Monday, February 8, 2016

[PaleoMammalogy • 2016] Lutraeximia umbra • A New Otter from the Early Pleistocene of Pantalla (Italy), with remarks on the Evolutionary History of Mediterranean Quaternary Lutrinae (Carnivora, Mustelidae)

Lutraeximia umbra
Cherin, Iurino, Willemsen & Carnevale, 2016

Artwork by D.A. Iurino. 
DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.01.008 


• We describe the cranium of a Lutrinae from central Italy (late Villafranchian).
• It is the first otter cranium in the Early Pleistocene of the Mediterranean area.
• We refer the specimen to Lutraeximia umbra, gen. et sp. nov.
• Phylogenetic analysis allows recognizing a clade of Quaternary Mediterranean otters.
• This evidences the past large diversity of Lutrinae in the Mediterranean.

Here we describe a well-preserved sub-complete lutrine cranium from the late Villafranchian (Early Pleistocene) of Pantalla (Italy) and we assign it to the new taxon Lutraeximia umbra, gen. et sp. nov. The new genus Lutraeximia is characterized by a relatively short and large cranium, with a peculiar shape of the postorbital area and a short and vertical muzzle in lateral view. We refer to the same genus the partially complete skeleton of Lutra trinacriae from the Middle-Late Pleistocene of Sicily. Lutraeximia umbra was a medium-large otter (predicted body mass larger than 13.5 kg) with a unique combination of characters in the upper dentition.

A phylogenetic analysis based on craniodental characters places Lutraeximia umbra in a monophyletic clade including the living Lutrogale perspicillata plus the extinct Lutrogale cretensis and three Pleistocene otters from Italy: Sardolutra ichnusae and the sister taxa Lutraeximia trinacriae and Lutraeximia umbra. The recognition of this clade evidences the broad diversity of peri-Mediterranean Lutrinae during the Pleistocene.

Keywords: Lutraeximia; Lutrinae; Otter; Phylogeny; Pantalla; Villafranchian

Fig. 10. Sequential reconstruction of the head of Lutraeximia umbra, gen. et sp. nov., from Pantalla (Italy).
From top to bottom: 3D retrodeformed model of the cranium SBAU 337654, reconstructed head and cranium overlapped, life appearance.
Artwork by D.A. Iurino. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.01.008  

Systematic paleontology
Class: Mammalia Linnaeus, 1758
Order: Carnivora Bowdich, 1821

Family: Mustelidae Fischer, 1817
Subfamily: Lutrinae Bonaparte, 1838

Lutraeximia gen. nov.
Type species: Lutraeximia umbra, sp. nov.

Etymology: From the Latin words lutra, otter and eximia, distinct, outstanding.

Included species: Lutraeximia umbra, sp. nov.; Lutraeximia trinacriae ( Burgio and Fiore, 1988) (=Nesolutra trinacriae Burgio and Fiore, 1988; Lutra trinacriae Willemsen, 1992).

Diagnosis: Lutrinae with cranium relatively short and large; postorbital constriction slightly shorter than its wider section and with a small narrowing in the caudal end; muzzle short and with a nearly vertical rostral margin in lateral view; M1 relatively smaller than P4.

Lutraeximia umbra sp. nov.

Holotype: SBAU 337654, a sub-complete dorsoventrally compressed cranium missing the mastoid and jugular processes, both P3, left P1 and left I3. The rostral part of the frontals and nasals are ventrally crushed, with the latter collapsing into the nasal cavities. The cranium pertains to an adult individual.

Etymology: Umbria is the region of central Italy where the type specimen was found.

Type locality, horizon and age: The holotype is from the locality of Pantalla, about 30 km S to Perugia (Italy; 42°52′46.79″N, 12°24′23.26″E; Fig. 2). The mammal assemblage of this locality was recovered from a 15 m-thick stratigraphic succession referred to the Early Pleistocene Santa Maria di Ciciliano Unit (Gentili et al., 1997). Fossils were found in two different levels in the middle-upper portion of the succession: fluvial silty sands below, interpreted as crevasse-splay deposits; silty clays above, interpreted as a drained paleosol (Gentili et al., 1997). SBAU 337654 comes from the former level. Besides the Lutrinae described here, the mammal assemblage includes Apodemus cf. A. dominans, Canis etruscus, Vulpes sp., Lynx issiodorensis valdarnensis, Acinonyx pardinensis, Sus strozzii, Pseudodama nestii, Leptobos aff. L. furtivus, Equus sp., and Mammuthus cf. M. meridionalis ( Gentili et al., 1997 and Cherin et al., 2014). From a biochronological point of view, the assemblage can be referred to the Olivola/Tasso Faunal Units (Gentili et al., 1997), in a time interval ranging approximately between 1.9 and 1.7 Ma (Rook and Martínez-Navarro, 2010).

