Friday, February 5, 2016

[PaleoMammalogy • 2016] Unexpected Convergent Evolution of Nasal Domes between Pleistocene Bovids, Rusingoryx atopocranion, and Cretaceous Hadrosaur Dinosaurs

• Pleistocene Rusingoryx atopocranion are first known mammals with hollow nasal crests
Rusingoryx ontogeny and evolution are broadly similar to lambeosaurine hadrosaurs
• The best-supported nasal crest function is phonic modification
• Combination of convergent ontogeny, evolution, and function may explain crest rarity

The fossil record provides tangible, historical evidence for the mode and operation of evolution across deep time. Striking patterns of convergence are some of the strongest examples of these operations, whereby, over time, similar environmental and/or behavioral pressures precipitate similarity in form and function between disparately related taxa. Here we present fossil evidence for an unexpected convergence between gregarious plant-eating mammals and dinosaurs. Recent excavations of Late Pleistocene deposits on Rusinga Island, Kenya, have uncovered a catastrophic assemblage of the wildebeest-like bovid Rusingoryx atopocranion. Previously known from fragmentary material, these new specimens reveal large, hollow, osseous nasal crests: a craniofacial novelty for mammals that is remarkably comparable to the nasal crests of lambeosaurine hadrosaur dinosaurs. Using adult and juvenile material from this assemblage, as well as computed tomographic imaging, we investigate this convergence from morphological, developmental, functional, and paleoenvironmental perspectives. Our detailed analyses reveal broad parallels between R. atopocranion and basal Lambeosaurinae, suggesting that osseous nasal crests may require a highly specific combination of ontogeny, evolution, and environmental pressures in order to develop.

An artist's interpretation of Rusingoryx atopocranion on the Late Pleistocene plains of what is now Rusinga Island, Lake Victoria. Scientists have found many links between Rusingoryx and hadrosaur dinosaurs -- particularly the large, hollow dome that makes a crest on top of the animal's skull.
illustration: Todd S. Marshall

Haley D. O’Brien, J. Tyler Faith, Kirsten E. Jenkins, Daniel J. Peppe, Thomas W. Plummer, Zenobia L. Jacobs, Bo Li, Renaud Joannes-Boyau, Gilbert Price, Yue-xing Feng and Christian A. Tryon. 2016. Unexpected Convergent Evolution of Nasal Domes between Pleistocene Bovids and Cretaceous Hadrosaur Dinosaurs. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.12.050

Ancient wildebeest-like animal shared 'bizarre' feature with dinosaur via  @physorg_com
Ancient wildebeest-like animal had bizarre nose like dinosaur via @ABCNews

J. Tyler Faith, Jonah N. Choiniere, Christian A. Tryon, Daniel J. Peppe and David L. Fox. 2010. Taxonomic status and paleoecology of Rusingoryx atopocranion (Mammalia, Artiodactyla), an extinct Pleistocene bovid from Rusinga Island, Kenya. Quaternary Research. 75(3); 697–707. DOI: 10.1016/j.yqres.2010.11.006

[Botany • 2014] Nymphaea siamensis Puripany. | บัวจงกลนี • A New Species of Waterlily native to Thailand

บัวจงกลนี | Nymphaea siamensis  Puripany.  

Morphological and genetic comparison between Nymphaea siamensis and other Nymphaea species were conducted. N. siamensis is a new species of Nymphaea found in Thailand. Lacking carpels and anthers, its indeterminate flowers feature multiple whorls of pink petals. The species could be propagated vegetatively via bulblets and shows closest similarities to Nymphaea ‘Nilubon’, an unclassified landrace found in the northeast of Thailand. N. siamensis and N. ‘Nilubon’ have similar leaf, stem and root morphology. Like N. siamensis, N. ‘Nilubon’ also produces bulblets. However, flowers of N. ‘Nilubon’ have purple petals and are complete with both stamens and pistils. N. siamensis differs from the other Nymphaea species in its lack of locules, which made it difficult to be classified. Nonetheless, its morphological characters appear closer to species in the subgenus Brachyceras than in the subgenus Lotos. As a consequence, the species may be classified under the subgenus Brachyceras of the genus Nymphaea. Cluster and neighbor joining analyses of 34 polymorphic RAPD alleles revealed that N. siamensis was most similar to N. ‘Nilubon’ in our study. In addition, parsimony analysis revealed that it might have a separate origin from the other Nymphaea species in our studies. We propose that N. siamensis be qualified as a new plant species native to Thailand.

