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Sample records for proterozoic fossil record

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peterson, Kevin J.; Butterfield, Nicholas J.

    2005-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peterson, Kevin J.; Butterfield, Nicholas J.

    2005-01-01

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

  3. The proterozoic and earliest cambrian trace fossil record; patterns, problems and perspectives.

    PubMed

    Jensen, Sören

    2003-02-01

    The increase in trace fossil diversity across the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian boundary often is presented in terms of tabulations of ichnogenera. However, a clearer picture of the increase in diversity and complexity can be reached by combining trace fossils into broad groups defined both on morphology and interpretation. This also focuses attention on looking for similarites between Neoproterozoic and Cambrian trace fossils. Siliciclastic sediments of the Neoproterozoic preserve elongate tubular organisms and structures of probable algal origin, many of which are very similar to trace fossils. Such enigmatic structures include Palaeopascichnus and Yelovichnus, previously thought to be trace fossils in the form of tight meanders.A preliminary two or tripartite terminal Neoproterozoic trace fossil zonation can be be recognized. Possibly the earliest trace fossils are short unbranched forms, probably younger than about 560 Ma. Typical Neoproterozoic trace fossils are unbranched and essentially horizontal forms found associated with diverse assemblages of Ediacaran organisms. In sections younger than about 550 Ma a modest increase in trace fossil diversity occurs, including the appearance of rare three-dimensional burrow systems (treptichnids), and traces with a three-lobed lower surfaces.

  4. Exceptional preservation of fossils in an Upper Proterozoic shale

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Butterfield, N. J.; Knoll, A. H.; Swett, K.

    1988-01-01

    An exceptionally well-preserved and distinctive assemblage of Late Proterozoic fossils from subtidal marine shales is reported. In addition to the spheromorphic acritarchs and cyanobacteria sheaths routinely preserved in Proterozoic rocks, this assemblage includes multicellular algae, a diverse assortment of morphologically complex protistan vesicles, and probable heterotrophic bacteria. Thus, it provides one of the clearest and most taxonomically varied views of Proterozoic life yet reported.

  5. Exceptional preservation of fossils in an Upper Proterozoic shale

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Butterfield, N. J.; Knoll, A. H.; Swett, K.

    1988-01-01

    An exceptionally well-preserved and distinctive assemblage of Late Proterozoic fossils from subtidal marine shales is reported. In addition to the spheromorphic acritarchs and cyanobacteria sheaths routinely preserved in Proterozoic rocks, this assemblage includes multicellular algae, a diverse assortment of morphologically complex protistan vesicles, and probable heterotrophic bacteria. Thus, it provides one of the clearest and most taxonomically varied views of Proterozoic life yet reported.

  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.

  7. Trace fossils and substrates of the terminal Proterozoic-Cambrian transition: implications for the record of early bilaterians and sediment mixing.

    PubMed

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

    2002-10-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1979-01-01

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

  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. Fossil records of volcanism

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bell, Peter M.

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

  11. The eukaryotic fossil record in deep time

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Butterfield, N.

    2011-12-01

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Shell structure and distribution of Cloudina, a potential index fossil for the terminal Proterozoic.

    PubMed

    Grant, S W

    1990-01-01

    Cloudina-bearing biosparites and biomicrites in the lower part of the Nama Group, Namibia, contain a wide morphological diversity of shell fragments that can all be attributed to the two named species C. hartmannae and C. riemkeae. The curved to sinuous tubular shells of Cloudina were multi-layered. Each shell layer was 8 to 50 micrometers thick and in the form of a slightly flaring tube with one end open and the other closed. Growth appears to have been periodic with successive shell layers forming within older layers. Each added layer was slightly elevated from the previous layer at the proximal end and was asymmetrically placed within the older layer so that only a portion of the new shell layer was fused to the previous layer. This type of growth left a relatively large unminerialized area between the shell layers which was often partially or fully occluded by early marine cements. The thin shell layers exhibit both plastic and brittle deformation and were likely formed of a rigid CaCO3-impregnated organic-rich material. Often the shell layers are preferentially dolomitized suggesting an original mineralogy of high-magnesian calcite. Both species in the Nama Group formed thickets, or perhaps bioherms, and this sedentary and gregarious habit suggests that Cloudina was probably a filter-feeding metazoan of at least a cnidarian grade of organization. The unusual shell structure of Cloudina gives rise to a characteristic suite of taphonomic and diagenetic features that can be used to identify Cloudina-bearing deposits within the Nama Group and in other terminal Proterozoic deposits around the world. Species of Cloudina occur in limestones from Brazil, Spain, China, and Oman in sequences consistent with a latest Proterozoic age assignment. In addition, supposed lower Cambrian, pre-trilobitic, shelly fossils from northwest Mexico and the White-Inyo Mountains in California and Nevada, including Sinotubulites, Nevadatubulus, and Wyattia, are all either closely related

  15. Shell structure and distribution of Cloudina, a potential index fossil for the terminal Proterozoic

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grant, S. W.; Knoll, A. H. (Principal Investigator)

    1990-01-01

    Cloudina-bearing biosparites and biomicrites in the lower part of the Nama Group, Namibia, contain a wide morphological diversity of shell fragments that can all be attributed to the two named species C. hartmannae and C. riemkeae. The curved to sinuous tubular shells of Cloudina were multi-layered. Each shell layer was 8 to 50 micrometers thick and in the form of a slightly flaring tube with one end open and the other closed. Growth appears to have been periodic with successive shell layers forming within older layers. Each added layer was slightly elevated from the previous layer at the proximal end and was asymmetrically placed within the older layer so that only a portion of the new shell layer was fused to the previous layer. This type of growth left a relatively large unminerialized area between the shell layers which was often partially or fully occluded by early marine cements. The thin shell layers exhibit both plastic and brittle deformation and were likely formed of a rigid CaCO3-impregnated organic-rich material. Often the shell layers are preferentially dolomitized suggesting an original mineralogy of high-magnesian calcite. Both species in the Nama Group formed thickets, or perhaps bioherms, and this sedentary and gregarious habit suggests that Cloudina was probably a filter-feeding metazoan of at least a cnidarian grade of organization. The unusual shell structure of Cloudina gives rise to a characteristic suite of taphonomic and diagenetic features that can be used to identify Cloudina-bearing deposits within the Nama Group and in other terminal Proterozoic deposits around the world. Species of Cloudina occur in limestones from Brazil, Spain, China, and Oman in sequences consistent with a latest Proterozoic age assignment. In addition, supposed lower Cambrian, pre-trilobitic, shelly fossils from northwest Mexico and the White-Inyo Mountains in California and Nevada, including Sinotubulites, Nevadatubulus, and Wyattia, are all either closely related

  16. Shell structure and distribution of Cloudina, a potential index fossil for the terminal Proterozoic

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grant, S. W.; Knoll, A. H. (Principal Investigator)

    1990-01-01

    Cloudina-bearing biosparites and biomicrites in the lower part of the Nama Group, Namibia, contain a wide morphological diversity of shell fragments that can all be attributed to the two named species C. hartmannae and C. riemkeae. The curved to sinuous tubular shells of Cloudina were multi-layered. Each shell layer was 8 to 50 micrometers thick and in the form of a slightly flaring tube with one end open and the other closed. Growth appears to have been periodic with successive shell layers forming within older layers. Each added layer was slightly elevated from the previous layer at the proximal end and was asymmetrically placed within the older layer so that only a portion of the new shell layer was fused to the previous layer. This type of growth left a relatively large unminerialized area between the shell layers which was often partially or fully occluded by early marine cements. The thin shell layers exhibit both plastic and brittle deformation and were likely formed of a rigid CaCO3-impregnated organic-rich material. Often the shell layers are preferentially dolomitized suggesting an original mineralogy of high-magnesian calcite. Both species in the Nama Group formed thickets, or perhaps bioherms, and this sedentary and gregarious habit suggests that Cloudina was probably a filter-feeding metazoan of at least a cnidarian grade of organization. The unusual shell structure of Cloudina gives rise to a characteristic suite of taphonomic and diagenetic features that can be used to identify Cloudina-bearing deposits within the Nama Group and in other terminal Proterozoic deposits around the world. Species of Cloudina occur in limestones from Brazil, Spain, China, and Oman in sequences consistent with a latest Proterozoic age assignment. In addition, supposed lower Cambrian, pre-trilobitic, shelly fossils from northwest Mexico and the White-Inyo Mountains in California and Nevada, including Sinotubulites, Nevadatubulus, and Wyattia, are all either closely related

  17. The cambrian fossil record and the origin of the phyla.

    PubMed

    Budd, Graham E

    2003-02-01

    Whilst the "Cambrian Explosion" continues to attract much attention from a wide range of earth and life scientists, the detailed patterns exhibited by the terminal Proterozoic-Early Cambrian biotas remain unclear, for reasons of systematics, biostratigraphy and biogeography. In particular, recent changes in absolute dating of the Cambrian have refined the period of time that the fossil record might be of most help in revealing the dynamics of the undoubted radiation taking place at this time. The famous exceptionally preserved faunas seem to be rather close temporally, and as yet reveal little about the earliest and critical period of evolution, deep in the Cambrian. Nevertheless, the most parsimonious interpretation of the Cambrian fossil record is that it represents a broadly accurate temporal picture of the origins of the bilaterian phyla.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-11-01

    Twenty candidate fossils with claim to be the oldest representative of the Phylum Porifera have been re-analysed. Three criteria are used to assess each candidate: (i) the diagnostic criteria needed to categorize sponges in the fossil record; (ii) the presence, or absence, of such diagnostic features in the putative poriferan fossils; and (iii) the age constraints for the candidate fossils. All three criteria are critical to the correct interpretation of any fossil and its placement within an evolutionary context. Our analysis shows that no Precambrian fossil candidate yet satisfies all three of these criteria to be a reliable sponge fossil. The oldest widely accepted candidate, Mongolian silica hexacts from c. 545 million years ago (Ma), are here shown to be cruciform arsenopyrite crystals. The oldest reliable sponge remains are siliceous spicules from the basal Cambrian (Protohertzina anabarica Zone) Soltanieh Formation, Iran, which are described and analysed here in detail for the first time. Extensive archaeocyathan sponge reefs emerge and radiate as late as the middle of the Fortunian Stage of the Cambrian and demonstrate a gradual assembly of their skeletal structure through this time coincident with the evolution of other metazoan groups. Since the Porifera are basal in the Metazoa, their presence within the late Proterozoic has been widely anticipated. Molecular clock calibration for the earliest Porifera and Metazoa should now be based on the Iranian hexactinellid material dated to c. 535 Ma. The earliest convincing fossil sponge remains appeared at around the time of the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary, associated with the great radiation events of that interval. © 2014 The Authors. Biological Reviews © 2014 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

  1. The fossil record of the sixth extinction.

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Insect diversity in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1993-01-01

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

  5. Diagnosing Homo sapiens in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Stringer, Christopher Brian; Buck, Laura Tabitha

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Knoll, A H; Niklas, K J

    1987-01-01

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

  7. Adaptation, plant evolution, and the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1987-01-01

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

  8. Adaptation, plant evolution, and the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1987-01-01

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

  9. Cladistics and the hominid fossil record.

    PubMed

    Trinkaus, E

    1990-09-01

    Cladistic methodology has become common in phylogenetic analyses of the hominid fossil record. Even though it has correctly placed emphasis on morphology for the primary determination of affinities between groups and on explicit statements regarding traits and methods employed in making phylogenetic assessments, cladistics nonetheless has limitations when applied to the hominid fossil record. These include 1) the uncritical assumption of parsimony, 2) uncertainties in the identification of homoplasies, 3) difficulties in the appropriate delimitation of samples for analysis, 4) failure to account for normal patterns of variation, 5) methodological problems with the appropriate identification of morphological traits involving issues of biological relevance, intercorrelation, primary versus secondary characters, and the use of continuous variables, 6) issues of polarity identification, and 7) problems in hypothesis testing. While cladistics has focused attention on alternative phylogenetic reconstructions in hominid paleontology and on explicit statements regarding their morphological and methodological underpinnings, its biological limitations are too abundant for it to be more than a heuristic device for the preliminary ordering of complex human paleontological and neonatological data.

  10. Rates of speciation in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1998-01-01

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

  11. Rates of speciation in the fossil record.

    PubMed Central

    Sepkoski, J J

    1998-01-01

    Data from palaeontology and biodiversity suggest that the global biota should produce an average of three new species per year. However, the fossil record shows large variation around this mean. Rates of origination have declined through the Phanerozoic. This appears to have been largely a function of sorting among higher taxa (especially classes), which exhibit characteristic rates of speciation (and extinction) that differ among them by nearly an order of magnitude. Secular decline of origination rates is hardly constant, however; many positive deviations reflect accelerated speciation during rebounds from mass extinctions. There has also been general decline in rates of speciation within major taxa through their histories, although rates have tended to remain higher among members in tropical regions. Finally, pulses of speciation appear sometimes to be associated with climate change, although moderate oscillations of climate do not necessarily promote speciation despite forcing changes in species' geographical ranges. PMID:11541734

  12. Rates of speciation in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1998-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Hembree, Daniel I

    2010-01-01

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

  14. The Quaternary fossil-pollen record and global change

    SciTech Connect

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

    1993-03-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Miller, Kenneth R.

    1982-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Miller, Kenneth R.

    1982-01-01

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

  17. The earliest fossil record of the animals and its significance.

    PubMed

    Budd, Graham E

    2008-04-27

    The fossil record of the earliest animals has been enlivened in recent years by a series of spectacular discoveries, including embryos, from the Ediacaran to the Cambrian, but many issues, not least of dating and interpretation, remain controversial. In particular, aspects of taphonomy of the earliest fossils require careful consideration before pronouncements about their affinities. Nevertheless, a reasonable case can now be made for the extension of the fossil record of at least basal animals (sponges and perhaps cnidarians) to a period of time significantly before the beginning of the Cambrian. The Cambrian explosion itself still seems to represent the arrival of the bilaterians, and many new fossils in recent years have added significant data on the origin of the three major bilaterian clades. Why animals appear so late in the fossil record is still unclear, but the recent trend to embrace rising oxygen levels as being the proximate cause remains unproven and may even involve a degree of circularity.

  18. On the fossil record of the Gekkota.

    PubMed

    Daza, Juan D; Bauer, Aaron M; Snively, Eric D

    2014-03-01

    Gekkota is often interpreted as sister to all remaining squamates, exclusive of dibamids, or as sister to Autarchoglossa. It is the only diverse lineage of primarily nocturnal lizards and includes some of the smallest amniotes. The skeleton of geckos has often been interpreted as paedomorphic and/or "primitive" but these lizards also display a wide range of structural specializations of the postcranium, including modifications associated with both scansorial locomotion and limb reduction. Although the concept of "Gekkota" has been variously applied by different authors, we here apply a rigorous apomorphy based definition, recent advances in gekkotan morphology and phylogenetics, and diverse comparative material to provide a comprehensive assessment of 28 known pre-Quaternary geckos, updating the last such review, published three decades ago. Fossils evaluated include both sedimentary fossils and amber-embedded specimens. Known Cretaceous geckos are exclusively Asian and exhibit character combinations not seen in any living forms. Cenozoic gekkotans derive from sites around the world, although Europe is especially well represented. Paleogene geckos are largely known from disarticulated remains and show similarities to Sphaerodactylidae and Diplodactylidae, although resemblances may be plesiomorphic in some cases. Many Neogene gekkotans are referable to living families or even genera, but their geographic occurrences are often extralimital to those of modern groups, as is consistent with paleoclimatic conditions. The phylogenetic placement of fossil gekkotans has important repercusions for timetree calibration, but at present only a small number of fossils can be confidently assigned to even family level groupings, limiting their utility in this regard. Copyright © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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

    PubMed

    Leung, Tommy L F

    2017-02-01

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

  20. Reaction textures in Proterozoic calcsilicates from northern Guinea: a record of the fluid evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lerouge, C.; Feybesse, J. L.; Guerrot, C.; Billa, M.; Diaby, S.

    2004-06-01

    Proterozoic calcsilicate rocks in contact with the different types of granite from the granitic belt of northern Guinea show particular mineral assemblages, recording different steps of the tectono-metamorphic and magmatic evolution of the area. Petrological study provides evidence of a clockwise metamorphic P-T path with a metamorphic peak at temperature around 800 °C and pressure of 4-6 kb, corresponding to the emplacement of both generations of massive granite between 2115 and 2075 Ma. Retrograde metamorphism is characterized by decompression to 2-3 kb, associated with the emplacement of late small granite stocks and followed by cooling until 450-600 °C. Hydrothermal alteration involved by late fluid circulation is only weakly developed and limited to calcsilicate/granite contact (specially small stocks) and shear zones. Early fluids were essentially metamorphic and magmatic fluids, largely buffered by calcsilicate mineral assemblages, whereas surface-derived fluids were introduced at the end of the tectonic evolution via shear-zones.

  1. Estimating times of extinction in the fossil record

    PubMed Central

    Marshall, Charles R.

    2016-01-01

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

  2. 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.

  3. How Good is the Fossil Record?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Boucot, A. J.

    1983-01-01

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

  4. How Good is the Fossil Record?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Boucot, A. J.

    1983-01-01

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

  5. Absolute measures of the completeness of the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1999-01-01

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

  6. Evidence for Evolution from the Vertebrate Fossil Record.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gingerich, Philip D.

    1983-01-01

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

  7. Evidence for Evolution from the Vertebrate Fossil Record.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gingerich, Philip D.

    1983-01-01

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

  8. Absolute measures of the completeness of the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1999-01-01

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

  9. The quality of the fossil record of Mesozoic birds

    PubMed Central

    Fountaine, Toby M. R.; Benton, Michael J.; Dyke, Gareth J.; Nudds, Robert L.

    2005-01-01

    The Mesozoic fossil record has proved critical for understanding the early evolution and subsequent radiation of birds. Little is known, however, about its relative completeness: just how ‘good’ is the fossil record of birds from the Mesozoic? This question has come to prominence recently in the debate over differences in estimated dates of origin of major clades of birds from molecular and palaeontological data. Using a dataset comprising all known fossil taxa, we present analyses that go some way towards answering this question. Whereas avian diversity remains poorly represented in the Mesozoic, many relatively complete bird specimens have been discovered. New taxa have been added to the phylogenetic tree of basal birds, but its overall shape remains constant, suggesting that the broad outlines of early avian evolution are consistently represented: no stage in the Mesozoic is characterized by an overabundance of scrappy fossils compared with more complete specimens. Examples of Neornithes (modern orders) are known from later stages in the Cretaceous, but their fossils are rarer and scrappier than those of basal bird groups, which we suggest is a biological, rather than a geological, signal. PMID:15705554

  10. The quality of the fossil record of Mesozoic birds.

    PubMed

    Fountaine, Toby M R; Benton, Michael J; Dyke, Gareth J; Nudds, Robert L

    2005-02-07

    The Mesozoic fossil record has proved critical for understanding the early evolution and subsequent radiation of birds. Little is known, however, about its relative completeness: just how 'good' is the fossil record of birds from the Mesozoic? This question has come to prominence recently in the debate over differences in estimated dates of origin of major clades of birds from molecular and palaeontological data. Using a dataset comprising all known fossil taxa, we present analyses that go some way towards answering this question. Whereas avian diversity remains poorly represented in the Mesozoic, many relatively complete bird specimens have been discovered. New taxa have been added to the phylogenetic tree of basal birds, but its overall shape remains constant, suggesting that the broad outlines of early avian evolution are consistently represented: no stage in the Mesozoic is characterized by an overabundance of scrappy fossils compared with more complete specimens. Examples of Neornithes (modern orders) are known from later stages in the Cretaceous, but their fossils are rarer and scrappier than those of basal bird groups, which we suggest is a biological, rather than a geological, signal.

  11. Evolution of the Proterozoic Earth System: Insights from the ∆17O Record of Sedimentary Sulfate Minerals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crockford, P. W.; Hayles, J. A.; Halverson, G. P.; Bekker, A.; Rainbird, R.; Wing, B. A.

    2014-12-01

    Triple oxygen isotope ratios (18O/16O and 17O/16O) are a powerful tool to tease out interconnections within the Surface Earth System, both today and throughout Earth's history. This ability comes from the fact that stratospheric photochemistry imparts a negative ∆17O anomaly (∆17O = δ17O - 0.52×δ18O) to atmospheric oxygen whose magnitude is proportional to pCO2 levels and photosynthetic oxygen production. Atmospheric oxygen readily weathers continental sulfides and, as a result, the secular variations in atmospheric ∆17O values may be recorded in marine sulfate minerals (barite, gypsum and anhydrite). The largest ∆17O anomalies found in the rock record are from peculiar barite layers that immediately post-date the 635 Ma Marinoan Snowball Event. While these anomalies have been interpreted to result from a weak post-glacial photosynthetic O2 flux, the balance of other evidence (e.g., Zn isotope records of near-modern post-glacial productivity) suggests that they instead reflect the elevated CO2 levels thought to be required to exit a snowball state. As this situation illustrates, the ∆17O record by itself does not provide a unique solution between production of the anomaly by stratospheric reactions and its destruction by global biospheric productivity. In the context of additional geological and geochemical constraints, however, a marine sulfate ∆17O record has the potential to provide new insights into paleoatmospheres, paleoclimates, and paleoproductivity. We have produced new data (n ≈ 200) for Proterozoic evaporites that extend the sulfate ∆17O record from the Neoproterozoic to ~2.3 Ga. This data will be interpreted within our current understanding of Proterozoic Earth System Evolution on basinal to global scales and will address key questions that include: Were Paleoproterozoic glacial episodes terminated by elevated pCO2? Was the Great Oxidation Event accompanied by enhanced productivity? Does the lack of C isotope variability throughout

  12. An embryological perspective on the early arthropod fossil record.

    PubMed

    Chipman, Ariel D

    2015-12-18

    Our understanding of the early evolution of the arthropod body plan has recently improved significantly through advances in phylogeny and developmental biology and through new interpretations of the fossil record. However, there has been limited effort to synthesize data from these different sources. Bringing an embryological perspective into the fossil record is a useful way to integrate knowledge from different disciplines into a single coherent view of arthropod evolution. I have used current knowledge on the development of extant arthropods, together with published descriptions of fossils, to reconstruct the germband stages of a series of key taxa leading from the arthropod lower stem group to crown group taxa. These reconstruction highlight the main evolutionary transitions that have occurred during early arthropod evolution, provide new insights into the types of mechanisms that could have been active and suggest new questions and research directions. The reconstructions suggest several novel homology hypotheses - e.g. the lower stem group head shield and head capsules in the crown group are all hypothesized to derive from the embryonic head lobes. The homology of anterior segments in different groups is resolved consistently. The transition between "lower-stem" and "upper-stem" arthropods is highlighted as a major transition with a concentration of novelties and innovations, suggesting a gap in the fossil record. A close relationship between chelicerates and megacheirans is supported by the embryonic reconstructions, and I suggest that the depth of the mandibulate-chelicerate split should be reexamined.

  13. Tempo does not correlate with mode in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Voje, Kjetil Lysne

    2016-12-01

    The dominating view of evolution based on the fossil record is that established species remain more or less unaltered during their existence. Substantial evolution is on the other hand routinely reported for contemporary populations, and most quantitative traits show high potential for evolution. These contrasting observations on long- and short-time scales are often referred to as the paradox of stasis, which rests on the fundamental assumption that periods of morphological stasis in the fossil record represent minimal evolutionary change. Investigating 450 fossil time series, I demonstrate that the nonaccumulating morphological fluctuations during stasis travel similar distances in morphospace compared to lineages showing directional change. Hence, lineages showing stasis are commonly undergoing considerable amounts of evolution, but this evolution does not accumulate to produce large net evolutionary changes over time. Rates of evolutionary change across modes in the fossil record may be more homogenous than previously assumed and advocated, supporting the claim that substantial evolution is not exclusively or causally linked to the process of speciation. Instead of exemplifying minimal evolution, stasis likely represents information on the dynamics of the adaptive landscape on macroevolutionary time scales, including the persistence of adaptive zones and ecological niches over millions of years. © 2016 The Author(s). Evolution © 2016 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  14. Testing New Proxies for Photosymbiosis in the Fossil Record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  15. Preservational bias controls the fossil record of pterosaurs

    PubMed Central

    Dean, Christopher D.; Mannion, Philip D.; Butler, Richard J.

    2016-01-01

    Pterosaurs, a Mesozoic group of flying archosaurs, have become a focal point for debates pertaining to the impact of sampling biases on our reading of the fossil record, as well as the utility of sampling proxies in palaeodiversity reconstructions. The completeness of the pterosaur fossil specimens themselves potentially provides additional information that is not captured in existing sampling proxies, and might shed new light on the group’s evolutionary history. Here we assess the quality of the pterosaur fossil record via a character completeness metric based on the number of phylogenetic characters that can be scored for all known skeletons of 172 valid species, with averaged completeness values calculated for each geological stage. The fossil record of pterosaurs is observed to be strongly influenced by the occurrence and distribution of Lagerstätten. Peaks in completeness correlate with Lagerstätten deposits, and a recovered correlation between completeness and observed diversity is rendered non-significant when Lagerstätten species are excluded. Intervals previously regarded as potential extinction events are shown to lack Lagerstätten and exhibit low completeness values: as such, the apparent low diversity in these intervals might be at least partly the result of poor fossil record quality. A positive correlation between temporal patterns in completeness of Cretaceous pterosaurs and birds further demonstrates the prominent role that Lagerstätten deposits have on the preservation of smaller bodied organisms, contrasting with a lack of correlation with the completeness of large-bodied sauropodomorphs. However, we unexpectedly find a strong correlation between sauropodomorph and pterosaur completeness within the Triassic–Jurassic, but not the Cretaceous, potentially relating to a shared shift in environmental preference and thus preservation style through time. This study highlights the importance of understanding the relationship between various

  16. Preservational bias controls the fossil record of pterosaurs.

    PubMed

    Dean, Christopher D; Mannion, Philip D; Butler, Richard J

    2016-01-14

    Pterosaurs, a Mesozoic group of flying archosaurs, have become a focal point for debates pertaining to the impact of sampling biases on our reading of the fossil record, as well as the utility of sampling proxies in palaeodiversity reconstructions. The completeness of the pterosaur fossil specimens themselves potentially provides additional information that is not captured in existing sampling proxies, and might shed new light on the group's evolutionary history. Here we assess the quality of the pterosaur fossil record via a character completeness metric based on the number of phylogenetic characters that can be scored for all known skeletons of 172 valid species, with averaged completeness values calculated for each geological stage. The fossil record of pterosaurs is observed to be strongly influenced by the occurrence and distribution of Lagerstätten. Peaks in completeness correlate with Lagerstätten deposits, and a recovered correlation between completeness and observed diversity is rendered non-significant when Lagerstätten species are excluded. Intervals previously regarded as potential extinction events are shown to lack Lagerstätten and exhibit low completeness values: as such, the apparent low diversity in these intervals might be at least partly the result of poor fossil record quality. A positive correlation between temporal patterns in completeness of Cretaceous pterosaurs and birds further demonstrates the prominent role that Lagerstätten deposits have on the preservation of smaller bodied organisms, contrasting with a lack of correlation with the completeness of large-bodied sauropodomorphs. However, we unexpectedly find a strong correlation between sauropodomorph and pterosaur completeness within the Triassic-Jurassic, but not the Cretaceous, potentially relating to a shared shift in environmental preference and thus preservation style through time. This study highlights the importance of understanding the relationship between various

  17. [Proterozoic history and present state of cyanobacteria].