Marco Cherin, Dawid Adam Iurino, Gerard Willemsen and Giorgio Carnevale. 2016.  A New Otter from the Early Pleistocene of Pantalla (Italy), with remarks on the Evolutionary History of Mediterranean Quaternary Lutrinae (Carnivora, Mustelidae). Quaternary Science Reviews. 135; 92–102.  DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.01.008

Todi, trovato cranio completo di lontra preistorica: «Nuova specie tutta umbra»  

[Botany • 2014] Nymphaea siamensis Puripany. | บัวจงกลนี • A New Species of Waterlily native to Thailand

บัวจงกลนี | Nymphaea siamensis  Puripany.  

Morphological and genetic comparison between Nymphaea siamensis and other Nymphaea species were conducted. N. siamensis is a new species of Nymphaea found in Thailand. Lacking carpels and anthers, its indeterminate flowers feature multiple whorls of pink petals. The species could be propagated vegetatively via bulblets and shows closest similarities to Nymphaea ‘Nilubon’, an unclassified landrace found in the northeast of Thailand. N. siamensis and N. ‘Nilubon’ have similar leaf, stem and root morphology. Like N. siamensis, N. ‘Nilubon’ also produces bulblets. However, flowers of N. ‘Nilubon’ have purple petals and are complete with both stamens and pistils. N. siamensis differs from the other Nymphaea species in its lack of locules, which made it difficult to be classified. Nonetheless, its morphological characters appear closer to species in the subgenus Brachyceras than in the subgenus Lotos. As a consequence, the species may be classified under the subgenus Brachyceras of the genus Nymphaea. Cluster and neighbor joining analyses of 34 polymorphic RAPD alleles revealed that N. siamensis was most similar to N. ‘Nilubon’ in our study. In addition, parsimony analysis revealed that it might have a separate origin from the other Nymphaea species in our studies. We propose that N. siamensis be qualified as a new plant species native to Thailand.

Keywords: Nymphaea siamensis, new species, nomenclature, morphology, RAPD

Puripunyavanich, V., La-ongsri, W., Boonsirichai, K. and Chukiatman, P. 2014. Nymphaea siamensis, the New Species of Waterlily in Thailand. Acta Hortic. 1035, 87-98. DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2014.1035.10

บัวจงกลนี (Nymphaea sp.) มีชื่อปรากฏในเอกสารมาตั้ง แต่สมัยสุโขทัย ปัจจุบันยังไม่สามารถจำแนกชนิดได้ อาจจะเป็นชนิดใหม่ และเป็นพืชเฉพาะถิ่นของไทย หรือเป็นบัวพันธุ์ผสมโดยฝีมือคนไทยในช่วงสมัยรัชกาลที่ 5

[Paleontology • 2012] Gavialis from the Pleistocene of Thailand and Its Relevance for Drainage Connections from India to Java

Figure 4. Skull and mandible of Gavialis cf. bengawanicus from the Early Pleistocene of Khok Sung (Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand).
A, right lateral view (mirrored for comparison) of DMR-KS-03-25-23. B, line drawing from the left lateral view of the posterior portion of the skull of DMR-KS-201202-1. C, left lateral view of skull of DMR-KS-201202-1. D, E, G, mandible of DMR-KS-201202-1 left lateral (D), occlusal (E), and ventral (G) views. F, incomplete dentaries (DMR-KS-05-06-22-1) in occlusal view; H, detail of the dentition in lateral view as seen on the maxillary fragment DMR-KS-05-03-08-37.
Abbreviations: asan, anterior tip of surangular; asp, anterior tip of splenial; ec, ectopterygoid; exo, exoccipital; fr, frontal; j, jugal; l, lacrimal; ltf, lower temporal fenestra; mx, maxilla; on, otic notch; or, orbit; pfr, prefrontal; po, postorbital; q, quadrate; qj, quadratojugal; sq, squamosal.  || DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044541

The genus Gavialis comprises a single living but endangered species, G. gangeticus, as well as fossil species recorded in the Miocene to Pleistocene deposits of the Indian subcontinent. The genus is also represented in the Pleistocene deposits of Java by the species G. bengawanicus, which was recently recognized to be valid. Surprisingly, no detailed report of the genus exists between these two provinces and the recent evolutionary history of Gavialis is not understood.

Methodology/Principal Findings
We report new material consisting of skull and mandibular remains of Gavialis from the Early Pleistocene of Khok Sung, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, northeastern Thailand. The Gavialis material described herein is attributed to Gavialis cf. bengawanicus and sheds new light on the occurrence of the genus in mainland SE Asia.