Keywords: Nymphaea siamensis, new species, nomenclature, morphology, RAPD

Puripunyavanich, V., La-ongsri, W., Boonsirichai, K. and Chukiatman, P. 2014. Nymphaea siamensis, the New Species of Waterlily in Thailand. Acta Hortic. 1035, 87-98. DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2014.1035.10

บัวจงกลนี (Nymphaea sp.) มีชื่อปรากฏในเอกสารมาตั้ง แต่สมัยสุโขทัย ปัจจุบันยังไม่สามารถจำแนกชนิดได้ อาจจะเป็นชนิดใหม่ และเป็นพืชเฉพาะถิ่นของไทย หรือเป็นบัวพันธุ์ผสมโดยฝีมือคนไทยในช่วงสมัยรัชกาลที่ 5

Thursday, February 4, 2016

[PaleoIchthyology • 2016] The First Articulated Specimen of the Cretaceous Mackerel Shark Haimirichia amonensis gen. nov. (Haimirichiidae fam. nov.) reveals A Novel Ecomorphological Adaptation within the Lamniformes (Elasmobranchii)

Haimirichia amonensis
Vullo, Guinot & Barbe, 2016

Figure 1.
General view of the articulated specimen (UM AGT 1) of Haimirichia amonensis from Agoult, Morocco.
  A, ventral part in dorsal view (slab UM AGT 1a) and interpretative line drawing; B, dorsal part in ventral view (counterslab UM AGT 1b) and interpretative line drawing.
Scale bar = 10 cm.  DOI:  10.1080/14772019.2015.1137983  


The first shark from the early Late Cretaceous Konservat Lagerstätte of Agoult (south-eastern Morocco) is described. The specimen consists of the anterior part of an articulated skeleton including the cephalic and branchial regions, anterior vertebrae and one pectoral fin. The well-preserved dentition of this specimen indicates that it corresponds to the fossil lamniform originally described as Odontaspis amonensis Cappetta & Case, 1975, a purported odontaspidid species of unclear affinities. The new material provides crucial anatomical data for this taxon, such as head shape, cranial structure, tooth formula, organization of the ampullary system and type of vertebra. Based on these features, this short-snouted, broad-headed shark is confirmed as a member of Lamniformes but is clearly not assignable to any of the known living and fossil genera, and is thus described as Haimirichia amonensis gen. nov. Moreover, this unique set of features, including several autapomorphies, differs sufficiently from those of odontaspidids and other lamniform families (both living and extinct) that it requires the erection of the family Haimirichiidae fam. nov. The articulated specimen of H. amonensis reveals a novel ecomorphological specialization within the Lamniformes, adding to the high disparity observed within this order. During the Cenomanian, H. amonensis was a common, widely distributed species that likely had a lifestyle similar to that of some living medium-sized coastal pelagic carcharhiniform sharks with a comparable overall morphology, such as the whitetip reef shark Triaenodon obesus.

Keywords: lamniform sharks, Haimirichiidae fam. nov., Haimirichia gen. nov., ecomorphology, Upper Cretaceous, Morocco

The lamniform shark Haimirichia amonensis was previously known only from isolated teeth and was thought tobelong to the lamniform family Odontaspididae (sandtiger sharks). By revealing unique morphological features, anatomical study of the new, articulated specimen of H. amonensis demonstrates that this species is not an odontaspididmember and must be assigned to a new genus andfamily within the order Lamniformes. The shape and positionof the orbital processes and the specialized type of dermal denticle directly associated with the electrosensory ampullary system are two of the peculiar, autapomorphic features of Haimirichia.

The new articulated specimen shows that H. amonensis was one of the major components of the mid-Cretaceous morphological and ecological lamniform diversification. Haimirichia represents a novel, unique ecomorphotype within lamniforms, and reaffirms the high disparity observed within this order through Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic time (Cappetta 2012, p. 33). The morphological features and occurrences of H. amonensis suggest that this tropical-subtropical shark had life habits and a feeding behaviour similar, at least in part, to those of some extant carcharhiniforms such as Triaenodon obesus and Sphyrna tiburo. As with the extinct anacoracid Squalicorax and the extant carcharhinids Carcharhinus and Galeocerdo (Cappetta 2012, pp. 33, 246), this is another case of parallel evolution between a Cretaceous lamniform taxon and Cenozoic and/or living carcharhiniforms.

