21 Works

Data from: Morphological datasets fit a common mechanism much more poorly than DNA sequences and call into question the Mkv model

Pablo A. Goloboff, Michael Pittman, Diego Pol & Xing Xu
The Mkv evolutionary model, based on minor modifications to models of molecular evolution, is being increasingly used to infer phylogenies from discrete morphological data, often producing different results from parsimony. The critical difference between Mkv and parsimony is the assumption of a “common mechanism” in the Mkv model, with branch lengths determining that probability of change for all characters increases or decreases at the same tree branches by the same exponential factor. We evaluate whether...

Cladistic matrix targeted at resolving relationships between fossil birds from the Changma locality of the Lower Cretaceous Xiagou Formation

Jingmai O'Connor, Thomas Stidham, Jerald Harris, Matthew Lamanna, Alida Bailleul, Han Hu, Min Wang & Hailu You
We describe six specimens consisting of cranial remains and associated partial presacral axial series belonging to ornithuromorph birds from the Changma locality of the Lower Cretaceous Xiagou Formation of northwestern Gansu Province, China. Comparison among specimens is limited by the paucity of overlapping elements, their differing exposed views, and, in some specimens, poor preservation. Despite this, three separate taxa are represented, evidenced by differences in their dentary dentitions: one specimen is edentulous, another has sharp,...

Data from: Rates of dinosaur body mass evolution indicate 170 million years of sustained ecological innovation on the avian stem lineage

Roger B. J. Benson, Nicolás E. Campione, Matthew T. Carrano, Philip D. Mannion, Corwin Sullivan, Paul Upchurch & David C. Evans
Large-scale adaptive radiations might explain the runaway success of a minority of extant vertebrate clades. This hypothesis predicts, among other things, rapid rates of morphological evolution during the early history of major groups, as lineages invade disparate ecological niches. However, few studies of adaptive radiation have included deep time data, so the links between extant diversity and major extinct radiations are unclear. The intensively studied Mesozoic dinosaur record provides a model system for such investigation,...

Potential for powered flight neared by most close avialan relatives but few crossed its thresholds

Rui Pei, Michael Pittman, Pablo A. Goloboff, T. Alexander Dececchi, Michael B. Habib, Thomas G. Kaye, Hans C.E. Larsson, Mark A. Norell, Stephen L. Brusatte & Xing Xu
This dataset is the Supplementary Materials of the Pei, Pittman et al. (2020) study 'Potential for powered flight neared by most close avialan relatives but few crossed its thresholds' in Current Biology (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.06.105). In this study, a revised phylogeny of coelurosaurian theropod dinosaurs was used to reconstruct their potential for powered flight. It found that powered flight potential evolved at least three times (once in birds and twice in dromaeosaurids) and that many ancestors of...

Data from: The tetrapod fauna of the upper Permian Naobaogou Formation of China: a new species of Elginia (Parareptilia, Pareiasauria)

Jun Liu & Gabriel S. Bever
The pareiasaur fossil record in China is poor compared to that of Russia or South Africa. A new pareiasaur specimen is here reported from the upper Permian Naobaogou Formation of the Daqing Mountains, Nei Mongol, China. It is recognized as a new species of Elginia, a taxon otherwise known only from the upper Permian Cutties Hillock Sandstone of Scotland. Diagnostic features include a moderately developed cheek flange; prominent otic notch (formed between squamosal and quadratojugal...

The emblematic South African therocephalian Euchambersia in China: a new link in the dispersal of late Permian vertebrates across Pangea

Fernando Abdala & Jun Liu
Therapsids were widely distributed in Pangea in the late Permian. South Africa in Gondwana, and Russia in Laurasia are the principal areas recording tetrapods (including therapsids) of this age. More recent field explorations have increased the importance of Chinese late Permian fossil assemblages. This is clearly reflected in the discovery of several new therocephalians from the Naobaogou Formation in Nei Mongol. Here we report a therocephalian from that unit identified as a new species of...

Data from: Locomotory abilities and habitat of the Cretaceous bird Gansus yumenensis inferred from limb length proportions

Robert L. Nudds, Jessie Atterholt, Xia Wang, H. L. You, Gareth J. Dyke & H.-L. You
The relative length proportions of the three bony elements of the pelvic (femur, tibiotarsus and tarsometatarsus) and pectoral (humerus, ulna and manus) limbs of the early Cretaceous bird Gansus yumenensis, a well-represented basal ornithuromorph from China are investigated and compared to those of extant taxa. Ternary plots show that the pectoral limb length proportions of Gansus are most similar to Apodiformes (swifts and hummingbirds), which plot away from all other extant birds. In contrast, the...

