Articles | Volume 24, issue 1
Research article 10 Jun 2021
Research article | 10 Jun 2021
Determining the gait of Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene horses from fossilized trackways
Related subject area
Evolution and phylogenyThe life cycle in late Paleozoic eryopid temnospondyls: developmental variation, plasticity and phylogenyA unique, large-sized stem Odonata (Insecta) found in the early Pennsylvanian of New Brunswick (Canada)Sheltered preservation in Ordovician trilobites†Cretolixon – a remarkable new genus of rhopalosomatid wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespoidea: Rhopalosomatidae) from chemically tested, mid-Cretaceous Burmese (Kachin) amber supports the monophyly of RhopalosomatinaeThe youngest occurrence of embolomeres (Tetrapoda: Anthracosauria) from the Sunjiagou Formation (Lopingian, Permian) of North ChinaSampling fossil floras for the study of insect herbivory: how many leaves is enough?A new species of baenid turtle from the Early Cretaceous Lakota Formation of South DakotaQuantitative analysis of suture lines in Carboniferous ammonoidsOsseous anomalies of the cryptobranchid Eoscapherpeton asiaticum (Amphibia: Caudata) from the Late Cretaceous of UzbekistanGrowth patterns, sexual dimorphism, and maturation modeled in Pachypleurosauria from Middle Triassic of central Europe (Diapsida: Sauropterygia)New information on the Cenomanian bothremydid turtle Algorachelus based on new, well-preserved material from SpainA case study of developmental palaeontology in Stereosternum tumidum (Mesosauridae, Parareptilia)Postcrania of large dissorophid temnospondyls from Richards Spur, OklahomaDescription of the skeleton of the fossil beaked whale Messapicetus gregarius: searching potential proxies for deep-diving abilitiesForamina in plesiosaur cervical centra indicate a specialized vascular systemThe wasp larva's last supper: 100 million years of evolutionary stasis in the larval development of rhopalosomatid wasps (Hymenoptera: Rhopalosomatidae)The fossil history of pseudoscorpions (Arachnida: Pseudoscorpiones)The blueprint of the Amphiesmenoptera – Tarachoptera, a new order of insects from Burmese amber (Insecta, Amphiesmenoptera)Modeling the physiology of the aquatic temnospondyl Archegosaurus decheni from the early Permian of GermanyTurtle shell bone and osteoderm histology of Mesozoic and Cenozoic stem-trionychian Adocidae and Nanhsiungchelyidae (Cryptodira: Adocusia) from Central Asia, Mongolia, and North AmericaReinvestigation of Protelytron permianum (Insecta; Early Permian; USA) as an example for applying reflectance transformation imaging to insect imprint fossilsA new species of Cyclotosaurus (Stereospondyli, Capitosauria) from the Late Triassic of Bielefeld, NW Germany, and the intrarelationships of the genusNew remarkable Late Jurassic teleosts from southern Germany: Ascalaboidae n. fam., its content, morphology, and phylogenetic relationshipsNew specimen of Cacops woehri indicates differences in the ontogenetic trajectories among cacopine dissorophidsThe stratigraphic importance of the brontothere (cf. Diplacodon elatus) in the Brennan Basin Member of the Duchesne River Formation of UtahDo tracks yield reliable information on gaits? – Part 1: The case of horses
Rainer R. Schoch
Foss. Rec., 24, 295–319,Short summary
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.
Olivier Béthoux, Rowan E. Norrad, Matthew R. Stimson, Olivia A. King, Luke F. Allen, Isabelle Deregnaucourt, Steven J. Hinds, Jake H. Lewis, and Jörg W. Schneider
Foss. Rec., 24, 207–221,Short summary
A specimen of an extinct relative of damsel- and dragonflies was discovered from ca. 310-million-years-old strata from New Brunswick (Canada). It is composed of an incomplete hindwing belonging to a new species whose wingspan was about 35 cm. Despite its incompleteness, it composes a useful addition to our knowledge of the early evolution of the group, owing to its unique combination of traits.