 Romain Vullo, Guillaume Guinot and Gérard Barbe. 2016.The First Articulated Specimen of the Cretaceous Mackerel Shark Haimirichia amonensis gen. nov. (Haimirichiidae fam. nov.) reveals A Novel Ecomorphological Adaptation within the Lamniformes (Elasmobranchii). Journal of Systematic Palaeontology .  DOI:  10.1080/14772019.2015.1137983     

[Ichthyology • 2016] The Genera Isorineloricaria and Aphanotorulus (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) with Description of A New Species, Isorineloricaria acuarius, from the Apure River basin of Venezuela

Isorineloricaria acuarius
 Ray & Armbruster, 2016


We review the complex history of those species included in the Hypostomus emarginatus species complex and recognize them in Isorineloricaria and Aphanotorulus. Isorineloricaria consists of four valid species: Isorineloricaria acuarius n. sp., I. spinosissima, I. tenuicauda, and I. villarsi. Aphanotorulus consists of six valid species: A. ammophilus, A, emarginatus, A. gomesi, A. horridus, A. phrixosoma, and A. unicolor. Plecostomus annae and Hypostoma squalinum are placed in the synonymy of A. emarginatus; Plecostomus biseriatus, P. scopularius, and P. virescens are placed in the synonymy of A. horridus; Plecostomus winzi is placed in the synonymy of I. tenuicauda, and one new species, Isorineloricaria acuarius is described from the Apure River basin of Venezuela. Aphanotoroulus can be distinguished from Isorineloricaria by having caudal peduncles that do not become greatly lengthed with size and that are oval in cross section (vs. caudal peduncle proportions that get proportionately longer with size and that become round in cross-section), and by having small dark spots (less than half plate diameter) on a light tan background (vs. spots almost as large as lateral plates on a nearly white background.

Keywords: Pisces, Amazonas, Andean, Brazilian Shield, Guiana Shield, Hypostomus, Squaliforma, taxonomy

C.K. Ray and J.W. Armbruster. 2016. The Genera Isorineloricaria and Aphanotorulus (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) with Description of A New Species.
Zootaxa. 4072(5): 501–539.   DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4072.5.1 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

[Paleontology • 2016] The “χ” of the Matter: Testing the Relationship between Paleoenvironments and Three Theropod Clade

Fig 5. Reconstruction of the terrestrial paleoenvironmental setting of the Sao Khua Formation, Northeastern Thailand.
In the center, a generalized spinosaurid feeds on a sauropod. This trophic relationship is hypothesized based on isolated tooth crowns found in association with a sauropod skeleton [Buffetaut & Suteethorn, 1999]. In the background, a small pack of the ornithomimosaur theropod Kinnareemimus. Both sauropods and ornithomimosaurs (as part of the “herbivorous” theropods) were found to be positively associated with terrestrial paleoenvironments by Butler and Barrett (2008)
Illustration: Renata Cunha  DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147031


The view of spinosaurs as dinosaurs of semi-aquatic habits and strongly associated with marginal and coastal habitats are deeply rooted in both scientific and popular knowledge, but it was never statistically tested. Inspired by a previous analysis of other dinosaur clades and major paleoenvironmental categories, here we present our own statistical evaluation of the association between coastal and terrestrial paleoenvironments and spinosaurids, along with other two theropod taxa: abelisaurids and carcharodontosaurids. We also included a taphonomic perspective and classified the occurrences in categories related to potential biases in order to better address our interpretations. Our main results can be summarized as follows: 1) the taxon with the largest amount of statistical evidence showing it positively associated to coastal paleoenvironments is Spinosauridae; 2) abelisaurids and carcharodontosaurids had more statistical evidence showing them positively associated with terrestrial paleoenvironments; 3) it is likely that spinosaurids also occupied spatially inland areas in a way somehow comparable at least to carcharodontosaurids; 4) abelisaurids may have been more common than the other two taxa in inland habitats.

Fig 4. Schematic illustration of the spatial distribution of Abelisauridae, Carcharodontosauridae, and Spinosauridae throughout coastal and terrestrial paleoenvironments.
 Spinosaurids seem to have been natural inhabitants of coastal settings, while terrestrial and more inland habitats were shared by them and both abelisaurids and carcharodontosaurids. Note that the number of body icons (not to scale) does not reflect perfectly the relative abundance of these taxa within each paleoenvironment.

