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Article Reference NGS-barcodes, haplotype networks combined to external morphology help to identify new species in the mangrove genus Ngirhaphium Evenhuis & Grootaert, 2002 (Diptera: Dolichopodidae: Rhaphiinae) in Southeast Asia
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2019
Article Reference The first species of Hapalodectes (Mesonychia, Mammalia) from the Middle Paleocene of China (Qianshan Basin, Anhui Province) sheds light on the initial radiation of hapalodectids
A lower jaw of the mesonychian Hapalodectes is reported from Nongshanian sediments (Upper Doumu Formation; middle Paleocene) of the Qianshan Basin (Anhui Province, China). The fragmentary mandible is only the third specimen of Hapalodectidae discovered in Paleocene deposits, and the first in south east China; it is moreover the oldest, the two other specimens having been found in Gashatan (late Paleocene) localities. The premolars and molars of the new fossil are morphologically similar to Hapalodectes dux (late Paleocene of Mongolia), which has been considered to be the most primitive hapalodectid, but their relative proportions recall H. paleocenus and the Eocene Hapalodectes species. As a result, the fossil described herein appears to be different from the other previously described species of Hapalodectes in being morphologically intermediate between H. dux and the other Hapalodectes species, notably the Bumbanian Hapalodectes hetangensis and H. huanghaiensis from China; it is thus identified as a new species, Hapalodectes lopatini (possibly a male individual). Its discovery is important because it sheds light on the initial radiation of hapalodectids. The presence of one primitive hapalodectid in Mongolia previously suggested the Mongolian Plateau as the centre of origination of this carnivorous family, but the discovery of H. lopatini in older sediments from south-east China challenges this hypothesis. In the earliest Eocene, Hapalodectes dispersed from Asia to North America; this event being part of the ‘East of Eden’ dispersals. This event resulted in the geographical separation of two distinct Hapalodectes groups, in North America and south-eastern China respectively.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2017
Inproceedings Reference New fossils of paroxyclaenids (Placentalia, Mammalia) from the early Eocene of France shed light on the origin and evolution of these endemic European mammals
Paroxyclaenidae is an enigmatic archaic group of middle size placental mammals. They are known only from Europe, and are recorded from the early Eocene (Ypresian) to the middle Eocene (Bartonian). Paroxyclaenids are divided into two distinct subfamilies: Paroxyclaeninae and Merialinae. They have been variously placed by different authors in Carnivora, Creodonta, ‘Condylarthra’, and Insectivora, but are considered since 1970’s as members of Pantolesta. The dentition of paroxyclaenids is complete (4 premolars, 3 molars); it is highly specialized, with relatively enlarged posterior premolars, spaced out cheek teeth, but primitive, for instance, in the absence of hypocone on upper molars. The molars decrease in size from M1/m1 to M3/m3; the M3 and m3 are sometimes well reduced. A particularity of the dentition of some paroxyclaenids is the tendency to enlargement and molarisation of the third and fourth upper and lower premolars, generally exceeding the succeeding molars in size. We recently studied unpublished fossils from the first half of the Ypresian: these fossils originate from the French localities of Le Lien (Hérault), Pourcy, Mutigny, Avenay (Marne), and Condé-en-Brie (Aisne). They allow to describe new specimens of Merialus martinae (the oldest paroxyclaenid) and three new species – the oldest paroxyclaenine and two merialines. Their study is the opportunity to review the evolution of this family – the last extensive and comprehensive review of the paroxyclaenids has been published in 1988. The two paroxyclaenid subfamilies – Paroxyclaeninae and Merialinae – are rarely recorded together: this case only occurs in the Paris Basin during the early Eocene (Mutigny, Avenay, Condé-en-Brie). Half of the merialines are present in the Southern European Province, while the paroxyclaenines are only recorded in Northern European Province. The two subfamilies reach their maximum size (+/- 3-4 kg) (e.g., Spaniella, Kopidodon) around the early/middle Eocene boundary (47.8 Myr). However, some smaller paroxyclaenids (body mass around 1 kg) have co-existed together with the larger ones. The small middle Eocene paroxyclaenids, which are as small as the taxa found in the early Eocene, have been the last representatives of the group (Bartonian). The maximum of diversity of the Paroxyclaenids occurred during the Lutetian (middle Eocene). Finally, because the new fossils provide information on the morphology of the earliest paroxyclaenids, their study is the opportunity to question the origin of this group and its relationships among Placentalia. Grant Information: This abstract is a contribution to the project BR/121/A3/PALEURAFRICA funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2017
Inproceedings Reference Platychelone emarginata gigantic Cretaceous marine turtle from Belgium