    PubMed

    Sergeev, V N; Gerasimenko, L M; Zavarzin, G A

    2002-01-01

    The paper delves into the main regularities of the distribution of fossil microorganisms in Precambrian rocks, beginning from the Archean Eon about 3.5 billion years ago and ending in the Cambrian Period about 0.5 billion years ago. The paper analyzes facial peculiarities in the lateral differentiation of microfossils in Proterozoic basins and the main stages of temporal changes in fossil cyanobacterial communities, which are based on the irreversible succession of physicochemical conditions on the Earth and the evolution of eukaryotic microorganisms and their incorporation into prokaryotic ecosystems. To gain insight into Proterozoic fossil records, modern stratified cyanobacterial mats built up from layers of prokaryotes are considered. The analysis of phosphatization, carbonatization, and silification processes in modern algal-bacterial communities suggests that analogous processes took place in Proterozoic microbiotas. A comparison of modern and Precambrian living forms confirms the inference that cyanobacterial communities are very conservative and have changed insignificantly both morphologically and physiologically during the past two billion years.

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-09-13

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Awramik, Stanley M.

    1989-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Quental, Tiago B; Marshall, Charles R

    2010-08-01

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

  1. Trace sulfate in mid-Proterozoic carbonates and the sulfur isotope record of biospheric evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gellatly, Anne M.; Lyons, Timothy W.

    2005-08-01

    Concentrations of oceanic and atmospheric oxygen have varied over geologic time as a function of sulfur and carbon cycling at or near the Earth's surface. This balance is expressed in the sulfur isotope composition of seawater sulfate. Given the near absence of gypsum in pre-Phanerozoic sediments, trace amounts of carbonate-associated sulfate (CAS) within limestones or dolostones provide the best available constraints on the isotopic composition of sulfate in Precambrian seawater. Although absolute CAS concentrations, which range from those below detection to ˜120 ppm sulfate in this study, may be compromised by diagenesis, the sulfur isotope compositions can be buffered sufficiently to retain primary values. Stratigraphically controlled δ 34S measurements for CAS from three mid-Proterozoic carbonate successions (˜1.2 Ga Mescal Limestone, Apache Group, Arizona, USA; ˜1.45-1.47 Ga Helena and Newland formations, Belt Supergroup, Montana, USA; and ˜1.65 Ga Paradise Creek Formation, McNamara Group, NW Queensland, Australia) show large isotopic variability (+9.1‰ to +18.9‰, -1.1‰ to +27.3‰, and +14.1‰ to +37.3‰, respectively) over stratigraphic intervals of ˜50 to 450 m. This rapid variability, ranging from scattered to highly systematic, and overall low CAS abundances can be linked to sulfate concentrations in the mid-Proterozoic ocean that were substantially lower than those of the Phanerozoic but higher than values inferred for the Archean. Results from the Belt Supergroup specifically corroborate previous arguments for seawater contributions to the basin. Limited sulfate availability that tracks the oxygenation history of the early atmosphere is also consistent with the possibility of extensive deep-ocean sulfate reduction, the scarcity of bedded gypsum, and the stratigraphic δ 34S trends and 34S enrichments commonly observed for iron sulfides of mid-Proterozoic age.

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

    PubMed

    Pyenson, Nicholas D

    2017-06-05

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1994-01-01

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

  4. First record of Podocarpoid fossil wood in South China

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  5. An overview of the dinosaur fossil record from Chile

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Wood, Bernard; Lonergan, Nicholas

    2008-04-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Wood, Bernard; Lonergan, Nicholas

    2008-01-01

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

  8. The fossil record and macroevolutionary history of the beetles

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Dena M.; Marcot, Jonathan D.

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Smith, Dena M; Marcot, Jonathan D

    2015-04-22

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McNamara, Maria; Field, Daniel

    2016-04-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kidwell, Susan M.; Flessa, Karl W.

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

  12. Empirical Records of Environmental Change across the Archean-Proterozoic Transition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaufman, A. J.

    2011-12-01

    Time-series geochemical analyses of scientific drill cores intersecting the Archean-Proterozoic transition suggest a coupling of environmental and biological change that culminated in the pervasive oxygenation of Earth's atmosphere and oceans. Elemental and multiple isotope measurements of sedimentary archives, including carbonate, shale, and banded iron-formation from Western Australia, South Africa, Brazil, and southern Canada, indicate important changes in the carbon, sulfur, and nitrogen cycles that monitor the redox state of the oceans and the cyanobacterial buildup of atmospheric oxygen and ozone. In response, continental weathering would have increased, resulting in the enhanced delivery of sulfate and nutrients to seawater, further stimulating photoautotrophic fluxes of oxygen to surface environments. The positive feedback may additionally be responsible for the decline of atmospheric methane and surface refrigeration, represented by a series of discrete ice ages beginning around 2.4 billion years ago, due to the loss of greenhouse capacity during a time of lower solar luminosity. While speculative, the linkage of surface oxidation with enhanced nutrient supply and development of stratospheric sunscreen soon after the Archean-Proterozoic boundary suggests that the earliest perturbation in the carbon cycle may be associated with the rapid expansion of single-celled eukaryotes. Both sterol synthesis in eukaryotes and aerobic respiration require significant levels of oxygen in the ambient environment. Hence, Earth's earliest ice age(s) and onset of a modern and far more energetic carbon cycle may have been directly related to the global expansion of cyanobacteria that released oxygen to the environment, and of eukaryotes that respired it.

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-04

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

  14. Fossil record of Ephedra in the Lower Cretaceous (Aptian), Argentina.

    PubMed

    Puebla, Gabriela G; Iglesias, Ari; Gómez, María A; Prámparo, Mercedes B

    2017-05-20

    Fossil plants from the Lower Cretaceous (upper Aptian) of the La Cantera Formation, Argentina, are described. The fossils studied represent a leafy shooting system with several orders of articulated and striated axes and attached leaves with unequivocal ephedroid affinity. We also found associated remains of ovulate cones with four whorls of sterile bracts, which contain two female reproductive units (FRU). Ovulate cone characters fit well within the genus Ephedra. Special characters in the ovulate cones including an outer seed envelope with two types of trichomes, allowed us to consider our remains as a new Ephedra species. Abundant dispersed ephedroid pollen obtained from the macrofossil-bearing strata also confirms the abundance of Ephedraceae in the basin. The co-occurrence of abundant fossil of Ephedra (adapted to dry habitats) associated with thermophilic cheirolepideacean conifer pollen (Classopollis) in the unit would suggest marked seasonality at the locality during the Early Cretaceous. Furthermore, the floristic association is linked to dry sensitive rocks in the entire section. The macro- and microflora from San Luis Basin are similar in composition to several Early Cretaceous floras from the Northern Gondwana floristic province, but it may represent one of the southernmost records of an arid biome in South America.

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

    PubMed

    Budd, Graham E

    2013-09-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Budd, Graham E

    2013-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balthasar, Uwe

    2016-04-01

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

  18. Patterns of generic extinction in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1988-01-01

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

  19. Patterns of generic extinction in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Raup, D M; Boyajian, G E

    1988-01-01

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

  20. Patterns of generic extinction in the fossil record

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1988-01-01

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

  1. Latest Proterozoic stratigraphy and earth history

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, Andrew H.; Walter, Malcolm R.

    1992-01-01

    Novel biostratigraphic and chemostratigraphic data furnish an improved framework for stratigraphic correlation of the Proterozoic Eon as well as tools for a chronostratigraphic division of the late Proterozoic. It is argued that, in conjunction with geochronometric data, protistan microfossils and isotope geochemistry can furnish a means for an eventual integration of the latest Proterozoic Eon. Attention is given to the emerging methodologies of fossil protists and prokaryotes and of isotopic chemostratigraphy.

  2. Latest Proterozoic stratigraphy and earth history

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, Andrew H.; Walter, Malcolm R.

    1992-01-01

    Novel biostratigraphic and chemostratigraphic data furnish an improved framework for stratigraphic correlation of the Proterozoic Eon as well as tools for a chronostratigraphic division of the late Proterozoic. It is argued that, in conjunction with geochronometric data, protistan microfossils and isotope geochemistry can furnish a means for an eventual integration of the latest Proterozoic Eon. Attention is given to the emerging methodologies of fossil protists and prokaryotes and of isotopic chemostratigraphy.

  3. Eukaryotic organisms in Proterozoic oceans

    PubMed Central

    Knoll, A.H; Javaux, E.J; Hewitt, D; Cohen, P

    2006-01-01

    The geological record of protists begins well before the Ediacaran and Cambrian diversification of animals, but the antiquity of that history, its reliability as a chronicle of evolution and the causal inferences that can be drawn from it remain subjects of debate. Well-preserved protists are known from a relatively small number of Proterozoic formations, but taphonomic considerations suggest that they capture at least broad aspects of early eukaryotic evolution. A modest diversity of problematic, possibly stem group protists occurs in ca 1800–1300 Myr old rocks. 1300–720 Myr fossils document the divergence of major eukaryotic clades, but only with the Ediacaran–Cambrian radiation of animals did diversity increase within most clades with fossilizable members. While taxonomic placement of many Proterozoic eukaryotes may be arguable, the presence of characters used for that placement is not. Focus on character evolution permits inferences about the innovations in cell biology and development that underpin the taxonomic and morphological diversification of eukaryotic organisms. PMID:16754612

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J., Jr.

    1991-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J., Jr.

    1986-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sepkoski, J. J., Jr.

    1986-01-01

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

  7. Diamonds from Dachine, French Guiana: A unique record of early Proterozoic subduction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Chris B.; Walter, Michael J.; Bulanova, Galina P.; Mikhail, Sami; Burnham, Antony D.; Gobbo, Luiz; Kohn, Simon C.

    2016-11-01

    Diamonds from Dachine, French Guiana, are unique among worldwide diamond populations. The diamonds were transported to the surface in an unusual ultramafic extrusive magma with an affinity to boninite or komatiite, which was emplaced within an arc geological setting at 2.2 Ga. Dachine diamonds have internal and external morphologies indicative of relatively rapid growth from carbon oversaturated fluids or melts, and exhibit internal features consistent with residence in a high-strain environment. On the basis of nitrogen (N) defects the diamonds are categorized as Type Ib-IaA. The unusually low aggregation state of N places severe constraints on the thermal history of the diamonds, effectively ruling out derivation in convecting mantle. The carbon and N isotopic compositions of Dachine diamonds are consistent with a sedimentary source of carbon, with the majority of diamonds having δ13C values < - 25‰ and δ15N values > + 4‰. The primary carbon was presumably deposited on an early Proterozoic seafloor. Sulphide inclusions have low Ni and Cr and are comparable to lithospheric eclogitic-type sulphide inclusions. Three garnet and one clinopyroxene inclusion are also eclogitic in composition, and one garnet inclusion has a majorite component indicating an origin around 250 km depth. The silicate inclusions are highly depleted in many incompatible trace elements (e.g. LREE, Nb, Hf, Zr), and modelling indicates an eclogitic source lithology that contained a LREE-enriched trace phase such as epidote or allanite, and an HFSE-rich phase such as rutile. Four of the five inclusions are unusually enriched in Mn, as well as Ni and Co, and modelling suggests a protolith with a bulk composition of subducted normal MORB plus about 10% ferromanganese crust component. We suggest a model wherein Dachine diamonds precipitated from remobilized sedimentary carbon at the slab-mantle interface from liquids derived ultimately by deserpentinization of slab peridotite at depths of 200

  8. NGST: Exploring the Fossil Record of Galaxy Formation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rich, R. Michael

    1998-01-01

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

  9. NGST: Exploring the Fossil Record of Galaxy Formation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rich, R. Michael

    1998-01-01

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

  10. Testing homogeneity with the fossil record of galaxies

    SciTech Connect

    Heavens, Alan F.; Jimenez, Raul; Maartens, Roy E-mail: raul.jimenez@icc.ub.edu

    2011-09-01

    The standard Friedmann model of cosmology is based on the Copernican Principle, i.e. the assumption of a homogeneous background on which structure forms via perturbations. Homogeneity underpins both general relativistic and modified gravity models and is central to the way in which we interpret observations of the CMB and the galaxy distribution. It is therefore important to probe homogeneity via observations. We describe a test based on the fossil record of distant galaxies: if we can reconstruct key intrinsic properties of galaxies as functions of proper time along their worldlines, we can compare such properties at the same proper time for our galaxy and others. We achieve this by computing the lookback time using radial Baryon Acoustic Oscillations, and the time along galaxy world line using stellar physics, allowing us to probe homogeneity, in principle anywhere inside the past light cone. Agreement in the results would be an important consistency test — although it would not in itself prove homogeneity. Any significant deviation in the results however would signal a breakdown of homogeneity.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shapiro, R. S.

    2006-12-01

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

  12. Stratigraphic records of paleogeography and global change from two late Proterozoic basins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Swanson-Hysell, Nicholas L.

    As sediments and volcanic deposits accumulate on Earth's surface, they record information about Earth's climate, the motion of continents, and the evolution of the biosphere. Through the study of ancient stratigraphic sequences, we can gain a window into our planet's varied, and sometimes tumultuous, past. In this dissertation, I employ a combination of field observations, magnetic data, and chemostratigraphic data in the Keweenawan Mid-continent Rift of North America and the Amadeus Basin of Central Australia to study the paleogeography and paleoclimate during and after the transition between the Mesoproterozoic (1.7 to 1.0 billion-years ago) and Neoproterozoic Eras (1.0 to 0.54 billion-years ago). The supercontinent Rodinia formed at the boundary between the Eras and broke apart throughout the Neoproterozoic. Basins that developed as Rodinia rifted apart record large changes in the biogeochemical cycling of carbon and sulfur, the waxing and waning of low-latitude ice sheets, and the progressive oxygenation of the atmosphere that facilitated the evolution of animals. I report high-resolution paleomagnetic data in stratigraphic context from Mamainse Point, Ontario---the most complete succession in the 1.1 billion-year-old Mid-continent Rift. The results demonstrate that previous suggestions of large non-dipolar geomagnetic field components at the time stemmed from low temporal resolution across geomagnetic reversals during a period of rapid plate motion. This result strengthens the framework for evaluating records of tectonics and climate across the Mesoproterozoic/Neoproterozoic boundary. Rock magnetic experiments on Mamainse Point lavas, paired with electron microscopy, demonstrate that a component of the magnetization in oxidized flows that is antiparallel to the characteristic remanence is a result of martite self-reversal. This component is the best resolved natural example of the experimentally observed self-reversal that accompanies the maghemite to hematite

  13. Proterozoic Eastern Sayan ophiolites (Central Asian Orogenic Belt) record subduction initiation in vicinity of continental block

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Belyaev, Vasilii; Gornova, Marina; Medvedev, Alexander; Dril, Sergey; Karimov, Anas

    2017-04-01

    volcanics and dikes are low-Ca and intermediate-Ca boninites, andesite-basalts, andesites, dacites of calc-alkaline (CA) affinity with rare evolved island-arc tholeiitic (IAT) andesite-basalts. They resemble appropriate rocks of intraoceanic island arcs, forearcs, and ophiolites. Boninites and CA-andesites are LREE-enriched (La/SmPM 1.2-3.8) at low HREE (0.5-1.6 ppm Yb) contents while evolved IAT show flat REE (La/SmPM = 1.1) and higher abundances (2.4-2.8 ppm Yb), and both have negative Nb anomalies. Nd-isotopic data expressed as epsilon Nd(1020Ma) values are -2.3 to +4.1 in cumulates, -2.8 to +0.4 in boninites and andesites, and +2.3 to +2.7 in IAT (compared to epsilon Nd(1020Ma) +7.8 in depleted mantle). The ophiolites obducted on the Gargan continental block, which contains Archean gneisses with epsilon Nd(1020) = -20 to -281. Subduction and recycling of sediments derived from these gneisses could explain enriched Nd isotopic characteristics of the studied ophiolitic rocks. The boninite-andesite-IAT association is usually found in subduction initiation settings recorded by modern forearc regions and forearc ophiolites. The difference of the Eastern Sayan ophiolites is their supposed formation close to ancient continental block which supplied recycled material into newly formed subduction zone. 1. Sklyarov et al (2016) Russ Geol Geophys 57, 127-140 2. Sobolev et al (1996) Petrology 3, 326-336.

  14. Frequency of Proterozoic geomagnetic superchrons

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Driscoll, Peter E.; Evans, David A. D.

    2016-03-01

    Long-term geodynamo evolution is expected to respond to inner core growth and changing patterns of mantle convection. Three geomagnetic superchrons, during which Earth's magnetic field maintained a near-constant polarity state through tens of Myr, are known from the bio/magnetostratigraphic record of Phanerozoic time, perhaps timed according to supercontinental episodicity. Some geodynamo simulations incorporating a much smaller inner core, as would have characterized Proterozoic time, produce field reversals at a much lower rate. Here we compile polarity ratios of site means within a quality-filtered global Proterozoic paleomagnetic database, according to recent plate kinematic models. Various smoothing parameters, optimized to successfully identify the known Phanerozoic superchrons, indicate 3-10 possible Proterozoic superchrons during the 1300 Myr interval studied. Proterozoic geodynamo evolution thus appears to indicate a relatively narrow range of reversal behavior through the last two billion years, implying either remarkable stability of core dynamics over this time or insensitivity of reversal rate to core evolution.

  15. Isotopes, ice ages, and terminal Proterozoic earth history.

    PubMed

    Kaufman, A J; Knoll, A H; Narbonne, G M

    1997-06-24

    Detailed correlations of ancient glacial deposits, based on temporal records of carbon and strontium isotopes in seawater, indicate four (and perhaps five) discrete ice ages in the terminal Proterozoic Eon. The close and repeated stratigraphic relationship between C-isotopic excursions and glaciogenic rocks suggests that unusually high rates of organic carbon burial facilitated glaciation by reducing atmospheric greenhouse capacity. The emerging framework of time and environmental change contributes to the improved resolution of stratigraphic and evolutionary pattern in the early fossil record of animals.

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

    PubMed

    Bae, Christopher J

    2010-01-01

    Traditionally, Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils that cannot be allocated to Homo erectus sensu lato or modern H. sapiens have been assigned to different specific taxa. For example, in eastern Asia, these hominin fossils have been classified as archaic, early, or premodern H. sapiens. An increasing number of Middle Pleistocene hominin fossils are currently being assigned to H. heidelbergensis. This is particularly the case for the African and European Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record. There have been suggestions that perhaps the eastern Asian late Middle Pleistocene hominins can also be allocated to the H. heidelbergensis hypodigm. In this article, I review the current state of the late Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record from eastern Asia and examine the various arguments for assigning these hominins to the different specific taxa. The two primary conclusions drawn from this review are as follows: 1) little evidence currently exists in the eastern Asian Middle Pleistocene hominin fossil record to support their assignment to H. heidelbergensis; and 2) rather than add to the growing list of hominin fossil taxa by using taxonomic names like H. daliensis for northeast Asian fossils and H. mabaensis for Southeast Asian fossils, it is better to err on the side of caution and continue to use the term archaic H. sapiens to represent all of these hominin fossils. What should be evident from this review is the need for an increase in the quality and quantity of the eastern Asian hominin fossil data set. Fortunately, with the increasing number of large-scale multidisciplinary paleoanthropological field and laboratory research projects in eastern Asia, the record is quickly becoming better understood. Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGowan, Alistair

    2014-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-29

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

  19. Integrated approaches to terminal Proterozoic stratigraphy: an example from the Olenek Uplift, northeastern Siberia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, A. H.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Kaufman, A. J.; Kolosov, P.

    1995-01-01

    In the Olenek Uplift of northeastern Siberia, the Khorbusuonka Group and overlying Kessyusa and Erkeket formations preserve a significant record of terminal Proterozoic and basal Cambrian Earth history. A composite section more than 350 m thick is reconstructed from numerous exposures along the Khorbusuonka River. The Khorbusuonka Group comprises three principal sedimentary sequences: peritidal dolomites of the Mastakh Formation, which are bounded above and below by red beds; the Khatyspyt and most of the overlying Turkut formations, which shallow upward from relatively deep-water carbonaceous micrites to cross-bedded dolomitic grainstones and stromatolites; and a thin upper Turkut sequence bounded by karst surfaces. The overlying Kessyusa Formation is bounded above and below by erosional surfaces and contains additional parasequence boundaries internally. Ediacaran metazoans, simple trace fossils, and vendotaenids occur in the Khatyspyt Formation; small shelly fossils, more complex trace fossils, and acritarchs all appear near the base of the Kessyusa Formation and diversify upward. The carbon-isotopic composition of carbonates varies stratigraphically in a pattern comparable to that determined for other terminal Proterozoic and basal Cambrian successions. In concert, litho-, bio-, and chemostratigraphic data indicate the importance of the Khorbusuonka Group in the global correlation of terminal Proterozoic sedimentary rocks. Stratigraphic data and a recently determined radiometric date on basal Kessyusa volcanic breccias further underscore the significance of the Olenek region in investigations of the Proterozoic-cambrian boundary.

  20. Integrated approaches to terminal Proterozoic stratigraphy: an example from the Olenek Uplift, northeastern Siberia.

    PubMed

    Knoll, A H; Grotzinger, J P; Kaufman, A J; Kolosov, P

    1995-01-01

    In the Olenek Uplift of northeastern Siberia, the Khorbusuonka Group and overlying Kessyusa and Erkeket formations preserve a significant record of terminal Proterozoic and basal Cambrian Earth history. A composite section more than 350 m thick is reconstructed from numerous exposures along the Khorbusuonka River. The Khorbusuonka Group comprises three principal sedimentary sequences: peritidal dolomites of the Mastakh Formation, which are bounded above and below by red beds; the Khatyspyt and most of the overlying Turkut formations, which shallow upward from relatively deep-water carbonaceous micrites to cross-bedded dolomitic grainstones and stromatolites; and a thin upper Turkut sequence bounded by karst surfaces. The overlying Kessyusa Formation is bounded above and below by erosional surfaces and contains additional parasequence boundaries internally. Ediacaran metazoans, simple trace fossils, and vendotaenids occur in the Khatyspyt Formation; small shelly fossils, more complex trace fossils, and acritarchs all appear near the base of the Kessyusa Formation and diversify upward. The carbon-isotopic composition of carbonates varies stratigraphically in a pattern comparable to that determined for other terminal Proterozoic and basal Cambrian successions. In concert, litho-, bio-, and chemostratigraphic data indicate the importance of the Khorbusuonka Group in the global correlation of terminal Proterozoic sedimentary rocks. Stratigraphic data and a recently determined radiometric date on basal Kessyusa volcanic breccias further underscore the significance of the Olenek region in investigations of the Proterozoic-cambrian boundary.

  1. The Evolution Of Steroids And Eukaryotes In The Proterozoic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brocks, J. J.

    2005-12-01

    The ecology and diversity of eukaryotic organisms in the mid-Proterozoic ~1,800 to 800 Ma were fundamentally different than later in Earth history. The first fossils with eukaryotic affinity occur in the geological record about 2 billion years ago, but eukaryotic diversity and abundance remain low well into the Neoproterozoic (1,000-542 Ma). The first organism recognized as a member of a known eukaryotic kingdom, the red alga Bangiomorpha, only appears 1,200 Ma ago. In contrast to many younger assemblages, eukaryotes in the mid-Proterozoic predominantly inhabited agitated and well-oxygenated shoreline facies. In sedimentary rocks deposited in deep-water environments, fossils resembling eukaryotes usually remain rare, simple and small. The distinct ecology and apparently low diversity of early eukaryotes should also have left a distinct biomarker record of eukaryotic membrane lipids. Biomarkers are molecular fossils of natural products. They often retain the diagnostic carbon skeleton of their biological precursors and may endure billions of years enclosed in sedimentary rocks. Eukaryotic membranes contain a suite of distinct sterols with 26 to 30 carbon atoms. In the fossil record, these sterols are often preserved in the form of (C26) to (C30) hydrocarbon steranes. Their relative abundance is often characteristic of specific environments and geological periods in the Phanerozoic. We may expect particularly distinct sterane assemblages in the early history of eukaryote evolution. However, in conflicting contrast to the ecology and evolutionary status of earlier eukaryotes, the distribution of different sterane pseudo-homologues in the mid-Proterozoic is virtually indistinguishable from the Phanerozoic. Although the missing disparity between old and young biomarkers may, in principle, have a biological explanation, it is at least possible that many Proterozoic biomarker assemblages have experienced overprint with petroleum and petroleum products of younger origin

  2. 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.

