Planas, Miguel; Chamorro, Alexandro; Quintas, Patricia; Vilar, Antonio
Knowledge on seahorses is generally scarce but has been increasing in recent years due to their conservation status. Seahorse culture is a quite recent activity in most countries attempting it, and captive breeding techniques are available only for some species. With the aim of contributing to the development of breeding in captivity for conservative purposes, captive broodstock of the European long-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus guttulatus) was established with 32 wild seahorses captured in G...
Palma, J; Bureau, D P; Andrade, J P
Ontogenetic development of the digestive tract and associated organs in long snout seahorse Hippocampus guttulatus juveniles was morphologically and histologically examined from the time of release from the male's pouch until 72 h after the first meal. When released from the male's pouch, juvenile seahorses are small adult replicates. This means that unlike other teleost fish larvae, the first developmental phase has already taken place, and juveniles are morphologically prepared and able to feed on live prey immediately following parturition. At this stage, the buccopharynx, oesophagus, and intestine already appear to be fully developed. The intestine is divided into the midgut and hindgut by an intestinal valve, and intestinal villi are visible in the midgut. When fed with DHA-Selco(®) enriched Artemia, H. guttulatus juveniles developed a severe condition of overinflation of the gas bladder. The continuous overinflation of the gas bladder forced air into the gut (48 h after the first meal), resulting in overinflation of both the gut and the gas bladder (72 h after the first meal), and death occurred within 120 h after the first meal. When fed natural copepods, H. guttulatus juveniles continued a normal feeding activity with no signs of intestinal disorders, and the gas bladder and intestine maintained their normal shape. This is the first study to positively associate gas bladder overinflation of juvenile seahorses with nutritionally unbalanced diets, and not to gas supersaturation alone. It is therefore necessary to develop more adequate feed and/or enrichment products to improve the survival of juvenile seahorses in captivity.
Garcia-Manchón, J; Socorro-Cruz, J; Segade Botella, A; Otero-Ferrer, F; Mesa, A; Molina Domínguez, L
Seahorses are endangered species included in Appendix II of CITES from 2002 due to the progressive regression of wild populations. This study focused in Hippocampus reidi, one of the species with highest interest in trade, showing an increasing demand in the last decades. This study was conducted during 28 days to compare the effects of different time enrichment (0, 24, and 48h) for Artemia using a commercial product (Easy-Selco DHA INVE Aquaculture, Dendermonde, Belgium). Results showed no significant differences in growth between treatments until 21DAB, after which animals fed for 48h one enriched Artemia showed significantly better growth. Cumulative average survival during the first 14DAB was significantly higher in Oh treatment, while from 15DAB to the end of the experiment, no significantly differences were observed.
Otero-Ferrer, Francisco; Izquierdo, Marisol; Fazeli, Alireza; Holt, William V
The aim of the present study was to investigate the hypothesis that parental periconception nutrition in adult seahorses affects the development and growth of their offspring. We tested the hypothesis that because seahorse embryos develop inside the male's brood pouch, manipulation of the male's diet would affect offspring growth and development independently of the female's diet. Adult males and females were fed separately with either wild-caught crustaceans or commercial aquarium diet for 1 month before conception to influence the periconception environment. Approximately 10000 offspring were obtained from four different treatment groups (Male/Wild or Male/Commercial×Female/Wild or Female/Commercial). Weights, physical dimensions and fatty acid profiles of the newborns were determined. Offspring produced when the males receiving commercial diet were mated with wild-fed females were larger (P<0.05) than those produced by wild-fed males. When both males and females were fed with commercial diet, their offspring were significantly smaller than those from the other treatment groups. When commercial diet-fed females were mated with wild-fed males, the offspring showed distortion of the snout:head length ratio. These results support the view that the preconception diet received by males and females differentially affects embryonic development.
....C. 1532(15)). In 1996, the USFWS and NMFS published the Policy on the Recognition of a Distinct... 800 pounds (364 kg). Atlantic sturgeon are distinguished by armor-like plates and a long snout with a...
Bell, Phil R; Campione, Nicolás E; Persons, W Scott; Currie, Philip J; Larson, Peter L; Tanke, Darren H; Bakker, Robert T
Recent evidence for feathers in theropods has led to speculations that the largest tyrannosaurids, including Tyrannosaurus rex , were extensively feathered. We describe fossil integument from Tyrannosaurus and other tyrannosaurids ( Albertosaurus, Daspletosaurus, Gorgosaurus and Tarbosaurus ), confirming that these large-bodied forms possessed scaly, reptilian-like skin. Body size evolution in tyrannosauroids reveals two independent occurrences of gigantism; specifically, the large sizes in Yutyrannus and tyrannosaurids were independently derived. These new findings demonstrate that extensive feather coverings observed in some early tyrannosauroids were lost by the Albian, basal to Tyrannosauridae. This loss is unrelated to palaeoclimate but possibly tied to the evolution of gigantism, although other mechanisms exist. © 2017 The Author(s).
Jacobsen, Aase Roland
Tooth-marked dinosaur bones provide insight into feeding behaviours and biting strategies of theropod dinosaurs. The majority of theropod tooth marks reported to date have been found on herbivorous dinosaur bones, although some tyrannosaurid bones with tooth marks have also been reported. In 1988...