Comparison of this new material with other species referred to the genus Gavialis led us to preliminary restrict the content of the genus to three species, namely G. gangeticus Gmelin, G. bengawanicus Dubois and G. lewisi Lull. The occurrence of G. cf. bengawanicus in Thailand allows us to propose a scenario for the dispersal of Gavialis from Indo-Pakistan to Indonesia, thus bridging a geographical gap between these two provinces. Dispersal by sea appears a less likely possibility than dispersal through fluvial drainages.

Figure 12. Hypothetic dispersal route of Gavialis spp. from their ancestral habitat in Indo-Pakistan toward SE Asia through the East Himalayan syntaxis.
Definitive isolation of Gavialis population is represented by the mountain barriers separating the Salween and Chao Phraya basins and may have taken place during the latest Pliocene–earliest Pleistocene. 1, Ganges Delta; 2, Bhramapoutre Basin; 3, Irrawaddy Basin; 4, Salween Basin; 5, Chao Phraya Basin; 6, Chi and Mun rivers Basin; 7, Mekong Delta. Stars indicate the Early Pleistocene records of Gavialis in SE Asia (Khok Sung, Thailand and Java, Indonesia).


Jeremy E. Martin, Eric Buffetaut, Wilailuck Naksri, Komsorn Lauprasert and Julien Claude. 2012. Gavialis from the Pleistocene of Thailand and Its Relevance for Drainage Connections from India to Java. PLoS ONE. 7(9): e44541. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044541

[PaleoIchthyology • 2016] The First Articulated Specimen of the Cretaceous Mackerel Shark Haimirichia amonensis gen. nov. (Haimirichiidae fam. nov.) reveals A Novel Ecomorphological Adaptation within the Lamniformes (Elasmobranchii)

Haimirichia amonensis
Vullo, Guinot & Barbe, 2016

Figure 1.
General view of the articulated specimen (UM AGT 1) of Haimirichia amonensis from Agoult, Morocco.
  A, ventral part in dorsal view (slab UM AGT 1a) and interpretative line drawing; B, dorsal part in ventral view (counterslab UM AGT 1b) and interpretative line drawing.
Scale bar = 10 cm.  DOI:  10.1080/14772019.2015.1137983  


The first shark from the early Late Cretaceous Konservat Lagerstätte of Agoult (south-eastern Morocco) is described. The specimen consists of the anterior part of an articulated skeleton including the cephalic and branchial regions, anterior vertebrae and one pectoral fin. The well-preserved dentition of this specimen indicates that it corresponds to the fossil lamniform originally described as Odontaspis amonensis Cappetta & Case, 1975, a purported odontaspidid species of unclear affinities. The new material provides crucial anatomical data for this taxon, such as head shape, cranial structure, tooth formula, organization of the ampullary system and type of vertebra. Based on these features, this short-snouted, broad-headed shark is confirmed as a member of Lamniformes but is clearly not assignable to any of the known living and fossil genera, and is thus described as Haimirichia amonensis gen. nov. Moreover, this unique set of features, including several autapomorphies, differs sufficiently from those of odontaspidids and other lamniform families (both living and extinct) that it requires the erection of the family Haimirichiidae fam. nov. The articulated specimen of H. amonensis reveals a novel ecomorphological specialization within the Lamniformes, adding to the high disparity observed within this order. During the Cenomanian, H. amonensis was a common, widely distributed species that likely had a lifestyle similar to that of some living medium-sized coastal pelagic carcharhiniform sharks with a comparable overall morphology, such as the whitetip reef shark Triaenodon obesus.

Keywords: lamniform sharks, Haimirichiidae fam. nov., Haimirichia gen. nov., ecomorphology, Upper Cretaceous, Morocco

The lamniform shark Haimirichia amonensis was previously known only from isolated teeth and was thought tobelong to the lamniform family Odontaspididae (sandtiger sharks). By revealing unique morphological features, anatomical study of the new, articulated specimen of H. amonensis demonstrates that this species is not an odontaspididmember and must be assigned to a new genus andfamily within the order Lamniformes. The shape and positionof the orbital processes and the specialized type of dermal denticle directly associated with the electrosensory ampullary system are two of the peculiar, autapomorphic features of Haimirichia.

The new articulated specimen shows that H. amonensis was one of the major components of the mid-Cretaceous morphological and ecological lamniform diversification. Haimirichia represents a novel, unique ecomorphotype within lamniforms, and reaffirms the high disparity observed within this order through Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic time (Cappetta 2012, p. 33). The morphological features and occurrences of H. amonensis suggest that this tropical-subtropical shark had life habits and a feeding behaviour similar, at least in part, to those of some extant carcharhiniforms such as Triaenodon obesus and Sphyrna tiburo. As with the extinct anacoracid Squalicorax and the extant carcharhinids Carcharhinus and Galeocerdo (Cappetta 2012, pp. 33, 246), this is another case of parallel evolution between a Cretaceous lamniform taxon and Cenozoic and/or living carcharhiniforms.

