealing for the first time that the AAANAT1/2 duplication occurred before the divergence between Actinopterygii (bony fish) and Sarcopterygii (tetrapods, lobe-finned fish, and lungfish). We hypothesize the teleost-specific whole genome duplication (WDG) generated the appearance of the AANAT1a/1b and the AANAT2/2'paralogs, the 2' isoform being rapidly lost in the teleost common ancestor (ray-finned fish). We also demonstrate the secondary loss of the AANAT1a in a Paracantopterygii (Atlantic cod) and of the 1b in some Ostariophysi (zebrafish and cave fish). Salmonids present an even more diverse set of AANATs that may be due to their specific WGD followed by secondary losses. We propose that vertebrate AANAT diversity resulted from 3 rounds of WGD followed by previously uncharacterized secondary losses. Extant isoforms show subfunctionalized localizations, enzyme activities and affinities that have increased with time since their emergence. PMID:25486407

  10. The immunoglobulins of cold-blooded vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Pettinello, Rita; Dooley, Helen

    2014-11-24

    Although lymphocyte-like cells secreting somatically-recombining receptors have been identified in the jawless fishes (hagfish and lamprey), the cartilaginous fishes (sharks, skates, rays and chimaera) are the most phylogenetically distant group relative to mammals in which bona fide immunoglobulins (Igs) have been found. Studies of the antibodies and humoral immune responses of cartilaginous fishes and other cold-blooded vertebrates (bony fishes, amphibians and reptiles) are not only revealing information about the emergence and roles of the different Ig heavy and light chain isotypes, but also the evolution of specialised adaptive features such as isotype switching, somatic hypermutation and affinity maturation. It is becoming increasingly apparent that while the adaptive immune response in these vertebrate lineages arose a long time ago, it is most definitely not primitive and has evolved to become complex and sophisticated. This review will summarise what is currently known about the immunoglobulins of cold-blooded vertebrates and highlight the differences, and commonalities, between these and more "conventional" mammalian species.

  11. The molecular biology of vertebrate olfaction.

    PubMed

    Hayden, Sara; Teeling, Emma C

    2014-11-01

    The importance of chemosensation for vertebrates is reflected in the vast and variable nature of their chemosensory tissues, neurons, and genes, which we explore in this review. Immense progress has been made in elucidating the molecular biology of olfaction since the discovery of the olfactory receptor genes by Buck and Axel, which eventually won the authors the Nobel Prize. In particular, research linking odor ligands to olfactory receptors (ORs) is truly revolutionizing our understanding of how a large but limited number of chemosensory receptors can allow us to perceive the massive diversity of odors in our habitat. This research is providing insight into the evolution of genomes and providing the raw data needed to explore links between genotype and phenotype, still a grand challenge in biology. Research into olfaction is still developing and will no doubt continue until we have a clear understanding of how all odors are detected and the evolutionary forces that have molded the chemosensory subgenome in vertebrates. This knowledge will not only be a huge step in elucidating olfactory function, advancing scientific knowledge and techniques, but there are also commercial applications for this research. This review focuses on the molecular basis of chemosensation, particularly olfaction, its evolution across vertebrates and the recent molecular advances linking odors to their cognate receptors. PMID:25312375

  12. Flapping wing aerodynamics: from insects to vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Chin, Diana D; Lentink, David

    2016-04-01

    More than a million insects and approximately 11,000 vertebrates utilize flapping wings to fly. However, flapping flight has only been studied in a few of these species, so many challenges remain in understanding this form of locomotion. Five key aerodynamic mechanisms have been identified for insect flight. Among these is the leading edge vortex, which is a convergent solution to avoid stall for insects, bats and birds. The roles of the other mechanisms - added mass, clap and fling, rotational circulation and wing-wake interactions - have not yet been thoroughly studied in the context of vertebrate flight. Further challenges to understanding bat and bird flight are posed by the complex, dynamic wing morphologies of these species and the more turbulent airflow generated by their wings compared with that observed during insect flight. Nevertheless, three dimensionless numbers that combine key flow, morphological and kinematic parameters - the Reynolds number, Rossby number and advance ratio - govern flapping wing aerodynamics for both insects and vertebrates. These numbers can thus be used to organize an integrative framework for studying and comparing animal flapping flight. Here, we provide a roadmap for developing such a framework, highlighting the aerodynamic mechanisms that remain to be quantified and compared across species. Ultimately, incorporating complex flight maneuvers, environmental effects and developmental stages into this framework will also be essential to advancing our understanding of the biomechanics, movement ecology and evolution of animal flight. PMID:27030773

  13. Effects of hypoxia on vertebrate blood vessels.

    PubMed

    Russell, Michael J; Dombkowski, Ryan A; Olson, Kenneth R

    2008-03-01

    Hypoxia contracts mammalian respiratory vessels and increases vascular resistance in respiratory tissues of many vertebrates. In systemic vessels these responses vary, hypoxia relaxes mammalian vessels and contracts systemic arteries from cyclostomes. It has been proposed that hypoxic vasoconstriction in cyclostome systemic arteries is the antecedent to mammalian hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction, however, phylogenetic characterization of hypoxic responses is lacking. In this study, we characterized the hypoxic response of isolated systemic and respiratory vessels from a variety of vertebrates using standard myography. Pre-gill/respiratory (ventral aorta, afferent branchial artery, pulmonary artery) and post-gill/systemic (dorsal and thoracic aortas, efferent branchial artery) from lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus), yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), Pekin duck (Anas platyrhynchos domesticus), chicken (Gallus domesticus) and rat (Rattus norvegicus) were exposed to hypoxia at rest or during pre-stimulation (elevated extracellular potassium, epinephrine or norepinephrine). Hypoxia produced a relaxation or transient contraction followed by relaxation in all pre-gill vessels, except for contraction in lamprey, and vasoconstriction or tri-phasic constriction-dilation-constriction in all pulmonary vessels. Hypoxia contracted systemic vessels from all animals except shark and rat and in pre-contracted rat aortas it produced a transient contraction followed by relaxation. These results show that while the classic "systemic hypoxic vasodilation and pulmonary hypoxic vasoconstriction" may occur in the microcirculation, the hypoxic response of the vertebrate macrocirculation is quite variable. These findings also suggest that hypoxic vasoconstriction is a phylogenetically ancient response. PMID:18214862

  14. BK Channels in the Vertebrate Inner Ear.

    PubMed

    Pyott, S J; Duncan, R K

    2016-01-01

    The perception of complex acoustic stimuli begins with the deconstruction of sound into its frequency components. This spectral processing occurs first and foremost in the inner ear. In vertebrates, two very different strategies of frequency analysis have evolved. In nonmammalian vertebrates, the sensory hair cells of the inner ear are intrinsically electrically tuned to a narrow band of acoustic frequencies. This electrical tuning relies on the interplay between BK channels and voltage-gated calcium channels. Systematic variations in BK channel density and kinetics establish a gradient in electrical resonance that enables the coding of a broad range of acoustic frequencies. In contrast, mammalian hair cells are extrinsically tuned by mechanical properties of the cochlear duct. Even so, mammalian hair cells also express BK channels. These BK channels play critical roles in various aspects of mammalian auditory signaling, from developmental maturation to protection against acoustic trauma. This review summarizes the anatomical localization, biophysical properties, and functional contributions of BK channels in vertebrate inner ears. Areas of future research, based on an updated understanding of the biology of both BK channels and the inner ear, are also highlighted. Investigation of BK channels in the inner ear continues to provide fertile research grounds for examining both BK channel biophysics and the molecular mechanisms underlying signal processing in the auditory periphery. PMID:27238269

  15. The immunoglobulins of cold-blooded vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Pettinello, Rita; Dooley, Helen

