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Extinct Animal News (Except Dinosaurs)

Italy Ngala Offline
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#76
( This post was last modified: 09-01-2017, 08:55 PM by Ngala )

Xibalbaonyx oviceps, a new megalonychid ground sloth (Folivora, Xenarthra) from the Late Pleistocene of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico, and its paleobiogeographic significance
Xibalbaonyx oviceps Stinnesbeck et al., 2017

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

Fig. 3: Xibalbaonyx oviceps in situ within the Zapote cenote; Skull and mandible (Za2014-01, -05)

Abstract:
"Here we describe a new genus and species of giant ground sloth, Xibalbaonyx oviceps (Megalonychidae, Xenarthra), from the drowned cave system of the northeastern Yucatán Peninsula. The specimen is Late Pleistocene in age and was discovered in the Zapote sinkhole (cenote) near Puerto Morelos in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. Xibalbaonyx oviceps differs significantly from all hitherto known Megalonychidae including those from the Greater Antilles and South America. The new taxon suggests a local Caribbean radiation of ground sloths during the Late Pleistocene, which is consistent with the dispersal of the group along a Mexican corridor."

Other articles related:
Ancient species of giant sloth discovered in Mexico
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Venezuela epaiva Online
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(11-06-2016, 04:33 PM)Ngala Wrote: Giant extinct salmon fought with spike teeth during upriver spawning events
October 28, 2016

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An illustration by Jacob Biewer Credit: Society of Vertebrate Paleontology

The ancient coastal waters of the Pacific, roughly 11 to 5 million years ago, were home to a bizarre and fascinating species of giant salmon with large spike-like teeth. This spike-toothed salmon reached sizes of 3 to 9 feet in length (1-3 meters), much larger than the typical salmon found in the Pacific today. These hefty spike-toothed fish would have made for a difficult catch at nearly 400 pounds (177 kg). The spike-like teeth of the salmon could be over an inch long (3 cm), much longer than modern Pacific salmon teeth, even after compensating for their larger size. Researchers from California State University in Turlock, California have been studying the strange teeth of these unusual fish and discovered some tantalizing clues into their past behavior and life history.

Much like modern Pacific salmon, the giant salmon was likely primarily a filter-feeder, so the spike teeth were probably not part of catching prey. Modern salmon go through physical changes in their body, especially their skull, before migrating upriver to spawn where males will fight to defend the eggs they have fertilized. To see if these teeth played an important role in breeding of the giant fossil salmon, the team of researchers, led by Dr. Julia Sankey, compared 51 different fossils from ancient deposits of both freshwater and saltwater environments. The teeth of these salmon found in past freshwater environments consistently had longer, more recurved teeth with much larger bases, as well as showed clear signs of wear. Fossil salmon teeth from saltwater deposits were much smaller and less worn. This indicates that they changed prior to migration upriver to spawn.

These results help show that these impressive spike-like teeth of the giant salmon are indeed used as part of the breeding process in these extinct fish. Researchers think it is likely these hefty bruisers were using their spike-like teeth for fighting and display against each other during the spawning season, up in the ancient rivers of California. "These giant, spike-toothed salmon were amazing fish. You can picture them getting scooped out of the Proto-Tuolumne River [near Modesto, California] by large bears 5 million years ago." said Dr. Sankey "Scientifically, our research on the giant salmon is filling in a gap in our knowledge about how these salmon lived, and specifically, if they developmentally changed prior to migration upriver like modern salmon do today. This research is also helping paint the picture of this area 5 million years ago for the general public and my college students, and it excites them to think of this giant salmon swimming up our local rivers 5 million years ago!". Dr.Sankey and colleagues presented their research at this year's meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in Salt Lake City, Utah.

*This image is copyright of its original author

An illustration by Jacob Biewer. Credit: Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
Incredible Giant Salmon
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Canada HyperNova Offline
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Giganthopithecus blacki size has been vastly exagerrated.

