Time filter

Source Type

PubMed | Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolution And Biodiversity Science, Urbana University, Howard University, University of Hyogo and 11 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Nature | Year: 2016

The palaeobiological record of 12 million to 7 million years ago (Ma) is crucial to the elucidation of African ape and human origins, but few fossil assemblages of this period have been reported from sub-Saharan Africa. Since the 1970s, the Chorora Formation, Ethiopia, has been widely considered to contain ~10.5 million year (Myr) old mammalian fossils. More recently, Chororapithecus abyssinicus, a probable primitive member of the gorilla clade, was discovered from the formation. Here we report new field observations and geochemical, magnetostratigraphic and radioisotopic results that securely place the Chorora Formation sediments to between ~9 and ~7Ma. The C. abyssinicus fossils are ~8.0Myr old, forming a revised age constraint of the human-gorilla split. Other Chorora fossils range in age from ~8.5 to 7Ma and comprise the first sub-Saharan mammalian assemblage that spans this period. These fossils suggest indigenous African evolution of multiple mammalian lineages/groups between 10 and 7Ma, including a possible ancestral-descendent relationship between the ~9.8Myr old Nakalipithecus nakayamai and C. abyssinicus. The new chronology and fossils suggest that faunal provinciality between eastern Africa and Eurasia had intensified by ~9Ma, with decreased faunal interchange thereafter. The Chorora evidence supports the hypothesis of in situ African evolution of the Gorilla-Pan-human clade, and is concordant with the deeper divergence estimates of humans and great apes based on lower mutation rates of ~0.510(-9) per site per year (refs 13 - 15).


Sandberger-Loua L.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolution And Biodiversity Science | Doumbia J.,Envisud Guinee | Rodel M.-O.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolution And Biodiversity Science | Rodel M.-O.,Berlin Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research BBIB
Biological Conservation | Year: 2016

Conservation efforts should be directed to species and areas in particular need. Several concepts for conservation prioritization exist. Following appropriate measures, we determined the World Heritage Site (WHS) "Nimba Mountains" and its flagship-species, the Nimba toad (Nimbaphrynoides occidentalis), to be both "irreplaceable" and "vulnerable". The biodiversity hotspot, Nimba Mountains, is a WHS "in danger". Conservation efforts are needed to ascertain the long-term persistence of the globally unique viviparous toad and other endemic species. To set the baseline for conservation management, we focussed on the relationships between environmental variables and the current and past toad distribution. With linear, generalised linear, generalised additive and zero-inflation models we analysed the toads' distribution and range limits. Our results show that weather conditions limit the toads to higher elevations. Water impermeable geologic layers seem to be inevitable for adequate dry season dormancy sites, thus being the main factor predicting the patchy aboveground wet season distribution. This emphasises the importance of temporally used (non-breeding) environments. For conservation planning, we thus advise distribution models to include all habitats used by focal species. Human activities may further impact a species' abundance and distribution. Herein, we hypothesised that increased fire frequency and anthropogenic habitat alteration in the recent past changed overall habitat characteristics and thus resulted in decreasing toad numbers and an altered range size. Our ecological models indeed better predicted the past compared to the current toad range. This emphasises the importance to consider recent historical developments, before drawing conclusions from current distribution pattern in a conservation context. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


Varela S.,Charles University | Varela S.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolution And Biodiversity Science | Lima-Ribeiro M.S.,Federal University of Goais | Terribile L.C.,Federal University of Goais
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Ecological niche models are widely used for mapping the distribution of species during the last glacial maximum (LGM). Although the selection of the variables and General Circulation Models (GCMs) used for constructing those maps determine the model predictions, we still lack a discussion about which variables and which GCM should be included in the analysis and why. Here, we analyzed the climatic predictions for the LGM of 9 different GCMs in order to help biogeographers to select their GCMs and climatic layers for mapping the species ranges in the LGM. We 1) map the discrepancies between the climatic predictions of the nine GCMs available for the LGM, 2) analyze the similarities and differences between the GCMs and group them to help researchers choose the appropriate GCMs for calibrating and projecting their ecological niche models (ENM) during the LGM, and 3) quantify the agreement of the predictions for each bioclimatic variable to help researchers avoid the environmental variables with a poor consensus between models. Our results indicate that, in absolute values, GCMs have a strong disagreement in their temperature predictions for temperate areas, while the uncertainties for the precipitation variables are in the tropics. In spite of the discrepancies between model predictions, temperature variables (BIO1-BIO11) are highly correlated between models. Precipitation variables (BIO12- BIO19) show no correlation between models, and specifically, BIO14 (precipitation of the driest month) and BIO15 (Precipitation Seasonality (Coefficient of Variation)) show the highest level of discrepancy between GCMs. Following our results, we strongly recommend the use of different GCMs for constructing or projecting ENMs, particularly when predicting the distribution of species that inhabit the tropics and the temperate areas of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, because climatic predictions for those areas vary greatly among GCMs. We also recommend the exclusion of BIO14 and BIO15 from ENMs because those variables show a high level of discrepancy between GCMs. Thus, by excluding them, we decrease the level of uncertainty of our predictions. All the climatic layers produced for this paper are freely available in http://ecoclimate.org/. © 2015 Varela et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Hasch M.,Free University of Berlin | Reimold W.U.,Humboldt University of Berlin | Raschke U.,Free University of Berlin | Zaag P.T.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolution And Biodiversity Science
Meteoritics and Planetary Science | Year: 2016