Platychelone emarginata Dollo, 1909 is a large turtle from the Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) chalk sediments of Limburg, Belgium. Hitherto, only the name was given to this turtle without describing details or providing figures. A single well articulated carapace (IRScNB. Reg. 1681), lacking nuchal, peripherals, and pygal plates, is preserved. The distance from the first costal to the distal end of the eighth costal is 180 cm, indicating that the original carapace was about 210 cm long. Its gigantic size, flattened shell, reduction of distal half of costals, and loss of scute sulcus, indicate that Platychelone is a member of true marine turtles (superfamily Chelonioidea). Neurals are rectangular shape and inclination of the first thoracic vertebra is almost vertical, suggesting this turtle belongs to either Protostegidae or Dermochelyidae. Seventh and eighth costals are medially meeting due to the loss of neurals; this condition is shared with the genus Mesodermochelys from the Late Cretaceous (Santonian to Maastrichtian) of Japan. Thus, it seems most probable that Platychelone is a closest relative of Mesodermochelys among basal dermochelyids. Platychelone has presumed autoapomorphic characters such as very thickened distal ends of thoracic ribs and irregular sculptures on carapace, not seen in any other chelonioids. This genus is only known by the holotype, whereas Allopleuron hoffmanni, a very common cheloniid marine turtle from in the Maastrichtian deposits of Belgium and Netherland, is known from some hundred specimens. So far, there is no ancestral or related taxon of Platychelone from the Campanian deposits of Belgium. The occurrence of Platychelone is very rare but evokes a high taxonomic diversity of gigantic chelonioids in the Cretaceous Tethys.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2017
Inproceedings Reference The small-mammal assemblage from Caverne Marie-Jeanne (Hastière-Lavaux, Belgium): environmental and climatic approach of the marine isotope stage 3 in North-Western Europe
Small mammal faunas from the Pleistocene of Belgium are not well-known. Some have been studied from the second half of the Late Pleistocene and the Early Holocene. However, only a few sites from the first half of the Late Pleistocene (Marine Isotope Stage 3, MIS 3, ca. 60-30 ka) have yielded small mammal assemblages. Among them is the Marie-Jeanne Cave that is situated in the southeast of Belgium, in the Ardennes region. It is formed in the Early Carboniferous limestone deposits above the Meuse River, near the town of Hastière-Lavaux. The excavated deposits evidenced ten different layers but only the layers 6 to 2 yieldeda large collection of faunal remains. Recent dating of the stratigraphic sequence of the Marie-Jeanne Cave shows that these layers have a chronological range pertaining to MIS 3 (about 50-40 ka BP). During the first field campaign in 1943, about 40 m3 of sedimentswereextracted recovering a large collection of disarticulated bone fragments and several plant, mollusc and archaeological remains housed at the RBINS. A first study of this material underlined the presence of 29 taxa of insectivores, bats and rodents. The recent revision of the material revealed 9897 identified specimens, corresponding to a minimum of 4980 individuals. This permitted us to add to the previous list two vole species, the steppe lemming Lagurus lagurus and the European pine vole Microtus (Terricola) subterraneus. We also undertook new paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic reconstructions based on alternative methods from those previously used for the MIS 3 sequence of the Marie-Jeanne Cave. Our results indicate that MIS 3 is characterized by dynamic alternations of forest expansion with semiarid area expansion in accordance with the warming and cooling, respectively, of the sea-surface temperatures. It was in this context of rapid fluctuations that the terrestrial sequence of the Marie-Jeanne Cave in north-western Europe was formed. The fossiliferous layers underwent cold and dry environmental and climatic conditions. This is indicated by lower temperatures and slightly higher precipitation than today, together with an environment dominated by open woodland formations and open dry meadows. Our results are consistent with the available chronological, large-mammal, herpetofaunal, and mollusc datasets for this lower part of the sequence. They are also consistent with regional loess studies in Belgium and with previous work performed on small mammals from MIS 3 in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe. Grant Information: Generalitat de Catalunya projects, Synthesis Grants, PhD grant of the Erasmus Mundus Programme - International Doctorate in Quaternary and Prehistory.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2017
Article Reference Environmental and climatic reconstruction of MIS 3 in northwestern Europe using the small-mammal assemblage from Caverne Marie-Jeanne (Hastière-Lavaux, Belgium)
Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3, ca. 60–30 ka) is characterized by dynamic alternations of forest expansion with semi-arid area expansion in accordance with the warming and cooling, respectively, of the sea-surface temperatures in Northern Europe. It was in this context of rapid fluctuations that the terrestrial sequence of Caverne Marie-Jeanne (Hastière-Lavaux, Belgium) in northwestern Europe was formed. The habitat weighting method and the bioclimaticmodel, as well as the Simpson diversity index, are applied to the small-mammal assemblage of CaverneMarie-Jeanne in order to reconstruct the environmental and climatic fluctuations that are reflected in the MIS 3 sequence of the cave. Revision of the small-mammal fossil material deposited in the collections of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS, Brussels, Belgium) shows that the lower layers (6 to 4) of the cave, pertaining to MIS 3 (ca. 50–40 ka), underwent cold, dry environmental and climatic conditions for these layers. This is indicated by temperatures lower than at present and precipitation slightly higher than at present, together with an environment dominated by openwoodland formations and open dry meadows. Our results are consistent with the available chronological, large-mammal, herpetofaunal and mollusc datasets for this lower part of the sequence. They are also consistentwith regional loess studies in Belgium andwith previouswork performed on small mammals from MIS 3 in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2017
Article Reference Rapport concernant la présence de Manzonia vigoensis (Rolan, 1983) (Gastropoda: Rissoidae) à Peniche sur la côte ouest du Portugal
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2017