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Daryl Codron, Marcus Clauss, Jacqueline Codron, Thomas Tütken
Stable carbon isotope analyses of vertebrate hard tissues such as bones, teeth, and tusks provide information about animal diets in ecological, archeological, and paleontological contexts. There is debate about how carbon isotope compositions of collagen and apatite carbonate differ in terms of their relationship to diet, and to each other. We evaluated relationships between δ13 Ccollagen and δ13 Ccarbonate among free-ranging southern African mammals to test predictions about the influences of dietary and physiological differences between species...
April 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Peter Vdacný
Trichostome ciliates are among the most conspicuous protists in the gastrointestinal tract of a large variety of vertebrates. However, little is still known about phylogeny of the trichostome/vertebrate symbiotic systems, evolutionary correlations between trichostome extrinsic traits, and character-dependent diversification of trichostomes. These issues were investigated here, using the relaxed molecular clock technique along with stochastic mapping of character evolution, and binary-state speciation and extinction models...
April 11, 2018: Molecular Biology and Evolution
Hanna Tuomisto, Matleena Tuomisto, Jouni T Tuomisto
Various hypotheses have been proposed for why the traits distinguishing humans from other primates originally evolved, and any given trait may have been explained both as an adaptation to different environments and as a result of demands from social organization or sexual selection. To find out how popular the different explanations are among scientists, we carried out an online survey among authors of recent scientific papers in journals covering relevant fields of science (paleoanthropology, paleontology, ecology, evolution, human biology)...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Anderson Aires Eduardo, Pablo Ariel Martinez, Sidney Feitosa Gouveia, Franciely da Silva Santos, Wilcilene Santos de Aragão, Jennifer Morales-Barbero, Leonardo Kerber, Alexandre Liparini
Historically, studies aimed at prospecting and analyzing paleontological and neontological data to investigate species distribution have developed separately. Research at the interface between paleontology and biogeography has shown a unidirectional bias, mostly focusing on how paleontological information can aid biogeography to understand species distribution through time. However, the modern suit of techniques of ecological biogeography, particularly species distribution models (SDM), can be instrumental for paleontologists as well, improving the biogeography-paleontology interchange...
2018: PloS One
Alessandro Urciuoli, Clément Zanolli, Josep Fortuny, Sergio Almécija, Burkhard Schillinger, Salvador Moyà-Solà, David M Alba
OBJECTIVES: High-resolution imaging of fossils with X-ray computed microtomography (μCT) has become a very powerful tool in paleontological research. However, fossilized bone, embedding matrix, and dental tissues do not always provide a distinct structural signal with X-rays. We demonstrate the benefits of high-resolution neutron radiation in three different specimens showing problematic contrasts with X-ray μCT. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We compare neutron with X-ray μCT scans of fossils from two Miocene catarrhines from the Vallès-Penedès Basin: the cranium (IPS58443...
March 25, 2018: American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Richard F Kay
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
April 2018: American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Stefan Schlager, Antonio Profico, Fabio Di Vincenzo, Giorgio Manzi
Many fossil specimens exhibit deformations caused by taphonomic processes. Due to these deformations, even important specimens have to be excluded from morphometric analyses, impoverishing an already poor paleontological record. Techniques to retrodeform and virtually restore damaged (i.e. deformed) specimens are available, but these methods genenerally imply the use of a sparse set of bilateral landmarks, ignoring the fact that the distribution and amount of control points directly affects the result of the retrodeformation...
2018: PloS One
Svetlana A Semerikova, Yuliya Y Khrunyk, Martin Lascoux, Vladimir L Semerikov
The origin of conifer genera, the main components of mountain temperate and boreal forests, was deemed to arise in the Mesozoic, although paleontological records and molecular data point to a recent diversification, presumably related to Neogene cooling. The geographical area(s) where the modern lines of conifers emerged remains uncertain, as is the sequence of events leading to their present distribution. To gain further insights into the biogeography of firs (Abies), we conducted phylogenetic analyses of chloroplast, mitochondrial and nuclear markers...
March 15, 2018: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Tanja Stadler, Alexandra Gavryushkina, Rachel C M Warnock, Alexei J Drummond, Tracy A Heath
A birth-death-sampling model gives rise to phylogenetic trees with samples from the past and the present. Interpreting "birth" as branching speciation, "death" as extinction, and "sampling" as fossil preservation and recovery, this model - also referred to as the fossilized birth-death (FBD) model - gives rise to phylogenetic trees on extant and fossil samples. The model has been mathematically analyzed and successfully applied to a range of datasets on different taxonomic levels, such as penguins, plants, and insects...
March 14, 2018: Journal of Theoretical Biology
Isaac V Pratt, James D Johnston, Ernie Walker, David M L Cooper
Cortical bone porosity and specifically the orientation of vascular canals is an area of growing interest in biomedical research and comparative/paleontological anatomy. The potential to explain microstructural adaptation is of great interest. However, the determinants of the development of canal orientation remain unclear. Previous studies of birds have shown higher proportions of circumferential canals (called laminarity) in flight bones than in hindlimb bones, and interpreted this as a sign that circumferential canals are a feature for resistance to the torsional loading created by flight...
March 8, 2018: Journal of Anatomy
Diana A Monteiro, Edwin W Taylor, Marina R Sartori, André L Cruz, Francisco T Rantin, Cleo A C Leite
The present study has revealed that the lungfish has both structural and functional features of its system for physiological control of heart rate, previously considered solely mammalian, that together generate variability (HRV). Ultrastructural and electrophysiological investigation revealed that the nerves connecting the brain to the heart are myelinated, conferring rapid conduction velocities, comparable to mammalian fibers that generate instantaneous changes in heart rate at the onset of each air breath...
