New Findings 

Meet Mystacina miocenalis, the earliest known species of Mystacina, and also the largest. At 40 grams, this bat was 3 times as heavy as its modern relatives. The fossil material of this animal was collected from Lake Manuherikia, which was once surrounded by rainforest around 17 million years ago. The size of this animal suggests that it was doing less in the air and more on the ground, preying on larger animals and eating larger fruits and seeds then its modern relatives. Flightless bats (albeit ones way larger then M. miocenalis) have been the subject of much speculation (i. e. Dixon’s “Night Stalker”, Primeaval’s “Future Predator” , etc.), so the presence of a possible ground-based bat in the fossil record seems to be less of a surprise.

Turtles (or at least their ancestors) are in the news too! The newly-described Pappochelys sheds light on how the turtle shell evolved. In this animal’s case, rod-like bones, some of which fused to each other, coated the underbelly. In life, the animal was around 8 inches long. The animal lived in a tropical lacustrine environment.

 Archelon, a giant protostegid turtle from the Late Cretaceous of North America,  evolved from  a small, lizard-like animal similar to Pappochelys
Archelon, a giant protostegid turtle from the Late Cretaceous of North America, evolved from a small, lizard-like animal similar to Pappochelys. Photo by the author, 2014.

There’s a new prosauropodomorph in town, and its name is Sefapanosaurus. At one point this dinosaur was mistaken for Aardonyx , but Otero et. al. (2015) has concluded that the holotype of Sefapanosaurus is a new species. The animal was collected from the Elliot Formation of Southern Africa many years ago, and, although the specimen is far from complete, the presence of this dinosaur furthers our understanding of Upper Triassic and Lower Jurassic ecosystems.

Prosauropodomorphs, like this Plateosaurus at the AMNH, were very successful during the Late Triassic but started to decline by the earliest Jurassic. Photo by the author, 2015.
Prosauropodomorphs, like this Plateosaurus at the AMNH, were very successful during the Late Triassic but started to decline by the earliest Jurassic. Photo by the author, 2015.

THE INTERNET AND PALEONTOLOGY 

Jaime Headden discusses the new classification  of Balaur blondoc as a basal avalian. Jaime has also created a skeletal of the animal based on this new placement, which he has included in his new article on Balaur. You can find that article here.

Heinrich Mallison brings us an update on his digiS project. Photogrammetry is pretty cool, indeed! Check out his post here.

At Letters from Gondwana, the life and times of part-time paleobotanist and dedicated feminist Marie Stopes. She challenged the societal norms of her time, and her story is one that should be remembered. You can go check out that post here.

Mark Witton discusses speculative behaviors and events pertaining to dromaeosaurs. He also showcases some of his beautiful artwork. You can find that post here.

FEATURED ARTWORK/ PHOTOGRAPH 

This week we have my photo of the Connecticut’s Petrified Forest display at the Yale Peabody Museum. These fossils come from the middle of the state, usually somewhere in the vicinity of South Britain. It’s quite surprising to see how well-preserved these fossil plants are!

IMG_2128Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed!

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