Marcos A. F. Sales , Marcel B. Lacerda, Bruno L. D. Horn, Isabel A. P. de Oliveira and Cesar L. Schultz. 2016. The “χ” of the Matter: Testing the Relationship between Paleoenvironments and Three Theropod Clades.
PLoS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147031

Buffetaut E and Suteethorn V. 1999. The dinosaur fauna of the Sao Khua Formation of Thailand and the beginning of the Cretaceous radiation of dinosaurs in Asia. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol. 150: 13–23. doi: 10.1016/s0031-0182(99)00004-8
Butler RJ and Barrett PM. 2008. Palaeoenvironmental controls on the distribution of Cretaceous herbivorous dinosaurs. Naturwissenschaften. 95: 1027–32. doi: 10.1007/s00114-008-0417-5.

[Paleontology • 2009] Kinnareemimus khonkaenensis | กินรีไมมัส ขอนแก่นเอนซิส • An Early 'Ostrich Dinosaur' (Theropoda: Ornithomimosauria) from the Early Cretaceous Sao Khua Formation of NE Thailand

Kinnareemimus khonkaenensis
Buffetaut, Suteethorn & Tong, 2009
Illustration: N. Puttapipat

Postcranial remains of a small theropod dinosaur, including vertebrae, incomplete pubes, tibiae, an incomplete fibula, metatarsals and phalanges, from the Early Cretaceous Sao Khua Formation of Phu Wiang, Khon Kaen Province, NE Thailand, are described as a new taxon of ornithomimosaur, Kinnareemimus khonkaenensis, gen. et sp. nov. This early ‘ostrich dinosaur’ is characterized by a fairly advanced metatarsus, in which metatarsal III, although still visible proximally between metatarsals II and IV in cranial view, is markedly ‘pinched’ more distally and becomes triangular in cross-section. The condition of its metatarsus shows that Kinnareemimus khonkaenensis is more derived than the geologically younger primitive ornithomimosaurs Harpymimus and Garudimimus, but less derived than Archaeornithomimus. Its occurrence in the Early Cretaceous of Thailand suggests that advanced ornithomimosaurs may have originated in Asia.

Buffetaut, E., Suteethorn, V. and Tong, H. 2009. An Early 'Ostrich Dinosaur' (Theropoda: Ornithomimosauria) from the Early Cretaceous Sao Khua Formation of NE Thailand. 229-243, IN E. Buffetaut, G. Cuny, J. Le Loeuff & V. Suteethorn (eds.), Late Palaeozoic and Mesozoic Ecosystems in SE Asia. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 315: 229-243. doi:  10.1144/SP315.16

Monday, February 1, 2016

[Ichthyology • 2015] Pseudacanthicus pitanga • A New Species of Ancistrini (Siluriformes: Loricariidae: Hypostominae) from rio Tocantins Basin, North Brazil

 Pseudacanthicus pitanga
 Chamon, 2015


The genus Pseudacanthicus comprises five valid species distributed in the Amazon, Guyana and Suriname basins: P. serratus, P. fordii, P. histrix, P. spinosus and P. leopardus. A new species of Pseudacanthicus from the Tocantins river basin is described. The new species is distinguished from its congeners by the following combination of characters: presence of dark blotches anostomosing to form continuous zigzag bands alongside longitudinal keels; absence of blotches on ventral surface of body; faint blotches on head; all fins with orange to red color on unbranched ray and sometimes on subsequent branched rays; and sphenotic and sixth infraorbital not in contact. Brief comments on the phylogeny of the genus, ornamental fisheries activities, threats and conservation of the new species are also provided.

Keywords: Acari, Amazon Basin, Ornamental fishery, Neotropical, taxonomy

Carine C. Chamon. 2015. Pseudacanthicus pitanga: A New Species of Ancistrini (Siluriformes: Loricariidae: Hypostominae) from rio Tocantins Basin, North Brazil. Zootaxa. 3973 (2): 309–320

Sunday, January 31, 2016

[Herpetology • 2016] Systematic Revision of the Taiwanese Genus Kurixalus members (Anura, Rhacophoridae) with A Description of Two New Endemic Species; Kurixalus berylliniris & K. wangi

Figure 3. Four Kurixalus species of Taiwan.
Kurixalus berylliniris sp. n. (holotype, adult, dark morph) B K. wangi sp. n. (holotype) C K. berylliniris sp. n. (sub-adult) D K. berylliniris sp. n. (adult, light morph) E K. eiffingeri F K. idiootocus.

Two new species of rhacophorid tree frog were identified in Taiwan. In both new taxa, derived reproductive characteristics of laying eggs in tree holes and oophagous tadpoles are shared with Kurixalus eiffingeri, but they are divergent from each other in molecular genetics, mating calls, and tadpole and adult morphology. The morphological characteristics and the molecular phylogenetic evidence support the hypothesis that the two new speciesKurixalus berylliniris sp. n. and Kurixalus wangi sp. n., are both monophyletic lineages.

