Projects
540 Projects

A project is a themed assortment of media and specimens. Projects can be used to share media ownership and access between project members, and projects can also be used to publish assortments of media and specimens for access and discovery by the public. Examples of projects could include the 3D data used in a single research paper or a collections digitization project. If you want to share media ownership and access with multiple users across multiple projects, consider creating a user team. Projects can be managed by teams, and users with access to that team also gain access to any projects managed by that team.

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Title Description Team Creator Media Objects
Display all details of Archosauriform endocranial morphology and osteological evidence for semiaquatic sensory adaptations in phytosaurs The examination of endocranial data of archosauriforms has lead to advances on the evolution of body size, nerve pathways, and sensory abilities. However, much of that research has focused on bird-line archosaurs, resulting in a skewed view of Archosauria. Phytosauria, a suggested sister taxon of Archosauria, provides a potential outgroup condition. Most previous phytosaur endocranial studies were executed without the use of modern technology and focused on derived taxa. We provide a comparative CT examination of the internal cranial anatomy of Wannia scurriensis, currently the most basal known phytosaur, providing a potential representative for the ancestral archosaur endocranial morphology. Wannia scurriensis shows some overall similarity with extant crocodylians and derived phytosaurs in general endocranial shape, a large hypophyseal fossa, and trigeminal (CN V) innervation, but as a whole, the endocast has noticeable differences to crocodylians and other phytosaurs. The pineal region is expanded dorsally as in other phytosaurs but also laterally (previously unrecognized). CN V exits the pons in a more dorsoventral position than in Parasuchus hislopi, Machaeroprosopus mccauleyi, or Smilosuchus gregorii. Wannia scurriensis also exhibits a larger hypophyseal fossa relative to brain size than observed in P. hislopi or S. gregorii, which may indicate more rapid growth. The well-preserved semicircular canals have lateral canals that are angled more anteroventrally than in the derived taxa. Extensive facial innervation from the large CN V suggests increased rostrum sensitivity and mechanoreceptive abilities as in Alligator mississippiensis. These endocranial similarities among phytosaurs and with Alligator indicate conserved ecological and functional results of an aquatic lifestyle, and highlight a need for further exploration of endocranial anatomy among Archosauriformes. 4 1
Display all details of K12 - Great American Biotic Interchange The Great American Biotic Interchange (GABI) was catalyzed by the formation of the Isthmus of Panama during the Neogene. The GABI had a profound effect on the evolution and geography of terrestrial organisms throughout the Americas and marine organisms globally. For example, more than 100 genera of terrestrial mammals dispersed between the Americas, and numerous marine organisms had their interoceanic distributions cut in half by the formation of the Isthmus. The GABI is widely considered to have been a grand natural experiment documented by the fossil record. In addition to biotic effects, the formation of the Isthmus also affected oceanic circulation, global climates, and possibly triggered the Ice Ages during the Pleistocene. Over the past several years, new discoveries have dramatically impacted our scientific understanding of GABI. Until recently, the paradigm depicts final closure of the Isthmus during the Pliocene about 4 million years ago, and the dispersal of land mammals north and south commencing thereafter. However, this traditional scenario is being challenged by new fossil discoveries. Thus, rather than being considered a single event that occurred about 4 million years ago, the GABI likely represents a series of dispersals over the past 10 million years, some of which occurred before full closure of the Isthmus. New fossil discoveries in Panama resulting from the GABI RET (Research Experiences for Teachers) are thus contributing to the understanding of the complexity and timing of the GABI during the Neogene. This group of fossils are meant to facilitate K12 educators with examples of animals that are part of the GABI. We will be adding fossils as we scan them. 10 6
Display all details of Brain growth in three marsupial species This project contains uCT scans of a number of Dice-CT scanned marsupials as described in Carlisle et al. (2017): Testing hypotheses of developmental constraints on mammalian brain partition evolution, using marsupials. Scientific Reports volume 7, Article number 4241. 338 34
