Friday, November 29, 2013

[Botany • 2013] Seven new species of Miliusa (Annonaceae) from Thailand

Figure 2. Flowers of (A) Miliusa intermedia sp. nov., (B) Miliusa thailandica sp. nov., and (C)–(D) Miliusa campanulata Pierre.
Photographs: (A) Simon Gardner, (B) Kithisak Aongyong, (C)–(D) Charndanai Pradubpet.

Seven new species of the genus Miliusa are described from Thailand (M. fragrans, M. hirsuta, M. intermedia, M. nakhonsiana, M. sessilis, M. thailandica, and M. umpangensis). A key to the 19 species of Miliusa in Thailand is provided. In addition, the complete taxonomic nomenclature of all known species of Miliusa in Thailand is given, with several new proposed synonyms. The new as well as the known species of Miliusa in Thailand are classified into four morphological groups on the basis of a combination of flower and/or inflorescence position and inner petal morphology proposed earlier.

Chaowasku T. & Keßler P.J.A. 2013. Seven new species of Miliusa (Annonaceae) from Thailand. Nordic Journal of Botany.

[Botany • 2013] Phylogeny of Miliusa (Magnoliales: Annonaceae: Malmeoideae: Miliuseae), with descriptions of two new species from Malesia; M. butonensis from Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia & M. viridiflora from Papua New Guinea.

Fig. 6. Flowers/inner petals of (representatives of) Miliusa species recovered in each clade.
A-C. Clade A. A. Miliusa sclerocarpa (A.DC.) Kurz.
B, C. Miliusa velutina (DC.) Hook.f. & Thomson.
D-F. Clade B. D. Miliusa campanulata Pierre.
E. Miliusa thorelii Finet & Gagnep. F. Miliusa thailandica Chaowasku & Kessler.
G-I. Clade C. G. Miliusa amplexicaulis Ridl.
H. Miliusa intermedia Chaowasku & Kessler. I. Miliusa mollis Pierre.
 J-L. Clade D. J. Miliusa brahei (F.Muell.) Jessup. K. Miliusa parviflora Ridl. L. Miliusa sp. 2.

(Photographs taken by: A: P. Keßler; B, G, I, K: T. Chaowasku; C: A. Rodphitak; D, L: B. Siriphiphat; E: S. Poungcharean; F: S. Thanapathomsinchai; H: S. Gardner; J: L. Jessup).

The molecular phylogeny of Miliusa (Annonaceae) is reconstructed, with 27 (of ca. 50) species included, using a combination of seven plastid markers (rbcL exon, trnL intron, trnL-F spacer, matK exon, ndhF exon, psbA-trnH spacer, and ycf1 exon) constituting ca. 7 kb. In addition, two new species of Miliusa are described from the Malesian area: M. butonensis sp. nov. from Buton Island, Indonesia and M. viridiflora sp. nov. from Papua New Guinea. The former is included in the molecular phylogenetic analysis. The reconstructed phylogeny corresponds well to the informal morphological grouping proposed earlier. A revised key to 13 Austro-Malesian species of Miliusa is provided.

Keywords. Annonaceae, Buton Island, identification key, Papua New Guinea, molecular phylogeny.

Chaowasku T. & Keßler P.J.A. 2013. Phylogeny of Miliusa (Magnoliales: Annonaceae: Malmeoideae: Miliuseae), with descriptions of two new species from Malesia. European Journal of Taxonomy. 54: 1-21.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

[Paleontology • 2013] Siats meekerorum • Neovenatorid theropods are Apex Predators in the Late Cretaceous of North America

Siats meekerorum 
Zanno & Makovicky 2013

Allosauroid theropods were a diverse and widespread radiation of Jurassic–Cretaceous megapredators. Achieving some of the largest body sizes among theropod dinosaurs, these colossal hunters dominated terrestrial ecosystems until a faunal turnover redefined apex predator guild occupancy during the final 20 million years of the Cretaceous. Here we describe a giant new species of allosauroid – Siats meekerorum gen. et sp. nov. – providing the first evidence for the cosmopolitan clade Neovenatoridae in North America. Siats is the youngest allosauroid yet discovered from the continent and demonstrates that the clade endured there into the Late Cretaceous. The discovery provides new evidence for ecologic sympatry of large allosauroids and small-bodied tyrannosauroids. These data support the hypothesis that extinction of Allosauroidea in terrestrial ecosystems of North America permitted ecological release of tyrannosauroids, which went on to dominate end-Cretaceous food webs.