    2014-01-01

    Although lymphocyte-like cells secreting somatically-recombining receptors have been identified in the jawless fishes (hagfish and lamprey), the cartilaginous fishes (sharks, skates, rays and chimaera) are the most phylogenetically distant group relative to mammals in which bona fide immunoglobulins (Igs) have been found. Studies of the antibodies and humoral immune responses of cartilaginous fishes and other cold-blooded vertebrates (bony fishes, amphibians and reptiles) are not only revealing information about the emergence and roles of the different Ig heavy and light chain isotypes, but also the evolution of specialised adaptive features such as isotype switching, somatic hypermutation and affinity maturation. It is becoming increasingly apparent that while the adaptive immune response in these vertebrate lineages arose a long time ago, it is most definitely not primitive and has evolved to become complex and sophisticated. This review will summarise what is currently known about the immunoglobulins of cold-blooded vertebrates and highlight the differences, and commonalities, between these and more "conventional" mammalian species. PMID:25427250

  16. T-cell receptors in ectothermic vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Charlemagne, J; Fellah, J S; De Guerra, A; Kerfourn, F; Partula, S

    1998-12-01

    The structure and expression of genes encoding molecules homologous to mammalian T-cell receptors (TCR) have been recently studied in ectothermic vertebrate species representative of chondrychthians, teleosts, and amphibians. The overall TCR chain structure is well conserved in phylogeny: TCR beta- and TCR alpha-like chains were detected in all the species analyzed; TCR gamma- and TCR delta-like chains were also present in a chondrychthian species. The diversity potential of the variable (V) and joining (J) segments is rather large and, as in mammals, conserved diversity (D) segments are associated to the TCR beta and TCR delta chains. An important level of junctional diversity occurred at the V-(D)-J junctions, with the potential addition of N- and P-nucleotides. Thus, the conservation of the structure and of the potential of diversity of TCR molecules have been under a permanent selective pressure during vertebrate evolution. The structure of MHC class I and class II molecules was also well conserved in jawed vertebrates. TCR and MHC molecules are strongly functionally linked and play a determinant role in the initiation and the regulation of the specific immune responses; thus, it is not surprising that their structures have been reciprocally frozen during evolution. PMID:9914905

  17. Nestedness of Ectoparasite-Vertebrate Host Networks

    PubMed Central

    Graham, Sean P.; Hassan, Hassan K.; Burkett-Cadena, Nathan D.; Guyer, Craig; Unnasch, Thomas R.

    2009-01-01

    Determining the structure of ectoparasite-host networks will enable disease ecologists to better understand and predict the spread of vector-borne diseases. If these networks have consistent properties, then studying the structure of well-understood networks could lead to extrapolation of these properties to others, including those that support emerging pathogens. Borrowing a quantitative measure of network structure from studies of mutualistic relationships between plants and their pollinators, we analyzed 29 ectoparasite-vertebrate host networks—including three derived from molecular bloodmeal analysis of mosquito feeding patterns—using measures of nestedness to identify non-random interactions among species. We found significant nestedness in ectoparasite-vertebrate host lists for habitats ranging from tropical rainforests to polar environments. These networks showed non-random patterns of nesting, and did not differ significantly from published estimates of nestedness from mutualistic networks. Mutualistic and antagonistic networks appear to be organized similarly, with generalized ectoparasites interacting with hosts that attract many ectoparasites and more specialized ectoparasites usually interacting with these same “generalized” hosts. This finding has implications for understanding the network dynamics of vector-born pathogens. We suggest that nestedness (rather than random ectoparasite-host associations) can allow rapid transfer of pathogens throughout a network, and expand upon such concepts as the dilution effect, bridge vectors, and host switching in the context of nested ectoparasite-vertebrate host networks. PMID:19924299

  18. Fungal osteomyelitis with vertebral re-ossification

    PubMed Central

    O′Guinn, Devon J.; Serletis, Demitre; Kazemi, Noojan

    2015-01-01

    Introduction We present a rare case of thoracic vertebral osteomyelitis secondary to pulmonary Blastomyces dermatitides. Presentation of case A 27-year-old male presented with three months of chest pains and non-productive cough. Examination revealed diminished breath sounds on the right. CT/MR imaging confirmed a right-sided pre-/paravertebral soft tissue mass and destructive lytic lesions from T2 to T6. CT-guided needle biopsy confirmed granulomatous pulmonary Blastomycosis. Conservative management with antifungal therapy was initiated. Neurosurgical review confirmed no clinical or profound radiographic instability, and the patient was stabilized with TLSO bracing. Serial imaging 3 months later revealed near-resolution of the thoracic soft tissue mass, with vertebral re-ossification from T2 to T6. Discussion Fungal osteomyelitis presents a rare entity in the spectrum of spinal infections. In such cases, lytic spinal lesions are classically seen in association with a large paraspinous mass. Fungal infections of the spinal column may be treated conservatively, with surgical intervention reserved for progressive cases manifesting with neurological compromise and/or spinal column instability. Here, we found unexpected evidence for vertebral re-ossification across the affected thoracic levels (T2-6) in response to IV antibiotic therapy and conservative bracing, nearly 3 months later. PMID:26692163

  19. Flapping wing aerodynamics: from insects to vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Chin, Diana D; Lentink, David

    2016-04-01

    More than a million insects and approximately 11,000 vertebrates utilize flapping wings to fly. However, flapping flight has only been studied in a few of these species, so many challenges remain in understanding this form of locomotion. Five key aerodynamic mechanisms have been identified for insect flight. Among these is the leading edge vortex, which is a convergent solution to avoid stall for insects, bats and birds. The roles of the other mechanisms - added mass, clap and fling, rotational circulation and wing-wake interactions - have not yet been thoroughly studied in the context of vertebrate flight. Further challenges to understanding bat and bird flight are posed by the complex, dynamic wing morphologies of these species and the more turbulent airflow generated by their wings compared with that observed during insect flight. Nevertheless, three dimensionless numbers that combine key flow, morphological and kinematic parameters - the Reynolds number, Rossby number and advance ratio - govern flapping wing aerodynamics for both insects and vertebrates. These numbers can thus be used to organize an integrative framework for studying and comparing animal flapping flight. Here, we provide a roadmap for developing such a framework, highlighting the aerodynamic mechanisms that remain to be quantified and compared across species. Ultimately, incorporating complex flight maneuvers, environmental effects and developmental stages into this framework will also be essential to advancing our understanding of the biomechanics, movement ecology and evolution of animal flight.

  20. The Immunoglobulins of Cold-Blooded Vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Pettinello, Rita; Dooley, Helen

    2014-01-01

    Although lymphocyte-like cells secreting somatically-recombining receptors have been identified in the jawless fishes (hagfish and lamprey), the cartilaginous fishes (sharks, skates, rays and chimaera) are the most phylogenetically distant group relative to mammals in which bona fide immunoglobulins (Igs) have been found. Studies of the antibodies and humoral immune responses of cartilaginous fishes and other cold-blooded vertebrates (bony fishes, amphibians and reptiles) are not only revealing information about the emergence and roles of the different Ig heavy and light chain isotypes, but also the evolution of specialised adaptive features such as isotype switching, somatic hypermutation and affinity maturation. It is becoming increasingly apparent that while the adaptive immune response in these vertebrate lineages arose a long time ago, it is most definitely not primitive and has evolved to become complex and sophisticated. This review will summarise what is currently known about the immunoglobulins of cold-blooded vertebrates and highlight the differences, and commonalities, between these and more “conventional” mammalian species. PMID:25427250

  1. The molecular biology of vertebrate olfaction.

    PubMed

    Hayden, Sara; Teeling, Emma C

    2014-11-01

    The importance of chemosensation for vertebrates is reflected in the vast and variable nature of their chemosensory tissues, neurons, and genes, which we explore in this review. Immense progress has been made in elucidating the molecular biology of olfaction since the discovery of the olfactory receptor genes by Buck and Axel, which eventually won the authors the Nobel Prize. In particular, research linking odor ligands to olfactory receptors (ORs) is truly revolutionizing our understanding of how a large but limited number of chemosensory receptors can allow us to perceive the massive diversity of odors in our habitat. This research is providing insight into the evolution of genomes and providing the raw data needed to explore links between genotype and phenotype, still a grand challenge in biology. Research into olfaction is still developing and will no doubt continue until we have a clear understanding of how all odors are detected and the evolutionary forces that have molded the chemosensory subgenome in vertebrates. This knowledge will not only be a huge step in elucidating olfactory function, advancing scientific knowledge and techniques, but there are also commercial applications for this research. This review focuses on the molecular basis of chemosensation, particularly olfaction, its evolution across vertebrates and the recent molecular advances linking odors to their cognate receptors.