 Romain Vullo, Guillaume Guinot and Gérard Barbe. 2016.The First Articulated Specimen of the Cretaceous Mackerel Shark Haimirichia amonensis gen. nov. (Haimirichiidae fam. nov.) reveals A Novel Ecomorphological Adaptation within the Lamniformes (Elasmobranchii). Journal of Systematic Palaeontology .  DOI:  10.1080/14772019.2015.1137983     

Sunday, February 7, 2016

[Herpetology • 2012] Cyrtodactylus minor • A New Species of Small Bent-Toed Gecko (Cyrtodactylus: Gekkonidae) from the Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea

Cyrtodactylus minor
Oliver & Richards, 2012

A new species of Cyrtodactylus is described from foothill forest on the northern edge of the Finisterre Range, northeastern Papua New Guinea. The new species can be distinguished readily from all other Melanesian Cyrtodactylus by the combination of small size (adult SVL <72 mm), males with small number of pores in independent precloacal (11 pores) and femoral series (seven pores on each leg), possession of a patch of enlarged precloacal scales, absence of transversely enlarged subcaudal scales, and light-brown dorsal coloration with indistinct to distinct thin darker-brown transverse bands. The new species is the second-smallest Cyrtodactylus known from New Guinea. We propose that it may be a relic of a formerly insular fauna originating on the Finisterre Terrane but now accreted onto mainland New Guinea.

Paul M. Oliver and Stephen J. Richards. 2012. A New Species of Small Bent-Toed Gecko (Cyrtodactylus: Gekkonidae) from the Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea. Journal of Herpetology. 46(4): 488-493. DOI:  10.1670/11-101 

[Herpetology • 2012] Phylogeny and Systematics of Melanesia’s Most Diverse Gecko Lineage (Cyrtodactylus, Gekkonidae), with Description of Cyrtodactylus arcanus & C. medioclivus from New Guinea Highlands (Central Cordillera)

Cyrtodactylus medioclivus
Oliver, Richards & Sistrom, 2012.

The systematics and biogeographical history of the diverse fauna of New Guinea and surrounding islands (Melanesia) remain poorly known. We present a phylogeny for 16 of the 21 recognised Melanesian bent-toed geckos in the genus Cyrtodactylus based on mitochondrial sequence data. These analyses reveal two divergent lineages of Cyrtodactylus within Melanesia. One includes a single recognised species with clear affinities to sampled taxa from Asia. The other comprises a relatively diverse radiation (likely 30+ species), not closely related to sampled extralimital taxa and centred on the Melanesian region (including Australia). Many taxa within this second lineage are endemic to islands surrounding New Guinea, and dispersal and speciation on peripheral islands appears to have played an important role in the accumulation of species diversity within this clade. In contrast, little diversity is centred upon montane areas, although we do identify at least one lineage closely associated with hill and lower montane forest that probably dates to at least the late Miocene. Our phylogenetic analyses also reveal numerous divergent lineages that require taxonomic attention, including at least two widespread taxa that are likely to be composite, additional specimens of Cyrtodactylus capreoloides (until recently known only from the holotype) and several divergent and completely novel lineages, two of which we introduce herein: Cyrtodactylus arcanus sp. n. and Cyrtodactylus medioclivus sp. n.

Figure 2. Photographs in life of (a) Cyrtodactylus capreoloides SAMA R66092, (b) Cyrtodactylus arcanus sp. n. AMS R124559 (holotype) and (c) Cyrtodactylus medioclivus sp. n. SAMAR66091 (holotype).
  Photographs by S. Richards and T. Reardon.  DOI: j.1463-6409.2012.00545.x 

Genus Cyrtodactylus Gray, 1827

Cyrtodactylus arcanus sp. n. 

Etymology.  Latin ‘arcanus’, secret or mysterious, in reference to the paucity of information about this species, specifically the imprecise type locality, and absence of both habitat data and male specimens.

Distribution and natural history.  Currently known only from forests around Bundi on the northern edge of Central Cordillera in Morobe Province (Figure 4). The types were brought into Bundi Village from a village apparently known as ‘Dagbaru’. Searches of several place name databases for Papua New Guinea failed to identify a location in this area with a name matching this. Nothing is known about its ecology or biology.

Cyrtodactylus medioclivus sp. n. 
Cyrtodactylus sp. Richards & Dahl 2011

Eytmology.  Latin ‘medio’ (middle, half) and ‘clivus’ (slopes), in reference to known localities at moderate altitudes at the approximate mid-point of New Guinea, and alluding to this species’ relationship with Cyrtodactylus boreoclivus from the North Papuan Ranges (Oliver et al. 2011).

