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Article Reference Ecomorphology of toothed whales (Cetacea, Odontoceti) as revealed by 3D skull geometry
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Article Reference A Karethraichnus boring on a turtle shell bone from the Miocene of Italy is assessed as the attachment scar of a platylepadid symbiont
Among the turtle and whale barnacles, those included in the family Platylepadidae are mostly found partly embedded in the carapace and plastron of sea turtles. As a likely consequence of their fragile shell, the fossil record of these cirripede epizoans of marine chelonians is currently limited to two occurrences of Platylepas in Pleistocene strata. Here, we describe and refer to Karethraichnus cf. lakkos an isolated boring on a fossil cheloniid costal plate from the upper Miocene Arenaria di Ponsano Formation of Tuscany (central Italy). A scrutiny of palaeontological and neontological literature as well as new first-hand observations reveal that this boring was most likely produced by a platylepadid barnacle similar to Stomatolepas, Stephanolepas or Platylepas. Two other probable platylepadid attachment scars, both of which incise cheloniid shell bones, are noted from the Oligocene and Miocene, respectively. On the whole, these scanty data support the hypothesis that platylepadids have ancient evolutionary roots and a long story of symbiosis with sea turtles. Future research efforts in this field should focus on 1) further investigating the potential of bone damage of turtle-dwelling barnacles; 2) initiating a methodical quest for possible platylepadid attachment scars in Cenozoic marine turtle fossils; and 3) replenishing the still fragmentary Palaeogene fossil record of Coronuloidea.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022
Article Reference On the presence of an ocean sunfish (Tetraodontiformes, Molidae) in the Miocene Pietra Leccese formation of Southern Italy
The ocean sunfishes of the family Molidae comprise one of the tetraodontiform clades with the least known fossil record. Here, we report on what appears to be an isolated paraxial ossicle likely pertaining to the Molidae from a widely known marine vertebrate-bearing deposit of Southern Italy, i.e., the Miocene Pietra Leccese formation of Apulia. Thus far, paraxial ossicles are exclusively known from the genus Mola; however, the possibility that some extinct species of Ranzania or Masturus developed paraxial ossicles cannot be definitively ruled out, hence the attribution of the fossil described herein to an indeterminate taxon of the family Molidae. A careful scrutiny of palaeoichthyological literature reveals that, besides contributing to the meagre Mediterranean and global fossil record of the Molidae, the Apulian ossicle may be regarded as the best candidate to represent the first fossil find of the genus Mola from the Mediterranean Basin. In light of the environmental preferences of extant molids, the occurrence of an ocean sunfish in the Pietra Leccese matches well the warm-water, highly productive, outer neritic setting witnessed by this sedimentary unit and its fossil content. Considering also that the Miocene has been recognised as a time span of increased abundance and diversity of ocean sunfishes worldwide, our find should encourage the quest for new, hopefully articulated specimens of molids in this celebrated fossiliferous limestone.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021 OA
Article Reference Stratigraphy and palaeontology of the lower Miocene Kiel Sand Member (Berchem Formation) in temporary exposures in Antwerp (northern Belgium)
The stratigraphic position of the lower Miocene Kiel Sand Member of the Berchem Formation in the Antwerp area (northern Belgium) is not well constrained and its depositional environments are poorly known. Due to a spatial limited decalcification front, the Kiel Sand Member is completely decalcified in southern Antwerp and gradually becomes fossiliferous to the north-east of the city. The stratigraphy and palaeontology of the fossiliferous sediments in three temporary exposures are presented. The dinoflagellate cyst analysis of fossiliferous horizons shows the relative progress of a transgression in the southern North Sea Basin during the early–middle Burdigalian, that probably initiated in the late Aquitanian. The Kiel Sand Member contains an important mollusc fauna, with several species reported for the first time from this member. The taphonomy and fauna of the shell beds indicate a shallow marine, high energetic depositional environment, strongly influenced by storms, currents, waves and a rather low sedimentation rate. The climate was warm-temperate to subtropical. In all studied sections, the Kiel Sand Member could be clearly distinguished from the Antwerpen Sand Member: similarities and differences are discussed. Moving to the north of Antwerp, the erosive base of the Antwerpen Sand Member cuts deeper into the Kiel Sand Member. The Early Miocene Unconformity (EMU) is suggested at this contact.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2020
Article Reference A new species of rorqual whale (Cetacea, Mysticeti, Balaenopteridae) from the Late Miocene of the Southern North Sea Basin and the role of the North Atlantic in the paleobiogeography of Archaebalaenoptera