  2. FRAX and the effect of teriparatide on vertebral and non-vertebral fracture

    PubMed Central

    Harvey, Nicholas C; Kanis, John A; Odén, Anders; Burge, Russel T; Mitlak, Bruce H; Johansson, Helena; McCloskey, Eugene V

    2016-01-01

    Summary Daily teriparatide injections have been shown to reduce vertebral and non-vertebral fractures. Here we demonstrate that the magnitude of fracture risk reduction is independent of baseline fracture probability assessed by FRAX. Background Daily administration of 20μg or 40μg teriparatide has been shown to significantly decrease the risk of vertebral and non-vertebral fracture compared with placebo. The aim of the present study was to evaluate fracture risk assessed at baseline using the FRAX® tool and to determine the efficacy of teriparatide as a function of baseline fracture risk. Methods 1637 postmenopausal women in the pivotal phase 3 trial, randomly assigned to receive placebo (n=544), teriparatide 20 μg per day (n=541) or teriparatide 40 μg per day (n=552), were studied. Baseline clinical risk factors were entered into country-specific FRAX models to compute the 10-year probability of major osteoporotic fractures with or without input of femoral neck BMD. Because there was no difference in effect of 20 and 40μg teriparatide daily on fracture occurrence, the two active groups were merged. The interaction between probability of a major fracture and treatment efficacy was examined by Poisson regression. Results The 10-year probability of major osteoporotic fractures (with BMD) ranged from 2.2-67.2%. Treatment with teriparatide was associated with a 37% decrease in all non-vertebral fractures (95% CI:10-56 %) and a 56% decrease in low energy non-vertebral fractures (95% CI:24-75%) compared with placebo. The risk of morphometric vertebral fractures decreased significantly by 66% (95% CI:50-77%). Hazard ratios for the effect of teriparatide on the fracture outcome did not change significantly with increasing fracture probability (p>0.30). Similar findings were noted for the interaction when BMD was excluded from the FRAX model, or when probability of hip fracture was used as the marker of baseline risk. Conclusion We conclude that teriparatide

  3. Fossil mammoths from Santa Cruz Island, California

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cushing, John; Daily, Marla; Noble, Elmer; Louise Roth, V.; Wenner, Adrian

    1984-05-01

    Mammoth remains on Santa Cruz Island, one of the four Northern Channel Islands of California, are very sparse, in marked contrast to those reported from Santa Rosa and San Miguel Islands of the same island group. A probable major reason for this scarcity is that Quaternary deposits are greatly restricted on Santa Cruz Island. It is proposed, contrary to popular opinion, that fossils found on Santa Cruz Island were derived from animals which died on the island, and were not transported there by humans. Reasons for this conclusion are that the size and geological context of the fossils are similar to those of the largest mammoth fossils of Santa Rosa Island, and that, in spite of extensive investigations by many persons, mammoth remains have not been found in middens, either on the islands or on the adjacent mainland.

  4. Eumetazoan fossils in terminal proterozoic phosphorites?

    PubMed

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

    2000-12-01

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

  5. 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.

  6. Fossil evidence of the zygomycetous fungi.

    PubMed

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

    2013-06-01

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

  7. 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. PMID:22021670

  8. 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.

  9. Eumetazoan fossils in terminal proterozoic phosphorites?

    PubMed

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

    2000-12-01

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

  10. Surgical treatment of aggressive vertebral hemangiomas.

    PubMed

    Vasudeva, Viren S; Chi, John H; Groff, Michael W

    2016-08-01

    OBJECTIVE Vertebral hemangiomas are common tumors that are benign and generally asymptomatic. Occasionally these lesions can exhibit aggressive features such as bony expansion and erosion into the epidural space resulting in neurological symptoms. Surgery is often recommended in these cases, especially if symptoms are severe or rapidly progressive. Some surgeons perform decompression alone, others perform gross-total resection, while others perform en bloc resection. Radiation, embolization, vertebroplasty, and ethanol injection have also been used in combination with surgery. Despite the variety of available treatment options, the optimal management strategy is unclear because aggressive vertebral hemangiomas are uncommon lesions, making it difficult to perform large trials. For this reason, the authors chose instead to report their institutional experience along with a comprehensive review of the literature. METHODS A departmental database was searched for patients with a pathological diagnosis of "hemangioma" between 2008 and 2015. Medical records were reviewed to identify patients with aggressive vertebral hemangiomas, and these cases were reviewed in detail. RESULTS Five patients were identified who underwent surgery for treatment of aggressive vertebral hemangiomas during the specified time period. There were 2 lumbar and 3 thoracic lesions. One patient underwent en bloc spondylectomy, 2 patients had piecemeal gross-total resection, and the remaining 2 had subtotal tumor resection. Intraoperative vertebroplasty was used in 3 cases to augment the anterior column or to obliterate residual tumor. Adjuvant radiation was used in 1 case where there was residual tumor as well. The patient who underwent en bloc spondylectomy experienced several postoperative complications requiring additional medical care and reoperation. At an average follow-up of 31 months (range 3-65 months), no patient had any recurrence of disease and all were clinically asymptomatic, except the

  11. Surgical treatment of aggressive vertebral hemangiomas.

    PubMed

    Vasudeva, Viren S; Chi, John H; Groff, Michael W

    2016-08-01

    OBJECTIVE Vertebral hemangiomas are common tumors that are benign and generally asymptomatic. Occasionally these lesions can exhibit aggressive features such as bony expansion and erosion into the epidural space resulting in neurological symptoms. Surgery is often recommended in these cases, especially if symptoms are severe or rapidly progressive. Some surgeons perform decompression alone, others perform gross-total resection, while others perform en bloc resection. Radiation, embolization, vertebroplasty, and ethanol injection have also been used in combination with surgery. Despite the variety of available treatment options, the optimal management strategy is unclear because aggressive vertebral hemangiomas are uncommon lesions, making it difficult to perform large trials. For this reason, the authors chose instead to report their institutional experience along with a comprehensive review of the literature. METHODS A departmental database was searched for patients with a pathological diagnosis of "hemangioma" between 2008 and 2015. Medical records were reviewed to identify patients with aggressive vertebral hemangiomas, and these cases were reviewed in detail. RESULTS Five patients were identified who underwent surgery for treatment of aggressive vertebral hemangiomas during the specified time period. There were 2 lumbar and 3 thoracic lesions. One patient underwent en bloc spondylectomy, 2 patients had piecemeal gross-total resection, and the remaining 2 had subtotal tumor resection. Intraoperative vertebroplasty was used in 3 cases to augment the anterior column or to obliterate residual tumor. Adjuvant radiation was used in 1 case where there was residual tumor as well. The patient who underwent en bloc spondylectomy experienced several postoperative complications requiring additional medical care and reoperation. At an average follow-up of 31 months (range 3-65 months), no patient had any recurrence of disease and all were clinically asymptomatic, except the

  12. A Classification System for the Spread of Polymethyl Methacrylate in Vertebral Bodies Treated with Vertebral Augmentation

    PubMed Central

    Frankl, Joseph; Sakata, Michael P.; Choudhary, Gagandeep; Hur, Seung; Peterson, Andrew; Hennemeyer, Charles T.