Pierce, S E; Angielczyk, K D; Rayfield, E J
Variation in modern crocodilian and extinct thalattosuchian crocodylomorph skull morphology is only weakly correlated with phylogeny, implying that factors other than evolutionary proximity play important roles in determining crocodile skull shape. To further explore factors potentially influencing morphological differentiation within the Thalattosuchia, we examine teleosaurid and metriorhynchid skull shape variation within a mechanical and dietary context using a combination of finite element modelling and multivariate statistics. Patterns of stress distribution through the skull were found to be very similar in teleosaurid and metriorhynchid species, with stress peaking at the posterior constriction of the snout and around the enlarged supratemporal fenestrae. However, the magnitudes of stresses differ, with metriorhynchids having generally stronger skulls. As with modern crocodilians, a strong linear relationship between skull length and skull strength exists, with short-snouted morphotypes experiencing less stress through the skull than long-snouted morphotypes under equivalent loads. Selection on snout shape related to dietary preference was found to work in orthogonal directions in the two families: diet is associated with snout length in teleosaurids and with snout width in metriorhynchids, suggesting that teleosaurid skulls were adapted for speed of attack and metriorhynchid skulls for force production. Evidence also indicates that morphological and functional differentiation of the skull occurred as a result of dietary preference, allowing closely related sympatric species to exploit a limited environment. Comparisons of the mechanical performance of the thalattosuchian skull with extant crocodilians show that teleosaurids and long-snouted metriorhynchids exhibit stress magnitudes similar to or greater than those of long-snouted modern forms, whereas short-snouted metriorhynchids display stress magnitudes converging on those found in short-snouted modern
Wolff, Ewan D. S.; Salisbury, Steven W.; Horner, John R.; Varricchio, David J.
Background Tyrannosaurus rex and other tyrannosaurid fossils often display multiple, smooth-edged full-thickness erosive lesions on the mandible, either unilaterally or bilaterally. The cause of these lesions in the Tyrannosaurus rex specimen FMNH PR2081 (known informally by the name ‘Sue’) has previously been attributed to actinomycosis, a bacterial bone infection, or bite wounds from other tyrannosaurids. Methodology/Principal Findings We conducted an extensive survey of tyrannosaurid specimens and identified ten individuals with full-thickness erosive lesions. These lesions were described, measured and photographed for comparison with one another. We also conducted an extensive survey of related archosaurs for similar lesions. We show here that these lesions are consistent with those caused by an avian parasitic infection called trichomonosis, which causes similar abnormalities on the mandible of modern birds, in particular raptors. Conclusions/Significance This finding represents the first evidence for the ancient evolutionary origin of an avian transmissible disease in non-avian theropod dinosaurs. It also provides a valuable insight into the palaeobiology of these now extinct animals. Based on the frequency with which these lesions occur, we hypothesize that tyrannosaurids were commonly infected by a Trichomonas gallinae-like protozoan. For tyrannosaurid populations, the only non-avian dinosaur group that show trichomonosis-type lesions, it is likely that the disease became endemic and spread as a result of antagonistic intraspecific behavior, consumption of prey infected by a Trichomonas gallinae-like protozoan and possibly even cannibalism. The severity of trichomonosis-related lesions in specimens such as Tyrannosaurus rex FMNH PR2081 and Tyrannosaurus rex MOR 980, strongly suggests that these animals died as a direct result of this disease, mostly likely through starvation. PMID:19789646
Ewan D S Wolff
Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Tyrannosaurus rex and other tyrannosaurid fossils often display multiple, smooth-edged full-thickness erosive lesions on the mandible, either unilaterally or bilaterally. The cause of these lesions in the Tyrannosaurus rex specimen FMNH PR2081 (known informally by the name 'Sue' has previously been attributed to actinomycosis, a bacterial bone infection, or bite wounds from other tyrannosaurids. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We conducted an extensive survey of tyrannosaurid specimens and identified ten individuals with full-thickness erosive lesions. These lesions were described, measured and photographed for comparison with one another. We also conducted an extensive survey of related archosaurs for similar lesions. We show here that these lesions are consistent with those caused by an avian parasitic infection called trichomonosis, which causes similar abnormalities on the mandible of modern birds, in particular raptors. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This finding represents the first evidence for the ancient evolutionary origin of an avian transmissible disease in non-avian theropod dinosaurs. It also provides a valuable insight into the palaeobiology of these now extinct animals. Based on the frequency with which these lesions occur, we hypothesize that tyrannosaurids were commonly infected by a Trichomonas gallinae-like protozoan. For tyrannosaurid populations, the only non-avian dinosaur group that show trichomonosis-type lesions, it is likely that the disease became endemic and spread as a result of antagonistic intraspecific behavior, consumption of prey infected by a Trichomonas gallinae-like protozoan and possibly even cannibalism. The severity of trichomonosis-related lesions in specimens such as Tyrannosaurus rex FMNH PR2081 and Tyrannosaurus rex MOR 980, strongly suggests that these animals died as a direct result of this disease, mostly likely through starvation.
McCurry, Matthew R; Evans, Alistair R; Fitzgerald, Erich M G; Adams, Justin W; Clausen, Philip D; McHenry, Colin R
The striking resemblance of long-snouted aquatic mammals and reptiles has long been considered an example of morphological convergence, yet the true cause of this similarity remains untested. We addressed this deficit through three-dimensional morphometric analysis of the full diversity of crocodilian and toothed whale (Odontoceti) skull shapes. Our focus on biomechanically important aspects of shape allowed us to overcome difficulties involved in comparing mammals and reptiles, which have fundamental differences in the number and position of skull bones. We examined whether diet, habitat and prey size correlated with skull shape using phylogenetically informed statistical procedures. Crocodilians and toothed whales have a similar range of skull shapes, varying from extremely short and broad to extremely elongate. This spectrum of shapes represented more of the total variation in our dataset than between phylogenetic groups. The most elongate species (river dolphins and gharials) are extremely convergent in skull shape, clustering outside of the range of the other taxa. Our results suggest the remarkable convergence between long-snouted river dolphins and gharials is driven by diet rather than physical factors intrinsic to riverine environments. Despite diverging approximately 288 million years ago, crocodilians and odontocetes have evolved a remarkably similar morphological solution to feeding on similar prey. © 2017 The Author(s).
