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    A juvenile skull of the longirostrine choristodere (Diapsida: Choristodera), Mengshanosaurus minimus gen. et sp. nov., with comments on neochoristodere ontogeny
    YUAN Meng, LI Da-Qing, Daniel T. KSEPKA, YI Hong-Yu
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2021, 59 (3): 213-228.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.210607
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    Choristoderes were an important clade of semi-aquatic predators that occupied Laurasian freshwater ecosystems from the Middle Jurassic to the Miocene. During the Early Cretaceous, the neochoristodere lineage evolved large size and long snouts, converging on the body plan of modern crocodilians. Here, we describe a new longirostrine choristodere, Mengshanosaurus minimus gen. et sp. nov. from the Lower Cretaceous Mengyin Formation of Shandong Province, China. The holotype is the smallest reported neochoristodere individual, with a skull length of only 35 mm. The poorly ossified braincase, along with retention of a fontanel at the frontal-parietal suture, indicates this individual was a juvenile. Phylogenetic analyses recovered Mengshanosaurus as a neochoristodere, a placement supported by the presence of a single narial opening, fusion of the nasals, and expansion of the temporal fenestrae. In the Neochoristodera,Mengshanosaurus is sister to a clade consisting of Ikechosaurus, Tchoiria, Simoedosaurus, and Champsosaurus. It differs from other neochoristoderes in having the lacrimal foramen between the prefrontal and lacrimal, in addition to having large vomerine teeth (exceeding one-third the width of corresponding maxillary teeth). The closely arranged marginal teeth and large vomerine teeth suggest juvenile choristoderes may have fed on invertebrates and insects, similar to juveniles of modern crocodilians. However, the observation that very young neochoristoderes had similar skull proportions and marginal tooth shapes to adults, along with features suggesting a more fully aquatic ecology, suggest that neochoristoderes exhibited less pronounced ontogenetic niche shifts than modern crocodilians.

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    Redescription of Nochelaspis maeandrine ,the largest eugaleaspiform from the Lower Devonian of Qujing, Yunnan
    MENG Xin-Yuan, ZHU Min, GAI Zhi-Kun
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2021, 59 (4): 257-272.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.210727
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    The new specimens of the largest eugaleaspiform Nochelaspis maeandrine are redescribed from two localities of the Xishancun Formation in Qujing City, Yunnan Province, southwestern China. Nochelaspis is most suggestive of Yunnanogaleaspis from the same horizon, but differs in its slit-like median dorsal opening (length/width>6), much stronger inner cornual process, coarse stellate ornamentation, and the serrations along the edges of the median dorsal opening and headshield. The new findings reveal the morphological details on the ventral side of the headshield as well. The oralobranchial fenestra is covered by a large dermal ventral plate, which is decorated with dense, tiny granular tubercles, and aligned with six pairs of separated, large, and circular branchial openings. This condition is different from that of osteostracans, in which the oralobranchial fenestra is covered by numerous minute scales or larger dermal platelets, and the branchial openings are slit-shaped and covered by small skin flaps somewhat like those of elasmobranchs. However, the branchial openings of galeaspids and osteostracans are both located ventrally as in modern rays, indicating a benthic lifestyle dwelling on sandy or muddy substrates in a quiet marine environment.

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    Reanalysis of Oculudentavis shows it is a lizard
    LI Zhi-Heng, WANG Wei, HU Han, WANG Min, YI Hong-Yu, LU Jing
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2021, 59 (2): 95-105.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.1000-3118.201020
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    The recent finding of a fossil entombed in a Late Cretaceous amber - Oculudentavis khaungraae - was claimed to represent a humming bird-sized dinosaur. Regardless of the intriguing evolutionary hypotheses about the bauplan of Mesozoic dinosaurs (including birds) posited therein, this enigmatic animal demonstrates various morphologies resembling lizards. If Oculudentavis was a bird, it challenges several fundamental morphological differences between Lepidosauria and Archosauria. Here we reanalyze the original computed tomography scan data of the holotype of Oculudentavis khaungraae (HPG-15-3). Morphological evidences demonstrated here highly contradict the avian or even archosaurian phylogenetic placement of the species. In contrast, our analysis revealed multiple skull morphologies of HPG-15-3 resembling those of squamates, including pleurodont marginal teeth, an open infratemporal fenestra, and the presence of palatal dentition. Based on these new morphological information, the phylogenetic position of Oculudentavis was analyzed in a data matrix sampling across the Diapsida. Taxon sampling of the data matrix included multiple species of lizards, birds, and major clades in Lepidosauromorpha and Archosauromorpha. In the strict consensus tree, Oculudentavis is nested within Squamata. These results show that morphology of the Oculudentavis khaungraae holotype supports a squamate rather than avian or dinosaurian affinity of the species.

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    Reappraisal of the largest ctenochasmatid Moganopterus zhuiana Lü et al., 2012
    GAO Dian-Song, JIANG Shun-Xing, XU Li, CHENG Xin, YANG Li-Li, JIA Song-Hai, WANG Xiao-Lin
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2022, 60 (3): 197-211.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.220111
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    Moganopterus zhuiana Lü et al., 2012 was erected as a member of the Boreopteridae, which was questioned by different researchers shortly after the publication. Although the new assignment to the Ctenochasmatidae is widely accepted by pterosaur researchers, some characteristics still require a detailed description. Here, the holotype of this taxon is restudied, and some ambiguous characteristics are re-identified. The diagnosis of this taxon has been revised as the following: a large ctenochasmatid pterosaur, which can be distinguished from other members of this clade by a single autapomorphy: an elongated rod-like parietal crest that extends posterodorsally, forming an angle of about 15° with the ventral margin of the skull. This taxon can be further distinguished from other ctenochasmatids on the basis of the following combination of characteristics: straight occlusal surfaces of the upper and low jaws; presence of a low premaxillary crest confined anterior to the nasoantorbital fenestra; rostrum about two thirds of the skull length; nasoantorbital fenestra occupying slightly more than 20% of the skull length; about 100 slender teeth; and a mid-cervical length/width ratio of about 7. The wingspan of M. zhuiana has been re-estimated according to a simple regression equation for wingspan versus skull length in ctenochasmatids. It confirms that M. zhuiana, although smaller than previous thought, is still the largest known ctenochasmatid. When comparing the sizes of ctenochasmatids in the Jurassic and Cretaceous, ctenochasmatids showed a rough tendency to increase their sizes.

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    A new aardwolf-line fossil hyena from Middle and Late Miocene deposits of Linxia Basin, Gansu, China
    Henry GALIANO, Z. Jack TSENG, Nikos SOLOUNIAS, WANG Xiao-Ming, QIU Zhan-Xiang, Stuart C. WHITE
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2022, 60 (2): 81-116.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.211025
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    The aardwolf Proteles cristatus is the only known hyaenid, living or extinct, to exhibit an extremely reduced dentition related to its termite-specializing diet. The fossil record of extant aardwolves extends to 2 to 4 million years ago, but records that inform its evolutionary origins are essentially nonexistent. Such circumstance renders it difficult to place this unusual hyena in the broader evolutionary context of small-bodied hyaenid species in Eurasian Neogene deposits. Here we describe a new genus and species of a small-bodied hyaenid, Gansuyaena megalotis, representing the closest morphological link to aardwolves to date. This new fossil hyena is based on a skull with associated mandible, a rostrum preserving several teeth, and several referred specimens. The new specimens were discovered in Neogene deposits in Linxia Basin, Gansu Province, China. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that among early hyaenids, G. megalotis is most closely related, but unlikely ancestral, to the living aardwolf. Also recognized in this new species are the fossils previously referred to “Protictitherium” aff. P. gaillardi from Pasalar, Turkey. Additionally, “Plioviverropsguerini from Los Mansuetos, Spain is interpreted to represent a second Gansuyaena species. In addition to the living aardwolf, Proteles cristatus, our analyses suggest that the proteline lineage includes the extinct genera Gansuyaena, Mesoviverrops, and Plioviverrops. Although the precise timing and geographic location of evolutionary divergence between the aardwolf and Gansuyaena remain elusive, critical new morphological information provided by Gansuyaena specimens reinforce findings from recent genomic analyses that the aardwolf lineage has an ancient origin from small-bodied stem hyaenids prior to the appearance of large and robust bone-cracking hyaenines.