  3. Old World fossil record of modern-type hummingbirds.

    PubMed

    Mayr, Gerald

    2004-05-07

    I report on tiny skeletons of stem-group hummingbirds from the early Oligocene of Germany that are of essentially modern appearance and exhibit morphological specializations toward nectarivory and hovering flight. These are the oldest fossils of modern-type hummingbirds, which had not previously been reported from the Old World. The findings demonstrate that early hummingbird evolution was not restricted to the New World. They further suggest that bird-flower coevolution dates back to the early Oligocene and open another view on the origin of ornithophily in Old World plants.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-04

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

  5. Environmental Impact on Fossil Record for Palaecological Reconstruction Studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-10-01

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

  6. Evidence for low sulphate and anoxia in a mid-Proterozoic marine basin.

    PubMed

    Shen, Yanan; Knoll, Andrew H; Walter, Malcolm R

    2003-06-05

    Many independent lines of evidence document a large increase in the Earth's surface oxidation state 2,400 to 2,200 million years ago, and a second biospheric oxygenation 800 to 580 million years ago, just before large animals appear in the fossil record. Such a two-staged oxidation implies a unique ocean chemistry for much of the Proterozoic eon, which would have been neither completely anoxic and iron-rich as hypothesized for Archaean seas, nor fully oxic as supposed for most of the Phanerozoic eon. The redox chemistry of Proterozoic oceans has important implications for evolution, but empirical constraints on competing environmental models are scarce. Here we present an analysis of the iron chemistry of shales deposited in the marine Roper Basin, Australia, between about 1,500 and 1,400 million years ago, which record deep-water anoxia beneath oxidized surface water. The sulphur isotopic compositions of pyrites in the shales show strong variations along a palaeodepth gradient, indicating low sulphate concentrations in mid-Proterozoic oceans. Our data help to integrate a growing body of evidence favouring a long-lived intermediate state of the oceans, generated by the early Proterozoic oxygen revolution and terminated by the environmental transformation late in the Proterozoic eon.

  7. 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

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

    PubMed

    Camens, Aaron Bruce; Carey, Stephen Paul

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-08-10

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

  11. The environmental distribution of late proterozoic organisms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, A. H.

    1991-01-01

    Along present day coast lines, the environmental distributions of prokaryotic and protistan populations are often sharply delimited. Realized habitat ranges are generally narrower than those circumscribed by physiological tolerances, suggesting the importance of organism-organism interactions in the determination of population distributions. Microfossil populations preserved in silicified carbonates, dolomites, and shales of the 700-800 Ma old Akademikerbreen Group, Svalbard, and elsewhere indicate that the environmental distributions were defined equally clearly during the Proterozoic Eon. The Draken Conglomerate Formation is a tidal flat/lagoonal complex in which we have distinguished five principle biofacies containing a total of 42 taxa. Supratidal to subtidal gradients include the increasing abundance and diversity of both mat dweller microbenthos and allochthonous (principally planktonic) organisms, as well as a taphonomically important pattern of decreasing sheath thickness among mat builder microorganisms. The seaward barriers of Akademikerbreen lagoons were oolitic shoals, and these contain about a dozen endolithic and epilithic species not observed elsewhere in the group. Subtidal environments below fair weather wave base are represented by mudstones of the Svanbergfjellet Formation. These contain abundant and diverse cyanobacteria-like fossils generally similar to but specifically different from those found in tidal flat sediments, as well as diverse unicellular protists (some of impressive morphological complexity) and at least half a dozen cellularly preserved metaphyte populations. In all, more than 80 species are distributed among Akademikerbreen lithologies. Fossil assemblages from Svalbard and elsewhere illustrate the potential for a much finer paleoecological, biostratigraphic, and, hence, evolutionary resolution of the early fossil record.

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

    PubMed

    Clarke, Julia A; Boyd, Clint A

    2015-01-01

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

  13. 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)

  14. 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)

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2006-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Daley, Allison C; Drage, Harriet B

    2016-03-01

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

  17. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-02-07

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

  19. The fossil record of evolution: Analysis of extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1986-01-01

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

  20. The fossil record of evolution: Analysis of extinction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raup, D. M.

    1986-01-01

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

  1. When can decreasing diversification rates be detected with molecular phylogenies and the fossil record?

    PubMed

    Liow, Lee Hsiang; Quental, Tiago B; Marshall, Charles R

    2010-12-01

    Traditionally, patterns and processes of diversification could only be inferred from the fossil record. However, there are an increasing number of tools that enable diversification dynamics to be inferred from molecular phylogenies. The application of these tools to new data sets has renewed interest in the question of the prevalence of diversity-dependent diversification. However, there is growing recognition that the absence of extinct species in molecular phylogenies may prevent accurate inferences about the underlying diversification dynamics. On the other hand, even though the fossil record provides direct data on extinct species, its incompleteness can also mask true diversification processes. Here, using computer-generated diversity-dependent phylogenies, we mimicked molecular phylogenies by eliminating extinct lineages. We also simulated the fossil record by converting the temporal axis into discrete intervals and imposing a variety of preservation processes on the lineages. Given the lack of reliable phylogenies for many fossil marine taxa, we also stripped away phylogenetic information from the computer-generated phylogenies. For the simulated molecular phylogenies, we examined the efficacy of the standard metric (the γ statistic) for identifying decreasing rates of diversification. We find that the underlying decreasing rate of diversification is detected only when the rate of change in the diversification rate is high, and if the molecular phylogeny happens to capture the diversification process as the equilibrium diversity is first reached or shortly thereafter. In contrast, estimating rates of diversification from the simulated fossil record captures the expected zero rate of diversification after equilibrium is reached under a wide range of preservation scenarios. The ability to detect the initial decreasing rate of diversification is lost as the temporal resolution of the fossil record drops and with a decreased quality of preservation. When the

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-04-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Murdock, Duncan; Gabbott, Sarah; Purnell, Mark

    2016-04-01

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

  4. Species, genera, and phylogenetic structure in the human fossil record: a modest proposal.

    PubMed

    Tattersall, Ian

    2017-05-01

    Because of the greater morphological distances among them, genera should be more robustly recognizable in the fossil record than species are. But there are clearly upper as well as lower bounds to their species inclusivity. Currently, the vast majority of fossils composing the large and rapidly expanding paleoanthropological record are crammed into one of two genera (Australopithecus vs Homo), expanding the latter, especially, far beyond any reasonable morphological or phylogenetic limits. This excessive inclusivity obscures both diversity and the complexities of phylogenetic structure within the hominid family. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1984-03-16

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

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

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Jonathan S

    2015-09-01

    Most extant species are in clades with poor fossil records, and recent studies of comparative methods show they have low power to infer even highly simplified models of trait evolution without fossil data. Birds are a well-studied radiation, yet their early evolutionary patterns are still contentious. The fossil record suggests that birds underwent a rapid ecological radiation after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, and several smaller, subsequent radiations. This hypothesized series of repeated radiations from fossil data is difficult to test using extant data alone. By uniting morphological and phylogenetic data on 604 extant genera of birds with morphological data on 58 species of extinct birds from 50 million years ago, the "halfway point" of avian evolution, I have been able to test how well extant-only methods predict the diversity of fossil forms. All extant-only methods underestimate the disparity, although the ratio of within- to between-clade disparity does suggest high early rates. The failure of standard models to predict high early disparity suggests that recent radiations are obscuring deep time patterns in the evolution of birds. Metrics from different models can be used in conjunction to provide more valuable insights than simply finding the model with the highest relative fit. © 2015 The Author(s). Evolution © 2015 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

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

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-07-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2005-12-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  11. The completeness of the fossil record of mesozoic birds: implications for early avian evolution.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bacon, Karen; Haworth, Matthew; McElwain, Jennifer

    2016-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-19

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  17. Glutoxylon Chowdhury (Anacardiaceae): the first record of fossil wood from Bangladesh.

    PubMed

    Poole, I; Davies, C

    2001-04-01

    This paper documents the first record of silicified fossil wood from a previously undescribed wood-rich horizon in the Sitakund Anticline, Eastern Bangladesh. The outcrop is composed of cross-stratified, fine-medium grained sandstones with bidirectional cross stratification indicative of a tidal environment, deposited ca. 5-5.2 million years before present (Miocene/Pliocene). The wood is characterised by large solitary vessels with alternate intervascular pits, banded parenchyma, uniseriate rays, and multiseriate rays with one radial canal per ray. This character combination closely resembles the wood of extant Gluta L. of the Anacardiaceae. This specimen has been assigned to the organ genus Glutoxylon Chowdhury erected for fossil woods with anatomical similarity to Gluta (including Melanorrhoea Wall.). The excellent preservation of this mature wood specimen illustrates the potential for using fossil wood from the Sitakund locality for palaeoecological studies in terms of biodiversity and adaptational response to climate change. Moreover such investigations of fossil woods from Bangladesh will compliment studies undertaken on fossil plants in other parts of Central and Southeastern Asia which will further the understanding of plant migration routes between India and Southeast Asia during the Tertiary.

  18. A liana from the lower Miocene of Panama and the fossil record of Connaraceae.

    PubMed

    Jud, Nathan A; Nelson, Chris W

    2017-05-01

    Permineralized wood is common in the Miocene beds exposed during the expansion of the Panama Canal. We describe a stem with the distinctive anatomy of a liana and evaluate the evolutionary, biogeographic, and ecological significance of this discovery. The object of the study was obtained from a collection of fossil woods and fruits from a locality in the lower Miocene Cucaracha Formation, where the formation is exposed by the Culebra Cut of the Panama Canal. Thin sections were prepared using the cellulose acetate peel technique and examined using transmitted light microscopy. We described the anatomy and compared it with that of extant and fossil species. We also reviewed and evaluated published reports of fossils attributed to Connaraceae. The anatomy of this fossil wood matches the genus Rourea (Connaraceae). The stem is only 1 cm in diameter, but vessels >200 μm in diameter also occur, indicating the perennial climbing habit. We evaluated 12 other pre-Quaternary occurrences attributed to Connaraceae. Four are accepted, three are rejected, and we consider five unknown or uncertain. The discovery of this Rourea stem confirms the presence of Connaraceae in the Neotropics by the early Miocene, provides the oldest evidence of the climbing habit in the family, and contributes to our understanding of the flora of Panama 19 mya. Although the fossil record of Connaraceae is sparse, reliable occurrences span three continents and indicate that the family originated as early as the Late Cretaceous-Paleocene and was widespread by the early Miocene. © 2017 Botanical Society of America.

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-04-07

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Bibi, Faysal

    2011-01-01

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

  1. Mio-pliocene faunal exchanges and african biogeography: the record of fossil bovids.

    PubMed

    Bibi, Faysal

    2011-02-16

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2006-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-06-01

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1989-02-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R.

    2010-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R

    2010-04-22

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

  9. Exceptional fossil preservation and the cambrian explosion.

    PubMed

    Butterfield, Nicholas J

    2003-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-11-03

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Klompmaker, Adiël A.

    2016-01-01

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

  12. Quantifying Uncertainty in Spatio-temporal Forest Composition Changes Inferred from Fossil Pollen Records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dawson, A.; Paciorek, C. J.; McLachlan, J. S.; Goring, S. J.; Williams, J. W.; Jackson, S. T.

    2014-12-01

    Understanding past compositional changes in vegetation provides insight about ecosystem dynamics in response to changing environments. Past vegetation reconstructions rely predominantly on fossil pollen data from sedimentary lake cores, which acts as a proxy record for the surrounding vegetation. Stratigraphic changes in these pollen records allow us to infer changes in composition and species distributions. Pollen records collected from a network of sites allow us to make inference about the spatio-temporal changes in vegetation over thousands of years. However, the complexity of the relationship between pollen deposits and surrounding vegetation, as well as the spatially sparse set of fossil pollen sites are important sources of uncertainty. In addition, uncertainty arises from the carbon dating and age-depth modelling processes. To reconstruct vegetation composition including uncertainty for the Upper Midwestern USA, we build a Bayesian hierarchical model that links vegetation composition to fossil pollen data via a dispersal model. In the calibration phase, we estimate the relationship between vegetation and pollen for the settlement era using Public Land Survey data and a network of pollen records. In the prediction phase, parameter estimates obtained during the calibration phase are used to estimate latent species distributions and relative abundances over the last 2500 years. We account for additional uncertainty in the pollen records by: allowing expert palynologists to identify pre-settlement pollen samples to be included in our calibration data, and through the incorporation of age uncertainty obtained from the Bayesian age-depth model BACON in our prediction data. Resulting spatio-temporal composition and abundance estimates will be used to improve forecasting capabilities of ecosystem models.

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-06-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2009-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-12-22

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  17. The fossil record of Cunoniaceae: new evidence from Late Cretaceous wood of Antarctica?

    PubMed

    Poole; Cantrill; Hayes; Francis

    2000-08-01

    Fossil angiosperm wood from Upper Cretaceous sediments of Livingston Island and James Ross Island in the northern Antarctic Peninsula region is identified as having the combination of anatomical characters most similar to modern Cunoniaceae. The material is characterised by predominantly solitary vessels, opposite to scalariform intervessel pitting, scalariform perforation plates, heterocellular multiseriate and homocellular uniseriate rays, diffuse axial parenchyma. Anatomically, the specimens conform most closely to the fossil organ genus Weinmannioxylon Petriella which has been placed within the Cunoniaceae. The presence of Weinmannioxylon in Late Cretaceous sediments suggests that taxa within or stem taxa to the Cunoniaceae might have been a notable component of the forest vegetation that covered the Antarctic Peninsula during the Late Mesozoic and may therefore represent the earliest record of this family.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-02-05

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

  20. Quantitative Reconstruction of Grassland and Forest Cover in Southern Sweden Inferred from Fossil Pollen Records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brostrom, A.; Gaillard, M.; Sugita, S.

    2001-12-01

    When reconstructing past land-cover changes induced by humans at local to regional scales, primary interest is to quantify vegetation cover of forest and grassland. Fossil pollen records have great potential in that respect. However, quantitative reconstruction using pollen always require well-established pollen/vegetation relationship in the region of interest. In particular, pollen productivity and dispersal are two major factors, controlling the pollen representation of the surrounding vegetation in a basin (lake or bog), thus need a better understanding. Based on empirical studies in the ancient cultural landscape of southern Sweden, we have obtained pollen productivity estimates (PPE) for major taxa relevant for that region. These PPE show that arboreal taxa produce 10-40 times as much pollen as non-arboreal taxa. Considering significant input of background pollen dominated by arboreal taxa the area of open grassland in the past could often be underestimated when estimated directly from non-arboreal pollen percentages in fossil pollen records. To better understand the problem, we compare quantitative estimates of vegetation cover inferred from fossil pollen records in two regions of southern Sweden, where vegetation composition and structure are significantly different. One region is dominated by cultivated and grazed open-land with scattered wood patches (OPEN), while the other region is mostly forested with scattered patches of cultivated and grazed land (SEMI-OPEN). The reconstruction follows the "Landscape Reconstruction Algorithm" (LRA) approach, which estimates vegetation cover within a given catchment area around the pollen site using PPE and estimates of background pollen for that region. The results are compared to the historical records in the region at several time horizons to validate the LRA approach. Our results show that open grassland cover is always underrepresented when only NAP percentages are used, with various degrees depending on regional

  1. Mass extinctions among tetrapods and the quality of the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Benton, M J

    1989-11-06

    The fossil record of tetrapods is very patchy because of the problems of preservation, in terrestrial sediments in particular, 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, and there is the potential for more detailed ecological analyses. The relative incompleteness of a fossil record may be assessed readily, and this can be used to test whether drops in overall diversity are related to mass extinctions or to gaps in our knowledge. Absolute incompleteness cannot be assessed directly, but a historical approach may offer clues to future improvements in our knowledge. One of the key problems facing palaeobiologists is paraphyly, the fact that many higher taxa in common use do not contain all of the descendants of the common ancestor. This may be overcome by cladistic analysis and the identification of monophyletic groups. The diversity of tetrapods increased from the Devonian to the Permian, remained roughly constant during the Mesozoic, and 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, crocodilians, birds and mammals--was hardly affected by the celebrated end-Cretaceous extinction event. Major mass extinctions among tetrapods took place in the early Permian, late Permian, early Triassic, late Triassic, late Cretaceous, early Oligocene and late Miocene. Many of these events appear to coincide with the major mass extinctions among marine invertebrates, but the tetrapod record is largely equivocal with regard to the theory of periodicity of mass extinctions.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-08-16

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Friedman, Matt; Brazeau, Martin D

    2011-02-07

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Friedman, Matt; Brazeau, Martin D.

    2011-01-01

    Past research on the emergence of digit-bearing tetrapods has led to the widely accepted premise that this important evolutionary event occurred during the Late Devonian. The discovery of convincing digit-bearing tetrapod trackways of early Middle Devonian age in Poland has upset this orthodoxy, indicating that current scenarios which link the timing of the origin of digited tetrapods to specific events in Earth history are likely to be in error. Inspired by this find, we examine the fossil record of early digit-bearing tetrapods and their closest fish-like relatives from a statistical standpoint. We find that the Polish trackways force a substantial reconsideration of the nature of the early tetrapod record when only body fossils are considered. However, the effect is less drastic (and often not statistically significant) when other reliably dated trackways that were previously considered anachronistic are taken into account. Using two approaches, we find that 95 per cent credible and confidence intervals for the origin of digit-bearing tetrapods extend into the Early Devonian and beyond, spanning late Emsian to mid Ludlow. For biologically realistic diversity models, estimated genus-level preservation rates for Devonian digited tetrapods and their relatives range from 0.025 to 0.073 per lineage-million years, an order of magnitude lower than species-level rates for groups typically considered to have dense records. Available fossils of early digited tetrapods and their immediate relatives are adequate for documenting large-scale patterns of character acquisition associated with the origin of terrestriality, but low preservation rates coupled with clear geographical and stratigraphic sampling biases caution against building scenarios for the origin of digits and terrestrialization tied to the provenance of particular specimens or faunas. PMID:20739322

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  9. Evolution of the human brain: changing brain size and the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Park, Min S; Nguyen, Andrew D; Aryan, Henry E; U, Hoi Sang; Levy, Michael L; Semendeferi, Katerina

    2007-03-01

    Although the study of the human brain is a rapidly developing and expanding science, we must take pause to examine the historical and evolutionary events that helped shape the brain of Homo sapiens. From an examination of the human lineage to a discussion of evolutionary principles, we describe the basic principles and theories behind the evolution of the human brain. Specifically, we examine several theories concerning changes in overall brain size during hominid evolution and relate them to the fossil record. This overview is intended to provide a broad understanding of some of the controversial issues that are currently being debated in the multidisciplinary field of brain evolution research.

  10. Paleoecology and coalescence: phylogeographic analysis of hypotheses from the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Cruzan; Templeton

    2000-12-01

    The application of principles from coalescence theory to genealogical relationships within species can provide insights into the process of diversification and the influence of biogeography on distributional patterns. There are several features that make some organisms more suitable for detailed studies of historical processes; in particular, limited dispersal, which serves to conserve the patterns of genetic variation that developed during colonization. We describe the potential benefits of studies that integrate analyses of genetic variation with information from the fossil pollen record and present recent examples of the application of quantitative methods of phylogeographic analysis.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1999-07-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suarez, Marina B.; Passey, Benjamin H.

    2014-09-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    1999-01-01

    preservation in the fossil record. PMID:10091249

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Suttle, Martin D.; Genge, Matthew J.

    2017-10-01

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

  15. Microbial mat records in siliciclastic rocks: Examples from Four Indian Proterozoic basins and their modern equivalents in Gulf of Cambay

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sarkar, Subir; Banerjee, Santanu; Samanta, Pradip; Chakraborty, Nivedita; Chakraborty, Partha Pratim; Mukhopadhyay, Soumik; Singh, Arvind K.

    2014-09-01

    Microbial mat-related structures (MRS) in siliciclastics have been investigated from four Proterozic formations in India, namely the Marwar Supergroup, the Vindhyan Supergroup, the Chhatisgarh Supergroup and the Khariar Group for their spectral variations, genetic aspects, palaeo-environmental significance and influence on sequence stratigraphic architecture. The maximum diversification of MRS has been experienced in shallow marine coastal Precambrian successions. Observations made from modern environment as well as Precambrian rock records clearly indicates that the features like petee ridges, sand-cracks, gas domes, multi-directed ripples, reticulate surfaces, sieve-like surfaces and setulf are most likely to form in the shallowest part of the marine basins, in upper intertidal to supratidal conditions while wrinkle structures, roll-up structures and patchy ripples had a broader range of palaeogeographic settings from the supratidal to subtidal conditions. Discoidal microbial colony (DMC) represents a special variety of the mat-layer feature in modern environment that may have diverse internal architecture, sometimes falsely resembles Ediacaran medusoids. The uniqueness in sequence stratigraphic architecture of the microbial mat-covered sediment is reflected by the presence of more amalgamated HSTs compare to that of TSTs. The preservation of forced and normal regressive deposits on low-gradient epeiric shelf under low continental freeboard indicates microbial mat-infested sea-floor impedes erosion and concomitant sediment supply may facilitate formation and preservation of regressive packages.

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

    PubMed Central

    Kidwell, Susan M.

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Kidwell, Susan M

    2015-04-21

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Hipsley, Christy A; Müller, Johannes

    2014-03-01

    Rhineurid amphisbaenians are represented by a rich Cenozoic fossil record in North America, but today conisist of a single living species restricted to the Florida Peninsula. Such relict endemism may be the result of phylogenetic niche conservatism (PNC), the retention of ancestral traits preventing expansion into new environments. Most tests of PNC derive ancestral niche preferences from species' extant ecologies, while ignoring valuable paleontological information. To test if PNC contributes to the restricted distribution of modern Rhineura floridana, we compare the species' current environmental preferences (temperature, precipitation and soil) to paleoenvironmental data from the rhineurid fossil record. We find no evidence of PNC in modern R. floridana, as it also occurred in Florida during drier glacial periods. Ancient rhineurids also exhibit tolerance to changing climates, having undergone a shift from subtropical-humid to semi-arid savanna conditions during the Eocene-Oligocene transition. However, rhineurids nearly disappear from North America after the middle Miocene, potentially due to the onset of prolonged freezing temperatures following the mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum. This physiological limit of environmental tolerances could be interpreted as PNC for the entire family, but also characterizes much of Amphisbaenia, emphasizing the relevance of the temporal as well as phylogenetic scale at which PNC is investigated. Copyright © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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

    PubMed

    Quental, Tiago B; Marshall, Charles R

    2009-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2007-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2009-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Escapa, Ignacio; Leslie, Andrew

    2017-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-02-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-06-01

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

  8. Introduction: The Proterozoic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jenkins, Gregory S.; McKay, Christopher P.; McMenamin, Mark A. S.

    The Proterozoic (2.5 Ga-545 Ma) is perhaps the most intriguing period in Earth's history. In a typical high school physical science textbook it may be presented as a rather boring period that today's student is happy to pass over in lieu of the Mesozoic and the extinction of Tyrannosaurus rex by a large asteroid. In reality this was a period full of excitement as it opens (in the PalaeoProterozoic) with low-latitude glaciation in concert with a rise in atmospheric oxygen. The Proterozoic ends with a glacial period and a possible rise in atmospheric oxygen levels. Other highlights of the Proterozoic include: three or more severe glacial events, a long period (1 billion years) of apparent warmth without evidence of glacial deposits, significant fluctuations in δC13, two or more periods where supercontinents were assembled, cap carbonates, banded iron formations, the rise of eukaryotes and the first complex life. The juxtaposition of extreme climate conditions and major evolutionary change among complex organisms during the Proterozoic is particularly puzzling, and begs the following question: What are the factors controlling the appearance of complex life?

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-04-01

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

  10. Cyclical Stress Field Switching and (Total?) Relief of Fault Shear Stress Recorded in Quartz Vein Systems Hosted by Proterozoic Strike-Slip Faults, Mt Isa, Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sibson, R. H.; Begbie, M. J.; Ghisetti, F. C.; Blenkinsop, T. G.

    2003-12-01

    The Proterozoic Mt Isa inlier ( ˜50,000 km2) in NW Queensland, Australia, underwent a complex tectonothermal history involving multiple episodes of intracontinental rifting, sedimentation, and magmatism that culminated in the Isan Orogeny (1590-1500 Ma) where strong E-W shortening led to compressional inversion of former rift basins. The resulting metamorphic complex of subgreenschist to amphibolite facies assemblages is disrupted by brittle, late-orogenic (1500-1450 Ma?) strike-slip faults. The faults occur in two mutually cross-cutting sets; a set of dextral strike-slip faults striking NE-SW to NNE-SSW with offsets <20 km, and a conjugate set of sinistral faults striking NW-SE to NNW-SSE. The two contemporaneous fault sets therefore lie at +/-45-60° to inferred E-W maximum compression, approaching the expected lock-up angle for 'Byerlee' friction coefficients. The faults commonly outcrop as linear blade-like ridges extending for many kilometres across the semi-arid terrain. Transects across the NE-SW Fountain Range and Overlander Faults which crosscut Corella Formation amphibolite facies assemblages and granites have shown that the fault zones are about 100 m in width with a composite brittle fabric comprising: (1) subvertical silicified cataclastic shear zones (cataclasites plus microbreccias containing vein fragments); (2) innumerable subvertical quartz-veins (cm to m thickness) lying subparallel to the principal shear zones (some retain purely dilational textures; others are multiply recemented fault-breccias with wallrock fragments); (3) highly irregular non-systematic veins; and (4) a systematic set of predominantly extensional, steep planar quartz veins oriented 080-120° at moderate angles to the main faults. Mutual cross-cutting relationships occur between all structural components, indicating broad contemporaneity. Recorded dextral separations along shear fracture components are commonly of the order of 1-10 cm, consistent with small-moderate seismic

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

    PubMed

    Yamada, Toshihiro; Yamada, Mariko; Tsukagoshi, Minoru

    2014-03-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Hyžný, Matúš

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Wilf, P

    2008-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Wang, Yan-Hui; Engel, Michael S; Rafael, José A; Wu, Hao-Yang; Rédei, Dávid; Xie, Qiang; Wang, Gang; Liu, Xiao-Guang; Bu, Wen-Jun

    2016-12-13

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-06-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-05

    Although ecometric methods have been used to analyse fossil mammal faunas and environments of Eurasia and North America, such methods have not yet been applied to the rich fossil mammal record of eastern Africa. Here we report results from analysis of a combined dataset spanning east and west Turkana from Kenya between 7 and 1 million years ago (Ma). We provide temporally and spatially resolved estimates of temperature and precipitation and discuss their relationship to patterns of faunal change, and propose a new hypothesis to explain the lack of a temperature trend. We suggest that the regionally arid Turkana Basin may between 4 and 2 Ma have acted as a 'species factory', generating ecological adaptations in advance of the global trend. We show a persistent difference between the eastern and western sides of the Turkana Basin and suggest that the wetlands of the shallow eastern side could have provided additional humidity to the terrestrial ecosystems. Pending further research, a transient episode of faunal change centred at the time of the KBS Member (1.87-1.53 Ma), may be equally plausibly attributed to climate change or to a top-down ecological cascade initiated by the entry of technologically sophisticated humans.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. © 2016 The Authors.

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

    PubMed

    Retallack, G J

    2001-05-17

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Retallack, Gregory J.

