Fossil Friday Roundup: October 13, 2017

Featured Image: Avicranium renestoi. Art by Matt Celeskey. From Pritchard and Nesbitt (2017).

Papers (All Open Access):

  • Nuclei and nucleoli in embryo-like fossils from the Ediacaran Weng’an Biota (Precambrian Research)
  • Embracing Uncertainty in Reconstructing Early Animal Evolution (Current Biology)
  • The stalked filter feeder Siphusauctum lloydguntheri n. sp. from the middle Cambrian (Series 3, Stage 5) Spence Shale of Utah: its biological affinities and taphonomy (Paleontological Society)
  • Is geography an accurate predictor of evolutionary history in the millipede family Xystodesmidae? (PeerJ)
  • The geological record and phylogeny of spider wasps (Hymenoptera: Pompilidae): A revision of fossil species and their phylogenetic placement (PLOS ONE)
  • Heterochrony in the evolution of Trinidadian guppy offspring size: maturation along a uniform ontogenetic trajectory (ProcB)
  • New data on Cretaceous freshwater hybodont sharks from Guangxi Province, South China (Research and Knowledge)
  • Exceptional fossils from China highlight the origin and early diversification of ionoscopiform halecomorphs (Research and Knowledge)
  • An extinct vertebrate preserved by its living hybridogenetic descendant (Scientific Reports)
  • A new soft-shelled turtle (Trionychidae, Apalone) from the Late Miocene of North-Central Florida (Bulletin of the FMNH)
  • Identification of the African–European Erymnochelys group (Pleurodira, Podocnemididae) in the Belgian fossil record: first finding of Eocenochelus eremberti outside its type locality (Fossil Record)
  • Semicircular canals in Anolis lizards: ecomorphological convergence and ecomorph affinities of fossil species (RSOS)
  • A rare new Pliensbachian plesiosaurian from the Amaltheenton Formation of Bielefeld in northwestern Germany (Alcheringa)
  • A bird-like skull in a Triassic diapsid reptile increases heterogeneity of the morphological and phylogenetic radiation of Diapsida (RSOS)
  • Unusual cranial and postcranial anatomy in the archetypal ankylosaur Ankylosaurus magniventris (Facets)
  • The evolution of giant flightless birds and novel phylogenetic relationships for extinct fowl (Aves, Galloanseres) (RSOS)
  • Flight aerodynamics in enantiornithines: Information from a new Chinese Early Cretaceous bird (PLOS ONE)
  • Nuclear and mtDNA phylogenetic analyses clarify the evolutionary history of two species of native Hawaiian bats and the taxonomy of Lasiurini (Mammalia: Chiroptera) (PLOS ONE)
  • New Pleistocene mammal site in Črni Kal quarry (Primorska region, Slovenia) with discussion on problems of protection and preservation of fossil sites in quarries (Geologija)
  • The first hyaenodont from the late Oligocene Nsungwe Formation of Tanzania: Paleoecological insights into the Paleogene-Neogene carnivore transition (PLOS ONE)
  • Evidence of a chimpanzee-sized ancestor of humans but a gibbon-sized ancestor of apes (Nature Communications)
  • The Choiyoi magmatism in south western Gondwana: implications for the end-Permian mass extinction – a review (Andean Geology)
  • Mass extinctions drove increased global faunal cosmopolitanism on the supercontinent Pangaea (Nature Communications)
  • Technological variability at Sibudu Cave: The end of Howiesons Poort and reduced mobility strategies after 62,000 years ago (PLOS ONE)
  • Altered cropping pattern and cultural continuation with declined prosperity following abrupt and extreme arid event at ~4,200 yrs BP: Evidence from an Indus archaeological site Khirsara, Gujarat, western India (PLOS ONE)
  • Origin of the ornamented bâton percé from the Gołębiewo site 47 as a trigger of discussion on long-distance exchange among Early Mesolithic communities of Central Poland and Northern Europe (PLOS ONE)
  • Formation of most of our coal brought Earth close to global glaciation (PNAS)


  • Taphonomy and palaeoecology of the White Hunter Local Fauna (PeerJ)
  • An Early Devonian permineralized rhyniopsid from the Battery Point Formation of Gaspe (Canada) (biorXiv)
  • Terrestrial evidence for the Lilliput effect across the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary (PaleorXiv)

Community Events, Society Updates, and Resources:

  • Vote for the Top 10 Taxa of 2017, deadline November 15 (PLOS Paleo)
  • Principles of Vertebrate Functional Morphology, October 16–20, 2017, Barcelona, Spain (Link)
  • The Fourth TetZooCon, October 21, 2017 (Link)
  • A history of life on Earth: A masterclass on evolution with experts from the Natural History Museum, November 19, 2017 (Link)
  • The Science Ambassador Scholarship for female undergraduate and high school seniors, Deadline December 11, 2017 (Link)
  • Trekking Across the GOBE: From the Cambrian through the Katian, IGCP 653 Annual Meeting, June 3-7, 2018, Athens, Ohio, USA (Link)
  • North American Paleontological Convention June 23–27 2019 (Link)

News and Views:

Animals and Anatomy:

  • ‘Mummified’ salamander fossil reveals its organs – and its last meal  (EarthTouch News Network)
  • The Fall and Rise of Protoichthyosaurus (Tetrapod Zoology)
  • Baby Food for Ichthyosaurs (Dr. Neurosaurus)
  • The appearance and lifestyle of Thalassodromeus sethi, supercrested pterosaur (Mark Witton)
  • Just How Good Is the Plesiosaur Fossil Record? (Laelaps)
  • Was the ancestor of the giant sauropods a predator? (PLOS Paleo)
  • Paleo Profile: The Small Whaitsiid (Laelaps)
  • Fossil Friday – vole tooth (Valley of the Mastodon)
  • Mass extinctions are great news for rats, bad news for diversity (Wired)
  • Scientist shed new light on the mystery of the pygmy right whale (Link)

Museums, Methods, and Musings:

Featured Folks and Fieldwork:

Art, books, culture, and fun:

Do you have some news, a blog, or something just plain cool you want to share with the PLOS Paleo Community? Email it to us at, tweet it to us at @PLOSPaleo, or message us on Facebook.

Published by Sarah Z. Gibson

Dr. Sarah Z. Gibson is a paleontologist and science communicator based in Minnesota. Her research focuses on the evolutionary history of ray-finned fishes from the Early Mesozoic.

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