''Given the very large size of the cheek teeth and massiveness of the mandible it can be presumed that G. blacki was larger than any living hominoid, including extant gorillas (with an average male body weight of 169 kg; Smith & Jungers, 1987). Weidenreich (1945) speculated that it was twice the size of Gorilla. Others have proposed an estimated body mass of 225–300 kg (Ciochon et al., 1990; Dean & Schrenk, 2003; Fleagle, 2013; Simons, 1972; Simons & Ettel, 1970) and a standing height of 9–12 ft (2.7–3.7 m) (Ciochon et al., 1990; Pei, 1957b; Simons, 1972). Johnson (1979) argued that the limb bones of G. blacki would have been 20–25% larger than those of extant gorillas. Based on M1area to body mass correlations (Conroy, 1987; Gingerich, Smith, & Rosenberg, 1982), we are able to calculate an estimated body mass of 204 kg (using the Gingerich formula) and 280 kg (using the Conroy formula for apes). Obviously, the use of dental size as a predictor of body mass in fossil primates is problematic because dental size varies considerably within any body size class for a variety of functional and phylogenetic factors (Delson et al., 2000). Nevertheless, one might make a reasonable case from what is known about its anatomy that G. blacki was likely to have been a relatively megadont hominoid, and that any body mass prediction based on molar size will probably represent an overestimation. Without postcranial remains it is simply not possible to obtain a reliable estimate of the body mass for G. blacki, but 200–300 kg does seem like a reasonable guide. Such a size (which overlaps with the upper end of the body mass range for extant male gorillas) may have precluded or greatly restricted arboreal behaviors in G. blacki, but once again postcranial remains are needed in order to determine its inferred locomotor repertoire.''

Source : Gigantopithecus blacki: a giant ape from the Pleistocene of Asia revisited
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Italy Ngala Offline
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( This post was last modified: 09-08-2017, 05:05 PM by Ngala )

A Devonian tetrapod-like fish reveals substantial parallelism in stem tetrapod evolution 
Hongyu chowi Zhu et al., 2017

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Fig. 4 - Life restoration. Hongyu chowi gen. et sp. nov. and associated antiarchs (Ningxialepis spinosa) from the Zhongning Formation (Famennian, Late Devonian period), Ningxia, China. Illustration: B. Choo.

Abstract:
"The fossils assigned to the tetrapod stem group document the evolution of terrestrial vertebrates from lobe-finned fishes. During the past 18 years the phylogenetic structure of this stem group has remained remarkably stable, even when accommodating new discoveries such as the earliest known stem tetrapod Tungsenia and the elpistostegid (fish–tetrapod intermediate) Tiktaalik. Here we present a large lobe-finned fish from the Late Devonian period of China that disrupts this stability. It combines characteristics of rhizodont fishes (supposedly a basal branch in the stem group, distant from tetrapods) with derived elpistostegid-like and tetrapod-like characters. This mélange of characters may reflect either detailed convergence between rhizodonts and elpistostegids plus tetrapods, under a phylogenetic scenario deduced from Bayesian inference analysis, or a previously unrecognized close relationship between these groups, as supported by maximum parsimony analysis. In either case, the overall result reveals a substantial increase in homoplasy in the tetrapod stem group. It also suggests that ecological diversity and biogeographical provinciality in the tetrapod stem group have been underestimated."

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"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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Italy Ngala Offline
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( This post was last modified: 09-13-2017, 10:15 PM by Ngala )

An edrioasteroid from the Silurian Herefordshire Lagerstätte of England reveals the nature of the water vascular system in an extinct echinoderm Briggs et al., 2017

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Heropyrgus disterminus. Credit: © Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2017).

Abstract:
"Echinoderms are unique in having a water vascular system with tube feet, which perform a variety of functions in living forms. Here, we report the first example of preserved tube feet in an extinct group of echinoderms. The material, from the Silurian Herefordshire Lagerstätte, UK, is assigned to a new genus and species of rhenopyrgid edrioasteroid, Heropyrgus disterminus. The tube feet attach to the inner surface of compound interradial plates and form two sets, an upper and a lower, an arrangement never reported previously in an extant or extinct echinoderm. Cover plates are absent and floor plates are separated creating a large permanent entrance to the interior of the oral area. The tube feet may have captured food particles that entered the oral area and/or enhanced respiration. The pentameral symmetry of the oral surface transitions to eight columns in which the plates are vertically offset resulting in a spiral appearance. This change in symmetry may reflect flexibility in the evolutionary development of the axial and extraxial zones in early echinoderm evolution."

Other articles related:
430-million-year-old extinct echinoderm found in England
"Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." C. Darwin
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