Keywords: Kurixalus berylliniris sp. n., Kurixalus wangi sp. n., oophagous tadpoles

Figure 1. Sampling localities of this study.
Localities 1 through 22 are around Taiwan island, locality 23 from Iriomote isle, locality 24 from Ishigaki isle. The two isles belong to the southern end of Ryukyu archipelago. Color refers to the geographical distribution of the three Kurixalus species. Red: Kurixalus eiffingeri; Green: K. berylliniris sp. n. (Taxon 1); B: K. wangi sp. n. (Taxon 2). Loc. 20: Ligia, type locality of K. berylliniris sp. n.; Loc. 21: Shouka, type locality of K. wangi sp. n.

Figure 10. Phylogenetic relationship of all Kurixalus species from Taiwan. A phylogram showing the phylogenetic relationships of the four Kurixalus species, obtained by a maximum likelihood search based on 1207 nucleotides from mtDNA CO1 and 16S rRNA genes. Feihyla palpebralis and Rhacophorus moltrechti were used as outgroups. The three values on each branch are maximum likelihood (ML), maximum parsimony (MP), and neighbor-joining (NJ) analyses with bootstrapping support based on 2000 replicates. Bootstrapping values below 50% are not shown. (JP: Ryukyu Islands of Japan; N. TW: northern Taiwan; C. TW: central Taiwan).

Kurixalus berylliniris sp. n.

Type locality: Ligia timber trail, 1250 meters above sea level, Taitung County, Taiwan, Republic of China (Fig. 1, Loc. 20, 22°49'26.79"N, 121°00'35.45"E).

Diagnosis: A moderate-sized Kurixalus. Females average about 41 mm snout-vent length (range: 27.6–46.3 mm); males average about 35 mm (range: 29.0–42.3 mm). Iris emerald to light green. Two dark brown spots on eyelids, separated from each other and from X-shaped blotch on dorsum. Subarticular tubercles on foot rounded and flat. Belly and throat white or faintly-speckled. Prepollex in males squarish, compressed and expanded. About half-webbed between two outer toes. Anterior margin of tadpole dorsal fin extending to body. Tadpole heavily dark brown to black pigmented in gular region and on tail muscle. Upper lip of tadpole with deep transverse furrow, and prominent ridge extending from upper lip to anterior margin of nostril (key of tadpole, 3).

Etymology: The epithet berylliniris is a compound word formed from beryllin (L.), green-colored, and from iris (L.), iris of the eye, and is treated as a noun in nominative singular in opposition to the generic name.

Distribution and ecological notes: Kurixalus berylliniris sp. n. occurs in eastern Taiwan (at 225 to 1250 meters above sea level). The highest recorded elevation was on the eastern slope of the Central Mountain Range (Taitung County, 1250 meters above sea level), and the lowest recorded elevation was on the western slope of the Coastal Range (Hwalien County, 225 meters above sea level). Specimens were collected near the canopy level in moist broad-leaf forests in Taitung and on forest edges in Hwalien. The northern border of the specimen’s distribution was near the Guangfu township of the central Hualien County (Fig. 1, Green stain).

Kurixalus wangi sp. n.

Type locality: Shouka timber trail, 400 meters above sea level, Pingtung County, Taiwan, Republic of China (Fig. 1, Loc. 21, 22°13'15.58"N, 120°49'21.92"E).

Diagnosis: A small to moderate-sized Kurixalus. Females snout-vent length averaging about 34 mm (range: 30.8–37.1 mm); males averaging 30 mm (range: 28.6–31.6 mm). Iris golden-yellow. Two anterior horns of the X-shaped marking on back extending to eyelid. Webbing extensive on toes, extending to the toe disc on the inner margin of toe V. Belly and throat whitish. Anterior margin of tadpole dorsal fin extending to posterior body. Tadpole with almost no pigment on region of tail muscle. Upper lip of tadpole with shallow transverse furrow.

Etymology: The epithet is named and dedicated to Mr. Ching-Shong Wang for his pioneering work and contributions to the herpetology of Taiwan (Wang 1962). Mr. Wang discovered two rhacophorid frogs (Rhacophorus taipeianus and K. idiootocus) (Liang and Wang 1963, Kuramoto and Wang 1987) in Taiwan and suggested, in the early 1980s, that some Kurixalus specimens collected near the type locality of this new species might be different from K. eiffingeri (personal communication). The name is used in the genitive case.

