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Italy Ngala Offline
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A new primitive Neornithischian dinosaur from the Jurassic of Patagonia with gut contents
Isaberrysaura mollensis Salgado et al., 2017

*This image is copyright of its original author

Figure 3. Gut content of Isaberrysaura mollensis gen. et sp. nov. (a–c), seeds of cycads ©, and other seeds (s); rib ®. (d,e) Detail of seeds of cycads: sarcotesta (sa), sclerotesta (sc), coronula ©, nucellus (n). (f) Location of the gut content in the reconstructed skeleton of Isaberrysaura mollensis gen. et sp. nov. The drawings were processed using Adobe Photoshop CS2 Serial Number: 1045-1412-5685-1654-6343-1431.

Abstract:
"We describe a new species of an ornithischian dinosaur, Isaberrysaura mollensis gen. et sp. nov. The specimen, consisting in an almost complete skull and incomplete postcranium was collected from the marine-deltaic deposits of the Los Molles Formation (Toarcian-Bajocian), being the first reported dinosaur for this unit, one of the oldest from Neuquén Basin, and the first neornithischian dinosaur known from the Jurassic of South America. Despite showing a general stegosaurian appearance, the extensive phylogenetic analysis carried out depicts Isaberrysaura mollensis gen. et sp. nov. as a basal ornithopod, suggesting that both Thyreophora and neornithischians could have achieved significant convergent features. The specimen was preserved articulated and with some of its gut content place in the middle-posterior part of the thoracic cavity. Such stomach content was identified as seeds, most of them belonging to the Cycadales group. This finding reveals a possible and unexpected role of this ornithischian species as seed-dispersal agent."
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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( This post was last modified: 03-12-2017, 03:35 AM by Ngala )

Vegasaurus molyi, gen. et sp. nov. (Plesiosauria, Elasmosauridae), from the Cape Lamb Member (lower maastrichtian) of the Snow Hill Island Formation, Vega Island, Antarctica, and remarks on Wedellian Elasmosauridae
Vegasaurus molyi O'Gorman, Salgado, Olivero & Marenssi, 2017

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Abstract:
"A new elasmosaurid, Vegasaurus molyi, gen. et sp. nov., from Vega Island, James Ross Archipelago, Antarctica, is described. The holotype and only specimen of this species (MLP 93-I-5-1) was collected from the lower Maastrichtian Cape Lamb Member of the Snow Hill Island Formation. Vegasaurus molyi is the only Antarctic elasmosaurid and one of only a few Late Cretaceous elasmosaurids from the Southern Hemisphere whose postcranial anatomy is well known. Vegasaurus molyi is distinguished from other elasmosaurids by the following combination of characters: cervical region with 54 vertebrae with elongated centra, dumbbell-shaped articular faces and lateral ridge present in the anterior and middle parts of the neck but absent in the posterior-most cervical vertebrae; scapula with ventral ramus bearing a strong ridge in the anteromedial corner of its dorsal surface; ilium shaft with expanded distal end, divided into two parts forming an angle of 140° opening anteriorly; and humerus with anterior knee and prominent posterior projection with accessory posterior articular facet. Preliminary phylogenetic analysis places V. molyi within a clade that includes the Late Cretaceous Wedellian aristonectine elasmosaurids, Aristonectes and Kaiwhekea. This indicates a close relationship between Aristonectinae and non-Aristonectinae Late Cretaceous Weddellian elasmosaurids and suggests a Weddellian origin for the Aristonectinae."

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Nueva especie de Plesiosaurio en Antártida
Hallan una nueva especie de plesiosaurio en la Antártida
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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A new hypothesis of dinosaur relationships and early dinosaur evolution Baron, Norman & Barrett, 2017

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Figure 1: Phylogenetic relationships of early dinosaurs.
Time calibrated strict consensus of 94 trees from an analysis with 73 taxa and 457 characters (see Supplementary Information). A, the least inclusive clade that includes Passer domesticusTriceratops horridus and Diplodocus carnegii—Dinosauria, as newly defined. B, the least inclusive clade that includes P. domesticus and T. horridus—Ornithoscelida, as defined. C, the most inclusive clade that contains D. carnegii, but not T. horridus—Saurischia, as newly defined. For further information on definitions see Table 1. All subdivisions of the time periods (white
and grey bands) are scaled according to their relative lengths with the exception of the Olenekian (Early Triassic), which has been expanded relative to the other subdivisions to better show the resolution within Silesauridae and among other non-dinosaurian dinosauromorphs.