    2001-05-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

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

  2. The role of biology in planetary evolution: cyanobacterial primary production in low‐oxygen Proterozoic oceans

    PubMed Central

    Bryant, Donald A.; Macalady, Jennifer L.

    2016-01-01

    Summary Understanding the role of biology in planetary evolution remains an outstanding challenge to geobiologists. Progress towards unravelling this puzzle for Earth is hindered by the scarcity of well‐preserved rocks from the Archean (4.0 to 2.5 Gyr ago) and Proterozoic (2.5 to 0.5 Gyr ago) Eons. In addition, the microscopic life that dominated Earth's biota for most of its history left a poor fossil record, consisting primarily of lithified microbial mats, rare microbial body fossils and membrane‐derived hydrocarbon molecules that are still challenging to interpret. However, it is clear from the sulfur isotope record and other geochemical proxies that the production of oxygen or oxidizing power radically changed Earth's surface and atmosphere during the Proterozoic Eon, pushing it away from the more reducing conditions prevalent during the Archean. In addition to ancient rocks, our reconstruction of Earth's redox evolution is informed by our knowledge of biogeochemical cycles catalysed by extant biota. The emergence of oxygenic photosynthesis in ancient cyanobacteria represents one of the most impressive microbial innovations in Earth's history, and oxygenic photosynthesis is the largest source of O 2 in the atmosphere today. Thus the study of microbial metabolisms and evolution provides an important link between extant biota and the clues from the geologic record. Here, we consider the physiology of cyanobacteria (the only microorganisms capable of oxygenic photosynthesis), their co‐occurrence with anoxygenic phototrophs in a variety of environments and their persistence in low‐oxygen environments, including in water columns as well as mats, throughout much of Earth's history. We examine insights gained from both the rock record and cyanobacteria presently living in early Earth analogue ecosystems and synthesize current knowledge of these ancient microbial mediators in planetary redox evolution. Our analysis supports the hypothesis that anoxygenic

  3. Toward a new synthesis: major evolutionary trends in the angiosperm fossil record.

    PubMed

    Dilcher, D

    2000-06-20

    Angiosperm paleobotany has widened its horizons, incorporated new techniques, developed new databases, and accepted new questions that can now focus on the evolution of the group. The fossil record of early flowering plants is now playing an active role in addressing questions of angiosperm phylogeny, angiosperm origins, and angiosperm radiations. Three basic nodes of angiosperm radiations are identified: (i) the closed carpel and showy radially symmetrical flower, (ii) the bilateral flower, and (iii) fleshy fruits and nutritious nuts and seeds. These are all coevolutionary events and spread out through time during angiosperm evolution. The proposal is made that the genetics of the angiosperms pressured the evolution of the group toward reproductive systems that favored outcrossing. This resulted in the strongest selection in the angiosperms being directed toward the flower, fruits, and seeds. That is why these organs often provide the best systematic characters for the group.

  4. Extinction intensity, selectivity and their combined macroevolutionary influence in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Payne, Jonathan L; Bush, Andrew M; Chang, Ellen T; Heim, Noel A; Knope, Matthew L; Pruss, Sara B

    2016-10-01

    The macroevolutionary effects of extinction derive from both intensity of taxonomic losses and selectivity of losses with respect to ecology, physiology and/or higher taxonomy. Increasingly, palaeontologists are using logistic regression to quantify extinction selectivity because the selectivity metric is independent of extinction intensity and multiple predictor variables can be assessed simultaneously. We illustrate the use of logistic regression with an analysis of physiological buffering capacity and extinction risk in the Phanerozoic marine fossil record. We propose the geometric mean of extinction intensity and selectivity as a metric for the influence of extinction events. The end-Permian mass extinction had the largest influence on the physiological composition of the fauna owing to its combination of high intensity and strong selectivity. In addition to providing a quantitative measure of influence to compare among past events, this approach provides an avenue for quantifying the risk posed by the emerging biodiversity crisis that goes beyond a simple projection of taxonomic losses.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Delfino, Massimo

    2017-07-13

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-08-05

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

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

    PubMed

    Neige, Pascal; Lapierre, Hervé; Merle, Didier

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Neige, Pascal; Lapierre, Hervé; Merle, Didier

    2016-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2004-12-01

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

  14. Strong coupling of predation intensity and diversity in the Phanerozoic fossil record.

    PubMed

    Huntley, John Warren; Kowalewski, Michal

    2007-09-18

    The importance of ecological interactions in driving the evolution of animals has been the focus of intense debate among paleontologists, evolutionary biologists, and macroecologists. To test whether the intensity of such interactions covaries with the secular evolutionary trend in global biodiversity, we compiled a species-level database of predation intensity, as measured by the frequency of common predation traces (drillings and repair scars ranging in age from Ediacaran to Holocene). The results indicate that the frequency of predation traces increased notably by the Ordovician, and not in the mid-Paleozoic as suggested by multiple previous studies. Importantly, these estimates of predation intensity and global diversity of marine metazoans correlate throughout the Phanerozoic fossil record regardless of corrections and methods applied. This concordance may represent (i) an ecological signal: long-term coupling of diversity and predation; (ii) a diversity-driven diffusion of predatory behaviors: an increased probability of more complex predatory strategies to appear at higher diversity levels; or (iii) a spurious concordance in signal capture: an artifact where rare species and less-frequent (e.g., trace-producing) predatory behaviors are both more detectable at times when sampling improves. The coupling of predation and diversity records suggests that macroevolutionary and macroecological patterns share common causative mechanisms that may reflect either historical processes or sampling artifacts.

  15. Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation recorded in fossil corals during the last Interglacial

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vàsquez-Bedoya, L.; Cohen, A. L.; Oppo, D.; Thompson, W. G.; Blanchon, P.

    2013-05-01

    The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) is a mode of sea surface temperature variability occurring in the North Atlantic Ocean, whose warm phase correlates strongly with Atlantic hurricane activity. While support for this mode originates in historical observations and models, controversy exists with regard to the attribution of sea surface temperature change to natural or anthropogenic forcing. Previously, we showed that long-lived colonies of the massive Caribbean coral Siderastrea siderea (Ellis & Solander, 1786) on the Yucatan Peninsula capture AMO-like variability in their annual growth bands (Vásquez-Bedoya et al., 2012) allowing us to extend the record of Atlantic multidecadal variability back to 1775 AD. Here we report an analysis of skeletal growth bands of a fossil coral of the same species, dated by U-series (122.24±0.19 kyr) to the Last Interglacial (LIG). MultiTaper spectral analysis of the LIG coral record reveals significant concentrations of power (99% confidence level) at intervals centered at 45-67 and 50-67 years respectively, consistent with the AMO spectrum, which is centered in intervals of 60-70 years. Thus our analysis provides the first evidence of AMO mode during the LIG and supports the hypotheses of a persistent, naturally-forced multidecadal mode of SST variability in the North Atlantic.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-02-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-10-23

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dodick, Jeff; Orion, Nir

    2003-01-01

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

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dodick, Jeff; Orion, Nir

    2003-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Bibi, Faysal

    2013-08-08

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

  6. 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.

  7. Proterozoic microfossils revealing the time of algal divergences

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moczydlowska-Vidal, Malgorzata

    2010-05-01

    fossils more ubiquitously and without mineralization. Microalgae radiated quickly in the Cambrian and Ordovician; however, several morphotypes with features related to the reproductive cycle occur in the Proterozoic, although they are not always recognized as such. The assignment of Proterozoic unicellular microfossils with resistant cell walls to specific eukaryotic groups is tentative. However, we argue that the new interpretations of their functional morphology, combined with cell wall ultrastructure and biochemistry, allow their assignment to microalgal classes. Microfossils with advanced ornamentation and ontogenetically formed excystment structures or endocysts, which prove that they are cysts in a complex life cycle with sexual reproduction, are related to the basal lineage of the Chlorophytes and the class Chlorophyceae. A cell wall ultrastructure with a TLS supports the affinity of some spheroidal taxa to the Chlorophytes. The phylogeny of the Chlorophytes shows a sequence of branching nodes from a stem-group of the Viridiplantae that leads to the classes Prasinophyceae and Chlorophyceae, and then the Ulvophyceae. Based on a modern interpretation of the record, the timing of these nodes is deduced to be prior to c. 1650 Ma for the Prasinophyceae, c. 1450 Ma for the Chlorophyceae, and c. 950 Ma for the Ulvophyceae. The origin of the Chlorophytes, and in general the Viridiplantae, predates 1.8 Ga. These ages, based on microfossils, are earlier than the estimates based on molecular clocks.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2005-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-25

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

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

    PubMed

    Alroy, John

    2008-08-12

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gilbert, Pupa U. P. A.; Bergmann, Kristin D.; Myers, Corinne E.; Marcus, Matthew A.; DeVol, Ross T.; Sun, Chang-Yu; Blonsky, Adam Z.; Tamre, Erik; Zhao, Jessica; Karan, Elizabeth A.; Tamura, Nobumichi; Lemer, Sarah; Giuffre, Anthony J.; Giribet, Gonzalo; Eiler, John M.; Knoll, Andrew H.

    2017-02-01

    Nacre, the iridescent outer lining of pearls and inner lining of many mollusk shells, is composed of periodic, parallel, organic sheets alternating with aragonite (CaCO3) tablet layers. Nacre tablet thickness (TT) generates both nacre's iridescence and its remarkable resistance to fracture. Despite extensive studies on how nacre forms, the mechanisms controlling TT remain unknown, even though they determine the most conspicuous of nacre's characteristics, visible even to the naked eye. Thermodynamics predicts that temperature (T) will affect both physical and chemical components of biomineralized skeletons. The chemical composition of biominerals is well-established to record environmental parameters, and has therefore been extensively used in paleoclimate studies. The physical structure, however, has been hypothesized but never directly demonstrated to depend on the environment. Here we observe that the physical TT in nacre from modern and fossil shallow-water shells of the bivalves Pinna and Atrina correlates with T as measured by the carbonate clumped isotope thermometer. Based on the observed TT vs. T correlation, we anticipate that TT will be used as a paleothermometer, useful to estimate paleotemperature in shallow-water paleoenvironments. Here we successfully test the proposed new nacre TT thermometer on two Jurassic Pinna shells. The increase of TT with T is consistent with greater aragonite growth rate at higher T, and with greater metabolic rate at higher T. Thus, it reveals a complex, T-dependent biophysical mechanism for nacre formation.

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

    SciTech Connect

    Gilbert, Pupa U. P. A.; Bergmann, Kristin D.; Myers, Corinne E.; Marcus, Matthew A.; DeVol, Ross T.; Sun, Chang-Yu; Blonsky, Adam Z.; Tamre, Erik; Zhao, Jessica; Karan, Elizabeth A.; Tamura, Nobumichi; Lemer, Sarah; Giuffre, Anthony J.; Giribet, Gonzalo; Eiler, John M.; Knoll, Andrew H.

    2016-12-15

    Nacre, the iridescent outer lining of pearls and inner lining of many mollusk shells, is made of periodic, parallel, organic sheets alternating with aragonite (CaCO3) tablet layers. Nacre tablet thickness (TT) generates both nacre's iridescence and its remarkable resistance to fracture. Despite extensive studies on how nacre forms, the mechanisms controlling TT remain unknown, even though they determine the most conspicuous of nacre's characteristics, visible even to the naked eye.Thermodynamics predicts that temperature (T) will affect both physical and chemical components of biomineralized skeletons. The chemical composition of biominerals is well-established to record environmental parameters, and has therefore been extensively used in paleoclimate studies. The physical structure, however, has been hypothesized but never directly demonstrated to depend on the environment. Here we observe that the physical TT in nacre from modern and fossil shallow-water shells of the bivalves Pinna and Atrina correlates with T as measured by the carbonate clumped isotope thermometer. Based on the observed TT vs. T correlation, we anticipate that TT will be used as a paleothermometer, useful to estimate paleotemperature in shallow-water paleoenvironments. Here we successfully test the proposed new nacre TT thermometer on two Jurassic Pinna shells. The increase of TT with T is consistent with greater aragonite growth rate at higher T, and with greater metabolic rate at higher T. Thus, it reveals a complex, T-dependent biophysical mechanism for nacre formation.

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

    DOE PAGES

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

    2016-12-15

    Nacre, the iridescent outer lining of pearls and inner lining of many mollusk shells, is made of periodic, parallel, organic sheets alternating with aragonite (CaCO3) tablet layers. Nacre tablet thickness (TT) generates both nacre's iridescence and its remarkable resistance to fracture. Despite extensive studies on how nacre forms, the mechanisms controlling TT remain unknown, even though they determine the most conspicuous of nacre's characteristics, visible even to the naked eye.Thermodynamics predicts that temperature (T) will affect both physical and chemical components of biomineralized skeletons. The chemical composition of biominerals is well-established to record environmental parameters, and has therefore been extensivelymore » used in paleoclimate studies. The physical structure, however, has been hypothesized but never directly demonstrated to depend on the environment. Here we observe that the physical TT in nacre from modern and fossil shallow-water shells of the bivalves Pinna and Atrina correlates with T as measured by the carbonate clumped isotope thermometer. Based on the observed TT vs. T correlation, we anticipate that TT will be used as a paleothermometer, useful to estimate paleotemperature in shallow-water paleoenvironments. Here we successfully test the proposed new nacre TT thermometer on two Jurassic Pinna shells. The increase of TT with T is consistent with greater aragonite growth rate at higher T, and with greater metabolic rate at higher T. Thus, it reveals a complex, T-dependent biophysical mechanism for nacre formation.« less

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

    PubMed

    Musser, A M

    2003-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2005-09-01

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

  18. Spatio-temporal changes in forest composition inferred from fossil pollen records in the Upper Midwestern USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dawson, A.; Paciorek, C. J.; McLachlan, J. S.; Goring, S. J.; Williams, J. W.

    2013-12-01

    Understanding compositional changes in vegetation over the common era provides insight about ecosystem dynamics in response to changing environments. Past vegetation reconstructions rely predominantly on fossil pollen data from sedimentary lake cores, which acts as a proxy record for the surrounding vegetation. Stratigraphic changes in these pollen records allow us to infer changes in composition and species distributions. Pollen records collected from a network of sites allow us to make inference about the spatio-temporal changes in vegetation over thousands of years. To reconstruct vegetation composition, we build a Bayesian model for the Upper Midwestern USA that links vegetation composition to fossil pollen data via a dispersal model. We estimate the relationship between vegetation and pollen for the settlement era using United States Public Land Survey data and a network of pollen records. Using parameter estimates from the settlement era, we use the fossil pollen proxy records to estimate species distributions and relative abundances over the last 2500 years. Resulting composition and abundance estimates will be used to improve the forecasting capabilities of ecosystem models.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-11-01

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

  20. 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.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-09-16

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-11-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2008-01-07

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Altner, Melanie; Reichenbacher, Bettina

    2015-01-01

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

  8. Proterozoic Geomagnetic Field Geometry

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Panzik, J. E.; Evans, D. A.

    2011-12-01

    Pre-Mesozoic continental reconstructions and paleoclimatic inferences from paleomagnetism rely critically upon the assumption of a time-averaged geocentric axial dipole (GAD) magnetic field. We have been testing the GAD assumption and localized non-dipole components in a different manner, by observing directional variations within the Matachewan, Mackenzie and Franklin dyke swarms. Large dyke swarms, commonly emplaced within a few million years, provide the necessary broad areal coverage to perform a test of global geomagnetic field geometry. Our analysis varies the quadrupole and octupole values of the generalized paleolatitude equation to determine a minimal angular dispersion and maximum precision of paleopoles from each dyke swarm. As a control, paleomagnetic data from the central Atlantic magmatic province (CAMP) show the sensitivities of our method to non-GAD contributions to the ancient geomagnetic field. Within the uncertainties, CAMP data are consistent with independent estimates of non-GAD contributions derived from global tectonic reconstructions (Torsvik & Van der Voo, 2002). Current results from the three Proterozoic dyke swarms all have best fits that are non-dipolar, but they differ in their optimal quadrupole/ octupole components. Treated together under the hypothesis of a static Proterozoic field geometry, the data allow a pure GAD geodynamo within the uncertainty of the method. Current results were performed using Fisherian statistics, but Bingham statistics will be included to account for the ellipticity of data.

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

    SciTech Connect

    CoBabe, E.A.

    1995-12-31

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

  10. Fossil Crinoids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2003-01-01

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

  11. Fossil Crinoids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1999-10-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    HYŽNÝ, MATÚŠ; GAŠPARIČ, ROK

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2009-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Hyžný, Matúš; Gašparič, Rok

    2014-06-19

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

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

    PubMed

    Rust, Jes; Wappler, Torsten

    2016-02-22

    The evolution of eusociality is one of the major transitions in the history of life, particularly in the insects. Now, fossil termites and ants from Burmese amber offer insights into early stages of eusociality in the Lower Cretaceous. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Deep-sea foraging behavior: its bathymetric potential in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Kitchell, J A; Kitchell, J F; Clark, D L; Dangeard, L

    1978-06-16

    Spiral and meander foraging traces in the deep sea are not distributed in proportion to assumed food availability. Data collected by means of deep-sea photography failed to reveal a bathymetric gradient in behavioral complexity or sensitivity. The foraging paradigm developed by numerous trace fossil studies does not adequately predict the modern environment.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

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

  18. The first occurrence in the fossil record of an aquatic avian twig-nest with Phoenicopteriformes eggs: evolutionary implications.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2007-06-22

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-08

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-11-15

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

  3. Proterozoic ocean redox and biogeochemical stasis

    PubMed Central

    Reinhard, Christopher T.; Planavsky, Noah J.; Robbins, Leslie J.; Partin, Camille A.; Gill, Benjamin C.; Lalonde, Stefan V.; Bekker, Andrey; Konhauser, Kurt O.; Lyons, Timothy W.

    2013-01-01

    The partial pressure of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere has increased dramatically through time, and this increase is thought to have occurred in two rapid steps at both ends of the Proterozoic Eon (∼2.5–0.543 Ga). However, the trajectory and mechanisms of Earth’s oxygenation are still poorly constrained, and little is known regarding attendant changes in ocean ventilation and seafloor redox. We have a particularly poor understanding of ocean chemistry during the mid-Proterozoic (∼1.8–0.8 Ga). Given the coupling between redox-sensitive trace element cycles and planktonic productivity, various models for mid-Proterozoic ocean chemistry imply different effects on the biogeochemical cycling of major and trace nutrients, with potential ecological constraints on emerging eukaryotic life. Here, we exploit the differing redox behavior of molybdenum and chromium to provide constraints on seafloor redox evolution by coupling a large database of sedimentary metal enrichments to a mass balance model that includes spatially variant metal burial rates. We find that the metal enrichment record implies a Proterozoic deep ocean characterized by pervasive anoxia relative to the Phanerozoic (at least ∼30–40% of modern seafloor area) but a relatively small extent of euxinic (anoxic and sulfidic) seafloor (less than ∼1–10% of modern seafloor area). Our model suggests that the oceanic Mo reservoir is extremely sensitive to perturbations in the extent of sulfidic seafloor and that the record of Mo and chromium enrichments through time is consistent with the possibility of a Mo–N colimited marine biosphere during many periods of Earth’s history. PMID:23515332

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-11-29

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tomašových, Adam; Kidwell, Susan

    2010-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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

  9. Do species populations really start small? New perspectives from the Late Neogene fossil record of African mammals.

    PubMed Central

    Vrba, E S; DeGusta, D

    2004-01-01

    This analysis of all known African larger mammals of the past 10 Myr offers new perspectives on the geographical circumstances of speciation. Our central question is: does the fossil evidence support the idea that most new species start as small populations and, if true, how long is the average growth interval until species are established at their mean later size? This simple question is important to unravelling the competing claims of rival models of speciation. We approached it by direct use of fossil data, which, to our knowledge, has not been done previously. We compared the numbers of fossil site records, as a proxy for magnitude of geographical spread, between survivorship intervals across all species. The results show that the average mammal species has indeed started its life in a relatively small population, and thereafter increased rapidly in geographical spread to reach its long-term equilibrium abundance by about 1 million years after origin. Some theoretical implications of these results are discussed. PMID:15101584

  10. El Niño during the Last Interglacial Period recorded by a fossil coral from Indonesia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hughen, Konrad A.; Schrag, Daniel P.; Jacobsen, Stein B.; Hantoro, Wahyoe

    Measurements of oxygen isotopes and elemental ratios in a fossil coral that grew 124,000 years ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, reflect interannual variability in precipitation and sea surface temperature (SST) due to the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). This indicates that ENSO was robust during the last interglacial period, a time when global climate was slightly warmer than the present. The pattern of ENSO frequency behavior in the past is similar to variability in modern instrumental records, but distinct from the most recent period since the mid-1970s, supporting the hypothesis that ENSO behavior in recent decades is anomalous with respect to natural variability.

  11. A Fossil DNA Based High Resolution Record of Holocene Planktonic Taxa and Environmental Change in the Black Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coolen, M. J.; Saenz, J. P.; Trowbridge, N.; Eglinton, T.

    2007-12-01

    A standard approach to study past planktonic taxa which carry information about past environments and climate variability is the microscopic determination and enumeration of microfossils. However, most planktonic taxa are soft-bodied and in cases where microfossils are absent or difficult to identify, chemical fossils (lipid biomarkers) can be used as paleoecological tools. Nevertheless, most lipids are not very specific, multiple sources are possible, or their biological source remains unknown. Recently, we and others have shown that under excellent preservation conditions, the analysis of preserved genetic signatures (fossil DNA) offers great potential to study past planktonic communities, including soft-bodied species, at the unprecedented species- and even strain-level (this work). Given the dramatic shifts in hydrography and the present anoxia that permeates most of the water column which promotes preservation of cellular materials, the Black Sea is an excellent setting to study the ancient species composition based on fossil DNA. We developed a high temporal resolution (50-100 yr) fossil DNA and lipid biomarker based stratigraphic record of planktonic community structure in the Black Sea spanning the complete Holocene development from the first post-glacial input of Mediterranean waters in the paleo-lacustrine Black Sea to the present. Preserved genetic markers for microbial communities dwelling at the surface (algal primary producers and zooplankton), the suboxic layer (marine Crenarchaeota), and the sulfidic chemocline (green sulfur bacteria) were targeted to provide information on past environmental change in the Black Sea. Specifically, we targeted markers that contributed to our understanding of past surface water temperature, salinity and stratification. Where possible, a side-by-side phylogenetic and lipid biomarker analyses was performed in order to carefully assess the validity of utilizing the former as proxies of a given biological input. As the

  12. The role of biology in planetary evolution: cyanobacterial primary production in low-oxygen Proterozoic oceans.

    PubMed

    Hamilton, Trinity L; Bryant, Donald A; Macalady, Jennifer L

    2016-02-01

    Understanding the role of biology in planetary evolution remains an outstanding challenge to geobiologists. Progress towards unravelling this puzzle for Earth is hindered by the scarcity of well-preserved rocks from the Archean (4.0 to 2.5 Gyr ago) and Proterozoic (2.5 to 0.5 Gyr ago) Eons. In addition, the microscopic life that dominated Earth's biota for most of its history left a poor fossil record, consisting primarily of lithified microbial mats, rare microbial body fossils and membrane-derived hydrocarbon molecules that are still challenging to interpret. However, it is clear from the sulfur isotope record and other geochemical proxies that the production of oxygen or oxidizing power radically changed Earth's surface and atmosphere during the Proterozoic Eon, pushing it away from the more reducing conditions prevalent during the Archean. In addition to ancient rocks, our reconstruction of Earth's redox evolution is informed by our knowledge of biogeochemical cycles catalysed by extant biota. The emergence of oxygenic photosynthesis in ancient cyanobacteria represents one of the most impressive microbial innovations in Earth's history, and oxygenic photosynthesis is the largest source of O2 in the atmosphere today. Thus the study of microbial metabolisms and evolution provides an important link between extant biota and the clues from the geologic record. Here, we consider the physiology of cyanobacteria (the only microorganisms capable of oxygenic photosynthesis), their co-occurrence with anoxygenic phototrophs in a variety of environments and their persistence in low-oxygen environments, including in water columns as well as mats, throughout much of Earth's history. We examine insights gained from both the rock record and cyanobacteria presently living in early Earth analogue ecosystems and synthesize current knowledge of these ancient microbial mediators in planetary redox evolution. Our analysis supports the hypothesis that anoxygenic photosynthesis

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

    PubMed

    Bland-Hawthorn; Freeman

    2000-01-07

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ager, Thomas A.

    2007-01-01

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

  15. Molecular fossil record of elevated methane levels in late Pleistocene coastal waters.

    PubMed

    Hinrichs, Kai-Uwe; Hmelo, Laura R; Sylva, Sean P

    2003-02-21

    Accumulating evidence suggests that methane has been released episodically from hydrates trapped in sea floor sediments during many intervals of rapid climate warming. Here we show that sediments from the Santa Barbara Basin deposited during warm intervals in the last glacial period contain molecular fossils that are diagnostic of aerobic and anaerobic methanotrophs. Sediment intervals with high abundances of these compounds indicate episodes of vigorous methanotrophic activity in methane-laden water masses. Signals for anaerobic methanotrophy in 44,100-year-old sediment are evidence for particularly intense methane emissions and suggest that the basin's methane cycle can profoundly affect oxygen budgets in the water column.

  16. Individual to community-level faunal responses to environmental change from a marine fossil record of Early Miocene global warming.

    PubMed

    Belanger, Christina L

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Belanger, Christina L.

    2012-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  19. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Boyce, C. Kevin; Zwieniecki, Maciej A.

    2012-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blank, Carrine E.

    2009-03-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-07-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-05

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

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

    PubMed

    Boyce, C Kevin; Zwieniecki, Maciej A

    2012-06-26

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

  6. Peritidal microbial assemblages from the Late Proterozoic limestone/dolomite series, central east Greenland

    SciTech Connect

    Knoll, A.H.; Green, J.W.; Golubic, S.; Swett, K.