Brusatte, Stephen L; Averianov, Alexander; Sues, Hans-Dieter; Muir, Amy; Butler, Ian B
Tyrannosaurids--the familiar group of carnivorous dinosaurs including Tyrannosaurus and Albertosaurus--were the apex predators in continental ecosystems in Asia and North America during the latest Cretaceous (ca. 80-66 million years ago). Their colossal sizes and keen senses are considered key to their evolutionary and ecological success, but little is known about how these features developed as tyrannosaurids evolved from smaller basal tyrannosauroids that first appeared in the fossil record in the Middle Jurassic (ca. 170 million years ago). This is largely because of a frustrating 20+ million-year gap in the mid-Cretaceous fossil record, when tyrannosauroids transitioned from small-bodied hunters to gigantic apex predators but from which no diagnostic specimens are known. We describe the first distinct tyrannosauroid species from this gap, based on a highly derived braincase and a variety of other skeletal elements from the Turonian (ca. 90-92 million years ago) of Uzbekistan. This taxon is phylogenetically intermediate between the oldest basal tyrannosauroids and the latest Cretaceous forms. It had yet to develop the giant size and extensive cranial pneumaticity of T. rex and kin but does possess the highly derived brain and inner ear characteristic of the latest Cretaceous species. Tyrannosauroids apparently developed huge size rapidly during the latest Cretaceous, and their success in the top predator role may have been enabled by their brain and keen senses that first evolved at smaller body size.
Brusatte, Stephen L.; Averianov, Alexander; Sues, Hans-Dieter; Muir, Amy; Butler, Ian B.
Tyrannosaurids-the familiar group of carnivorous dinosaurs including Tyrannosaurus and Albertosaurus-were the apex predators in continental ecosystems in Asia and North America during the latest Cretaceous (ca. 80-66 million years ago). Their colossal sizes and keen senses are considered key to their evolutionary and ecological success, but little is known about how these features developed as tyrannosaurids evolved from smaller basal tyrannosauroids that first appeared in the fossil record in the Middle Jurassic (ca. 170 million years ago). This is largely because of a frustrating 20+ million-year gap in the mid-Cretaceous fossil record, when tyrannosauroids transitioned from small-bodied hunters to gigantic apex predators but from which no diagnostic specimens are known. We describe the first distinct tyrannosauroid species from this gap, based on a highly derived braincase and a variety of other skeletal elements from the Turonian (ca. 90-92 million years ago) of Uzbekistan. This taxon is phylogenetically intermediate between the oldest basal tyrannosauroids and the latest Cretaceous forms. It had yet to develop the giant size and extensive cranial pneumaticity of T. rex and kin but does possess the highly derived brain and inner ear characteristic of the latest Cretaceous species. Tyrannosauroids apparently developed huge size rapidly during the latest Cretaceous, and their success in the top predator role may have been enabled by their brain and keen senses that first evolved at smaller body size.
Hassler, A; Martin, J E; Amiot, R; Tacail, T; Godet, F Arnaud; Allain, R; Balter, V
Large predators are overabundant in mid-Cretaceous continental dinosaur assemblages of North Africa. Such unbalanced ecosystem structure involves, among predatory dinosaurs, typical abelisaurid or carcharodontosaurid theropods co-occurring with long-snouted spinosaurids of debated ecology. Here, we report calcium (Ca) isotope values from tooth enamel (expressed as δ 44/42 Ca) to investigate resource partitioning in mid-Cretaceous assemblages from Niger (Gadoufaoua) and Morocco (Kem Kem Beds). In both assemblages, spinosaurids display a distinct isotopic signature, the most negative in our dataset. This distinct taxonomic clustering in Ca isotope values observed between spinosaurids and other predators provides unambiguous evidence for niche partitioning at the top of the trophic chains: spinosaurids foraged on aquatic environments while abelisaurid and carcharodontosaurid theropods relied almost exclusively on terrestrial resources. © 2018 The Author(s).
Maddock, Simon T; Wilkinson, Mark; Nussbaum, Ronald A; Gower, David J
A new species of indotyphlid caecilian amphibian, Hypogeophis pti sp. nov., is described based on a series of specimens from the Seychelles island of Praslin. The type series was collected in 2013 and 2014, and a referred specimen previously identified as H. brevis Boulenger, 1911 was collected from an unspecified Seychelles locality in 1957. The new species most closely resembles the Seychelles endemic Hypogeophis brevis in being short (maximum known total length in life ca. 120 mm) and long snouted, but differs by having a less anteriorly positioned tentacular aperture and fewer primary annuli and vertebrae. In having only 67-69 vertebrae, H. pti sp. nov. is the most abbreviated extant species of caecilian reported to date.
Last, Peter R; Alava, Moonyeen
A new long-snouted skate, Dipturus amphispinus sp. nov., is formally described based on material caught in the Sulu Sea and later acquired from fish markets of the central and southern Philippines. It differs from its congeners in the western North Pacific, apart from D. wuhanlingi (East and South China Seas), in having a variably-defined, parallel row of posterolaterally directed lumbar thorns, and well-developed scapular thorns on each side of the disc. However, the paired rows of lumbar thorns are better defined in Dipturus amphispinus sp. nov. than in D. wuhanlingi, and these species also differ in some aspects of their morphometrics, meristics and squamation. Dipturus amphispinus sp. nov. displays marked sexual dimorphism with adult males having a relatively broader mouth, much longer teeth, a relatively shorter snout, head and disc, a taller first dorsal fin, and a proportionally longer posterior pelvic-fin lobe and tail, than adult-sized females.