Data from: Reinterpretation of a previously described Jehol bird clarifies early trophic evolution in the Ornithuromorpha

Xiaoting Zheng, Jingmai K. O'Connor, Xiaoli Wang, Yan Wang & Zhonghe Zhou
STM35-3 from the Yixian Formation is the only Early Cretaceous ornithuromorph preserving direct evidence of granivory. The crop contains numerous seeds and the preservation of gastroliths presumably within the ventriculus indicates this diet was paired with the presence of a gastric mill as in living granivorous birds. STM35-3 was originally referred to Hongshanornis longicresta, member of a diverse clade of small, basal ornithuromorphs with elongate hindlimbs known as the Hongshanornithidae. Hindlimb proportions suggest that hongshanornithids...

Data from: A new moth-preying alpine pitviper species from Qinghai-Tibetan plateau (Viperidae, Crotalinae)

Jingsong Shi, Gang Wang, Xi'er Chen, Li Ding, Song Huang, Mian Hou, Jun Liu, Pipeng Li, Xi’er Chen & Yihao Fang
The Sanjiangyuan region of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau is recognized as a biodiversity hotspot of alpine mammals but a barren area in terms of amphibians and reptiles. Here, we describe a new pit viper species, Gloydius rubromaculatus sp. n. Shi, Li and Liu, 2017 that was discovered in this region, with a brief taxonomic revision of the genus Gloydius. The new species can be distinguished from the other congeneric species by the following characteristics: cardinal crossbands on...

A new species of Eogruidae (Aves: Gruiformes) from the Miocene of the Linxia Basin, Gansu, China: Evolutionary and climatic implications

Grace Musser, Zhiheng Li & Julia A Clarke
Despite having one of the most robust fossil records within core-gruiform birds (rails, cranes, and allies), the biogeographic history of Gruidae (cranes) and key drivers of diversification within this group remain largely unknown. The Eogruidae of Eurasia represent some of the earliest known crane-like fossils. Here, we present description of a new species represented by a well-preserved specimen of a foot from the late Miocene (7–6.5 mya) Liushu Formation of Linxia Basin, Gansu, China. It...

Selecting and averaging relaxed clock models in Bayesian tip dating of Mesozoic birds

Chi Zhang
Relaxed clock models are fundamental in Bayesian clock dating, but a single distribution characterizing the clock variation is typically selected. Hence, I developed a new reversible-jump Markov chain Monte Carlo (rjMCMC) algorithm for drawing posterior samples between the independent lognormal (ILN) and independent gamma rates (IGR) clock models. The ability of the rjMCMC algorithm to infer the true model was verified through simulations. I then applied the algorithm to the Mesozoic birds data previously analyzed...

Supplementary material for: Testing for a dietary shift in the Early Cretaceous ceratopsian dinosaur Psittacosaurus lujiatunensis

Damiano Landi, Logan King, Qi Zhao, Emily Rayfield & Michael Benton
Many dinosaurs may have shown ecological differentiation between hatchlings and adults, possibly because of the great size differential. The basal ceratopsian Psittacosaurus lujiatunensis is known from thousands of specimens from the Early Cretaceous of China and these include many so-called ‘juvenile clusters’. During the early stages of ontogeny, P. lujiatunensis underwent a posture shift from quadrupedal to bipedal, and a dietary shift has also been postulated. In this study, we apply a 2D mechanical analysis...

Data from: Temporal and phylogenetic evolution of the sauropod dinosaur body plan

Karl T. Bates, Philip D. Mannion, Peter L. Falkingham, Stephen L. Brusatte, John R. Hutchinson, Alexandros Otero, William I. Sellers, Corwin Sullivan, Kent A. Stevens & Vivian Allen
The colossal size and body plan of sauropod dinosaurs are unparalleled in terrestrial vertebrates. However, to date, there have been only limited attempts to examine temporal and phylogenetic patterns in the sauropod bauplan. Here, we combine three-dimensional computational models with phylogenetic reconstructions to quantify the evolution of whole-body shape and body segment properties across the sauropod radiation. Limitations associated with the absence of soft tissue preservation in fossils result in large error bars about mean...

Data from: The Victoria West: earliest prepared core technology in the Acheulean at Canteen Kopje and implications for the cognitive evolution of early hominids

Hao Li, Kathleen Kuman, Matt G. Lotter, George M. Leader & Ryan J. Gibbon
Prepared core technology illustrates in-depth planning and the presence of a mental template during the core reduction process. This technology is, therefore, a significant indicator in studying the evolution of abstract thought and the cognitive abilities of hominids. Here, we report on Victoria West cores excavated from the Canteen Kopje site in central South Africa, with a preliminary age estimate of approximately 1 Ma (million years ago) for these cores. Technological analysis shows that the...