    1985-01-01

    The Late Riphean (700-800 Ma) Limestone/Dolomite sequence of the East Greenland Caledonides comprises some 1100 meters of carbonates and minor interbedded siliciclastic units deposited in tidal flat to shallow subtidal marine environments. Several horizons within this succession contain exceptionally well preserved microfossil assemblages. Peritidal associations include: 1) the remnants of two distinct microbial mat communities containing Lyngbya- or Phormidium-like cyanobacterial mat builders and associated mat dwellers; 2) a microbenthic association dominated by populations morphologically and behaviorally indistinguishable from modern cyanobacteria assigned to the genus Cyanostylon; 3) thin horizons of Eoentophysalis which occasionally cap laminae of the previous association; and 4) endolithic microfossils preserved in silicified ooids and pisoliths. Fossil endoliths include one population that is morphologically, developmentally, and ecologically comparable to the modern cyanobacterium, Hyella gigas, and additionally contain several other fossil cyanobacterial and algal populations. The unusually good preservation of these assemblages, apparently associated with rapid burial during storms, permits reconstruction of some measure of the ecological dynamics of these several peritidal communities. Comparable microbial communities occur today in Bahamian peritidal environments. Such detailed knowledge of microbial paleoecology is necessary for realistic biostratigraphic and evolutionary evaluations of the Proterozoic fossil record.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1995-10-01

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

  8. OH-65: The earliest evidence for right-handedness in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Frayer, David W; Clarke, Ronald J; Fiore, Ivana; Blumenschine, Robert J; Pérez-Pérez, Alejandro; Martinez, Laura M; Estebaranz, Ferran; Holloway, Ralph; Bondioli, Luca

    2016-11-01

    Labial striations on the anterior teeth have been documented in numerous European pre-Neandertal and Neandertal fossils and serve as evidence for handedness. OH-65, dated at 1.8 mya, shows a concentration of oblique striations on, especially, the left I(1) and right I(1), I(2) and C(1), which signal that it was right-handed. From these patterns we contend that OH-65 was habitually using the right hand, over the left, in manipulating objects during some kind of oral processing. In living humans right-handedness is generally correlated with brain lateralization, although the strength of the association is questioned by some. We propose that as more specimens are found, right-handedness, as seen in living Homo, will most probably be typical of these early hominins. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. End of the Proterozoic eon.

    PubMed

    Knoll, A H

    1991-10-01

    Living organisms have inhabited the surface of our planet for nearly four billion years. Yet the plants and animals that define our everyday existence have far more recent origins. The ancestors of modern trees and terrestrial animals first colonized land only about 450 million years ago. In the oceans, animals have a longer record, but macroscopic invertebrates did not appear even there until about 580 million years ago--roughly 85 percent of the way through life's history. The earliest animals, which are collectively referred to as the Ediacaran fauna (after the Ediacara Hills in southern Australia), have intrigued paleontologists since their discovery more than 50 years ago [see "The Emergence of Animals," by Mark A. S. McMenamin; Scientific American, April 1987]. The surprisingly young age of the fossils presents a most interesting puzzle. If life is so ancient, why did animals appear so late in the evolutionary day? Why--once the basic blueprint of life was drawn--did animals not emerge for more than three billion years? Alternatively, is the fossil record misleading? Is it possible that animals are far older than the record suggests?

  10. PROTEROZOIC EUCARYOTES FROM EASTERN CALIFORNIA*

    PubMed Central

    Cloud, P. E.; Licari, G. R.; Wright, L. A.; Troxel, B. W.

    1969-01-01

    Both procaryotic and eucaryotic nannofossils occur in chert from the upper Beck Spring Dolomite (Pahrump Group) in northeastern San Bernardino County, California. These fossils include the oldest reasonably certain records to date of chlorophycean and chrysophycean algae, and hence of the eucaryotic or mitosing cell. Associated with these are cyanophycean procaryotes of still more ancient affinities. Indirect radiometric evidence implies an age of 1.2 to 1.4 aeons (1.2 to 1.4 × 109 years) for the enclosing rocks. Associated stromatolites are consistent with such an age assignment. Images PMID:16591732

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1998-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-01

    During the past two decades, a plethora of fossil micro-organisms have been described from various Triassic to Miocene ambers. However, in addition to entrapped microbes, ambers commonly contain microscopic inclusions that sometimes resemble amoebae, ciliates, microfungi, and unicellular algae in size and shape, but do not provide further diagnostic features thereof. For a better assessment of the actual fossil record of unicellular eukaryotes in amber, we studied equivalent inclusions in modern resin of the Araucariaceae; this conifer family comprises important amber-producers in Earth history. Using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), we investigated the chemical nature of the inclusion matter and the resin matrix. Whereas the matrix, as expected, showed a more hydrocarbon/aromatic-dominated composition, the inclusions contain abundant salt ions and polar organics. However, the absence of signals characteristic for cellular biomass, namely distinctive proteinaceous amino acids and lipid moieties, indicates that the inclusions do not contain microbial cellular matter but salts and hydrophilic organic substances that probably derived from the plant itself. Rather than representing protists or their remains, these microbe-like inclusions, for which we propose the term 'pseudoinclusions', consist of compounds that are immiscible with the terpenoid resin matrix and were probably secreted in small amounts together with the actual resin by the plant tissue. Consequently, reports of protists from amber that are only based on the similarity of the overall shape and size to extant taxa, but do not provide relevant features at light-microscopical and ultrastructural level, cannot be accepted as unambiguous fossil evidence for these particular groups. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-27

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-09-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1989-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2006-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-03-28

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

  1. Morphometric convergence between Proterozoic and post-vegetation rivers

    PubMed Central

    Ielpi, Alessandro; Rainbird, Robert H.; Ventra, Dario; Ghinassi, Massimiliano

    2017-01-01

    Proterozoic rivers flowed through barren landscapes, and lacked interactions with macroscopic organisms. It is widely held that, in the absence of vegetation, fluvial systems featured barely entrenched channels that promptly widened over floodplains during floods. This hypothesis has never been tested because of an enduring lack of Precambrian fluvial-channel morphometric data. Here we show, through remote sensing and outcrop sedimentology, that deep rivers were developed in the Proterozoic, and that morphometric parameters for large fluvial channels might have remained within a narrow range over almost 2 billion years. Our data set comprises fluvial-channel forms deposited a few tens to thousands of kilometres from their headwaters, likely the record of basin- to craton-scale systems. Large Proterozoic channel forms present width:thickness ranges matching those of Phanerozoic counterparts, suggesting closer parallels between their fluvial dynamics. This outcome may better inform analyses of extraterrestrial planetary surfaces and related comparisons with pre-vegetation Earth landscapes. PMID:28548109

  2. Morphometric convergence between Proterozoic and post-vegetation rivers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ielpi, Alessandro; Rainbird, Robert H.; Ventra, Dario; Ghinassi, Massimiliano

    2017-05-01

    Proterozoic rivers flowed through barren landscapes, and lacked interactions with macroscopic organisms. It is widely held that, in the absence of vegetation, fluvial systems featured barely entrenched channels that promptly widened over floodplains during floods. This hypothesis has never been tested because of an enduring lack of Precambrian fluvial-channel morphometric data. Here we show, through remote sensing and outcrop sedimentology, that deep rivers were developed in the Proterozoic, and that morphometric parameters for large fluvial channels might have remained within a narrow range over almost 2 billion years. Our data set comprises fluvial-channel forms deposited a few tens to thousands of kilometres from their headwaters, likely the record of basin- to craton-scale systems. Large Proterozoic channel forms present width:thickness ranges matching those of Phanerozoic counterparts, suggesting closer parallels between their fluvial dynamics. This outcome may better inform analyses of extraterrestrial planetary surfaces and related comparisons with pre-vegetation Earth landscapes.

  3. Morphometric convergence between Proterozoic and post-vegetation rivers.

    PubMed

    Ielpi, Alessandro; Rainbird, Robert H; Ventra, Dario; Ghinassi, Massimiliano

    2017-05-26

    Proterozoic rivers flowed through barren landscapes, and lacked interactions with macroscopic organisms. It is widely held that, in the absence of vegetation, fluvial systems featured barely entrenched channels that promptly widened over floodplains during floods. This hypothesis has never been tested because of an enduring lack of Precambrian fluvial-channel morphometric data. Here we show, through remote sensing and outcrop sedimentology, that deep rivers were developed in the Proterozoic, and that morphometric parameters for large fluvial channels might have remained within a narrow range over almost 2 billion years. Our data set comprises fluvial-channel forms deposited a few tens to thousands of kilometres from their headwaters, likely the record of basin- to craton-scale systems. Large Proterozoic channel forms present width:thickness ranges matching those of Phanerozoic counterparts, suggesting closer parallels between their fluvial dynamics. This outcome may better inform analyses of extraterrestrial planetary surfaces and related comparisons with pre-vegetation Earth landscapes.

  4. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-04-01

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

  6. Latest Proterozoic stratigraphy and Earth history.

    PubMed

    Knoll, A H; Walter, M R

    1992-04-23

    The end of the Proterozoic Eon was a time of pronounced biological, biogeochemical, climatic and tectonic change. New bio- and chemostratigraphic data provide an improved framework for stratigraphic correlation, making possible a deeper understanding of latest Proterozoic Earth history and providing tools for a chronostratigraphic division of late Proterozoic time.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2014-10-10

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-04-21

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

    evolution of sessile eyes equipped with optics typical of extant xiphosurans. Observations of fossil material, including that of trilobites and eurypterids, support the proposition that the ancestral compound eye was the apposition type. Cambrian arthropods include possible precursors of mandibulate eyes. The latter are the modified compound eyes, now sessile, and their underlying optic lobes exemplified by scutigeromorph chilopods, and the mobile stalked compound eyes and more elaborate optic lobes typifying Pancrustacea. Radical divergence from an ancestral apposition type is demonstrated by the evolution of chelicerate eyes, from doublet sessile-eyed stem-group taxa to special apposition eyes of xiphosurans, the compound eyes of eurypterids, and single-lens eyes of arachnids. Different eye types are discussed with respect to possible modes of life of the extinct species that possessed them, comparing these to extant counterparts and the types of visual centers the eyes might have served. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. The Terrestrial Fossil Organic Matter Record of Global Carbon Cycling: A Late Paleozoic through Early Mesozoic Perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montanez, I. P.

    2006-12-01

    The carbon isotope composition of terrestrial fossil organic matter (δ13Corg) has been widely used as a proxy of global carbon cycling and to reconstruct perturbations to the ocean-atmosphere carbon budget. The degree to which terrestrial δ13Corg records local to regional environmental conditions versus the evolution of the global carbon cycle has been highly debated. The high-resolution (104 to 106 m.y.) terrestrial δ13Corg record presented here defines a long-term trend through the latest Devonian to Late Triassic that reveals significant and systematic variations that track independently inferred changes in climate, paleo-atmospheric pCO2, and major restructuring in paleotropical flora. This newly derived record is based on 350 carbon isotope analyses of compressed and permineralized plants, cuticle, charcoal and coal (including vitrinite and fusinite) collected from paleo-wetland mudstones and claystones, claystone-filled abandoned fluvial channels, floodplain mudstones, and ephemeral lacustrine deposits at paleo-tropical to paleo-temperate latitudes. Morphologic and geochemical analysis of contemporaneous paleosols and fluvial-alluvial deposits allow for correlation of terrestrial δ13Corg values to reconstructed paleo-environmental conditions. Terrestrial δ13Corg values of contemporaneous fossil organic matter exhibit systematic inter- and intra-basinal variation of up to 2‰ associated with differences in paleo-precipitation and burial history, and geomorphic position within depositional basins and paleo-fluvial systems. Variation in δ13Corg by organic matter type is minimal to less than 1.5‰; specifically, charcoal δ13Corg values overlap to are slightly less negative than those of thermally less mature organic components analyzed. Overall, variation within contemporaneous populations is significantly less than defined by the long-term terrestrial δ13Corg record. Moreover, paleo-floral pi/pa ratios, an established proxy of water-use efficiency of

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Pimiento, Catalina; Clements, Christopher F.

    2014-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Pimiento, Catalina; Clements, Christopher F

    2014-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1985-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Overmann, Karenleigh; Coolidge, Frederick

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-18

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Kano, Yasunori; Chiba, Satoshi; Kase, Tomoki

    2002-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1996-01-01

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

  4. Arsenic stress after the Proterozoic glaciations.

    PubMed

    Fru, Ernest Chi; Arvestål, Emma; Callac, Nolwenn; El Albani, Abderrazak; Kilias, Stephanos; Argyraki, Ariadne; Jakobsson, Martin

    2015-12-04

    Protection against arsenic damage in organisms positioned deep in the tree of life points to early evolutionary sensitization. Here, marine sedimentary records reveal a Proterozoic arsenic concentration patterned to glacial-interglacial ages. The low glacial and high interglacial sedimentary arsenic concentrations, suggest deteriorating habitable marine conditions may have coincided with atmospheric oxygen decline after ~2.1 billion years ago. A similar intensification of near continental margin sedimentary arsenic levels after the Cryogenian glaciations is also associated with amplified continental weathering. However, interpreted atmospheric oxygen increase at this time, suggests that the marine biosphere had widely adapted to the reorganization of global marine elemental cycles by glaciations. Such a glacially induced biogeochemical bridge would have produced physiologically robust communities that enabled increased oxygenation of the ocean-atmosphere system and the radiation of the complex Ediacaran-Cambrian life.

  5. Arsenic stress after the Proterozoic glaciations

    PubMed Central

    Chi Fru, Ernest; Arvestål, Emma; Callac, Nolwenn; El Albani, Abderrazak; Kilias, Stephanos; Argyraki, Ariadne; Jakobsson, Martin

    2015-01-01

    Protection against arsenic damage in organisms positioned deep in the tree of life points to early evolutionary sensitization. Here, marine sedimentary records reveal a Proterozoic arsenic concentration patterned to glacial-interglacial ages. The low glacial and high interglacial sedimentary arsenic concentrations, suggest deteriorating habitable marine conditions may have coincided with atmospheric oxygen decline after ~2.1 billion years ago. A similar intensification of near continental margin sedimentary arsenic levels after the Cryogenian glaciations is also associated with amplified continental weathering. However, interpreted atmospheric oxygen increase at this time, suggests that the marine biosphere had widely adapted to the reorganization of global marine elemental cycles by glaciations. Such a glacially induced biogeochemical bridge would have produced physiologically robust communities that enabled increased oxygenation of the ocean-atmosphere system and the radiation of the complex Ediacaran-Cambrian life. PMID:26635187

  6. Arsenic stress after the Proterozoic glaciations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chi Fru, Ernest; Arvestål, Emma; Callac, Nolwenn; El Albani, Abderrazak; Kilias, Stephanos; Argyraki, Ariadne; Jakobsson, Martin

    2015-12-01

    Protection against arsenic damage in organisms positioned deep in the tree of life points to early evolutionary sensitization. Here, marine sedimentary records reveal a Proterozoic arsenic concentration patterned to glacial-interglacial ages. The low glacial and high interglacial sedimentary arsenic concentrations, suggest deteriorating habitable marine conditions may have coincided with atmospheric oxygen decline after ~2.1 billion years ago. A similar intensification of near continental margin sedimentary arsenic levels after the Cryogenian glaciations is also associated with amplified continental weathering. However, interpreted atmospheric oxygen increase at this time, suggests that the marine biosphere had widely adapted to the reorganization of global marine elemental cycles by glaciations. Such a glacially induced biogeochemical bridge would have produced physiologically robust communities that enabled increased oxygenation of the ocean-atmosphere system and the radiation of the complex Ediacaran-Cambrian life.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-04-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

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

  9. Proterozoic Geomagnetic Field: Intensity, Morphology and Stability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smirnov, A. V.

    2007-12-01

    exercised when concluding on the long-term behavior of paleointensity based on a very limited database for the Precambrian. Alternatively, single silicate crystals are less susceptible to alteration in nature and during experiments may be used as paleointensity recorders. Data from plagioclase crystals separated from mafic dikes, together with directional data from whole rocks, indicate a dipole-dominated field at 2.5--2.7 Ga. The bulk of available data indicate that on a long-term scale the Proterozoic field was not grossly different from the present-day field.

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

    PubMed

    Popov, Yuri A; Chłond, Dominik

    2015-11-06

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-01-01

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

  13. Limited role for methane in the mid-Proterozoic greenhouse.

    PubMed

    Olson, Stephanie L; Reinhard, Christopher T; Lyons, Timothy W

    2016-10-11

    Pervasive anoxia in the subsurface ocean during the Proterozoic may have allowed large fluxes of biogenic CH4 to the atmosphere, enhancing the climatic significance of CH4 early in Earth's history. Indeed, the assumption of elevated pCH4 during the Proterozoic underlies most models for both anomalous climatic stasis during the mid-Proterozoic and extreme climate perturbation during the Neoproterozoic; however, the geologic record cannot directly constrain atmospheric CH4 levels and attendant radiative forcing. Here, we revisit the role of CH4 in Earth's climate system during Proterozoic time. We use an Earth system model to quantify CH4 fluxes from the marine biosphere and to examine the capacity of biogenic CH4 to compensate for the faint young Sun during the "boring billion" years before the emergence of metazoan life. Our calculations demonstrate that anaerobic oxidation of CH4 coupled to SO4(2-) reduction is a highly effective obstacle to CH4 accumulation in the atmosphere, possibly limiting atmospheric pCH4 to less than 10 ppm by volume for the second half of Earth history regardless of atmospheric pO2 If recent pO2 constraints from Cr isotopes are correct, we predict that reduced UV shielding by O3 should further limit pCH4 to very low levels similar to those seen today. Thus, our model results likely limit the potential climate warming by CH4 for the majority of Earth history-possibly reviving the faint young Sun paradox during Proterozoic time and challenging existing models for the initiation of low-latitude glaciation that depend on the oxidative collapse of a steady-state CH4 greenhouse.

  14. Limited role for methane in the mid-Proterozoic greenhouse

    PubMed Central

    Olson, Stephanie L.; Reinhard, Christopher T.; Lyons, Timothy W.

    2016-01-01

    Pervasive anoxia in the subsurface ocean during the Proterozoic may have allowed large fluxes of biogenic CH4 to the atmosphere, enhancing the climatic significance of CH4 early in Earth’s history. Indeed, the assumption of elevated pCH4 during the Proterozoic underlies most models for both anomalous climatic stasis during the mid-Proterozoic and extreme climate perturbation during the Neoproterozoic; however, the geologic record cannot directly constrain atmospheric CH4 levels and attendant radiative forcing. Here, we revisit the role of CH4 in Earth’s climate system during Proterozoic time. We use an Earth system model to quantify CH4 fluxes from the marine biosphere and to examine the capacity of biogenic CH4 to compensate for the faint young Sun during the “boring billion” years before the emergence of metazoan life. Our calculations demonstrate that anaerobic oxidation of CH4 coupled to SO42− reduction is a highly effective obstacle to CH4 accumulation in the atmosphere, possibly limiting atmospheric pCH4 to less than 10 ppm by volume for the second half of Earth history regardless of atmospheric pO2. If recent pO2 constraints from Cr isotopes are correct, we predict that reduced UV shielding by O3 should further limit pCH4 to very low levels similar to those seen today. Thus, our model results likely limit the potential climate warming by CH4 for the majority of Earth history—possibly reviving the faint young Sun paradox during Proterozoic time and challenging existing models for the initiation of low-latitude glaciation that depend on the oxidative collapse of a steady-state CH4 greenhouse. PMID:27671638

  15. Limited role for methane in the mid-Proterozoic greenhouse

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Olson, Stephanie L.; Reinhard, Christopher T.; Lyons, Timothy W.

    2016-10-01

    Pervasive anoxia in the subsurface ocean during the Proterozoic may have allowed large fluxes of biogenic CH4 to the atmosphere, enhancing the climatic significance of CH4 early in Earth’s history. Indeed, the assumption of elevated pCH4 during the Proterozoic underlies most models for both anomalous climatic stasis during the mid-Proterozoic and extreme climate perturbation during the Neoproterozoic; however, the geologic record cannot directly constrain atmospheric CH4 levels and attendant radiative forcing. Here, we revisit the role of CH4 in Earth’s climate system during Proterozoic time. We use an Earth system model to quantify CH4 fluxes from the marine biosphere and to examine the capacity of biogenic CH4 to compensate for the faint young Sun during the “boring billion” years before the emergence of metazoan life. Our calculations demonstrate that anaerobic oxidation of CH4 coupled to SO42- reduction is a highly effective obstacle to CH4 accumulation in the atmosphere, possibly limiting atmospheric pCH4 to less than 10 ppm by volume for the second half of Earth history regardless of atmospheric pO2. If recent pO2 constraints from Cr isotopes are correct, we predict that reduced UV shielding by O3 should further limit pCH4 to very low levels similar to those seen today. Thus, our model results likely limit the potential climate warming by CH4 for the majority of Earth history—possibly reviving the faint young Sun paradox during Proterozoic time and challenging existing models for the initiation of low-latitude glaciation that depend on the oxidative collapse of a steady-state CH4 greenhouse.

  16. The Vendian (Ediacaran) in the geological record: Enigmas in geology's prelude to the Cambrian explosion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McCall, G. J. H.

    2006-07-01

    Up to the 1950s, the Precambrian was regarded as unrewardingly unfossiliferous, records of fossils being isolated, few in number and dubious. The change came with the discovery by Reg Sprigg of body fossils in latest Proterozoic sediments in South Australia. Although there had been descriptions of isolated fossils (now recognised as Ediacaran) from rocks of this age in the nineteenth century and at the start of the twentieth century, in Newfoundland and Namibia, respectively, the Ediacara finds stimulated researches and now, at the start of the twenty-first century, diversified fossil assemblages are known, all over the world, from the period 600-543 Ma, known formerly as the Vendian and now officially as the Ediacaran. In this account, a brief description of the history of these finds is given, followed by descriptions of the most important provinces [South Australia, Leicestershire, Namibia, Russia (Podolia, the White Sea Coast, Urals and Siberia), Newfoundland (Avalon Peninsula) and Northwest Canada]: then of 27 other known occurrences of this dominantly soft-bodied and perplexing fauna(?)-it seems certain that some, at least of the fossils, are animal fossils, although some, even the greater part, could be a unique form of life, not animals or plants ("Vendobionta"). These descriptions, derived in the course of a literature search lasting over a year, are followed by discussions of important special aspects: trace fossils; geochronology and correlation; geotectonics; glaciation (the "Snowball Earth" concept applied to the Varangian/Laplandian/Marinoan glaciation, which ushered in this last subdivision of the Proterozoic); the evidence for Ediacaran and other life forms existing in the Proterozoic prior to its last, Ediacaran, chronological subdivison; the Vendozoa concept. The last section consists of short summary of conclusions. This text essentially constitutes an objective record of what has been published to 2005 on the Ediacaran System.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2017-04-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Altner, Melanie; Reichenbacher, Bettina

    2015-01-01

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

  19. High-Resolution pCO2 Record for the Cenomanian-Turonian OAE2 based on Fossil Plant Cuticle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barclay, R. S.; Sageman, B. B.; McElwain, J. C.

    2008-12-01

    The Cenomanian-Turonian oceanic anoxic event 2 (OAE2) represents a major perturbation to the ocean- atmosphere-terrestrial system that lasted at least 600 ka. Marine extinction associated with OAE2 is thought to have occurred due to global marine anoxia, and increased primary production is the likely driver. However, the causal factors leading to increased production have remained poorly resolved. Recent research indicates that a pulse of submarine volcanism occurred in association with OAE2, and it has been suggested that this event led to overturn of the stratified ocean, possibly bringing P-rich deep waters to the surface. 208/204Pbinitial ratios taken from the Bonarelli horizon suggest that CO2 expelled by the volcanic event may have come from the Caribbean LIP. This is supported by a rapid negative shift in both 186/187Os and 87/86Sr isotopes just prior to OAE2, suggesting a marine source for the CO2 pulse. Some prior studies suggested that OAE2 resulted in a major drawdown of high ambient pCO2 levels. Only recently has a volcanic-sourced CO2 pulse been suggested for the event and its implications have yet to be fully explored. Two previous studies attempted to reconstruct pCO2 levels through OAE2 using geochemical proxy methods. Both studies show a decline in pCO2 at the onset of the δ13C excursion, but with decreases ranging from 140 to at least 400ppmV. Since neither study extended analyses to the interval preceding onset of the δ13C excursion it is difficult to assess the longer term trend. In addition, marine-based proxy methods contain large uncertainties that may be avoided in a non-marine proxy of pCO2, such as the stomatal frequency record of fossil plant cuticles. The stomatal based paleo-CO2 proxy relies on a genetically controlled inverse relationship between pCO2 and stomatal frequency in terrestrial plant leaves. Abundant plant cuticle is preserved in the paralic sections of the Dakota SS in SW Utah, which has been correlated to the Cenomanian

  20. Bridging Two Worlds: From the Archean to the Proterozoic

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schopf, J. William

    2000-01-01

    As now known, the Archean and Proterozoic appear to have been different worlds: the geology (tectonic style, basinal distribution, dominant rock types), atmospheric composition (O2, CO21, CH4), and surface environment (day-length, solar luminosity, ambient temperature) all appear to have changed over time. And virtually all paleobiologic indicators can be interpreted as suggesting there were significant biotic differences as well: (1) Stromatolites older than 2.5 Ga are rare relative to those of the Proterozoic; their biotic components are largely unknown; and the biogenicity of those older than approx. 3.2 Ga has been questioned. (2) Bona fide microfossils older than approx. 2.4 Ga are rare, poorly preserved, and of uncertain biological relations. Gaps of hundreds of millions of years in the known record make it impossible to show that Archean microorganisms are definitely part of the 2.4 Ga-to-present evolutionary continuum. and (3) In rocks older than approx. 2.2 Ga, the sulfur isotopic record is subject to controversy; phylogenetically distinctive bio-markers are unknown; and nearly a score of geologic units contain organic carbon anomalously light isotopically (relative to that of the Proterozoic and Phanerozoic) that may reflect the presence of Archaeans ("Archaebacteria of earlier classifications) but may not (since cellularly preserved Archean-age Archaeans have never been identified).

  1. Integrated chronostratigraphy of Proterozoic-Cambrian boundary beds in the western Anabar region, northern Siberia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kaufman, A. J.; Knoll, A. H.; Semikhatov, M. A.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Jacobsen, S. B.; Adams, W.

