Brichieri-Colombi, Stephen. 2015. Engineering a Feasible Ramp for the Great Pyramid of Giza. – Palarch’s Journal of Archaeology of Egypt/Egyptology 12(1) (2015), 1-16. ISSN 1567-214X. 16 pages + 8 figures, 1 table.

Brichieri-Colombi_PJAEE_12_1_2015-1_thumbnailAlthough it is widely believed by archaeologists that the Great Pyramid was built using sleds hauled up ramps, no economically feasible ramp configuration has yet been found which would have permitted the placement of the 44 granite beams weighing up to 75 t and the 2.3 Mm3 of limestone blocks of the pyramid, in a period corresponding to the 27 year reign of Pharaoh Khufu. This paper focuses on engineering considerations: it proposes a simple configuration which is structurally sound and consistent with the archaeological evidence and the principles of ergonomics, mechanics and materials engineering, with a volume of only 6% of that of the pyramid. It demonstrates how the blocks, beams, supporting capstones and pyramidion could have been placed using only the tools found at Giza which date from the 4th Dynasty or earlier, within the constraints imposed by the topography of the Giza Massif.

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David J. Cicimurri, Charles N. Ciampaglio & Katelyn E. Runyon. 2014. Late Cretaceous Elasmobranchs from the Eutaw Formation at Luxapalila Creek, Lowndes County, Mississippi. – PalArch’s Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology 11, 2 (2014), 1-36. ISSN 1567-2158. 36 pages + 19 figures.

Cicimurri-et-al-2014-PJVP-11-2-1A diverse vertebrate assemblage was recovered from the Eutaw Formation along a stretch of Luxapalila Creek in Lowndes County, Mississippi. The assemblage is dominated by elasmobranchs but also includes osteichthyans (seven species), archosaurs (one crocodilian, two dinosaurs), and turtles (trionychid and chelonioid). Twenty one elasmobranch taxa were identified (14 selachians and seven batoids), including new species Meristodonoides multiplicatus, Lonchidion cristatum, and Cantioscyllium grandis. Our sample also enabled us to expand the known range of variation for some other poorly diagnosed species. The elasmobranch assemblage consists predominantly of species with presumed benthic habits (14), including the orectolobiform sharks and sclerorhynchid rays, whereas the seven lamniform sharks represent pelagic species. We believe that the sharks and rays inhabited a warm-water, nearshore marine environment.

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BOOK REVIEW: Donald R. Prothero about Grande, L. 2013. The Lost World of Fossil Lake: Snapshots from Deep Time – Chicago, University of Chicago Press

PalArch’s Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology, 11(1) (2014)
Perhaps the greatest treasures in paleontology are not individual skeletons of spectacular dinosaurs, but the incredible treasure troves of fossils from the famous “Mother Lode” deposits of fossils known as Lagerstätten. There are about a dozen or so such famous localities around the world, where the fossils have undergone extraordinary preservation. Most preserve the animals in complete articulated state, undisturbed by scavengers and currents, and some even preserve original soft tissue and original colors. These incredible accumulations of fossils tell us so much more than an individual skeleton, because they preserve entire organisms virtually intact, often exhibiting different kinds of behaviors (such as the fish swallowing other fish found in the Green River shales, subject of this book). In addition, they give a nearly unbiased cross-section of nearly all the life in a region at a given time, not filtered by how much hard tissue the organism had that might enhance its chances of preservation. Bit by bit, color-illustrated books of many of these legendary localities, such as the Burgess Shale, the Solnhofen Limestone, and the Messel localities, have been published. […]

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BOOK REVIEW: Matthew C. Mihlbachler about Prothero, D. 2013. Rhinoceros Giants: The Paleobiology of Indricotheres. – Bloomington, Indiana University Press

thumb_ProteroPalArch’s Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology, 10(6) (2013)

I have one vivid memory from my summer vacation between the 2nd and 3rd grade – discovering a ragged and faded copy of All About Strange Beasts of the Past by Roy Chapman Andrews at a neighbor’s garage sale. To me, the most exciting chapter of this elementary-level book was Andrew’s obviously embellished recollection of the discovery of the mired ‘Beast of Baluchistan’ during the famous Central Asiatic Expeditions in the 1920s. The Beast is vividly described as longer than a school bus, nine feet taller than a giraffe, and as heavy as “the great dinosaur Brontosaurus”.