Shatter cones are the only distinct meso- to macroscopic recognition criterion for impact structures, yet not all is known about their formation. The Keurusselkä impact structure, Finland, is interesting in that it presents a multitude of well-exposed shatter cones in medium- to coarse-grained granitoids. The allegedly 27 km wide Keurusselkä impact structure was formed about 1150 Ma ago in rocks of the Central Finland Granitoid Complex. Special attention was paid in this work to possible relationships between shatter cones and local, as well as regionally occurring, fracture or joint systems. A possible shatter cone find outside the previously suggested edge of the structure could mean that the Keurusselkä impact structure is larger than previously thought. The spacing between joints/fractures from regional joint systems was influenced by the impact, but impact-induced fractures strongly follow the regional joint orientation trends. There is a distinct relationship between shatter cones and joints: shatter cones occur on and against joint surfaces of varied orientations and belonging to the regional orientation trends. Planar fractures (PF) and planar deformation features (PDF) were found in three shatter cone samples from the central-most part of the impact structure, whereas other country rock samples from the same level of exposure but further from the assumed center lack shock deformation features. PDF occurrence is enhanced within 5 mm of shatter cone surfaces, which is interpreted to suggest that shock wave reverberation at preimpact joints could be responsible for this local enhancement of shock deformation. Some shatter cone surfaces are coated with a quasi-opaque material which is also found in conspicuous veinlets that branch off from shatter cone surfaces and resemble pseudotachylitic breccia veins. The vein-filling is composed of two mineral phases, one of which could be identified as a montmorillonitic phyllosilicate. The second phase could not be identified yet. The original composition of the fill could not be determined. Further work is required on this material. Observed joints and fractures were discussed against findings from Barringer impact crater. They show that impact-induced joints in the basement rock do not follow impact-specific orientations (such as radial, conical, or concentric). © 2016 The Meteoritical Society.


Voss M.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolution And Biodiversity Science
Zoosystematics and Evolution | Year: 2014

The holotype of the sirenian species Halitherium schinzii Kaup, 1838 from the Alzey Formation (early Oligocene) of the Mainz Basin, western Germany, is reviewed in detail and revised. It is concluded that the type specimen, an isolated premolar, is non-diagnostic, because it reveals no characters of taxonomic value. Therefore, the taxon name H. schinzii is regarded as a nomen dubium, thus cannot be applied to any currently proposed sirenian species. The name of the genus "Halitherium", which is based on the type species "H. schinzii", cannot be applied to other species previously assigned to congeneric taxa. Consequently, taxonomic and systematic re-assessment is required. Due to the fact that "Halitherium" is the taxonomical basis of the Halitheriinae, conclusions are drawn on the inappropriateness of this subfamily. © Manja Voss.


Lorz A.-N.,NIWA - National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research | Coleman C.O.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolution And Biodiversity Science
Zootaxa | Year: 2014

Epimeriidae is an amphipod family with a worldwide distribution. Two new species have been discovered off New Zealand; Epimeria sophie sp. nov. and Epimeria emma sp. nov. Two new species have been discovered off New Zealand; Epimeria sophie sp. nov. and Epimeria emma sp. nov., which are described here in detail. This increases the number of Epimeria species known from New Zealand's deep-sea to seven. The morphological differences of the juveniles with the adult of Epimeria sophie sp. nov. are discussed. Extensive scanning electron microscope images reveal structurally very complex surface arrangements on Epimeria emma sp. nov. A key to the 14 species of Pacific Epimeria is provided. Copyright © 2014 Magnolia Press.


