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Niamey, Niger

Turner M.L.,University of Washington | Tsuji L.A.,Royal Ontario Museum | Ide O.,University of Niamey | Sidor C.A.,University of Washington
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology | Year: 2015

Pareiasaurs were a group of herbivorous reptiles that lived during the middle to late Permian (265-252 Ma) in what is modern-day Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa. Field work in the Moradi Formation of northern Niger has produced multiple elements of the appendicular skeleton of the pareiasaur Bunostegos akokanensis. The considerable size disparity and morphological variation among the elements suggest that they represent ontogenetic stages ranging from relatively juvenile to adult. Here we present the first description of the scapulocoracoid, humerus, radius, ulna, pelvis, and femur of Bunostegos as well as some of the first ontogenetic data for postcranial osteology in pareiasaurs. As with the skull, numerous postcranial autapomorphies characterize Bunostegos, including laterally originating acromion process of the scapula; radius and ulna with continuous articular surface on humerus; paired crests on the olecranon process; ulna longer than humerus; pinched posterior margin of the acetabular rim; robust pelvic symphysis extending the length of the puboischiatic plate; lack of a distinct postaxial flange of the femur; and an elaborated femoral lateral condyle wrapping over the medial condyle. We incorporated data from the appendicular skeleton of Bunostegos into a revised phylogenetic analysis of pareiasaur relationships. The results of this analysis corroborate previous cranial analyses that place Bunostegos between Guadalupian taxa and the Lopingian velosaur subclade. Interestingly, several aspects of its postcranial anatomy suggest that Bunostegos possessed relatively upright forelimb posture, which would be unique among pareiasaurs and possibly Permian amniotes as a whole. © 2015 by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Source


Tsuji L.A.,University of Washington | Sidor C.A.,University of Washington | Steyer J.-S.,CNRS Center for Research on Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments | Smith R.M.H.,Karoo Palaeontology | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology | Year: 2013

We describe newly recovered cranial material of Bunostegos akokanensis, a pareiasaurian reptile known from the Upper Permian Moradi Formation of northern Niger. Bunostegos is highly autapomorphic, with diagnostic cranial features including two or three hemispherical bosses located above and between the external nares; laterally projecting supraorbital horn formed by an enlarged postfrontal; large foramen present on ventral surface of postfrontal; and hemispherical supratemporal boss located at posterolateral corner of skull roof. We addressed the phylogenetic position of Bunostegos by incorporating it into a cladistic analysis of 29 parareptilian taxa (including all 21 currently valid pareiasaurs) and 127 cranial and postcranial characters. The results of this analysis place Bunostegos as more derived than middle Permian forms such as Bradysaurus and as the sister taxon to the clade including Deltavjatia plus Velosauria. Certain characters, such as the pattern of cranial ornamentation and the size and placement of the tabulars, appear to be more similar to more derived pareiasaurs such as Elginia from Scotland and Arganaceras from Morocco, but the most parsimonious tree topology indicates that these features were evolved independently in the Nigerien form. The lack of both dicynodont herbivores and Glossopteris, combined with the presence of a giant herbivorous captorhinid, indicates a markedly different community structure in the Permian of Niger compared with those for contemporaneous southern Pangean basins (i.e., Karoo, Luangwa, Ruhuhu). The endemic tetrapod fauna of Niger supports the theory that central Pangea was biogeographically isolated from the rest of the supercontinent by desert-like conditions during Late Permian times. © 2013 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Source


Turner M.L.,Brown University | Tsuji L.A.,Royal Ontario Museum | Ide O.,University of Niamey | Sidor C.A.,University of Washington
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology | Year: 2015