Distribution and natural history.  Known only from two localities in mossy lower montane forest in Southern Highlands Province (Figure 4). The holotype was collected in very heavy rain on a mossy branch two metres above the ground. Over ten nights of sampling, no other geckos were seen or collected. The paratype was brought in by local collectors and has no associated habitat information other than the details given above.

The level of genetic divergence between the two types of C. medioclivus (4.2%) suggests that they come from genetically divergent populations. While only 100 km apart, it is not surprising that the combination of rugged topography, an apparently narrow altitudinal distribution and historical changes in climate might have generated significant geographic structure within this species. The phylogeography of montane lineages in New Guinea remains almost completely unknown, and more detailed study of this and other taxa with similar distributions is required.

 Paul Oliver, Stephen J Richards and Mark Sistrom. 2012. Phylogeny and Systematics of Melanesia’s Most Diverse Gecko Lineage (Cyrtodactylus, Gekkonidae, Squamata). ZOOLOGICA SCRIPTA. 41(5); 437–454.  DOI: j.1463-6409.2012.00545.x 

[Herpetology • 2011] Cyrtodactylus boreoclivus • A New Species of Bent-toed Gecko (Cyrtodactylus, Gekkonidae) from the Torricelli and Foja Mountain ranges of northern New Guinea

Cyrtodactylus boreoclivus
Oliver, Krey, Mumpuni & Richards, 2011

FIGURE 4. Paratypes [SJR13613] of Cyrtodactylus boreoclivus sp. nov. from the Foja Mountains.
 Photograph: T. Laman and National Geographic. 


We describe a new species of Cyrtodactylus from lower montane forests on the Torricelli and Foja Mountain ranges of northern New Guinea. Cyrtodactylus boreoclivus sp. nov. can be distinguished from all other described Cyrtodactylus by the combination of moderately large size (SVL 104–109 mm), males with pores extending to the knee and arranged in independent precloacal and femoral series, transversely enlarged subcaudal scales, and dorsal pattern consisting of five to seven indistinct transverse dark bands. The known distribution of this species is similar to many other vertebrate taxa apparently restricted to isolated ranges within the North Papuan Mountains, and supports the biogeographic association of these poorly known upland areas.

Keywords: Foja Mountains; Indonesia; Papua New Guinea; Torricelli Mountains

Etymology. From  the  latin  boreo-  meaning  northern,  and  -clivus  meaning  slopes,  in  reference  to  the  northern Ranges of New Guinea, to which the species is presumably endemic.

Despite a spate of recent descriptions (Rösler 2000, Günther and Rösler 2003, Kraus and Allison 2006a, Rösler et al. 2007, Oliver et al. 2008, 2009, Kraus 2007, 2008), many additional Crytodactylus from New Guinea remain undescribed. Based on existing museum collections and unpublished genetic data it seems that actual diversity maybe as high as double the currently recognised total (Oliver pers. obs., Kraus pers. com.). Many described species also remain known from either few specimens and/or only one or two localities. Given this abundance of unrecognised and/or poorly known taxa, and pending the results of genetic investigations currently underway (Oliver unpublished), we do not speculate about the evolutionary relationships of Cyrtodactylus boreoclivus sp. nov.

Cyrtodactylus boreoclivus

FIGURE 4. Paratypes [SJR13613] of Cyrtodactylus boreoclivus sp. nov. from the Foja Mountains.
Photograph: T. Laman and National Geographic. 
The northern lowlands of New Guinea have been the focus of several recent herpetofaunal surveys but Cyrtodactylus boreoclivus sp. nov. has not been found during these projects (e.g., Austin et al. 2008, SJR pers. obs., Fred Kraus pers. com.). Furthermore, while Cyrtodactylus boreoclivus sp. nov. was moderately common in the Foja mountains at 1200 metres, extensive survey work at lower altitudes in the Fojas documented only C. novaeguineae and C. mimikanus. It seems likely that the new species is restricted to moderately high altitudes within the North Papuan Mountains. This is the second species of Melanesian Cyrtodactylus known only from altitudes of 1000 metres and above (the other being C. capreoloides from the Central cordillera (Rösler et al. 2007)). Given the topographic complexity of New Guinea, and the influence of altitude on species diversity patterns in other elements of the New Guinea fauna, we suspect that additional work will reveal further upland endemic Cyrtodactylus elsewhere in New Guinea, especially within the large areas of lower montane forest along the Central Cordillera.

