Thursday, October 23, 2014

[Paleontology • 2014] Resolving the Long-standing Enigmas of A Giant Ornithomimosaur Deinocheirus mirificus


 Deinocheirus mirificus
reconstruction: Michael Skrepnick

The holotype of Deinocheirus mirificus was collected by the 1965 Polish–Mongolian Palaeontological Expedition at Altan Uul III in the southern Gobi of Mongolia. Because the holotype consists mostly of giant forelimbs (2.4 m in length) with scapulocoracoids, for almost 50 years Deinocheirus has remained one of the most mysterious dinosaurs. The mosaic of ornithomimosaur and non-ornithomimosaur characters in the holotype has made it difficult to resolve the phylogenetic status of Deinocheirus. Here we describe two new specimens of Deinocheirus that were discovered in the Nemegt Formation of Altan Uul IV in 2006 and Bugiin Tsav in 2009. The Bugiin Tsav specimen (MPC-D 100/127) includes a left forelimb clearly identifiable as Deinocheirus and is 6% longer than the holotype. The Altan Uul IV specimen (MPC-D 100/128) is approximately 74% the size of MPC-D 100/127. Cladistic analysis indicates that Deinocheirus is the largest member of the Ornithomimosauria; however, it has many unique skeletal features unknown in other ornithomimosaurs, indicating that Deinocheirus was a heavily built, non-cursorial animal with an elongate snout, a deep jaw, tall neural spines, a pygostyle, a U-shaped furcula, an expanded pelvis for strong muscle attachments, a relatively short hind limb and broad-tipped pedal unguals. Ecomorphological features in the skull, more than a thousand gastroliths, and stomach contents (fish remains) suggest that Deinocheirus was a megaomnivore that lived in mesic environments.


Figure 1: Deinocheirus mirificus.
a, MPC-D 100/127. b, MPC-D 100/128. c, Composite reconstruction of MPC-D 100/127 with a simple proportional enlargement of MPC-D 100/128. Scale bar, 1 m. The human outline is 1.7 m tall. The holotype and the two new specimens provide almost all skeletal information of Deinocheirus.

Figure 2: Skull of Deinocheirus mirificus (MPC-D 100/127).

Figure 3: Postcranial skeletons of Deinocheirus mirificus (MPC-D 100/127, MPC-D 100/128).

Figure 4: Phylogenetic relationships of Deinocheirus mirificus within Ornithomimosauria.
a, Hypothetical fleshed-out reconstruction of Deinocheirus mirificus (by Michael Skrepnick). b, Time-scaled strict consensus tree of the six most-parsimonious trees from our analysis (tree length = 2,927, consistency index = 0.22, retention index = 0.59; Supplementary Information). In this hypothesis Deinocheirus is a derived taxon of the Deinocheiridae, which is the sister-group of the Ornithomimidae.

a, Photo to show in situ gastralia, gastroliths, and stomach contents. Blue and green arrows represent gastralia and gastroliths. Red rectangle is an area of scattered fish remains and gastroliths. Red circle is an area where broken fish bones are aggregated. b, Enlarged photo of scattered fish remains (vertebrae, scales) with gastroliths in a.


Yuong-Nam Lee, Rinchen Barsbold, Philip J. Currie, Yoshitsugu Kobayashi, Hang-Jae Lee, Pascal Godefroit, François Escuillié and Tsogtbaatar Chinzorig. 2014. Resolving the Long-standing Enigmas of A GiantOornithomimosaur Deinocheirus mirificusNature. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13874

Deinocheirus Exposed: Meet The Body Behind the Terrible Hand http://on.natgeo.com/1xaIeZv via @ngphenomena

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

[Herpetology • 2014] Strophurus horneri | Arnhem Phasmid Gecko • A New Phasmid Gecko (Squamata: Diplodactylidae) from the Arnhem Plateau: more new Diversity in Rare Vertebrates from northern Australia


Arnhem Phasmid Gecko | Strophurus horneri  
Oliver & Parkin, 2014
FIGURE 4. A) Strophurus horneri sp. nov. seen and photographed in southern Kakadu National Park.
Note prehensile tail and pink tongue. Photograph: Brendan Schembri.
FIGURE 3. Strophurus horneri sp. nov. in life. Holotype NMVD72591 photographed at Yirrkakak.
Photograph: Rich Glor.
FIGURE 5. Habitat of Strophurus horneri sp. nov. at Namarragon Gorge, Kakadu National Park.
Photograph: Stuart Young.