This illustration shows Siats within its ecosystem,
eating an Eolambia and intimidating early, small-bodied tyrannosauroids.
Illustration: Julio Lacerda

Siats meekerorum
Illustration: Jorge Gonzales

Zanno, L. E.; Makovicky, P. J. 2013. Neovenatorid theropods are Apex Predators in the Late Cretaceous of North America. Nature Communications. 4. doi:

Colossal new predatory dino terrorized early tyrannosaurs
A new species of carnivorous dinosaur – one of the three largest ever discovered in North America – lived alongside and competed with small-bodied tyrannosaurs 98 million years ago. This newly discovered species, Siats meekerorum, (pronounced see-atch) was the apex predator of its time, and kept tyrannosaurs from assuming top predator roles for millions of years.

Friday, November 22, 2013

[Geology / News • 2013] Nishima-Shima Volcano: Submarine Volcanic Eruption Gives Birth to New Island Off Japan

Nishima-Shima Volcano
: Submarine Volcanic Eruption Gives Birth to New Island Off Japan

A new island was born today [20 Nov 2013] in the Pacific Ocean in Japan's Izu (or Volcano) island chain. It is produced by a new submarine eruption which is currently taking place about 500 m southeast of Nishino-Shima island. 

The eruption was first spotted by Japanese navy this morning at 10:20 (local time) who documented surtseyan activity at the eruption site (explosive interaction of sea-water and lava, generating violent jets of steam and ash). It appears that the eruption has already built an island of about 200 m diameter in size, which suggests that the vent was already located in very shallow waters. 

A small steam and ash plume rising to about 600 m. was reported by VAAC Tokyo. The last known eruption of the volcano occurred in 1973 .

Underwater Volcanic Eruption Gives Birth To New Island Off Japan via @michellebvd

Nishima-Shima volcano (Japan): submarine volcanic eruption gives birth to new island

[Geology • 2013] Seismic Detection of an Active Subglacial Magmatic Complex in Marie Byrd Land, Antarctica | Volcano Discovered Smoldering Under a Kilometer of Ice in West Antarctica

Mount Sidley, the highest volcano in Antarctica, may have a lot of company lurking out of sight. Scientists are using seismographs to hunt for hidden volcanoes in Antarctica.
photo: Doug Wiens

Numerous volcanoes exist in Marie Byrd Land, a highland region of West Antarctica. High heat flow through the crust in this region may influence the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Volcanic activity progressed from north to south in the Executive Committee mountain range between the Miocene and Holocene epochs, but there has been no evidence for recent magmatic activity. Here we use a recently deployed seismic network to show that in 2010 and 2011, two swarms of seismic activity occurred at 25–40 km depth beneath subglacial topographic and magnetic highs, located 55 km south of the youngest subaerial volcano in the Executive Committee Range. We interpret the swarm events as deep long-period earthquakes based on their unusual frequency content. Such earthquakes occur beneath active volcanoes, are caused by deep magmatic activity and, in some cases, precede eruptions. We also use radar profiles to identify a prominent ash layer in the ice overlying the seismic swarm. Located at 1,400 m depth, the ash layer is about 8,000 years old and was probably sourced from the nearby Mount Waesche volcano. Together, these observations provide strong evidence for ongoing magmatic activity and demonstrate that volcanism continues to migrate southwards along the Executive Committee Range. Eruptions at this site are unlikely to penetrate the 1.2 to 2-km-thick overlying ice, but would generate large volumes of melt water that could significantly affect ice stream flow.

Amanda C. Lough, Douglas A. Wiens, C. Grace Barcheck, Sridhar Anandakrishnan, Richard C. Aster, Donald D. Blankenship, Audrey D. Huerta, Andrew Nyblade, Duncan A. Young, Terry J. Wilson. 2013. Seismic Detection of an Active Subglacial Magmatic Complex in Marie Byrd Land, Antarctica. Nature Geoscience. 2013; DOI:

Volcano Discovered Smoldering Under a Kilometer of Ice in West Antarctica

: Heat May Increase Rate of Ice Loss

 — It wasn't what they were looking for but that only made the discovery all the more exciting.

In January 2010 a team of scientists had set up two crossing lines of seismographs across Marie Byrd Land in West Antarctica. It was the first time the scientists had deployed many instruments in the interior of the continent that could operate year-round even in the coldest parts of Antarctica.