 Based on its known distribution, Cyrtodactylus boreoclivus sp. nov. is one of a growing suite of species that occur in two or more apparently isolated montane populations in disparate North Papuan Mountain Ranges (Helgen 2007; Kraus and Allison 2006b). Further morphological and genetic work will almost certainly reveal many more species, or sister-species complexes, that are restricted to montane isolates within these ranges. Given that many of these montane taxa endemic to the North Papuan Mountains are poor dispersers and unlikely to have been extirpated by recent anthropogenic influences, their current distribution indicates that there was historical connectivity and gene flow between these now-isolated montane blocks. While modern assessments of biogeographical history are in their infancy in New Guinea, a genetic assessment of diversity within taxa distributed across the North Papuan Mountains would provide a valuable insight into the temporal scale and historical processes responsible for this distribution pattern.

Paul Oliver, Keliopas Krey, Mumpuni and Stephen Richards. 2011. A New Species of Bent-toed Gecko (Cyrtodactylus, Gekkonidae) from the North Papuan Mountains. Zootaxa. 2930: 22–32

New Bent-Toed Gecko Found in "Lost World" 

[Herpetology • 2016] Cyrtodactylus klakahensis • A New Species of Bent-toed Gecko, Genus Cyrtodactylus Gray, 1827 (Squamata: Gekkonidae), from Jawa Timur Province, Java, Indonesia, with Taxonomic Remarks on C. fumosus (Müller, 1895)

Cyrtodactylus klakahensis
Hartmann, Mecke, Kieckbusch, Mader & Kaiser, 2016 


A new species of the gekkonid lizard genus Cyrtodactylus Gray, 1827 is described from Klakah, Lumajang Regency, Jawa Timur Province, Java, Indonesia. Cyrtodactylus klakahensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from all other congeners by the presence of (1) a deep precloacal groove in males, (2) three rows of enlarged precloacofemoral scales, of which the third row bears 37–38 pores in males, (3) three or four rows of enlarged scales between the precloacofemoral scale rows and the cloaca, forming distinct chevrons, (4) raised and strongly keeled dorsal tubercles in 15–19 rows at midbody, (5) an indistinct lateral fold, (6) 17–20 subdigital lamellae under the 4th toe, and (7) subcaudal scales which are not transversely enlarged. Cyrtodactylus klakahensis sp. nov. is only the third bent-toed gecko species described from Java, indicating that the diversity of this genus on this island has been neglected in the past. Furthermore, we confirm that C. fumosus (Müller, 1895) is a species that possesses a precloacal groove in males and is most likely restricted to northern Sulawesi. That species is defined by a single female holotype (NMB-REPT 2662). Specimens in museum collections catalogued as C. fumosus from localities elsewhere are misidentified and likely represent undescribed species.

Keywords: Reptilia, Cyrtodactylus klakahensis sp. nov., C. fumosus, C. marmoratus, Lacertilia, Gekkonidae, bent-toed geckos, East Java, Indonesia, Greater Sunda Islands, morphology

FIGURE 3. Comparison of the shape and arrangement of dorsal tubercles at midbody, the precloacal region in males, and the postmental and gular scale pattern between Cyrtodactylus klakahensis sp. nov., C. fumosus, and C. marmoratus.
Cyrtodacytlus klakahensis sp. nov.: A) Closely arranged, trihedral, raised, and strongly keeled dorsal tubercles at midbody; B) eidonomy of precloacofemoral scales (three series), precloacal groove, and posterior precloacal scales; C) gular region, showing the presence of enlarged 2nd postmentals (photos and drawings of SMF 22476, holotype).
Cyrtodactylus fumosus: D) Widely scattered, roundish, flat, and smooth dorsal tubercles at midbody; E) eidonomy of precloacofemoral scales (only one series distinctly enlarged), precloacal groove, and posterior precloacal scales; F) gular region, indicating the absence of enlarged 2nd postmentals (D, F = NMB-REPT 2662, holotype; E = BMNH 1896.12.9.3).
Cyrtodactylus marmoratus: G) Closely arranged, slightly raised and keeled dorsal tubercles at midbody; H) eidonomy of precloacofemoral scales (three series) and precloacal groove, with posterior precloacal scales absent; I) gular region, indicating the absence of enlarged 2nd postmentals and the presence of a single pair of enlarged gular scales bordering the single pair of enlarged postmentals posteriorly (G = MTKD 8903; H, I = RMNH.RENA 2710a.1, lectotype).
Photos by Sven Mecke; line drawings by Felix Mader (based on photos by Sven Mecke).