Distribution and ecological notes: Kurixalus wangi sp. n. is distributed in the southern part of Pingtung County in southern Taiwan below 500 meters above sea level (Fig. 1, Blue dots). All specimens were collected in the shrubs of secondary forests or lowland broad-leaved forests at low altitudes.

Figure 4. Nesting sites of three tree-hole breeding Kurixalus species (a nest is made by the animal).
A eggs of Kurixalus berylliniris sp. n. B eggs of K. wangi sp. n.; note that the parents were present with eggs C eggs of K. eiffingeri.

Phylogenetic relationships

As demonstrated by the high bootstrap support, the robustness of the phylogenetic relationship of the three rhacophorid genera is strong. Based on this robust phylogenetic tree, we found that the among-genera genetic distances were greater than the within-genus genetic distance (Fig. 10). Using the partial sequence of mtDNA CO1 gene as a molecular marker (Table S2), the genetic distances of the all pair-wise comparisons of the four Kurixalus species were all larger than 10% (Table S3). The phylogenetic trees constructed by Bayesian inference, NJ analysis, and MP methods showed the same topology (Fig. 10). The topology of branches was sufficiently supported by the posterior probabilities, bootstrap values, and branch lengths. The four Kurixalus species of Taiwan formed a well-structured monophyletic group with distinguishable branch length. Samples of K. eiffingeri collected from Iriomote Island, northern Taiwan, and central Taiwan were embedded in the same lineage and formed a monophyletic group (Fig. 11 below). Individuals from southern (Kurixalus wangi sp. n.) and eastern Taiwan (K. berylliniris sp. n.) were sister taxa of K. eiffingeri. Kurixalus idiootocus was phylogenetically distinct from the three Kurixalus species (Figs 10 and 11 below).

Figure 11. Geographic distribution and genetic structures of Kurixalus eiffingeri and the two newly discovered cryptic species from Taiwan and its two adjacent islands. Red: K. eiffingeri; Green: K. berylliniris sp. n.; B: K. wangi sp. n. Bold lines mark the boundaries of each species’ distribution, dotted lines discriminate different genetic groups intra species. Below: a consensus ML tree to show the variation between haplotypes.

Shu-Ping Wu, Chuan-Chin Huang, Chi-Li Tsai, Te-En Lin, Jhih-Jia Jhang and Sheng-Hai Wu. 2016. Systematic Revision of the Taiwanese Genus Kurixalus members with A Description of Two New Endemic Species (Anura, Rhacophoridae).
ZooKeys. 557: 121-153. DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.557.6131

[Mammalogy • 2015] Murina kontumensis • A New Species of the Genus Murina (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from the Central Highlands of Vietnam with A Review of the Subfamily Murininae in Vietnam

Murina kontumensis
Son, Csorba, Tu & Motokawa, 2015

The subfamily Murininae has high species diversity in Vietnam, but taxonomic studies are limited. In this paper, we describe a new species of the genus Murina based on a specimen collected from Ngoc Linh Nature Reserve, Kon Tum Province in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. It is a medium-sized species with ‘suilla-type’ dentition. A taxonomic review of Murininae from Vietnam was also conducted based on combined morphological, DNA, and karyological characteristics. Molecular phylogenetic analyses based on the mitochondrial cytochrome coxidase subunit (COI) gene supported the subfamily Murininae, while the genus Murina proved to be paraphyletic in relation to the genera Harpiocephalus and Harpiola. Fourteen species of the genus Murina, one species of Harpiocephalus, and one species of Harpiola are recognized from Vietnam. Murina tiensa is regarded as a junior synonym of M. harrisoni; strong sexual dimorphism was observed in M. harrisoni. Relations between forearm length and total length of skullshowed different trends among species and sexes. Karyotypes of Murina huttoni, M. cyclotis, M. lorelieae, M. beelzebub, M. feae, and Harpiola isodon were 2n = 44, FN = 50, while that of Harpiocephalus harpia was 2n = 44, FN = 52.