Abstract:
"For 130 years, dinosaurs have been divided into two distinct clades—Ornithischia and Saurischia. Here we present a hypothesis for the phylogenetic relationships of the major dinosaurian groups that challenges the current consensus concerning early dinosaur evolution and highlights problematic aspects of current cladistic definitions. Our study has found a sister-group relationship between Ornithischia and Theropoda (united in the new clade Ornithoscelida), with Sauropodomorpha and Herrerasauridae (as the redefined Saurischia) forming its monophyletic outgroup. This new tree topology requires redefinition and rediagnosis of Dinosauria and the subsidiary dinosaurian clades. In addition, it forces re-evaluations of early dinosaur cladogenesis and character evolution, suggests that hypercarnivory was acquired independently in herrerasaurids and theropods, and offers an explanation for many of the anatomical features previously regarded as notable convergences between theropods and early ornithischians."

The old family tree structure. Credit: University of Cambridge

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The new family tree structure. Credit: University of Cambridge

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"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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( This post was last modified: 04-02-2017, 01:47 AM by Ngala )

Exceptional preservation of soft tissue in a new specimen of Eoconfuciusornis and its biological implications Zheng, O'Connor, Wang, Pan, Wang, Wang & Zhou, 2017

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In vivo reconstruction of a male and female pair of Eoconfuciusornis. Artwork by Michael Rothman.

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(a) Photograph of Eoconfuciusornis indet. STM7-144, preserved in right lateral view; scale bar equals 20 mm. Inset SEM images (all scale bars equal 2 μm); (b) left-wing coverts (sample 2_2) preserving black eumelanosomes; © coronal feathers (sample 2_1) preserving grey eumelanosomes; (d) dark spot of secondaries (sample A) preserving black eumelanosomes; (e) light part of secondaries (sample C) preserving grey mouldic eumelanosomes; (f) tail feathers (sample 2_3) preserving black eumelanosomes; (g) crural feathers (sample 2_4) preserving grey eumelanosomes; (h) submalar feathers (sample G) preserving phaeomelanosomes. Yellow dots indicate location of each sample.

Abstract:
"We report on an exceptional specimen of Eoconfuciusornis preserving rare soft-tissue traces of the ovary and wing. Ovarian follicles preserve a greater hierarchy than observed in Jeholornis and enantiornithines, suggesting confuciusornithiforms evolved higher rates of yolk deposition in parallel with the neornithine lineage. The preserved soft tissues of the wing indicate the presence of a propatagium and postpatagium, whereas an alular patagium is absent. Preserved remnants of the internal support network of the propatagium bear remarkable similarity to that of living birds. Soft tissue suggests the confuciusornithiform propatagium could maintain a cambered profile and generate lift. The feathers of the wing preserve remnants of their original patterning; however, this is not strongly reflected by observable differences under scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The tail plumage lacks elongate rectrices, suggesting that the earliest known confuciusornithiforms were sexually dimorphic in their plumage."

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"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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( This post was last modified: 04-06-2017, 01:52 AM by Ngala )

Sauropod tooth morphotypes from the Upper Jurassic of the Lusitanian Basin (Portugal) Mocho, Royo-Torres, Malafaia, Escaso & Ortega, 2017

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Abstract:
"The Upper Jurassic of the Lusitanian Basin has yielded an important fossil record of sauropods, but little information is available about the tooth morphotypes represented in this region. A large sample of teeth, both unpublished and published, is described and discussed here. Four main tooth morphologies are identified: spatulate, heart-shaped, pencil-shaped, and compressed cone-chisel-shaped. Heart-shaped teeth are considered to be exclusive to a non-neosauropod eusauropod, tentatively referred to Turiasauria. The spatulate teeth can be attributed to members of the Macronaria; they have a complex cingulum, more than one lingual facet and a labial ridge. The compressed cone-chisel-shaped teeth are also attributed to macronarians and the presence of an axially twisted apex through an arc of 30°–45° suggests putative affinities with Europasaurus and basal titanosauriforms. The variability observed in the overall morphology and wrinkling pattern of the compressed cone-chisel-shaped teeth may be due to factors related to the tooth position or to the ontogeny of individuals. Finally, pencil-shaped teeth with high slenderness index values, oval and apically located wear facets, subcylindrical crowns and lacking carinae, are tentatively assigned to Diplodocoidea. The diversity of tooth morphologies is in accordance with the known palaeobiodiversity of the Portuguese Late Jurassic sauropod fauna, which is composed of non-neosauropod eusauropods (turiasaurs), diplodocoids (diplodocids) and macronarians (camarasaurids and probably brachiosaurids). The Late Jurassic sauropod fossil record of the Iberian Peninsula presents the broadest tooth morphospace range in the world from this period, suggesting a wide niche partition for sauropods, and corresponding high taxonomic diversity."

