Hey guys, welcome to PaleoNews #8! We have got a lot to cover!
A new anomalocaridid has been described! Aegirocrassis benmoulae propelled itself through the waters of Ordovician Morocco around 480 million years ago. This animal was among the largest radiodonts, the holotype itself an estimated 7 feet long or more. It is one of the first examples of a filter feeding animal displaying gigantism, a feature that continues to appear today in groups like Cetacea. This new taxon also gives insight into the evolution of arthopod limbs. Unlike other members of Anomalocrarididae, A. benmoulae exhibits two sets of propulsion flaps. In modern arthropods, limbs are divided into two segments, reminiscent of the two sets of flaps found in this new creature. It seems as though A. benmoulae was on the evolutionary route to modern arthropod limb division. A. benmoulae also exhibits a massive carapace which juts out of its head. I speculate this might have been used for disputes or courtship displays, similar to the condition in Hercules and Rhinoceros beetles. Perhaps that the carapace was also used to protect its vulnerable mouthparts, which were used for filter feeding. Here is a sketch of my idea of the carapace being used for disputes:
A new crocodylomorph was described yesterday! Carnufex carolinensis dominated the late Triassic ecosystem of North Carolina. A partial skull and other bones from C. carolinensis were retrieved from the Pekin Formation by paleontologists from North Carolina State University. Because the specimen was rather fragmentary, the scientists used 3D imaging technology to recreate the animal’s skull, using more complete skulls from relatives of C. carolinensis to fill in the missing sections. The Pekin Formation dates to around 231 million years ago (Carnian stage of the Triassic), a time when dinosaurs had just evolved and remained small predators as large crocodylomorphs (poposaurids, rauisuchians, etc) remained the apex predators. C. carolinensis is important as it reveals crocodylomorphs still filled the niche of apex predator in the northern hemisphere in the mid-Triassic. This find is also relevant to my work on the fossils of CT, as the Pekin Formation’s flora and fauna is similar to those known from the Triassic of Connecticut. Here is a sketch of C. carolinensis:
A new online paleontology journal has been created, and it’s open-access! It’s called VAMP, and it was launched by the University of Alberta. I suggest you check it out.
THE INTERNET AND PALEONTOLOGY
On DINOSOURS!, Ben continues his series Framing Fossil Exhibits: Phylogeny. You can find the new entry here. Ben also made a very helpful post about dinosaur specimens discovered at Carnegie Quarry. You can find that here. SV-POW! estimates the size of Huanghetitan ruyangensis here. Theropod Thursday returns at dinosaurpalaeo! The awesome Heinrich Mallison wrote up the fifty-second installment, which you can check out here. At The Bite Stuff, Jaime Headden talks about how people, both scientists and the media, frequently use artwork without crediting the artist or even asking for permission to use the work. I suggest those of you who aren’t aware of the negative affect of art theft read this post to have a better understanding of how it affects the artist.
I hope you guys enjoyed PaleoNews #8. I am going to leave you with a little sneak-peak of Terrific Tetanurae #4: