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Article Reference A fossil heron from the early Oligocene of Belgium : the earliest temporary well-constrained record of the Ardeidae
We describe the earliest temporally well-constrained fossil that can be assigned to the Ardeidae (herons), from the lowermost Oligocene (32.0–33.0 million years ago) of Belgium. The specimen, a partial tarsometatarsus, belongs to a small species and is described as Proardea? deschutteri n. sp. It exhibits the characteristic tarsometatarsus morphology found in extant heron species, but a confident assignment to one of the ardeid subclades is not possible and even the assignment of the new fossil species to the crown group (the clade including the extant species) cannot be established. The fossil indicates a divergence of herons from their sister taxon by at least the earliest Oligocene, and current paleontological data suggest that herons arrived in Europe shortly after a major faunal turnover at the Eocene/Oligocene boundary. We consider that dispersal is the likely reason for the sudden appearance of herons in the earliest Oligocene of Europe but it is uncertain from where exactly this took place, with Asia and Africa being among the candidate areas.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2018
Article Reference A general purpose genotype in an ancient asexual
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications
Article Reference A geological collection and methodology for tracing provenance of Palaeolithic colouring materials.
Although prehistoric sites frequently contain numerous fragments and traces of many different kinds of colouring matter, intensive study of this type of archaeological remains began only recently. Such studies, aimed at determining how raw materials formed and changed over time, and how they were transported by the groups of humans who used them, are extremely valuable as they reveal shared strategies, that is, cultural traditions and the spaces in which they developed. The scope of this paper focusses on the description of the main geological contexts in which ferruginous colouring materials form and are found. In the framework of a collective research program called Pigmentothèque (iron- and manganese-rich rocks and minerals library), geological surveys are conducted taking into consideration the geological settings in which colouring materials are present and using a common record and sampling methodology which is followed by petrophysical, mineralogical and chemical analyses based on a shared procedure and vocabulary. In order to go beyond descriptions based solely on colour and chemical composition, we describe the great variety of iron-rich materials that can be used to obtain colouring matter. This diversity in the formation and evolution of iron-rich materials must be taken into account when trying to understand past humans’ choices of raw materials, their provenance and the anthropogenic and natural modifications they have undergone. We also describe criteria for recognising cohesive remains of colouring matter during archaeological excavations, so these artefacts can take their place alongside other mineral resources in helping improve our understanding of past societies.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Book Reference A Geuide to Beetles of Borneo
Located in Library / RBINS collections by external author(s)
Article Reference A GIS-based methodology for creating 3D geological models in sedimentary environment: application to the subcrop of Brussels
In order to meet the requirements established by the European Directive (2006/118/EC) on the groundwater protection, the Geological Survey of Belgium (GSB) has started a new Geographic Information System (GIS) project called Hydrobrux. The aim is to create a thorough three-dimensional geological model of the subcrop of Brussels. The latter will be used to produce a hydrogeological model of the Brussels Formation aquifer composed of sands and covering 126 km2 in the eastern part of the Brussels-Capital Region and subsequent deeper aquifers (Palaeocene and Upper Cretaceous). The GIS 3D model is built by superposition of interpolated surfaces, which represent the top surface of each modelled geological layers. Eleven top surfaces are generated independently and are based on the interpolation of 5169 points. This high density of information is provided by 2426 boreholes, water wells, outcrops, cone penetration tests (CPT) and other sources of stratigraphic data that were collected and structured in a relational database under Microsoft Access. The data were exported to ArcGIS for the geostatistics (2D mapping) and validation parts and subsequently to ArcScene for the construction and the visualisation of the 3D model.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications
Article Reference A global approach for natural history museum collections
Integration of the world’s natural history collections can provide a resource for decision-makers Over the past three centuries, people have collected objects and specimens and placed them in natural history museums throughout the world. Taken as a whole, this global collection is the physical basis for our understanding of the natural world and our place in it, an unparalleled source of information that is directly relevant to issues as diverse as wildlife conservation, climate change, pandemic preparedness, food security, invasive species, rare minerals, and the bioeconomy (1). Strategic coordination and use of the global collection has the potential to focus future collecting and guide decisions that are relevant to the future of humanity and biodiversity. To begin to map the aggregate holdings of the global collection, we describe here a simple and fast method to assess the contents of any natural history museum, and report results based on our assessment of 73 of the world’s largest natural history museums and herbaria from 28 countries.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Article Reference A global database for metacommunity ecology: integrating species, traits, environment and space
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2020
Article Reference A global database of ant species abundances
What forces structure ecological assemblages? A key limitation to general insights about assemblage structure is the availability of data that are collected at a small spatial grain (local assemblages) and a large spatial extent (global coverage). Here, we present published and unpublished data from 51,388 ant abundance and occurrence records of more than 2693 species and 7953 morphospecies from local assemblages collected at 4212 locations around the world. Ants were selected because they are diverse and abundant globally, comprise a large fraction of animal biomass in most terrestrial communities, and are key contributors to a range of ecosystem functions. Data were collected between 1949 and 2014, and include, for each geo-referenced sampling site, both the identity of the ants collected and details of sampling design, habitat type and degree of disturbance. The aim of compiling this dataset was to provide comprehensive species abundance data in order to test relationships between assemblage structure and environmental and biogeographic factors. Data were collected using a variety of standardised methods, such as pitfall and Winkler traps, and will be valuable for studies investigating large-scale forces structuring local assemblages. Understanding such relationships is particularly critical under current rates of global change. We encourage authors holding additional data on systematically collected ant assemblages, especially those in dry and cold, and remote areas, to contact us and contribute their data to this growing dataset. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2017
Article Reference A gymnodont fish jaw with remarkable molariform teeth from the early Eocene of Gujarat, India (Teleostei, Tetraodontiformes)
The lower jaw of a gymnodont fish collected from the lower Eocene Cambay Shale Formation in Gujarat Province, western India, has fused dentaries without a beak and a remarkable series of teeth that are unique among all known fossil and living Tetraodontiformes. The teeth are molariform, with raised spokes radiating inward from the emarginated peripheral edge of the crown. Tooth development is intraosseous, with new teeth developing in spongy bone before they erupt and attach to the dentary by pedicels. Although many of the 110 tooth loci in the fossil have lost their teeth, in life the teeth would have grown to fit tightly together to form a broad and continuous crushing surface. The estimated age of the Cambay Shale vertebrate fauna is ca. 54.5 Ma, making the jaw the second oldest confirmed gymnodont fossil. Preliminary comparisons with extant taxa of gymnodonts with fused dentaries (e.g., Diodon, Chilomycterus, and Mola) show detailed similarities in jaw structure, but further study of the dentition is needed to better understand the evolutionary position of the new fossil. We describe the new gymnodont as yAvitoplectus molaris, gen. et sp. nov., in yAvitoplectidae, fam. nov., and place the family as incertae sedis within Gymnodontes.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2017
Article Reference A healed wound caused by a flint arrowhead in a Neolithic human innominate bone of the "Trou Rosette" (Furfooz, Belgium)
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications