534 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 Canoville et al._Systemic distribution of medullary bone in the avian skeleton: ground truthing criteria for the identification of reproductive tissues in extinct Avemetatarsalia Medullary bone (MB) is an estrogen-dependent, sex-specific tissue produced by female birds during lay and inferred to be present in extinct avemetatarsalians (bird-line archosaurs). Although preliminary studies suggest that MB can be deposited within most skeletal elements, these are restricted to commercial layers or hormonally treated male pigeons, which are poor analogues for wild birds. By contrast, studies in wild bird species noted the presence of MB almost exclusively within limb bones, spurring the misconception that MB deposition is largely restricted to these regions. These disparate claims have cast doubt on the nature of MB-like tissues observed in some extinct avemetatarsalians because of their “unusual” anatomical locations. Furthermore, previous work reported that MB deposition is related to blood supply and pneumatization patterns, yet these hypotheses have not been tested widely in birds. To document the skeletal distribution of MB across Neornithes, reassess previous hypotheses pertaining to its deposition/distribution patterns, and refine the set of criteria by which to evaluate the nature of purported MB tissue in extinct avemetatarsalians, we CT-scanned skeletons of 40 female birds (38 species) that died during the egg-laying cycle, recorded presence or absence of MB in 19 skeletal regions, and assessed pneumatization of stylopods. Selected elements were destructively analyzed to ascertain the chemical and histological nature of observed endosteal bone tissues in “contentious” skeletal regions. Although its skeletal distribution varies interspecifically, we find MB to be a systemic tissue that can be deposited within virtually all skeletal regions, including cranial elements. We also provide evidence that the deposition of MB is dictated by skeletal distribution patterns of both pneumaticity and bone marrow, two factors linked to ecology (body size, foraging). Hence, skeletal distribution of MB is extensive in small-bodied and diving birds, but more restricted in large-bodied species or efficient flyers. Previously outlined anatomical locations of purported MB in extinct taxa are invalid criticisms against their potential reproductive nature. Moreover, the proposed homology of lung tissues between birds and some extinct avemetatarsalians permit us to derive a series of location-based predictions that can be used to critically evaluate MB-like tissues in fossil specimens. 71 38
Display all details of Shell variability in the stem turtles Proterochersis spp. Background. Turtle shells tend to exhibit frequent and substantial variability, both in bone and scute layout. Aside from secondary changes, caused by diseases, parasites, and trauma, this variability appears to be inherent and result from stochastic or externally-induced flaws of developmental programs. It is, thus, expected to be present in fossil turtle species at least as prominently, as in modern populations. Descriptions of variability and ontogeny are, however, rare for fossil turtles, mainly due to rarity, incompleteness, damage, and post-mortem deformation of their remains. This paper is an attempt at description and interpretation of external shell variability in representatives of the oldest true turtles, Proterochersis robusta and P. porebensis (Proterochersidae, the sister group to all other known testudinatans) from the Late Triassic (Norian) of Germany and Poland. Methods. All the available shell remains of Proterochersis robusta (13 specimens) and P. porebensis (275 specimens) were studied morphologically in order to identify any ontogenetic changes, intraspecific variability, sexual dimorphism, and shell abnormalities. To test the inferred sexual dimorphism, shape analyses were performed for two regions (gular and anal) of the plastron. Results. Proterochersis spp. exhibits large shell variability, and at least some of the observed changes seem to be correlated with ontogeny (growth of gulars, extragulars, caudals, and marginals, disappearance of middorsal keel on the carapace). Several specimens show abnormal layout of scute sulci, several others unusual morphologies of vertebral scute areas, one has an additional pair of plastral scutes, and one extraordinarily pronounced, likely pathological, growth rings on the carapace. Both species are represented in a wide spectrum of sizes, from hatchlings to old, mature individuals. The largest fragmentary specimens of P. porebensis allow estimation of its maximal carapace length at approximately 80 cm, while P. robusta appears to have reached lower maximal sizes. Discussion. This is the second contribution describing variability among numerous specimens of Triassic turtles, and the first to show evidence of unambiguous shell abnormalities. Presented data supplement the sparse knowledge of shell scute development in the earliest turtles and suggest that at least some aspects of the developmental programs governing scute development were already similar in the Late Triassic to these of modern forms. 10 10
Display all details of A New Miniature Species of Acanthobunocephalus (Siluriformes: Aspredinidae) from the Lower Purus River Basin, Amazon Basin, Brazil A second species of Acanthobunocephalus is described from tributaries of the lower Purus River in the Amazon Basin, Brazil. Acanthobunocephalus scruggsi, new species, is distinguished from all other aspredinid species by its reduced number of fin rays: four pectoral-fin rays (vs. five or more), two dorsal-fin rays (vs. three or more, except Amaralia hypsiura), five pelvic-fin rays (vs. six), four to five anal-fin rays (vs. six or more, except Bunocephalus verrucosus), and nine caudal-fin rays (vs. 10, except Hoplomyzontinae, Amaralia, Platystacus, Bunocephalus chamaizelus, and Bunocephalus minerim). Osteological aspects of the new species of Acanthobunocephalus are described using cleared and stained specimens and high-resolution x-ray computed tomography (HRXCT), and compared with Acanthobunocephalus nicoi and other aspredinids. Generic assignment is based on putative apomorphic shared features and a morphological diagnosis for Acanthobunocephalus is presented. 1 1