    1996-01-01

    Carbonate-rich sedimentary rocks of the western Anabar region, northern Siberia, preserve an exceptional record of evolutionary and biogeochemical events near the Proterozoic/Cambrian boundary. Sedimentologically, the boundary succession can be divided into three sequences representing successive episodes of late transgressive to early highstand deposition; four parasequences are recognized in the sequence corresponding lithostratigraphically to the Manykal Formation. Small shelly fossils are abundant and include many taxa that also occur in standard sections of southeastern Siberia. Despite this coincidence of faunal elements, biostratigraphic correlations between the two regions have been controversial because numerous species that first appear at or immediately above the basal Tommotian boundary in southeastern sections have first appearances scattered through more than thirty metres of section in the western Anabar. Carbon- and Sr-isotopic data on petrographically and geochemically screened samples collected at one- to two-metre intervals in a section along the Kotuikan River, favour correlation of the Staraya Reckha Formation and most of the overlying Manykai Formation with sub-Tommotian carbonates in southeastern Siberia. In contrast, isotopic data suggest that the uppermost Manykai Formation and the basal 26 m of the unconformably overlying Medvezhya Formation may have no equivalent in the southeast; they appear to provide a sedimentary and palaeontological record of an evolutionarily significant time interval represented in southeastern Siberia only by the sub-Tommotian unconformity. Correlations with radiometrically dated horizons in the Olenek and Kharaulakh regions of northern Siberia suggest that this interval lasted approximately three to six million years, during which essentially all 'basal Tommotian' small shelly fossils evolved.

  2. Integrated chronostratigraphy of Proterozoic-Cambrian boundary beds in the western Anabar region, northern Siberia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kaufman, A. J.; Knoll, A. H.; Semikhatov, M. A.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Jacobsen, S. B.; Adams, W.

    1996-01-01

    Carbonate-rich sedimentary rocks of the western Anabar region, northern Siberia, preserve an exceptional record of evolutionary and biogeochemical events near the Proterozoic/Cambrian boundary. Sedimentologically, the boundary succession can be divided into three sequences representing successive episodes of late transgressive to early highstand deposition; four parasequences are recognized in the sequence corresponding lithostratigraphically to the Manykal Formation. Small shelly fossils are abundant and include many taxa that also occur in standard sections of southeastern Siberia. Despite this coincidence of faunal elements, biostratigraphic correlations between the two regions have been controversial because numerous species that first appear at or immediately above the basal Tommotian boundary in southeastern sections have first appearances scattered through more than thirty metres of section in the western Anabar. Carbon- and Sr-isotopic data on petrographically and geochemically screened samples collected at one- to two-metre intervals in a section along the Kotuikan River, favour correlation of the Staraya Reckha Formation and most of the overlying Manykai Formation with sub-Tommotian carbonates in southeastern Siberia. In contrast, isotopic data suggest that the uppermost Manykai Formation and the basal 26 m of the unconformably overlying Medvezhya Formation may have no equivalent in the southeast; they appear to provide a sedimentary and palaeontological record of an evolutionarily significant time interval represented in southeastern Siberia only by the sub-Tommotian unconformity. Correlations with radiometrically dated horizons in the Olenek and Kharaulakh regions of northern Siberia suggest that this interval lasted approximately three to six million years, during which essentially all 'basal Tommotian' small shelly fossils evolved.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-03-01

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

  4. Inferring high-resolution fossil fuel CO2 records at continental sites from combined 14CO2 and CO observations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levin, Ingeborg; Karstens, Ute

    2007-04-01

    An uncertainty estimate of a purely observational approach to derive hourly regional fossil fuel CO2 offsets (ΔCO2(foss)) at continental CO2 monitoring sites is presented. Weekly mean 14C-based fossil fuel CO2 mixing ratios and corresponding regional CO offsets (ΔCO) are proposed to determine weekly mean ΔCO/ΔCO2(foss) ratios in order to derive hourly ΔCO2(foss) mixing ratios from hourly ΔCO measurements. Respective regional model estimates of CO and CO2(foss) are applied to test this approach and obtain root mean square errors of the correspondingly determined regional hourly fossil fuel CO2 component. The method is further validated with campaign-based observations in Heidelberg. The uncertainty of the proposed method turns out to increase with decreasing fossil fuel CO2 fraction ranging from about 15% up to 40% for continental Europe. Together with the uncertainty of the ΔCO/ΔCO2(foss) ratio, which is determined by the precision of the 14CO2 measurement, this method is still more accurate and precise than any model-based approach.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1992-11-01

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

  8. Principal stages in evolution of precambrian organic world: Communication 2. The late proterozoic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sergeev, V. N.; Semikhatov, M. A.; Fedonkin, M. A.; Vorob'eva, N. G.

    2010-12-01

    A new suggested model outlining the evolution of the organic world from the mid-Early Proterozoic (˜2.0 Ga) to the Early Cambrian is based on data characterizing the relevant chert-embedded and compression-preserved organic-walled microbiotas, impressions of soft-bodied multicellular organisms, and biomarkers. Critical analysis of overall paleontological data resulted in the distinguishing of seven successive assemblages of Proterozoic micro- and macrofossils. Being of global geographic range, the assemblages correspond to the major stages in evolution of the organic world and typify global units which are termed the Labradorian (˜2.0-1.65 Ga), Anabarian (1.65-1.2 Ga), Turukhanian (1.2-1.03 Ga), Uchuromayan (1.03-0.85 Ga), Yuzhnouralian (0.85-0.635 Ga), Amadeusian (0.635-0.56 Ga), and Belomorian (0.56-0.535 Ga). Characteristic of the Labradorian unit are microfossil assemblages of the Gunflint type including remains of morphologically bizarre prokaryotic microorganisms: star-like Eoastrion, umbrella-shaped Kakabekia, dumbbell-shaped Xenothrix, and some others. Fine-grained siliciclastic deposits of the same age yield the oldest remains of millimeter-sized eukaryotes: spherical to ribbon-like Chuaria and Tawuia. Microfossils prevailing in shallow-water carbonate facies of the Anabarian unit are akinetes of nostocalean cyanophyceae Archaeoellipsoides and entophysalidacean cyanobacteria Eoentophysalis, whereas acanthomorphic acritarchs Tappania and Shuiyousphaeridium dominate the assemblages of open-shelf facies, where they are associated with the first-found rare macroscopic multicellular fossils Horodyskia. The distinguishing feature of the next Turukhanian unit is the first occurrence of filamentous red alga Bangiomorpha and the stalked cyanobacterium Polybessurus. The Uchuromayan unit is characterized by the appearance and worldwide radiation of structurally complicated eukaryotic microorganisms, primarily of acanthomorphic acritarchs Trachyhystrichosphaera and

  9. Testing different scenarios of emissions from global fossil fuel production using a multi-decadal record of simulated and observed ethane data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chung, L. B.; Butenhoff, C. L.; Rice, A. L.; Kahlil, A.

    2016-12-01

    Ethane is emitted with methane and other trace gases in the production of oil and natural gas during drilling, venting, flaring, and from infrastructure leaks during storage and distribution. Fugitive emissions from oil and gas production are one of the largest anthropogenic sources of ethane and methane and contribute significantly to global trends in their atmospheric burdens. The climate advantage of replacing coal with natural gas in energy portfolios depends critically on methane leakage rates. Because gas fluxes vary widely across production fields and distribution networks, efforts to estimate national and global rates of emissions using bottom-up accounting methods face significant challenges. Recent studies of firn and surface observations show a marked decline in global atmospheric ethane in the 1980s and 1990s which have been interpreted as a decline in fossil fuel ethane emissions. However, this conclusion is contradicted by some bottom-up emissions inventories and global inversions of isotopic methane which find fossil fuel emissions have been flat or increased during this time with a decline in biomass burning emissions. To investigate the temporal record of ethane emissions further, we use four decades (1982 - 2015) of surface air observations of ethane from three sampling networks to test competing ethane emissions scenarios evaluated with the three-dimensional atmospheric chemical-transport model GEOS-Chem. Because ethane's main sources (fossil fuel production, biomass and biofuel burning) have different spatial footprints, we hypothesize that temporal trends for each source, if they exist, will leave unique signatures in the latitudinal distribution of ethane over time. We use GEOS-Chem to predict the source latitudinal trend signatures and assess the ability of the observational ethane record to eliminate different emissions scenarios, providing insight into the recent history of fugitive emissions from fossil fuel production.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  11. Primary endosymbiosis events date to the later Proterozoic with cross-calibrated phylogenetic dating of duplicated ATPase proteins.

    PubMed

    Shih, Patrick M; Matzke, Nicholas J

    2013-07-23

    Chloroplasts and mitochondria descended from bacterial ancestors, but the dating of these primary endosymbiosis events remains very uncertain, despite their importance for our understanding of the evolution of both bacteria and eukaryotes. All phylogenetic dating in the Proterozoic and before is difficult: Significant debates surround potential fossil calibration points based on the interpretation of the Precambrian microbial fossil record, and strict molecular clock methods cannot be expected to yield accurate dates over such vast timescales because of strong heterogeneity in rates. Even with more sophisticated relaxed-clock analyses, nodes that are distant from fossil calibrations will have a very high uncertainty in dating. However, endosymbiosis events and gene duplications provide some additional information that has never been exploited in dating; namely, that certain nodes on a gene tree must represent the same events, and thus must have the same or very similar dates, even if the exact date is uncertain. We devised techniques to exploit this information: cross-calibration, in which node date calibrations are reused across a phylogeny, and cross-bracing, in which node date calibrations are formally linked in a hierarchical Bayesian model. We apply these methods to proteins with ancient duplications that have remained associated and originated from plastid and mitochondrial endosymbionts: the α and β subunits of ATP synthase and its relatives, and the elongation factor thermo unstable. The methods yield reductions in dating uncertainty of 14-26% while only using date calibrations derived from phylogenetically unambiguous Phanerozoic fossils of multicellular plants and animals. Our results suggest that primary plastid endosymbiosis occurred ∼900 Mya and mitochondrial endosymbiosis occurred ∼1,200 Mya.

  12. Characterization of fossil organic matter with Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy: an attempt to record extraterrestrial life .

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Guido, A.; Mastandrea, A.; Tosti, F.; Demasi, F.; Blanco, A.; D'Elia, M.; Orofino, V.; Fonti, S.; Russo, F.

    The characterization of the insoluble macromolecular fraction of organic matter preserved in carbonate sediments allows the identification of fossil organisms otherwise not recognizable. This approach represents a new tool for the detection of extraterrestrial traces of life even in their primitive form, one of the primary goals of exobiological studies on Mars. Considering the deep connection between carbonate sediments and biological activities on Earth, we checked if it was possible to characterize the organic matter remains dispersed within these rocks, with Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. The experiment was performed on ancient and well preserved carbonates, belonging to the Calcare di Base Formation outcropping in Northern Calabria (Rossano Basin). The origin of these Miocene deposits is problematic, due to the absence of skeletal fossils. The results demonstrate that FTIR is a reliable method for the characterization of the organic matter preserved in carbonates, and generally in all types of sedimentary rocks.

  13. Microbenthic distribution of Proterozoic tidal flats: environmental and taphonomic considerations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kah, L. C.; Knoll, A. H.

    1996-01-01

    Silicified carbonates of the late Mesoproterozoic to early Neoproterozoic Society Cliffs Formation, Baffin Island, contain distinctive microfabrics and microbenthic assemblages whose paleo-environmental distribution within the formation parallels the distribution of these elements through Proterozoic time. In the Society Cliffs Formation, restricted carbonates--including microdigitate stromatolites, laminated tufa, and tufted microbial mats--consist predominantly of synsedimentary cements; these facies and the cyanobacterial fossils they contain are common in Paleoproterozoic successions but rare in Neoproterozoic and younger rocks. Less restricted tidal-flat facies in the formation are composed of laminated microbialites dominated by micritic carbonate lithified early, yet demonstrably after compaction; these strata contain cyanobacteria that are characteristic in Neoproterozoic rocks. Within the formation, the facies-dependent distribution of microbial populations reflects both the style and timing of carbonate deposition because of the strong substrate specificity of benthic cyanobacteria. A reasonable conclusion is that secular changes in microbenthic assemblages through Proterozoic time reflect a decrease in the overall representation of rapidly lithified carbonate substrates in younger peritidal environments, as well as concomitant changes in the taphonomic window of silicification through which early life is observed.

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-02-22

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

  15. "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)

  16. "Fossil" Forecasting.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brody, Michael J.; deOnis, Ann

    2001-01-01

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

  17. Sporulation and ultrastructure in a late Proterozoic cyanophyte - Some implications for taxonomy and plant phylogeny

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cloud, P.; Moorman, M.; Pierce, D.

    1975-01-01

    Electron microscopical studies of a morphologically diverse, coccoid, presumably late Proterozoic blue-green alga are here reported. They show, together with light microscopy, that the form studied is widespread in the Cordilleran geosyncline, extend the record of well-defined endosporangia perhaps 700 million years into the past, and reveal previously unrecorded ultrastructural details. Coming from northeastern Utah, southwestern Alberta, and east central Alaska, these minute fossils belong to the recently described, morphologically diverse taxon Sphaerocongregus variabilis Moorman, are related to living entophysalidaceans, and have affinities with both the chroococcalean and chamaesiphonalean cyanophytes. Included in the morphological modes displayed by this alga are individual unicells, coenobial clusters of unicells, and a range of endosporangia comparable to those described for living entophysalidaceans. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy reveal that the endospores are commonly embedded in a vesicular matrix, that some of them show what appears to be a bilaminate or perhaps locally multilaminate wall structure, and that some remain together to mature as coenobial clones or 'colonies'. Taxonomic classification and phylogeny are discussed.

  18. Sporulation and ultrastructure in a late Proterozoic cyanophyte - Some implications for taxonomy and plant phylogeny

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cloud, P.; Moorman, M.; Pierce, D.

    1975-01-01

    Electron microscopical studies of a morphologically diverse, coccoid, presumably late Proterozoic blue-green alga are here reported. They show, together with light microscopy, that the form studied is widespread in the Cordilleran geosyncline, extend the record of well-defined endosporangia perhaps 700 million years into the past, and reveal previously unrecorded ultrastructural details. Coming from northeastern Utah, southwestern Alberta, and east central Alaska, these minute fossils belong to the recently described, morphologically diverse taxon Sphaerocongregus variabilis Moorman, are related to living entophysalidaceans, and have affinities with both the chroococcalean and chamaesiphonalean cyanophytes. Included in the morphological modes displayed by this alga are individual unicells, coenobial clusters of unicells, and a range of endosporangia comparable to those described for living entophysalidaceans. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy reveal that the endospores are commonly embedded in a vesicular matrix, that some of them show what appears to be a bilaminate or perhaps locally multilaminate wall structure, and that some remain together to mature as coenobial clones or 'colonies'. Taxonomic classification and phylogeny are discussed.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-12-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Srivastava, Gaurav; Mehrotra, Rakesh C

    2013-01-01

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

  1. 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,…

  2. 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…

  3. 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…

  4. 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,…

  5. First record of fossil wood and phytolith assemblages of the Late Pleistocene in El Palmar National Park (Argentina)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zucol, A. F.; Brea, M.; Scopel, A.

    2005-10-01

    Two paleoxylologic assemblages and two phytolith assemblages were recovered from Late Pleistocene sediments of El Palmar Formation. These deposits are found in outcrops along the western margin of the Uruguay River. The spectra of taxa obtained in both sets by different methods is complementary. The fossil remains are characterized in terms of floristic composition and paleoclimate. Seven families are recognized: Podostemaceae, Myrtaceae, Anacardiaceae, Mimosoideae, Arecaceae, Poaceace, and Cyperaceae. Sponge siliceous spicules also have been found in these assemblages. The state of preservation of the phytoliths and their weathering degree is analyzed. These studies can be used as a potential paleoecological tool for alluvial sediments. The comparison of fossil assemblages with modern analogs clarifies the paleoecological requirements and composition of two paleocommunities, one dominated by woody forests and the other by palms. The climatic conditions inferred from the reconstructed vegetation and sedimentary deposits indicate a temperate-warm, humid climate. The results constitute the first evidence of the floral diversity of the vegetation in El Palmar National Park during the Late Pleistocene.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-04-01

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

  9. Parasites in the fossil record: a Cretaceous fauna with isopod-infested decapod crustaceans, infestation patterns through time, and a new ichnotaxon.

    PubMed

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

    2014-01-01

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

  10. 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.

  11. Distribution and diagenesis of microfossils from the lower Proterozoic Duck Creek Dolomite, Western Australia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, A. H.; Strother, P. K.; Rossi, S.

    1988-01-01

    Two distinct generations of microfossils occur in silicified carbonates from a previously undescribed locality of the Lower Proterozoic Duck Creek Dolomite, Western Australia. The earlier generation occurs in discrete organic-rich clasts and clots characterized by microquartz anhedra; it contains a variety of filamentous and coccoidal fossils in varying states of preservation. Second generation microfossils consist almost exclusively of well-preserved Gunflintia minuta filaments that drape clasts or appear to float in clear chalcedony. These filaments appear to represent an ecologically distinct assemblage that colonized a substrate containing the partially degraded remains of the first generation community. The two assemblages differ significantly in taxonomic frequency distribution from previously described Duck Creek florules. Taken together, Duck Creek microfossils exhibit a range of assemblage variability comparable to that found in other Lower Proterozoic iron formations and ferruginous carbonates. With increasing severity of post-mortem alteration, Duck Creek microfossils appear to converge morphologically on assemblages of simple microstructures described from early Archean cherts. Two new species are described: Oscillatoriopsis majuscula and O. cuboides; the former is among the largest septate filamentous fossils described from any Proterozoic formation.

  12. Distribution and diagenesis of microfossils from the lower Proterozoic Duck Creek Dolomite, Western Australia

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, A. H.; Strother, P. K.; Rossi, S.

    1988-01-01

    Two distinct generations of microfossils occur in silicified carbonates from a previously undescribed locality of the Lower Proterozoic Duck Creek Dolomite, Western Australia. The earlier generation occurs in discrete organic-rich clasts and clots characterized by microquartz anhedra; it contains a variety of filamentous and coccoidal fossils in varying states of preservation. Second generation microfossils consist almost exclusively of well-preserved Gunflintia minuta filaments that drape clasts or appear to float in clear chalcedony. These filaments appear to represent an ecologically distinct assemblage that colonized a substrate containing the partially degraded remains of the first generation community. The two assemblages differ significantly in taxonomic frequency distribution from previously described Duck Creek florules. Taken together, Duck Creek microfossils exhibit a range of assemblage variability comparable to that found in other Lower Proterozoic iron formations and ferruginous carbonates. With increasing severity of post-mortem alteration, Duck Creek microfossils appear to converge morphologically on assemblages of simple microstructures described from early Archean cherts. Two new species are described: Oscillatoriopsis majuscula and O. cuboides; the former is among the largest septate filamentous fossils described from any Proterozoic formation.

  13. Pellet microfossils: Possible evidence for metazoan life in Early Proterozoic time.

    PubMed

    Robbins, E I; Porter, K G; Haberyan, K A

    1985-09-01

    Microfossils resembling fecal pellets occur in acid-resistant residues and thin sections of Middle Cambrian to Early Proterozoic shale. The cylindrical microfossils average 50 x 110 mum and are the size and shape of fecal pellets produced by microscopic animals today. Pellets occur in dark gray and black rocks that were deposited in the facies that also preserves sulfide minerals and that represent environments analogous to those that preserve fecal pellets today. Rocks containing pellets and algal microfossils range in age from 0.53 to 1.9 gigayears (Gyr) and include Burgess Shale, Greyson and Newland Formations, Rove Formation, and Gunflint Iron-Formation. Similar rock types of Archean age, ranging from 2.68 to 3.8 Gyr, were barren of pellets. If the Proterozoic microfossils are fossilized fecal pellets, they provide evidence of metazoan life and a complex food chain at 1.9 Gyr ago. This occurrence predates macroscopic metazoan body fossils in the Ediacaran System at 0.67 Gyr, animal trace fossils from 0.9 to 1.3 Gyr, and fossils of unicellular eukaryotic plankton at 1.4 Gyr.

  14. How fragmented was the British Holocene wildwood? Perspectives on the “Vera” grazing debate from the fossil beetle record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Whitehouse, Nicki J.; Smith, David

    2010-02-01

    The reconstruction and structure of the European Holocene "wildwood" has been the focus of considerable academic debate. The ability of palaeoecological data and particularly pollen analysis to accurately reflect the density of wildwood canopy has also been widely discussed. Fossil insects, as a proxy for vegetation and landscape structure, provide a potential approach to address this argument. Here, we present a review and re-analysis of 36 early and mid-Holocene (9500-2000 cal BC) sub-fossil beetle assemblages from Britain, examining percentage values of tree, open ground and dung beetles as well as tree host data to gain an insight into vegetation structure, the role of grazing animals in driving such structure and establish independently the importance of different types of trees and associated shading in the early Holocene "wildwood". Open indicator beetle species are persistently present over the entire review period, although they fluctuate in importance. During the early Holocene (9500-6000 cal BC), these indicators are initially high, at levels which are not dissimilar to modern data from pasture woodland. However, during the latter stages of this and the next period, 6000-4000 cal BC, open ground and pasture indicators decline and are generally low compared with previously. Alongside this pattern, we see woodland indicators generally increase in importance, although there are significant local fluctuations. Levels of dung beetles are mostly low over these periods, with some exceptions to this pattern, especially towards the end of the Mesolithic and in floodplain areas. Host data associated with the fossil beetles indicate that trees associated with lighter canopy conditions such as oak, pine, hazel and birch are indeed important components of the tree canopy during the earlier Holocene (c. 9500-6000 cal BC), in accordance with much of the current pollen literature. Beetles associated with more shade-tolerant trees (such as lime and elm) become more

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  16. Latest Proterozoic to early Cambrian sedimentary-tectonic evolution of a passive margin sequence, northeastern Washington

    SciTech Connect

    Lindsey, K.A.; Gaylord, D.R.

    1987-08-01

    The late Proterozoic to Early Cambrian Three Sisters formation, Addy Quartzite, and Gypsy Quartzite lie near the base of the Cordilleran miogeocline in northeastern Washington. Detailed stratigraphic and sedimentary examination of these units extends understanding of the evolution of western North America. These units were deposited on a newly rifted passive margin and record the final stages of late Proterozoic rifting and the early stages of subsequent early Paleozoic subsidence and transgression. The three Sisters formation, Addy Quartzite, and Gypsy Quartzite are correlative with the Brigham Group in southeastern Idaho and Utah, the Gold Creek Quartzite in northern Idaho, and the Flathead Quartzite in Montana and Wyoming.

  17. 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…

  18. 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…

  19. 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…

  20. 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…

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

    PubMed

    Donovan, Stephen K

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2017-03-24

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wierzchos, Jacek; Ascaso, Carmen

    2002-01-01

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

  5. Proterozoic low orbital obliquity and axial-dipolar geomagnetic field from evaporite palaeolatitudes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Evans, David A. D.

    2006-11-01

    Palaeomagnetism of climatically sensitive sedimentary rock types, such as glacial deposits and evaporites, can test the uniformitarianism of ancient geomagnetic fields and palaeoclimate zones. Proterozoic glacial deposits laid down in near-equatorial palaeomagnetic latitudes can be explained by `snowball Earth' episodes, high orbital obliquity or markedly non-uniformitarian geomagnetic fields. Here I present a global palaeomagnetic compilation of the Earth's entire basin-scale evaporite record. Magnetic inclinations are consistent with low orbital obliquity and a geocentric-axial-dipole magnetic field for most of the past two billion years, and the snowball Earth hypothesis accordingly remains the most viable model for low-latitude Proterozoic ice ages. Efforts to reconstruct Proterozoic supercontinents are strengthened by this demonstration of a consistently axial and dipolar geomagnetic reference frame, which itself implies stability of geodynamo processes on billion-year timescales.

  6. Proterozoic low orbital obliquity and axial-dipolar geomagnetic field from evaporite palaeolatitudes.

    PubMed

    Evans, David A D

    2006-11-02

    Palaeomagnetism of climatically sensitive sedimentary rock types, such as glacial deposits and evaporites, can test the uniformitarianism of ancient geomagnetic fields and palaeoclimate zones. Proterozoic glacial deposits laid down in near-equatorial palaeomagnetic latitudes can be explained by 'snowball Earth' episodes, high orbital obliquity or markedly non-uniformitarian geomagnetic fields. Here I present a global palaeomagnetic compilation of the Earth's entire basin-scale evaporite record. Magnetic inclinations are consistent with low orbital obliquity and a geocentric-axial-dipole magnetic field for most of the past two billion years, and the snowball Earth hypothesis accordingly remains the most viable model for low-latitude Proterozoic ice ages. Efforts to reconstruct Proterozoic supercontinents are strengthened by this demonstration of a consistently axial and dipolar geomagnetic reference frame, which itself implies stability of geodynamo processes on billion-year timescales.

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

    PubMed

    Senter, P

    2010-08-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-09-01

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

  9. Trabecular architecture in the thumb of Pan and Homo: implications for investigating hand use, loading, and hand preference in the fossil record.

    PubMed

    Stephens, Nicholas B; Kivell, Tracy L; Gross, Thomas; Pahr, Dieter H; Lazenby, Richard A; Hublin, Jean-Jacques; Hershkovitz, Israel; Skinner, Matthew M

    2016-12-01

    Humans display an 85-95% cross-cultural right-hand bias in skilled tasks, which is considered a derived behavior because such a high frequency is not reported in wild non-human primates. Handedness is generally considered to be an evolutionary byproduct of selection for manual dexterity and augmented visuo-cognitive capabilities within the context of complex stone tool manufacture/use. Testing this hypothesis requires an understanding of when appreciable levels of right dominant behavior entered the fossil record. Because bone remodels in vivo, skeletal asymmetries are thought to reflect greater mechanical loading on the dominant side, but incomplete preservation of external morphology and ambiguities about past loading environments complicate interpretations. We test if internal trabecular bone is capable of providing additional information by analyzing the thumb of Homo sapiens and Pan. We assess trabecular structure at the distal head and proximal base of paired (left/right) first metacarpals using micro-CT scans of Homo sapiens (n = 14) and Pan (n = 9). Throughout each epiphysis we quantify average and local bone volume fraction (BV/TV), degree of anisotropy (DA), and elastic modulus (E) to address bone volume patterning and directional asymmetry. We find a right directional asymmetry in H. sapiens consistent with population-level handedness, but also report a left directional asymmetry in Pan that may be the result of postural and/or locomotor loading. We conclude that trabecular bone is capable of detecting right/left directional asymmetry, but suggest coupling studies of internal structure with analyses of other skeletal elements and cortical bone prior to applications in the fossil record. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horacek, Ivan; Lozek, Vojen

    2010-05-01

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2014-10-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2014-01-01

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

  14. The Nd and Sr isotopic evolution of Proterozoic seawater

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Derry, Louis A.; Jacobsen, Stein B.

