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Article Reference High species turnover of the ant genus Solenopsis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) along an altitudinal gradient in the Ecuadorian Andes, indicated by a combined DNA sequencing and morphological approach.
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Article Reference Discovery of a new duiker species (Bovidae: Cephalophinae) from the Dahomey Gap, West Africa
Among the two most widely distributed duiker species, Philantomba monticola (Thunberg, 1789) and Philantomba maxwelli (C.H. Smith, 1827), the latter shows geographic variation in pelage color and body size. This issue was not investigated in detail so far, especially in the eastern region of its distribution area, notably due to the lack of material from the Dahomey Gap. We undertook a species-level revision of Philantomba in West Africa, notably including a series of specimens collected in Togo, Benin and Nigeria. Using morphological measurements (craniometry) and genetic data (two mitochondrial and three nuclear markers), we describe a new duiker species occurring in the Dahomey Gap (Togo, Benin) and the Niger delta, Philantomba walteri sp. nov. This discovery highlights the importance of the Dahomey Gap for the evolutionary history of the West African forest faunas. It also has conservation implications given that the new species is one of the main targets of the local bushmeat trade.
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Inproceedings Reference Updating the theories on ammonoid extinction
Since Alvarez et al. (1980) found new evidence for the impact of catastrophic events on earth’s biota, hypothesis and theories explaining the fossil record (re)gained a lot of attention. The extraterrestrial origin of the anomalous iridium concentrations seemed highly controversial at first, but nowadays the Chicxulub ‘accident’ has become the marker for the start/base of the Paleogene. Its pivotal role in the Mesozoic-Cenozoic faunal turnover cannot be refuted (Schulte et al 2010). However, alternative theories remain being published. Of these, the Deccan volcanism with its widespread flood basalts stepped prominently forward as one of the main triggers, especially when trying to explain the gradual diversity decline within the fossil record. The inconsistencies between the proposed theories generally root in too narrowly geographically and geologically spread datasets. This applies to most fossil groups, and especially to the ammonoids (Class Cephalopoda, °Early Devonian – †Late Cretaceous). A compilation of ammonoid occurrences of Late Maastrichtian age published by Kiessling & Claeys (2002) evidenced the lack of a globally well distributed dataset. In this compilation, North Africa was left as a blind spot, while Tunisia had been the centre of the K/Pg mass extinction debate for almost three decades, e.g. with the definition of the GSSP for the base of the Paleogene at El Kef. Both at the GSSP and several other sections in the Tunisian Trough Basin, ammonoids were found within the topmost meters of the Maastrichtian, until very close to the K/Pg boundary level. About 900 uppermost Maastrichtian ammonoids were collected, all from within the last 420.000 years of the Cretaceous. With 22 species on record, belonging to 18 genera and 10 families, and with representatives of each of the four large ammonoid suborders (Phylloceratina, Lytoceratina, Ammonitina and Ancyloceratina), the Tunisian fauna demonstrates that ammonoids were both taxonomically and morphologically diverse until their very end. An updated version of the compilation of latest Maastrichtian ammonoid occurrences documents at least 53 species, 29 genera and 13 families in the ultimate half million year of the Cretaceous, in many more localities and occurring in a wide variety of settings. When the Tunisian ammonoid species richness data are plotted next to all time constraints of the possible causes, the possibility of Deccan flood basalt volcanism negatively influencing ammonoid diversity must be refuted. A major extinction caused by the Chicxulub impact seems the most plausible theory at present. Through inducing a mass kill of the marine plankton, the juvenile ammonoids lost their primary food source leading to their final extinction. Alvarez, L.W., Alvarez, W., Asaro, F., Michel, H.V., 1980. Extraterrestrial cause for the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction. Science, 208, 1095-1108. Kiessling, W., Claeys, P., 2002. A geographic database approach to the KT Boundary. In Buffetaut, E., Koeberl, C. (Eds), Geological and Biological Effects of Impact Events, Springer-Verlag Berlin, 83-140. Schulte, P. & 40 authors, 2010. The Chicxulub Asteroid Impact and Mass Extinction at the Cretaceous-Paleogene Boundary. Science 327, 1214-1218.
