Fossil Friday Roundup: December 14, 2018

Featured Image: Complete articulated skeleton and carapace of the Miocene armadillo Prozaedyus proximus (MPM-PV 3506). From Vizcaíno et al. (2018). CC-BY.

Papers (All Open Access):

  • Mapping the past: GIS and intrasite spatial analyses of fossil deposits in paleontological sites and their applications in taxonomy, taphonomy and paleoecology (PalaeoE)
  • Considering planetary environments in origin of life studies (Nature Communications)
  • Searching for lost nucleotides of the pre-RNA World with a self-refining model of early Earth (Nature Communications)
  • Experimentally investigating the origin of DNA/RNA on early Earth (Nature Communications)
  • Bacterial origin of the red pigmentation of Phanerozoic carbonate rocks: an integrated study of geology-biology-chemistry (Ernest Van den Broeck medallist lecture 2017) (Geologica Belgica)
  • An evolutionary and cultural biography of ginkgo (PPP)
  • Phylogenetic relationships and time-calibration of the South American fossil and extant species of southern beeches (Nothofagus) (APP)
  • Fast adaptation of tropical diatoms to increased warming with trade-offs (Scientific Reports)
  • Colony growth strategies, dormancy and repair in some Late Cretaceous encrusting bryozoans: insights into the ecology of the Chalk seabed (Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments)
  • New records of brachiopods and crinoids from the Silurian (Wenlock) of the southern Urals, Russia (DiVA)
  • Trait‐based ecology of terrestrial arthropods (Biological Reviews)
  • A phylogenomic resolution of the sea urchin tree of life (BMC Evolutionary Biology)
  • A middle Eocene seep deposit with silicified fauna from the Humptulips Formation in western Washington State, USA (APP)
  • Post-Cretaceous bursts of evolution along the benthic-pelagic axis in marine fishes (ProcB)
  • Metabolic physiology explains macroevolutionary trends in the melanic colour system across amniotes (ProcB)
  • The skull of the carettochelyid turtle Anosteira pulchra from the Eocene (Uintan) of Wyoming and the carotid canal system of carettochelyid turtles (Fossil Record)
  • A new phylogenetic analysis of Phytosauria (Archosauria: Pseudosuchia) with the application of continuous and geometric morphometric character coding (PeerJ)
  • Winged forelimbs of the small theropod dinosaur Caudipteryx could have generated small aerodynamic forces during rapid terrestrial locomotion (Scientific Reports)
  • Evidence for the Cretaceous shark Cretoxyrhina mantelli feeding on the pterosaur Pteranodon from the Niobrara Formation (PeerJ)
  • Flightless birds are not neuroanatomical analogs of non-avian dinosaurs (BMC Evolutionary Biology)
  • Expansion in geographical and morphological space drives continued lineage diversification in a global passerine radiation (ProcB)
  • New skeletal material sheds light on the palaeobiology of the Pleistocene marsupial carnivore, Thylacoleo carnifex (PLOS ONE)
  • Recent Progress and Future Prospects in Fossil Xenarthran Studies, with Emphasis on Current Methodology in Sloth Taxonomy (Journal of Mammalian Evolution)
  • The Postcranial Musculoskeletal System of Xenarthrans: Insights from over Two Centuries of Research and Future Directions (Journal of Mammalian Evolution)
  • An Overview of the Presence of Osteoderms in Sloths: Implications for Osteoderms as a Plesiomorphic Character of the Xenarthra (Journal of Mammalian Evolution)
  • Advantages and Limitations in the Use of Extant Xenarthrans (Mammalia) as Morphological Models for Paleobiological Reconstruction (Journal of Mammalian Evolution)
  • An Overview of Xenarthran Developmental Studies with a Focus on the Development of the Xenarthrous Vertebrae (Journal of Mammalian Evolution)
  • The Concept of a Pedolateral Pes Revisited: The Giant Sloths Megatherium and Eremotherium (Xenarthra, Folivora, Megatheriinae) as a Case Study (Journal of Mammalian Evolution)
  • Potential Distribution of Fossil Xenarthrans in South America during the Late Pleistocene: co-Occurrence and Provincialism (Journal of Mammalian Evolution)
  • Feeding Ecology in Oligocene Mylodontoid Sloths (Mammalia, Xenarthra) as Revealed by Orthodentine Microwear Analysis (Journal of Mammalian Evolution)
  • Epaxial Musculature in Armadillos, Sloths, and Opossums: Functional Significance and Implications for the Evolution of Back Muscles in the Xenarthra (Journal of Mammalian Evolution)
  • Architectural Properties of Sloth Forelimb Muscles (Pilosa: Bradypodidae) (Journal of Mammalian Evolution)
  • Problems of the taxon Archidiskodon meridionalis gromovi Garutt et Alexejeva, 1964 validity: diagnosis, stratigraphic spreading and paleoecology (Proceedings of the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences)
  • The Carnivora (Mammalia) from the middle Miocene locality of Gračanica (Bugojno Basin, Gornji Vakuf, Bosnia and Herzegovina) (Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments)
  • Dietary versatility of Early Pleistocene hominins (PNAS)
  • Neandertal Introgression Sheds Light on Modern Human Endocranial Globularity (Current Biology)
  • Improvements in the fossil record may largely resolve current conflicts between morphological and molecular estimates of mammal phylogeny (ProcB)

PrePrints and PostPrints:

  • Petrosal morphology and cochlear function in Mesozoic stem therians (bioRXiv)
  • Comparative Cranial Morphology of the Late Cretaceous Protostegid Sea Turtle Desmatochelys lowii (PaleorXiv)

Community Events, Society Updates, and Resources:


  • Western Association of Vertebrate Paleontologists, March 15–17, 2019, University of Oregon (Link)
  • 11th Conference on Fossil Resources, Casper, Wyoming, May 30-June 2, 2019 (Link)
  • North American Paleontological Convention June 23–27 2019 (Link)

News and Views:

Animals and Anatomy:

Methods and Musings:

Featured Folks, Fieldwork, and Museums:

Arts, Books, Culture, Fun:

  • Book review – King of the Dinosaur Hunters: The Life of John Bell Hatcher and the Discoveries that Shaped Paleontology (The Inquisitive Biologist)
  • What $16,500,000 Buys You (LITC)
  • Aquilops skull, take 3 (SVPOW)
  • Book review – Across the Bridge: Understanding the Origin of the Vertebrates (The Inquisitive Biologist)
  • Vintage Dinosaur Art: Great Dinosaurs (LITC)
  • The Ascent of Birds (Raptormaniacs)

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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