Abstract
The Arnhem Plateau is a rugged expanse of sandstone escarpment in the Australian Monsoonal Tropics with a highly endemic biota. Here we describe a new species of small spinifex dwelling Strophurus (phasmid gecko) that also appears to be endemic to this region. Strophurus horneri sp. nov. can be diagnosed from all congeners by aspects of size, coloration and scalation. Even with the description of this new species, however, levels of morphological and genetic diversity within Strophurus from the stone country of the Northern Territory suggest additional divergent lineages are present. A number of recent studies have now provided preliminary evidence of evolutionary diversity within the Arnhem Plateau, but data remains scant and almost nothing is known about how topography and historical processes have shaped the endemic biota of this region.

Keywords: Australian Monsoonal Tropics, endemism, lizard, Kakadu National Park, sandstone, spinifex


Distribution and habitat. Strophurus horneri sp. nov. is known only from the Arnhem Plateau region in the Top End of the Northern Territory. The holotype was collected on the northern edge of the Arnhem Plateau in the vicinity of Yirrkakak. Other specimens have been observed at other localities along the western edge of the Arnhem Plateau (Brendan Schembri, Mitchell Scott pers. comm.), and this species may occur throughout the western and northern Arnhem Plateau (Fig. 1). 
Where data is available, all specimens were found in well developed spinifex patches on or at the base of large sandstone escarpment or boulders (Fig. 5). The longitudinal striped patterning evident in life provides excellent camouflage in this habitat. Brendan Schembri (pers. comm.) reports that this species was comparatively easy to find in long unburnt spinifex in a sheltered gully in southern Kakadu. The potential role of fire frequency in shaping the distribution and abundance of this taxon warrants further investigation.

Etymology. Named in honor of Dr. Paul Horner, Emeritus Curator of the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, in recognition of his significant contributions to Australian reptile systematics.

Oliver, Paul M. & Tom Parkin. 2014. A New Phasmid Gecko (Squamata: Diplodactylidae: Strophurus) from the Arnhem Plateau: more new Diversity in Rare Vertebrates from northern Australia. Zootaxa. 3878(1): 37–48.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

[Ornithology • 2014] First Record of the Nesting Biology of the Red-vented Barbet, Megalaima lagrandieri (Aves: Piciformes: Megalaimidae), an Indochinese endemic


Fig. 4. A, Parent Red-vented Barbet Megalaima lagrandieri on the nesting hole.
B–F, with different food items: B, lizard Bronchocela smaragdina; C, figs; D, fruit of Knema sp.;
E, bush cricket Zabalius sp.; and F, cicada.

Abstract
We report on the nesting biology of the red-vented barbet (Megalaima lagrandieri) in its natural habitat in Loc Bac forest (southern Vietnam, Lam Dong Province). Two active nests containing nestlings and one nest in the process of excavation were observed during 2012 and 2013. Both parents participated in the provisioning of their brood throughout the day, making a maximum of 52 daily visits with food. The nestlings’ diets consisted of fleshy fruits, insects and spiders as well as vertebrates. Plant matter was added to the nestlings’ diet from the initial days of feeding, and its proportion increased over time. We provide a first description of the red-vented barbet nesting hole and comment on the hardness of the wood. A description of the two-week-old nestlings is also provided.