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    On kannemeyeriiform dicynodonts from the Shaanbeikannemeyeria Assemblage Zone of the Ordos Basin, China
    LIU Jun
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2022, 60 (3): 212-248.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.220601
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    Shaanbeikannemeyeria is a common tetrapod from the lower part of the Ermaying Formation of the Ordos Basin, China. There are taxonomical questions surrounding this genus, such as the validity of the genus, and how many species are included within it. Several specimens have been collected since 1978. Shaanbeikannemeyeria first appeared from the top of the Heshanggou Formation. These specimens are described to clarify the diagnostic characters, the individual variations and the phylogenetic position of Shaanbeikannemeyeria. Only one species, S. xilougouensis, is recognized. It is characterized by the following autapomorphies: occiput strongly inclined relative to the palate such that the skull is much shorter basally than dorsally, sword tip-like premaxillary posterodorsal processes, tall and dorsally-convex cutting blade on the medial edge of the dorsal surface of the dentary, reflected lamina with a separated posteroventral process, and 15 dorsal vertebrae. This species shows variations on the cranial morphology, such as the occiput height relative to the width, the snout tip (sharp or obtuse), the shape of the orbital portion of the zygomatic arch, and the shape of caniniform process. Some variations could be ontogenetically related, such as the development of the caniniform process and tusk, the posterior extension of the maxilla on the zygomatic arch, the distance between the frontal and the premaxilla, the intertemporal bar width, and the exposing degree of the parietals. Based on postcranial bones, the second dicynodont genus (possibly Parakannemeyeria) is present in the lower Ermaying Formation.

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    Reexamination of the oldest pigeon (Aves: Columbidae) from Asia: Columba congi from the Early Pleistocene of Zhoukoudian, Beijing, China
    SHEN Wei, Thomas A. STIDHAM, LI Zhi-Heng
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2021, 59 (3): 245-256.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.1000-3118.210304
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    Columba congi is an extinct species that was described as part of the Early Pleistocene (~1.7 Ma) fauna from locality 12 of the UNESCO Zhoukoudian or “Peking Man” site in Beijing, China. Only four partial humeri of the original type series of 11 bones can be located, and the features present in those specimens do not support the original diagnosis. However, our study and redescription shows that the straight and flat margin of the pneumotricipital fossa rim (in ventral view) and the relative distal position of the dorsal supracondylar tubercle may support the continued recognition of C. congi as a valid extinct species. Columba congi appears to be the oldest fossil of Columba in Asia, and it lived during a warmer and wetter period of time of the Pleistocene with a forested Zhoukoudian. Further study of pigeons from all localities at Zhoukoudian should help to resolve questions about pigeon biogeography and evolution, including possibly the time and center of origin of the globally distributedC. livia.

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    A new pteranodontoid pterosaur forelimb from the upper Yixian Formation, with a revision of Yixianopterus jingangshanensis
    JIANG Shun-Xing, ZHANG Xin-Jun, CHENG Xin, WANG Xiao-Lin
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2021, 59 (2): 81-94.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.1000-3118.201124
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    Pterosaurs in the Jehol Biota have been found in the Yixian and Jiufotang formations. The Jingangshan bedding is in the upper part of the Yixian Formation. The first two pterosaur embryos ever discovered in the world, two archaeopterodactyloid specimens, and the questionable Yixianopterus jingangshanensis have been reported in previous literature. Here, we describe a forelimb from this horizon and confirm its phylogenetic position in the Pteranodontoidea. The holotype of Y. jingangshanensis, now housed at Benxi Geological Museum, has been examined. The diagnosis of this taxon has been revised without the consideration of the artificial parts as following, a pteranodontoid pterosaur with a distinguished combination of characters: triangular and labiolingually compressed teeth with the first two more slender and longer than the others; teeth vertical to the occlusal surface; the second wing phalanx about 93% the length of the first wing phalanx. In the Jehol Biota, archaeopterodactyloid specimens have been mainly discovered from the Yixian Formation, while tapejaroids are almost found from the Jiufotang Formation. Including the new forelimb and Y. jingangshanensis, the pteranodontoids from the Jiufotang Formation are slightly greater in number than those from the Yixian Formation in species and specimens, differing from the previous thoughts on the distribution.

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    On the scientific names of mastodont taxa: nomenclature, Chinese translation, and taxonomic problems
    WANG Shi-Qi, LI Chun-Xiao, ZHANG Xiao-Xiao
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2021, 59 (4): 295-332.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.210728
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    The mastodont-grade proboscideans represent an important stage in the evolution of the group, establishing the basic pattern of the evolution of the crown groups of proboscideans. The research on mastodons has a history of more than 400 years. The classification and nomenclature have been revised and changed many times, and the problems in their evolution were fully reflected in the history of mastodon nomenclature. In this paper, we undertook a bibliographical research into the nomenclature and etymology of various mastodont groups, reviewing 175 translated Chinese names of mastodont-grade proboscideans, including 12 taxon names higher than the genus level, 46 genera, and 117 species, covering almost all the species of the mastodont radiation. On this basis, we review the principal phylogenetic hypotheses of mastodont interrelationships, and highlight problems in the classification and nomenclature of mastodonts. The evolution of the skull and mandible of mastodons is continuous in all clades, reflecting the same parallel evolution trend; while, although the morphological characteristics of cheek teeth across all lineages are not obvious, they are relatively stable in each lineage. Choerolophodontidae is the most robust monophyletic group within the mastodonts, of which Synconolophus may be a distinct, valid genus. Miomastodon and Pliomastodon of Mammutidae may both be valid, but they are not necessarily the direct ancestor of Mammut americanum . The phylogenetic relationship between Platybelodon danovi , P. grangeri and Aphanobelodon zhaoi within the Amebelodontidae is questionable, depending on whether the lower incisor section of P. danovi is the dentine rod structure or not, while Konobelodon britti in America may be a synonym of Torynobelodon loomisi . The species assigned to Konobelodon in Asia is possibly not amebelodontids, but probably attributable to Paratetralophodon , instead; Serridentinus of Gomphotheriidae may be a valid taxon, representing a trend towards somewhat zygodonty in Gomphotheriidae that terminated with the Cuvieroniinae. The Cuvieroniinae may only include Cuvieronius and Rhynchotherium , while other brevirostrine gomphotheres in America, such as Stegomastodon may have been evolved from a lineage of amebelodonts. Notiomastodon may be related to Sinomastodon , which itself may have originated from Pliomastodon (?) zhupengensis in southern China. The name Mastodon intermedius Teilhard de Chardin & Trassaert, 1937 (now Sinomastoodon intermedius ) has the senior primary homonym Mastodon intermedius Eichwald, 1831. We suggest that Sinomastodon intermedius should be replaced with its senior synonym-Sinomastodon sendaicus ( Matsumoto, 1924 ).