Data from: Eocene Pachynolophinae (Perissodactyla, Palaeotheriidae) from China and their paleobiogeographic implications

Bin Bai
The Eocene Palaeotheriidae was traditionally considered a nearly endemic European group within Equoidea, but a few palaeotheres have been reported from Asia. Here I reanalyze a maxilla containing M1-3 from the Lunan Basin, Yunnan Province, China. This element was initially assigned to a new tapiromorph species, Lophialetes yunnanensis, but I erect a new genus Lophiohippus within Pachynolophinae for the Yunnan specimen based mainly on the absence of mesostyles, the strongly inclined metalophs, the strong development...

Data from: Using parsimony-guided tree proposals to accelerate convergence in Bayesian phylogenetic inference

Chi Zhang, John Huelsenbeck & Fredrik Ronquist
Sampling across tree space is one of the major challenges in Bayesian phylogenetic inference using Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithms. Standard MCMC tree moves consider small random perturbations of the topology, and select from candidate trees at random or based on the distance between the old and new topologies. MCMC algorithms using such moves tend to get trapped in tree space, making them slow in finding the globally most probable trees (known as `convergence')...

Early Silurian chondrichthyans from the Tarim Basin (Xinjiang, China)

Plamen Andreev, Wenjin Zhao, Nian-Zhong Wang, Moya Smith, Li Qiang, Xindong Cui, Min Zhu & Ivan Sansom
The Sinacanthida ordo nov. and Mongolepidida are spine- and scale-based taxa whose remains encompass some of the earliest reported fossils of chondrichthyan fish. Investigation of fragmentary material from the Early Silurian Tataertag and Ymogantau Formations of the Tarim Basin (Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China) has revealed a diverse mongolepidid and sinacanthid fauna dominated by mongolepids and sinacanthids in association with abundant dermoskeletal elements of the endemic ‘armoured’ agnathans known as galeaspids. Micro-computed tomography, scanning electron...

Skyline fossilized birth-death priors resolve deep root attraction in total-evidence dating

Chi Zhang, Fredrik Ronquist & Tanja Stadler
Several total-evidence dating studies under the fossilized birth-death (FBD) prior produced very old age estimates which are not supported by the fossil record, and this phenomenon has been termed "deep root attraction'' (DRA). For the Hymenoptera and Eutheria data, utilizing diversified extant sampling in the FBD process has been shown to greatly reduce the DRA effect. However, it is unclear how to proceed in data analyses where typically both the random and diversified samplings are...

Data from: Rates of morphological evolution are heterogeneous in Early Cretaceous birds

Min Wang & Graeme T. Lloyd
The Early Cretaceous is a critical interval in the early history of birds. Exceptional fossils indicate that important evolutionary novelties such as a pygostyle and a keeled sternum had already arisen in Early Cretaceous taxa, bridging much of the morphological gap between Archaeopteryx and crown birds. However, detailed features of basal bird evolution remain obscure because of both the small sample of fossil taxa previously considered and a lack of quantitative studies assessing rates of...

Data from: Redescription of Phymolepis cuifengshanensis (Antiarcha: Yunnanolepididae) using high-resolution computed tomography and new insights into anatomical details of the endocranium in antiarchs

Yajing Wang & Min Zhu
Background. Yunnanolepidoids constitute either the basal-most consecutive segments or the most primitive clade of antiarchs, a highly diversified jawed vertebrate group from the Silurian and Early Devonian periods. Although the general morphology of yunnanolepidoids is well established, their endocranial features remain largely unclear, thus hindering our further understanding of antiarch evolution, and early gnathostome evolution. Phymolepis cuifengshanensis, a yunnanolepidoid from the Early Devonian of southwestern China, is re-described in detail to reveal the information on...

Data from: δ18O-derived incubation temperatures of oviraptorosaur eggs

Romain Amiot, Xu Wang, Shuo Wang, Christophe Lécuyer, Jean-Michel Mazin, Jinyou Mo, Jean-Pierre Flandrois, François Fourel, Xiaolin Wang, Xing Xu, Zhijun Zhang & Zhonghe Zhou
In order to determine the incubation temperature of eggs laid by non-avian dinosaurs, we analysed the oxygen isotope compositions of both eggshell carbonate (δ18Oc) and embryo bone phosphate (δ18Op) from seven oviraptorosaur eggs with preserved in ovo embryo bones. These eggs come from the Upper Cretaceous Nanxiong Formation of Jiangxi Province, China. Oviraptorosaur theropods were selected because of their known brooding behaviour as evidenced by preserved adult specimens fossilized in brooding posture on their clutch....

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