Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolutions Und Biodiversitatsforschung

Berlin, Germany

Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolutions Und Biodiversitatsforschung

Berlin, Germany
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Hipsley C.A.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolutions Und Biodiversitatsforschung | Muller J.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolutions Und Biodiversitatsforschung | Muller J.,Humboldt University of Berlin | Muller J.,Berlin Brandenburg Institute of Advanced Biodiversity Research BBIB
Anatomical Record | Year: 2014

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. Anat Rec, 297:473-481, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Meier P.S.,University of Zürich | Bickelmann C.,University of Zürich | Bickelmann C.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolutions Und Biodiversitatsforschung | Scheyer T.M.,University of Zürich | 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.


Tsuji L.A.,University of Washington | Sobral G.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolutions Und Biodiversitatsforschung | Muller J.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolutions Und Biodiversitatsforschung
Comptes Rendus - Palevol | Year: 2013

The Middle Triassic Lifua Member of the Manda Formation (Ruhuhu Basin, southwestern Tanzania) hosts a diverse fauna dominated by therapsids and archosauromorphs. Reexamination of fossils from previous expeditions in addition to new field collections has brought many new taxa to light. Discovered in the collections of the Cambridge Museum of Zoology, Ruhuhuaria reiszi gen. et sp. nov. is the first procolophonoid reptile described from the Ruhuhu Basin. Although the fossil is poorly preserved, CT scanning reveals crucial diagnostic morphology, in particular the highly labio-lingually expanded tooth bases and enlarged anterior dentary teeth. A phylogenetic analysis shows Ruhuhuaria is nested within the owenettids, but results in an otherwise poorly resolved tree. The discovery of Ruhuhuaria provides further evidence of the persistence of owenettids into the Middle Triassic, and their coexistence with procolophonids well into the Triassic. © 2013 Académie des sciences.


Reimold W.U.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolutions Und Biodiversitatsforschung | Reimold W.U.,Humboldt University of Berlin | Mcdonald I.,University of Cardiff | Schmitt R.-T.,Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolutions Und Biodiversitatsforschung | And 3 more authors.
Meteoritics and Planetary Science | Year: 2013

Suevite and melt breccia compositions in the boreholes Enkingen and Polsingen are compared with compositions of suevites from other Ries boreholes and surface locations and discussed in terms of implications for impact breccia genesis. No significant differences in average chemical compositions for the various drill cores or surface samples are noted. Compositions of suevite and melt breccia from southern and northeastern sectors of the Ries crater do not significantly differ. This is in stark contrast to the published variations between within-crater and out-of-crater suevites from northern and southern sectors of the Bosumtwi impact structure, Ghana. Locally occurring alteration overprint on drill cores-especially strong on the carbonate-impregnated suevite specimens of the Enkingen borehole-does affect the average compositions. Overall, the composition of the analyzed impact breccias from Ries are characterized by very little macroscopically or microscopically recognized sediment-clast component; the clast populations of suevite and impact melt breccia are dominated consistently by granitic and intermediate granitoid components. The Polsingen breccia is significantly enriched in a dioritic clast component. Overall, chemical compositions are of intermediate composition as well, with dioritic-granodioritic silica contents, and relatively small contributions from mafic target components. Selected suevite samples from the Enkingen core have elevated Ni, Co, Cr, and Ir contents compared with previously analyzed suevites from the Ries crater, which suggest a small meteoritic component. Platinum-group element (PGE) concentrations for some of the enriched samples indicate somewhat elevated concentrations and near-chondritic ratios of the most immobile PGE, consistent with an extraterrestrial contribution of 0.1-0.2% chondrite-equivalent. © The Meteoritical Society, 2013.


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.


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.


PubMed | Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolutions Und Biodiversitatsforschung and Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi
Type: | Journal: ZooKeys | Year: 2015

Leptodiranycthemera 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, Leptodiranycthemera was considered to be a synonym of Leptodeiraannulataannulata, although the author emphasized that the holotype was lost and did not include the pholidotic data from the original description in his account of Leptodeiraannulataannulata. Since this review, a number of authors have accepted this synonymy. Recently, analyzing specimens of Leptodeira in the Museum fr Naturkunde, Berlin, Germany, we discovered the holotype of Leptodiranycthemera. 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 Leptodiranycthemera as a junior synonym of Oxyrhopuspetolarius.


PubMed | Museum For Naturkunde Leibniz Institute For Evolutions Und Biodiversitatsforschung, University of Antananarivo and Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Zootaxa | Year: 2014

Elapotinus picteti Jan, 1862 is an enigmatic snake taxon that has been described without locality data. Genus and species, both based on the unique holotype, were considered to belong to the venomous African Aparallactinae for more than a century, but although this taxon was never rediscovered it was accepted as a valid species until present. To clarify the taxonomic status of E. picteti its characters were compared with literature and determination keys for the whole world. This literature survey and the subsequent study of type specimens revealed that the monotypic Elapotinus is a subjective senior synonym of the monotypic Malagasy pseudoxyrhophiine snake genus Exallodontophis Cadle, 1999 which is characterized by its unique aglyphous dentition. We therefore transfer Elapotinus from the lamprophiid subfamily Aparallactinae to the subfamily Pseudoxyrhophiinae. Furthermore, Elapotinus picteti strongly resembles the Malagasy species Exallodontophis albignaci (Domergue, 1984) in external morphology, coloration and dentition. As a consequence we consider Elapotinus picteti a subjective senior synonym of Exallodontophis albignaci.

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