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2009-04-23 – Puijila darwini: Anello mancante nell`evoluzione dei Pinnipedi (missing link in pinniped evolution)

recommended links: (Official home page) (good scientific description of the discovery)


 Fossil of a walking seal found

Remains of a previously unknown mammal could represent a missing link in pinniped evolution
Web edition : Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 
Researchers discovered remains of a previously unknown pinniped in the Canadian Arctic. (Inset shows bones that were found.) The fossilized skeleton was about 65 percent complete. (Illustration fills in the missing pieces.)
Researchers discovered remains of a previously unknown pinniped in the Canadian Arctic. (Inset shows bones that were found.) The fossilized skeleton was about 65 percent complete. (Illustration fills in the missing pieces.)

A fossilized skeleton of what researchers are calling a walking seal has been uncovered in the Canadian Arctic. The remains of this previously unknown mammal could shed light on the evolution of pinnipeds, the group that includes seals, sea lions and walruses, researchers report in the April 23 Nature.

The animal, named Puijila darwini, had a long tail and an otterlike body with webbed feet and legs like a terrestrial animal, the researchers report. But P. darwini also had a pinniped-like skull.

“We realized there was no way this was an otter,” says study coauthor Natalia Rybczynski of the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. The walking seal probably lived about 20 million years ago and was adept at moving both on land and in water, the team reports. 

Researchers describe Puijila darwini (illustration shown) as a walking seal, with the legs of a terrestrial animal, a seal-like skull and webbed feet.

Researchers describe Puijila darwini (illustration shown) as a walking seal, with the legs of a terrestrial animal, a seal-like skull and webbed feet.

 Scientists had theorized that pinnipeds evolved from land-dwelling ancestors but had little fossil evidence to support that claim. The new finding could be the missing link in pinniped evolution, the researchers report.

“This is a fantastic discovery,” comments evolutionary biologist Annalisa Berta of San Diego State University.

The finding may also indicate that the Arctic was a geographic center for pinniped evolution, the researchers speculate.

But, Berta notes, other early pinnipeds have been discovered in the North Pacific and Eurasia. “We can’t yet conclude the Arctic was the area of origin for pinnipeds,” Berta says.


Otter-like fossil reveals early seal evolution

The Associated Press – ‎22-apr-2009‎
One expert called it “a fantastic discovery” that fills a crucial gap in the fossil record. The 23 million-year-old creature was not a direct ancestor of

aprile 23, 2009 Posted by | - Mammiferi, America Northern, An. Vertebrates, Articolo sc. di riferimento, P - Evoluzione, P - morfologia funzionale, P - Ritrovamenti fossili, Paleontology / Paleontologia, X - Nature | , , , , , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

2008-02-01 – Arab Emirates, Miocene fossils unearthed

6-8 million years old fossil unearthed

Anwar Ahmad

1 February 2009

ABU DHABI – Fossil experts have made fresh discoveries in the Al Gharbia region of the emirate of Abu Dhabi

Joint surveys and excavations were carried out starting mid-December last year  at Jaw Al Dibsa, Hamra 
and Shuwaihat by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) and a team from Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University, USA.

The joint project concerns the investigation of the Baynunah Formation, a set of geological deposits rich in fossils, which is exposed in Abu Dhabi’s Western Region.

The team was led by Prof Andrew Hill and Faysal Bibi from Yale University.

Among major discoveries were a well-preserved elephant jaw from Jaw Al Dibsa, a pair of jaws of a primitive horse (known as a ‘hipparion’) and a crocodile skeleton from Hamra.

These sites date back to around 6-8 million years ago, a time known as the late Miocene epoch. During that time, Abu Dhabi was greener than it is now, with rivers flowing through it, teeming with hippopotamuses, crocodiles, turtles and fish. Forested areas and savanna-like grasslands were occupied by animals such as elephants, rhinoceros, giraffes, horses, antelopes and ostriches, a statement from ADACH said.