Pareiasaurs were a group of herbivorous reptiles that lived during the middle to late Permian (˜265–252 Ma) in what is modern-day Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa. Field work in the Moradi Formation of northern Niger has produced multiple elements of the appendicular skeleton of the pareiasaur Bunostegos akokanensis. The considerable size disparity and morphological variation among the elements suggest that they represent ontogenetic stages ranging from relatively juvenile to adult. Here we present the first description of the scapulocoracoid, humerus, radius, ulna, pelvis, and femur of Bunostegos as well as some of the first ontogenetic data for postcranial osteology in pareiasaurs. As with the skull, numerous postcranial autapomorphies characterize Bunostegos, including laterally originating acromion process of the scapula; radius and ulna with continuous articular surface on humerus; paired crests on the olecranon process; ulna longer than humerus; pinched posterior margin of the acetabular rim; robust pelvic symphysis extending the length of the puboischiatic plate; lack of a distinct postaxial flange of the femur; and an elaborated femoral lateral condyle wrapping over the medial condyle. We incorporated data from the appendicular skeleton of Bunostegos into a revised phylogenetic analysis of pareiasaur relationships. The results of this analysis corroborate previous cranial analyses that place Bunostegos between Guadalupian taxa and the Lopingian velosaur subclade. Interestingly, several aspects of its postcranial anatomy suggest that Bunostegos possessed relatively upright forelimb posture, which would be unique among pareiasaurs and possibly Permian amniotes as a whole. SUPPLEMENTAL DATA—Supplemental materials are available for this article for free at www.tandfonline.com/UJVP © 2015 Taylor & Francis Source


Lambert T.,University of Liege | Darchambeau F.,University of Liege | Bouillon S.,Catholic University of Leuven | Alhou B.,University of Niamey | And 5 more authors.
Ecosystems | Year: 2015

The characteristics of colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) as well as the concentrations and stable isotope composition (δ13C) of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) were characterized in several large rivers of Africa including the Congo, Niger, Zambezi, and Ogooué basins. We compared the spatial and temporal patterns of dissolved organic matter (DOM) quantity and quality along with various environmental gradients, including hydrology, river size, catchment vegetation, and connectivity to land. The optical proxies used include the absorption coefficient at 350 nm, the specific ultra-violet absorbance, and the spectral slope ratio (SR = 275–295-nm slope divided by 350–400-nm slope). Our results show that land cover plays a primary role in controlling both DOC concentration and optical properties of DOM in tropical freshwaters. A higher cover of dense forest in the catchment leads to a higher quantity of highly aromatic DOM in the river network, whereas an increasing savannah cover results in lower DOC concentrations and less absorptive DOM. In addition to land cover, the watershed morphology (expressed by the average slope) exerts a strong control on DOC and CDOM in tropical rivers. Our results also show that the percentage of C3 and C4 vegetation cover is not an accurate predictor for DOM and CDOM quality in rivers due to the importance of the spatial distribution of land cover within the drainage network. The comparison of our results with previously published CDOM data in temperate and high-latitude rivers highlights that DOM in tropical freshwaters is generally more aromatic, and shows a higher capacity for absorbing sunlight irradiance. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Source


Reenberg A.,Copenhagen University | Maman I.,University of Niamey | Oksen P.,ESL Environment Sustainability Livelihood
Journal of Arid Environments | Year: 2013

This paper explores the evolution of land use and natural resource management strategies over the past twenty to fifty years in a remote Sahelian region. The empirical example is Karagou village in SE Niger. Building on an in-depth survey from 1992 and a targeted, follow-up analysis of contemporary land use strategies in 2011, the change process is scrutinized.The analysis uses the conceptual lenses of land systems science, human-environmental timelines, and the notion of multiple exposures. Enabling and constraining conditions for local livelihoods in terms of the resource base (landscape, water, and population) are described. Results characterize how land use strategies have developed and how local people opportunistically use different landscape elements such as dune landscapes, valley bottoms (bas-fonds) and oases (cuvettes). Major concerns are rainfall variability, saturation of cropland, and perceived dwindling groundwater resources. It is concluded that the land use and livelihood strategies have remained remarkably stable in the face of the changing socio-ecological fringe conditions, but that this situation may hamper a sustainable transformation. •We explore local changes in land use and livelihood over 20 years.•We investigate the triple exposure of population pressure, climate and globalization.•We find that local strategies are remarkably resilient to changes.•People know well how to try to cope with climate variability in their land use.•The stability and resilience in poor regions may hamper ability to transformation. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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