Natural History Museum Bern

Bern, Switzerland

Natural History Museum Bern

Bern, Switzerland
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Janots E.,Joseph Fourier University | Janots E.,University of Munster | Gnos E.,Natural History Museum Geneva | Hofmann B.A.,Natural History Museum Bern | And 4 more authors.
Meteoritics and Planetary Science | Year: 2012

A petrographic and geochemical study was undertaken to characterize Jiddat al Harasis (JaH) 556, a howardite find from the Sultanate of Oman. JaH 556 is a polymict impact melt breccia containing highly shocked clasts, including mosaicized olivine and recrystallized plagioclase, set in a finely recrystallized vesicular matrix (grain diameter <5-10μm). Plagioclase (An 76-92) and clinopyroxene (En 48-62Wo 7-15) are associated with orthopyroxene and olivine clasts like in a howardite. JaH 556 oxygen isotope data indicate that it has an anomalous bulk-rock composition as howardite, resulting from a mixture between HED material and at least one second reservoir characterized by a higher Δ 17O. The bulk meteorite has a composition consistent with howardites, but it is enriched in siderophile elements (Ni=3940 and Co=159ppm) arguing for a chondritic material as second reservoir. This is independently confirmed by the occurrence of chondrule relics composed of olivine (Fo 56-80), orthopyroxene (En 79Wo 2), and plagioclase (An 61-66). Based on oxygen isotopic signature, siderophile composition, and chondrule core Mg number (Fo 80 and En 79Wo 2), it is proposed that JaH 556 is a howardite containing approximately 20% H chondrite material. This percentage is high compared with that observed petrographically, likely because chondritic material dissolved in the impact melt. This conclusion is supported by the observed reaction of orthopyroxene to olivine, which is consistent with a re-equilibration in a Si-undersaturated melt. JaH 556's unique composition enlarges the spectrum of howardite-analogs to be expected on the surface of 4 Vesta. Our data demonstrate that oxygen isotopic anomalies can be produced by a mixture of indigenous and impactor materials and must be interpreted with extreme caution within the HED group. © The Meteoritical Society, 2012.

Baehr B.C.,Queensland Museum | Baehr B.C.,University of Newcastle | Harvey M.S.,Locked Bag 49 | Harvey M.S.,California Academy of Sciences | And 3 more authors.
Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History | Year: 2012

The new goblin spider genus Prethopalpus is restricted to the Australasian tropics, from the lower Himalayan Mountains in Nepal and India to the Malaysian Peninsula, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Australia. Prethopalpus contains those species with a swollen palpal patella, which is one to two times the size of the femur, together with a cymbium and bulb that is usually separated, although it is largely fused in four species. The type species Opopaea fosuma Burger et al. from Sumatra, and Camptoscaphiella infernalis Harvey and Edward from Western Australia are newly transferred to Prethopalpus. The genus consists of 41 species of which 39 are newly described: P. ilam Baehr (♂, ♀) from Nepal; P. khasi Baehr (♂), P. madurai Baehr (♂), P. mahanadi Baehr (♂, ♀), and P. meghalaya Baehr (♂, ♀) from India; P. bali Baehr (♂), P. bellicosus Baehr and Thoma (♂, ♀), P. brunei Baehr (♂, ♀), P. deelemanae Baehr and Thoma (♂), P. java Baehr (♂, ♀), P. kranzae Baehr (♂), P. kropfi Baehr (♂, ♀), P. leuser Baehr (♂, ♀), P. magnocularis Baehr and Thoma (♂), P. pahang Baehr (♂), P. perak Baehr (♂, ♀), P. sabah Baehr (♂, ♀), P. sarawak Baehr (♂), P. schwendingeri Baehr (♂, ♀), and P. utara Baehr (♂, ♀) from Indonesia and Malaysia; and P. alexanderi Baehr and Harvey (♂), P. attenboroughi Baehr and Harvey (♂), P. blosfeldsorum Baehr and Harvey (♂), P. boltoni Baehr and Harvey (♂, ♀), P. callani Baehr and Harvey (♂, ♀), P. cooperi Baehr and Harvey (♂), P. eberhardi Baehr and Harvey (♂, ♀), P. framenaui Baehr and Harvey (♂, ♀), P. humphreysi Baehr and Harvey (♂, ♀), P. kintyre Baehr and Harvey (♂), P. scanloni Baehr and Harvey (♂), P. pearsoni Baehr and Harvey (♂), P. julianneae Baehr and Harvey (♂), P. maini Baehr and Harvey (♂, ♀), P. marionae Baehr and Harvey (♂, ♀), P. platnicki Baehr and Harvey (♂, ♀), P. oneillae Baehr and Harvey (♂), P. rawlinsoni Baehr and Harvey (♂), and P. tropicus Baehr and Harvey (♂, ♀) from Australia and Papua New Guinea. Three separate keys to species from different geographical regions are provided. Most species are recorded from single locations and only three species are more widely distributed. A significant radiation of blind troglobites comprising 14 species living in subterranean ecosystems in Western Australia is discussed. These include several species that lack abdominal scuta, a feature previously used to define subfamilies of Oonopidae. © 2012 American Museum of Natural History.