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    THE ORIGIN AND EARLY EVOLUTION OF FEATHERS: INSIGHTS FROM RECENT PALEONTOLOGICAL AND NEONTOLOGICAL DATA
    XU Xing, GUO Yu
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2009, 47 (4): 311-329.  
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    Recent paleontological and neontological studies on feathers and feather-like integumentary structures have improved greatly our understanding of the origin and early evolution of feathers. New observations on some non-avian dinosaur specimens preserving integumentary structures, in combination with recent paleontological and neontological data, provide additional insights into this important evolutionary issue. Five major morphogenesis events are inferred to have occurred sequentially early in feather evolution before the origin of the Aves, and they are: 1) appearance of filamentous and tubular morphology, 2) formation of follicle and barb ridges, 3) appearance of rachis, 4) appearance of planar form, and 5) formation of pennaceous barbules. These events produce several morphotypes of feathers that are common among non-avian archosaurs but are probably lost later in avian evolution, and they also produced several morphotypes of feathers that are nearly identical or identical to those of modern birds. While feathers of non-avian dinosaurs exhibit many unique features of modern feathers, some of them also possess striking features unknown in modern feathers. Several models of evolutionary origin of feathers based on developmental data suggest that the origin of feathers is a completely innovative event and the first feathers have nothing to do with reptilian scales. We believe, however, that the defining features of modern feathers might have evolved in an incremental manner rather than in a sudden way. Consequently, an evolutionary model characteristic of both transformation and innovation is more acceptable for feather evolution. The function of the first feather is inferred to be neither related to flight nor to insulation. Display or heat dissipation, among others, remains viable hypotheses for initial function of feathers. An integrative study is promising to provide much new insights into the origin of feathers.
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    Cartilage on the furculae of living birds and the extinct bird Confuciusornis: a preliminary analysis and implications for flight style inferences in Mesozoic birds
    WU Qian, Jingmai K. O’CONNOR, LI Zhi-Heng, Alida M. BAILLEUL
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2021, 59 (2): 106-124.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.1000-3118.201222
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    The early evolution of flight is one of the most studied topics in vertebrate paleontology. Living birds have evolved to utilize a variety of flight styles, but studies focused on inferring flight strategies in Mesozoic birds are often contradictory and without a clear consensus, making it necessary to find additional informative characteristics that can be useful for inferences in fossils. Virtually nothing is known about the histology of the avian pectoral girdle, even though skeletal and joint tissues are key candidates to solve form-function relationships. Avian secondary cartilage found on the dermal bones of the avian skeleton is influenced by epigenetics and only forms when joints are stimulated by muscle contractions. As the only dermal bone in the avian postcranium, the furcula is a potential site for the formation of furcular secondary cartilage and merits further attention. It is still unknown whether adult living birds and fossil birds have furcular secondary cartilage. Here we present histological analyses conducted on the furcula-coracoid articulation in three living birds (Spilopelia chinensis, the Spotted dove; Passer montanus, the Eurasian tree sparrow; and Apus apus, the Common swift), taxa that utilize different flight styles, and one of the most common fossil birds of the Jehol Biota, Confuciusornis. Secondary cartilage was identified on the furculae of the living birds and of Confuciusornis, representing the first report of furcular secondary cartilage in the fossil record. Clear differences in secondary cartilage morphologies were observed in the living species, but additional data is required to establish a strong form-function relationship that could be useful for making inferences in Mesozoic birds.

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    A Temnospondyl tooth from the Middle Triassic of the Ordos Basin, Shaanxi Province
    WU Rui, TU Li, HAN Feng-Lu
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2022, 60 (1): 54-58.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.210810
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    An isolated large temnospondyl tooth was discovered from the Middle Triassic Tongchuan Formation, Weibei Oilfield, Ordos Basin, Shaanxi Province of China. Compared with the teeth of crocodylomorphs, plesiosaurs and temnospondyls, the tooth can be referred to temnospondyl based on the following features: the crown is elongated and recurved with a circular cross-section; there are no denticles or carinae on the crown; well-marked apicobasal grooves are shown on the crown surface. This tooth represents the first temnospondyl found in the Middle Triassic Tongchuan Formation and is the youngest fossil record of temnospondyls in the North China Block.

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    New fossils of small and medium-sized bovids from the Early Site of Shanshenmiaozui in Nihewan Basin, North China
    TONG Hao-Wen, ZHANG Bei, CHEN Xi, WANG Xiao-Min
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2022, 60 (2): 134-168.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.220413
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    Shanshenmiaozui site in Nihewan Basin in North China is a recently discovered Early Pleistocene site which yields rich and diverse mammalian fossils. In the fauna, the small and medium-sized bovid fossils are well represented and can be referred to the following taxa: Spirocerus wongi, Gazella sinensis, Ovis shantungensis and Megalovis piveteaui respectively, among which G. sinensis is the dominate species. S. wongi and G. sinensis are mainly represented by horn-cores and partial skull bones as well as mandibles; in addition, metacarpal and/or metatarsal bones were also recognized for all of the four species. The horn-cores are easy to be identified to the species level, while the dentitions and the postcranial bones underwent a series of examinations and comparisons before getting properly determined and referred to the most approximate taxa. Among the postcranial bones, the metapodials, especially to the metacarpal bones special attentions were paid, which are crucial not only for taxonomic identification, but also for phylogenetic and paleoecological reconstructions; the previously misidentified metapodial specimens in Nihewan fauna were reconsidered in this paper. In the SSMZ fauna, the bovid guild is dominated by Gazella and Bison, which indicates steppe was the most important biome in Nihewan Basin during Early Pleistocene.

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    Exceptional preservation of an extinct ostrich from the Late Miocene Linxia Basin of China
    LI Zhi-Heng, Alida M. BAILLEUL, Thomas A. STIDHAM, WANG Min, DENG Tao
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2021, 59 (3): 229-244.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.1000-3118.210309
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    Here we report a new avian fossil from the Late Miocene Linxia Basin, Northwest China, with exceptional soft-tissue preservation. This specimen preserves parts of cervical vertebrae and tracheal rings that are typically ostrich-like, but cannot be diagnosed at the species level. Therefore, the fossil is referred to Struthio sp. The new specimen was preserved in association with a partial skull of Hipparion platyodus. To explore the soft tissue preservation in a fossil deposited in a terrestrial setting, we applied a combination of analytic methods to investigate the microscopic features of the fossilized avian bone. Bacterial alterations (bone bioerosion) were revealed by light microscopy and petrographic sections under SEM imaging. Soft-tissues (fossilized remnants of endogenous blood vessels and red blood cells) were preserved in one demineralized bone fragment and also observed in the in-situ ground-section. These are the first records of soft-tissue preservation in vertebrate remains from the Late Miocene Linxia Basin. Associated geological and sedimentological evidence combined with our new data provide insights into the postmortem taphonomic conditions of this ostrich specimen. A seasonal monsoon might have facilitated the microbial erosion penecontemporaneous with the burial of the specimen. This study encourages interdisciplinary research involving morphology, sedimentology, geochemistry, and histological soft-tissue analyses to better understand the Late Miocene faunal turnovers, climates, and fossil preservation in the Liushu Formation in northwestern China.

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    A cuboid bone of a large Late Miocene elasmothere from Qingyang, Gansu, and its morphological significance
    ZHANG Xiao-Xiao, SUN Dan-Hui
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2022, 60 (1): 29-41.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.210809
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    A cuboid specimen collected from the Late Miocene stratum at Qingyang, Gansu, China is described here. The size of the Qingyang specimen is comparatively huge, even larger than the average size of Elasmotherium caucasicum collected from Nihewan, Hebei, China. The morphology of the Qingyang specimen is identical to that of other specimens of Elasmotheriini; thus, the Qingyang specimen belongs to a huge elasmothere, most probably Sinotherium. By comparison with extant rhino species, the complex of the main body and the apophysis exhibit functional significance. The angle between the frontal plate of the cuboid and the main axis of the apophysis can suggest the ecological conditions occupied by an elasmothere. From analysis of the morphology of the cuboid, Sinotherium and the more derived elasmotheres probably lived in forested or wooded environments, differing from the previous hypothesis of their paleoenvironment.