Loewen, Mark A; Irmis, Randall B; Sertich, Joseph J W; Currie, Philip J; Sampson, Scott D
The Late Cretaceous (∼95-66 million years ago) western North American landmass of Laramidia displayed heightened non-marine vertebrate diversity and intracontinental regionalism relative to other latest Cretaceous Laurasian ecosystems. Processes generating these patterns during this interval remain poorly understood despite their presumed role in the diversification of many clades. Tyrannosauridae, a clade of large-bodied theropod dinosaurs restricted to the Late Cretaceous of Laramidia and Asia, represents an ideal group for investigating Laramidian patterns of evolution. We use new tyrannosaurid discoveries from Utah--including a new taxon which represents the geologically oldest member of the clade--to investigate the evolution and biogeography of Tyrannosauridae. These data suggest a Laramidian origin for Tyrannosauridae, and implicate sea-level related controls in the isolation, diversification, and dispersal of this and many other Late Cretaceous vertebrate clades.
Brouwers, E.M.; Clemens, W.A.; Spicer, R.A.; Ager, T.A.; Carter, L.D.; Sliter, W.V.
Abundant skeletal remains demonstrate that lambeosaurine hadrosaurid, tyrannosaurid, and troodontid dinosaurs lived on the Alaskan North Slope during late Campanian-early Maestrichtian time (about 66 to 76 million years ago) in a deltaic environment dominated by herbaceous vegetation. The high ground terrestrial plant community was a mild- to cold-temperate forest composed of coniferous and broad leaf trees. The high paleolatitude (about 70?? to 85?? North) implies extreme seasonal variation in solar insolation, temperature, and herbivore food supply. Great distances of migration to contemporaneous evergreen floras and the presence of both juvenile and adult hadrosaurs suggest that they remained at high latitudes year-round. This challenges the hypothesis that short-term periods of darkness and temperature decrease resulting from a bolide impact caused dinosaurian extinction.
Matthew L Brien
Full Text Available We examined agonistic behaviour in seven species of hatchling and juvenile crocodilians held in small groups (N = 4 under similar laboratory conditions. Agonistic interactions occurred in all seven species, typically involved two individuals, were short in duration (5-15 seconds, and occurred between 1600-2200 h in open water. The nature and extent of agonistic interactions, the behaviours displayed, and the level of conspecific tolerance varied among species. Discrete postures, non-contact and contact movements are described. Three of these were species-specific: push downs by C. johnstoni; inflated tail sweeping by C. novaeguineae; and, side head striking combined with tail wagging by C. porosus. The two long-snouted species (C. johnstoni and G. gangeticus avoided contact involving the head and often raised the head up out of the way during agonistic interactions. Several behaviours not associated with aggression are also described, including snout rubbing, raising the head up high while at rest, and the use of vocalizations. The two most aggressive species (C. porosus, C. novaeguineae appeared to form dominance hierarchies, whereas the less aggressive species did not. Interspecific differences in agonistic behaviour may reflect evolutionary divergence associated with morphology, ecology, general life history and responses to interspecific conflict in areas where multiple species have co-existed. Understanding species-specific traits in agonistic behaviour and social tolerance has implications for the controlled raising of different species of hatchlings for conservation, management or production purposes.
Maldonado, E; Hubert, N; Sagnes, P; De Mérona, B
This study explores the relationship between morphology and diet in four Andean killifishes (Orestias) from Lake Titicaca that are known to differ in habitat use. Species that fed preferentially on amphipods (Orestias albus) or molluscs (Orestias luteus) separated in multivariate space from other species that feed on cladocera and algae (Orestias agassii and Orestias jussiei). Generally, specimens feeding on cladocera were characterized by a short, blunt nose with a small mouth; whereas, specimens feeding on amphipods exhibited a long snout with a large mouth. Specimens including molluscs in their diet tended to have a larger posterior part of the head and the larger opercles than others; while the occurrence of substratum in gut content was generally related to a short but deep head. The present analysis suggests that the littoral O. jussiei has an intermediate phenotype and diet between the pelagic (O. agassii) and benthic (O. albus and O. luteus) species. Results suggest that resource partitioning was occurring and that several morphological traits relate to characteristics of the diet, and it is inferred that the benthic, the pelagic and the littoral zones in the lake host different prey communities constituting distinct adaptive landscapes.
Correia, M; Caldwell, I R; Koldewey, H J; Andrade, J P; Palma, J
Comparisons of three sets of surveys in the Ria Formosa Lagoon, Portugal, over a 13 year period (2001-2002, 2008-2009 and 2010-2013) revealed significant population fluctuations in at least one of the two seahorse (Hippocampinae) species living there, and that those fluctuations were potentially associated with habitat changes in the lagoon. After a significant decline between the first two survey periods (2001-2002 v. 2008-2009), long-snouted seahorse Hippocampus guttulatus populations increased significantly between 2008-2009 surveys and new 2010-2013 surveys. There were no significant differences in H. guttulatus populations between the 2001-2002 and 2010-2013 surveys. In contrast, there were no significant differences in short-snouted seahorse Hippocampus hippocampus densities among the 16 sites surveyed throughout the three sampling periods, although the ability to detect any change was hampered by the low densities of this species in all time periods. Fluctuations in H. guttulatus densities were positively correlated with the percentage of holdfast coverage, but with none of the other environmental variables tested. These results highlight the importance of holdfast availability in maintaining stable seahorse populations. While population fluctuations are certainly more promising than a consistent downward decline, such extreme fluctuations observed for seahorses in the Ria Formosa Lagoon could still leave these two species vulnerable to any additional stressors, particularly during low density periods. © 2015 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.
