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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Foster, J.R. 2013. Ecological Segregation of the Late Jurassic Stegosaurian and Iguanodontian Dinosaurs of the Morrison Formation in North America: Pronounced or Subtle? – PalArch’s Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology 10(3) (2013), 1-11. ISSN 1567-2158. 11 pages + 4 figures, 1 table.

Foster-2013The Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of western North America has yielded a number of specimens assigned to the ornithischian dinosaurs Stegosaurus and Camptosaurus, and many of these specimens come from channel sandstone deposits. Six new specimens are recorded mostly from channel sandstones as well. Indeed, early analyses of site occurrences (reducing the effects of large single-site samples) suggested that Stegosaurus and Camptosaurus were more often found in channel sandstone deposits than other common Morrison Formation dinosaurs such as Camarasaurus or Diplodocus. This also indicated the possibility of ecological segregation of the former two genera from other herbivorous dinosaurs of the Morrison. Revisiting this question with additional data suggests the pattern may not be as strong as it once appeared. Analysis of occurrence data indicates that Stegosaurus and Camptosaurus occur in channel sandstone deposits slightly more frequently than the two sauropods, but statistical analysis of this pattern by either localities or individuals indicates little significance to the trend. However, Camptosaurus appears more strongly associated with channel sandstone deposits relative to other dinosaurs than does Stegosaurus. These results suggest that any ecological segregation of these genera was moderate, but that, if present, the segregation was more pronounced in Camptosaurus.

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Farke, Andrew A. & Chiara A. Wilridge. 2013. A Possible Pterosaur Wing Phalanx from the Kaiparowits Formation (Late Campanian) of Southern Utah, USA – PalArch’s Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology 10(2) (2013), 1-6. ISSN 1567-2158. 6 pages + 1 figure.

Farke-&-Wilridge-FrontAbstract An isolated bone from the late Campanian-aged Kaiparowits Formation of southern Utah is tentatively identified as the terminal wing phalanx (manual phalanx IV-4) from a pterosaur, representing the first report of this clade from the formation. The specimen is 60 mm long and hollow, with thin and delicate walls and expanded ?proximal and ?distal ends. This is consistent with anatomy reported for equivalent elements in pterodactyloid pterosaurs. Although the specimen cannot be more precisely identified, it is consistent with occurrences of pterosaurs in penecontemporaneous terrestrial depositional environments throughout western North America.

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Wedel, M.J. & M.P. Taylor. 2013. Neural Spine Bifurcation in Sauropod Dinosaurs of the Morrison Formation: Ontogenetic and Phylogenetic Implications. – PalArch’s Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology 10(1) (2013), 1-34. ISSN 1567-2158. 34 pages + 25 figures, 2 tables.

Wedel&Taylor FRONT Abstract It has recently been argued that neural spine bifurcation increases through ontogeny in several Morrison Formation sauropods, that recognition of ontogenetic transformation in this ‘key character’ will have sweeping implications for sauropod phylogeny, and that Suuwassea and Haplocanthosaurus in particular are likely to be juveniles of known diplodocids. However, we find that serial variation in sauropod vertebrae can mimic ontogenetic change and is therefore a powerful confounding factor, especially when dealing with isolated elements whose serial position cannot be determined. When serial position is taken into account, there is no evidence that neural spine bifurcation increased over ontogeny in Morrison Formation diplodocids. Through phylogenetic analysis we show that neural spine bifurcation is not a key character in sauropod phylogeny and that Suuwassea and Haplocanthosaurus are almost certainly not juveniles of known diplodocids. Skeletochronology based on the sequence of skeletal fusions during ontogeny can provide relative ontogenetic ages for some sauropods. Although such data are sparsely available to date and often inconsistent among sauropod genera they provide another line of evidence for testing hypotheses of ontogenetic synonymy. Data from skeletal fusions suggest that Suuwassea and Haplocanthosaurus are both valid taxa and that neither is an ontogenetic morph of a known diplodocid.

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