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    An Upper Miocene “ Hipparion fauna” locality sandwiched by basalt in Hanjiaying, Nei Mongol
    WANG Qian, LIU Yan, WANG Li-Hua, Mikael FORTELIUS, ZHANG Zhao-Qun
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2021, 59 (2): 125-137.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.1000-3118.210323
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    Here we report a Hipparion fauna locality discovered in between two basalt layers near Hanjiaying Village, Jining District, Wulanchabu City, Nei Mongol. K-Ar isotopic dating of the lower and upper level of the basalt constrains the age of the fauna from 7.2 to 6.8 Ma. Compared with classical Hipparion fauna from northern China, the Hanjiaying fauna is closer to those from Baode of Shanxi, Siziwang Banner of Nei Mongol and the Linxia Basin of Gansu. It is similar to the Loc. 43, 44 and 49 from Baode by faunal composition, confirming their age to be ~7.0 Ma rather than 5.5 Ma. The high similarity with the fossils from Wulanhua, Siziwang Banner, Nei Mongol, verified the age of Wulanhua fauna at about 7 Ma. Compared with faunas from the Linxia Basin, Gansu, it is more similar to those from the upper part of the Liushu Formation, especially the Yangjiashan fauna. Based on the faunal composition and their tooth morphology, the Hanjiaying fauna could be included in the “Gazella dorcadoides” fauna, which is supposed to be at the west paleobiome in northern China during the Late Miocene.

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    Discovery of Stalicoolithidae in Shanggao County, Jiangxi Province, China
    FANG Kai-Yong, LIU Qing-Hua, WANG Qiang, ZHU Xu-Feng, DENG Li, LIU Yu-Chun, WEN Jun, WANG Xiao-Lin
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2022, 60 (1): 69-78.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.211222
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    Here we describe a partially-preserved dinosaur clutch with twelve nearly complete eggs discovered in Shanggao County, Jiangxi Province that can be assigned to Coralloidoolithus shizuiwanensis. These dinosaur eggs are nearly spheroid in shape, with an average polar axis of 11.8 cm and an average equatorial diameter of 9.8 cm. The eggshell has a maximum thickness of about 2.5 mm and is composed of a thin cone layer and a multilevel columnar layer, the latter of which can be divided into inner, medial and outer zones. There are dense horizontal growth lines in the inner zone, lamellar and speckled dark materials in the medial zone, and the secondary eggshell units are distributed in the medial and outer zones. According to this discovery, we revise the main taxonomic characteristic of Coralloidoolithus in the Stalicoolithidae to be the loose and dark materials in the medial zone of the columnar layer. This discovery not only extends the paleogeographic distribution of Coralloidoolithus shizuiwanensis, but also provides comparative evidence of the Late Cretaceous strata in the Shanggao red basin.

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    Taxonomic revision of the holotype of Proboselaphus watasei Matsumoto, 1915 (Bovidae, Artiodactyla) from Chuanyu area, China
    NISHIOKA Yuichiro, KOHNO Naoki, KUDO Yuichiro
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2021, 59 (3): 200-212.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.1000-3118.210322
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    A taxonomic revision of Proboselaphus watasei Matsumoto, 1915 (Bovidae, Artiodactyla) from the Pleistocene of Chuanyu area, China demonstrates that this genus and species names are invalid. The holotype with a skull and mandibles was recently rediscovered in the fossil collection by Nobuo Naora, which is housed in the National Museum of Japanese History, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. Proboselaphus watasei was described as a closely-related species to living nilgai, or Boselaphus tragocamelus, in South Asia, based on general characteristics of pecorans, such as small bony horn-cores and hypsodont cheek teeth. However, the cranial and dental morphologies re-examined in the present study clearly show that the holotype has cervid-specific characteristics: e.g., the fronto-parietal surface curving dorsally, the basioccipital with a triangular outline, and molars with isolated anterior and posterior lobes. The molars of the holotype are comparable to those of Cervus unicolor, in having strong accessary structures (or spurs, cingulums/cingulids, and styles/stylids), and are as large as those ofCervus cf. C. unicolor from the Pleistocene deposits in southern China. This taxonomic change suggests that any crown-boselaphins had not dispersed into East Asia since the Pleistocene.

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    Using Bayesian tip-dating method to estimate divergence times and evolutionary rates
    ZHANG Chi
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2021, 59 (4): 333-341.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.210516
    Abstract241)   HTML43)    PDF (829KB)(240)       Save

    Bayesian tip dating is a recently developed method to estimate divergence times and evolutionary rates. It overcomes several drawbacks in traditional stepwise approach. However, it also requires more knowledge about statistics. This paper hierarchically explains the theory and computation in the Bayesian tip-dating approach, and divides the whole process into prior for the divergence times, prior for the evolutionary rates, model for the character changes and Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm, which are key components in this method. The aim is to provide a general guidance for paleontologists in empirical data analyses.

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    Xitunaspis, a new eugaleaspid fish (Eugaleaspiformes, Galeaspida) from the Lower Devonian of Qujing, Yunnan
    SUN Hao-Ran, GAI Zhi-Kun, CAI Jia-Chen, LI Qiang, ZHU Min, ZHAO Wen-Jin
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2022, 60 (3): 169-183.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.220412
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    A new genus and species of the family Eugaleaspidae (Eugaleaspiformes, Galeaspida), Xitunaspis magnus gen. et sp. nov., is described from the Lower Devonian Xitun Formation in Qujing, Yunnan Province, China. The new genus displays the diagnostic characters of the Eugaleaspidae, including a slit-like median dorsal opening, no inner cornual process, developed median dorsal canals, and only three pairs of lateral transverse canals extending from lateral dorsal canals. Different from the other eugaleaspids, X. magnus possesses a large headshield with thick dermal bone and a more plesiomorphic sensory canal system. The phylogenetic analysis of the Galeaspida reveals that Xitunaspis clusters with Dunyu and Eugaleaspis to form a monophyletic clade Eugaleaspidae Liu, 1965, and has a closer relationship with Dunyu than Eugaleaspis by sharing the thick dermal bone of the headshield. The new finding represents the first convincing fossil record of the Eugaleaspiformes in the middle Lochkovian Xitun Formation and adds to our knowledge about the morphology of eugaleaspiforms and the evolutionary pattern of the sensory canal system in the Eugaleaspiformes and even Galeaspida.

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    Nothosaurus luopingensis sp. nov. (Sauropterygia) from the Anisian, Middle Triassic of Luoping, Yunnan Province, China
    SHANG Qing-Hua, LI Chun, WANG Wei
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2022, 60 (4): 249-270.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.220524
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    Nothosaurus luopingensis sp. nov. from Member II of the Guanling Formation (Anisian, Middle Triassic) of Luoping, Yunnan, China is described based on a specimen comprising the skull and most of the postcranial skeleton. The specimen is assigned to Nothosaurus of Eosauropterygia as suggested by a series of skull characters, such as the maxillary tooth row extending posteriorly beyond the level of the anterior margin of the upper temporal fenestra, the longitudinal diameter of the upper temporal fenestra more than twice as long as that of the orbit, and the presence of maxillary fangs. Compared with Lariosaurus, the following morphological features of the pectoral girdle and the limbs also support the assignment of the specimen to Nothosaurus, i.e., the clavicles with expanded anterolateral corners, the characteristically curved humerus with a straight preaxial angle and a postaxial concavity, the distinct deltopectoral crest on the proximal part of the humerus, no hyperphalangy in the manus, and the absence of pachyostosis in the vertebrae and ribs. On the other hand, the specimen possesses some postcranial features that were previously considered to occur mainly in Lariosaurus, such as more than three ossifications in the carpus, four sacral ribs, and an interclavicle without any trace of a posterior stem. These postcranial characters may no longer be used as the diagnostic features of Lariosaurus. Nothosaurus luopingensis is distinguished from other Nothosaurus species by a unique combination of derived characters, including that the jugal enters the orbit, the nasals are separated, the posterior end of the frontal is bifurcate, pedal digits V and IV are long and subequal in length, and the ungula phalanx is stout. Our phylogenetic analysis corroborates the monophyly of Nothosaurus and suggest that N. luopingensis is the sister group of N. yangjuanensis.