Tegetmeyer C.,University of Greifswald | Thoma M.,Natural History Museum Bern | Arbeiter S.,University of Potsdam
Journal of Ornithology | Year: 2012

The globally threatened Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola is a Palearctic-African long-distance migrant that undergoes a complete moult while wintering in Africa. Little is known about the timing of moult and the birds' mobility during moulting periods. We conducted the first study on the moult of Aquatic Warblers, in the Djoudj area of Senegal, West Africa. Wing moult scores from 36 to 90 and raggedness scores from 0 to 25 were recorded in December and January. No moulting Aquatic Warblers were caught after January. Body-feather moult was observed during and shortly after wing moult until January. We conclude that Aquatic Warblers follow the typical sequence of passerine moult, with remige moult starting in October or November. To find out how moult affects their mobility, we measured the net distance that Aquatic Warblers equipped with radio transmitters travelled in 15-min intervals. In our small sample of eight birds, the mean path length was 34 m, and there was no obvious difference between the path lengths in moulting and non-moulting individuals. We conclude that, possibly, moult does not affect the mobility and flight ability of Aquatic Warblers in general. Further research is needed to locate other wintering grounds, e. g. in the Inner Niger Delta, and reproduce our study in other populations. © 2012 Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V.

Eichenberger B.,University of Bern | Kranz-Baltensperger Y.,Natural History Museum Bern | Ott R.,Museu de Ciencias Naturais | Graber W.,University of Bern | And 2 more authors.
Zootaxa | Year: 2012

The oonopid genera Gamasomorpha and Xestaspis are very diverse and differ only by the shape of the booklung covers. New Indian/Indonesian Gamasomorpha and Xestaspis species, characterized by sternal furrows consisting of large, droplike pits are described. Fourteen species are newly described (G. asterobothros n. sp., G. keri n. sp., G. petoteca n. sp., G. insomnia n. sp., G. ophiria n. sp., G. squalens n. sp., G. coniacris n. sp., G. raya n. sp., G.fricki n. sp., G. schmilingi n. sp., X. kandy n. sp., X. paulina n. sp., X. semengoh n. sp., X. biflocci n. sp.); two species are redescribed (G. seximpressa and G. taprobanica). The high significance of somatic features for species identification, the degree of intraspecific variation and the complexity of the female genitalia are remarkable. The current work suggests that a phylogenetic revision of the genera Gamasomorpha and Xestaspis and an examination of the validity of the shape of the booklung covers of these two genera are needed. © 2012 Magnolia Press.

Hofmann B.A.,Natural History Museum Bern
Chimia | Year: 2010

Meteorites are fragments from solar system bodies, dominantly asteroids. A small fraction is derived from the Moon and from Mars. These rocks tell a rich history of the early solar system and range from solids little changed since the earliest phases of solid matter condensation in the solar nebula (chondrites) to material representing asteroidal metamorphism and melting, impact processes on the Moon and even aqueous alteration near the surface of Mars. Meteorites are very rare. Currently many meteorites result from searches in Antarctica and the hot deserts of North Africa and Arabia. The present high find rate likely represents a unique short-term event, asking for a careful management of this scarce scientific resource. © Schweizerische Chemische Gesellschaft.