Oldřich Fatka, Petr Budil, and Petr Kraft
Foss. Rec., 24, 193–205,Short summary
Sixteen samples contain one to six Ordovician trilobites preserved in the protected space inside of empty cephalopod conchs or under diverse parts of exoskeletons of much larger disarticulated trilobites. Analyses of the level of articulation of trilobites in combination with their orientation, disposition, and placement make it possible to conclude that the hidden trilobites deliberately entered shells of dead cephalopods for food, refuge, ecdysis, reproduction or lodging.
Volker Lohrmann, Qi Zhang, Peter Michalik, Jeremy Blaschke, Patrick Müller, Laurent Jeanneau, and Vincent Perrichot
Foss. Rec., 23, 215–236,Short summary
A new mid-Cretaceous rhopalosomatid wasp, Cretolixon alatum Lohrmann gen. et sp. nov., is described from Burmese (Kachin) amber. The new genus has a unique mixture of characters, some of which are only known from the recent brachypterous genus Olixon and others of which are known only from the recent macropterous genera. Thus, Cretolixon not only provides further evidence for the monophyly of the family but also contributes evidence for the monophyly of the Rhopalosomatinae.
Jianye Chen and Jun Liu
Foss. Rec., 23, 205–213,Short summary
In this paper, we describe a new species of embolomere from 255-million-year-old fossil beds from northern China. This group of ancient animals is closely related to amniotes (reptiles, birds, and mammals) and was previously thought to have gone extinct around 273 million years ago. The new discovery indicates that North China, with its ancient tropical rain forest, became a last reservoir for these animals right before the end-Permian mass extinction.
Sandra R. Schachat, S. Augusta Maccracken, and Conrad C. Labandeira
Foss. Rec., 23, 15–32,Short summary
Insects have been feeding on plants for over 300 million years. The fossil record preserves evidence of this behavior: it is possible to examine a fossilized leaf and see the spots where insects ate it or laid their eggs in it. The study of these insect
traceson leaves shows us how insects have adapted to changing climates. Here, we address the question of how many leaves from a single fossil locality must be examined to permit statistically robust comparisons in deep time.
Walter G. Joyce, Yann Rollot, and Richard L. Cifelli
Foss. Rec., 23, 1–13,Short summary
Baenids are a group of fossil turtles with a rich fossil record that spans from the Late Cretaceous (Campanian) to Eocene of North America. Only a few fossils are known that document the early evolution of the group. We here describe a new species of baenid, Lakotemys australodakotensis, from the Early Cretaceous (Berriasian to Valanginian) Lakota Formation of South Dakota, USA. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that this is the oldest known baenid turtle.
Michael Wegerer, Kenneth De Baets, and Dieter Korn
Foss. Rec., 21, 223–236,Short summary
Two morphometric methods are applied for the analysis of suture lines in Early Carboniferous ammonoids: (1) classic metric data using multivariate statistic methods and (2) outline data are analysed using the elliptic Fourier analysis. Both methods lead to similar results and demonstrate ontogenetic and phylogenetic trends in these ammonoids: (1) a general decrease in the amplitude of lobes and saddles, (2) a proportional widening of the external lobe, and (3) a heightening of the median saddle.
Pavel Skutschas, Veniamin Kolchanov, Elizaveta Boitsova, and Ivan Kuzmin
Foss. Rec., 21, 159–169,Short summary
Paleopathologies among fossil members of modern groups of amphibians are poorly documented. We describe pathologies of the fossil salamander Eoscapherpeton asiaticum from the Late Cretaceous of Uzbekistan. These pathologies can result from trauma, infection from trauma and congenital disorders. The occurrence of several traumatic femoral pathologies in Eoscapherpeton could result from intraspecific aggressive behavior. Bone pathologies are described for the first time in fossil salamanders.