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    Revisit of Hsianwenia wui (Cyprinidae: Schizothoracinae) from the Pliocene of Qaidam Basin
    BI Dai-Ran, WU Fei-Xiang, WANG Ning, CHANG Mee-Mann, FANG Geng-Yu
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2022, 60 (1): 1-28.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.211026
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    The Qaidam Basin is a key area for understanding the paleoenvironmental and faunal history of the Tibetan Plateau. The fossil schizothoracine fish, Hsianwenia wui, evolved extraordinarily thickened bones to adapt to the aridification of the Qaidam Basin during the Pliocene. However, the nature of the bone thickening itself remains elusive. To promote the further investigation of the physiological mechanism of the pachyostosis and the phylogenetic interrelationships of Hsianwenia and all relevant cyprinids, here we present a comprehensive morphological study of Hsianwenia. We have new information on the anterior part of the cranial cavity, a large supraneural 3 in the Weberian apparatus, numerous procurrent caudal fin rays supported by the preural centrum (Pu) 5, and a neural arch on Pu2. We also find the differentiated pattern of the bone-thickening: the pachyostosis exists in the endoskeleton but not in the dermal skeleton; it is more obvious in ventral bones than in dorsal ones, when the thickening is present in the dorsally and ventrally grouped endoskeletal bones (e.g., the epineural and epipleural intermuscular bones). Considering the integrity of musculoskeletal system manipulating the chewing activities, we suspect that the thickened pharyngeal jaws and the hard food processing might be associated with the unique hind protrusion (cleithral “humeral” process) of the dermal pectoral girdle of Hsianwenia.

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    Climate change and evolution of early lagomorphs (Mammalia): a study perspective based on new materials of Ordolagus from Nei Mongol (northern China)
    Chiara ANGELONE, ZHANG Zhao-Qun
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2021, 59 (2): 138-168.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.1000-3118.210325
    Abstract213)   HTML22)    PDF (4827KB)(223)       Save

    The Early Oligocene is a critical time for global climate changes in the Cenozoic. This epoch witnessed severe mammalian faunal turnovers known as “Grande Coupure” in Europe and “Mongolian Remodelling” in Asia. However, insights about morphological changes in Oligocene mammal lineages have not been explored in detail. One of the least diversified groups of recent mammals, lagomorpha, is globally common in the fossil records, especially in Asia. During the Oligocene, many Eocene archaic lagomorph taxa died out and were replaced by more advanced forms. New findings from Nei Mongol and re-examination of the specimens from older collections enabled a revision of a common Asian lagomorph genus, Ordolagus, which possibly has a close affinity with the Middle-Late Eocene genus Gobiolagus. In Nei Mongol, we recognized the presence of Ordolagus during the basal Early Oligocene. Comparisons with coeval and slightly older lagomorph taxa from Asia and North America show that Ordolagus attained some salient tooth morphological characters (i.e., development of anteroconid on p3, full hypselodonty of cheek teeth, and lingual connection of trigonid and talonid on p4-m2), which are also the key features of modern leporids. The appearance of those morphologic features in Ordolagus is coeval to major global or regional climatic changes. Further investigations on Asian early lagomorphs compared with the study of other small mammals and local climatic factors will be essential to refine the role of lagomorphs as palaeoclimatic proxies.

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    HESPEROTHERIUM - A NEW GENUS OF THE LAST CHALICOTHERES
    QIU Zhan-Xiang
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2002, 40 (04): 317-325.  
    Abstract239)      PDF (540KB)(218)       Save
    Chalicothere remains were only occasionally met in late Pliocene-middle Pleistocene deposits of China. Since they were usually very poorly represented, mostly by single teeth, identification was often highly tentative. Nevertheless, they were always identified as belonging to the genus Nestoritherium (formerly Circotherium). The latter was erected by Kaup in 1859 based on Falconer and Cautley’s description of anterior parts of skulls and lower jaws from the Siwaliks, India. On October 14th, 2000, the author had the opportunity to visit the fossil mammal localities in the Tianzhen County, Shanxi, accompanied by Prof. Wei Qi, who found and excavated these localities during the first years of the 1980s. Fortunately enough, some chalicothere fossils were found during the visit at the Loc. 80045, where typical Nihewan fauna were collected by Wei in 1980~ 1981. The new find of the chalicothere fossils tumed out particularly important in clarification of the affinity of the Chinese chalicothere material so far referred to Nestoritherium. The new fossils show clearly that they materially differ from the Siwaliks Nestoritherium and deserve to be classified as a new genus, for which the name Hesperotherium is proposed, alluding to the pre2extinction stage of the Chalicotheiidae. Hesperotherium gen. nov.
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    ON THE OCCURRENCE OF THE ICHTHYOSAUR SHASTASAURUS IN THE GUANLING BIOTA (LATE TRIASSIC), GUIZHOU, CHINA
    SHANG Qing-Hua, LI Chun
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2009, 47 (3): 178-193.  
    Abstract109)      PDF (4496KB)(201)       Save
    A completely articulated ichthyosaur skeleton from the Guanling biota, Guizhou is described. The well preserved postcranial skeleton demonstrates that Guizhouichthyosaurus tangae,a large Triassic ichthyosaurid species previously described fromGuizhou, should be referred to Shastasaurus. Enough materials were found to make possible a satisfactory determination of the systematic position of the large Guanling ichthyosaur species, although both the genus Shastasaurus and the family Shastasauridae have long been hard to define due to the fragmentary nature of the type specimens. The postcranial characters of Shastasaurus tangaeare described in detail based on the new skeleton, the holotype ofGuizhouichthyosaurus tangae and other associated Guanling large ichthyosaur materials. The trunk is very long, with more then 60 presacral vertebrae and a ventrally bent tail. The scapula is broad sickle-shaped. The humerus is anteriorly notched, with a short shaft. The radius is nearly rectangular, with a small notch in the anterior edge, and a very slightly concave posterior edge. The ulna is much smaller than the radius, with a slightly concave anterior edge and bluntly rounded posterior and distal edges. The forefin and hindfin have four principal digits.
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    Reappraisal of Serridentinus gobiensis Osborn & Granger and Miomastodon tongxinensis Chen: the validity of Miomastodon
    WANG Shi-Qi, ZHANG Xiao-Xiao, LI Chun-Xiao
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2020, 58 (2): 134-158.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.1000-3118.200310
    Abstract91)   HTML6)    PDF (3911KB)(200)       Save