Key words: DNA barcode, karyotype, morphology, taxonomy, tube-nosed bats

Nguyen Truong Son, Gabor Csorba, Vuong Tan Tu, Vu Dinh Thong, Wu, Y., Harada, M., Oshida, T., Endo, H. and Motokawa, M. 2015. A New Species of the Genus Murina (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from the Central Highlands of Vietnam with A Review of the Subfamily Murininae in Vietnam. ACTA CHIROPTEROLOGICA. 17(2); 201-232. DOI:  10.3161/15081109ACC2015.17.2.001

Phát hiện loài dơi mới ở Kon Tum - VnExpress

[Mammalogy • 2015] Murina lorelieae ngoclinhensis • First Records of Murina lorelieae (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from Vietnam

Murina lorelieae ngoclinhensis
Tu & Hassanin, 2015


In 2011, three specimens from an unknown species of tube-nosed bat (genus Murina) were collected in montane moist forest at altitudes between 1117 and 1682 m in the Ngoc Linh Nature Reserve of Vietnam. We sequenced the mitochondrial COI gene from Ngoc Linh bats and performed comparisons with Murina sequences available in the nucleotide databases. The results suggested that the three unidentified specimens belong to Murina lorelieae, a species recently described from a single specimen collected in southern China. Nucleotide distances between specimens from Ngoc Linh and southern China are exceptionally low for M. lorelieae (1.25%) in comparison with three other Murina species, i.e., Murina cyclotis, Murina feae, and Murina huttoni (3.9–5.5%). We suggest that M. lorelieae is adapted to montane forests, which may have facilitated long-distance dispersal events between southern China and Vietnam during glacial periods of the Pleistocene. Morphological comparisons based on body-size measurements and geometric morphometric analyses of the skulls showed differences between Vietnamese specimens and the Chinese holotype of M. lorelieae. We proposed that the Vietnamese specimens belong to a distinct subspecies, Murina lorelieae ngoclinhensis.

Keywords: DNA barcode; morphology; Murininae; Southeast Asia; subspecies

 Vuong Tan Tu, Raphaël Cornette, Jose Utge and Alexandre Hassanin. 2015. First Records of Murina lorelieae (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from Vietnam.
MAMMALIA. 79(2); 201–213 DOI: 10.1515/mammalia-2013-0101

[PaleoMammalogy • 2016] Ptilocercus kylin • An Early Oligocene Fossil Demonstrates Treeshrews (Scandentia) are Slowly Evolving “Living Fossils”

Ptilocercus kylin 
 Li & Ni, 2016

Treeshrews are widely considered a “living model” of an ancestral primate, and have long been called “living fossils”. Actual fossils of treeshrews, however, are extremely rare. We report a new fossil species of Ptilocercus treeshrew recovered from the early Oligocene (~34 Ma) of China that represents the oldest definitive fossil record of the crown group of treeshrews and nearly doubles the temporal length of their fossil record. The fossil species is strikingly similar to the living Ptilocercus lowii, a species generally recognized as the most plesiomorphic extant treeshrew. It demonstrates that Ptilocercus treeshrews have undergone little evolutionary change in their morphology since the early Oligocene. Morphological comparisons and phylogenetic analysis support the long-standing idea that Ptilocercus treeshrews are morphologically conservative and have probably retained many characters present in the common stock that gave rise to archontans, which include primates, flying lemurs, plesiadapiforms and treeshrews. This discovery provides an exceptional example of slow morphological evolution in a mammalian group over a period of 34 million years. The persistent and stable tropical environment in Southeast Asia through the Cenozoic likely played a critical role in the survival of such a morphologically conservative lineage.

Figure 1: Upper and lower dentition (in color) of Ptilocercus kylin sp. nov., compared with P. lowii (USNM 32409, in gray-scale).
(A) Crown view of the upper dentition. Fossils include the lingual half of a left M1 (IVPP V20689, reversed), the buccal half of a right M1 (IVPP V20690), a complete right M2 (IVPP V20691), and the buccal half of a left M3 (IVPP V20692, reversed). I1-2, C, P2-4, and M1-3 are shown for P. lowii. (B) Crown view of the lower dentition. Fossils include an isolated right lower canine (IVPP V20693), a right jaw fragment preserving p3-4 and the alveoli for i2-3, c, and p2 (IVPP V20694), an isolated right m1 (IVPP V20695), and a right jaw fragment preserving m2-3 (IVPP V20696, holotype). The alignment of the fossils is based on a left lower jaw fragment retaining a small portion of the i2-3 alveoli, alveoli and roots of c and p2, and p3-m3 (IVPP V20699, Fig. 2 and Supplementary Information). The i1-3, c, p2-4, and m1-3 are shown for P. lowii. (C), Lingual view of the lower dentition of P. kylin. (D), Buccal view of the dentition of P. kylin. Scale bar equals 5 mm.

Ptilocercus kylin sp. nov.

