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June 2019
Vol 42-1
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Print ISSN: 0031-0247
Online ISSN: 2274-0333
Frequency: biannual

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Since 1967, Palaeovertebrata has published original research on all aspects of vertebrate paleontology, including taxonomy, phylogeny, paleobiogeography, functional anatomy, biostratigraphy, paleoecology, and taphonomy.

 The new on-line version of Palaeovertebrata aims to meet a critical need for easier access to research outputs within the field of vertebrate paleontology, by providing the first "diamond open access" journal. All Palaeovertebrata articles are peer reviewed to ensure they meet the journal’s high quality standards. Palaeovertebrata’s primary objective is to accelerate the publication of high quality papers and provide immediate access to its published articles at no cost to its authors or readers. We anticipate that Palaeovertebrata will gain an Impact Factor in due course.

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Difficulties with the origin of dinosaurs: a comment on the current debate
Matthew G. Baron
Keywords: dinosaur anatomy; dinosaur evolution; Ornithoscelida; palaeobiogeography; Triassic Period

doi: 10.18563/pv.43.1.e3

    The origin and early evolutionary history of the dinosaurs is a topic that has recently gone through a period of renewed interest and academic debate. For 130 years, one way of classifying the various dinosaur subgroups persisted as the accepted model, with increasing levels of research in the past quarter-century also providing evidence for the hypothesis that dinosaur origination occurred in the Southern Hemisphere, particularly in South America. It is, after all, from within the Late Triassic strata of countries like Argentina and Brazil that we get some of the very best early dinosaur specimens; many of these specimens are the earliest known representatives of some of the major dinosaur subgroups, such as the theropods and sauropodomorphs. However, some recent analyses have brought about a shift in terms of what is currently accepted and what is now disputed regarding the origin of dinosaurs – the Southern Hemisphere origination hypothesis was questioned (although this was based upon observations and not with quantitative analysis techniques), as has the shape of the dinosaur tree. Responses to the new hypothesis were numerous; many further supported a Southern Hemisphere point of origin. Whilst the interrelationships between the major dinosaur clades remains to be resolved, the current data does seem to comprehensively answer the question of where the dinosaurs first originated. However, it is arguable whether the current data that is being used in such palaeobiogeographical analyses is sufficient to provide an answer to the question of where specifically the dinosaur clade first appeared. This short communication urges a degree of caution about the current consensus and what steps may need to be taken to ensure that more meaningful results are produced in the future. 

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New material of “Eurysternidae” (Thalassochelydia, Pan-Cryptodira) from the Kimmeridgian of the Swiss Jura Mountains
Christian Püntener, Jérémy Anquetin and Jean-Paul Billon-Bruyat
Keywords: Eurysternidae; Late Jurassic; morphology; Switzerland; Testudines; Thalassochelydia

doi: 10.18563/pv.43.1.e2

    The region of Porrentruy (Swiss Jura Mountains) is known for its rich and diverse assemblage of Late Jurassic coastal marine turtles (Thalassochelydia). Dominated by the “Plesiochelyidae”, this assemblage also includes representatives of the two other thalassochelydian groups, the “Thalassemydidae” and “Eurysternidae.” In this study, we present new shell-based material from Porrentruy referable to eurysternids. One specimen represents a juvenile individual or a relatively small taxon, and is notably characterized by a well fenestrated plastron exhibiting a wider than long central plastral fontanelle. Two other specimens are much larger and possibly represent the largest eurysternids known to date. The fourth specimen is characterized by a unique plastral morphology otherwise only known in very small juveniles. This is the first time this unique plastral morphology is known to persist in an adult or subadult. The new material described herein represents at least three distinct taxa, all of them probably new. However, we refrain from naming new species based on this incomplete material in order to avoid adding confusion to an already complex taxonomical situation. This study provides new insights into the great diversity of eurysternids during the Late Jurassic. 

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The skull of Tetraceratops insignis (Synapsida, Sphenacodontia)
Frederik Spindler
Keywords: cranium; pelycosaur; Permian; therapsid origins

doi: 10.18563/pv.43.1.e1

    Tetraceratops insignis is known from a single, crushed skull from the Lower Permian of Texas. Its unique proportions and osteological details gained central meaning in the question of the origins of Therapsida since this early synapsid has been determined as the oldest and less derived therapsid. Apart from Tetraceratops, the ‘mammal-like’ Therapsida and their sister, the pelycosaur-grade Sphenacodontidae, are separated by one of the longest ghost lineages in tetrapod fossil record. However, the minor, though well justified critique faced insistent publication regarding the therapsid hypothesis. A carefull re-evaluation of the holotypic skull reveals that therapsid traits cannot be supported, including a rejection of the formerly supposed adductor shelf in the temporal fenestra. Increased understanding of ‘pelycosaur’ character variation underlines a haptodontine-grade or, less likely, sphenacodontid position for Tetraceratops