    The elephantimorph proboscideans, Serridentinus gobiensis Osborn & Granger, 1932 , and Miomastodon tongxinensis Chen, 1978 , from the Middle Miocene of northern China, were revised as Zygolophodon gobiensis ( Osborn & Granger, 1932 ). However, their phylogenetic positions are still being debated because of their intermediate morphology between the typical bunodont (Gomphotheriidae) and zygodont (Mammutidae) elephantimorphs. In the present paper, we compare their dental and mandibular morphology with that of the Eurasian Z. turicensis, Gomphotherium subtapiroideum, and G. tassyi, as well as the North American Mio. merriami and G. productum. It appears that S. gobiensis and Mio. tongxinensis share with Mio. merriami the slightly more bunodont molar morphology than that of Z. turicensis, e.g., the thicker enamel, thicker pretrite crescentoids, higher interlophid enamel pillars in buccal view, and the narrower contour majorly caused by the narrower posttrite half loph(id)s. S. gobiensis and Mio. merriami also possess an “erected oval cross-sectioned mandibular tusk”, in which the cross-section is mediolaterally compressed (dorsoventral diameter being larger than the mediolateral one). Whereas, in Z. turicensis and G. productum, the mandibular tusk is “laid oval cross-sectioned”, in which the cross-section is dorsoventrally compressed (dorsoventral diameter is smaller than the mediolateral one). Therefore, it is reasonable to revive the genus Miomastodon Osborn, 1922 , which contains the species that were previously attributed to Zygolophodon, but they have relatively bunodont molar morphology (i.e., the robust type of the Z. turicensis group). The mandibular tusk with erected oval cross-section seems to be a synapomorphy of Miomastodon species. Furthermore, the molar morphology of G. subtapiroideum and G. tassyi also exhibits intermediate status between the typical bunodonts and zygodonts. However, the mandibular symphysis of G. subtapiroideum and G. tassyi is stronger than that of Miomastodon, and the mandibular tusk is pyriform cross-sectioned. The validity of Miomastodon and G. subtapiroideum/tassyi obscures the boundary between the Gomphotheriidae and Mammutidae, and suggests that the evolutions of the Gomphotheriidae and Mammutidae are deeply involved in with each other, rather than straightforwardly detached. This phenomenon has been revealed by a collagen sequence analysis among Notiomastodon, Mammut, and extant elephants, which should be further studied.

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    Isotopic (C, O) variations of fossil enamel bioapatite caused by different preparation and measurement protocols: a case study of Gigantopithecus fauna
    JIANG Qu-Yi, ZHAO Ling-Xia, HU Yao-Wu
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2020, 58 (2): 159-168.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.1000-3118.200109
    Abstract76)   HTML4)    PDF (675KB)(194)       Save

    Stable isotopic (C, O) analysis of fossil enamel bioapatite has been widely used in paleontological fields to reconstruct the paleoecology and paleoenvironment. It is common to compare the isotopic data of enamel bioapatite made by different pretreatment and measuring methods in different labs, without considering the isotopic variations possibly caused by different protocols. Here, we chose the same samples from Gigantopithecus fauna in the Longgu Cave (Longgudong), Hubei and remeasured their δ13C and δ18O values, which had been previously reported in Zhao et al. (2011) and Nelson (2014) with different pretreatment and measuring methods, in order to evaluate the effects of the above factors on the isotopic variability. The comparison among three isotopic dataset indicates that there did exist small isotopic variations on the δ 13C and δ 18O values. It seems that the δ 13C values were more influenced, probably due to differential practices to eliminate the diagenetic effects using varied chemicals and retaining reaction time during the process of bioapatite preparation. However, we should emphasize that the small isotopic variations observed here do not have produced substantial isotopic variance among fossil taxa and localities, providing the preliminarily theoretical foundation to make isotopic comparison directly. Even so, we still recommend that it is best to compare the isotopic data according to the same preparing and measuring protocols to remove the systematic errors or to re-measure samples again in different labs to calibrate the data.

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    A Middle Triassic kyphosichthyiform from Yunnan, China, and phylogenetic reassessment of early ginglymodians
    XU Guang-Hui, MA Xin-Ying, WU Fei-Xiang, REN Yi
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2019, 57 (3): 181-204.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.1000-3118.190319
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    Ginglymodi are a subgroup of holostean fishes, including living gars and their closely-related fossil taxa. The early Middle Triassic (Anisian, ~244 Ma) kyphosichthyiforms from Yunnan and Guizhou, China represent the earliest records of this clade. Here, we report the discovery of a new kyphosichthyiform fish, Yudaiichthys eximius gen. et sp. nov., on the basis of four well-preserved specimens from the second (upper) member of Guanling Formation in Luoping, eastern Yunnan. The new discovery stimulated a phylogenetic analysis to reassess the interrelationships of the Kyphosichthyiformes and their relationships with other early ginglymodians. Results of our analysis indicate that the previously defined family Kyphosichthyidae and the genus Sangiorgioichthys are paraphyletic. A revised Kyphosichthyiformes is proposed here, and it is divided into two families, Kyphosichthyidae and Lashanichthyidae fam. nov. The family Kyphosichthyidae is restricted to include two genera Kyphosichthys and Fuyuanichthys. The Chinese “Sangiorgioichthys” species are removed into a new genus Lashanichthys, which is recovered as a taxon sister to Yudaiichthys gen. nov., and both genera are grouped into the new family, Lashanichthyidae. Sangiorgioichthys is restricted to include two species (S. aldae and S. valmarensis) from the late Middle Triassic (Ladinian) of the Monte San Giorgio area. The genus is removed out of the Kyphosichthyiformes and is recovered as the sister taxon of the Semionotiformes-Lepisosteiformes clade. The revised topology provides new insights into the anatomical evolution during the earliest ginglymodian history.

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    Development and applications of paleontological computed tomography
    WANG Yan-Fang, WEI Cun-Feng, QUE Jie-Min, ZHANG Wen-Ding, SUN Cui-Li, SHU Yan-Feng, HOU Ye-Mao, ZHANG Jiu-Chang, SHI Rong-Jian, WEI Long
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2019, 57 (1): 84-92.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.1000-3118.170921
    Abstract124)   HTML5)    PDF (3834KB)(189)       Save

    The traditional serial grinding method used to investigate the internal structure of fossils cannot be readily applied to valuable fossil specimens due to its destructive and time-consuming nature. Computed tomography (CT) is an ideal non-destructive technique for investigating the internal structure of fossils, in which thousands of serial images are obtained and used to produce an accurate reconstruction of the internal morphology. This paper reviews the design, development and applications of the first CT system in China dedicated exclusively to scanning fossils. The 225 kV three-dimensional (3D) fossil micro-CT (225-3D-μCT) is capable of high-resolution volumetric imaging, with a resolution up to 5 μm, and can accommodate specimens measuring up to 100 mm in diameter and 100 mm in length. The 450 kV ordinary fossil CT (450-TY-ICT) can produce high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) images of specimens ranging up to 800 mm in diameter and 1000 mm in length, with a resolution up to 200 μm. Two paleontological CT facilities represent a high-performance platform offering the functional diversity needed to meet the demands of studying fossils at a variety of different scales. The two machines have become indispensable for paleontological research in China.

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    A REVIEW OF MESOZOIC OSTEOGLOSSOMORPH FISH LYCOPTERA LONGICEPHALUS
    Zhang Jiangyong, Jin Fan, Zhou Zhonghe
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    1994, 32 (01): 41-59.  
    Abstract95)      PDF (1573KB)(188)       Save
    In the present paper the anatomical characters and morphological variation of Lycoptera longicephalus found from western liaoning are reviewed. Lycoptera longicephalus Liu et al. 1963 is emended to Jinanichthys longicephalus (Liu et al.). Liaoxiichthys Su 1992 is considered as a synonym of Jinanichthys. The evolutionary trend and systematic position of Jinanichthys are discussed.
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    First Middle Devonian galeaspid from the Haikou Formation in Yunnan Province
    MENG Xin-Yuan, Zhu Min, WANG Jun-Qing, PAN Zhao-Hui, GAI Zhi-Kun
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2022, 60 (3): 184-196.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.220613
    Abstract319)   HTML398)    PDF (4582KB)(186)       Save

    The Early Emsian Event (E’Em Event), the most significant bio-event for Chinese Devonian vertebrates, has significantly impacted on the diversity of galeaspids. The endemic Galeaspida almost became extinct after the Mid-Emsian Event (M’Em Event). Only few galeaspid taxa survived from these events, such as Clarorbis apponomedianus from the Eifelian of Guangxi, South China, and an indeterminate galeaspid from the Frasnian of Ningxia, Northwest China. Here, we report the first Middle Devonian galeaspid, Dongfangaspis sp., from the Haikou Formation in Wuding, Yunnan Province. The new material is more suggestive of the type species of Dongfangaspis, D. major, than Laxaspis and Polybranchiaspis in its suborbicular headshield with small inner cornual process, broad and nearly aequilate ventral rim, and about 45 pairs of branchial fossae. Dongfangaspis bears the largest number of branchial fossae ever recorded in galeaspids, which probably play an important role in Dongfangaspis surviving from the E’Em and M’Em events. The new finding represents the second Middle Devonian fossil record of galeaspids, and extends the chronological range of Dongfangaspis from the Pragian (Early Devonian) to the Eifelian (Middle Devonian).

