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Hampe O.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolutions Und Biodiversitatsforschung
Palaontologische Zeitschrift | Year: 2013

Gronausaurus wegneri n. gen. n. sp. represents a newly discovered leptocleidid sauropterygian based on one individual from the Early Cretaceous (Berriasian) of Gronau in Westphalia, Germany. The holotype and only known specimen consists of a skeleton, which lacks most of the dermal skull bones, a large number of cervical vertebrae and distal limb elements. Gronausaurus wegneri is unique in having distinct cavities, the subdiapophyseal fossae, below the transverse processes of the pectoral and anterior dorsal vertebrae, that probably stabilised the bones against tensile forces of the rotator and levator muscles in the living animal. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Meier P.S.,University of Zurich | Bickelmann C.,University of Zurich | Bickelmann C.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolutions Und Biodiversitatsforschung | Scheyer T.M.,University of Zurich | And 2 more authors.
BMC Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2013

Background: Talpids include forms with different degree of fossoriality, with major specializations in the humerus in the case of the fully fossorial moles. We studied the humeral microanatomy of eleven extant and eight extinct talpid taxa of different lifestyles and of two non-fossorial outgroups and examined the effects of size and phylogeny. We tested the hypothesis that bone microanatomy is different in highly derived humeri of fossorial taxa than in terrestrial and semi-aquatic ones, likely due to special mechanical strains to which they are exposed to during digging. This study is the first comprehensive examination of histological parameters in an ecologically diverse and small-sized mammalian clade. Results: No pattern of global bone compactness was found in the humeri of talpids that could be related to biomechanical specialization, phylogeny or size. The transition zone from the medullary cavity to the cortical compacta was larger and the ellipse ratio smaller in fossorial talpids than in non-fossorial talpids. No differences were detected between the two distantly related fossorial clades, Talpini and Scalopini. Conclusions: At this small size, the overall morphology of the humerus plays a predominant role in absorbing the load, and microanatomical features such as an increase in bone compactness are less important, perhaps due to insufficient gravitational effects. The ellipse ratio of bone compactness shows relatively high intraspecific variation, and therefore predictions from this ratio based on single specimens are invalid. © 2013 Meier et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Uhlig M.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolutions Und Biodiversitatsforschung | Dorchin Y.,Kibbutz kfar Hachoresh
Mitteilungen aus dem Museum fur Naturkunde in Berlin - Deutsche Entomologische Zeitschrift | Year: 2013

The new Termophilum species, T. barbarae sp. n., from the Koeroegab Vlakte (635 m above sea level) in the Richtersveld National Park (Northern Cape Province, South Africa) is described, figured and distinguished from similar species. © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Reiss S.,University of Bonn | Mallison H.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolutions Und Biodiversitatsforschung
Palaeontologia Electronica | Year: 2014

The mode of locomotion of the basal sauropodomorph Plateosaurus engelhardti, known from numerous finds from the late Triassic of Central Europe, has been extensively debated. Some early and recent research results indicate that the forelimb could not play role in quadrupedal locomotion. Other authors suggested facultative or even permanent quadrupedality. This would require adaptations of the range of motion and the stability of the manual digits to the high forces caused by locomotion. An analysis of the hyperextension capabilities of the hand can therefore determine if the manus is adapted for locomotion. This study examines the capabilities of the manus of P. engelhardti using digital 3D modeling. The motion ranges of the digits were simulated in a computer-aided engineering (CAE) program, and the hyperextension capability of the entire manus was tested. We find that the hand of Plateosaurus was not able to support the animal during quadrupedal locomotion, but may rather have been a specialized grasping organ. Therefore, P. engelhardti must have been an obligate biped.© Palaeontological Association March 2014.

Costa J.C.L.,Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi | Kucharzewski C.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolutions Und Biodiversitatsforschung | Da Costa Prudente A.L.,Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi
ZooKeys | Year: 2015

Leptodira nycthemera Werner, 1901, was described from a specimen collected in Ecuador. No information on the holotype was published after its description. In the most recent review of Leptodeira, L. nycthemera was considered to be a synonym of L. a. annulata, although the author emphasized that the holotype was lost and did not include the pholidotic data from the original description in his account of L. a. annulata. Since this review, a number of authors have accepted this synonymy. Recently, analyzing specimens of Leptodeira in the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, Germany, we discovered the holotype of Leptodira nycthemera. This holotype is re-described here, and its correct identity is determined. Based on the analysis of meristic characters and the color of the holotype, we recognize Leptodira nycthemera as a junior synonym of Oxyrhopus petolarius. © 2015, ZooKeys. All rights reserved.

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