What's Under Antarctica? Quake Waves Give First Look

Thursday, November 21, 2013

[Herpetology • 2013] Tylototriton uyenoi & T. panhai • Two New Species of Tylototriton (Urodela: Salamandridae) from Thailand

Tylototriton uyenoi
Nishikawa, Khonsue, Pomchote & Matsui, 2013

 from Siribhumi Royal Garden, Inthanon National Park, Chiang Mai, northern Thailand
Taken: February 2009 by P. Sookbangnop

Three morphological groups are found in a salamandrid newt Tylototriton shanjing from Thailand. We describe two of them as new species, one from northern and the other from northeastern Thailand, based on molecular and morphological data, however we could not make a taxonomic decision on the remaining one group because of the lack of voucher specimens and sufficient genetic data. The northern species differs morphologically from all known congeners by having the combination of orange to reddish brown markings, narrow and sharply protruding dorsolateral bony ridges on head, weakly segmented vertebral ridge, and long and high tail. The northeastern species is characterized by having the combination of yellow, orange, or reddish brown markings, wide and moderately protruding dorsolateral bony ridges on head, smooth vertebral ridge, black limbs, and black tail except for edges. Validity of taxonomic subdivision of the genus Tylototriton is discussed.

Keywords: Tylototriton, Molecular phylogeny, Morphology, New species, Thailand

Type I & Type II Dorsal Color Pattern | females of Thai Tylototriton
Pomchote et al. (2008)
Type I : Tylototriton uyenoi
Type II: Tylototriton panhai  

Tylototriton uyenoi sp. nov.
Tylototriton verrucosus: Smith (1924) : 309; Taylor (1962): 279;
Tylototriton verrucosus Type I: Pomchote et al. (2008): 39 (part).

Etymology: The specific epithet is dedicated to Dr. Shun-ichi Uéno, who collected part of the paratypes of the new species.  

Range: Doi Ang Khang, Doi Chang Kien, Doi Inthanon, Doi Pui, and Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand.

Natural history: The holotype and the paratypes deposited in KUHE were collected in artificial pools. The species is also found in natural or artificial ponds, ditches along farms, and in slow streams, with an average depth of 38.2 cm (range 9–120 cm). Breeding occurs from May to July. Larvae are found in the water bodies from August

Tylototriton panhai sp. nov.
Tylototriton verrucosus: Wongratana (1984): 107;
Tylototriton verrucosus Type II: Pomchote et al. (2008): 39.

Etymology: The specific epithet is dedicated to Prof. Somsak Panha (Chulalongkorn University), who is an active naturalist and helped our field surveys.  

Range: Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park, Phitsanulok Province, and Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary and Phu Suan Sai National Park, Loei Province, Thailand. The locality in Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park is the southernmost record in the genus Tylototriton.

Natural history: The species was first reported by Wongratana (1984), which was collected walking on an elephant trail at foggy morning. The habitat is moist forest with bamboo bushes and variety of water bodies like temporal pools by rain, and streams. Eggs are found as attached on wet grass or plant overhanging the water surface or under wood debris on land near small streams or ponds. In the breeding season from May to July, the adults were found in the water bodies. Out of the breeding season, the species is probably terrestrial and difficult to encounter.

Nishikawa, Kanto, Wichase Khonsue, Porrawee Pomchote and Masafumi Matsui. 2013. Two New Species of Tylototriton from Thailand (Amphibia: Urodela: Salamandridae). Zootaxa. 3737(3): 261-279.

Pomchote, P., Pariyanonth, P. & Khonsue, W. 2008. Two Distinctive Color Patterns of the Himalayan Newt Tylototriton verrucosus (Urodela: Salamandridae) Found in Thailand and Its Implication on Geographic Segregation. The Natural History Journal of Chulalongkorn University. 8, 35–43.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

[Herpetology • 2010] Skeletochronological Assessment of Age in the Himalayan Crocodile Newt, Tylototriton 'verrucosus' (Anderson, 1871) from northern Thailand

Lines of arrested growth (LAGs) were assessed in Thai population of the protected and rare Himalayan crocodile newt, Tylototriton verrucosus (Anderson, 1871) from Northern Thailand using skeletochronology. LAGs were clearly discernable in phalangeal bone cross-sections and could be  interpreted as age. The number of LAGs in the sampled breeding population was found to be 4-8 in males (n=12) and 4 and 6 in females (n=2), consistent with previous observations that sexual maturity is reached at four years of age in both sexes. Although limited in sample size, the data suggest that males with ages over eight years are rare or absent in the breeding population studied. This non-lethal technique thus appears of potential use in ecological studies requiring non-lethal sampling of tropical urodela, including rare and or protected species. 

KEY WORDS: Skeletochronology, LAGs, Tropical newt, Tylototriton verrucosus, Thailand

Wichase Khonsue, Thosapol Chaiananporn and Porrawee Pomchote. 2010. Skeletochronological Assessment of Age in the Himalayan Crocodile Newt, Tylototriton verrucosus (Anderson, 1871) from Thailand. Tropical Natural History. 10(2): 181-188.