Key words. Asian barbets, cavity nesting, Brinell’s test, frugivory, nestling period


Vitaly L. Trounov and Anna B. Vasilieva. 2014. First Record of the Nesting Biology of the Red-vented Barbet, Megalaima lagrandieri (Aves: Piciformes: Megalaimidae), an Indochinese endemic. RAFFLES BULLETIN OF ZOOLOGY. 62: 671–678

[Paleontology • 2014] Maaradactylus kellneri • A New toothed Pterosaur (Pterodactyloidea: Anhangueridae) from the Early Cretaceous Romualdo Formation, NE Brazil


Maaradactylus kellneri 
Bantim, Saraiva, Oliveira & Sayão, 2014
A new species of pterosaur, discovered from the northeastern Brazil, distinguished from others by numerous teeth and the size of the crest, which occupies 40% of its skull.
Illustration: Maurilio Oliveira

Abstract

A new species of pterosaur, Maaradactylus kellneri gen. nov., sp. nov. (Archosauria: Pterosauria) from the Romualdo Formation (Aptian/Albian), is herein described. The specimen (MPSC R 2357) was found at Sítio São Gonçalo, Santana do Cariri city (State of Ceará, northeast Brazil) and consists of the skull, atlas and axis, and represents one of the largest skulls of the Anhangueridae from the Araripe Basin described. The autapomorphies of the new pterosaur include the following characters: a premaxillary sagittal crest that is relatively long and high, beginning at the anterior part of the skull (rostrum) and extending to the 22nd pair of alveoli, not covering the nasoantorbital fenestra or the choanaes, and also the presence of 35 pairs of alveoli; smooth palatal ridge, which starts on the 5th pair of alveoli and ends on the 13th pair; palate is convex shaped in the anterior region; choanae not extending laterally; small and convex palatal elevation; the 5th, 6th and 7th alveoli smaller than the 4th and 8th; the alveoli decreasing in size from the 9th to the 12th and increasing from the 13th to 18th, and from the 18th to the 35th they are arranged in triplets. Furthermore, the lateral surface of the premaxillary crest shows grooves and tridimensional structures that may have housed blood vessels.

Keywords: Pterosauria, Anhangueridae, Araripe Basin, Romualdo Formation, Brazil





The generic name refers to Maara, in the legends of the Cariri the daughter of a chief, by sorcery changed into a river monster with long teeth, devouring fishermen. The suffix ~dactylus is common in the names of pterosaurs and is derived from Greek δάκτυλος, daktylos, "finger", referring to the long (fourth) wing finger. The specific name honours Alexander Kellner, Brazil's foremost pterosaur expert.

  




 Renan A. M. Bantim, Antônio A. F. Saraiva, Gustavo R. Oliveira and Juliana M. Sayão. 2014. A New toothed Pterosaur (Pterodactyloidea: Anhangueridae) from the Early Cretaceous Romualdo Formation, NE Brazil. Zootaxa. 3869 (3): 201–223. doi: dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3869.3.1.


Monday, October 20, 2014

[Herpetology • 2014] Description of Four New West African Forest Geckos of the Hemidactylus fasciatus Gray, 1842 complex, revealed by coalescent species delimitation


Fig. 1. [A] Living specimen of Hemidactylus fasciatus (not collected) from Liberia;
[B] Living specimen of Hemidactylus kyaboboensis sp. n. from the type locality.

Fig. 6. [A] Living specimen of Hemidactylus ituriensis (AMNH 10273) from Akenge;
[B] Living specimen of Hemidactylus coalescens sp. n. (ZFMK 87679, holotype) from the type locality;
and [C] uncollected living specimen of Hemidactylus biokoensis sp. n. from Bioko Island
(Reserva científica de la Caldera de San Carlos, 3°14’2.39”N, 8°37’38.60”E.).

Abstract
The gecko Hemidactylus fasciatus is widespread in rainforest regions of equatorial Africa, from Guinea to Cameroon. Recently, this taxon was identified as a cryptic complex of at least five species, using multilocus genetic data and coalescent models for species delimitation. Here, we provide the formal descriptions of four new species from tropical West and Central Africa. As typical for cryptic species, the new species are genetically distinct, but difficult to distinguish using external morphology. However, coloration, shape of the body crossbands, and body size, are important distinguishing characters for this complex.

