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Dalla Vecchia F.M.,Institute Catala Of Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont Icp | Cau A.,University of Bologna
Historical Biology | Year: 2015

Two small bones from the Upper Triassic of Cromhall Quarry (Gloucestershire, England), which are referred in the literature to pterosaurian wing metacarpals, are compared with wing metacarpals of unequivocal pterosaur specimens from the Upper Triassic of Italy and Greenland as well as those of the Liassic Dimorphodon macronyx from England. The two are morphologically distinct from the unequivocal wing metacarpals. Comparison with the phalanges of drepanosauromorphs suggests that they are probably penultimate phalanges of those bizarre diapsids. Drepanosauromorphs are now known from Cromhall Quarry, but they were not in 1990 when the two presumed wing metacarpals were described. There is no definitive evidence of the presence of pterosaurs in the Triassic of the UK. © 2014, © 2014 Taylor & Francis.

van Dam J.A.,Institute Catala Of Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont Icp
Evolutionary Ecology | Year: 2012

The amount and quality of paleontological data is rapidly increasing thanks to the new developments in geological dating, 3D visualization and morphometrics, chemical and histological analysis, and database storage. However, despite the fact that data from fossils, their assemblages, temporal successions, spatial gradients and environments are of an evolutionary-ecological nature, their contribution to current mainstream evolutionary-ecological theory and methodology is low. The use of fossils is not seldom restricted to calibration (e. g., in phylogenetics), or source for historical speculation after having analyzed modern data first (e. g., in macroecology). Yet, the scale of resolution of many paleontological time series (10 3-10 5 years) is highly apt for studying the dynamics of species, the average lifetime of which is in the order of 10 6-10 7 years. In order to fully profit from the wealth of data from the rock archive, a large-scale "stratophenomics" approach is needed. The resulting data archives will not only further contribute to an increase in the knowledge of past species, communities and environments, but will also generate more and innovative theory on the mechanisms underlying species and higher taxon dynamics. Examples of new and promising approaches towards generating paleontological data will be presented under the headings of the three major stratophenomics dimensions: time, morphology and environment. Highlighted fields include astrochronology, sclerochronology and 3D morphometrics. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Dalla Vecchia F.M.,Institute Catala Of Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont Icp
Geological Society Special Publication | Year: 2013

Pterosaurs are a clade of highly specialized, volant archosauromorphs recorded from the Upper Triassic to the uppermost Cretaceous. Problematic remains referred to the Pterosauria are reported from the Triassic of Europe and both North and South America, but unequivocal pterosaur specimens are only known from the Alps (Italy, Austria and Switzerland: Preondactylus buffarinii, Austriadactylus cristatus, Peteinosaurus zambellii, Eudimorphodon ranzii, Carniadactylus rosenfeldi, Caviramus schesaplanensis and Raeticodactylus filisurensis) and Greenland ('Eudimorphodon' cromptonellus). Pterosaurs are diagnosed mostly by features associated with the advent of powered flight. They are generally considered to be archosaurians more closely related to dinosaurs than to crocodilians, but non-archosaurian positions have also been proposed. There is a lack of general agreement about ingroup relationships, particularly among the basal pterosaurs. Triassic pterosaurs differ from other non-pterodactyloid pterosaurs in features of the dentition and caudal vertebral column. A 'Big Bang' model for their early history fits better with the fossil record: the earliest unequivocal pterosaurs show a sudden and geographically limited appearance in the fossil record, as well as a relatively high burst of diversity and considerable morphologic disparity. Absence of pterosaur remains from deposits where they are expected to be found suggests that they had not yet evolved in pre-Norian times. © The Geological Society of London 2013.

Saller F.,University of Bologna | Renesto S.,Applicate | Dalla Vecchia F.M.,Institute Catala Of Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont Icp
Neues Jahrbuch fur Geologie und Palaontologie - Abhandlungen | Year: 2013

A new specimen of the small protorosaurian reptile Langobardisaurus pandolfii is described. It was collected from the Seefeld Formation, of Late Triassic (Norian) age, in the Innsbruck area (Austria) and represents the first occurrence of Langobardisaurus outside Italy. Although preserved mostly as an impression, the find is significant because it extends the palaeogeographic range of the genus and it is the second specimen known to date with the skull fully exposed. The preserved portions of the limb elements show that the bones are hollow, with a layer of compacta and without any trace of spongiosa. Reappraisal of all the specimens assigned to the genus Langobardisaurus reveals no significant differences between L. pandolfii and L. tonelloi, allowing to consider the latter as a junior synonym of the former. ©2013 E. Schweizerbart'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart, Germany.

van Dam J.A.,University Utrecht | van Dam J.A.,Institute Catala Of Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont Icp | Utescher T.,University of Bonn | Utescher T.,Senckenberg Institute
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology | Year: 2016

Both plant and vertebrate communities have been used to reconstruct paleoprecipitation. However, direct stratigraphic comparisons between the two types of proxies have hardly been performed, which is due to the fact that plant and vertebrate fossils usually do not occur together in single geological beds. Here, we focus on a series of 18 sites from the Neogene of Europe and Anatolia that contain both types of fossils, and compare paleoprecipitation predictions produced by the Coexistence Approach (plants) and the Climate-Diversity approach (micromammals). Most of the sites have overlapping uncertainty intervals for mean annual precipitation as generated by the two methods, pointing to a common precipitation-related signal in flora and fauna. Nevertheless, a systematic difference appears to characterize drier sites, for which micromammal richness-based estimates for annual precipitation tend to be lower than plant-based coexistence-based estimates. Driest-month precipitations are in agreement for drier sites, but strongly differ for wetter sites, with micromammal richness-based estimates being higher. Overlap is poor for estimates of wettest-month precipitation, which are higher when based on plant-based coexistence. Possible sources for a bias towards higher annual values in plants are related to the inclusion of local, wetland elements in the analysis and/or to a lower taxonomic resolution for pollen and spores compared to macroflora. Micromammal-based annual estimates could be biased towards drier values, when smaller samples lack rare species that could be preferentially wet-adapted. Several of the higher driest- and lower wettest-month micromammal-based estimates could result from over-extrapolation beyond the calibration domain for arboreality as currently existing in the modern Western Old World. On the other hand, the use of several SE Asian reference taxa could add a high-precipitation (monsoonal) component to the plant-based predictions. In addition, wettest-month estimates for both plants and micromammals probably suffer from the poor performance of water excess as a limiting factor. An attempt to further increase the predictive power of the micromammal-based prediction equations was performed by incorporating non-linear terms, and by using an extended calibration set including selected plant-based precipitation estimates for micromammal assemblages without modern analogue in the Western Old World ("proxy inter-calibration"). © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

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