[Herpetology • 2008] Two Distinctive Color Patterns of the Himalayan Newt Tylototriton 'verrucosus' (Urodela: Salamandridae) Found in Thailand and Its Implication on Geographic Segregation

Type I & Type II Dorsal Color Pattern | females of Tylototriton 'verrucosus'

 Field surveys were carried out at 14 locations in seven provinces of Thailand, from December 2001 to September 2006, searching for the Himalayan newt (Tylototriton verrucosus Anderson, 1871). The newt was found at 11 of the 14 locations visited, eight of which constitute new locality records for the species within Thailand. Our observations show that the Himalayan newts in Thailand can be divided into two types based on their distribution, body coloration, and female size. This species was generally found in small streams and ponds, usually in mountainous areas at least 1,000 m above sea level. The ecological and conservation implications of Tylototriton verrucosus in Thailand are discussed.

KEY WORDS: Body coloration, new localities, newt, Thailand, Tylototriton verrucosus

FIGURE 1. Distribution of Himalayan newts (Tylototriton verrucosus)
 A. gathered from old published literatures. B. from this survey. 
() Indicate Type I newts (orange to yellow body coloration). (o) Indicate Type II newts (dull body coloration). 

Pomchote, P., Pariyanonth, P. & Khonsue, W. 2008. Two Distinctive Color Patterns of the Himalayan Newt Tylototriton verrucosus (Urodela: Salamandridae) Found in Thailand and Its Implication on Geographic Segregation. The Natural History Journal of Chulalongkorn University. 8, 35–43.

[Herpetology • 2013] A Species Boundary Within the Tylototriton verrucosus Group (Urodela: Salamandroidae) Based on Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Evidence : Tylototriton shanjing should be a valid species

 The taxonomic status of red knobby newt (Tylototriton shanjing) is under dispute. Molecular phylogenetic tree of Tylototriton verrucosus group was reconstructed based on 753 bp of partial mitochondrial cyt b gene sequence to determine species boundaries among the species in T. verrucosus group. The phylogeny result indicates that four major clades (clade I-IV) can be distinguished within Tylototriton verrucosus group. Clade I and IV consist of T. taliangensis and T. kweichowensis, respectively. Clade II consists of samples of T. shanjing derived from Yunnan of China, a form that researchers resurrect from its synonym under T. verrucosus. T. verrucosus haplotypes from Shan State of Myanmar and pet trade formed clade III. All populations of T. shanjing and T. verrucosus formed strongly supported (PP = 1.0) reciprocal monophyletic groups. The average uncorrected pairwise genetic distance (p-distance) of cyt b between these four clades ranges from 0.060-0.089 which is obviously higher than within these four major clades (0.001-0.014). Researchers propose that the T. shanjing should be a valid species rather than synonym of T. verrucosus.

Mingwang Zhang, Guohua Yu, Dingqi Rao, Yimei Huang, Junxing Yang and Yan Li, 2013. A Species Boundary Within the Tylototriton verrucosus Group (Urodela: Salamandroidae) Based on Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Evidence. Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances. 12: 337-343.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

[Paleontology • 2014] ชาละวัน ไทยแลนดิคัส • Chalawan thailandicus • A Large pholidosaurid in the Phu Kradung Formation of north-eastern Thailand; former 'Sunosuchus' thailandicus

Chalawan thailandicus (Buffetaut & Ingavat 1984)
Chalawan gen. nov. Martin, Lauprasert, Buffetaut, Liard & Suteethorn 2013
syn: Sunosuchus thailandicus Buffetaut & Ingavat 1984

ชาละวัน ไทยแลนดิคัส Chalawan thailandicus
ซูโนซูคัส ไทยแลนดิคัส Sunosuchus thailandicus

In the early 1980s, the remains of a large crocodilian, consisting of a nearly complete lower jaw, were referred to a distinct species of Sunosuchus, S. thailandicus. The specimen was recovered from a road-cut near Nong Bua Lamphu, north-eastern Thailand, in the upper part of the continental Phu Kradung Formation, and then considered Early to Middle Jurassic in age. Since then, this age has been revised and most of the formation is now considered Early Cretaceous, although a Late Jurassic age is possible for its lowermost part. Here, we report for the first time cranial elements associated with mandibular remains assignable to ‘S’. thailandicus. An attribution to Pholidosauridae is proposed on the basis of premaxillary morphology, and the original referral of this taxon to the goniopholidid Sunosuchus is discarded. A new genus name Chalawan now designates the originally described material of S. thailandicus. Nevertheless, the newly described specimen shares a characteristic with both ‘traditional’ Goniopholididae and Pholidosauridae: the presence of a depression located on the lateral wall of the maxilla and jugal. A phylogenetic analysis confirms the inclusion of both Goniopholididae and Pholidosauridae into a common clade, Coelognathosuchia tax. nov. Although the new Thai skull is much fragmented, its original shape is reconstructed and is compared with other pholidosaurid genera, namely Elosuchus, Meridiosaurus, Oceanosuchus, Pholidosaurus, Sarcosuchus and Terminonaris. The presence of the genus Sunosuchus being highly questionable in Thailand, it cannot be used as evidence to link the Chinese and Indochinese blocks. Instead, the recognition of a freshwater pholidosaurid in a continental formation of the Indochinese block suggests that early in their evolutionary history, these crocodilians, already known from Europe, Africa and South America, were more widely distributed along the northern margin of the Tethys than previously recognized.