February 2018: Science Advances
Ewa Wagner-Wysiecka
Natural Baltic amber (succinite) is the most appreciated fossil resin of the rich cultural traditions dating back to prehistoric times. Its unequivocal identification is extremely important in many branches of science and trades including archeology, paleontology, chemistry and finally mineralogical and gemological societies. Current methods of modification of natural succinite are more and more sophisticated making the identification of natural Baltic amber often challenging. In article the systematic analytical approach for identification of natural and modified under different conditions succinite, using mid-infrared spectroscopy (transmission, Drifts and ATR techniques) is presented...
May 5, 2018: Spectrochimica Acta. Part A, Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy
Christopher J Dunmore, Gert Wollny, Matthew M Skinner
Paleontological research increasingly uses high-resolution micro-computed tomography (μCT) to study the inner architecture of modern and fossil bone material to answer important questions regarding vertebrate evolution. This non-destructive method allows for the measurement of otherwise inaccessible morphology. Digital measurement is predicated on the accurate segmentation of modern or fossilized bone from other structures imaged in μCT scans, as errors in segmentation can result in inaccurate calculations of structural parameters...
2018: PeerJ
Clément Zanolli, Lei Pan, Jean Dumoncel, Ottmar Kullmer, Martin Kundrát, Wu Liu, Roberto Macchiarelli, Lucia Mancini, Friedemann Schrenk, Claudio Tuniz
Locality 1, in the Lower Cave of the Zhoukoudian cave complex, China, is one of the most important Middle Pleistocene paleoanthropological and archaeological sites worldwide, with the remains of c. 45 Homo erectus individuals, 98 mammalian taxa, and thousands of lithic tools recovered. Most of the material collected before World War II was lost. However, besides two postcranial elements rediscovered in China in 1951, four human permanent teeth from the 'Dragon Bone Hill,' collected by O. Zdansky between 1921 and 1923, were at the time brought to the Paleontological Institute of Uppsala University, Sweden, where they are still stored...
March 2018: Journal of Human Evolution
Russell D C Bicknell, Ada J Klinkhamer, Richard J Flavel, Stephen Wroe, John R Paterson
Limulus polyphemus, an archetypal chelicerate taxon, has interested both biological and paleontological researchers due to its unique suite of anatomical features and as a useful modern analogue for fossil arthropod groups. To assist the study and documentation of this iconic taxon, we present a 3D atlas on the appendage musculature, with specific focus on the muscles of the cephalothoracic appendages. As L. polyphemus appendage musculature has been the focus of extensive study, depicting the muscles in 3D will facilitate a more complete understanding thereof for future researchers...
2018: PloS One
William G Parker
Calyptosuchus wellesi is a medium-sized desmatosuchian aetosaur common in Adamanian (early to middle Norian) age rocks from the Chinle Formation and Dockum Group of the Western United States. Known chiefly from osteoderms, this taxon has never been fully described and non-osteoderm material assigned to Calyptosuchus has been done so based on questionable criteria. Mapping of aetosaurian elements from the Placerias Quarry allows for the recognition of associated material providing support for referrals of non-osteoderm material...
2018: PeerJ
Alexandra Houssaye, Maxime Taverne, Raphaël Cornette
Long bone inner structure and cross-sectional geometry display a strong functional signal, leading to convergences, and are widely analyzed in comparative anatomy at small and large taxonomic scales. Long bone microanatomical studies have essentially been conducted on transverse sections but also on a few longitudinal ones. Recent studies highlighted the interest in analyzing variations of the inner structure along the diaphysis using a qualitative as well as a quantitative approach. With the development of microtomography, it has become possible to study three-dimensional (3D) bone microanatomy and, in more detail, the form-function relationships of these features...
May 2018: Journal of Anatomy
Timothy P Cleland, Elena R Schroeter
The last two decades have seen a broad diversity of methods used to identify and/or characterize proteins in the archeological and paleontological record. Of these, mass spectrometry has opened an unprecedented window into the proteomes of the past, providing protein sequence data from long extinct animals as well as historical and prehistorical artifacts. Thus, application of mass spectrometry to fossil remains has become an attractive source for ancient molecular sequences with which to conduct evolutionary studies, particularly in specimens older than the proposed limit of amplifiable DNA detection...
March 2, 2018: Journal of Proteome Research
Filipe O Da Silva, Anne-Claire Fabre, Yoland Savriama, Joni Ollonen, Kristin Mahlow, Anthony Herrel, Johannes Müller, Nicolas Di-Poï
The ecological origin of snakes remains amongst the most controversial topics in evolution, with three competing hypotheses: fossorial; marine; or terrestrial. Here we use a geometric morphometric approach integrating ecological, phylogenetic, paleontological, and developmental data for building models of skull shape and size evolution and developmental rate changes in squamates. Our large-scale data reveal that whereas the most recent common ancestor of crown snakes had a small skull with a shape undeniably adapted for fossoriality, all snakes plus their sister group derive from a surface-terrestrial form with non-fossorial behavior, thus redirecting the debate toward an underexplored evolutionary scenario...
January 25, 2018: Nature Communications
Gabriel S Yapuncich, Steven E Churchill, Noël Cameron, Christopher S Walker
OBJECTIVES: Predicting body mass is a frequent objective of several anthropological subdisciplines, but there are few published methods for predicting body mass in immature humans. Because most reference samples are composed of adults, predicting body mass outside the range of adults requires extrapolation, which may reduce the accuracy of predictions. Prediction equations developed from a sample of immature humans would reduce extrapolation for application to small-bodied target individuals, and should have utility in multiple predictive contexts...
January 25, 2018: American Journal of Physical Anthropology
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