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Morphological variation, phylogenetic relationships, and geographic distribution of the Baenidae (Testudines), based on new specimens from the Uinta Formation (Uinta Basin), Utah (USA)

Description

We described newly discovered baenid specimens from the Uintan North American Land Mammal Age (NALMA), in the Uinta Formation, Uinta Basin, Utah. These specimens include a partial skull and several

We described newly discovered baenid specimens from the Uintan North American Land Mammal Age (NALMA), in the Uinta Formation, Uinta Basin, Utah. These specimens include a partial skull and several previously undescribed postcranial elements of Baena arenosa, and numerous well-preserved shells of B. arenosa and Chisternon undatum. Baenids from the Uintan NALMA (46.5–40 Ma) are critical in that they provide valuable insight into the morphology and evolution of the diverse and speciose baenid family near the end of its extensive radiation, just prior to the disappearance of this clade from the fossil record. These Uintan specimens greatly increase the known variation in these late-surviving taxa and indicate that several characters thought to define these species should be reassessed. The partial cranium of B. arenosa, including portions of the basicranium, neurocranium, face, and lower jaw, was recently recovered from Uinta B sediments. While its morphology is consistent with known specimens of B. arenosa, we observed several distinct differences: a crescent-shaped condylus occipitalis that is concave dorsally, tuberculum basioccipitale that flare out laterally, and a distinct frontal-nasal suture. The current sample of plastral and carapacial morphology considerably expands the documented variation in the hypodigms of B. arenosa and C. undatum. Novel shell characters observed include sigmoidal extragular-humeral sulci, and small, subtriangular gular scutes. Subadult specimens reveal ontogenetic processes in both taxa, and demonstrate that diagnostic morphological differences between them were present from an early developmental age.

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Date Created
  • 2017-07-07

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Geochronological and Taxonomic Revisions of the Middle Eocene Whistler Squat Quarry (Devil’s Graveyard Formation, Texas) and Implications for the Early Uintan in Trans-Pecos Texas

Description

The Whistler Squat Quarry (TMM 41372) of the lower Devil’s Graveyard Formation in Trans-Pecos Texas is a middle Eocene fossil locality attributed to Uintan biochronological zone Ui1b. Specimens from the

The Whistler Squat Quarry (TMM 41372) of the lower Devil’s Graveyard Formation in Trans-Pecos Texas is a middle Eocene fossil locality attributed to Uintan biochronological zone Ui1b. Specimens from the Whistler Squat Quarry were collected immediately above a volcanic tuff with prior K/Ar ages ranging from ∼47–50 Ma and below a tuff previously dated to ∼44 Ma. New [superscript 40]Ar/[superscript 39]Ar analyses of both of the original tuff samples provide statistically indistinguishable ages of 44.88±0.04 Ma for the lower tuff and 45.04±0.10 Ma for the upper tuff. These dates are compatible with magnetically reversed sediments at the site attributable to C20r (43.505–45.942 Ma) and a stratigraphic position above a basalt dated to 46.80 Ma. Our reanalysis of mammalian specimens from the Whistler Squat Quarry and a stratigraphically equivalent locality significantly revises their faunal lists, confirms the early Uintan designation for the sites, and highlights several biogeographic and biochronological differences when compared to stratotypes in the Bridger and Uinta Formations. Previous suggestions of regional endemism in the early Uintan are supported by the recognition of six endemic taxa (26% of mammalian taxa) from the Whistler Squat Quarry alone, including three new taxa. The revised faunal list for the Whistler Squat Quarry also extends the biostratigraphic ranges of nine non-endemic mammalian taxa to Ui1b.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-07-02