Etymology: Specific epithet is derived from the name of Qilin District, in Qujing City. Qilin is the pinyin for kylin, a hoofed dragon-like beast of Chinese myth.

Holotype: IVPP V20696 (Fig. 1), a right mandibular fragment preserving m2 and m3.

Locality and horizon: Lijiawa Mammalian Fossil locality, Yunnan Province, China. Earliest Oligocene, ~ 34 Ma.

Figure 3: Summary phylogeny of treeshrews.

Figure 4: Ptilocercus treeshrew distribution in the context of southern Asia’s modern geography and early Oligocene palaeogeography.
(A) Fossil locality of Ptilocercus kylin sp. nov. (blue dot) and the distribution of the living species Ptilocercus lowii (pale reddish shading). The background map is from: (under the Creative Commons Share Alike license: (B) Fossil locality (blue dot) and reconstructed palaeogeographic distribution of the closed canopy of tropical rain forest and monsoonal forest (pale reddish shading) in the early Oligocene. The palaeogeographic reconstruction is from ref. 46 (Nature Publishing Group License: 3646200322068). The position of the fossil locality on the palaeogeographic reconstruction was estimated based on its distance from the Tibetan Plateau and the Sino-Burman Ranges (SBR).

Qiang Li and Xijun Ni. 2016. An Early Oligocene Fossil Demonstrates Treeshrews are Slowly Evolving “Living Fossils”. Scientific Reports. 6; 18627. DOI: 10.1038/srep18627

Earliest-known treeshrew fossil found in Yunnan, China via @physorg_com

Saturday, January 30, 2016

[PaleoOrnithology • 2016] Chongmingia zhengi • A New Basal Bird from China with implications for Morphological Diversity in Early Birds

Chongmingia zhengi 
Wang, Wang, Wang & Zhou, 2016 

The Chinese Lower Cretaceous Jehol Group is the second oldest fossil bird-bearing deposit, only surpassed by Archaeopteryx from the German Upper Jurassic Solnhofen Limestones. Here we report a new bird, Chongmingia zhengi gen. et sp. nov., from the Jehol Biota. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that Chongmingia zhengi is basal to the dominant Mesozoic avian clades Enantiornithes and Ornithuromorpha, and represents a new basal avialan lineage. This new discovery adds to our knowledge regarding the phylogenetic differentiation and morphological diversity in early avian evolution. The furcula of Chongmingia is rigid (reducing its efficiency), consequently requiring more power for flight. However, the elongated forelimb and the large deltopectoral crest on the humerus might indicate that the power was available. The unique combination of features present in this species demonstrates that numerous evolutionary experimentations took place in the early evolution of powered flight. The occurrence of gastroliths further confirms that herbivory was common among basal birds. The Jehol birds faced competition with pterosaurs, and occupied sympatric habitats with non-avian theropods, some of which consumed birds. Thus, avialan herbivory may have reduced ecological competition from carnivorous close relatives and other volant vertebrates early in their evolutionary history.

Systematic paleontology

Aves Linnaeus, 1758 

Chongmingia zhengi gen. et sp. nov.

Etymology: The generic name is from the Mandarin word Chongming, referring to a Chinese mythological bird. The specific epithet is in honour of Mr. Xiaoting Zheng for his generous contribution in the establishment of the Shandong Tianyu Museum of Nature.

Holotype: STM (Shandong Tianyu Museum of Nature) 9-9, a partial skeleton with associated soft tissues and gastroliths, missing the skull and most of the caudal vertebrae (Fig. 1).

Locality and horizon: Dapingfang, Liaoning Province, China; Jiufotang Formation, Early Cretaceous (Aptian).

Figure 1: Photograph and line drawing of the holotype of Chongmingia zhengi gen. et sp. nov. (STM9-9).

Figure 7: Simplified Mesozoic avian cladogram showing the possible phylogenetic positions of Chongmingia zhengi.
Analysis using the coelurosaurian matrix places Chongmingia within basal avialans and as the sister group to Ornithothoraces (p1), and analysis using the Mesozoic avian matrix resolves Chongmingia as the most basal avialan, except for Archaeopteryx (p2).
See Supplementary Figs 2–4 for complete results. (The skeletal drawing and silhouettes were drawn by Min Wang).  doi:  10.1038/srep19700 

Min Wang, Xiaoli Wang, Yan Wang and Zhonghe Zhou. 2016. A New Basal Bird from China with implications for Morphological Diversity in Early Birds.
Scientific Reports. 6: 19700. DOI:  10.1038/srep19700