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La diversidad de dinosaurios de Portugal es mayor de lo que se pensaba
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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A new tyrannosaur with evidence for anagenesis and crocodile-like facial sensory system
Daspletosaurus horneri Carr, Varricchio, Sedlmayr, Roberts & Moore, 2017

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Figure 4: The craniofacial epidermis of Daspletosaurus horneri sp. nov., based on comparison with its closest living relatives, crocodylians and birds.
Bone texture indicates large zones of large, flat scales and subordinate regions of armor-like skin and cornified epidermis; integumentary sense organs occur on the flat scales that cover the densest regions of neurovascular foramina. The region outside of the crocodylian-like skin is reconstructed with small scales after fossilized skin impressions of tyrannosaurids. This figure is not covered by the CC BY licence. Illustration © Dino Pulerà. All rights reserved, used with permission.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Figure 1: Skull and jaws of the holotype (MOR 590) of Daspletosaurus horneri sp. nov.; (A) photograph and, (B) labeled line drawing of skull and jaws in left lateral view; © photograph and, (D) labeled line drawing of occiput and suspensorium in caudal view; (E) photograph and, (F) labeled line drawing of skull in dorsal view. Scale bars equal 10 cm. Abbreviations: MOR, Museum of the Rockies.

Abstract:
"A new species of tyrannosaurid from the upper Two Medicine Formation of Montana supports the presence of a Laramidian anagenetic (ancestor-descendant) lineage of Late Cretaceous tyrannosaurids. In concert with other anagenetic lineages of dinosaurs from the same time and place, this suggests that anagenesis could have been a widespread mechanism generating species diversity amongst dinosaurs, and perhaps beyond. We studied the excellent fossil record of the tyrannosaurid to test that hypothesis. Phylogenetic analysis places this new taxon as the sister species to Daspletosaurus torosus. However, given their close phylogenetic relationship, geographic proximity, and temporal succession, where D. torosus (~76.7–75.2 Ma) precedes the younger new species (~75.1–74.4 Ma), we argue that the two forms most likely represent a single anagenetic lineage. Daspletosaurus was an important apex predator in the late Campanian dinosaur faunas of Laramidia; its absence from later units indicates it was extinct before Tyrannosaurus rex dispersed into Laramidia from Asia. In addition to its evolutionary implications, the texture of the facial bones of the new taxon, and other derived tyrannosauroids, indicates a scaly integument with high tactile sensitivity. Most significantly, the lower jaw shows evidence for neurovasculature that is also seen in birds."
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Supplementary cranial description of the types of Edmontosaurus regalis (Ornithischia: Hadrosauridae), with comments on the phylogenetics and biogeography of Hadrosaurinae Xing, Mallon & Currie, 2017

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Fig 20. Strict consensus of 24 most parsimonious trees resulting from the maximum parsimony analysis of Hadrosauroidea, showing the sister-group relationship between Hadrosaurinae and Lambeosaurinae within Hadrosauridae.
Numbers above lines represent bootstrap proportions, whereas those below lines represent Bremer decay values. Bootstrap proportions lower than 20 and Bremer decay values less than 2 are not shown.