Dr Walid Yasin, manager of Archaeology Section in ADACH, said, “A number of less important things were also discovered during the field investigations. The Yale University team, which left for the US on January 13, will be visiting the emirate again in December for joint discoveries.”

The ADACH’s team also received training in the conservation, preparation and study of fossil specimens. ADACH’s historic environment team is working on an extensive project on mapping the location of all fossil sites within Abu Dhabi.


febbraio 1, 2009 Posted by | - Mammiferi, - Rettili, An. Vertebrates, Asia, Cenozoic, Paleo-Arte, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , | Lascia un commento

Malaysia: nessuna protezione per i fossili (No protection for fossil)

Anche in Malaysia i beni paleontologici non sono accuratamente protetti: sparite ossa di un mammifero pleistocenico !!


No protection for fossil

IN PERAK’S Gua Naga Mas, there is a fossil of a mammal embedded in the cave wall. It was found in 1992. No real tests have been done, but the fossil is thought to be a leopard or other cat, and may date to the Pleistocene, 1.8 million to 10,000 years BP.The Department of Museums and Antiquities erected a sign at the base of the steps leading up to the cave. My first visit to the site was in 1996. On subsequent visits, by comparing my photos over the years, I could see that pieces of the fossil have been removed.

It is disheartening to find that unscrupulous people have been removing these ancient bones, and that nothing has been done to protect them. I tried to get to the cave recently and found that the sign was missing, and the steps were overgrown.
Also a factory has encroached right up to the hillslope. This fossil is thought to be the only one known in Southeast Asia. It is sad to see that the authorities have done nothing to protect this site.
I hope the museums or tourism departments will take action to preserve such an important piece of Malaysia’s past.

Liz Price
Kuala Lumpur


Other links: Liz Prices web site on “Malaysian caves”

ottobre 20, 2008 Posted by | - Mammiferi, 2 Pleistocene, Asia, Commercio illegale, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , | 4 commenti

2008-10-15 – Texas, USA: Rifugio per mammiferi fossili (Eocene, mammals, Diablomomys dalquesti)

Nuovi resti fossili testimoniano la permanenza di mammiferi in Texas nell Eocene in un periodo di “stress climatico”


New Fossil Reveals Primates Lingered in Texas; Climate Provided Refuge for Diminishing Population

October 13, 2008

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AUSTIN, Texas — More than 40 million years ago, primates preferred Texas to northern climates that were significantly cooling, according to new fossil evidence discovered by Chris Kirk, physical anthropologist at The University of Texas at Austin.


Kirk and Blythe Williams from Duke University have discovered Diablomomys dalquesti, a new genus and species of primate that dates to 44-43 million years ago when tropical forests and active volcanoes covered west Texas.

The researchers have published their discovery in the Journal of Human Evolution article, “New Uintan Primates from Texas and their Implications for North American Patterns of Species Richness during the Eocene.”

During the early part of the Eocene epoch, primates were common in the tropical forests that covered most of North America. Over time, however, climatic cooling caused a dramatic decline in the abundance and diversity of North American primates. By the end of the Eocene, primates and most tropical species had almost disappeared from North America.

Kirk’s discovery of late middle Eocene (Uintan) primates at the Devil’s Graveyard Formation in Southwest Texas reveals new information about how North American primates evolved during this period of faunal (animal) reorganization.

“After several years of collecting new fossils, reviewing Texas’ primate community and comparing it to other places in North America, we found a much more diverse group of primate species in Texas than we expected,” Kirk said. “It seems that primates stuck around in Texas much longer than many other parts of the continent because the climate stayed warm for a longer period of time. While primate diversity was falling off precipitously in places like Utah and Wyoming during the late middle Eocene, west Texas provided a humid, tropical refuge for primates and other arboreal (tree-inhabiting) animals.”