Hartmann, Lukas, Sven Mecke, Max Kieckbusch, Felix Mader and Hinrich Kaiser. 2016. A New Species of Bent-toed Gecko, Genus Cyrtodactylus Gray, 1827 (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae), from Jawa Timur Province, Java, Indonesia, with Taxonomic Remarks on C. fumosus (Müller, 1895). Zootaxa. 4067(5): 552–568.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4067.5.2

[Ichthyology • 2016] The Genera Isorineloricaria and Aphanotorulus (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) with Description of A New Species, Isorineloricaria acuarius, from the Apure River basin of Venezuela

Isorineloricaria acuarius
 Ray & Armbruster, 2016


We review the complex history of those species included in the Hypostomus emarginatus species complex and recognize them in Isorineloricaria and Aphanotorulus. Isorineloricaria consists of four valid species: Isorineloricaria acuarius n. sp., I. spinosissima, I. tenuicauda, and I. villarsi. Aphanotorulus consists of six valid species: A. ammophilus, A, emarginatus, A. gomesi, A. horridus, A. phrixosoma, and A. unicolor. Plecostomus annae and Hypostoma squalinum are placed in the synonymy of A. emarginatus; Plecostomus biseriatus, P. scopularius, and P. virescens are placed in the synonymy of A. horridus; Plecostomus winzi is placed in the synonymy of I. tenuicauda, and one new species, Isorineloricaria acuarius is described from the Apure River basin of Venezuela. Aphanotoroulus can be distinguished from Isorineloricaria by having caudal peduncles that do not become greatly lengthed with size and that are oval in cross section (vs. caudal peduncle proportions that get proportionately longer with size and that become round in cross-section), and by having small dark spots (less than half plate diameter) on a light tan background (vs. spots almost as large as lateral plates on a nearly white background.

Keywords: Pisces, Amazonas, Andean, Brazilian Shield, Guiana Shield, Hypostomus, Squaliforma, taxonomy

C.K. Ray and J.W. Armbruster. 2016. The Genera Isorineloricaria and Aphanotorulus (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) with Description of A New Species.
Zootaxa. 4072(5): 501–539.   DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4072.5.1 

Friday, February 5, 2016

[PaleoMammalogy • 2016] Unexpected Convergent Evolution of Nasal Domes between Pleistocene Bovids, Rusingoryx atopocranion, and Cretaceous Hadrosaur Dinosaurs

• Pleistocene Rusingoryx atopocranion are first known mammals with hollow nasal crests
Rusingoryx ontogeny and evolution are broadly similar to lambeosaurine hadrosaurs
• The best-supported nasal crest function is phonic modification
• Combination of convergent ontogeny, evolution, and function may explain crest rarity

The fossil record provides tangible, historical evidence for the mode and operation of evolution across deep time. Striking patterns of convergence are some of the strongest examples of these operations, whereby, over time, similar environmental and/or behavioral pressures precipitate similarity in form and function between disparately related taxa. Here we present fossil evidence for an unexpected convergence between gregarious plant-eating mammals and dinosaurs. Recent excavations of Late Pleistocene deposits on Rusinga Island, Kenya, have uncovered a catastrophic assemblage of the wildebeest-like bovid Rusingoryx atopocranion. Previously known from fragmentary material, these new specimens reveal large, hollow, osseous nasal crests: a craniofacial novelty for mammals that is remarkably comparable to the nasal crests of lambeosaurine hadrosaur dinosaurs. Using adult and juvenile material from this assemblage, as well as computed tomographic imaging, we investigate this convergence from morphological, developmental, functional, and paleoenvironmental perspectives. Our detailed analyses reveal broad parallels between R. atopocranion and basal Lambeosaurinae, suggesting that osseous nasal crests may require a highly specific combination of ontogeny, evolution, and environmental pressures in order to develop.

An artist's interpretation of Rusingoryx atopocranion on the Late Pleistocene plains of what is now Rusinga Island, Lake Victoria. Scientists have found many links between Rusingoryx and hadrosaur dinosaurs -- particularly the large, hollow dome that makes a crest on top of the animal's skull.
illustration: Todd S. Marshall

Haley D. O’Brien, J. Tyler Faith, Kirsten E. Jenkins, Daniel J. Peppe, Thomas W. Plummer, Zenobia L. Jacobs, Bo Li, Renaud Joannes-Boyau, Gilbert Price, Yue-xing Feng and Christian A. Tryon. 2016. Unexpected Convergent Evolution of Nasal Domes between Pleistocene Bovids and Cretaceous Hadrosaur Dinosaurs. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.12.050

Ancient wildebeest-like animal shared 'bizarre' feature with dinosaur via  @physorg_com
Ancient wildebeest-like animal had bizarre nose like dinosaur via @ABCNews

J. Tyler Faith, Jonah N. Choiniere, Christian A. Tryon, Daniel J. Peppe and David L. Fox. 2010. Taxonomic status and paleoecology of Rusingoryx atopocranion (Mammalia, Artiodactyla), an extinct Pleistocene bovid from Rusinga Island, Kenya. Quaternary Research. 75(3); 697–707. DOI: 10.1016/j.yqres.2010.11.006