    1988-04-01

    Nd isotope measurements on banded iron formations and phosphorites, and Sr isotope measurements on carbonates, indicate that during both the Early and Late Proterozoic, hydrothermal input to the oceans was a significant fraction of the total input to ocean chemistry. Isotopic data from Early Proterozoic clastic sediments show systematic differences from coeval chemical sediments. These differences become less marked toward the end of the Proterozoic. This implies a higher hydrothermal water to river water flux ratio during the Early Proterozoic. The significant changes in seawater isotopic composition during the Proterozoic reflect the transition from mantle dominated Archean oceans to a typically modern system.

  15. Fossil fuel and wood combustion as recorded by carbon particles in Lake Erie sediments 1850-1998.

    PubMed

    Kralovec, Andrew C; Christensen, Erik R; Van Camp, Ryan P

    2002-04-01

    Carbon particle analysis was performed on a dated sediment core from Lake Erie in order to explore the inputs of pollution from incomplete combustion of coal, oil, and wood. Carbon particles were isolated from the sediment by chemical digestion, and elemental carbon content was determined by CHN analysis. The type of carbon particle (from burning coal, oil, and wood) and particle size and relative abundance were determined using scanning electron microscopy on 100 particles from each core section. The elemental carbon content in the Lake Erie core ranges from 2.5 to 7.4 mg of carbon/g of sediment (1850-1998), and the maximum carbon content in the sediment occurs in the late 1960s to early 1970s. It is shown that particle mass is a better predictor than particle number of historical energy consumption records. This is especially clear for wood where variable particle volumes play a significant role in determining the record of elemental carbon mass from wood burning. Lake Erie core's content of total carbon and carbon particle type is in agreement with U.S. energy consumption records, except that a wood maximum occurs during 1905-1917, about 36 yr after the U.S. consumption maximum from 1870 to 1880.

  16. Proterozoic geology and ore deposits of Arizona

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Karlstrom, Karl E.

    1991-01-01

    Proterozoic rocks in Arizona have been the focus of interest for geologists since the late 1800's. Early investigations, led by the U.S. Geological Survey, focused on the extensive ore deposits hosted by Proterozoic rocks. By the 1960's, these studies, combined with theses from academic institutions and the efforts of the Arizona Geological Survey, had produced a rich data base of geologic maps, primarily of the central part of the Transition Zone. The chronological significance of these maps became much better known with the application of U-Pb geochronology by L.Y. Silver and his students starting in the 1960's. The 1970's and early 1980's were marked by numerous contributions from Masters and Ph.D students at a variety of academic institutions, and continued work by the U.S. Geological Survey. Interest in ore deposits persisted and there was an increasing interest in interpretation of the tectonic history of Proterozoic rocks in terms of plate tectonic models, as summarized in papers by Phillip Anderson, Ed DeWitt, Clay Conway, Paul Lindberg, and J.L Anderson in the 1989 Arizona Geological Society Digest 17: "Geologic Evolution of Arizona". The present volume: "Proterozoic Geology and Ore deposits of Arizona" builds upon A.G.S. Digest 17, and presents the results of geologic investigations from the latter part of the 1980's. A number of the papers are condensed versions of MS theses done by students at Northern Arizona University. These papers are based upon 1:10,000 mapping and structural analysis of several areas in Arizona. The geologic maps from each of these studies are available separately as part of the Arizona Geological Survey Contributed Map Series. These detailed maps, plus the continuing mapping efforts of the U.S.G.S. and students at other academic institutions, form an ever improving data base for continuing attempts to understand the Proterozoic geology and ore deposits of Arizona

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-05-20

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

  18. Influence of hydro-sedimentary factors on mollusc death assemblages in a temperate mixed tide-and-wave dominated coastal environment: Implications for the fossil record

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Poirier, Clément; Sauriau, Pierre-Guy; Chaumillon, Eric; Bertin, Xavier

    2010-10-01

    Mollusc death assemblages were recovered in 98 subtidal sampling stations on the seafloor of the shallow Pertuis Charentais Sea (Atlantic coast of France). Taxonomic composition and spatial distribution of death assemblages were investigated, as well as their response to sediment grain size (field data), bottom shear stress (coupled tide and wave hydrodynamic modelling), and sediment budget (bathymetric difference map). Results showed that molluscs are likely to be reliable paleoenvironmental indicators since death assemblages were able to acquire ecological changes within years (decadal-scale taphonomic inertia), and live-dead agreement inferred from existing data on living benthic communities was high, except close to river mouths and intertidal mudflats that provide terrestrial and intertidal species to subtidal death assemblages, respectively. Taxonomic composition of these within-habitat death assemblages strongly depended on sediment grain size and bottom shear stress, similarly to living subtidal communities. Post-mortem dispersal of shells, owing to relatively low bottom shear stress in the area, was only of a few 10s to 100s of meters, which shows that death assemblages preserved environmental gradients even at a fine spatial scale. Sediment budget had also a significant influence on death assemblages. Thick-shelled epifaunal species were correlated with erosion areas on one side, and thin-shelled infaunal species with deposition on the other, showing that mollusc fossil assemblages could be used as indicators of paleo-sedimentation rate. This new proxy was successfully tested on a previously published Holocene mollusc fossil record from the same area. It was possible to refine the paleoenvironmental interpretation already proposed, in accordance with existing stratigraphic and sedimentological data.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-09-05

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wendt, Jobst

    2017-06-01

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

  1. An expansion of age constraints for microbial clades that lack a conventional fossil record using phylogenomic dating.

    PubMed

    Blank, Carrine E

    2011-10-01

    Most microbial taxa lack a conventional microfossil or biomarker record, and so we currently have little information regarding how old most microbial clades and their associated traits are. Building on the previously published oxygen age constraint, two new age constraints are proposed based on the ability of microbial clades to metabolize chitin and aromatic compounds derived from lignin. Using the archaeal domain of life as a test case, phylogenetic analyses, along with published metabolic and genetic data, showed that members of the Halobacteriales and Thermococcales are able to metabolize chitin. Ancestral state reconstruction combined with phylogenetic analysis of the genes underlying chitin degradation predicted that the ancestors of these two groups were also likely able to metabolize chitin or chitin-related compounds. These two clades were therefore assigned a maximum age of 1.0 Ga (when chitin likely first appeared). Similar analyses also predicted that the ancestor to the Sulfolobus solfataricus-Sulfolobus islandicus clade was able to metabolize phenol using catechol dioxygenase, so this clade was assigned a maximum age of 475 Ma. Inferred ages of archaeal clades using relaxed molecular clocks with the new age constraints were consistent with those inferred with the oxygen age constraints. This work expands our current toolkit to include Paleoproterozoic, Neoproterozoic, and Paleozoic age constraints, and should aid in our ability to phylogenetically reconstruct the antiquity of a wide array of microbial clades and their associated morphological and biogeochemical traits, spanning deep geologic time. Such hypotheses-although built upon evolutionary inferences-are fundamentally testable.

  2. Paleobiology of distinctive benthic microfossils from the upper Proterozoic Limestone-Dolomite "Series," central East Greenland

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Green, J. W.; Knoll, A. H.; Golubic, S.; Swett, K.

    1987-01-01

    Populations of Polybessurus bipartitus Fairchild ex Green et al., a large morphologically distinctive microfossil, occur in silicified carbonates of the Upper Proterozoic (700-800 Ma) Limestone-Dolomite "Series," central East Greenland. Large populations of well-preserved individuals permit reconstruction of P. bipartitus as a coccoidal unicell that "jetted" upward from the sediment by the highly unidirectional secretion of extracellular mucopolysaccharide envelopes. Reproduction by baeocyte formation is inferred on the basis of clustered envelope stalks produced by small cells. Sedimentological evidence indicates that P. bipartitus formed surficial crusts locally within a shallow peritidal carbonate platform. Among living microorganisms a close morphological, reproductive, and behavioral counterpart to Polybessurus is provided by populations of an as yet underscribed cyanobacterium found in coastal Bahamian environments similar to those in which the Proterozoic fossils occur. In general morphology and "jetting" behavior, this population resembles species of the genus Cyanostylon, Geitler (1925), but reproduces via baeocyte formation. Polybessurus is but one of the more than two dozen taxa in the richly fossiliferous biota of the Limestone-Dolomite "Series." This distinctive population, along with co-occurring filamentous cyanobacteria and other microfossils, contributes to an increasingly refined picture of ecological heterogeneity in late Proterozoic oceans.

  3. Paleobiology of distinctive benthic microfossils from the upper Proterozoic Limestone-Dolomite "Series," central East Greenland

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Green, J. W.; Knoll, A. H.; Golubic, S.; Swett, K.

    1987-01-01

    Populations of Polybessurus bipartitus Fairchild ex Green et al., a large morphologically distinctive microfossil, occur in silicified carbonates of the Upper Proterozoic (700-800 Ma) Limestone-Dolomite "Series," central East Greenland. Large populations of well-preserved individuals permit reconstruction of P. bipartitus as a coccoidal unicell that "jetted" upward from the sediment by the highly unidirectional secretion of extracellular mucopolysaccharide envelopes. Reproduction by baeocyte formation is inferred on the basis of clustered envelope stalks produced by small cells. Sedimentological evidence indicates that P. bipartitus formed surficial crusts locally within a shallow peritidal carbonate platform. Among living microorganisms a close morphological, reproductive, and behavioral counterpart to Polybessurus is provided by populations of an as yet underscribed cyanobacterium found in coastal Bahamian environments similar to those in which the Proterozoic fossils occur. In general morphology and "jetting" behavior, this population resembles species of the genus Cyanostylon, Geitler (1925), but reproduces via baeocyte formation. Polybessurus is but one of the more than two dozen taxa in the richly fossiliferous biota of the Limestone-Dolomite "Series." This distinctive population, along with co-occurring filamentous cyanobacteria and other microfossils, contributes to an increasingly refined picture of ecological heterogeneity in late Proterozoic oceans.

  4. Regulation of atmospheric oxygen during the Proterozoic

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laakso, Thomas A.; Schrag, Daniel P.

    2014-02-01

    Many studies suggest that oxygen has remained near modern levels throughout the Phanerozoic, but was much less abundant from the “Great Oxygenation Event” around 2.4 Ga until the late Neoproterozoic around 600 Ma (Kump, 2008). Using a simple model, we show that the maintenance of atmospheric pO2 at ∼1% of present atmospheric levels (PAL) is inconsistent with modern biogeochemical cycling of carbon, sulfur and iron unless new feedbacks are included. Low oxygen conditions are stable in our model if the flux of phosphorus to the oceans was greatly reduced during the Proterozoic. We propose a mechanism to reduce this flux through the scavenging of phosphate ions with an “iron trap” driven by greater surface mobility of ferrous iron in a low pO2 world. Incorporating this feedback leads to two stable equilibria for atmospheric oxygen, the first quantitative hypothesis to explain both Proterozoic and Phanerozoic O2 concentrations.

  5. A Laughing Gas Greenhouse for the Proterozoic?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roberson, A. L.; Roadt, J.; Halevy, I.; Kasting, J. F.

    2010-12-01

    An anoxic, sulfidic ‘Canfield ocean’ during the Proterozoic (0.75-2.3 Ga) would have had limited trace metal abundances because of the low solubility of metal sulfides. The limitation on copper, specifically, would have had a significant impact on marine denitrification. Copper is needed for the enzyme that controls the final step of denitrification, from N2O to N2. Today, only about 5-6 percent of denitrification results in release of N2O. If all denitrification stopped at N2O during the Proterozoic, the N2O flux could have been 15-20 times higher than today. Other parts of the nitrogen cycle should have been able to operate at rates comparable to today, as catalysts for these reactions should have existed. The high N2O flux should have created higher atmospheric N2O concentrations; although this effect may have been offset by faster rates of N2O photolysis if O2 concentrations were lower than today. N2O concentrations of 0.3 to 30 ppmv, along with methane levels of 30-100 ppm, could have kept the surface warm during the Proterozoic without necessitating high CO2 levels. The high methane concentrations were a consequence of lack of dissolved O2 and sulfate in the deep ocean, which should have led to a high CH4 flux from marine sediments. A second oxygenation event at the end of the Proterozoic would have resulted in a shift to a more modern ocean and, consequently, more modern concentrations of atmospheric N2O and CH4.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2005-10-01

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

  7. Application of Magnetic Mapping to Proterozoic Continental Reconstruction

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fry, B. N.; Morgan, P.

    2002-12-01

    Models of the Neoproterozoic (1.0-0.8 Ga) assembly of the supercontinent Rodinia include the SWEAT hypothesis, which places Proterozoic eastern Australia adjacent to the Proterozoic western margin of Canada, and the AUSWUS hypothesis, which juxtaposes the Proterozoic southwestern U.S. and Proterozoic eastern Australia. The disparity between the two models is largely due to an inability to correlate different basement mapping techniques used for the two continents. A thick weathering regolith in Australia has required the use of magnetic signature maps to define the Precambrian basement. Because of abundant basement exposure in the western U.S., isotopic methods have been used to define Precambrian terrane boundaries and little magnetic mapping has been done. The eastern margin of Proterozoic Australia is defined by magnetic mapping as the Tasman line. SWEAT places the eastern Proterozoic margin of Australia, west of the Tasman line against the northwestern margin of Proterozoic Canada. This model is mainly based on geologic piercing points and stratigraphic/isotopic correlations. The AUSWUS model connects the Tasman line to the western margin of the Proterozoic U.S., adjacent to the 87Sr/86Sr line. The 87Sr/86Sr line has been suggested to divide Proterozoic basement to the east and younger accreted terranes to the west. Magnetic mapping of the Proterozoic margin of the southwestern U.S. through the reduction of aeromagnetic data allows comparison with the magnetically defined margin of Proterozoic Australia. Preliminary evaluation of magnetic styles (amplitude and wavelength) and linear trends of the southwestern U.S. suggest that both Proterozoic and Phanerozoic igneous rocks greatly influence the total magnetic signature. Isolation of the Proterozoic component from the total aeromagnetic signal requires understanding the character, distribution, and magnitude of the magnetism in the Proterozoic rocks. The magnetic signatures of two suites of granites in the

  8. First record of Microscapha LeConte from Baltic amber with description of a new species and list of fossil Melandryidae (Coleoptera: Tenebrionoidea).

    PubMed

    Bukejs, Andris; Alekseev, Vitalii I

    2015-09-03

    Microscapha andrzeji sp. nov., the first fossil representative of the genus is described from Eocene Baltic amber. An updated list of fossil Melandryidae (Coleoptera: Tenebrionoidea) is provided. The presence of Microscapha within Baltic amber suggests some potential for palaeoenvironmental inferences based on the melandryid assemblage within the deposit.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    MacFadden, Bruce J.

    2000-07-01

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

  10. Perspectives on Proterozoic surface ocean redox from iodine contents in ancient and recent carbonate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hardisty, Dalton S.; Lu, Zunli; Bekker, Andrey; Diamond, Charles W.; Gill, Benjamin C.; Jiang, Ganqing; Kah, Linda C.; Knoll, Andrew H.; Loyd, Sean J.; Osburn, Magdalena R.; Planavsky, Noah J.; Wang, Chunjiang; Zhou, Xiaoli; Lyons, Timothy W.

    2017-04-01

    The Proterozoic Eon hosted the emergence and initial recorded diversification of eukaryotes. Oxygen levels in the shallow marine settings critical to these events were lower than today's, although how much lower is debated. Here, we use concentrations of iodate (the oxidized iodine species) in shallow-marine limestones and dolostones to generate the first comprehensive record of Proterozoic near-surface marine redox conditions. The iodine proxy is sensitive to both local oxygen availability and the relative proximity to anoxic waters. To assess the validity of our approach, Neogene-Quaternary carbonates are used to demonstrate that diagenesis most often decreases and is unlikely to increase carbonate-iodine contents. Despite the potential for diagenetic loss, maximum Proterozoic carbonate iodine levels are elevated relative to those of the Archean, particularly during the Lomagundi and Shuram carbon isotope excursions of the Paleo- and Neoproterozoic, respectively. For the Shuram anomaly, comparisons to Neogene-Quaternary carbonates suggest that diagenesis is not responsible for the observed iodine trends. The baseline low iodine levels in Proterozoic carbonates, relative to the Phanerozoic, are linked to a shallow oxic-anoxic interface. Oxygen concentrations in surface waters would have at least intermittently been above the threshold required to support eukaryotes. However, the diagnostically low iodine data from mid-Proterozoic shallow-water carbonates, relative to those of the bracketing time intervals, are consistent with a dynamic chemocline and anoxic waters that would have episodically mixed upward and laterally into the shallow oceans. This redox instability may have challenged early eukaryotic diversification and expansion, creating an evolutionary landscape unfavorable for the emergence of animals.

  11. Crustal thickening during Proterozoic metamorphism and deformation in New Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grambling, Jeffrey A.

    1986-02-01

    Proterozoic rocks in northern and central New Mexico underwent simultaneous metamorphism and deformation, tentatively dated at 1410 Ma. Structural relationships record a minimum of 20% 30% shortening during the latter part of deformation, and chemical zoning in garnet and plagioclase indicates a 20% increase in depth of burial during the same interval. Locally, deformation thickened the upper continental crust by at least 20%. This crustal thickening was distributed over a broad area and caused rocks across 75 000 km2 to recrystallize at peak metamorphic conditions near 525 °C and 4 kbar. The metamorphic terrane cooled isobarically, at rates less than 5 °C/m.y. Such slow cooling may be normal at middle crustal depths. Preservation of the regionally uniform peak metamorphic conditions reflects an unusual tectonic history: heat from the metamorphic event outlasted deformation, and the terrane was not subjected to rapid uplift following its thermal peak.

  12. Growth-Dependent Calibration of Coral Sr/Ca-SST From Multiple Colonies Provides Potential for Long SST Records from Fossil Corals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goodkin, N. F.

    2005-12-01

    Extended reconstructions of sea surface temperature (SST) are critical to examining long-term climate variability not captured in instrumental records. Coral skeleton, which continuously accretes in annual density bands, preserves unique, multi-century archives of sub-annual resolution SST. Despite the promise of coral proxies, however, SSTs derived from corals are often several degrees cooler than those derived from other archives. Here we present strontium to calcium ratios (Sr/Ca) for four brain corals (Diploria labyrinthiformis) collected from the south shore of Bermuda that are strongly correlated with both instrumental SST (Hydrostation S, 30km southeast) and annual skeletal extension rate. High Sr/Ca ratios correspond with cold SSTs and slow skeletal growth rate, and vice versa. Over a ~25 year calibration period, the four corals have distinct average growth rates (2.57, 2.68, 3.55 and 4.03 mm/yr). For each colony, we provide a quantitative calibration of annual Sr/Ca to annual extension rate and annual SST along the axis of maximum growth and derive an individual growth dependent Sr/Ca-SST calibration equation: Sr/Ca = m*(SST) + n*(annual growth rate)*(SST) + b The slopes and intercepts of the four equations are found to be linearly related to the average growth-rate during the calibration periods of each colony, and a final multi-variant regression is performed to establish one final Sr/Ca-Growth Rate-SST calibration, in the form: Sr/Ca = m*(SST) + n*(annual growth rate)*(SST) + o*(average colony growth rate)*(SST) + b This growth-dependent calibration is shown to be applicable to a fossil coral of the same species in order to reconstruct SSTs at Bermuda for 223 years. A reconstruction excluding the influence of growth yields SSTs that exaggerate both cool and warm periods. SST anomalies near the end of the Little Ice Age (~1850) that are derived using a non-growth dependent calibration are exaggerated by a factor of two relative to those from a growth

  13. Synthesis of Early and Middle Proterozoic orogenies in the southwest

    SciTech Connect

    Karlstrom, K.E. . Dept. of Geology)

    1993-02-01

    Accretion of juvenile crust from 1.8 (Colorado) to 1.72 (Arizona) was accompanied by formation, evolution, and assembly of oceanic island arcs in an Indonesian-style orogenic belt. 2.5--2.0 Ga crust formed basement for arcs in the Mojave Province. The Hualapai block marks a zone where arcs were built across the transition from 2.5--2.0 Ga (NW) to juvenile 1.75--1.72 Ga crust (SE). Early NW-striking low-angle foliations formed between 1.74--1.72 Ga and record arc accretion and outboard collisions. Sutures and major transcurrent boundaries between arcs terranes remain cryptic because of 1.7--1.69 Ga crustal shortening that records welding of terranes to Laurentia. 1.7 Ga quartzite-rhyolite sections from a belt parallel to the southern extent of 1.8--1.72 Ga crust and were syntectonic craton margin and intracratonic basins. Depositions of 1.65 Ga quartzite-rhyolite sections took place during the collision of the Mazatzal province. A major boundary between crustal provinces is marked by the Slate Creek shear zone (AZ) - Jemez lineament (NM) although Mazatzal (1.65 Ga) deformation affected the foreland of the Yavapai Province to the north. The Laurasian supercontinent was assembled by 1.6 Ga and tectonism paused in the Southwest (1.6--1.5 Ga) without appreciable uplift of crust. Middle Proterozoic tectonism (1.5--1.3 Ga) has many of the hallmarks of an orogeny rather than anorogeny'. It involved massive lower crustal melting, granitoid plutonism, regional uplift and unroofing of 10-15 km, regional resetting of Rb-Sr and K-Ar isotopic systems, addition of juvenile crust in the Mid-continent, and locally important deformation and metamorphism around plutons and perhaps over large regions. Pluton generation and ascent were strongly controlled by Early Proterozoic lithospheric structure.

  14. Darwin's Enigma: The Fossil Record.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sunderland, Luther D.

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

  15. Darwin's Enigma: The Fossil Record.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sunderland, Luther D.

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

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

    SciTech Connect

    Callender, W.R.

    1992-01-01

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

  17. Middle Proterozoic piggyback basin in the subsurface of northwestern Canada

    SciTech Connect

    Cook, F.A.; Clark, E.A. )

    1990-07-01

    Seismic reflection profiles from the interior platform in the northwestern Canadian Arctic show outstanding evidence for sedimentary basins formed and carried piggyback on thrust sheets during Middle Proterozoic compressional deformation. The seismic stratigraphic observations are the first documentation of a Proterozoic piggyback basin and thus also provide independent confirmation of proposed layer-parallel thrusting.

  18. Terminal Proterozoic reorganization of biogeochemical cycles.

    PubMed

    Logan, G A; Hayes, J M; Hieshima, G B; Summons, R E

    1995-07-06

    The Proterozoic aeon (2,500-540 million years ago) saw episodic increases in atmospheric oxygen content, the evolution of multicellular life and, at its close, an enormous radiation of animal diversity. These profound biological and environmental changes must have been linked, but the underlying mechanisms have been obscure. Here we show that hydrocarbons extracted from Proterozoic sediments in several locations worldwide are derived mainly from bacteria or other heterotrophs rather than from photosynthetic organisms. Biodegradation of algal products in sedimenting matter was therefore unusually complete, indicating that organic material was extensively reworked as it sank slowly through the water column. We propose that a significant proportion of this reworking will have been mediated by sulphate-reducing bacteria, forming sulphide. The production of sulphide and consumption of oxygen near the ocean surface will have inhibited transport of O2 to the deep ocean. We find that preservation of algal-lipid skeletons improves at the beginning of the Cambrian, reflecting the increase in transport by rapidly sinking faecal pellets. We suggest that this rapid removal of organic matter will have increased oxygenation of surface waters, leading to a descent of the O2-sulphide interface to the sea floor and to marked changes in the marine environment, ultimately contributing to the Cambrian radiation.

  19. Terminal Proterozoic reorganization of biogeochemical cycles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Logan, G. A.; Hayes, J. M.; Hieshima, G. B.; Summons, R. E.

    1995-01-01

    The Proterozoic aeon (2,500-540 million years ago) saw episodic increases in atmospheric oxygen content, the evolution of multicellular life and, at its close, an enormous radiation of animal diversity. These profound biological and environmental changes must have been linked, but the underlying mechanisms have been obscure. Here we show that hydrocarbons extracted from Proterozoic sediments in several locations worldwide are derived mainly from bacteria or other heterotrophs rather than from photosynthetic organisms. Biodegradation of algal products in sedimenting matter was therefore unusually complete, indicating that organic material was extensively reworked as it sank slowly through the water column. We propose that a significant proportion of this reworking will have been mediated by sulphate-reducing bacteria, forming sulphide. The production of sulphide and consumption of oxygen near the ocean surface will have inhibited transport of O2 to the deep ocean. We find that preservation of algal-lipid skeletons improves at the beginning of the Cambrian, reflecting the increase in transport by rapidly sinking faecal pellets. We suggest that this rapid removal of organic matter will have increased oxygenation of surface waters, leading to a descent of the O2-sulphide interface to the sea floor and to marked changes in the marine environment, ultimately contributing to the Cambrian radiation.

  20. Terminal Proterozoic reorganization of biogeochemical cycles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Logan, G. A.; Hayes, J. M.; Hieshima, G. B.; Summons, R. E.

    1995-01-01

    The Proterozoic aeon (2,500-540 million years ago) saw episodic increases in atmospheric oxygen content, the evolution of multicellular life and, at its close, an enormous radiation of animal diversity. These profound biological and environmental changes must have been linked, but the underlying mechanisms have been obscure. Here we show that hydrocarbons extracted from Proterozoic sediments in several locations worldwide are derived mainly from bacteria or other heterotrophs rather than from photosynthetic organisms. Biodegradation of algal products in sedimenting matter was therefore unusually complete, indicating that organic material was extensively reworked as it sank slowly through the water column. We propose that a significant proportion of this reworking will have been mediated by sulphate-reducing bacteria, forming sulphide. The production of sulphide and consumption of oxygen near the ocean surface will have inhibited transport of O2 to the deep ocean. We find that preservation of algal-lipid skeletons improves at the beginning of the Cambrian, reflecting the increase in transport by rapidly sinking faecal pellets. We suggest that this rapid removal of organic matter will have increased oxygenation of surface waters, leading to a descent of the O2-sulphide interface to the sea floor and to marked changes in the marine environment, ultimately contributing to the Cambrian radiation.

  1. 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.

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

    PubMed

    Tripp, Erin A; McDade, Lucinda A

    2014-09-01

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

  3. The largest fossil rodent

    PubMed Central

    Rinderknecht, Andrés; Blanco, R. Ernesto

    2008-01-01

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

  4. The largest fossil rodent.

    PubMed

    Rinderknecht, Andrés; Blanco, R Ernesto

    2008-04-22

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

  5. Patterns of tooth crown size and shape variation in great apes and humans and species recognition in the hominid fossil record.