Keywords: crocodilia; Coelognathosuchia; Pholidosauridae; Mesozoic; Phu Kradung Formation; Thailand


This published work and the nomenclatural act it contains have been registered in Zoobank:

Order CROCODILIA Gmelin, 1789

Suborder COELOGNATHOSUCHIA tax. nov.

Derivation of name. In reference to the depression or concavitylocated on the posterodorsal surface of the maxilla, close or par-ticipating to the jugal. The name translates from the Greek jοιkος (concave), cmάhος (jaw) andrο~tvος (crocodile).

Diagnosis. Coelognathosuchia is characterized by the fol-lowing combination of features: presence of a depressionon the posterodorsal region of the rostrum (autapomorphic), located either fully on the maxilla or on both themaxilla and jugal; subcircular supratemporal fenestrae larger than orbits; maximum frontal width as wide or widerthan the diameter of one orbit; anterior process of nasal excluded from posterior margin of external nares; in dorsalview, marked notch at the premaxillary–maxillary junction;reduced or absent antorbital fenestra; more or less developed spine at anterolateral corner of postorbital; exoccipitaland quadrate not in contact posterior to otic area; pendu-lous quadrate medial hemicondyle; posteroventrally pro-jected retroarticular process; insertion for m. pterygoideusposterior restricted to medial margin of angular.

Definition. The sister group to the most derived neosuchians (Bernissartia fagesiiand Eusuchia), incorporatingthe family Pholidosauridae and all taxa more closelyrelated to it than to Bernissartia fagesiiand Eusuchia. Under the present phylogenetic hypothesis, the family Goniopholididae is paraphyletic.

Family PHOLIDOSAURIDAE Zittel and Eastman, 1902 

Derivation of name: ชาละวัน, Chalawan, a gigantic crocodile in the epic story of the crocodile hunter Khrai Thong written by King Rama II (1768–1824).

Type species: Sunosuchus thailandicus Buffetaut and Ingavat, 1980; CAS42-20 in Sirindhorn Museum, Kalasin province (formerly TF1370 in DMR, Bangkok); a nearly complete mandible lacking only a part of the right ramus from the Phu Kradung Formation near Nong Bua Lamphu, north-eastern Thailand.

Referred specimen: PRC102-143, Skull and mandibular elements of a single individual comprising parts of the rostrum, braincase and skull table as well as various parts of the mandible from Kham Phok, Mukdahan Province.

Type locality: Nong Bua Lam Phu, Nong Bua Lam Phu Province.

Type stratum: Phu Kradung Formation.

Jeremy E. Martin, Komsorn Lauprasert, Eric Buffetaut, Romain Liard and Varavudh Suteethorn. 2013. A Large pholidosaurid in the Phu Kradung Formation of north-eastern Thailand. Palaeontology. DOI: 10.1111/pala.12086

Buffetaut, E.; and Ingavat, R. 1984. The lower jaw of Sunosuchus thailandicus, a mesosuchian crocodilian from the Jurassic of Thailand. Palaeontology. 27 (1): 199–206.

[Paleontology • 2013] Ajancingenia yanshini (Barsbold, 1981) • A New Name for the oviraptorid Dinosaur "Ingenia" yanshini : Toothless carnivorous dinosaur of Mongolia (Barsbold, 1981; preoccupied by Gerlach, 1957)

Ajancingenia yanshini (Barsbold, 1981)

The genus name of the small oviraptorid dinosaur Ingenia yanshini is preoccupied by the tripyloidid nematode Ingenia mirabilis, thus making the former a junior homonym of the latter.  Although “Ingeniayanshini is sympatric with Conchoraptor gracilis, it is distinguished from Conchoraptor by proportions of the manus.  It also differs appreciably from the ingeniines Heyuannia huangi and Nemegtomaia barsboldi in manual and pelvic proportions.  “Ingeniayanshini is not referable to any other taxon, and is renamed Ajancingenia yanshini gen. nov.  Several specimens originally referred to this species have subsequently been transferred to new genera, and the taxonomic assignment of material referred to Ajancingenia yanshini gen. nov. is reassessed.