Abstract:
"The cranial anatomy of the flat-skulled hadrosaurine Edmontosaurus regalis (Ornithischia: Hadrosauridae) is extensively described here, based on the holotype and paratype collected from the middle part of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation in southern Alberta. Focus is given to previously undocumented features of ontogenetic and phylogenetic importance. This description facilitates overall osteological comparisons between E. regalis and other hadrosaurids (especially E. annectens), and revises the diagnosis of E. regalis, to which a new autapomorphy (the dorsal half of the jugal anterior process bearing a sharp posterolateral projection into the orbit) is added. We consider the recently named Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis from the upper Campanian/lower Maastrichtian of Alaska a nomen dubium, and conservatively regard the Alaskan material as belonging to Edmontosaurus sp.. A phylogenetic analysis of Hadrosauroidea using maximum parsimony further corroborates the sister-taxon relationship between E. regalis and E. annectens. In the strict consensus tree, Hadrosaurus foulkii occurs firmly within the clade comprising all non-lambeosaurine hadrosaurids, supporting the taxonomic scheme that divides Hadrosauridae into Hadrosaurinae and Lambeosaurinae. Within Edmontosaurini, Kerberosaurus is posited as the sister taxon to the clade of Shantungosaurus + Edmontosaurus. The biogeographic reconstruction of Hadrosaurinae in light of the time-calibrated cladogram and probability calculation of ancestral areas for all internal nodes reveals a significantly high probability for the North American origin of the clade. However, the Laramidia–Appalachia dispersals around the Santonian–Campanian boundary, inferred from the biogeographic scenario for the North American origin of Hadrosaurinae, are in conflict with currently accepted paleogeographic models. By contrast, the Asian origin of Hadrosaurinae with its relatively low probability resulting from the biogeographic analysis is worth seriously considering, despite the lack of fossil material from the Santonian and lower Campanian of Asia. Extra fossil collecting in appropriate geographic locations and stratigraphic intervals of Asia and Europe will help to clarify the biogeographic dynamics of hadrosaurine dinosaurs in the near future."
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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A new tiny dromaeosaurid dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous Jehol Group of western Liaoning and niche differentiation among the Jehol dromaeosaurids
Zhongjianosaurus yangi Xu & Qin, 2017

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Abstract:
"The Early Cretaceous Jehol dromaeosaurids are taxonomically and morphologically diverse, and one of them, Microraptor zhaoianus, has been suggested to be among the smallest known non-avialan theropods. However, this idea is based on specimens of relatively early ontogenetic stages, and the lower limit of the mature body mass of Jehol dromaeosaurids thus remains unknown. Here we describe a new dromaeosaurid, Zhongjianosaurus yangi gen. et sp. nov., based on a specimen from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation (the middle section of the Jehol Group) from Sihedang, Lingyuan County, Liaoning in Northeast China. While this new taxon is referable to the Microraptorinae, it differs from other microraptorine dromaeosaurids in numerous features, most notably the fusion of proportionally long uncinate processes to dorsal ribs, a humerus with a strongly medially offset proximal end and a large fenestra within the deltopectoral crest, an ulna slightly longer than the humerus, and an arctometatarsalian pes. Most significantly, the estimated 0.31 kg mass of the Z. yangi holotype of an adult individual confirms that some Jehol dromaeosaurids are among the smallest known non-avialan theropods. Our preliminary analysis demonstrates niche differentiation among the Jehol dromaeosaurids, a phenomenon rarely reported among Mesozoic dinosaurian faunas."
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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( This post was last modified: 04-19-2017, 03:55 PM by Ngala )

A morphological study of the first known piscivorous enantiornithine bird from the Early Cretaceous of China
Piscivorenantiornis inusitatus Wang & Zhou, 2017

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Fig.3 Life reconstruction of the fish-eating enantiornithine bird (Image by SHI Aijuan). 

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FIGURE 1. Photograph of the holotype of Piscivorenantiornis inusitatus, gen. et sp. nov., IVPP V22582. 

Abstract:
"A fish-eating enantiornithine bird with a gastric pellet composed of fish bones has recently been reported from the Lower Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation of Liaoning Province, northeastern China. Along with other discoveries, this specimen reveals that distinct features of modern avian digestive system were well established in those early birds. On the basis of a detailed anatomical study presented here, we show that this fish-eating enantiornithine bird represents a new taxon, Piscivorenantiornis inusitatus, gen. et sp. nov. The well-preserved elements of the skull, neck, sternum, and pelvis further enrich our understanding of the morphological diversity in early enantiornithines. Most notably, the cranial articular facet of the caudal cervical vertebra is dorsoventrally concave and mediolaterally convex, a feature otherwise unknown among other birds and with unclear functional significance."

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"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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