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A new species of bat (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) from the early Oligocene global cooling period, Brule Formation, North Dakota, USA
Nicholas Czaplewski, Jeff Person, Clint Boyd and Robert Emry
Keywords: Eocene-Oligocene global cooling; Mammalia; Oligocene; Plecotini; Quinetia

doi: 10.18563/pv.42.2.e2

    We report the first confirmed fossil bats from North Dakota, including a new species referable to the Vespertilionidae represented by a maxilla with P4-M3 from the Brule Formation, Fitterer Ranch local fauna, early Oligocene, Whitneyan North American Land Mammal Age. Unassociated postcranial fragments of the humerus and femur also represent a vespertilionoid, but appear to reflect a different, unidentified species. The new taxon, Quinetia frigidaria sp. nov., is referred to the genus Quinetia, previously known only from approximately contemporaneous deposits in Europe. The new species is larger than Quinetia misonnei from the early Oligocene of Belgium. It is similar in some morphological characters to Chadronycteris rabenae (Chiroptera incertae sedis) of the late Eocene (Chadronian) of northwestern Nebraska and to Stehlinia species (?Palaeochiropterygidae) from the Eocene and Oligocene of Europe, but differs from each in morphological details of the dentition and maxilla. An unassociated talonid of a lower molar from Fitterer Ranch shows myotodont morphology, unlike the nyctalodont lower molars in Q. misonnei, and thus represents a second chiropteran taxon in the fauna. Quinetia frigidaria is a member of a Paleogene radiation of bats near the low point of the Eocene-early Oligocene decline in global temperatures, increased seasonal aridity, and loss of tropical floras from mid-latitude North America. 

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Terrestrial vertebrate paleocommunities from the Cerro del Pueblo Formation (Late Cretaceous; Late Campanian) at Las Aguilas, Coahuila, Mexico
Héctor E. Rivera-Sylva, Eberhard Frey, Wolfgang . Stinnesbeck, Natalia Amezcua Torres and Diana Flores Huerta
Keywords: Campanian; Coahuila; dinosaurs; Mexico.; vertebrates

doi: 10.18563/pv.42.2.e1

    The Las Águilas site near Porvenir de Jalpa, Coahuila, Mexico, is extremely rich in tetrapod remains comprising both bones and trackways of several dinosaur taxa of late Campanian age. Within a 50 m thick section we identified at least nine layers with dinosaur bone assemblages. In one of these the dinosaur bones are associated with remnants of eusuchian crocodilians, turtles, plesiosaurs, pterosaurs, tyrannosaurids, dromaeosaurids, parksosaurid, hadrosaurids, ceratopsids, and ankylosaurs. This layer is also rich in coprolites of turtles, crocodilians and likely theropods, thus providing evidence for the wealth of Late Cretaceous vertebrate life in the area. 

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Current Issue

Discovery of the most ancient Notidanodon tooth (Neoselachii: Hexanchiformes) in the Late Jurassic of New Zealand. New considerations on the systematics and range of the genus
Henri Cappetta and Jack Grant-Mackie
Keywords: Chondrichthyes; Hexanchiformes; new genus; New Zealand; Tithonian

doi: 10.18563/pv.42.1.e1

    This paper describes the first hexanchid tooth from the Tithonian (Late Jurassic) of New Zealand. For the moment, this tooth represents the earliest representative of the fossil genus Notidanodon in the world and one of the most ancient neoselachians in the Southern Hemisphere. Despite the perfect state of preservation of the unique tooth, the species is left in open nomenclature, pending the discovery of additional specimens. Few nominal species have been assigned to the genus Notidanodon. Four from Cretaceous deposits: N. antarcti Grande & Chatterjee, 1987, Notidanodon dentatus (Woodward, 1886), Notidanodon lanceolatus (Woodward, 1886), Notidanodon pectinatus (Agassiz, 1843) and only two from Paleocene: Notidanodon brotzeni Siverson, 1995, and Notidanodon loozi (Vincent, 1876). Considering the important morphological variations observed between some of these species, it seems obvious that the genus Notidanodon is not monophyletic and will need a revision in the future. 

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New Late Miocene plecotine bats (Chiroptera, Vespertilionidae: Plecotini) from Gritsev, Ukraine
Valentina V. Rosina, Sergei Kruskop and Yuriy Semenov
Keywords: Barbastella; bats; late Neogene; Mammalia; Plecotus

doi: 10.18563/pv.42.1.e2

    The Late Miocene site of Gritsev (MN 9, Ukraine) has yielded a very rich bat fauna, the remains of which are well preserved. Compared to other Neogene bat assemblages of Europe, the Gritsev bat community is unique in preserving plecotine bats, which are rare from Neogene sites. Some peculiar and new bat species, including a large plecotin Otonycteris, already were described from the Gritsev mammal site. Here we report new records of small plecotin bats from Gritsev, including a new taxon, Barbastella maxima nov. sp. This is the earliest reliable fossil record of this genus and it differs from more recent species of Barbastella in being considerably larger. The evolutionary patterns in the odontology within the tribe Plecotini, supported by biostratigraphical distribution of fossil records of Plecotus are discussed. The morphological peculiarities of the new fossils of plecotine bats from Gritsev are discussed in connection with its possible taxonomical affinity. 

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A femur of the Late Cretaceous giant bird Gargantuavis from Cruzy (southern France) and its systematic implications
Eric Buffetaut and Delphine Angst
Keywords: Aves; femur; France; Gargantuavis; Late Cretaceous

doi: 10.18563/pv.42.1.e3

    A large avian femur recently discovered at the Late Cretaceous Montplo-Nord locality at Cruzy (Hérault, southern France) is referred to the giant bird Gargantuavis philoinos. The estimated mass of the bird is 57 kg, within the range of living cassowaries. The specimen provides new evidence about the anatomy of G. philoinos, notably showing that the distal end of the femur was similar to that of modern birds in having a condylus lateralis subdivided into two semicondyles. A new diagnosis of Gargantuavis philoinos is provided and the taxon is placed in a new family of basal ornithurines.

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