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  • 1
    In: Geodiversitas, 2011, Vol.33(3), p.411-449
    Description: Ivanov M. & Bhme M. 2011. Snakes from Griesbeckerzell (Langhian, Early Badenian), North Alpine Foreland Basin (Germany), with comments on the evolution of snake faunas in Central Europe during the Miocene Climatic Optimum. Geodiversitas 33 (3): 411-449. Two fossil-bearing levels at Griesbeckerzell (the central part of the North Alpine Foreland Basin; Early Badenian, Mittlere Serie of the Upper Freshwater Molasse) have produced a rich reptile fauna that includes a large number of snakes, i.e. Grisbeckerzell lb (OSM E, 15.014.9 Ma): Boidae: Python sp.; Colubridae: Coluber cf. caspioides; Vipendae: Vipera sp. (oriental vipers group) or Daboia sp.; Griesbeckerzell la (beginning of unit OSM F, 14.77 Ma): Boidae: Bavarioboa aff. hermi, cf. Bavarioboa sp., Python sp.; Colubridae: Coluber cf. caspioides, Coluber hungaricus, Coluber sp., Texasophis cf. meint, Natrix sp.; Elapidae: Micrurus cf. gallicus; Viperidae: Vipera sp. (Oriental vipers group), Vipera sp. (European vipers group; Vipera aspis complex). The Miocene Climatic Optimum (MCO) is documented in central Europe by the presence of highly thermophilous reptile taxa, including Python sp., which is the most thermophilous reptile known from the European Neogene. The presence of Python sp. in Griesbeckerzell 1 a pushes up the last appearance date (LAD) of this large Booidea in central Europe into the early Middle Miocene. The dramatic decrease in temperatures after 14.0 Ma (i.e. below 16C in mean annual air temperature) was most probably responsible for the extinction of the European non-Erycinae Booidea, regardless of food competition. The genus Bavarioboa (Bavarioboa aff. hermi) and possibly Coluber caspioides (Coluber cf. caspioides) both have their LADs in Griesbeckerzell la; Coluber hungaricus probably represents the earliest appearance (FAD) of this colubrid snake. Palaeoclimatic analyses of the herpetofauna indicate for both Griesbeckerzell levels humid conditions of between 750 and 1 025 mm mean annual precipitation. Temperature estimates combined with palaeobotanical data indicate a warm, subtropical climate with mean annual temperatures of 18.6 to 20.8C, cold month temperatures with 12.6 to 13.3C, and warm month temperatures with 25.1 to 28.1C.
    Keywords: Squamata ; Boidae ; Colubridae ; Elapidae ; Viperidae ; Miocene climatic optimum ; North alpine foreland basin ; Palaeoclimate ; Squamata ; Boidae ; Colubridae ; Elapidae ; Viperidae ; Optimum climatique du miocne ; Bassin d'avant-pays nordalpin ; Paloclimat
    ISSN: 1280-9659
    E-ISSN: 16389395
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  • 2
    In: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 2014, Vol.34(1), p.69-79
    Description: . Fragmentary anuran remains (an ilium and radioulna) from the middle Miocene of Moratilla 2 (Teruel Province, Spain) are identified, using qualitative characters and geometric morphometrics, as belonging to a new unnamed species of midwife toad, of the extant anuran genus Alytes (Alytidae). The Moratilla 2 fossils of Alytes are dated to ca. 1617 Ma, prior to the early splits that resulted in the current Alytes diversification. Our biometric study of the fossil radioulnar fragment, an element usually considered uninformative, has revealed convergent adaptive trends in forearm locomotor performance within the genus. This finding would have remained hidden otherwise, because neither molecular approaches nor the comparative osteology of living forms would have detected it. A model for the evolutionary history of midwife toads is proposed, as a case example of how molecular phylogeographic results can be combined with morphological and paleontological studies at the genus level. Historical models of morphological adaptation at low taxonomic and anatomical levels now seem feasible using quantitative reconstructions of fossil fragments. In the future, these models can be compared with independently derived data based on environmental history.