We provide a new taxonomy for this complex that includes the following forest gecko species: H. fasciatus is now restricted to West Africa occurring eastwards to the Dahomey Gap, Hemidactylus kyaboboensis sp. n. is known only from within the Dahomey Gap, H. eniangii sp. n. is distributed from the Dahomey Gap to western Cameroon, H. coalescens sp. n. occurs from central Cameroon to southern Gabon, H. biokoensis sp. n. is restricted to Bioko Island, and H. ituriensis, herein recognized as full species, is known from several localities in eastern Africa.

Key words: Africa, rainforest, Sauria, Gekkonidae, Hemidactylus fasciatus complex, Hemidactylus ituriensis.



Fig. 7. Species tree for the Hemidactylus fasciatus species group based on a coalescent-based Bayesian analysis of 1,087 single nucleotide polymorphisms (Leaché et al. 2014). Posterior probabilities are shown on branches. Museum specimen records were downloaded from the HerpNET database, and geographic distribution was predicted using Maxent. Populations with uncertain taxonomic placement are indicated with “?”. Type localities are: [A]= H. kyaboboensis sp. n.; [B]= H. eniangii sp. n.; [C]= H. biokoensis sp. n.; and [D]= H. coalescens sp. n.



Philipp Wagner, Adam D. Leaché & Matthew K. Fujita. 2014. Description of Four New West African Forest Geckos of the Hemidactylus fasciatus Gray, 1842 complex, revealed by coalescent species delimitation. Bonn zoological Bulletin. 63 (1): 1–14

Sunday, October 19, 2014

[Ichthyology • 2014] Tanakia latimarginata • A New Species of Bitterling (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) from the Nakdong River, South Korea

Tanakia latimarginata
Kim, Jeon & Suk, 2014

ABSTRACT
 Tanakia latimarginata, new species, is described from the Nakdong River, South Korea. It is distinguished from closely related species in that it has a black distal margin on the anal-fin of mature males that is greater than the diameter of the pupil posteriorly to the midpoint of the fin, a light colored ovipositor in mature females, an irregularly shaped fifth infraorbital bone, and a parietal branch of the supraorbital sensory canal that reaches to or extends past the border between the frontal and parietal. Phylogenetic analyses utilizing mitochondrial (cytochrome b) and nuclear (myh6) DNA sequences support a sister group relationship between T. latimarginata and T. lanceolata.




 Daemin Kim, Hyung-Bae Jeon and Ho Young Suk. 2014. Tanakia latimarginata, A New Species of Bitterling from the Nakdong River, South Korea (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters. 25(1):59-68.
http://www.pfeil-verlag.de/04biol/pdf/ief25_1_05.pdf
researchgate.net/publication/265907793_Tanakia_latimarginata_a_new_species_of_bitterling_from_the_Nakdong_River_South_Korea_(Teleostei_Cyprinidae)
Chang, Chia-Hao; Li, Fan; Shao, Kwang-Tsao; Lin, Yeong-Shin; Morosawa, Takahiro; Kim, Sungmin; Koo, Hyeyoung; Kim, Won; Lee, Jae-Seong; He, Shunping; Smith, Carl; Reichard, Martin; Miya, Masaki; Sado, Tetsuya; Uehara, Kazuhiko; Lavoué, Sébastien; Chen, Wei-Jen; Mayden, Richard L. (in press). Phylogenetic relationships of Acheilognathidae (Cypriniformes: Cyprinoidea) as revealed from evidence of both nuclear and mitochondrial gene sequence variation: Evidence for necessary taxonomic revision in the family and the identification of cryptic species. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.  81; 182–194 doi: dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2014.08.026

Thursday, October 16, 2014

[Ichthyology • 2014] Rhinobatos whitei • A New Shovelnose Ray (Batoidea: Rhinobatidae) from the Philippine Archipelago


Rhinobatos whitei 
Last, Corrigan & Naylor, 2014
 DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3872.1.3

Abstract
A new shovelnose ray, Rhinobatos whitei sp. nov., is described from material collected at fish markets of the southern Philippines. This ray was first formally indentified as an undescribed species more than a decade ago as part of a WWF funded survey of sharks and rays of the Philippines. It was considered to be most closely related to another shovelnose ray found nearby in the western North Pacific, R. schlegelii, but differs from that species in body shape and aspects of coloration, meristics and morphometry. It differs from all other shovelnose rays of the region in its NADH2 sequence, clustering together with an Indonesian species R. jimbaranensis, and another undescribed species from Borneo.

