June 2016
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Print ISSN: 0031-0247
Online ISSN: 2274-0333
Frequency: biannual

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Palaeovertebrata Vol.40-1:June 2016

Table of contents

Book Reviews

A classic in the making : VERTEBRATE PALAEONTOLOGY (4th edition). By Michael J. Benton.
Eric Buffetaut
Keywords: Book review; Vertebrate Palaeontology

doi: 10.18563/pv.40.1.e1

    When the first edition of Mike Benton’s Vertebrate Palaeontology came out in 1990, sauropods still dragged their tails on the ground, the closest relatives of whales were mesonychids, and Mesozoic birds consisted essentially of Archaeopteryx, Ichthyornis and Hesperornis. Twenty-five years later, the book, now in its fourth edition, is a third longer, in a larger format and sports fine colour plates – in addition to a companion website. 

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Short Communications

New remains of the very small cuckoo, Chambicuculus pusillus (Aves, Cuculiformes, Cuculidae) from the late Early/early Middle Eocene of Djebel Chambi, Tunisia
Cécile Mourer-Chauviré, El M. Essid, Hayet Khayati Ammar, Laurent Marivaux, Wissem Marzougui, Rim Temani, Monique Vianey-Liaud and Rodolphe Tabuce
Keywords: Cuckoos; Eocene; Fossil bird

doi: 10.18563/pv.40.1.e2

    Abstract: A very tiny cuckoo, Chambicuculus pusillus, was recently described after a few fragments of tarsometatarsi from the late Early/early Middle Eocene of Djebel Chambi, Tunisia. New remains, notably a coracoid, confirm the attribution of this genus to the recent family Cuculidae. This coracoid shows a very elongate and strap-like processus procoracoideus. This morphological feature is otherwise only known in the family Cuculidae. The characteristics of the coracoid and tarsometatarsi show that Chambicuculus is morphologically more advanced over the other stem cuculids described in Europe and North America. Chambicuculus is the oldest Cuculidae known so far. 

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Fallen in a dead ear: intralabyrinthine preservation of stapes in fossil artiodactyls
Maeva J. Orliac and Guillaume Billet
Keywords: allometry; bony labyrinth; inner ear; middle ear ossicles

doi: 10.18563/pv.40.1.e3

    The stapes is the last of the middle ear ossicle chain and the smallest bone of the mammalian skeleton. Because it rests on the membrane of the fenestra vestibuli during life, the stapes may often fall within the bony labyrinth cavity when soft structures decay after death. In this work, we highlight the unexpected role that the bony labyrinth plays in the preservation of the stapes. Systematic investigation of the bony labyrinth of 50 petrosal bones of extinct and extant artiodactyls led to the discovery of eight cases of “intralabyrinthine” stapes. Three dimensional reconstructions of these stapes allow documenting stapes morphology of four extinct artiodactyl taxa: Microstonyx erymanthius (Suidae), Elomeryx borbonicus (Hippopotamoidea), ?Helohyus plicodon (Helohyidae), and an undetermined Cainotheriidae; and four extant ones Choeropsis and Hippopotamus (Hippopotamidae), and Tayassu and Phacochoerus (Suoidea). ?Helohyus plicodon from the Middle Eocene documents the oldest stapes known for the order Artiodactyla. Morphological study and metric analyses of our sample of artiodactylan stapes show that stapes are likely to carry relevant phylogenetic characters/signal within artiodactyls, and a potential Euungulata signature. 

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S.I. Data
A mandible of the hyracoid mammal Titanohyrax andrewsi in the collections of the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris (France) with a reassessment of the species
Rodolphe Tabuce
Keywords: Afro-Arabia; Fayum; Oligocene; Titanohyracidae

doi: 10.18563/pv.40.1.e4

    An unpublished mandible of the large hyracoid Titanohyrax andrewsi from the early Oligocene Jebel Qatrani Formation, Fayum Depression, Egypt is described. This specimen has a twofold importance. Firstly, it opens an unexpected window on early paleontological research in the Fayum because it was discovered as early as 1904 by the French paleontologist René Fourtau during an expedition to the Fayum organized by the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris (MNHN). This expedition has remarkably never been mentioned in the literature. Secondly, the mandible documents the best-preserved specimen of T. andrewsi, permitting a revision of one of the very rare Paleogene hyracoids. Interestingly, the new mandible was discovered two years before the first report of the species by Charles W. Andrews. The hypodigm of T. andrewsi is reviewed and the dentition as a whole is compared in detail, notably with other Titanohyrax species from the Fayum. The validity of the large Titanohyrax schlosseri” species is discussed, but a pronounced sexual size dimorphism for T. andrewsi is favoured. 

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