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    An overview of Triassic fishes from China
    Jin Fan
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2006, 44 (01): 28-42.  
    Abstract62)      PDF (950KB)(183)       Save
    The Triassic fishes are widely distributed in China. The freshwater ichthyofaunas mainly from northern China are characterized by primitive actinopterygians, and they are closest to those from Siberia and Middle Asia, and also contain some forms similar to the fishes from other regions of Laurasia and the Gondwanan continents. Most of the known fishes from the Ordos Basin are possibly of marine. The marine ichthyofaunas from southern China are characterized by " subholosteans" , and include the modern groups of halecomorphs and the basal forms of teleosts. The Middle-Late Triassic marine fish fauna is much more diversified than the Early Triassic one, and is closely related with the ichthyofaunas in western Tethys. The Lower Yangtze region of South China is probably the cradle of some Triassic fish groups ,e. g. Saurichthyidae. The Triassic fishes in China still await comprehensive investigations.
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    The first description of Rhinocerotidae (Perissodactyla, Mammalia) from Xinyaozi Ravine in Shanxi, North China
    DONG Wei, BAI Wei-Peng, ZHANG Li-Min
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2021, 59 (4): 273-294.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.210715
    Abstract278)   HTML35)    PDF (3880KB)(181)       Save

    Abundant mammalian fossils were uncovered during the field exploration for Nihewan beds at the beginning of the 1980s along Xinyaozi Ravine at Nangaoya Township of Tianzhen County, Shanxi Province in North China and the studied taxa indicate an age of the early Early Pleistocene. Recent studies on the rhino material not yet described show that there are at least two species of rhinocerotids: Elasmotherium peii and Coelodonta nihowanensis . There might be a third taxon provisionally named as Stephanorhinus cf. S. kirchbergensis due to incompleteness of the specimens. Since its morphometric characters are between S. kirchbergensis and C. nihowanensis , it might be a variety of one of the two species although it is more similar to the former than the latter. In the same way, The rhino specimens from Xiashagou named as Rhinoceros sinensis (?) by Teilhard de Chardin and Piveteau (1930) might be a variety of S. kirchbergensis or C. nihowanensis . The rhinocerotids uncovered so far from the Early Pleistocene deposits in the generalized Nihewan Basin including two certain species and two uncertain ones. The localities yielding E. peii include Xiashagou, Shanshenmiaozhui, Daheigou and Xinyaozi; those yielding C. nihowanensis include Xiashagou, Danangou, Donggutuo, Shanshenmiaozhui and Xinyaozi. R. sinensis (?) appeared only at Xiashagou and Stephanorhinus cf. S. kirchbergensis only at Xinyaozi.

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    A Late Pliocene Hipparion houfenense fauna from Yegou, Nihewan Basin and its biostratigraphic significance
    LIU Jin-Yi, ZHANG Ying-Qi, CHI Zhen-Qing, WANG Yong, YANG Jin-Song, ZHENG Shao-Hua
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2022, 60 (4): 278-323.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.211209
    Abstract246)   HTML7)    PDF (6561KB)(180)       Save

    Currently, there are still different views regarding the chronology of the Late Cenozoic deposits in the Nihewan Basin, which results from the contradiction between biostratigraphic correlations based on mammalian fossils and magnetostratigraphic dating results. Biostratigraphic correlations indicate that the aeolian red clay exposed in the Sanggan River canyon, the fluvio-lacustrine red clay with sands and gravels, and the sandy clay of swamp facies on both sides of the lower reaches of the Huliu River belong to the Upper Pliocene, whereas the magnetostratigraphic dating usually correlates them to the Lower Pleistocene. In October 2011, a collection of mammalian fossils was unearthed from a block of collapsed deposits at Yegou in the Nihewan Basin, which is about 300 m north of the Laowogou section that is well known for the Pliocene mammalian fossils from its lower part. The Yegou fossils are identified herein as 10 species in 9 genera: Nyctereutes tingi, N. sinensis, Pachycrocuta pyrenaica, Homotherium sp., Hipparion (Plesiohipparion) houfenense, Dicerorhinus sp., Muntiacus sp., Axis shansius, Gazella blacki, and Paracamelus sp. The fauna is quite different from the classic Early Pleistocene Nihewan Fauna in composition and provides new evidence for the existence of the Upper Pliocene in the Nihewan Basin. Based on a systematic description of the fauna, its composition and geological age are discussed, and the compositional features of large mammals of the Late Pliocene and the Early Pleistocene mammalian faunas in the Nihewan Basin are summarized.

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    A new species of Pteronisculus from the Middle Triassic (Anisian) of Luoping, Yunnan, China, and phylogenetic relationships of early actinopterygian fishes
    REN Yi, XU Guang-Hui
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2021, 59 (3): 169-199.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.210518
    Abstract406)   HTML52)    PDF (11663KB)(180)       Save

    Actinopterygii, the largest group of extant vertebrates, includes Cladistia, Actinopteri (Chondrostei plus Neopterygii) and closely related fossil taxa. The extinct genus Pteronisculus belongs to a stem lineage of actinopterygian fishes represented by 11 species from the Early Triassic of Madagascar, Europe and North America, and a single species from the early Middle Triassic of China. Here, we report the discovery of a new species of this genus, Pteronisculus changae, on the basis of five well-preserved specimens from the Middle Triassic (Anisian) marine deposits exposed in Luoping, eastern Yunnan, China. The discovery documents the second convincing species of Pteronisculus in the Middle Triassic and the largest stem actinopterygian fish in the Luoping Biota, having a maximum total length of up to 295 mm. The new species possesses a toothed lacrimal, which is characteristic ofPteronisculus, but it is easily distinguished from other species of the genus by some autapomorphies, e.g., a medial process at the middle portion of the intertemporal, 21 supraneurals, and 83 lateral line scales. The results of our cladistic analysis provide new insights into the relationships of early actinopterygians and recover Pteronisculus as a sister taxon of the Carboniferous rhadinichthyid Cyranorhis at the actinopterygian stem. Based on the body form, teeth and other features, it can be deduced that Pteronisculus changae is likely a relatively fast-swimming predator, feeding on planktonic invertebrates and smaller or younger fishes known to occur in the same biota. As one of the youngest species of the genus, the new species provides additional evidence to suggest that the diversity of Pteronisculus is higher than previously thought and that the eastern Paleotethys Ocean likely constituted a refuge for species of this genus during the early Middle Triassic.