Display all details of A new mammal from the Turonian-Campanian (Upper Cretaceous) Galula Formation, southwestern Tanzania We here establish a new mammaliaform genus and species, Galulatherium jenkinsi (Mammalia), from the Upper Cretaceous Galula Formation in the Rukwa Rift Basin of southwestern Tanzania. This represents the first named taxon of a mammaliaform from the entire Late Cretaceous of continental Afro-Arabia, an interval of 34 million years. Preliminary study of the holotypic and only known specimen (a partial dentary) resulted in tentative assignation to the Gondwanatheria, a poorly known, enigmatic clade of Late Cretaceous–Paleogene Gondwanan mammals (Krause et al. 2003). The application of advanced imaging (μCT) and visualization techniques permits a more detailed understanding of key anatomical features of the new taxon. It reveals that the lower dentition consisted of a large, procumbent lower incisor and four cheek teeth, all of which were evergrowing (hypselodont). Importantly, all of the teeth appear devoid of enamel. Comparisons conducted with a range of Mesozoic and selected Cenozoic mammaliaform groups document a number of features (e.g., columnar, enamel-less and evergrowing teeth, with relatively simple occlusal morphology) expressed in Galulatherium that are reminiscent of several distantly related groups, making taxonomic assignment difficult at this time. Herein we retain the provisional referral of Galulatherium (RRBP 02067) to Gondwanatheria, it is most similar to sudamericids such as Lavanify and Bharratherium from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar and India, respectively, in exhibiting relatively simple, high-crowned, columnar cheek teeth. Other features (e.g., enamel-less dentition) are shared with disparate forms such as the Late Jurassic Fruitafossor and toothed xenarthrans (e.g., sloths), here attributed to convergence. Revised analyses of the depositional context for the holotype place it as having lived sometime between the late Turonian and latest Campanian (roughly 91–72 million years ago). This enhanced geochronological context helps to refine the palaeobiogeographical significance of Galulatherium among Cretaceous mammals in general and those from Gondwanan landmasses specifically. 8 1
Display all details of Using a Novel Absolute Ontogenetic Age Determination Technique to Calculate the Timing of Tooth Eruption in the Saber-Toothed Cat, Smilodon fatalis Despite the superb fossil record of the saber-toothed cat, Smilodon fatalis, ontogenetic age determination for this and other ancient species remains a challenge. The present study utilizes a new technique, a combination of data from stable oxygen isotope analyses and micro-computed tomography, to establish the eruption rate for the permanent upper canines in Smilodon fatalis. The results imply an eruption rate of 6.0 millimeters per month, which is similar to a previously published average enamel growth rate of the S. fatalis upper canines (5.8 millimeters per month). Utilizing the upper canine growth rate, the upper canine eruption rate, and a previously published tooth replacement sequence, this study calculates absolute ontogenetic age ranges of tooth development and eruption in S. fatalis. The timing of tooth eruption is compared between S. fatalis and several extant conical-toothed felids, such as the African lion (Panthera leo). Results suggest that the permanent dentition of S. fatalis, except for the upper canines, was fully erupted by 14 to 22 months, and that the upper canines finished erupting at about 34 to 41 months. Based on these developmental age calculations, S. fatalis individuals less than 4 to 7 months of age were not typically preserved at Rancho La Brea. On the whole, S. fatalis appears to have had delayed dental development compared to dental development in similar-sized extant felids. This technique for absolute ontogenetic age determination can be replicated in other ancient species, including non-saber-toothed taxa, as long as the timing of growth initiation and growth rate can be determined for a specific feature, such as a tooth, and that growth period overlaps with the development of the other features under investigation. 3 3
Display all details of Repeated evolution of herbivorous crocodyliforms during the age of dinosaurs Extinct crocodyliforms from the age of dinosaurs (Mesozoic Era) display an impressive range of skeletal morphologies, suggesting a diversity of ecological roles not found in living representatives. In particular, unusual dental morphologies develop repeatedly through the evolutionary history of this group. Recent descriptions of fossil crocodyliforms and their unusual teeth provide the inferential basis for a wide range of feeding ecologies. However, tests of these hypotheses are hindered by the lack of directly comparable dental morphology in living reptiles and mammals, thereby preventing an accurate ecosystem reconstruction. Here we demonstrate using the orientation patch count rotated method that Mesozoic crocodyliforms exploited a much greater range of feeding ecologies than their extant relatives, including likely omnivores and herbivores. These results also indicate that crocodyliforms independently developed high-complexity dentitions a minimum of three times. Some taxa possess teeth that surpass the complexities of living herbivorous lizards and rival those of omnivorous and herbivorous mammals. This study indicates herbivorous crocodyliforms were more common than previously thought and were present throughout the Mesozoic and on most continents. The occurrence of multiple origins of complex dentitions throughout Crocodyliformes indicates that herbivory was a beneficial dietary strategy and not a unique occurrence. Many of these crocodyliforms lived alongside omnivorous or herbivorous synapsids, illustrating an ecological partition that is not observed today. 34 16
Display all details of Why ruminating ungulates chew sloppily Ct-scan models used in the paper "Why ruminating ungulates chew sloppily: Biomechanics discern a phylogenetic pattern" published in Plos One doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0214510 7 7
Display all details of Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates CT Scans of vertebrate specimens from the research and teaching collections of the CUMV 239 106
Display all details of Varanus komodoensis M-17921 2 1
Display all details of Centrochelys sulcata M12500 1 1
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