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Twardogóra, Poland

Vasilyan D.,University of Tubingen | Bohme M.,University of Tubingen | Bohme M.,Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoecology | Chkhikvadze V.M.,Institute of Paleobiology | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology

We present new and well-preserved giant salamander material from the Miocene of the Grytsiv locality, Ukraine. Disarticulated skull and postcranial bones from two individuals are described as a new taxon, Ukrainurus hypsognathus, gen. et sp. nov. U. hypsognathus is characterized by poorly ossified bone tissues, relatively inflexible mandibles, a high dentary, a crista on the lingual surface of the dentary, a pars dentalis of the dentary that is composed of a dental lamina and a subdental surface, presence of an eminentia dorsalis on the squamosal, a broad pericondylar facet on the occipital, extremely elongated prezygapophyses, and hemal processes with an elongate, oval base. Moreover, U. hypsognathus shows evidence of strong mandibular levator muscles that indicate great biting force. A phylogenetic analysis of all well-understood Tertiary and Recent giant salamanders recovers a monophyletic group of Asian and North American cryptobranchids, but places U. hypsognathus outside crown group Cryptobranchidae. This result suggests that Cryptobranchidae originated in Asia and dispersed to North America. The oldest representative of crown Cryptobranchidae is Aviturus exsecratus from the terminal Paleocene of the Nemegt Basin, Mongolia. © 2013 by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Source

The genus Xenobrochus, with the type species Gryphus africanus COOPER, 1973, was erected for short-looped brachiopods of small size, rectimarginate and having a loop with anteriorly convex transverse band. A new species of Xenobrochus, X. norfolkensis sp. nov. has been identified in the material collected during the French cruises SMIB 8, NORFOLK 1 and NORFOLK 2 to the Norfolk Ridge, New Caledonia, SW Pacific. This species differs from those hitherto described in the absence of cardinal process and relatively wide outer hinge plates. The genus, represented now by nine species, has a distribution restricted to the Indian Ocean and West Pacific. Source

Pinhasi R.,University College Dublin | Meshveliani T.,Georgian State Museum | Matskevich Z.,Israel Antiquities Authority | Bar-Oz G.,Haifa University | And 8 more authors.

The region of western Georgia (Imereti) has been a major geographic corridor for human migrations during the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic (MP/UP). Knowledge of the MP and UP in this region, however, stems mostly from a small number of recent excavations at the sites of Ortvale Klde, Dzudzuana, Bondi, and Kotias Klde. These provide an absolute chronology for the Late MP and MP-UP transition, but only a partial perspective on the nature and timing of UP occupations, and limited data on how human groups in this region responded to the harsh climatic oscillations between 37,000-11,500 years before present. Here we report new UP archaeological sequences from fieldwork in Satsurblia cavein the same region. A series of living surfaces with combustion features, faunal remains, stone and bone tools, and ornaments provide new information about human occupations in this region (a) prior to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) at 25.5-24.4 ka cal. BP and (b) after the LGM at 17.9-16.2 ka cal. BP. The latter provides new evidence in the southern Caucasus for human occupation immediately after the LGM. The results of the campaigns in Satsurblia and Dzudzuana suggest that at present the most plausible scenario is one of a hiatus in the occupation of this region during the LGM (between 24.4-17.9 ka cal. BP). Analysis of the living surfaces at Satsurblia offers information about human activities such as the production and utilisation of lithics and bone tools, butchering, cooking and consumption of meat and wild cereals, the utilisation of fibers, and the use of certain woods. Microfaunal and palynological analyses point to fluctuations in the climate with consequent shifts in vegetation and the faunal spectrum not only before and after the LGM, but also during the two millennia following the end of the LGM. © 2014 Pinhasi et al. Source

van der Knaap W.O.,University of Bern | van Leeuwen J.F.N.,University of Bern | Svitavska-Svobodova H.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Pidek I.A.,Maria Curie Sklodowska University | And 9 more authors.
Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

Annual PAR (pollen accumulation rates; grains cm-2 year-1) were studied with modified Tauber traps situated in ten regions, in Poland (Roztocze), the Czech Republic (two regions in Krkonoše, two in Šumava), Switzerland (4 regions in the Alps), and Georgia (Lagodekhi). The time-series are 10-16 years long, all ending in 2007. We calculated correlations between pollen data and climate. Pollen data are PAR summarized per region (4-7 traps selected per region) for each pollen type (9-14 per region) using log-transformed, detrended medians. Climate data are monthly temperature and precipitation measured at nearby stations, and their averages over all possible 2- to 6-month windows falling within the 20-month window ending with August, just prior to the yearly pollen-trap collection. Most PAR/climate relationships were found to differ both among pollen types and among regions, the latter probably due to differences among the study regions in the habitats of plant populations. Results shared by a number of regions can be summarized as follows. Summer warmth was found to enhance the following year's PAR of Picea, Pinus non-cembra, Larix and Fagus. Cool summers, in contrast, increase the PAR of Abies, Alnus viridis and Gramineae in the following year, while wet summers promote PAR of Quercus and Gramineae. Wetness and warmth in general were found to enhance PAR of Salix. Precipitation was found to be more important for PAR of Alnus glutinosa-type than temperature. Weather did not have an impact on the PAR of Gramineae, and possibly of Cyperaceae in the same year. Care is advised when extrapolating our results to PAR in pollen sequences, because there are large errors associated with PAR from sediments, due to the effects of taphonomy and sedimentation and high uncertainty in dating. In addition, in pollen sequences that have decadal to centennial rather than near-annual resolution, plant-interaction effects may easily out-weigh the weather signal. © 2010 The Author(s). Source

Janiszewska K.,Institute of Paleobiology | Stolarski J.,Institute of Paleobiology | Benzerara K.,University Paris Diderot | Meibom A.,French Natural History Museum | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Morphology

Micrabaciids are solitary, exclusively azooxanthellate deep-sea corals belonging to one of the deepest-living (up to 5,000 m) scleractinian representatives. All modern micrabaciid taxa (genera: Letepsammia, Rhombopsammia, Stephanophyllia, Leptopenus) have a porous and often very fragile skeleton consisting of two main microstructural components known also from other scleractinians: rapid accretion deposits and thickening deposits. However, at the microstructural level, the skeletal organization of the micrabaciids is distinctly different from that of other scleractinians. Rapid accretion deposits consist of alternations of superimposed "microcrystalline" (micrometer-sized aggregates of nodular nanodomains) and fibrous zones. In contrast to all shallow-water and sympatric deep-water corals so far described, the thickening deposits of micrabaciids are composed of irregular meshwork of short (1-2 μm) and extremely thin (ca. 100-300 nm) fibers organized into small, chip-like bundles (ca. 1-2 μm thick). Longer axes of fiber bundles are usually subparallel to the skeletal surfaces and oriented variably in this plane. The unique microstructural organization of the micrabaciid skeleton is consistent with their monophyletic status based on macromorphological and molecular data, and points to a diversity of organic matrix-mediated biomineralization strategies in Scleractinia. Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc. Source

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