    PubMed

    Scott, Jeremiah E; Lockwood, Charles A

    2004-12-01

    It has been suggested that patterns of craniodental variation in living hominids (Gorilla, Homo, Pan, and Pongo) may be useful for evaluating variation in fossil hominid assemblages. Using this approach, a fossil sample exhibiting a pattern of variation that deviates from one shared among living taxa would be regarded as taxonomically heterogeneous. Here we examine patterns of tooth crown size and shape variation in great apes and humans to determine 1) if these taxa share a pattern of dental variation, and 2) if such a pattern can reliably discriminate between samples that contain single species and those that contain multiple species. We use parametric and nonparametric correlation methods to establish the degree of pattern similarity among taxa, and randomization tests to assess their statistical significance. The results of this study show that extant hominids do not share a pattern of dental size variation, and thus these taxa cannot be used to generate expectations for patterns of size variation in fossil hominid species. The hominines (Gorilla, Homo, and Pan) do share a pattern of shape variation in the mandibular dentition; however, Pongo is distinct, and thus it is unclear which, if either, pattern should be expected in fossil hominids. Moreover, in this case, most combined-species samples exhibit patterns of shape variation that are similar to those for single hominine species samples. Thus, although a common pattern of shape variation is present in the mandibular dentition, it is not useful for recognizing taxonomically mixed paleontological samples.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-04-01

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Will My Fossil Float?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Riesser, Sharon; Airey, Linda

    1993-01-01

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

  10. 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)

  11. Absolute age constraints on the age and tectonics of the Middle and Late Proterozoic Pahrump Group, southern Death Valley, California

    SciTech Connect

    Calzia, J.P. ); Troxel, B.W.

    1993-04-01

    The Pahrump Group unconformably overlies 1.35 Ga granite, is unconformably overlain by the Late Proterozoic Noonday Dolomite, and is divided into the Crystal Spring Formation, the Beck Spring Dolomite, and the Kingston Peak Formation. Contacts between these formations are gradational through several meters of interbedded clastic and carbonate rocks. Lithologic data, sedimentary structures, and fossil assemblages suggest that the Pahrump Group, from middle Crystal Spring to lower Kingston Peak time, was deposited in an intratidal to supratidal environment. Diamictite, volcanic ash, and mono lithologic megabreccia suggest that the middle and the upper members of the Kingston Peak Formation were deposited in a higher energy sedimentary and tectonic environment. Dikes and sills of 1.08 Ga diabase intrude the gneiss and all members of the Crystal Spring Formation; erosional clasts of diabase first appear in the middle Kingston Peak Formation. The diabase sills are up to 450 m thick and have caused at least 20 percent inflation of the Crystal Spring, Beck Spring, and lower Kingston Peak formations. If these sedimentary rocks were deposited at or above wave base, evidence of intraplate rifting or gross stratigraphic inflation is not recorded in the Pahrump stratigraphy until middle and upper Kingston Peak time. Therefore, the stratigraphic and petrologic data suggest that the diabase was emplaced in the Crystal Spring Formation during post-lower but pre-middle Kingston Peak time. The Beck Spring Dolomite and the lower Kingston Peak Formation are older than 1.08 Ga; the contact between the lower and the middle Kingston Peak Formation is a regional disconformity that marks significant changes in the depositional and the tectonic environments of the Pahrump Group at about 1.08 Ga.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  14. Organically preserved microbial endoliths from the late Proterozoic of East Greenland

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knoll, A. H.; Golubic, S.; Green, J.; Swett, K.

    1986-01-01

    Diverse microorganisms ranging from cyanobacteria to eukaryotic algae and fungi live endolithically within ooids, hardgrounds and invertebrate shells on the present-day sea floor. These organisms are involved in the mechanical destruction of carbonates, and are useful ecological indicators of water depth and pollution. The Phanerozoic history of microbial endoliths has been elucidated through the study of microborings (the trace fossils of endolithic microorganisms) and rare cellularly preserved individuals, but nothing was known of the possible Precambrian evolution of comparable microorganisms until Campbell documented the occurrence of microborings in late Proterozoic ooids from central East Greenland. We now report the discovery of large populations of organically preserved endolithic microorganisms in silicified pisolites from 700-800-Myr-old Limestone-Dolomite Series of East Greenland. This fossil assemblage is significant for three reasons: (1) It confirms the prediction that oolites, pisolites and hardgrounds--the substrates for pre-Phanerozoic endoliths--provide a hitherto poorly explored but rewarding set of environments into which the search for early microfossils must be broadened; (2) the assemblage is diverse, containing about 12 taxa of morphologically distinct and previously unknown endolithic cyanobacteria, plus associated epilithic and interstitial populations; and (3) at least six of the fossil populations are indistinguishable in morphology, pattern of development, reproductive biology and inferred ecology from distinctive cyanobacterial species that bore ooids today in the Bahama Banks.

  15. Fractal branching organizations of Ediacaran rangeomorph fronds reveal a lost Proterozoic body plan

    PubMed Central

    Hoyal Cuthill, Jennifer F.; Conway Morris, Simon

    2014-01-01

    The branching morphology of Ediacaran rangeomorph fronds has no exact counterpart in other complex macroorganisms. As such, these fossils pose major questions as to growth patterns, functional morphology, modes of feeding, and adaptive optimality. Here, using parametric Lindenmayer systems, a formal model of rangeomorph morphologies reveals a fractal body plan characterized by self-similar, axial, apical, alternate branching. Consequent morphological reconstruction for 11 taxa demonstrates an adaptive radiation based on 3D space-filling strategies. The fractal body plan of rangeomorphs is shown to maximize surface area, consistent with diffusive nutrient uptake from the water column (osmotrophy). The enigmas of rangeomorph morphology, evolution, and extinction are resolved by the realization that they were adaptively optimized for unique ecological and geochemical conditions in the late Proterozoic. Changes in ocean conditions associated with the Cambrian explosion sealed their fate. PMID:25114255

  16. Reconstructing Earth's Surface Oxidation Across The Archean- Proterozoic Transition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaufman, A. J.; Guo, Q.; Strauss, H.; Schröder, S.; Gutzmer, J.; Wing, B. A.; Baker, M.; Bekker, A.; Jin, Q.; Kim, S.; Farquhar, J.

    2010-12-01

    The Archean-Proterozoic transition is characterized by the widespread deposition of organic-rich shale, sedimentary iron formation, glacial diamictite, and marine carbonates recording profound carbon isotope anomalies, but notably lacks bedded evaporites. All deposits reflect environmental changes in oceanic and atmospheric redox states, in part associated with Earth’s earliest ice ages. Time-series data for multiple sulfur isotopes from carbonate associated sulfate as well as sulfides in the glaciogenic Duitschland Formation of the Transvaal Supergroup, South Africa, capture the concomitant buildup of sulfate in the ocean and the loss of mass independent sulfur isotope fractionation. This is arguably associated with the atmospheric rise of oxygen (as well as the protective ozone layer) coincident with profound changes in ocean chemistry and biology. The loss of the MIF signal within the Duitschland succession is in phase with the earliest recorded positive carbon isotope anomaly, convincingly linking these environmental perturbations to the Great Oxidation Event (ca. 2.3 Ga). The emergence of cyanobacteria and oxygenic photosynthesis may be associated with a geochemical “whiff of oxygen” recorded in 2.5 Ga sediments. If true, the delay in the GOE can then be understood in terms of a finite sink for molecular oxygen - ferrous iron, which was abundant in deep Neoarchean seawater and sequestered in a worldwide episode of iron formation deposition ending shortly before accumulation of the Duitschland Formation. Insofar as early Paleoproterozoic glaciation is associated with oxygenation of a methane-rich atmosphere, we conclude that Earth’s earliest ice age(s) and the onset of a modern and far more energetic carbon cycle are directly related to the global expansion of cyanobacteria that released oxygen to the environment, and of eukaryotes that respired it.

  17. A global survey of Precambrian evaporites: Implications for Proterozoic paleoenvironments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Evans, D. A.

    2006-05-01

    Evaporites are sedimentary rocks comprising minerals that crystallized from supersaturation of surface waters due to solar-driven desiccation. They, or their metamorphic relics and pseudomorphs, are abundant in the geologic record and document changes in paleoclimate, sealevel, and marine chemistry. Phanerozoic evaporites have been well described and summarized, in no small part due to their role as hydrocarbon seals, as well as sources of salinity in hydrothermal fluids that concentrate metal deposits. Precambrian evaporites are abundant in discrete number of instances but are generally less voluminous; their long-term preservation is limited by subsurface mineral dissolution as well as tectonic crustal recycling. Unlike Precambrian glacial deposits, which have been globally catalogued several times during the past fifty years, Precambrian evaporites have been compiled only partially in a few rare studies. A new, global survey of Precambrian evaporites (mainly pseudomorphs after gypsum, anhydrite, and halite) documents over 100 examples, including ten of Archean age. About 20 deposits have total preserved or estimated salt volumes exceeding 1000 cubic km, and these are restricted to the Proterozoic Era. One of the most impressive episodes of evaporite deposition in the entire geologic record occurred at about 800 Ma, coincident with the onset of Rodinia supercontinental fragmentation. These evaporites are preserved primarily as calcium-sulfates, totalling about 350,000 cubic km in volume. The next major global peak in evaporite deposition occurred in late Ediacaran to Early Cambrian time, totalling more than 1.5 million cubic km of mixed sulfates and halites. These peaks rival the great salt records of the Late Devonian, Late Permian, and Late Jurassic, and the molar volumes of deposited salt are comparable to the current inventory of oceanic salinity. Questions for future consideration include: what does the removal of this much salinity from the oceans, in these

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-01-01

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

  19. SIMS and NanoSIMS analyses of Mesoproterozoic individual microfossils indicating continuous oxygen-producing photosynthesis in Proterozoic Ocean

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peng, X.; Guo, Z.; House, C. H.; Chen, S.; Ta, K.

    2015-12-01

    Well-preserved microfossils in the stromatolites from the Gaoyuzhuang Formation (~1500Ma), which is younger than the Gunflint Formation (~1880Ma) and older than the Bitter Springs Formation (~850Ma), may play key roles in systematizing information about the evolution of early life and environmental changes in the Proterozoic Ocean. Here, a combination of light microscopy (LM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), focused ion beam (FIB), nano-scale secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS) and secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) were employed to characterize the morphology, elemental distributions and carbon isotope values of individual microfossils in the stromatolites from the Gaoyuahzuang Formation. Light microscopy analyses show that abundant filamentous and coccoid microfossils are exceptionally well preserved in chert. NanoSIMS analyses show that metabolically important elements such as 12C-, 13C-, 12C14N-, 32S-, and 34S- are concentrated in these microfossils and that the variations in the concentrations of these elements are similar, establishing the elemental distributions in incontestably biogenic microstructures. Carbon isotope (δ13C) values of individual microfossils range from -32.2‰ ± 0.9‰ to -23.3‰ ± 1.0‰ (weighted mean= -28.9‰ ± 0.1‰), consistent with carbon fixation via the Calvin cycle. The elevated δ13C values of the microfossils from Early-, Meso- to Late Proterozoic Era, possibly indicate decreasing CO2 and increasing O2 concentrations in the Proterozoic atmosphere. Our results, for the first time, provided the element distributions and cell specific carbon isotope values on convincing Mesoproterozoic cyanobacterial fossils, supporting continuous oxygen-producing photosynthesis in the Proterozoic Ocean.

  20. The oldest fossil mushroom.

    PubMed

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

    2017-01-01

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

  1. The oldest fossil mushroom

    PubMed Central

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

    2017-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Petrulevičius, Julián F.; Popov, Yuri A.

    2014-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2015-12-01

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

  5. Evidences for multiple remagnetization of Proterozoic dykes from Iguerda inlier (Anti-Atlas Belt, Southern Morocco)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neres, Marta; Silva, Pedro F.; Ikene, Moha; Martins, Sofia; Hafid, Ahmid; Mata, João; Almeida, Francisco; Youbi, Nasrrddine; Boumehdi, Ahmed

    2016-04-01

    Paleomagnetic data able to constrain the paleoposition of the West African Craton (WAC) during Paleo-Mesoproterozoic are absent, mainly due to gaps on the sedimentary record and intense remagnetizations. Dykes that intrude several Proterozoic inliers of WAC in the Anti-Atlas Belt (southern Morocco) have recently been subjected to geochronological studies, which revealed ages between Paleoproterozoic and early Neoproterozoic. Therefore, these dykes represent a window of opportunity for paleomagnetic studies aiming to infer about the paleoposition of WAC during Proterozoic. On this scope we conducted a paleomagnetic study on seven Proterozoic dykes of the Iguerda inlier. We determined the paleomagnetic directions and evaluated their meaning by rock magnetic and mineral analyses, complemented by petrographic observations. Results revealed that these rocks record the presence of a complex history of remagnetization events, mostly assigned to several Phanerozoic thermal/chemical events. In particular, we found components assigned to the late stages of Pan African orogeny (s.l.), to the Late Carboniferous Variscan orogeny, and to more recent events. The recognized remagnetization processes are related to widespread metamorphic events under greenschist facies followed by low-temperature oxidation, both responsible for the formation of new magnetic phases (magnetite and hematite). The primary (magmatic) thermo-remanent magnetization of the dykes was obliterated during these events through multiple thermal and chemical remagnetizations. For only one dyke the presence of primary magnetization is possible to infer, though not to confirm, and would place WAC at an equatorial position around 1750 Ma. The authors wish to acknowledge FCT (Portugal) - CNRST (Morocco) bilateral agreement for its major contribution without which this work wouldn't be possible. Publication supported by project FCT UID/GEO/50019/2013 - Instituto Dom Luiz.

  6. A comparison of antemortem tooth loss in human hunter-gatherers and non-human catarrhines: implications for the identification of behavioral evolution in the human fossil record.

    PubMed

    Gilmore, Cassandra C

    2013-06-01

    Middle and Late Pleistocene fossil hominin specimens with severe antemortem tooth loss are often regarded as evidence for the precocious evolution of human-like behaviors, such as conspecific care or cooking, in ancient hominin species. The goal of this project was to ask whether the theoretical association between antemortem tooth loss and uniquely human behaviors is supported empirically in a large skeletal sample of human hunter-gatherers, chimpanzees, orangutans, and baboons. Binomial regression modeling in a Bayesian framework allows for the investigation of the effects of tooth class, genus, age, and sex on the likelihood of tooth loss. The results strongly suggest that modern humans experience more antemortem tooth loss than non-human primates and identify age in years as an important predictor. Once age is accounted for, the difference between the humans and the closest non-human genus (chimpanzees) is less pronounced; humans are still more likely on average to experience antemortem tooth loss though 95% uncertainty envelopes around the average prediction for each genus show some overlap. These analyses support theoretical links between antemortem tooth loss and modern human characteristics; humans' significantly longer life history and a positive correlation between age and antemortem tooth loss explain, in part, the reason why humans are more likely to experience tooth loss than non-human primates, but the results do not exclude behavioral differences as a contributing factor. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  7. The non-uniformity of fossil preservation.

    PubMed

    Holland, Steven M

    2016-07-19

    The fossil record provides the primary source of data for calibrating the origin of clades. Although minimum ages of clades are given by the oldest preserved fossil, these underestimate the true age, which must be bracketed by probabilistic methods based on multiple fossil occurrences. Although most of these methods assume uniform preservation rates, this assumption is unsupported over geological timescales. On geologically long timescales (more than 10 Myr), the origin and cessation of sedimentary basins, and long-term variations in tectonic subsidence, eustatic sea level and sedimentation rate control the availability of depositional facies that preserve the environments in which species lived. The loss of doomed sediments, those with a low probability of preservation, imparts a secular trend to fossil preservation. As a result, the fossil record is spatially and temporally non-uniform. Models of fossil preservation should reflect this non-uniformity by using empirical estimates of fossil preservation that are spatially and temporally partitioned, or by using indirect proxies of fossil preservation. Geologically, realistic models of preservation will provide substantially more reliable estimates of the origination of clades.This article is part of the themed issue 'Dating species divergences using rocks and clocks'. © 2016 The Author(s).

  8. The non-uniformity of fossil preservation

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

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

  9. Global Biogeochemical Changes at Both Ends of the Proterozoic: Insights from Phosphorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Papineau, Dominic

    2010-03-01

    The distribution of major phosphate deposits in the Precambrian sedimentary rock record is restricted to periods that witnessed global biogeochemical changes, but the cause of this distribution is unclear. The oldest known phosphogenic event occurred around 2.0 Ga and was followed, after more than 1.3 billion years, by an even larger phosphogenic event in the Neoproterozoic. Phosphorites (phosphate-rich sedimentary rocks that contain more than 15% P2O5) preserve a unique record of seawater chemistry, biological activity, and oceanographic changes. In an attempt to emphasize the potentially crucial significance of phosphorites in the evolution of Proterozoic biogeochemical cycles, this contribution provides a review of some important Paleoproterozoic phosphate deposits and of models proposed for their origin. A new model is then presented for the spatial and temporal modes of occurrence of phosphorites along with possible connections to global changes at both ends of the Proterozoic. Central to the new model is that periods of atmospheric oxygenation may have been caused by globally elevated rates of primary productivity stimulated by high fluxes of phosphorus delivery to seawater as a result of increased chemical weathering of continental crust over geological timescales. The striking similarities in biogeochemical evolution between the Paleo- and Neoproterozoic are discussed in light of the two oldest major phosphogenic events and their possible relation to the stepwise rise of atmospheric oxygen that ultimately resulted in significant leaps in biological evolution.

  10. Global biogeochemical changes at both ends of the proterozoic: insights from phosphorites.

    PubMed

    Papineau, Dominic

    2010-03-01

    The distribution of major phosphate deposits in the Precambrian sedimentary rock record is restricted to periods that witnessed global biogeochemical changes, but the cause of this distribution is unclear. The oldest known phosphogenic event occurred around 2.0 Ga and was followed, after more than 1.3 billion years, by an even larger phosphogenic event in the Neoproterozoic. Phosphorites (phosphate-rich sedimentary rocks that contain more than 15% P(2)O(5)) preserve a unique record of seawater chemistry, biological activity, and oceanographic changes. In an attempt to emphasize the potentially crucial significance of phosphorites in the evolution of Proterozoic biogeochemical cycles, this contribution provides a review of some important Paleoproterozoic phosphate deposits and of models proposed for their origin. A new model is then presented for the spatial and temporal modes of occurrence of phosphorites along with possible connections to global changes at both ends of the Proterozoic. Central to the new model is that periods of atmospheric oxygenation may have been caused by globally elevated rates of primary productivity stimulated by high fluxes of phosphorus delivery to seawater as a result of increased chemical weathering of continental crust over geological timescales. The striking similarities in biogeochemical evolution between the Paleo- and Neoproterozoic are discussed in light of the two oldest major phosphogenic events and their possible relation to the stepwise rise of atmospheric oxygen that ultimately resulted in significant leaps in biological evolution.

  11. Statistical analysis of iron geochemical data suggests limited late Proterozoic oxygenation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sperling, Erik A.; Wolock, Charles J.; Morgan, Alex S.; Gill, Benjamin C.; Kunzmann, Marcus; Halverson, Galen P.; MacDonald, Francis A.; Knoll, Andrew H.; Johnston, David T.

    2015-07-01

    Sedimentary rocks deposited across the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic transition record extreme climate fluctuations, a potential rise in atmospheric oxygen or re-organization of the seafloor redox landscape, and the initial diversification of animals. It is widely assumed that the inferred redox change facilitated the observed trends in biodiversity. Establishing this palaeoenvironmental context, however, requires that changes in marine redox structure be tracked by means of geochemical proxies and translated into estimates of atmospheric oxygen. Iron-based proxies are among the most effective tools for tracking the redox chemistry of ancient oceans. These proxies are inherently local, but have global implications when analysed collectively and statistically. Here we analyse about 4,700 iron-speciation measurements from shales 2,300 to 360 million years old. Our statistical analyses suggest that subsurface water masses in mid-Proterozoic oceans were predominantly anoxic and ferruginous (depleted in dissolved oxygen and iron-bearing), but with a tendency towards euxinia (sulfide-bearing) that is not observed in the Neoproterozoic era. Analyses further indicate that early animals did not experience appreciable benthic sulfide stress. Finally, unlike proxies based on redox-sensitive trace-metal abundances, iron geochemical data do not show a statistically significant change in oxygen content through the Ediacaran and Cambrian periods, sharply constraining the magnitude of the end-Proterozoic oxygen increase. Indeed, this re-analysis of trace-metal data is consistent with oxygenation continuing well into the Palaeozoic era. Therefore, if changing redox conditions facilitated animal diversification, it did so through a limited rise in oxygen past critical functional and ecological thresholds, as is seen in modern oxygen minimum zone benthic animal communities.

  12. Statistical analysis of iron geochemical data suggests limited late Proterozoic oxygenation.

    PubMed

    Sperling, Erik A; Wolock, Charles J; Morgan, Alex S; Gill, Benjamin C; Kunzmann, Marcus; Halverson, Galen P; Macdonald, Francis A; Knoll, Andrew H; Johnston, David T

    2015-07-23

    Sedimentary rocks deposited across the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic transition record extreme climate fluctuations, a potential rise in atmospheric oxygen or re-organization of the seafloor redox landscape, and the initial diversification of animals. It is widely assumed that the inferred redox change facilitated the observed trends in biodiversity. Establishing this palaeoenvironmental context, however, requires that changes in marine redox structure be tracked by means of geochemical proxies and translated into estimates of atmospheric oxygen. Iron-based proxies are among the most effective tools for tracking the redox chemistry of ancient oceans. These proxies are inherently local, but have global implications when analysed collectively and statistically. Here we analyse about 4,700 iron-speciation measurements from shales 2,300 to 360 million years old. Our statistical analyses suggest that subsurface water masses in mid-Proterozoic oceans were predominantly anoxic and ferruginous (depleted in dissolved oxygen and iron-bearing), but with a tendency towards euxinia (sulfide-bearing) that is not observed in the Neoproterozoic era. Analyses further indicate that early animals did not experience appreciable benthic sulfide stress. Finally, unlike proxies based on redox-sensitive trace-metal abundances, iron geochemical data do not show a statistically significant change in oxygen content through the Ediacaran and Cambrian periods, sharply constraining the magnitude of the end-Proterozoic oxygen increase. Indeed, this re-analysis of trace-metal data is consistent with oxygenation continuing well into the Palaeozoic era. Therefore, if changing redox conditions facilitated animal diversification, it did so through a limited rise in oxygen past critical functional and ecological thresholds, as is seen in modern oxygen minimum zone benthic animal communities.

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    1990-12-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1996-01-01

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

  15. Proterozoic granitoids of the Amazonian craton

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    dalĺAgnol, R.; Costi, H. T.; Lamarão, C. N.; Teixeira, N. P.; Bettencourt, J. S.; Fraga, L. M.

    2003-04-01

    Proterozoic granitoids are widespread in all provinces of the Amazonian craton. In the Maroni-Itacaiunas Province, granitoids associated with the Trans-Amazonian event include: subduction related, 2.16 to 2.14 Ga, calc-alkaline tonalites and trondhjemites; 2.10 to 2.08 Ga, syncolisional potassic granites; 2.05 Ga, charnockites. In the Tapajós Province, ˜2.01 Ga, tonalites are followed by ˜2.0 Ga volcanic sequences and ˜1.98 to 1.96 Ga calc-alkaline granitoids. A reappraisal of magmatic activity occurred at ˜1.88 Ga when calc-alkaline granitoids, as well as subalkaline, A-type granites, associated with felsic volcanic sequences were formed. A similar picture is observed in the northern Roraima region, where post-collisional 2.0 to 1.96 Ga calc-alkaline granitoids and associated volcanic sequences are followed by 1.92 Ga A-type granites. The remarkable 1.88 Ga magmatic event has a continental scale and is related to an extensional tectonism. It affected also the Archean Carajás Province, where, at this time, within-plate, shallow-level, A-type granites were emplaced. Coeval intermediate to felsic volcanic sequences are widespread in the Central Amazonian Province. In the Pitinga region, these sequences are intruded by ˜1.82 Ga, tin-mineralized granites. In the Central Guiana Belt and in the northwestern domains of the Guiana shield ˜1.55 Ga rapakivi complexes, locally with associated anorthosites and mangerites, are common. In the Rio Negro Province, 1.8 to 1.60 calc-alkaline (?) granitoids and gneisses are dominant. They are followed by 1.55 to 1.52 Ga, oxidized, titanite-bearing A-type granites and S-type, two-mica granites. The evolution of the southwestern part of the Amazonian craton is characterized by the occurrence of successive tectonic events extending from ˜1.75 Ga to ˜1.0 Ga. The oldest granitoids are dominantly calc-alkaline tonalites, trondhjemites and granodiorites. However, the Rondonia region is marked by the occurrence of 1.6 to 1.0 Ga old

  16. Modeling the Consequences of Proterozoic Oxygenation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bachan, A.; Kump, L. R.

    2013-12-01

    state iron removal is dominated by pyrite precipitation allowing for elevated phosphate regeneration. Furthermore, in the model, the weathering input of cations and phosphate accompanied by sulfate moderates the reduction in pCO2 that otherwise results from elevated organic carbon burial. Thus, a positive feedback arises where O2 production from organic carbon burial triggers additional sulfide oxidation which leads to further organic carbon burial. This process continues until the sulfide reservoir is depleted, after which δ13C values return to near zero and the model settles into a new steady state with a higher pO2. In total, our modeling supports the idea that the late Proterozoic carbon isotope anomaly can be understood as the manifestation of oxidizing power, triggered externally, and amplified internally, propagating through the earth system.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-12

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-11-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2010-08-01

    Here we present a detailed radiocarbon-dated 936 cm long pollen record from Lake Billyakh (65°17'N, 126°47'E; 340 m a.s.l.) situated in the western part of the Verkhoyansk Mountains, about 140 km south of the Arctic Circle. A set of 53 surface pollen samples representing tundra, cold deciduous forest and taiga was collected in northern and central Yakutia communities to verify the accuracy of the quantitative biome reconstruction method and to obtain a more precise attribution of the identified pollen taxa to the main regional biomes. The adjusted method is then applied to the pollen record from Lake Billyakh to gain a reconstruction of vegetation and environments since about 50.7 kyr BP. The results of the pollen analysis and pollen-based biome reconstruction suggest that herbaceous tundra and steppe communities dominated the area from 50.7 to 13.5 kyr BP. Relatively lo