    Keywords: Geology;
    ISSN: 0272-4634
    E-ISSN: 19372809
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  • 3
    In: Journal of Paleontology, 2014, Vol.88(5), p.948-966
    Description: Abstract Testudo antiqua is one of the few fossil turtle names to have survived the past 200 years of taxonomic reshuffling with its original genus and specific epithet intact. The nine currently known specimens were collected from the middle Miocene Hohenhwen locality in southern Germany. Because the available Hohenhwen material was never fully described, we here completely document all known specimens. It is unclear which of these specimens formed the original T. antiqua type series, so we herein selected the best preserved representative as the neotype. A phylogenetic analysis places T. antiqua in a basal polytomy within the clade Testudo, indicating that T. antiqua may represent the ancestral morphology of Testudo. As with a number of other published studies, ours was unable to resolve relationships between the three extant Testudo lineages (the hermanni-group, the graeca/kleinmanni/marginata group, and the horsfieldii-group). Finally, with a view toward locating more turtles and in order to better understand the geological and ecological context of these tortoises, we visited Hohenhwen several times to search for the original collection sites, but we were unable to locate the original fossil quarries described in the literature.
    Keywords: Testudinidae -- Natural History ; Miocene Epoch -- Research ; Zoological Research ; Geological Research;
    ISSN: 0022-3360
    E-ISSN: 19372337
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  • 4
    In: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 2013, Vol.33(2), p.301-318
    Description: We present new and well-preserved giant salamander material from the Miocene of the Grytsiv locality, Ukraine. Disarticulated skull and postcranial bones from two individuals are described as a new taxon, Ukrainurus hypsognathus, gen. et sp. nov. U. hypsognathus is characterized by poorly ossified bone tissues, relatively inflexible mandibles, a high dentary, a crista on the lingual surface of the dentary, a pars dentalis of the dentary that is composed of a dental lamina and a subdental surface, presence of an eminentia dorsalis on the squamosal, a broad pericondylar facet on the occipital, extremely elongated prezygapophyses, and hemal processes with an elongate, oval base. Moreover, U. hypsognathus shows evidence of strong mandibular levator muscles that indicate great biting force. A phylogenetic analysis of all well-understood Tertiary and Recent giant salamanders recovers a monophyletic group of Asian and North American cryptobranchids, but places U. hypsognathus outside crown group Cryptobranchidae. This result suggests that Cryptobranchidae originated in Asia and dispersed to North America. The oldest representative of crown Cryptobranchidae is Aviturus exsecratus from the terminal Paleocene of the Nemegt Basin, Mongolia.
    Keywords: Teeth ; Animal Fossils ; Skull ; Amphibiotic Species ; Palaeo Studies ; Cladistics ; Taxonomy ; Palaeontology ; New Genera ; Urodela ; Caudata ; Cryptobranchidae ; North America ; Mongolia ; Ukraine ; Europe ; Palaeontology;
    ISSN: 0272-4634
    E-ISSN: 19372809
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  • 5
    In: Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History, 2014, Vol.55(2), p.201-214
    Description: Abstract Fossil carettochelyine turtles are well known from the Paleogene of Europe (Allaeochelys), North America and Asia (Anosteira); however, the previously known Neogene fossil record is highly fragmentary and was therefore unsuitable for taxonomic analysis. In this work, we present a new carettochelyine taxon, Allaeochelys libyca, from the Middle Miocene (Langhian) of Gebel Zelten (Libya) based on an incomplete skull and disarticulated postcranial elements. The new taxon is diagnosed relative to the extant Carettochelys insculpta based on the placement of the foramen posterius canalis carotici interni close to the fenestra postotica, the horizontal orientation of the tubercula basioccipitalis, the substantial contribution of the opisthotic to the base of the tubercula basioccipitalis, the presence of a triangular pterygoid fossa, the arrangement of the mandibular condyles along a plane and the presence of an extremely well-developed fossa at the base of the processus mandibularis. A phylogenetic analysis of pancarettochelyids confirms the monophyly of Carettochelyidae and Carettochelyinae but resulted in a paraphyletic taxon, Allaeochelys. For the sake of nomenclatural stability, we provisionally retain the genus Allaeochelys as paraphyletic relative to the extant Carettochelys insculpta.
    Keywords: Allaeochelyslibyca ; Pan-Carettochelys ; Carettochelyidae ; Trionychia ; Gebel Zelten ; Middle Miocene
    ISSN: 0079-032X
    E-ISSN: 21624135
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