    2016-01-01

    In this study, we develop a classification system for describing polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) spread in vertebral bodies after kyphoplasty or vertebroplasty for vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) and for assessing whether PMMA spread varies between operators, VCF etiology, or vertebral level. Intraoperative fluoroscopic images of 198 vertebral levels were reviewed in 137 patients (women, 84; men, 53; mean age, 75.8 ± 12.5; and those with a diagnosis of osteoporosis, 63%) treated with kyphoplasty between January 01, 2015 and May 31, 2015 at a single center to create a 5-class descriptive system. PMMA spread patterns in the same images were then classified by 2 board-certified radiologists, and a third board-certified radiologist resolved conflicts. A total of 2 primary PMMA spread patterns were identified, namely, acinar and globular, with subtypes of localized acinar, diffuse globular, and mixed, to describe an equal combination of patterns. Interrater reliability using the system was moderate (κ = 0.47). After resolving conflicts, the most common spread class was globular (n = 63), followed by mixed (n = 58), diffuse globular (n = 30), acinar (n = 27), and localized acinar (n = 20). The spread class after treatment by the 2 most frequent operators differed significantly (n1 = 63, n2 = 70; P < .0001). There was no difference in the spread class between VCF etiologies or vertebral levels. PMMA spread may, therefore, be a modifiable parameter that affects kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty efficacy and adverse events. PMID:27795998

  13. 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.

  14. 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. PMID:26239283

  15. 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).

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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. PMID:1909768

  19. Scatological origin of microvertebrate fossil accumulations.

    PubMed

    Mellett, J S

    1974-07-26

    Small-mammal bone found in Recent carnivore droppings (scat) is identical in appearance with that in many Mesozoic and Tertiary microvertebrate fossil collections. Such fossil specimens passed into or through the digestive tracts of carnivores before being left as scat that was later reworked into sedimentary rocks. The term "coprocoenosis" is proposed for such an assemblage. Caution is urged in drawing conclusions about the composition of paleocommunities because carnivores can catch prey representing several different communities and leave a mixed assemblage in a particular depositional environment.

  20. Vertebrate MitBASE: a specialised database on vertebrate mitochondrial DNA sequences.

    PubMed

    Carone, A; Malladi, S B; Attimonelli, M; Saccone, C

    1999-01-01

    Vertebrate MitBASE is a specialized database where all the vertebrate mitochondrial DNA entries from primary databases are collected, revised and integrated with new information emerging from the literature. Variant sequences are also analyzed, aligned and linked to reference sequences. Data related to the same species and fragment can be viewed over the WWW. The database has a flexible interface and a retrieval system to help non-expert users and contains information not currently available in the primary databases. Vertebrate MitBASE is now available through the MitBASE home page at URL: http://www.ebi.ac.uk/htbin/Mitbase/mitb ase.pl. This work is part of a larger project, MitBASE which is a network of databases covering the full panorama of knowledge on mitochondrial DNA from protists to human sequences.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2005-08-01

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

  2. Tail use improves performance on soft substrates in models of early vertebrate land locomotors.

    PubMed

    McInroe, Benjamin; Astley, Henry C; Gong, Chaohui; Kawano, Sandy M; Schiebel, Perrin E; Rieser, Jennifer M; Choset, Howie; Blob, Richard W; Goldman, Daniel I

    2016-07-01

    In the evolutionary transition from an aquatic to a terrestrial environment, early tetrapods faced the challenges of terrestrial locomotion on flowable substrates, such as sand and mud of variable stiffness and incline. The morphology and range of motion of appendages can be revealed in fossils; however, biological and robophysical studies of modern taxa have shown that movement on such substrates can be sensitive to small changes in appendage use. Using a biological model (the mudskipper), a physical robot model, granular drag measurements, and theoretical tools from geometric mechanics, we demonstrate how tail use can improve robustness to variable limb use and substrate conditions. We hypothesize that properly coordinated tail movements could have provided a substantial benefit for the earliest vertebrates to move on land. PMID:27387947

  3. Early Bone Marrow Edema Pattern of the Osteoporotic Vertebral Compression Fracture : Can Be Predictor of Vertebral Deformity Types and Prognosis?

    PubMed Central

    Ahn, Sung Eun; Park, Ji Seon; Jin, Wook; Park, So Young; Kim, Sung Bum

    2016-01-01

    Objective To evaluate whether an early bone marrow edema pattern predicts vertebral deformity types and prognosis in osteoporotic vertebral compression fracture (OVCF). Methods This retrospective study enrolled 64 patients with 75 acute OVCFs who underwent early MRI and followed up MRI. On early MRI, the low SI pattern of OVCF on T1WI were assessed and classified into 3 types (diffuse, globular or patchy, band-like). On followed up MRI, the vertebral deformity types (anterior wedge, biconcave, crush), degree of vertebral body height loss, incidence of vertebral osteonecrosis and spinal stenosis were assessed for each vertebral fracture types. Results According to the early bone marrow edema pattern on T1WI, 26 vertebrae were type 1, 14 vertebrae were type 2 and 35 vertebrae were type 3. On followed up MRI, the crush-type vertebral deformity was most frequent among the type 1 OVCFs, the biconcave-type vertebral deformity was most frequent among the type 2 OVCFs and the anterior wedge-type vertebral deformity was most frequent among the type 3 OVCFs (p<0.001). In addition, type 1 early bone marrow edema pattern of OVCF on T1WI were associated with higher incidence of severe degree vertebral body height loss, vertebral osteonecrosis and spinal stenosis on the follow up MRI. Conclusion Early bone marrow edema pattern of OVCF on T1WI, significant correlated with vertebral deformity types on the follow up MRI. The severe degree of vertebral height loss, vertebral osteonecrosis, and spinal stenosis were more frequent in patients with diffuse low SI pattern. PMID:26962419

  4. Can extinction rates be estimated without fossils?

    PubMed

    Paradis, Emmanuel

    2004-07-01

    There is considerable interest in the possibility of using molecular phylogenies to estimate extinction rates. The present study aims at assessing the statistical performance of the birth-death model fitting approach to estimate speciation and extinction rates by comparison to the approach considering fossil data. A simulation-based approach was used. The diversification of a large number of lineages was simulated under a wide range of speciation and extinction rate values. The estimators obtained with fossils performed better than those without fossils. In the absence of fossils (e.g. with a molecular phylogeny), the speciation rate was correctly estimated in a wide range of situations; the bias of the corresponding estimator was close to zero for the largest trees. However, this estimator was substantially biased when the simulated extinction rate was high. On the other hand the estimator of extinction rate was biased in a wide range of situations. Surprisingly, this bias was lesser with medium-sized trees. Some recommendations for interpreting results from a diversification analysis are given.

  5. Evolution: Fossil Ears and Underwater Sonar.

    PubMed

    Lambert, Olivier

    2016-08-22

    A key innovation in the history of whales was the evolution of a sonar system together with high-frequency hearing. Fossils of an archaic toothed whale's inner ear bones provide clues for a stepwise emergence of underwater echolocation ability. PMID:27554653

  6. Fossil Crustaceans as Parasites and Hosts.

    PubMed

    Klompmaker, Adiël A; Boxshall, Geoff A

    2015-01-01

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

  7. The Fascinating Story of Fossil Fuels

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Asimov, Isaac

    1973-01-01

    How this energy source was created, its meaning to mankind, our drastically reduced supply, and why we cannot wait for nature to make more are considered. Today fossil fuels supply 96 percent of the energy used but we must find alternate energy options if we are to combat the energy crisis. (BL)

  8. Thermal dissolution of solid fossil fuels

    SciTech Connect

    E.G. Gorlov

    2007-10-15

    The use of oil shales and coals in the processes of thermal dissolution is considered. It is shown that thermal dissolution is a mode of liquefaction of solid fossil fuels and can be used both independently and in combination with liquefaction of coals and processing of heavy petroleum residues.

  9. Fundamentals of fossil simulator instructor training

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1984-01-01

    This single-volume, looseleaf text introduces the beginning instructor to fundamental instructor training principles, and then shows how to apply those principles to fossil simulator training. Topics include the fundamentals of classroom instruction, the learning process, course development, and the specifics of simulator training program development.