The size of the hornless Oligocene rhinocerotoid Paraceratherium (it has gone by many names) is main reason for its fame and it is not surprising that, along with mega-sharks, mega-dinosaurs, and mega-crocs, there would be a book about mega-rhinos. The back cover of ‘Rhinoceros Giants’ boasts, “The life and times of the largest land animal that ever lived” […]

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Cockcroft, Robert & Sarah Symons. 2013. Diagonal Star Tables on Coffins A1C and S2Hil: A New Triangle Decan and a Reversed Table. – Palarch’s Journal of Archaeology of Egypt/Egyptology 10(3) (2013), 1-10. ISSN 1567-214X. 10 pages + 5 figures, 4 tables.

thumb_cockroft&symonsWe present updates for two ancient Egyptian diagonal star tables on coffins A1C and S2Hil. A1C reveals a new triangle decan, H3t s3bw, which brings the total number of triangle decans to 13 and the total number of unique triangle decans to 12 (because of the duplication of nTr D3 pt). We discuss its relevance, why it has likely remained hidden for so long, and why it may have been lost on other star tables. S2Hil is re-examined with new photographs provided by the Roemer- und Pelizaeus-Museum, Hildesheim. We find several striking features of this table that make it unique among the current collection, and also present more information of this table not previously identified.

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BOOK REVIEW: Christoffer Theis about Lapp, W. 2011. Chronologie Ägyptens und des Vorderen Orients. Von Josef in Ägypten bis zur Plünderung Thebens durch die Assyrer und der Deportation der Israelis nach Babel. – Gelnhausen, Wagner Verlag GmbH

thumb_TheirPalArch’s Journal of Archaeology of Egypt/Egyptology, 10(2) (2013).

Wolfgang Lapp legt mit seinem Buch (noch) eine (neue) alternative Chronologie für den Vorderen Orient im Zeitraum zwischen 1800 und 500 vor Christus vor, mit der er seinen eigenen Worten gemäß “etwas Licht in die graue Vorzeit gebracht zu haben” glaubt (S. 9). […]

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TER-QUA 2012 Proceedings: David A. Burnham, Bruce M. Rothschild, John P. Babiarz & Larry D. Martin. 2013. Hemivertebrae as Pathology and as a Window to Behavior in the Fossil Record. – Palarch’s Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology 10(5) (2013), 1-6. ISSN 1567-2158. 6 pages + 1 figure.

Burnham-et-alAn extinct feline ecomorph Hoplophoneus was afflicted with a congenital anomaly (hemivertebra) not previously observed in cats and not previously reported in fossil mammals. The position of the hemivertebrae provided little opportunity for other cervical vertebrae to compensate for the resultant 40-degree deformity.

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Sarah E. Wolff. 2013. Home on the Range: Biogeographic Distribution of Bison in Arizona. – Palarch’s Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology 10(4) (2013), 1-11. ISSN 1567- 2158. 11 pages + 3 figures, 1 table

cover_Wolff-Ter-Qua-PJVP-10-4-1The American bison are traditionally thought of as animals of the vast plains and grasslands, but paleontological and archaeological evidence supports the view that the biogeographic range of bison extended throughout the continental United States to include the American Southwest and Arizona. During the Pleistocene (2,588,000 BP to 11,700 BP), there are several paleontological and archaeological signatures of bison herds in Arizona. From approximately 12,000 BP to AD 1 there is no evidence for bison in the area. This changes around AD 1 when the climate became more favorable, and bison expanded back into Arizona. The last historic bison remains in Arizona date to AD 1650. From AD 1650 until the early 1900s, there are no bison documented in Arizona. Reintroduction of bison to Arizona’s national forests and ranches began in the early 1900s and continues to today. Bison can still be seen on the Arizona landscape demonstrating the temporal longevity of the biogeographic distribution of bison in Arizona.

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