Keywords: Rhinobatos, Rhinobatidae, new species, Philippines, western Pacific


Rhinobatos whitei 

Last, P.R., Corrigan, S. & Naylor, G. 2014. Rhinobatos whitei, A New Shovelnose Ray (Batoidea: Rhinobatidae) from the Philippine Archipelago. Zootaxa. 3872 (1): 31–47. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

[Orchidology • 2014] Paphiopedilum robinsonianum • A New Species of Paphiopedilum from Central Sulawesi, Indonesia


Paphiopedilum robinsonianum Cavestro

Abstract 
A new species of Paphiopedilum from Sulawesi is described. This species belongs to the subgenus Paphiopedilum Karas. & Saito and the section Barbata (Kraenzlin) V.A. Albert & Börge Pett. The plant and the flower have some morphological affinities with P. javanicum (Reinw. ex Lindl.) Pfitzer but the dorsal sepal is white with esmerald-green center, the margins of the petals are twisted and heavily ciliated (margins entire for P. javanicum), the staminode is transversely elliptic (reniform for P. javanicum).


Paphiopedilum robinsonianum Cavestro

Cavestro W. 2014. Paphiopedilum robinsonianum sp. nov.
Rhône-Alpes Orchidées. 52 : 10-15.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

[Orchidology • 2014] Paphiopedilum rungsuriyanum • A New Species of Paphiopedilum discovered in northern Laos


Paphiopedilum rungsuriyanum
O. GRUSS, N.RUNGRUANG, Y. CHAISURIYAKUL et I. DIONISIO
A new and very distinct species of the genus Paphiopedilum from north-Laos 

In the last few years, a large number of plants of the genus Paphiopedilum as well as other species, came from Laos on the market in Thailand. Frequently in the past few months, a number of very small size plants of the genus Paphiopedilum appeared as Paph. canhii in the trade. Niwat RUNGRUANG, a grower from Thailand also received a number of plants from these collections and when the plants came to bloom in May 2014, he was surprised because he realized that these Paphs were not Paph. canhii. Therefore Niwat RUNGRUANG sought contact with slipper orchid specialists in Thailand and Germany and asked for an analysis and identification of the plants, based on several Iowering plants and detailed picture material (in particular by Olaf Gruß in Germany). 
While the plants with their marbled leaves appear quite similar to Paph. canhii, the blossom at first glance clearly show much broader petals an intensive red-purple coloring, as well as an entirely different staminodium. Also the underside of the leaves differs significantly in the new species. While Paph. canhii is rather red- purple speckled, this new species shows a gray green bottom with wide purple veins.

the naming is in honor of Niwat RUNGRUANG in the 2rd part of his name, but also means rung = flowering period, success, prosperity and Suriya = growing, increasingly


Olaf Gruß, Niwat Rungruang, Yongyouth Chaisuriyakul and Ibn Dionisio. Paphiopedilum rungsuriyanum, a new species discovered in Northern-Laos. [Paphiopedilum rungsuriyanum, eine neue Art aus Nord-Laos]. OrchideenJournal

[Herpetology • 2014] Oedura murrumanu | Limestone Range Velvet Gecko • A New Species of Velvet Gecko (Oedura: Diplodactylidae) from the Limestone Ranges of the southern Kimberley, Western Australia


  Limestone Range Velvet Gecko | Oedura murrumanu 
Oliver, Laver, Melville & Doughty, 2014

FIGURE 3. (A) Holotype of Oedura murrumanu sp. nov. (WAM R173368) in life, (B) close-up of head
and fringed fingers. Photographs—P. Horner. 
FIGURE 7. Deeply dissected limestone formations at type locality of
Oedura murrumanu sp. nov. in the Oscar Range. Photograph—P. Oliver.