Von Rintelen T.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolution And Biodiversity Science | Stelbrink B.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolution And Biodiversity Science | Marwoto R.M.,Indonesian Institute of Sciences | Glaubrecht M.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolution And Biodiversity Science
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

The complex geological history of the Indonesian island Sulawesi has shaped the origin and subsequent diversification of its taxa. For the endemic freshwater snail Tylomelania a vicariant origin from the Australian margin has been hypothesized. Divergence time estimates from a mtDNA phylogeny based on a comprehensive island-wide sampling of Tylomelania fit regional tectonic constraints and support the 'out-of-Australia' vicariance hypothesis. The Banggai-Sula region of the Sula Spur, the Australian promontory colliding with West Sulawesi during the Miocene, is identified as a possible source area for the colonization of Sulawesi by the ancestor of Tylomelania. The molecular phylogeny also shows a rapid diversification of Tylomelania into eight major lineages with very little overlap in their distribution on the island. Haplotype networks provide further evidence for a strong spatial structure of genetic diversity in Tylomelania . Distribution boundaries of the major lineages do at best partially coincide with previously identified contact zones for other endemic species groups on Sulawesi. This pattern has likely been influenced by the poor dispersal capabilities and altitudinal distribution limits of this strict freshwater inhabitant. We suggest that late Miocene and Pliocene orogeny in large parts of Sulawesi has been the vicariant event driving primary diversification in Tylomelania. © 2014 Von Rintelen et al.


PubMed | Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolution And Biodiversity Science and Australian Museum Research Institute
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Zootaxa | Year: 2014

Members of the family Epimeriidae are reported in Australian waters for the first time and Epimeria rafaeli sp. nov. is described from deep water just south of the Abrolhos Island, Western Australia.


PubMed | University of Salford, Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolution And Biodiversity Science and University of Bayreuth
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Die Naturwissenschaften | Year: 2016

Anurans are renowned for a high diversity of reproductive modes, but less than 1 % of species exhibit internal fertilisation followed by viviparity. In the live-bearing West African Nimba toad (Nimbaphrynoides occidentalis), females produce yolk-poor eggs and internally nourish their young after fertilisation. Birth of fully developed juveniles takes place after 9 months. In the present study, we used genetic markers (eight microsatellite loci) to assign the paternity of litters of 12 females comprising on average 9.7 juveniles. In 9 out of 12 families (75 %), a single sire was sufficient; in three families (25 %), more than one sire was necessary to explain the observed genotypes in each family. These findings are backed up with field observations of male resource defence (underground cavities in which mating takes place) as well as coercive mating attempts, suggesting that the observed moderate level of multiple paternity in a species without distinct sperm storage organs is governed by a balance of female mate choice and male reproductive strategies.


PubMed | Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolution And Biodiversity Science and Indonesian Institute of Sciences
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2014

The complex geological history of the Indonesian island Sulawesi has shaped the origin and subsequent diversification of its taxa. For the endemic freshwater snail Tylomelania a vicariant origin from the Australian margin has been hypothesized. Divergence time estimates from a mtDNA phylogeny based on a comprehensive island-wide sampling of Tylomelania fit regional tectonic constraints and support the out-of-Australia vicariance hypothesis. The Banggai-Sula region of the Sula Spur, the Australian promontory colliding with West Sulawesi during the Miocene, is identified as a possible source area for the colonization of Sulawesi by the ancestor of Tylomelania. The molecular phylogeny also shows a rapid diversification of Tylomelania into eight major lineages with very little overlap in their distribution on the island. Haplotype networks provide further evidence for a strong spatial structure of genetic diversity in Tylomelania. Distribution boundaries of the major lineages do at best partially coincide with previously identified contact zones for other endemic species groups on Sulawesi. This pattern has likely been influenced by the poor dispersal capabilities and altitudinal distribution limits of this strict freshwater inhabitant. We suggest that late Miocene and Pliocene orogeny in large parts of Sulawesi has been the vicariant event driving primary diversification in Tylomelania.

Loading Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolution And Biodiversity Science collaborators
Loading Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolution And Biodiversity Science collaborators