Nicole Klein and Eva Maria Griebeler
Foss. Rec., 21, 137–157,
Foss. Rec., 21, 119–135,Short summary
The Spanish Algorachelus peregrinus is the oldest pleurodiran turtle known in the Northern Hemisphere. New material is presented, including several shells. The patterns by which some of them were disarticulated are analyzed. Several pathologies are identified. The knowledge about the anatomy and intraspecific variability is improved. Algorachelus is recognized in the Middle East and North America. The oldest known dispersal event of Pleurodira from Gondwana to Laurasia is characterized.
Constanze Bickelmann and Linda A. Tsuji
Foss. Rec., 21, 109–118,Short summary
Mesosaurs were reptiles that lived around 280 mya. They were the first land reptile group to return to the water. Study of a fossil from the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin reveals a previously unobserved baby skeleton near the adult. This small skeleton can tell us about how these creatures grew; the lower segment of the hind limb is already proportionally larger than the upper hind limb and the lower and upper forelimbs. This may be because young mesosaurs needed to swim right from birth.
Bryan M. Gee and Robert R. Reisz
Foss. Rec., 21, 79–91,Short summary
This paper presents a description of an extremely well-preserved and articulated skeleton of a temnospondyl amphibian from the early Permian of Oklahoma. Postcranial material is not often well-preserved or well-described in the literature for this group, known as dissorophids, and acquiring new data on this region of the skeleton is important for understanding the evolution of the group. It also represents the first documentation at this site of a genus that was otherwise known only from Texas.
Benjamin Ramassamy, Olivier Lambert, Alberto Collareta, Mario Urbina, and Giovanni Bianucci
Foss. Rec., 21, 11–32,Short summary
Extant beaked whales perform deep dives to forage for squids. We studied the morphology of the fossil ziphiid Messapicetus gregarius to evaluate its ability to perform such dives. Our analysis suggests an enlargement of the pterygoid sinus system in deep divers. In M. gregarius, the pterygoid sinus is enlarged, but other lines of evidence indicate that the coastal environment also represented an important part of its home range.
Tanja Wintrich, Martin Scaal, and P. Martin Sander
Foss. Rec., 20, 279–290,Short summary
Plesiosaurians retain a very long neck but greatly reduce neck flexibility, and the cervicals have large, paired, and highly symmetrical foramina on the ventral side of the centrum, traditionally termed
subcentral foramina, and on the floor of the neural canal. We found that these dorsal and the ventral foramina are connected by a canal. The foramen are not for nutrient transfer; they are the osteological correlates of a highly paedomorphic vascular system in the neck of plesiosaurs.
Volker Lohrmann and Michael S. Engel
Foss. Rec., 20, 239–244,Short summary
Amber functions as a window into the past, capable of capturing behaviors
frozenfor millions of years. Here, we report on the exceptionally rare discovery of a dinosaur-age larva of a stinging wasp, feeding on its cricket host, in mid-Cretaceous amber from Myanmar. It reveals a considerable constancy in the biology of this particular family over the last 100 million years. The excellent preservation of the larva is remarkable and due solely to the fidelity permitted by inclusion in amber.
Danilo Harms and Jason A. Dunlop
Foss. Rec., 20, 215–238,Short summary
We review the fossil history of pseudoscorpions (Arachnida: Pseudoscorpiones), one of the oldest terrestrial lineages with a fossil record that goes back to the Devonian. Pseudoscorpions do not fossilise easily, and records from the Mesozoic and Cenozoic consist almost exclusively of amber inclusions. Overall, 16 of the 26 recent families have been documented from fossils. This is a group of evolutionary stasis and we discuss aspects of palaeobiology, preservation, and ecology.
Wolfram Mey, Wilfried Wichard, Patrick Müller, and Bo Wang
Foss. Rec., 20, 129–145,Short summary
Based on a total of 14 inclusions from Burmese amber the new, extinct insect order Tarachoptera was established. The new order Tarachoptera is placed in the superorder Amphiesmenoptera. The species of Tarachoptera are tiny insects with a wing span of 2.3–4.5 mm, but are highly specialized according to their aberrant morphology. They lived in the forests of Southeast Asia about 100 million years ago.