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    IMPORTANT FEATURES OF CAUDIPTERYX- EVIDENCE FROM TWO NEARLY COMPLETE NEW SPECIMENS
    ZHOU Zhong-He, WANG Xiao-Lin, ZHANG Fu-Cheng, XU Xing
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2000, 38 (04): 241-254.  
    Abstract123)      PDF (1793KB)(177)       Save
    Two nearly complete specimens of Caudipteryx preserved a lot more new information about its skeletal anatomy. It has some unexpected bird characters such as the manual digital format of “2-3-2” as in advanced birds rather than the previously recognized “2-3-4” as in Archaeopteryx, Confuciusornis and most theropods, the ungula of the third manual digit is lost; in the skull the nasal opening is larger than the antorbital fenestra, the tail is composed of 22 unfused caudals, there exist only 9 dorsal vertebrae, there are about 12 cervical vertebrae. On the other hand, both new specimens corfirm that the pubis of Caudipteryx is antero-ventrally rather than posteriorly oriented; the fibula contacts the calcaneum; the quadratojugal contacts both the squamosal and the quadrate. The teeth of Caudipteryx are restricted to the premaxilla in all known specimens. The scapula is expanded at the distal end. The coracoid has a prominent biceps tubercle and possesses an elliptic supracoracoid foramen. Both new specimens appear to confirm that the first metatarsal articulates with the postern-medial surface of the second metatarsal and the hallux of the foot is at least partially reversed, therefore suggesting that the ancestor of Caudipteryx had probably possessed the arboreal capability. The reduction of the third manual digit in Caudipteryx also provides further evidence for the homology of the three manual digits in birds and theropod dinosaurs although the reduction of the third digit had obviously appeared many times in the history of dinosaurs and birds. Although Caudipteryx is still accepted as a feathered dinosaur, its newly discovered remarkable bird-like characters probably indicate that its phylogenetic position remains a debatable issue.
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    A NEW SPECIES OF PLATYB ELODON (GOMPHOTHERIIDAE, PROBOSCIDEA, MAMMALIA) FROM EARLY MIOCENE OF THE DANGHE AREA, GANSU, CHINA
    WANG Ban-Yue, QIU Zhan-Xiang
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2002, 40 (04): 291-299.  
    Abstract78)      PDF (613KB)(174)       Save
    The genus Platybelodon has been known as one of the most characteristic fossils of the middle Miocene in Palaearctic Region. In July and August of 2001 a mandible of Platybelodon was unearthed from the early Miocene deposits in the Danghe area, Gansu, China. It represents the most primitive and the earliest species of Platybelodon so far known.
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    Subdivision and age of the Silurian fish-bearing Kuanti Formation in Qujing, Yunnan Province
    CAI Jia-Chen, ZHAO Wen-Jin, ZHU Min
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2020, 58 (4): 249-266.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.1000-3118.200513
    Abstract143)   HTML8)    PDF (5890KB)(169)       Save

    The continuous Silurian strata are well developed and exposed with abundant fossils in Qujing Area of Yunnan Province, which makes Qujing as one of ideal areas in China for the research of Silurian stratigraphy and paleontology for a long time. The Kuanti Formation has become the focus of attention for early vertebrate researchers in the world, since tremendous amount of fossil fishes were found in the formation exposed in the surrounding areas of Qujing in 2007, which eventually led to the discovery and establishment of the Xiaoxiang Vertebrate Fauna in 2009. However, the stratigraphic subdivision, correlation and the geological age of the Kuanti Formation in Qujing still remain contentious, although many biostratigraphic and lithostratigraphic attempts have been made since the formation was named in 1914. Based on the detailed field geological investigation in recent years in the surrounding areas of Xiaoxiang Reservoir and the measured data of one continuous section (Shangtielu-Dongpo Section), together with many previous paleontological and stratigraphic works, this paper redefines the Kuanti Formation containing abundant Silurian fishes in Qujing Area and further discusses its geological age. According to the main lithological changes and paleontological characteristics, the Yuejiashan Formation which was separated by some researchers from the lower part of the Kuanti Formation is abandoned here. In the paper, the redefined Kuanti Formation can be subdivided into four members in ascending order. Member I (Yuejiashan Member) is characterised by yellow-green and gray-green shales intercalated with thin-bedded fine sandstones or siltstones and several thin-bedded fine-grained conglomerates bearing fragments of fossil fishes in its lower and middle parts. Member II (Chongjiawan Member) is represented by gray-green and purple-red shales, intercalated with light grey middle- to thin-bedded or lenticular limestones or bioclastic limestones containing many brachiopod fossils. Member III (Cailian Member) is dominated by purple-red and gray-green silty and calcareous mudstones or marls intercalated with minor purple-red or yellow-green shales or siltstones, containing brachiopods, fossil fishes and stout tubular trace fossils. A set of middle-thick-bedded fine sandstone with small thickness is usually developed in the bottom of the member, which becomes the obvious marker of the boundary between Member III and Member II. Member IV (Dongpo Member) is composed of gray-green and yellow-green mudstones and shales intercalated with thin-bedded or lenticular argillaceous limestones and marlites. Abundant fossil fishes of the Xiaoxiang Vertebrate Fauna were found in the argillaceous limestones in the lower part, and coral fossils in the upper part. Mainly based on the records of fossil fishes, conodonts and other paleontological data, the age of Member III to Member IV of the Kuanti Formation, containing the main fish-bearing strata of the Xiaoxiang Vertebrate Fauna and conodont Ozarkodina crispa, should be assigned to the Ludfordian Stage of the Ludlow, and Member I to Member II can be referred to the Gorstian Stage of the Ludlow, Silurian. Based on the current stratigraphic data, the possibility of its bottom extending down to Wenlock is not excluded.

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    Elephas cf. E. planifrons (Elephantidae, Mammalia) from Upper Siwalik Subgroup of Samba district, Jammu and Kashmir, India 
    Som Nath KUNDAL, Gyan BHADUR, Sandeep KUMAR  
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2017, 55 (1): 59-70.  
    Abstract86)      PDF (1199KB)(166)       Save
    One specimen of Elephas cf. E. planifrons is reported and described here in the present paper. The specimen was recovered from the mudstone horizon underlying the volcanic ash bed exposed near the Nangal village, which is the extension of geochronological dated (2.48 Ma) volcanic ash beds exposed at Barakhetar in the Nagrota Formation of Upper Siwalik Subgroup of Samba district, Jammu and Kashmir, India. Based on the crown morphological parameters (plate numbers, molars length and width, crown length, width and height, enamel thickness, dentine thickness, length and width of plates, lamellar frequency, hypsodonty index and cement thickness), the specimen has been identified and is tentatively referred to Elephas cf. E. planifrons (LM3). The recovery of this specimen is of great significance as it extends its upper limit of range zone from 3.6–2.6 to 3.6–2.48 Ma. 
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    A revision of the eggshell fragment of Spheroolithus megadermus from Laiyang, Shandong Province, China
    ZHANG Shu-Kang
    Vertebrata Palasiatica    2022, 60 (1): 59-68.   DOI: 10.19615/j.cnki.2096-9899.211021
    Abstract306)   HTML18)    PDF (3635KB)(165)       Save

    In 1958, a special type of dinosaur egg was discovered in Zhaotuan, Laiyang, Shandong Province, China. Although only a large eggshell fragment was collected, its extremely large thickness indicated that the eggshell fragment represented a new ootaxon. In previous studies, it was named Spheroolithus megadermus and assigned to the oogenus Spheroolithus under the oofamily of the Spheroolithidae based on the microstructure in radial view. However, a comparative study of the microstructure in tangential views between the large eggshell fragment from Laiyang and the recently reported Multifissoolithus from Zhejiang Province, China and Yamaguchi, Japan revealed that all of them have roughly paralleled and wavy clefts. Therefore, this study reassigned the large eggshell fragment from Laiyang to Multifissoolithus of the Dongyangoolithidae and discussed its unique compact layer near the eggshell’s inner surface, as well as the chronological and spatial distribution of dongyangoolithid eggs. The reassignment of the holotype of Spheroolithus megadermus also indicates that the referred specimen of Spheroolithus megadermus from Changtu, Liaoning Province becomes the holotype of a new oospecies Spheroolithus quantouensis.

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