Background The rich fossil record of rorqual and humpback whales (Cetacea, Mysticeti, Balaenopteridae) is mainly characterized by monotypic genera since genera including more than one species are extremely rare. The discovery of new species belonging to known genera would be of great importance in order to better understand ancestor-descendant relationships and paleobiogeographic patterns in this diverse group. Recent discoveries in the southern North Sea Basin yielded a number of reasonably well preserved fossil balaenopterids from the Late Miocene; this sample includes a balaenopterid skull from Liessel, The Netherlands, which shares key characters with Archaebalaenoptera castriarquati from the Pliocene of Mediterranean. This skull is permanently held by Oertijdmuseum, Boxtel, The Netherlands, with the number MAB002286 and is investigated here. Methods A detailed comparative anatomical analysis of the skull MAB002286 is performed in order to understand its relationships. The age of the skull is determined by dinocyst analysis of the associated sediment. A paleobiogeographic analysis is performed to understand paleobiogeographic patterns within the balaenopterid clade the new skull belongs to. Results Our work resulted in the description of Archaebalaenoptera liesselensis new species. The geological age of the holotype skull is between 8.1 and 7.5 Ma. The phylogenetic relationships of this species reveals that it is monophyletic with Archaebalaenoptera castriarquati from the Italian Pliocene. Moreover, in combination with a more basal species of Archaebalaenoptera from the late Miocene of Peru, our paleobiogeographic analysis suggests that the North Atlantic ocean played a major role as a center of origin of a number of balaenopterid clades including Protororqualus, Archaebalaenoptera and more advanced balaenopterid taxa. From a North Atlantic center of origin, two dispersal events are inferred that led to the origins of Archaebalaenoptera species in the South Pacific and Mediterranean. The distribution of Archaebalaenoptera was antitropical in the late Miocene. The role played by the Mediterranean salinity crisis is also investigated and discussed.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2020
Article Reference Cetacean fossils from a 1961 expedition at the Schelde estuary, province of Zeeland, The Netherlands
During 2010-2015 the authors revisited the massive collection of marine mammal fossils in Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, The Netherlands. Between the thousands of postcrania collected by a single expedition at the Schelde estuary in 1961 they noted some fragmented but important toothed whale (Odontoceti) cranial specimens. This article reports on fossils of a narwhal (Monodontidae), a large beaked whale (Ziphiidae) and dolphins related to the Amazon river dolphins and the La Plata dolphin (Inioidea), which at times between the middle Miocene and early Pleistocene inhabited the North Sea realm.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2017
Article Reference A new Oligocene site with terrestrial mammals and a selachian fauna from Minqar Tibaghbagh, the Western Desert of Egypt
A new fossil site at Minqar Tibaghbagh, east of Siwa, in the Egyptian Western Desert is described. This represents the first place in Egypt outside the Fayum Depression yielding Paleogene, terrestrial mammals. Initial studies indicate the presence of palaeomastodonts, hyracoids, and anthracotheres, presumably early Oligocene in age. As only surface prospecting has been performed, more taxa will almost certainly be discovered in future investigations here and probably also elsewhere in the surroundings. A comparison is made with the most important contemporaneous sites in Libya and Egypt that yield terrestrial mammal remains. The selachian fauna from a higher level in the section confirms the Paleogene age of the subjacent strata. It is compared with selachians faunas from the early Oligocene Eastern Tethys Ocean at other places (the Fayum Depression in Egypt, and sites in Oman and Pakistan), and differs from these sites in being fully marine. Contrary to earlier studies, the open marine mudstones of the Daba’a Formation at Minqar Tibaghbagh are overlain by Paleogene marine sediments of most probably early Oligocene age and not early Miocene marine sediments as previously reported. These strata represent not only a new site with great potential for future finds, but also allows for biostratigraphic correlation.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2017
Article Reference Late Pliocene occurrence of Hemisyntrachelus (Odontoceti, Delphinidae) in the southern North Sea
Late Pliocene Hemisyntrachelus is reported from the southern North Sea, marking the youngest and northernmost occurrence of the genus. The mandibular morphology of the North Sea fossils is compared to Pliocene Hemisyntrachelus from Italy, the status and characteristics of the genus are discussed and arguments for the inclusion of Early Pliocene Tursiops oligodon from Peru in this genus are presented.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications
Article Reference Data Needs for Hyperspectral Detection of Algal Diversity Across the Globe
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2020
Article Reference Population dynamics and demographic history of Eurasian collared lemmings
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022