Keywords: Theropoda, Oviraptorosauria, Ingenia, Ajancingenia, Barun Goyot Formation

Easter, J. 2013. A New Name for the oviraptorid Dinosaur "Ingenia" yanshini (Barsbold, 1981; preoccupied by Gerlach, 1957). Zootaxa. 3737 (2): 184–190. DOI: 

Barsbold, R. 1981. Bezzubye khishchnye dinozavry Mongolii. [Toothless carnivorous dinosaurs of Mongolia.. Trudy -- Sovmestnaya Sovetsko-Mongol'skaya Paleontologicheskaya Ekspeditsiya, 15: 28-39, 124. [in Russian, w/ English summary].

[Paleontology • 2001] Liaoningosaurus paradoxus • A juvenile ankylosaur from Yixian Formation of Liaoning, China

Liaoningosaurus paradoxus

Juvenile ankylosaur specimens are very rare. A new ankylosaur, Liaoningosaurus paradoxus gen. et sp. nov., is described based on a beautifully preserved juvenile ankylosaur specimen from the famous Yixian Formation of Liaoning, China. Liaoningosaurus has a large bony plate (somewhat shell-like) shielding the abdomen. This discovery represents the first record of such a structure among dinosaurs. Although it has a number of distinct features seen in the family Ankylosauridae, a cladistic analysis placed Liaoningosaurus in the sister-family Nodosauridae. The 'intermediate' status of this taxon between the two ankylosaur families further supports the monophyly of Ankylosauria. This finding also documents the smallest known ankylosaur specimen and first complete nodosaurid specimen from Asia.

Liaoningosaurus paradoxus

Xu, X., Wang, X.-L., and You, H.-L. 2001. A juvenile ankylosaur from China. Naturwissenschaften. 88(7): 297-300.

[Paleontology • 2001] Gobisaurus domoculus • A new ankylosaurid (Dinosauria: Ankylosauria) from the Lower Cretaceous of China, with comments on ankylosaurian relationships

Gobisaurus domoculus 
 Vickaryous, Russell, Currie & Zhao 2001
illustration: Andrey Atuchin |

 Amongst the fossil material collected by the Sino-Soviet Expeditions (1959–1960) to the Alshan Desert, China, was a large, virtually complete ankylosaur skeleton. Gobisaurus domoculus gen. et sp. nov. closely resembles Shamosaurus scutatus, but is distinct in having an unfused basipterygoid–pterygoid contact and elongate premaxillary processes of the vomers. Although it is difficult to make a definitive taxonomic assignment without considering postcranial material, a preliminary phylogenetic analysis places Gobisaurus as the sister taxon of Shamosaurus, clustered as one of several successive outgroups of the Ankylosaurinae.

Systematic palaeontology
Dinosauria Owen 1842 | Ornithischia Seeley 1888
Ankylosauria Osborn 1923 | Ankylosauridae Brown 1908

Gobisaurus gen. nov.
Type species: Gobisaurus domoculus.

Etymology: Gobi, refers to the geographic locale.

Gobisaurus domoculus sp. nov.
Type locality: IVPP V12563 (Holotype) is believed to have been collected from the same general locality as the large theropod Chilantaisaurus maortuensis, approximately 60 km north of Chilantai (Jilantai; 39 45 N, 105 45E), on the east side of Chilantai Salt Lake (Chilantaiyen Chih), Maortu, Alashan Desert, Nei Mongol Zizhique (Inner Mongolia), China.

Formation: Ulanhushao (Suhongtu) Formation, Lower Cretaceous (Aptian–?Albian).

Etymology: domo to subjugate; and oculus, the eye

Matthew K. Vickaryous, Anthony P. Russell, Philip J. Currie, and Xi-Jin Zhao. 2001. A new ankylosaurid (Dinosauria: Ankylosauria) from the Lower Cretaceous of China, with comments on ankylosaurian relationships. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences/Rev. can. sci. Terre 38(12):1767-1780.

[Paleontology • 2001] Aletopelta coombsi • an ankylosaurian ornithischian dinosaur from Southern California

Aletopelta and Lambeosaurus in prehistoric California
illustration by Ken Kirkland
Aletopelta coombsi Kirkland & Ford, 2001
an ankylosaurian ornithischian dinosaur from Southern California

 Generic name is composed of the Greek terms aletes and pelte, meaning, respectively "wandering" and "shield". This genus name was suggested by Ben Creisler because the fossil location, at the time the dinosaur died, being located on the tectonic plate containing the Peninsular Ranges Terrane, was somewhere opposite the middle of Mexico. This plate had thus been wandering northward, carrying the specimen with it. The specific epithet honors the vertebrate paleontologist Walter P. Coombs, Jr., for his ground-breaking work on ankylosaurs and his years of research, which have inspired many an enthusiast as well as professional paleontologist.