Van Wassenbergh, Sam; Roos, Gert; Genbrugge, Annelies; Leysen, Heleen; Aerts, Peter; Adriaens, Dominique; Herrel, Anthony
Ongoing anatomical development typically results in a gradual maturation of the feeding movements from larval to adult fishes. Adult seahorses are known to capture prey by rotating their long-snouted head extremely quickly towards prey, followed by powerful suction. This type of suction is powered by elastic recoil and requires very precise coordination of the movements of the associated feeding structures, making it an all-or-none phenomenon. Here, we show that newborn Hippocampus reidi are able to successfully feed using an extremely rapid and powerful snout rotation combined with a high-volume suction, surpassing that observed in adult seahorses. An inverse dynamic analysis shows that an elastic recoil mechanism is also used to power head rotation in newborn H. reidi. This illustrates how extreme levels of performance in highly complex musculoskeletal systems can be present at birth given a delayed birth and rapid development of functionally important structures. The fact that the head skeleton of newborn seahorses is still largely cartilaginous may not be problematic because the hydrodynamic stress on the rotating snout appeared considerably lower than in adult syngnathids. PMID:19324657
Faleiro, Filipa; Narciso, Luís
In captivity, husbandry conditions are distinct from those experienced by fish in the wild and may have a significant effect on reproductive success. This study evaluates the effect of supportive breeding (i.e., breeding animals in captivity using wild parents) on some quantitative and qualitative aspects of the reproductive success of the long-snouted seahorse, Hippocampus guttulatus. Wild and captive broods were compared in terms of juvenile number, size, condition and fatty acid profile at birth. Reproductive investment and breeding success of H. guttulatus decreased considerably in captivity. Juveniles from captive broods were fewer in number, smaller, generally thinner and with lower fatty acid contents (per juvenile) than those from wild broods, although their fatty acid composition (μg mg- 1 DW or %TFA) was not significantly affected. Although not greatly encouraging, the poor reproductive performance of captive seahorses should not, however, efface the potential of supportive breeding as a tool for seahorse conservation. Enhanced conditions and long-term breeding in captivity will allow to improve the reproductive success of the species and the quality of the fingerlings.
Full Text Available The physical properties of water and the environment it presents to its inhabitants provide stringent constraints and selection pressures affecting aquatic adaptation and evolution. Mosasaurs (a group of secondarily aquatic reptiles that occupied a broad array of predatory niches in the Cretaceous marine ecosystems about 98-65 million years ago have traditionally been considered as anguilliform locomotors capable only of generating short bursts of speed during brief ambush pursuits. Here we report on an exceptionally preserved, long-snouted mosasaur (Ectenosaurus clidastoides from the Santonian (Upper Cretaceous part of the Smoky Hill Chalk Member of the Niobrara Formation in western Kansas, USA, that contains phosphatized remains of the integument displaying both depth and structure. The small, ovoid neck and/or anterior trunk scales exhibit a longitudinal central keel, and are obliquely arrayed into an alternating pattern where neighboring scales overlap one another. Supportive sculpturing in the form of two parallel, longitudinal ridges on the inner scale surface and a complex system of multiple, superimposed layers of straight, cross-woven helical fiber bundles in the underlying dermis, may have served to minimize surface deformation and frictional drag during locomotion. Additional parallel fiber bundles oriented at acute angles to the long axis of the animal presumably provided stiffness in the lateral plane. These features suggest that the anterior torso of Ectenosaurus was held somewhat rigid during swimming, thereby limiting propulsive movements to the posterior body and tail.
A skeleton discovered in the Upper Cretaceous Sierra Barrosa Formation (Turonian-Coniacian) of Neuquén Province, Argentina represents a new species of theropod dinosaur related to the long snouted, highly pneumatized Megaraptoridae. The holotype specimen of Murusraptor barrosaensis n.gen et n.sp. (MCF-PVPH-411) includes much of the skull, axial skeleton, pelvis and tibia. Murusraptor is unique in having several diagnostic features that include anterodorsal process of lacrimal longer than height of preorbital process, and a thick, shelf-like thickening on the lateral surface of surangular ventral to the groove between the anterior surangular foramen and the insert for the uppermost intramandibular process of the dentary. Other characteristic features of Murusraptor barrosaensis n.gen. et n. sp.include a large mandibular fenestra, distal ends of caudal neural spines laterally thickened into lateral knob-like processes, short ischia distally flattened and slightly expanded dorsoventrally. Murusraptor belongs to a Patagonian radiation of megaraptorids together with Aerosteon, Megaraptor and Orkoraptor. In spite being immature, it is a larger but more gracile animal than existing specimens of Megaraptor, and is comparable in size with Aerosteon and Orkoraptor. The controversial phylogeny of the Megaraptoridae as members of the Allosauroidea or a clade of Coelurosauria is considered analyzing two alternative data sets. PMID:27439002
Rodolfo A Coria
Full Text Available A skeleton discovered in the Upper Cretaceous Sierra Barrosa Formation (Turonian-Coniacian of Neuquén Province, Argentina represents a new species of theropod dinosaur related to the long snouted, highly pneumatized Megaraptoridae. The holotype specimen of Murusraptor barrosaensis n.gen et n.sp. (MCF-PVPH-411 includes much of the skull, axial skeleton, pelvis and tibia. Murusraptor is unique in having several diagnostic features that include anterodorsal process of lacrimal longer than height of preorbital process, and a thick, shelf-like thickening on the lateral surface of surangular ventral to the groove between the anterior surangular foramen and the insert for the uppermost intramandibular process of the dentary. Other characteristic features of Murusraptor barrosaensis n.gen. et n. sp.include a large mandibular fenestra, distal ends of caudal neural spines laterally thickened into lateral knob-like processes, short ischia distally flattened and slightly expanded dorsoventrally. Murusraptor belongs to a Patagonian radiation of megaraptorids together with Aerosteon, Megaraptor and Orkoraptor. In spite being immature, it is a larger but more gracile animal than existing specimens of Megaraptor, and is comparable in size with Aerosteon and Orkoraptor. The controversial phylogeny of the Megaraptoridae as members of the Allosauroidea or a clade of Coelurosauria is considered analyzing two alternative data sets.