Matter A.,University of Bern | Neubert E.,Natural History Museum Bern | Preusser F.,University of Stockholm | Rosenberg T.,University of Bern | Al-Wagdani K.,Saudi Geological Survey
Quaternary International | Year: 2015

Shallow lakes and sabkha deposits are evidence of past periods of higher groundwater table than today, and hence reflect increased humidity in the Rub' al-Khali, the large desert in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula. Reported here are the observations made during four expeditions into this remote area in combination with luminescence dating constraining the age of the deposits. The results presented extend the spatial coverage of evidence and show that most of the deposits correlate to MIS 5 (ca. 130-70. ka) and the Early/Mid Holocene (ca. 11-5.5. ka). A single sample points towards potentially more humid conditions during the transition MIS 4/3 (ca. 65-55. ka). The presence of the mussel Unio in some of the deposits attributed to MIS 5 is indirect evidence for the presence of fish in the lakes, which must have supported a rich and diverse fauna (and probably also flora). Together with other evidence, this demonstrates that a number of small persistent lakes were spread across the Rub' al-Khali for at least some of the time. These lakes would not only have been a potential source of freshwater but could also have provided an additional and easy accessible food source via the fish for humans migrating through the area. The presented palaeoenvironmental data underlines that parts of MIS 5 represent a time window of opportunity for a potential expansion of modern humans across Arabia. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

Frick H.,Natural History Museum Bern | Frick H.,University of Bern | Nentwig W.,University of Bern | Kropf C.,Natural History Museum Bern
Organisms Diversity and Evolution | Year: 2010

We present the most inclusive study on the higher-level phylogeny of erigonine spiders, including about 30% of all erigonine genera. By expanding the previously most comprehensive analysis (Miller and Hormiga Cladistics 20:385-442, 2004) we tested the robustness of its results to the addition of closely related taxa, and also the monophyly of the Savignia-group defined by Millidge (Bulletin of the British Arachnological Society 4:1-60, 1977). The character matrix was expanded by adding 18 newly scored species in 15 genera, and also includes all species scored by other authors. This adds up to 98 species in 91 erigonine genera plus 13 outgroup taxa. The parsimony analysis led to eight fully resolved most parsimonious trees (L=1084). The topology concerning the taxa basal to the 'distal erigonines' remained unchanged, and the latter clade still shares 67% of all nodes with the original analysis. The Savignia-group is not monophyletic at genus level with respect to Saloca diceros and Alioranus pastoralis, and the same applies at species level in Diplocephalus and Erigonella. From the Savignia-group, Glyphesis servulus, Diplocephalus cristatus, Savignia frontata, and two representatives each of Erigonella, Dicymbium and Araeoncus combine to form a monophyletic clade. © Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik 2010.

Thoma M.,Natural History Museum Bern | Taschler A.,Neue Jonastrasse 87c
British Birds | Year: 2013

On 5th May 2011, a Birnaculated Lark Melanocorypha bimaculata was discovered in the canton of Ticino, southern Switzerland. This was the first record for Switzerland and only the second for central Europe. Despite the proximity of its breeding grounds in Turkey and the Middle East, the Birnaculated Lark is still an extremely rare vagrant in Europe, with just 22 records from nine countries. We describe the Swiss record and discuss the species' status as a vagrant in Europe, its occurrence patterns and status in captivity. © British Birds 2013.

Two new species, Pteromalus briani sp. n. and P. janstai sp. n., with unusual characters are described from the Central Plateau and the Alps in Switzerland, respectively. P. briani sp. n. is remarkable in that it has the metatibia quite abruptly expanded before the middle. This type of modification of the hind tibia is unique within the Pteromalidae and probably also the entire Chalcidoidea. It is also very rare in other parasitic wasps, where it is suspected to be associated with pheromone glands. The species is a gregarious endoparasitoid of pupae of Vanessa atalanta (Linnaeus) and Aglais urticae (Linnaeus), two common butterflies (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) in Europe. It is furthermore a koinobiont parasitoid ovipositing in an early larval stage of the host. The other species, P. janstai sp. n., shows a flattened mesosoma. A dorsoventrally depressed body is a unique feature within the genus Pteromalus, but known from a number species in unrelated genera and subfamilies. The two records demonstrate that it is possible to discover entirely new species with extraordinary characters even in one of the taxonomically most thoroughly explored parts of the world. © 2015, Hannes Baur.

PubMed | University of Bern and Natural History Museum Bern
Type: Case Reports | Journal: International journal of legal medicine | Year: 2016

We present the postmortem findings of a fatal road accident involving a motorcyclist, a car, and a common buzzard. Both the motorcyclist and the bird died on the scene of the accident and were examined by postmortem full-body CT and autopsy. In addition, a facial injury of the motorcyclist was compared with the dimensions of the buzzards beak and claws by 3D scan technologies. Blood splatters collected on the birds beak, feet, and tail were examined by DNA analysis. The overall findings suggested a collision of a common buzzard with a motorcyclist in full speed, causing the motorcyclist to lose control of his vehicle and crash with an approaching car on the oncoming lane.

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