Display all details of Laetoli Site S Laetoli is a well-known palaeontological locality in northern Tanzania whose outstanding record includes the earliest hominin footprints in the world (3.66 million years old), attributed to Australopithecus afarensis. New hominin tracks were unearthed at Laetoli Site S in 2015 and studied by a Italian-Tanzanian research team. 3 3
Display all details of The first African hyaenodont from the beginning of the Paleogene-Neogene carnivore transition (late Oligocene, Nsungwe Formation, Rukwa Rift Basin, Tanzania) Throughout the Paleogene, most terrestrial carnivore niches in Afro-Arabia were occupied by Hyaenodonta, an extinct lineage of placental mammals. By the end of the Miocene, terrestrial carnivore niches had shifted to members of Carnivora, a clade with Eurasian origins. The transition from a hyaenodont-carnivore fauna to a carnivoran-carnivore fauna coincides with other ecological changes in Afro-Arabia as tectonic conditions in the African Rift System altered climatic conditions and facilitated faunal exchange with Eurasia. Fossil bearing deposits in the Nsungwe Formation in southwestern Tanzania are precisely dated to ~25.2 Ma (late Oligocene), preserving a late Paleogene Afro-Arabian fauna on the brink of environmental transition, including the earliest fossil evidence of the split between Old World monkeys and apes. Here we describe a new hyaenodont from the Nsungwe Formation, Pakakali rukwaensis gen. et sp. nov., a bobcat-sized taxon known from a portion of the maxilla that preserves a deciduous third premolar and alveoli of dP4 and M1. The crown of dP3 bears an elongate parastyle and metastyle and a small, blade-like metacone. Based on alveolar morphology, the two more distal teeth successively increased in size and had relatively large protocones. Using a hyaenodont character-taxon matrix that includes deciduous dental characters, Bayesian phylogenetic methods resolve Pakakali within the clade Hyainailouroidea. A Bayesian biogeographic analysis of phylogenetic results resolve the Pakakali clade as Afro-Arabian in origin, demonstrating that this small carnivorous mammal was part of an endemic Afro-Arabian lineage that persisted into the Miocene. Notably, Pakakali is in the size range of carnivoran forms that arrived and began to diversify in the region by the early Miocene. The description of Pakakali is important for exploring hyaenodont ontogeny and potential influences of Afro-Arabian tectonic events upon mammalian evolution, providing a deep time perspective on the stability of terrestrial carnivore niches through time. 1 1
Display all details of Off the scale: a new species of fish-scale gecko (Squamata: Gekkonidae: Geckolepis) with exceptionally large scales The gecko genus Geckolepis, endemic to Madagascar and the Comoro archipelago, is taxonomically challenging. One reason is its members ability to autotomize a large portion of their scales when grasped or touched, most likely to escape predation. Based on an integrative taxonomic approach including external morphology, morphometrics, genetics, pholidosis, and osteology, we here describe the first new species from this genus in 75 years: Geckolepis megalepis sp. nov. from the limestone karst of Ankarana in northern Madagascar. The new species has the largest known body scales of any gecko (both relatively and absolutely), which come off with exceptional ease. We provide a detailed description of the skeleton of the genus Geckolepis based on micro-Computed Tomography (micro-CT) analysis of the new species, the holotype of G. maculata, the recently resurrected G. humbloti, and a specimen belonging to an operational taxonomic unit (OTU) recently suggested to represent G. maculata. Geckolepis is characterized by highly mineralized, imbricated scales, paired frontals, and unfused subolfactory processes of the frontals, among other features. We identify diagnostic characters in the osteology of these geckos that help define our new species and show that the OTU assigned to G. maculata is probably not conspecific with it, leaving the taxonomic identity of this species unclear. We discuss possible reasons for the extremely enlarged scales of G. megalepis in the context of an anti-predator defence mechanism, and the future of Geckolepis taxonomy. 6 6
Display all details of Archaeological excavation of wild macaque stone tools We present the first report on an archaeologically excavated Old World monkey tool use site, which was created by wild Burmese long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis aurea) during shellfish-processing activities in coastal Thailand. These macaques use stone and shell pounding tools to access a wide variety of coastal and inter-tidal resources, including shellfish, crabs and nuts, and previous work has demonstrated that use-wear on the stone tools permits reconstruction of past ma- caque activities. Uncovering the history of this foraging behaviour opens up opportunities to study its evolution within the macaque lineage and, more broadly, to retrieve comparative data for researchers studying human and primate coastal exploitation. 0 0