Arbour, Victoria M.; Evans, David C.
The terrestrial Judith River Formation of northern Montana was deposited over an approximately 4 Myr interval during the Campanian (Late Cretaceous). Despite having been prospected and collected continuously by palaeontologists for over a century, few relatively complete dinosaur skeletons have been recovered from this unit to date. Here we describe a new genus and species of ankylosaurine dinosaur, Zuul crurivastator, from the Coal Ridge Member of the Judith River Formation, based on an exceptionally complete and well-preserved skeleton (ROM 75860). This is the first ankylosaurin skeleton known with a complete skull and tail club, and it is the most complete ankylosaurid ever found in North America. The presence of abundant soft tissue preservation across the skeleton, including in situ osteoderms, skin impressions and dark films that probably represent preserved keratin, make this exceptional skeleton an important reference for understanding the evolution of dermal and epidermal structures in this clade. Phylogenetic analysis recovers Zuul as an ankylosaurin ankylosaurid within a clade of Dyoplosaurus and Scolosaurus, with Euoplocephalus being more distantly related within Ankylosaurini. The occurrence of Z. crurivastator from the upper Judith River Formation fills a gap in the ankylosaurine stratigraphic and geographical record in North America, and further highlights that Campanian ankylosaurines were undergoing rapid evolution and stratigraphic succession of taxa as observed for Laramidian ceratopsids, hadrosaurids, pachycephalosaurids and tyrannosaurids.
Christopher W Walmsley
Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Crocodilians exhibit a spectrum of rostral shape from long snouted (longirostrine, through to short snouted (brevirostrine morphologies. The proportional length of the mandibular symphysis correlates consistently with rostral shape, forming as much as 50% of the mandible's length in longirostrine forms, but 10% in brevirostrine crocodilians. Here we analyse the structural consequences of an elongate mandibular symphysis in relation to feeding behaviours. METHODS/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Simple beam and high resolution Finite Element (FE models of seven species of crocodile were analysed under loads simulating biting, shaking and twisting. Using beam theory, we statistically compared multiple hypotheses of which morphological variables should control the biomechanical response. Brevi- and mesorostrine morphologies were found to consistently outperform longirostrine types when subject to equivalent biting, shaking and twisting loads. The best predictors of performance for biting and twisting loads in FE models were overall length and symphyseal length respectively; for shaking loads symphyseal length and a multivariate measurement of shape (PC1- which is strongly but not exclusively correlated with symphyseal length were equally good predictors. Linear measurements were better predictors than multivariate measurements of shape in biting and twisting loads. For both biting and shaking loads but not for twisting, simple beam models agree with best performance predictors in FE models. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Combining beam and FE modelling allows a priori hypotheses about the importance of morphological traits on biomechanics to be statistically tested. Short mandibular symphyses perform well under loads used for feeding upon large prey, but elongate symphyses incur high strains under equivalent loads, underlining the structural constraints to prey size in the longirostrine morphotype. The biomechanics of the crocodilian mandible are largely
Witzmann, Florian; Werneburg, Ingmar
A diagnostic feature of temnospondyls is the presence of an open palate with large interpterygoid vacuities, unlike the closed palate of most other early tetrapods, in which the vacuities are either slit-like or completely absent. Attachment sites on neurocranium and palatal bones in temnospondyls allow the reconstruction of a powerful m. retractor bulbi and a large, sheet-like m. levator bulbi that formed the elastic floor of the orbit. This muscle arrangement indicates that temnospondyls were able to retract the eyeballs through the interpterygoid vacuities into the buccal cavity, like extant frogs and salamanders. In contrast, attachment sites on palate and neurocranium suggest a rather sauropsid-like arrangement of these muscles in stem-tetrapods and stem-amniotes. However, the anteriorly enlarged, huge interpterygoid vacuities of long-snouted stereospondyls suggest that eye retraction was not the only function of the vacuities here, since the eye-muscles filled only the posterior part of the vacuities. We propose an association of the vacuities in temnospondyls with a long, preorbital part of the m. adductor mandibulae internus (AMIa). The trochlea-like, anterior edge of the adductor chamber suggests that a tendon of the AMIa was redirected in an anteromedial direction in the preorbital skull and dorsal to the pterygoids. This tendon then unfolded into a wide aponeurosis bearing the flattened AMIa that filled almost the complete interpterygoid vacuities anterior to the orbits. Our muscle reconstructions permit comprehensive insights to the comparative soft tissue anatomy of early tetrapods and provide the basis for a biomechanic analysis of biting performances in the future. Anat Rec, 300:1240-1269, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Curtis, Janelle M R; Vincent, Amanda C J
Achieving multiple conservation objectives can be challenging, particularly under high uncertainty. Having agreed to limit seahorse (Hippocampus) exports to sustainable levels, signatories to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) were offered the option of a single 10-cm minimum size limit (MSL) as an interim management measure for all Hippocampus species (> or =34). Although diverse stakeholders supported the recommended MSL, its biological and socioeconomic implications were not assessed quantitatively. We combined population viability analysis, model sensitivity analysis, and economic information to evaluate the trade-off between conservation threat to and long-term cumulative income from these exploited marine fishes of high conservation concern. We used the European long-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus guttulatus) as a representative species to compare the performance of MSLs set at alternative biological reference points. Our sensitivity analyses showed that in most of our scenarios, setting the MSL just above size at maturity (9.7 cm in H. guttulatus) would not prevent exploited populations from becoming listed as vulnerable. By contrast, the relative risk of decline and extinction were almost halved--at a cost of only a 5.6% reduction in long-term catches--by increasing the MSL to the size reached after at least one full reproductive season. On the basis of our analysis, a precautionary increase in the MSL could be compatible with sustaining fishers' livelihoods and international trade. Such management tactics that aid species conservation and have minimal effects on long term catch trends may help bolster the case for CITES trade management of other valuable marine fishes.