Abstract
We describe a new species of large Oedura from the Oscar Range on the southern edge of the Kimberley Craton in north-western Australia. Oedura murrumanu sp. nov. can be distinguished from all congeners by the combination of large size (snout-vent length to 103 mm), moderately long and slightly swollen tail, tiny scales on the dorsum, fringe of laterally expanded lamellae on each digit, and 6–7 paired distal subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe. The new species is the first endemic vertebrate known from the limestone ranges of the southern Kimberley; however, this area remains poorly surveyed and further research (particularly wet season surveys and genetic analyses) is required to better characterise regional biodiversity values.

Keywords: Australian Monsoonal Tropics, endemism, lizard, mesic refigia, Oscar Range, saxacoline


Oedura murrumanu sp. nov.
Limestone Range Velvet Gecko

Etymology. ‘Murru manu(‘u’ pronouced as ‘oo’) is the word for gecko in the language of the Bunuba people of the south-west Kimberley. This new species is probably entirely restricted to the traditional lands of the Bunuba. 
Distribution. All museum and sight records are from around the type locality (Fig. 1). Further survey work is required to determine if it occurs elsewhere in the Oscar Range, however, there are no obvious barriers between the type locality and large areas of similar limestone to the east, west and north.

Ecology. The type series of O. murrumanu sp. nov. was collected towards the start of the ‘wet season’ (late October) following a brief rain shower. Individuals were observed on horizontal rock platforms and associated with deep horizontal crevices among smooth, weathered limestone (Fig. 7). Several were observed drinking water that had pooled on the rocks. The single adult female paratype (WAM R176699) contains well-developed eggs (approximately 10 mm in diameter and shelled), suggesting that at least some egg-laying occurs early in the wet season. Other geckos recorded at the same time and place were Gehyra cf. multiporosa, Heteronotia planiceps, and Nephrurus sheai.
At the same locality in the late wet season (late February, 2013) several individuals were observed in inaccessible spots on limestone pillars, and one further individual was observed on lower rocks as it appeared to be stalking smaller Gehyra species (G. Gaikhorst, pers. comm.).


Oliver, Paul M., Rebecca J. Laver, Jane Melville & Paul Doughty. 2014. A New Species of Velvet Gecko (Oedura: Diplodactylidae) from the Limestone Ranges of the southern Kimberley, Western Australia. Zootaxa. 3873(1): 49–61. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3873.1.4

[BioGeography / Herpetology • 2014] Crossing the Line: Increasing Body Size in a trans-Wallacean Lizard Radiation (Cyrtodactylus, Gekkota)


Figure 1. Dated phylogeny (Bayesian MCC tree) for Cyrtodactylus estimated with concatenated nuclear and mitochondrial dataset showing divergence dates and ancestral state reconstructions for body length (blue smallest, green intermediate and red largest); taxon names and posterior probabilities are given in the electronic supplementary material, figure S1; exact ages and sizes of all nodes (with 95% highest posterior density (HPD) intervals) are in electronic supplementary material, file SI_4. Yellow shading denotes the two clades occurring in the Australopapuan region. Grey bars at right denote maximum body size for each species (in mm), with grey shading denoting larger-bodied clades in Asian and Australopapuan regions.


Abstract
The region between the Asian and Australian continental plates (Wallacea) demarcates the transition between two differentiated regional biotas. Despite this striking pattern, some terrestrial lineages have successfully traversed the marine barriers of Wallacea and subsequently diversified in newly colonized regions. The hypothesis that these dispersals between biogeographic realms are correlated with detectable shifts in evolutionary trajectory has however rarely been tested. Here, we analyse the evolution of body size in a widespread and exceptionally diverse group of gekkotan lizards (Cyrtodactylus), and show that a clade that has dispersed eastwards and radiated in the Australopapuan region appears to have significantly expanded its body size ‘envelope’ and repeatedly evolved gigantism. This pattern suggests that the biotic composition of the proto-Papuan Archipelago provided a permissive environment in which new colonists were released from evolutionary constraints operating to the west of Wallacea.