  10. Fossil Cores In The Kepler Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jackson, Brian

    Most gas giant exoplanets with orbital periods < few days are unstable against tidal decay and may be tidally disrupted before their host stars leave the main sequence. These gas giants probably contain rocky/icy cores, and so their cores will be stranded near their progenitor's Roche limit (few hours orbital period). These fossil cores will evade the Kepler mission's transit search because it is focused on periods > 0.5 days, but finding these fossil cores would provide unprecedented insights into planetary interiors and formation ? e.g., they would be a smoking gun favoring formation of gas giants via core accretion. We propose to search for and characterize fossil cores in the Kepler dataset. We will vet candidates using the Kepler photometry and auxiliary data, collect ground-based spectra of the host stars and radial-velocity (RV) and adaptive optics (AO) data to corroborate candidates. We will also constrain stellar tidal dissipation efficiencies (parameterized by Q) by determining our survey's completeness, elucidating dynamical origins and evolution of exoplanets even if we find no fossil cores. Our preliminary search has already found several dozen candidates, so the proposed survey has a high likelihood of success.

  11. From Fossils to Facts to Stories.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hungerford, Harold R.; Steinruck, Yvonne Siv

    1978-01-01

    Eight steps are outlined for presenting a combined science/language experience unit to primary students, in which the children observe and discuss a phenomenon and dictate a group report. Sample projects with fossils, magnets, and air pressure are described. (SJL)

  12. Fossil Energy Materials Program conference proceedings

    SciTech Connect

    Judkins, R.R.

    1987-08-01

    The US Department of Energy Office of Fossil Energy has recognized the need for materials research and development to assure the adequacy of materials of construction for advanced fossil energy systems. The principal responsibility for identifying needed materials research and for establishing a program to address these needs resides within the Office of Technical Coordination. That office has established the Advanced Research and Technology Development (AR and TD) Fossil Energy Materials Program to fulfill that responsibility. In addition to the AR and TD Materials Program, which is designed to address in a generic way the materials needs of fossil energy systems, specific materials support activities are also sponsored by the various line organizations such as the Office of Coal Gasification. A conference was held at Oak Ridge, Tennessee on May 19-21, 1987, to present and discuss the results of program activities during the past year. The conference program was organized in accordance with the research thrust areas we have established. These research thrust areas include structural ceramics (particularly fiber-reinforced ceramic composites), corrosion and erosion, and alloy development and mechanical properties. Eighty-six people attended the conference. Papers have been entered individually into EDB and ERA. (LTN)

  13. Fossil fuels supplies modeling and research

    SciTech Connect

    Leiby, P.N.

    1996-06-01

    The fossil fuel supplies modeling and research effort focuses on models for US Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) planning and management. Topics covered included new SPR oil valuation models, updating models for SPR risk analysis, and fill-draw planning. Another task in this program area is the development of advanced computational tools for three-dimensional seismic analysis.

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

    PubMed Central

    Guinot, Guillaume; Adnet, Sylvain; Cappetta, Henri

    2012-01-01

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

  15. Evolution of Vertebrate Phototransduction: Cascade Activation

    PubMed Central

    Lamb, Trevor D.; Patel, Hardip; Chuah, Aaron; Natoli, Riccardo C.; Davies, Wayne I. L.; Hart, Nathan S.; Collin, Shaun P.; Hunt, David M.

    2016-01-01

    We applied high-throughput sequencing to eye tissue from several species of basal vertebrates (a hagfish, two species of lamprey, and five species of gnathostome fish), and we analyzed the mRNA sequences for the proteins underlying activation of the phototransduction cascade. The molecular phylogenies that we constructed from these sequences are consistent with the 2R WGD model of two rounds of whole genome duplication. Our analysis suggests that agnathans retain an additional representative (that has been lost in gnathostomes) in each of the gene families we studied; the evidence is strong for the G-protein α subunit (GNAT) and the cGMP phosphodiesterase (PDE6), and indicative for the cyclic nucleotide-gated channels (CNGA and CNGB). Two of the species (the hagfish Eptatretus cirrhatus and the lamprey Mordacia mordax) possess only a single class of photoreceptor, simplifying deductions about the composition of cascade protein isoforms utilized in their photoreceptors. For the other lamprey, Geotria australis, analysis of the ratios of transcript levels in downstream and upstream migrant animals permits tentative conclusions to be drawn about the isoforms used in four of the five spectral classes of photoreceptor. Overall, our results suggest that agnathan rod-like photoreceptors utilize the same GNAT1 as gnathostomes, together with a homodimeric PDE6 that may be agnathan-specific, whereas agnathan cone-like photoreceptors utilize a GNAT that may be agnathan-specific, together with the same PDE6C as gnathostomes. These findings help elucidate the evolution of the vertebrate phototransduction cascade from an ancestral chordate phototransduction cascade that existed prior to the vertebrate radiation. PMID:27189541

  16. Evolution of Vertebrate Phototransduction: Cascade Activation.

    PubMed

    Lamb, Trevor D; Patel, Hardip; Chuah, Aaron; Natoli, Riccardo C; Davies, Wayne I L; Hart, Nathan S; Collin, Shaun P; Hunt, David M

    2016-08-01

    We applied high-throughput sequencing to eye tissue from several species of basal vertebrates (a hagfish, two species of lamprey, and five species of gnathostome fish), and we analyzed the mRNA sequences for the proteins underlying activation of the phototransduction cascade. The molecular phylogenies that we constructed from these sequences are consistent with the 2R WGD model of two rounds of whole genome duplication. Our analysis suggests that agnathans retain an additional representative (that has been lost in gnathostomes) in each of the gene families we studied; the evidence is strong for the G-protein α subunit (GNAT) and the cGMP phosphodiesterase (PDE6), and indicative for the cyclic nucleotide-gated channels (CNGA and CNGB). Two of the species (the hagfish Eptatretus cirrhatus and the lamprey Mordacia mordax) possess only a single class of photoreceptor, simplifying deductions about the composition of cascade protein isoforms utilized in their photoreceptors. For the other lamprey, Geotria australis, analysis of the ratios of transcript levels in downstream and upstream migrant animals permits tentative conclusions to be drawn about the isoforms used in four of the five spectral classes of photoreceptor. Overall, our results suggest that agnathan rod-like photoreceptors utilize the same GNAT1 as gnathostomes, together with a homodimeric PDE6 that may be agnathan-specific, whereas agnathan cone-like photoreceptors utilize a GNAT that may be agnathan-specific, together with the same PDE6C as gnathostomes. These findings help elucidate the evolution of the vertebrate phototransduction cascade from an ancestral chordate phototransduction cascade that existed prior to the vertebrate radiation. PMID:27189541

  17. Vertebral Body Growth After Craniospinal Irradiation

    SciTech Connect

    Hartley, Katherine A.; Li Chenghong; Laningham, Fred H.; Krasin, Matthew J.; Xiong Xiaoping; Merchant, Thomas E.

    2008-04-01

    Purpose: To estimate the effects of radiotherapy and clinical factors on vertebral growth in patients with medulloblastoma and supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumors treated with craniospinal irradiation (CSI) and chemotherapy. Methods and Materials: The height of eight individual or grouped vertebral bodies (C3, C3-C4, T4, T4-T5, C6-T3, T4-T7, L3, L1-L5) was measured before and after CSI (23.4 or 36-39.6 Gy) in 61 patients. Of the 61 patients, 40 were boys and 21 were girls (median age, 7 years; range, 3-13 years), treated between October 1996 and October 2003. Sagittal T{sub 1}-weighted magnetic resonance images were used for the craniocaudal measurements. The measurements numbered 275 (median, 5/patient; range, 3-7). The median follow-up after CSI was 44.1 months (range, 13.8-74.9 months). Results: Significant growth was observed in all measured vertebrae. Excluding C3-C4, the growth rate of the grouped vertebrae was affected by age, gender, and CSI dose (risk classification). The risk classification alone affected the growth rates of C3 (p = 0.002) and L3 (p = 0.02). Before CSI, the length of all vertebral bodies was an increasing function of age (p <0.0001). The C3 length before CSI was affected by gender and risk classification: C3 was longer for female (p = 0.07) and high-risk (p = 0.07) patients. Conclusion: All vertebrae grew significantly after CSI, with the vertebrae of the boys and younger patients growing at a rate greater than that of their counterparts. The effect of age was similar across all vertebrae, and gender had the greatest effect on the growth of the lower cervical and upper thoracic vertebrae. The effect of the risk classification was greatest in the lumbar spine by a factor of {<=}10.