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Article Reference DNA barcoding reveals new insights into the diversity of Antarctic species of Orchomene sensu lato (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Lysianassoidea)
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Article Reference The genus Liljeborgia in the Mediterranean Sea, with the description of a new species (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Liljeborgiidae)
A new amphipod crustacean, Liljeborgia clytaemnestra sp. nov., is described based on specimens from Malta and the Bay of Naples. It is quite similar to the sympatric L. dellavallei Stebbing, 1906, but it has narrower and more regular-sized spines on the propodus of pereiopods 3–4. The longest spine on the dorsolateral border of the peduncle of uropod 1 is not strongly elongate in adult males, as in L. dellavallei. The apical spines on the lobes of the telson are much longer than in L. dellavallei. L. clytaemnestra sp. nov. is actually more similar to two northeastern Atlantic species, the British L. pallida (Spence Bate, 1857) and the Scandinavian L. brevicornis (Bruzelius, 1859) than to the Mediterranean L. dellavallei. In L. clytaemnestra sp. nov., article 2 of the mandibular palp has setae on distal third, whilst setae are restricted to tip in the two other species. Article 3 of the mandibular palp is also longer in L. clytaemnestra sp. nov. than in the two Atlantic species. The spines of the outer plate of the maxilliped are longer in L. clytaemnestra sp. nov. than in the two other species. The most distal spine of the propodus of pereiopods 3–4 is reduced in L. clytaemnestra sp. nov. and L. brevicornis, but not in L. pallida. The serration of the posterior border of the basis of pereiopod 7 is much stronger in L. clytaemnestra sp. nov. than in the two other species. Finally, in L. clytaemnestra sp. nov., the spines of the lobes of the telson are longer than in L. pallida. A lectotype is designated for L. dellavallei. The presence/absence of a posterodorsal tooth on pleonite 3 in L. dellavallei is discussed. The validity of L. kinahani (Spence Bate, 1862) is questioned. An identification key is proposed for Mediterranean Liljeborgia species.
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Article Reference On the genus Halirages (Crustacea, Amphipoda), with the description of two new species from Scandinavia and Arctic Europe
A new common deep-sea species of Halirages Boeck, 1871 closely related to H. qvadridentatus G.O. Sars, 1877, H. cainae sp. nov., is described after specimens collected in the Norwegian Sea during the MAREANO 2009-111 cruise. Examination of the syntypes of H. elegans Norman, 1882 demonstrates that Norman's species is a junior synonym of H. qvadridentatus G.O. Sars, 1877 and that the species usually named H. elegans in literature was actually undescribed. The name H. stappersi sp. nov. is proposed for that species. A key to and a checklist of Halirages species is given.
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Article Reference A fossil albatross from the early Oligocene of the North Sea Basin
We describe a stem group representative of Diomedeidae from the early Oligocene (Rupelian) of Belgium. The fossil remains, wing, and pectoral girdle bones of two individuals are described as Tydea septentrionalis, gen. et sp. nov., and constitute the earliest well-established record of the taxon and the first Paleogene record from the North Sea Basin. The new species was about the size of the extant Black-browed Albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) and establishes that albatrosses had already reached a large size 30 mya. The wing bones of T. septentrionalis are distinguished by several plesiomorphic features from those of species in crown group Diomedeidae, which may indicate differences in aerodynamic performance between the fossil species and extant albatrosses. We detail that a previously described early Miocene species, “Plotornis” arvernensis, should be expunged from the fossil record of albatrosses. However, the new fossils provide further evidence that the extant, mainly Southern Hemispheric, distribution of albatrosses is relictual compared with the past distribution of the total group (stem group + crown group). With unambiguous records from the early Oligocene, early Miocene, and Pliocene, albatrosses are now known to have had a long evolutionary history in the European part of the North Atlantic, but the reasons for their extinction remain poorly understood
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Article Reference The carnivoran-like insectivore Butselia biveri Quinet & Misonne, 1965 (Mammalia, Plesiosoricidae) from the lowermost Oligocene of Europe
Plesiosoricidae is a small extinct family of soricomorphan insectivores distributed from the Early Eocene to the Late Miocene on the three continents of the Northern Hemisphere. One of two known plesiosoricid subfamilies is represented by the particular Eurasian subfamily Butseliinae. Here we describe new dental and postcranial elements of Butselia biveri, the type-species of the genus Butselia from the lowermost Oligocene of Belgium. The specialized anterior dentition shows a strong caniniform i2 while the upper and lower molars show a remarkable convergent evolution with early carnivorans, especially the small Early Eocene miacids. Tarsal bones of Butselia biveri are also identified and described, suggesting a closely relationship with Nyctitheriidae but also indicating some convergent features with small scansorial carnivorans.
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Book Reference Les formations de Marteau et du Bois d’Ausse (Lochkovien-Praguien, Dévonien inférieur) au bord nord du Synclinorium de Dinant : les coupes de Huy, de Tihange et de Fond d’Oxhe
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Article Reference La désadification de masse des livres de la bibliothèque de l'Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique: premières expériences pratiques
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