Leysen, Heleen; Jouk, Philippe; Brunain, Marleen; Christiaens, Joachim; Adriaens, Dominique
The long snout of pipefishes and seahorses (Syngnathidae, Gasterosteiformes) is formed as an elongation of the ethmoid region. This is in contrast to many other teleosts with elongate snouts (e.g., butterflyfishes) in which the snout is formed as an extension of the jaws. Syngnathid fishes perform very fast suction feeding, accomplished by powerful neurocranial elevation and hyoid retraction. Clearly, suction through a long and narrow tube and its hydrodynamic implications can be expected to require certain adaptations in the cranium, especially in musculoskeletal elements of the feeding apparatus. Not much is known about which skeletal elements actually support the snout and what the effect of elongation is on related structures. Here, we give a detailed morphological description of the cartilaginous and bony feeding apparatus in both juvenile and adult Syngnathus rostellatus and Hippocampus capensis. Our results are compared with previous morphological studies of a generalized teleost, Gasterosteus aculeatus. We found that the ethmoid region is elongated early during development, with the ethmoid plate, the hyosymplectic, and the basihyal cartilage being extended in the chondrocranium. In the juveniles of both species almost all bones are forming, although only as a very thin layer. The elongation of the vomeral, mesethmoid, quadrate, metapterygoid, symplectic, and preopercular bones is already present. Probably, because of the long and specialized parental care which releases advanced developmental stages from the brooding pouch, morphology of the feeding apparatus of juveniles is already very similar to that of the adults. We describe morphological features related to snout elongation that may be considered adaptations for suction feeding; e.g. the peculiar shape of the interhyal bone and its saddle-shaped articulation with the posterior ceratohyal bone might aid in explosive hyoid retraction by reducing the risk of hyoid dislocation.
Apesteguía, Sebastián; Smith, Nathan D.; Juárez Valieri, Rubén; Makovicky, Peter J.
Background Late Cretaceous terrestrial strata of the Neuquén Basin, northern Patagonia, Argentina have yielded a rich fauna of dinosaurs and other vertebrates. The diversity of saurischian dinosaurs is particularly high, especially in the late Cenomanian-early Turonian Huincul Formation, which has yielded specimens of rebacchisaurid and titanosaurian sauropods, and abelisaurid and carcharodontosaurid theropods. Continued sampling is adding to the known vertebrate diversity of this unit. Methodology/ Principal Findings A new, partially articulated mid-sized theropod was found in rocks from the Huincul Formation. It exhibits a unique combination of traits that distinguish it from other known theropods justifying erection of a new taxon, Gualicho shinyae gen. et sp. nov. Gualicho possesses a didactyl manus with the third digit reduced to a metacarpal splint reminiscent of tyrannosaurids, but both phylogenetic and multivariate analyses indicate that didactyly is convergent in these groups. Derived characters of the scapula, femur, and fibula supports the new theropod as the sister taxon of the nearly coeval African theropod Deltadromeus and as a neovenatorid carcharodontosaurian. A number of these features are independently present in ceratosaurs, and Gualicho exhibits an unusual mosaic of ceratosaurian and tetanuran synapomorphies distributed throughout the skeleton. Conclusions/ Significance Gualicho shinyae gen. et sp. nov. increases the known theropod diversity of the Huincul Formation and also represents the first likely neovenatorid from this unit. It is the most basal tetatanuran to exhibit common patterns of digit III reduction that evolved independently in a number of other tetanuran lineages. A close relationship with Deltadromaeus from the Kem Kem beds of Niger adds to the already considerable biogeographic similarity between the Huincul Formation and coeval rock units in North Africa. PMID:27410683
Lindsay E Zanno
Full Text Available Troodontids are a predominantly small-bodied group of feathered theropod dinosaurs notable for their close evolutionary relationship with Avialae. Despite a diverse Asian representation with remarkable growth in recent years, the North American record of the clade remains poor, with only one controversial species--Troodon formosus--presently known from substantial skeletal remains.Here we report a gracile new troodontid theropod--Talos sampsoni gen. et sp. nov.--from the Upper Cretaceous Kaiparowits Formation, Utah, USA, representing one of the most complete troodontid skeletons described from North America to date. Histological assessment of the holotype specimen indicates that the adult body size of Talos was notably smaller than that of the contemporary genus Troodon. Phylogenetic analysis recovers Talos as a member of a derived, latest Cretaceous subclade, minimally containing Troodon, Saurornithoides, and Zanabazar. MicroCT scans reveal extreme pathological remodeling on pedal phalanx II-1 of the holotype specimen likely resulting from physical trauma and subsequent infectious processes.Talos sampsoni adds to the singularity of the Kaiparowits Formation dinosaur fauna, which is represented by at least 10 previously unrecognized species including the recently named ceratopsids Utahceratops and Kosmoceratops, the hadrosaurine Gryposaurus monumentensis, the tyrannosaurid Teratophoneus, and the oviraptorosaurian Hagryphus. The presence of a distinct troodontid taxon in the Kaiparowits Formation supports the hypothesis that late Campanian dinosaurs of the Western Interior Basin exhibited restricted geographic ranges and suggests that the taxonomic diversity of Late Cretaceous troodontids from North America is currently underestimated. An apparent traumatic injury to the foot of Talos with evidence of subsequent healing sheds new light on the paleobiology of deinonychosaurians by bolstering functional interpretations of prey grappling and
Full Text Available Ziphiidae (beaked whales are a successful family of medium- to large-sized toothed whales. Their extant members perform regular deep dives beyond the photic zone to forage for cephalopods and fish. Conversely, extinct long-snouted stem ziphiids are interpreted as epipelagic predators. However, some aspects of this hypothesis remain unclear due to the lack of clear morphological proxies for recognizing regular deep divers. We compared the forelimb, neck, and pterygoid sinus system of the fossil ziphiid Messapicetus gregarius with those of other odontocetes to evaluate the potential of these body regions as proxies to assess deep-diving specialization. The reconstructed musculature of the neck and forelimb of M. gregarius was also compared with that of other odontocetes. We also quantified variation in the proportions of the forelimb and the hamular fossa of the pterygoid sinus (HF using 16 linear measurements. The degree of association between diving behaviour in extant odontocetes and these measurements was evaluated with and without phylogenetic correction. Reconstruction of the neck musculature suggests that M. gregarius possessed a neck more flexible than most extant ziphiids due to the lower degree of fusion of the cervical vertebrae and the large insertions for the M. longus colli and Mm. intertransversarii ventrales cervicis. While neck rigidity might be related to deep diving, differences in neck flexibility among extant ziphiids indicate a more complex functional interpretation. The relationship between forelimb morphology and diving behaviour was not significant, both with and without phylogenetic correction, suggesting that it cannot be used to assess deep-diving abilities with the parameters considered here. Measurements of the HF revealed successful to evaluate deep-diving abilities in odontocetes, with an enlargement of this structure in deep divers. Considering other evidence that suggests an epipelagic behaviour, we propose
Luisa Maria Sarmento-Soares
Full Text Available The auchenipterid catfish genus Tatia is revised. Twelve species are recognized including three described as new. Tatia is diagnosed by the hyomandibula elongated anterodorsally, the anal-fin base of adult males reduced in length, and the caudal peduncle laterally compressed and deep with a middorsal keel. Tatia aulopygia occurs in the Madeira river drainage and is distinguished by the reduced cranial fontanel in adults and male modified anal fin with middle rays reduced in length. Tatia boemia, known from the upper Uruguay river drainage, is distinguished by its unique color pattern with dark chromatophores on the sides of body. Tatia brunnea from river basins in Suriname and French Guiana and the Negro river drainage, Amazon basin, is recognized by its wide head and mouth and by the male modified anal fin with sharply pointed tip. Tatia dunni, from the upper Amazon basin, is recognized by its narrow head, long postcleithral process in some specimens, and body coloration with irregular blotches or stripes. Tatia galaxias, endemic to the Orinoco river basin, is distinguished by its large eye and short snout. Tatia gyrina, distributed in the upper and central Amazon basin and in northern Suriname, has a uniquely reduced mesethmoid, slightly protruding lower jaw, second nuchal plate with slightly concave lateral borders, third nuchal plate reduced, small prevomer, low number of ribs, low number of vertebrae and sexual dimorphism regarding intumescent male genital papilla. Tatia intermedia, recorded from central and lower Amazon basin, Tocantins river, and coastal drainages in Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and eastern Pará State, Brazil, is distinguished by the short postcleithral process, small eye and long snout. Tatia neivai, from the upper Paraná river , Paraguay river and upper Paraíba do Sul river basin, is distinguished by its unique vertebral count and caudal-fin coloration consisting of transverse dark bars. Tatia strigata, from
Sanz, J. L.
Full Text Available Body fossils of the Iberian Peninsula dinosaurs are very relevant for the knowledge of several aspects of the evolutionary history of the group, and, in addition, for the interpretation of the distribution of many of its components, due to the geographic situation of the Iberian Peninsula. Almost all of the groups of dinosaurs are represented in the Iberian Peninsula record: ornithopods, thyreophorans, theropods and sauropods. These groups are present, mainly, in the transit Jurassic-Cretaceous (Kimmeridigian- Berriasian, the upper part of the Lower Cretaceous (Barremian-Aptian and in the end of the Upper Cretaceous (Campanian-Masstrichtian. Ornithischian dinosaurs are represented by thyreophorans such as the stegosaurians Dacentrurus and Stegosaurus, the ankylosaurs Dracopelta, Polacanthus and Struthiosaurus, and ornithopods like hypsilophodontids, basal iguanodontians (Rhabdodon, dryosaurids, camptosaurids (Draconyx and Camptosaurus, iguanodontids (Iguanodon and hadrosaurids (Pararhabdodon. Some Incertae sedis and taxa in process of description are present too. Sauropods are represented by taxa related to Neosauropoda (Lourinhasaurus, Dinheirosaurus, Galveosaurus and Losillasaurus and titanosauriforms (Aragosaurus, Lusotitan and Lirainosaurus. In addition, new forms are still in description, like the sauropods of Riodeva (Teruel, Peñarroya de Tastavins (Teruel and Morella (Castellón. Theropods are represented by the ceratosaurian Ceratosaurus, the spinosauroid Torvosaurus, the carnosaurs Lourinhanosaurus and Allosaurus, the tyrannosaurid Aviatyrannis, the ornithomimosaur Pelecanimimus, and the avian-theropods Iberomesornis, Concornis, Eoalulavis and Noguerornis. Nevertheless, theropods diversity is more abundant as it shows the great variability of teeth morphotypes identified.registro de restos directos de dinosaurios en la Península Ibérica ha mostrado, en los últimos años, que puede ser muy relevante para el conocimiento de distintos