Display all details of Hyneria lindae Thomson (1968) described and diagnosed the tristichopterid Hyneria lindae from parts of a disarticulated skull and isolated scales recovered from the Late Devonian (Famennian Age) Catskill Formation of Pennsylvania, USA. Since the publication of that description, knowledge of the tristichopterid clade has grown significantly with numerous new descriptions of Famennian taxa from around the world. Additionally, a concerted effort to collect vertebrates from the Catskill Formation in Pennsylvania has produced significant new material of Hyneria lindae from the type locality at Red Hill, Clinton County, Pennsylvania. The new material serves as the basis for a rediagnosis and redescription of Hyneria lindae. The species is uniquely diagnosed by features including scales with a fringed free margin, a wide and blunt snout, and short intertemporals. The redescription of H. lindae gives occasion to review all of the Catskill Formation tristichopterid material that require further diagnosis. This includes a near complete cranial specimen collected near Red Hill that was originally diagnosed as Eusthenodon wängsjöi by Thomson (1976) and is here revised as Hyneria cf. lindae and figured for the first time. The emerging sample of tristichopterids from the Catskill Formation informs the diversity and paleobiogeography of these large predators in the fluvial ecosystems of the Red Hill site and within the Catskill Delta complex. 46 22
Display all details of 3D surface scanning versus microCT scanning in very small vertebrate crania This project is the first chapter of a PhD on morphological diversity in Australian rodents. It will be published as a methodology paper in PeerJ, titled "Low resolution scans can provide a sufficiently accurate, cost- and time-effective alternative to high resolution scans for 3D shape analyses." I have used both scanning devices on 20 unique individuals' crania from the smallest rodent species in Australia (Pseudomys delicatulus). This project includes raw DICOM files for the microCT scans, as well as the finalized .STL files from both the microCT and the 3D scanners which I used for landmarking. 60 20
Display all details of New Fossils, Systematics, and Biogeography of the Oldest Known Crown Primate <i>Teilhardina</i> from the Earliest Eocene of Asia, Europe, and North America Omomyiform primates are the most basal fossil haplorhines, with the oldest classified in the genus <i>Teilhardina</i> and known contemporaneously from Asia, Europe, and North America during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) ~56 mya. Characterization of morphology in this genus has been limited by small sample sizes and fragmentary fossils. A new dental sample (N=163) of the North American species <i>Teilhardina brandti</i> from PETM strata of the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming, documents previously unknown morphology and variation, prompting the need for a systematic revision of the genus. The P<sub>4</sub> of <i>T. brandti</i> expresses a range of variation that encompasses that of the recently named, slightly younger North American species ‘<i>Teilhardina gingerichi</i>,’ which is here synonymized with <i>T. brandti</i>. A new partial dentary preserving the alveoli for P<sub>1-2</sub> demonstrates that <i>T. brandti</i> variably expresses an unreduced, centrally-located P<sub>1</sub>, and in this regard is similar to that of <i>T. asiatica</i> from China. This observation, coupled with further documentation of variability in P<sub>1</sub> alveolar size, position, and presence in the European type species <i>T. belgica</i>, indicates that the original diagnosis of <i>T. asiatica</i> is insufficient at distinguishing this species from either <i>T. belgica</i> or <i>T. brandti</i>. Likewise, the basal omomyiform ‘<i>Archicebus achilles</i>’ requires revision to be distinguished from <i>Teilhardina</i>. Results from a phylogenetic analysis of 1,890 characters scored for omomyiforms, adapiforms, and other euarchontan mammals produces a novel clade including <i>T. magnoliana</i>, <i>T. brandti</i>, <i>T. asiatica</i>, and <i>T. belgica</i> to the exclusion of two species previously referred to <i>Teilhardina</i>, which are here classified in a new genus (<i>Bownomomys americanus</i> and <i>Bownomomys crassidens</i>). While hypotheses of relationships and inferred biogeographic patterns among species of <i>Teilhardina</i> could change with the discovery of more complete fossils, the results of these analyses indicate a similar probability that the genus originated in either Asia or North America. 76 38
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