  18. Evaluation and Management of Vertebral Compression Fractures

    PubMed Central

    Alexandru, Daniela; So, William

    2012-01-01

    Compression fractures affect many individuals worldwide. An estimated 1.5 million vertebral compression fractures occur every year in the US. They are common in elderly populations, and 25% of postmenopausal women are affected by a compression fracture during their lifetime. Although these fractures rarely require hospital admission, they have the potential to cause significant disability and morbidity, often causing incapacitating back pain for many months. This review provides information on the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of compression fractures, as well as clinical manifestations and treatment options. Among the available treatment options, kyphoplasty and percutaneous vertebroplasty are two minimally invasive techniques to alleviate pain and correct the sagittal imbalance of the spine. PMID:23251117

  19. Quaternary vertebrates from Greenland: A review

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bennike, Ole

    Remains of fishes, birds and mammals are rarely reported from Quaternary deposits in Greenland. The oldest remains come from Late Pliocene and Early Pleistocene deposits and comprise Atlantic cod, hare, rabbit and ringed seal. Interglacial and interstadial deposits have yielded remains of cod, little auk, collared lemming, ringed seal, reindeer and bowhead whale. Early and Mid-Holocene finds include capelin, polar cod, red fish, sculpin, three-spined stickleback, Lapland longspur, Arctic hare, collared lemming, wolf, walrus, ringed seal, reindeer and bowhead whale. It is considered unlikely that vertebrates could survive in Greenland during the peak of the last glaciation, but many species had probably already immigrated in the Early Holocene.

  20. Intracranial Vertebral Artery Dissections: Evolving Perspectives

    PubMed Central

    Ali, M.S.; Amenta, P.S.; Starke, R.M.; Jabbour, P.M.; Gonzalez, L.F.; Tjoumakaris, S.I.; Flanders, A.E.; Rosenwasser, R.H.; Dumont, A.S.

    2012-01-01

    Summary Intracranial vertebral artery dissection (VAD) represents the underlying etiology in a significant percentage of posterior circulation ischemic strokes and subarachnoid hemorrhages. These lesions are particularly challenging in their diagnosis, management, and in the prediction of long-term outcome. Advances in the understanding of underlying processes leading to dissection, as well as the evolution of modern imaging techniques are discussed. The data pertaining to medical management of intracranial VADs, with emphasis on anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents, is reviewed. Surgical intervention is discussed, including, the selection of operative candidates, open and endovascular procedures, and potential complications. The evolution of endovascular technology and techniques is highlighted. PMID:23217643

  1. Molecular evolution of color vision in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Yokoyama, Shozo

    2002-10-30

    Visual systems of vertebrates exhibit a striking level of diversity, reflecting their adaptive responses to various color environments. The photosensitive molecules, visual pigments, can be synthesized in vitro and their absorption spectra can be determined. Comparing the amino acid sequences and absorption spectra of various visual pigments, we can identify amino acid changes that have modified the absorption spectra of visual pigments. These hypotheses can then be tested using the in vitro assay. This approach has been a powerful tool in elucidating not only the molecular bases of color vision, but the processes of adaptive evolution at the molecular level.

  2. Vertebral pathology in the afar australopithecines.

    PubMed

    Cook, D C; Buikstra, J E; DeRousseau, C J; Johanson, D C

    1983-01-01

    Ten vertebral elements from the AL-288 partial hominid skeleton and 11 elements from the AL-333 collection are described. The AL-288 column presents a marked kyphosis at the level of thoracic vertebrae 6 through 10, with pronounced new bone formation on the ventral surfaces of these vertebrae. These features, associated with narrowed disc space and minor osteophytosis, resemble Scheuermann disease in the human. Even though this diagnosis is consistent with a basically human, bipedal locomotor repertoire, the presence of Scheuermann disease suggests that lifting, climbing, or acrobatic activities may have been important in early hominids.

  3. Investigation of Chemical and Physical Changes to Bioapatite During Fossilization Using Trace Element Geochemistry, Infrared Spectroscopy and Stable Isotopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suarez, C. A.; Kohn, M. J.

    2013-12-01

    Bioapatite in the form of vertebrate bone can be used for a wide variety of paleo-proxies, from determination of ancient diet to the isotopic composition of meteoric water. Bioapatite alteration during diagenesis is a constant barrier to the use of fossil bone as a paleo-proxy. To elucidate the physical and chemical alteration of bone apatite during fossilization, we analyzed an assortment of fossil bones of different ages for trace elements, using LA-ICP-MS, stable isotopes, and reflected IR spectroscopy. One set of fossil bones from the Pleistocene of Idaho show a diffusion recrystallization profile, however, rare earth element (REE) profiles indicate diffusion adsorption. This suggests that REE diffusion is controlled by changing (namely decreasing) boundary conditions (i.e. decreasing concentration of REE in surrounding pore fluids). Reflected IR analysis along this concentration profile reveal that areas high in U have lost type A carbonate from the crystal structure in addition to water and organics. Stable isotopic analysis of carbon and oxygen will determine what, if any, change in the isotopic composition of the carbonate component of apatite has occurred do to the diffusion and recrystallization process. Analysis of much older bone from the Cretaceous of China reveal shallow REE and U concentration profiles and very uniform reflected IR spectra with a significant loss of type A carbonate throughout the entire bone cortex. Analysis of stable isotopes through the bone cortex will be compared to the stable isotopes collected from the Pleistocene of Idaho.

  4. Taphonomy and paleoecology inferences of vertebrate ichnofossils from Guará Formation (Upper Jurassic), southern Brazil

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dentzien-Dias, Paula C.; Schultz, Cesar L.; Bertoni-Machado, Cristina

    2008-03-01

    In southern Brazil, the eolian facies of the Guará Formation (Late Jurassic) reveal footprints and trackways of vertebrates (dinosaurs), as well as burrows made by small vertebrates. All the footprints and trackways are preserved in dunes and sand sheets. The footprints made in the sand sheets are not well preserved due to intense trampling and can be distinguished only by the deformation of the sandstone laminations. In some cases it is possible to see this deformation in plan and in section. Tracks of theropods, ornithopods and middle-sized sauropods are present. Two footprints preserved in the foreset of a paleodune permitted recognition of slide structures and identification of the trackmaker, a theropod. Burrows horizontally across the foresets were found at this same paleodune. Ribbons of massive sandstone - interpreted as the partial filling of the base of the burrows - covered by little blocks of stratified sandstone - suggest the collapse of the burrow roof inward. There are no body fossils in the Guará Formation, consequently the preservation of these tracks provides unique evidence of widespread dinosaurs activity in southern Brazil near the end of the Jurassic.

  5. Electron Microscopy and Analytical X-ray Characterization of Compositional and Nanoscale Structural Changes in Fossil Bone

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Boatman, Elizabeth Marie

    highly conserved in these four fossil specimens. Finally, the results of this study indicate that bioapatite can be preserved in even the most ancient vertebrate specimens, further supporting the idea that fossilization is a preservational process. This work also underlines the importance of using appropriately selected characterization and analytical techniques for the study of fossil bone, especially from the perspective of spatial resolution and the scale of the bone structural features in question.

  6. Models of diffusion-limited uptake of trace elements in fossils and rates of fossilization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohn, Matthew J.

    2008-08-01

    Many fossils are assumed to take up trace elements by a process of combined diffusion plus adsorption (DA), yet in principle composition profiles can be explained by several different diffusion-limited processes, including diffusion plus reaction or recrystallization (DR) and double-medium diffusion (DMD). The DA and DMD models are supported by REE and U composition profiles across fossil teeth, measured by laser-ablation ICP-MS, that show error-function - like diffusion profiles into enamel from the dentine-enamel interface and concentrations in the interior of enamel that are at original biogenic levels or higher. Published composition and age profiles in some Pleistocene bones may be better explained by a DR model. All three diffusion models imply linear behavior between age and distance squared, vastly simplifying U-series dating methods for Pleistocene fossils. Modeled uptake rates for fossil teeth yield a strict minimum bound on durations of about one decade to one century. The similarity of diffusion profiles in teeth, irrespective of depositional ages ranging from ˜30 ka to >30 Ma, implies that uptake occurred quickly, with a maximum duration of a few tens of kyr for typical fossil enamel; faster uptake is implied for typical fossil bone and dentine. Disparities in these uptake estimates compared to some archeological bone may reflect sampling and preservation bias for paleontological vs. archeological materials.