Keywords: Asia; Cyrtodactylus; ecological release; insular gigantism; New Guinea; Wallace's Line


Paul M. Oliver, Phillip Skipwith and Michael S. Y. Lee. 2014. Crossing the Line: Increasing Body Size in a trans-Wallacean Lizard Radiation (Cyrtodactylus, Gekkota). Biology Letters. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0479

Geckos crossed the line and got bigger

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

[Paleontology • 2014] Tachiraptor admirabilis • New Dinosaur (Theropoda, stem-Averostra) from the earliest Jurassic of the La Quinta Formation, Venezuelan Ande


Tachiraptor admirabilis, unearthed in Venezuela, attacking the herbivorous dinosaur Laquintasaura.
PaleoArt: Maurílio Oliveira | DOI: 10.1098/rsos.140184

Abstract 
Dinosaur skeletal remains are almost unknown from northern South America. One of the few exceptions comes from a small outcrop in the northernmost extension of the Andes, along the
western border of Venezuela, where strata of the La Quinta Formation have yielded the ornithischian Laquintasaura venezuelae and other dinosaur remains. Here, we report isolated bones (ischium and tibia) of a small new theropod, Tachiraptor admirabilis gen. et sp. nov., which differs from all previously known members of the group by an unique suite of features of its tibial articulations. Comparative/phylogenetic studies place the new form as the sister taxon to Averostra, a theropod group that is known primarily from the Middle Jurassic onwards. A new U–Pb zircon date (isotope dilution thermal-ionization mass spectrometry; ID-TIMS method) from the bone bed matrix suggests an earliest Jurassic maximum age for the La Quinta Formation. A dispersal–vicariance analysis suggests that such a stratigraphic gap is more likely to be filled by new records from north and central Pangaea than from southern areas. Indeed, our data show that the sampled summer-wet equatorial belt, which yielded the new taxon, played a pivotal role in theropod evolution across the Triassic–Jurassic boundary 


Tachiraptor admirabilis attacking the herbivorous dinosaur Laquintasaura.
Tachiraptor, a 1.5-meter-long theropod dinosaur (center) that lived in what is now Venezuela just over 200 million years ago,
PaleoArt: Maurílio Oliveira

Theropoda Marsh 1881 sensu 
Neotheropoda Bakker 1986 sensu 

stem-Averostra Paul 2002 sensu  

Tachiraptor admirabilis new genus and species

Etymology: The generic name derives from Táchira, the Venezuelan state where the fossil was found, and raptor (Latin for thief), in reference to the probable predatory habits of the animal. The specific epithet honours Simon Bolivar’s ‘Admirable Campaign’, in which La Grita, the town where the type locality is located, played a strategic role.

Figure 4. Strict consensus of the 1107 MPTs recovered with the inclusion of Tachiraptor admirabilis into the dataset of Xu et al. [12]. Branch colours represent extension of ghost lineages in millions of years (red, less than 15; purple, 15–35; blue, more than 35). Taxon bar lengths correspond to their chronologic distribution/uncertainty (based on various sources). Bar colours match those of the index Middle Jurassic palaeomap [70] and correspond to the provenance of Triassic/Jurassic theropods from the defined palaeobiogeographic provinces (SG, South Gondwana; EA, Euramerica; TU, Transurals; EB, Equatorial Belt) at the time of their occurrences.


Langer, M. C., Rincón, A. D., Ramezani, J., Solórzano, A., and O. W. M. Rauhut. 2014. New Dinosaur (Theropoda, stem-Averostra) from the earliest Jurassic of the La Quinta Formation,
Venezuelan Andes. Royal Society Open Science. 1: 140184. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.140184


New meat-eating dinosaur lived in the wake of a mass extinction @newsfromscience
Newfound South American Predator Snacked on Little Dinosaurs http://shar.es/1mb4tC via @LiveScience