The anthropologists named the new primate Diablomomys dalquesti, combining “Diablo” to represent the Devil’s Graveyard Formation (sand- and mudstones near Big Bend National Park) with Omomys, a related fossil genus. The dalquesti species name honors Walter and Rose Dalquest, who donated the land on which the fossil was collected (Midwestern State University’s ‘Dalquest Research Site’). Walter was a Texas paleontologist and distinguished biology professor at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls until his death in 2000.

For more information, contact: Christian Clarke Casarez, Office of Public Affairs, 512-471-4945; Chris Kirk, assistant professor, Department of Anthropology, 512-471-0056 (office), 512-636-2634 (cell).

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update 2008-10-21 11:23 Italy

Environment News Service
Fossil Reveals Ancient Primates Took Refuge in Texas
Environment News Service – 59 minuti fa
AUSTIN, Texas, October 20, 2008 (ENS) – More than 43 million years ago, when tropical forests and active volcanoes covered west Texas, primates chose to

ottobre 15, 2008 Posted by | - Mammiferi, - Primati, 6 Eocene, America Northern, Lang. - Italiano, P - Ritrovamenti fossili, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

2008-10-09 – Nuovi paleo-video dai Blogs (Videos, 3D reconstructions, crazy Paleontologists)

Sui blog, da poco pubblicati nuovi video:

Blog GER – Fossilien-news

       (Two videos with 3d reconstruction of: Panthera leo spelaea and Megantereon)

Blog ENG – Palaeoblog 

      (crazy Paleontologist of Phil Currie’s Labs filmed by one of the grad students, Miriam Reichel)



Support this blog buying on Amazon:  PaleoNewsShop !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ottobre 9, 2008 Posted by | - Mammiferi, Curiosità, Paleontology / Paleontologia, Video | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Lascia un commento

2008-09-25 – Resti fossili del Pleistocene scoperti a Ortona


Ippopotami, elefanti, cervi abitavano a Ortona, sulle sponde dell’Adriatico, 700.000 di anni fa. Questa eccezionale scoperta verra’ illustrata nel convegno e nella mostra “Il giacimento paleontologico di Ortona: la costa abruzzese 700.000 anni fa” in programma il 27 settembre alle 9,00 nel Museo Geopaleontologico di Palena ( (Chieti), nell’ambito delle iniziative delle Giornate europee del Patrimonio, organizzate dalla Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell’Abruzzo. I restauri dei reperti faunistici e le ricerche sul giacimento paleontologico della citta’ adriatica, in localita’ Ciampino, sono stati condotti dal Servizio Geologico e Paleontologico della Soprintendenza per i beni archeologici dell’Abruzzo in collaborazione con il Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra dell’Universita’ di Firenze. Le ricerche scientifiche hanno evidenziato un’associazione faunistica a mammiferi riconducibile alla fasi iniziali del Pleistocene, all’incirca 700.000 anni fa e consentono la ricostruzione paleogeografica della zona costiera, delle colline e dei fiumi abruzzesi, mostrando ambienti ed ecosistemi particolari: ampie valli alluvionali spesso confinate da zone palustri, foci caratterizzate da lagune e dune. E’ da questo contesto che provengono i reperti di ippopotami,elefanti,cervi che abitavano anticamente in riva all’Adriatico, allargando il panorama delle conoscenze sulla geodiversita’ e biodiversita’ del passato in Abruzzo. L’iniziativa ha il patrocinio della Commissione Italiana per l’ “International Year of Planet Earth” (Anno Internazionale del Pianeta Terra) proclamato dall’ONU nel 2005 e si inserisce nelle manifestazioni culturali e scientifiche proposte nel mondo per il triennio 2007-2009. (AGI)

(25 settembre 2008 ore 15.50)

settembre 25, 2008 Posted by | - Italia, - Mammiferi, 2 Pleistocene, Lang. - Italiano, P - Ritrovamenti fossili, Paleontology / Paleontologia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 commenti