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

    PubMed

    Li, Qiang; Ni, Xijun

    2016-01-14

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

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

    PubMed

    Li, Qiang; Ni, Xijun

    2016-01-01

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

  9. Identifying Synonymous Regulatory Elements in Vertebrate Genomes

    SciTech Connect

    Ovcharenko, I; Nobrega, M A

    2005-02-07

    Synonymous gene regulation, defined as driving shared temporal and/or spatial expression of groups of genes, is likely predicated on genomic elements that contain similar modules of certain transcription factor binding sites (TFBS). We have developed a method to scan vertebrate genomes for evolutionary conserved modules of TFBS in a predefined configuration, and created a tool, named SynoR that identify synonymous regulatory elements (SREs) in vertebrate genomes. SynoR performs de novo identification of SREs utilizing known patterns of TFBS in active regulatory elements (REs) as seeds for genome scans. Layers of multiple-species conservation allow the use of differential phylogenetic sequence conservation filters in the search of SREs and the results are displayed as to provide an extensive annotation of genes containing detected REs. Gene Ontology categories are utilized to further functionally classify the identified genes, and integrated GNF Expression Atlas 2 data allow the cataloging of tissue-specificities of the predicted SREs. We illustrate how this new tool can be used to establish a linkage between human diseases and noncoding genomic content. SynoR is publicly available at http://synor.dcode.org.

  10. HOVERGEN: a database of homologous vertebrate genes.

    PubMed Central

    Duret, L; Mouchiroud, D; Gouy, M

    1994-01-01

    Comparison of homologous genes is a major step for many studies related to genome structure, function or evolution. Similarity search programs easily find genes homologous to a given sequence. However, only very tedious manual procedures allow the retrieval of all sets of homologous genes sequenced for a given set of species. Moreover, this search often generates errors due to the complexity of data to be managed simultaneously: phylogenetic trees, alignments, taxonomy, sequences and related information. HOVERGEN helps to solve these problems by integrating all this information. HOVERGEN corresponds to GenBank sequences from all vertebrate species, with some data corrected, clarified, or completed, notably to address the problem of redundancy. Coding sequences have been classified in gene families. Protein multiple alignments and phylogenetic trees have been calculated for each family. Sequences and related information have been structured in an ACNUC database which permits complex selections. A graphical interface has been developed to visualize and edit trees. Genes are displayed in color, according to their taxonomy. Users have directly access to all information attached to sequences and to multiple alignments simply by clicking on genes. This graphical tool gives thus a rapid and simple access to all data necessary to interpret homology relationships between genes. HOVERGEN allows the user to easily select sets of homologous vertebrate genes, and thus is particularly useful for comparative sequence analysis, or molecular evolution studies. Images PMID:8036164

  11. What can vertebrates tell us about segmentation?

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Segmentation is a feature of the body plans of a number of diverse animal groupings, including the annelids, arthropods and chordates. However, it has been unclear whether or not these different manifestations of segmentation are independently derived or have a common origin. Central to this issue is whether or not there are common developmental mechanisms that establish segmentation and the evolutionary origins of these processes. A fruitful way to address this issue is to consider how segmentation in vertebrates is directed. During vertebrate development three different segmental systems are established: the somites, the rhombomeres and the pharyngeal arches. In each an iteration of parts along the long axis is established. However, it is clear that the formation of the somites, rhombomeres or pharyngeal arches have little in common, and as such there is no single segmentation process. These different segmental systems also have distinct evolutionary histories, thus highlighting the fact that segmentation can and does evolve independently at multiple points. We conclude that the term segmentation indicates nothing more than a morphological description and that it implies no mechanistic similarity. Thus it is probable that segmentation has arisen repeatedly during animal evolution. PMID:25009737

  12. Generation of Viable Plant-Vertebrate Chimeras.

    PubMed

    Alvarez, Marjorie; Reynaert, Nicole; Chávez, Myra N; Aedo, Geraldine; Araya, Francisco; Hopfner, Ursula; Fernández, Juan; Allende, Miguel L; Egaña, José T

    2015-01-01

    The extreme dependence on external oxygen supply observed in animals causes major clinical problems and several diseases are related to low oxygen tension in tissues. The vast majority of the animals do not produce oxygen but a few exceptions have shown that photosynthetic capacity is physiologically compatible with animal life. Such symbiotic photosynthetic relationships are restricted to a few aquatic invertebrates. In this work we aimed to explore if we could create a chimerical organism by incorporating photosynthetic eukaryotic cells into a vertebrate animal model. Here, the microalgae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was injected into zebrafish eggs and the interaction and viability of both organisms were studied. Results show that microalgae were distributed into different tissues, forming a fish-alga chimera organism for a prolonged period of time. In addition, microscopic observation of injected algae, in vivo expression of their mRNA and re-growth of the algae ex vivo suggests that they survived to the developmental process, living for several days after injection. Moreover microalgae did not trigger a significant inflammatory response in the fish. This work provides additional evidence to support the possibility that photosynthetic vertebrates can be engineered. PMID:26126202

  13. Flexible device for vertebral body replacement.

    PubMed

    Main, J A; Wells, M E; Spengler, D M; Strauss, A M; Keller, T S

    1989-03-01

    A novel vertebral prosthesis is presented. The prosthesis was developed for surgical procedures requiring the resection of a complete vertebral body and the adjacent intervertebral discs, the design objective being to develop a flexible implant that would be robust enough to withstand the in vivo stress environment of the human spine. In theory, a flexible implant should preserve a more normal range of motion and apply less stress to surrounding tissue than a rigid implant. A prototype implant was constructed so as to combine a rigid stainless steel structure with flexible silicon rubber elements in order to form an implant with static and dynamic mechanical characteristics similar to those of the anterior spinal column. Implant flexibility characteristics were determined from ex vivo stress-strain behaviour during bending and compressive creep testing. Results from the bending tests indicated good agreement for the lateral and sagittal bending characteristics in comparison with in vitro bending tests of human lumbar motion segments. Comparison of the implant compressive creep response with similar in vitro tests on human lumbar intervertebral discs also demonstrated similarities in the time-dependent mechanical parameters. PMID:2704210

  14. Sensing and surviving hypoxia in vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Jonz, Michael G; Buck, Leslie T; Perry, Steve F; Schwerte, Thorsten; Zaccone, Giacomo

    2016-02-01

    Surviving hypoxia is one of the most critical challenges faced by vertebrates. Most species have adapted to changing levels of oxygen in their environment with specialized organs that sense hypoxia, while only few have been uniquely adapted to survive prolonged periods of anoxia. The goal of this review is to present the most recent research on oxygen sensing, adaptation to hypoxia, and mechanisms of anoxia tolerance in nonmammalian vertebrates. We discuss the respiratory structures in fish, including the skin, gills, and air-breathing organs, and recent evidence for chemosensory neuroepithelial cells (NECs) in these tissues that initiate reflex responses to hypoxia. The use of the zebrafish as a genetic and developmental model has allowed observation of the ontogenesis of respiratory and chemosensory systems, demonstration of a putative intracellular O2 sensor in chemoreceptors that may initiate transduction of the hypoxia signal, and investigation into the effects of extreme hypoxia on cardiorespiratory development. Other organisms, such as goldfish and freshwater turtles, display a high degree of anoxia tolerance, and these models are revealing important adaptations at the cellular level, such as the regulation of glutamatergic and GABAergic neurotransmission in defense of homeostasis in central neurons.

  15. "Ostrich sign" indicates bilateral vertebral artery dissection.