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

[Paleontology • 2016] The “χ” of the Matter: Testing the Relationship between Paleoenvironments and Three Theropod Clade

Fig 5. Reconstruction of the terrestrial paleoenvironmental setting of the Sao Khua Formation, Northeastern Thailand.
In the center, a generalized spinosaurid feeds on a sauropod. This trophic relationship is hypothesized based on isolated tooth crowns found in association with a sauropod skeleton [Buffetaut & Suteethorn, 1999]. In the background, a small pack of the ornithomimosaur theropod Kinnareemimus. Both sauropods and ornithomimosaurs (as part of the “herbivorous” theropods) were found to be positively associated with terrestrial paleoenvironments by Butler and Barrett (2008)
Illustration: Renata Cunha  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147031


The view of spinosaurs as dinosaurs of semi-aquatic habits and strongly associated with marginal and coastal habitats are deeply rooted in both scientific and popular knowledge, but it was never statistically tested. Inspired by a previous analysis of other dinosaur clades and major paleoenvironmental categories, here we present our own statistical evaluation of the association between coastal and terrestrial paleoenvironments and spinosaurids, along with other two theropod taxa: abelisaurids and carcharodontosaurids. We also included a taphonomic perspective and classified the occurrences in categories related to potential biases in order to better address our interpretations. Our main results can be summarized as follows: 1) the taxon with the largest amount of statistical evidence showing it positively associated to coastal paleoenvironments is Spinosauridae; 2) abelisaurids and carcharodontosaurids had more statistical evidence showing them positively associated with terrestrial paleoenvironments; 3) it is likely that spinosaurids also occupied spatially inland areas in a way somehow comparable at least to carcharodontosaurids; 4) abelisaurids may have been more common than the other two taxa in inland habitats.

Fig 4. Schematic illustration of the spatial distribution of Abelisauridae, Carcharodontosauridae, and Spinosauridae throughout coastal and terrestrial paleoenvironments.
 Spinosaurids seem to have been natural inhabitants of coastal settings, while terrestrial and more inland habitats were shared by them and both abelisaurids and carcharodontosaurids. Note that the number of body icons (not to scale) does not reflect perfectly the relative abundance of these taxa within each paleoenvironment.

Marcos A. F. Sales , Marcel B. Lacerda, Bruno L. D. Horn, Isabel A. P. de Oliveira and Cesar L. Schultz. 2016. The “χ” of the Matter: Testing the Relationship between Paleoenvironments and Three Theropod Clades.
PLoS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147031

Buffetaut E and Suteethorn V. 1999. The dinosaur fauna of the Sao Khua Formation of Thailand and the beginning of the Cretaceous radiation of dinosaurs in Asia. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol. 150: 13–23. doi: 10.1016/s0031-0182(99)00004-8
Butler RJ and Barrett PM. 2008. Palaeoenvironmental controls on the distribution of Cretaceous herbivorous dinosaurs. Naturwissenschaften. 95: 1027–32. doi: 10.1007/s00114-008-0417-5.

[Paleontology • 2009] Kinnareemimus khonkaenensis | กินรีไมมัส ขอนแก่นเอนซิส • An Early 'Ostrich Dinosaur' (Theropoda: Ornithomimosauria) from the Early Cretaceous Sao Khua Formation of NE Thailand

Kinnareemimus khonkaenensis
Buffetaut, Suteethorn & Tong, 2009
Illustration: N. Puttapipat

Postcranial remains of a small theropod dinosaur, including vertebrae, incomplete pubes, tibiae, an incomplete fibula, metatarsals and phalanges, from the Early Cretaceous Sao Khua Formation of Phu Wiang, Khon Kaen Province, NE Thailand, are described as a new taxon of ornithomimosaur, Kinnareemimus khonkaenensis, gen. et sp. nov. This early ‘ostrich dinosaur’ is characterized by a fairly advanced metatarsus, in which metatarsal III, although still visible proximally between metatarsals II and IV in cranial view, is markedly ‘pinched’ more distally and becomes triangular in cross-section. The condition of its metatarsus shows that Kinnareemimus khonkaenensis is more derived than the geologically younger primitive ornithomimosaurs Harpymimus and Garudimimus, but less derived than Archaeornithomimus. Its occurrence in the Early Cretaceous of Thailand suggests that advanced ornithomimosaurs may have originated in Asia.

Buffetaut, E., Suteethorn, V. and Tong, H. 2009. An Early 'Ostrich Dinosaur' (Theropoda: Ornithomimosauria) from the Early Cretaceous Sao Khua Formation of NE Thailand. 229-243, IN E. Buffetaut, G. Cuny, J. Le Loeuff & V. Suteethorn (eds.), Late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic Ecosystems in SE Asia. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 315: 229-243. doi:  10.1144/SP315.16