Ford, T. L. & Kirkland, J. I. 2001. Carlsbad Ankylosaur (Ornithischia, Ankylosauria): An Ankylosaurid and Not a Nodosaurid, Chapter 12 of Carpenter, ed., The Armored Dinosaurs, Indiana University Press, Bloomington & Indianapolis, Indiana 239-260.

[Paleontology • 2001] Cedarpelta bilbeyhallorum • Disarticulated Skull of a New Primitive ankylosaurid from the Lower Cretaceous of Utah

Cedarpelta bilbeyhallorum
Carpenter, Kirkland & Bird 2001

Cedarpelta is an genus of basal ankylosaurid ankylosaur, based on material recovered from the Lower Cretaceous of North America. The skull lacks extensive cranial ornamentation, a trait which has been interpreted as plesiomorphic for ankylosaurs.

Carpenter, K., Kirkland, J. I., Birge, D., and Bird, J. 2001. Disarticulated Skull of a New Primitive ankylosaurid from the Lower Cretaceous of Utah. in Carpenter, K. (editor) 2001. The Armored Dinosaurs. Indiana University Press

Monday, November 18, 2013

[Ichthyology • 2013] ปลาค้อเจ้าฟ้าจุฬาภรณ์ | Physoschistura chulabhornae | Princess Chulaborn's Stream Loach • A New Species of Physoschistura (Pisces: Nemacheilidae) from Maechaem River, a tributary of Ping River, northern Thailand

 Physoschistura chulabhornae Suvarnaraksha 2013
ปลาค้อเจ้าฟ้าจุฬาภรณ์ | Princess Chulaborn's Stream Loach


Physoschistura chulabhornae, new species, is described from Maechaem River, a tributary of Ping River, upper Chaophraya River drainage, Chiangmai province, Thailand. It is distinguished from all other known species of Physoschistura in having an incomplete lateral line reaching at least to the origin of the anal fin with 62–83 lateral-line canal pores, the dorsal-fin origin slightly in front of the pelvic-fin origin, no axillary pelvic lobe, and a suborbital flap in the shape of a hammer head in the male.

Keywords: new species, Maechaem River, stream loaches

Suvarnaraksha, Apinun. 2013. A New Species of Physoschistura (Pisces: Nemacheilidae) from northern Thailand. Zootaxa. 3736(3): 236-248.

Friday, November 15, 2013

[Botany • 2013] เถากะไดลิง, เสี้ยวภูลังกา | Bauhinia nakhonphanomensis • A New Species of Bauhinia L. (Caesalpinioideae, Leguminosae) from Nakhon Phanom Province, northeastern Thailand

Bauhinia nakhonphanomensis Chatan
Bauhinia nakhonphanomensis closely resembles Bauhinia exurrens Stapf, known only from Mt Kinabalu Malaysia (Larsen and Larsen 1996). The two species are similar to each other by having entire leaves, anthers opening by longitudinal slits, short hypanthium (approx. 10 mm), petals not recurved and long pedicels more than 25 mm.

A new liana species of the subfamily Caesalpinioideae (Leguminosae), namely Bauhinia nakhonphanomensis, collected from the Phulangkha National Park, Nakhon Pranom Province, Thailand, is described and illustrated. It is easily recognized by the following combination of characters: tendrilled liana, entire leaves, acuminate or caudate leaf apices, oblong or elliptic floral bud, floral bud 25–35 mm long, raceme or panicle inflorescence, 10–13 mm long hypanthium, anther opening by longitudinal slits. Important comparative morphological characters with some closely related species are discussed.

Keywords: Bauhinia nakhonphanomensis, Thailand, Leguminosae, Caesalpinioideae, new species

Figure 1. Bauhinia nakhonphanomensis
A Habit B Habit and inflorescences C Large and old stems forming flattened “Monkey-Ladders” D Old (green) and young (pinkish) leaves 

Figure 1. Bauhinia nakhonphanomensis
 E tendril F Inflorescence with many reddish bracteoles
G Inflorescence with many reddish bracteoles and reddish-green floral buds.

Flowering and fruiting: flowering April–July and fruiting unknown.

Distribution: This new species is an endemic to Thailand and known from only one location at Phulangka National Park, Ban Pheang District, Nakhon Phanom Province, Thailand.

Ecology: This species grows in a rocky and dense dry evergreen forest at an elevation of 170–240 m. It climbs on small to tall shrubs, trees or on big stones. Some plants grow along the river.

Vernacular name: เถากะไดลิง Thao Khadailing.