    PubMed

    Rose, David Z; Husain, M Rizwan

    2012-11-01

    Vertebral artery dissections (VADs) comprise about 2% of ischemic strokes and can be associated with trauma, chiropractic manipulation, motor vehicle collisions, whiplash, amusement park rides, golfing, and other motion-induced injuries to the neck. We present a case of bilateral extracranial VAD as a complication of conducting an orchestra. To our knowledge, this has not been documented in the literature. Conceivably, vigorous neck twisting in an inexperienced, amateur conductor may place excessive rotational forces upon mobile portions of the verterbral arteries, tear the intima, deposit subintimal blood that extends longitudinally, and cause neck pain and/or posterior fossa ischemic symptoms. Magnetic resonance angiography examinations of axially oriented slices of bilateral VADs resemble the face of an ostrich. This observation is similar to the "puppy sign," in which bilateral internal carotid artery dissections resemble the face of a dog. Craniocervical dissections of either the carotid or vertebral arteries have the potential to form an aneurysm, cause artery-to-artery embolism, or completely occlude the parent artery, resulting in an ischemic stroke. Because bilateral VADs in axial magnetic resonance angiographic sections stand out like the eyes of an ostrich, and because the fast identification of VADs is so critical, we eponymize this image the "ostrich sign."

  16. Generation of Viable Plant-Vertebrate Chimeras

    PubMed Central

    Aedo, Geraldine; Araya, Francisco; Hopfner, Ursula; Fernández, Juan; Allende, Miguel L.; Egaña, José T.

    2015-01-01

    The extreme dependence on external oxygen supply observed in animals causes major clinical problems and several diseases are related to low oxygen tension in tissues. The vast majority of the animals do not produce oxygen but a few exceptions have shown that photosynthetic capacity is physiologically compatible with animal life. Such symbiotic photosynthetic relationships are restricted to a few aquatic invertebrates. In this work we aimed to explore if we could create a chimerical organism by incorporating photosynthetic eukaryotic cells into a vertebrate animal model. Here, the microalgae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was injected into zebrafish eggs and the interaction and viability of both organisms were studied. Results show that microalgae were distributed into different tissues, forming a fish-alga chimera organism for a prolonged period of time. In addition, microscopic observation of injected algae, in vivo expression of their mRNA and re-growth of the algae ex vivo suggests that they survived to the developmental process, living for several days after injection. Moreover microalgae did not trigger a significant inflammatory response in the fish. This work provides additional evidence to support the possibility that photosynthetic vertebrates can be engineered. PMID:26126202

  17. Permo-Triassic vertebrate extinctions: A program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Olson, E. C.

    1988-01-01

    Since the time of the Authors' study on this subject, a great deal of new information has become available. Concepts of the nature of extinctions have changed materially. The Authors' conclusion that a catastrophic event was not responsible for the extinction of vertebrates has modified to the extent that hypotheses involving either the impact of a massive extra-terrestrial body or volcanism provide plausible but not currently fully testable hypotheses. Stated changes resulted in a rapid decrease in organic diversity, as the ratio of origins of taxa to extinctions shifted from strongly positive to negative, with momentary equilibrium being reached at about the Permo-Triassic boundary. The proximate causes of the changes in the terrestrial biota appear to lie in two primary factors: (1) strong climatic changes (global mean temperatures, temperature ranges, humidity) and (2) susceptibility of the dominant vertebrates (large dicynodonts) and the glossopteris flora to disruption of the equlibrium of the world ecosystem. The following proximate causes have been proposed: (1) rhythmic fluctuations in solar radiation, (2) tectonic events as Pangea assembled, altering land-ocean relationships, patterns of wind and water circulation and continental physiography, (3) volcanism, and (4) changes subsequent to impacts of one or more massive extra terrestrial objects, bodies or comets. These hypotheses are discussed.

  18. The evolution of vertebrate opioid receptors

    PubMed Central

    Stevens, Craig W.

    2011-01-01

    The proteins that mediate the analgesic and other effects of opioid drugs and endogenous opioid peptides are known as opioid receptors. Opioid receptors consist of a family of four closely-related proteins belonging to the large superfamily of G-protein coupled receptors. The three types of opioid receptors shown unequivocally to mediate analgesia in animal models are the mu (MOR), delta (DOR), and kappa (KOR) opioid receptor proteins. The role of the fourth member of the opioid receptor family, the nociceptin or orphanin FQ receptor (ORL), is not as clear as hyperalgesia, analgesia, and no effect was reported after administration of ORL agonists. There are now cDNA sequences for all four types of opioid receptors that are expressed in the brain of six species from three different classes of vertebrates. This review presents a comparative analysis of vertebrate opioid receptors using bioinformatics and data from recent human genome studies. Results indicate that opioid receptors arose by gene duplication, that there is a vector of opioid receptor divergence, and that MOR shows evidence of rapid evolution. PMID:19273128

  19. Postsacral vertebral morphology in relation to tail length among primates and other mammals.

    PubMed

    Russo, Gabrielle A

    2015-02-01

    Tail reduction/loss independently evolved in a number of mammalian lineages, including hominoid primates. One prerequisite to appropriately contextualizing its occurrence and understanding its significance is the ability to track evolutionary changes in tail length throughout the fossil record. However, to date, the bony correlates of tail length variation among living taxa have not been comprehensively examined. This study quantifies postsacral vertebral morphology among living primates and other mammals known to differ in relative tail length (RTL). Linear and angular measurements with known biomechanical significance were collected on the first, mid-, and transition proximal postsacral vertebrae, and their relationship with RTL was assessed using phylogenetic generalized least-squares regression methods. Compared to shorter-tailed primates, longer-tailed primates possess a greater number of postsacral vertebral features associated with increased proximal tail flexibility (e.g., craniocaudally longer vertebral bodies), increased intervertebral body joint range of motion (e.g., more circularly shaped cranial articular surfaces), and increased leverage of tail musculature (e.g., longer spinous processes). These observations are corroborated by the comparative mammalian sample, which shows that distantly related short-tailed (e.g., Phascolarctos, Lynx) and long-tailed (e.g., Dendrolagus, Acinonyx) nonprimate mammals morphologically converge with short-tailed (e.g., Macaca tonkeana) and long-tailed (e.g., Macaca fascicularis) primates, respectively. Multivariate models demonstrate that the variables examined account for 70% (all mammals) to 94% (only primates) of the variance in RTL. Results of this study may be used to infer the tail lengths of extinct primates and other mammals, thereby improving our understanding about the evolution of tail reduction/loss.

  20. Aberrant Origin of Vertebral Artery and its Clinical Implications

    PubMed Central

    Yuan, Shi-Min

    2016-01-01

    Aberrant origin of vertebral artery is rare. The anatomical features and clinical significance of this lesion remain to be clarified. A comprehensive collection of the pertinent literature resulted in a cohort of 1286 cases involving 955 patients and 331 cadavers. There were more left than right and more unilateral than bilateral aberrant vertebral arteries. Patients with aberrant origin of vertebral artery were often asymptomatic and in only 5.5% of the patients their symptoms were probably related to the aberrant origin of vertebral artery. The acquired cardiovascular lesions were present in 9.5% of the patients, 20.9% of which were vertebral artery-associated lesions. Eight (0.8%) patients had a vertebral artery dissection. Logistic regression analysis showed significant regressions between bovine trunk and left vertebral artery (P=0.000), between the dual origins of vertebral artery and cerebral infarct/thrombus (P=0.041), between associated alternative congenital vascular variants and cervical/aortic dissection/atherosclerosis (P=0.008). Multiple logistic regression demonstrated that side of the aberrant origin of vertebral artery (left vertebral artery) (P=0.014), arch branch pattern (direct arch origin) (P=0.019), presence of the common trunk (P=0.019), associated acquired vascular disorder (P=0.034) and the patients who warranted management (P=0.000) were significant risk predictors for neurological sequelea. The patients with neurological symptoms and those for neck and chest operations/ interventions should be carefully screened for the possibility of an aberrant origin of vertebral artery. The results from the cadaver metrology study are very helpful in the design of the aortic stent. The arch branch pattern has to be taken into consideration before any maneuver in the local region so as to avoid unexpected events in relation to aberrant vertebral artery. PMID:27074275