Florian Witzmann and Elizabeth Brainerd
Foss. Rec., 20, 105–127,Short summary
Based on the estimation of its body mass and metabolic rate, we calculated heat balance, gas exchange, osmoregulation, and digestion of the 290-million-year-old aquatic amphibian Archegosaurus. Our results suggest that its physiology was more fish- than tetrapod-like in many respects. We conducted this study, which is mainly based on theoretical calculations and comparison with extant analogs, to shed light on the physiology and lifestyle of early tetrapods.
Torsten M. Scheyer, Elena V. Syromyatnikova, and Igor G. Danilov
Foss. Rec., 20, 69–85,Short summary
We review shell bone microstructures of Adocidae and Nanhsiungchelyidae, two groups of extinct hide-necked turtles related to modern soft-shelled turtles (Trionychidae) and the pig-nosed turtle Carettochelys insculpta (Carettochelyidae). Adocids and nanhsiungchelyids both have a good fossil record in North America and Asia during the Cretaceous and Cenozoic. Our microstructural data supplement previously reported differences in external shell morphology between adocids and nanhsiungchelyids.
Olivier Béthoux, Artémis Llamosi, and Séverine Toussaint
Foss. Rec., 20, 1–7,Short summary
Fossil insects preserved as an imprint on laminae have subtle differences in relief which can be difficult to photograph. Recourse to reflectance transformation imaging allowed us to deliver exhaustive and interactive photographic data for Protelytron permianum. Based on these data we were able ascertain that it is an early relative of earwigs. In order to better appreciate its elaborate hind wing folding mechanism, we provide guidelines to build and operate a paper model.
Florian Witzmann, Sven Sachs, and Christian J. Nyhuis
Foss. Rec., 19, 83–100,Short summary
In this study, the well-preserved skull of a giant amphibian from the Late Triassic Stuttgart Formation (Schilfsandstein) of Bielefeld-Sieker in NW Germany is described and a new species, Cyclotosaurus buechneri sp. nov., is erected. Cyclotosaurus buechneri represents the only unequivocal evidence of Cyclotosaurus in northern Germany. The amphibian skull was found more than 40 years ago and is well known in Bielefeld and the surrounding areas but has so far never been described.
Foss. Rec., 19, 31–59,Short summary
Complete morphological descriptions of exceptionally beautifully preserved Late Jurassic fishes from Bavaria (e.g., Ettling and Eichsttät), southern Germany, are provided for a new genus and species, which is endemic of Ettling and for a new family, Ascalaboidae. The new family is only known from marine Upper Jurassic localities of Europe and is interpreted as an extinct and primitive group of Teleostei, which is considered the largest group within osteichthyans (bony fishes).
N. B. Fröbisch, A. Brar, and R. R. Reisz
Foss. Rec., 18, 73–80,Short summary
Here we describe a large specimen of the Paleozoic dissorophid amphibian Cacops woehri from the Fort Sill locality in Oklahoma, which was previously only known from a partial juvenile skull. The new data show that, in contrast to the closely related species C. morrisi, C. woehri underwent only subtle changes in skull morphology in late ontogeny, which indicates different functional demands possibly associated with a different ecology.
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Foss. Rec., 17, 69–74,
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This study compares footprints made by modern horses with two fossil trackways. One shows a Pleistocene horse in a gallop of 9 m/s, perhaps fleeing predators or migrating. More intriguing is the trackway of a Miocene horse with diagonal couplets in a gait of 2 m/s. This best matches the artificial gait of the rack/tölt only found in breeds such as the Saddlebred, Icelandic, and Paso, providing more evidence that early horses possessed a greater variety of useful gaits than most modern horses.
This study compares footprints made by modern horses with two fossil trackways. One shows a...