Several British specimens corresponding to shells of small pleurosternid turtles (Lower Cretaceous) are analysed in detail here. Due to the scarce knowledge available to date about these specimens, their taxonomic status was doubtful. A detailed study through qualitative and quantitative approaches is performed. The results provide evidence of a significant range of shape variability because of the ontogeny. Thus, their attribution to juvenile individuals of Pleurosternon bullockii is justified.
Although the Mesozoic Era played an important role in the evolution and diversification of Elateridae, the Cretaceous click-beetle fauna remains very poorly known. Here we describe Cretopachyderes burmitinus gen. et sp. nov. based on a single specimen from the mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber. This species is remarkable for its extremely long posterior angles of pronotum, which is a unique character among fossil Elateridae.
An extinct species of fly is described from 16–23-million-year-old amber of Ethiopia. It is the first fossil of the fly family Mycetophilidae discovered from Africa. This discovery informs the evolutionary history of Afrotropical fungus gnats.
Currently, little is known about the natural chemical variability of resins and ambers. To understand how much resin variability occurs naturally we ran experiments on plants and then investigated the resultant resins with FTIR-ATR spectroscopy. We detected that resin viscosity and genetic variation are important factors in determining the amount of variation in resin chemistry. This natural variability needs to be taken into account when testing resin and amber chemistries in the future.
Eryopids were 2 m large relatives of modern amphibians that formed top predators in the Paleozoic. They are found in aquatic deposits and apparently preyed on fishes. Their life cycle is preserved in a single species, Onchiodon labyrinthicus, from eastern Germany. It existed in a stressed ecosystem, and the broad variation in the studied sample correlates with seasonal fluctuations. Eryopids evolved into increasingly large, heavily built inhabitants of streams and seasonal water bodies.
In this work we sought to use modern research techniques to revisit a ichthyosaur specimen from Portugal, the most complete fin of our fossil record, and verify the validity of the specimen's historical identification. Through the use of phylogenetic analysis and anatomical comparisons with other specimens, we have assigned a new classification to the specimen and concluded it is the southernmost exemplar of the group.
A new species of dolphin is named on the basis of a partial skull. It was found on a riverbed in North Carolina, USA. During the Miocene it lived in a marine environment. It is most closely related to the Amazon river dolphin. During the Miocene and Pliocene epochs, relatives of the freshwater river dolphins were living in marine environments. More recently, these marine species became extinct, survived only by those species that successfully invaded South American riverine systems.