Etymology: Bauhinia nakhonphanomensis is named after the type locality Nakhon Phanom Province, the northeastern Thailand.

Figure 1. Bauhinia nakhonphanomensis A Habit B Habit and inflorescences C Large and old stems forming flattened “Monkey-Ladders” D Old (green) and young (pinkish) leaves E tendril F Inflorescence with many reddish bracteoles G Inflorescence with many reddish bracteoles and reddish-green floral buds.


Chatan, W. 2013. A New Species of Bauhinia L. (Caesalpinioideae, Leguminosae) from Nakhon Phanom Province, Thailand. PhytoKeys. 26: 1–5. doi:

Bauhinia saksuwaniae, a new species from northeastern Thailand is described and illustrated. It appears to be an endemic and endangered species. The new species is obviously distinct from all other species of Thai Bauhinia in having large orbicular persistent bracteoles forming a cup-shape and enclosing a young floral bud.

 Sawai Mattapha, Pranom Chantaranothai and Somran Suddee. 2013. Bauhinia saksuwaniae sp. nov. (Leguminosae–Caesalpinioideae) from Thailand. Nordic Journal of Botany. 12/2013; DOI: 10.1111/j.1756-1051.2013.00102.x

[News • 2013] The Phylogeny of Little Red Riding Hood: Study Provides Insights into Origins, Evolution of Folktales

Little Red Riding Hood
by Arthur Rackham, 1909.


Researchers have long been fascinated by the strong continuities evident in the oral traditions associated with different cultures. According to the ‘historic-geographic’ school, it is possible to classify similar tales into “international types” and trace them back to their original archetypes. However, critics argue that folktale traditions are fundamentally fluid, and that most international types are artificial constructs. Here, these issues are addressed using phylogenetic methods that were originally developed to reconstruct evolutionary relationships among biological species, and which have been recently applied to a range of cultural phenomena. The study focuses on one of the most debated international types in the literature: ATU 333, ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. A number of variants of ATU 333 have been recorded in European oral traditions, and it has been suggested that the group may include tales from other regions, including Africa and East Asia. However, in many of these cases, it is difficult to differentiate ATU 333 from another widespread international folktale, ATU 123, ‘The Wolf and the Kids’. To shed more light on these relationships, data on 58 folktales were analysed using cladistic, Bayesian and phylogenetic network-based methods. The results demonstrate that, contrary to the claims made by critics of the historic-geographic approach, it is possible to identify ATU 333 and ATU 123 as distinct international types. They further suggest that most of the African tales can be classified as variants of ATU 123, while the East Asian tales probably evolved by blending together elements of both ATU 333 and ATU 123. These findings demonstrate that phylogenetic methods provide a powerful set of tools for testing hypotheses about cross-cultural relationships among folktales, and point towards exciting new directions for research into the transmission and evolution of oral narratives.

Jamshid J. Tehrani. 2013. The Phylogeny of Little Red Riding Hood. PLoS ONE. 8 (11): e78871 DOI:

Little Red Riding Hood: Study Provides Insights into Origins, Evolution of Folktales

According to Durham University anthropologist Dr Jamshid Tehrani, evolutionary analysis can be used to study similarities among folktales. His findings demonstrate that the Little Red Riding Hood shares an ancient root with another popular folktale the Wolf and the Kids, although the two are now distinct stories.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

[Herpetology • 2013] Sphenomorphus sheai • A New Species of Sphenomorphus Fitzinger, 1843 (Squamata: Sauria: Scincidae) from Kon Tum Plateau, southern Central Vietnam

Sphenomorphus sheai
Nguyen, Nguyen, Devender, Bonkowski & Ziegler 2013

A new forest skink species of the genus Sphenomorphus is described from Kon Tum Plateau, southern Central Vietnam. Sphenomorphus sheai sp. nov. is similar to the other montane skink species from the Indochina region, Lygosoma veunsaiensis, Scincella apraefrontalis, Sphenomorphus tetradactylus, and Sphenomorphus tridigitus, in having a small size and the absence of external ear openings. However, the new species is differentiated from aforementioned species and other members of Sphenomorphus from China and mainland Southeast Asia by a unique suite of morphological characters. The discovery of S. sheai brings the total species number of Sphenomorphus known from Vietnam to twelve.

Key words: Kon Tum Plateau, skink, Sphenomorphus, taxonomy

Nguyen, Truong Q., Khoi V. Nguyen, Robert W. V. Devender, Michael Bonkowski & Thomas Ziegler. 2013. A New Species of Sphenomorphus Fitzinger, 1843 (Squamata: Sauria: Scincidae) from Vietnam. Zootaxa. 3734(1): 56-62. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3734.1.6

[Herpetology • 2012] Rediscovery and Redescription of the Holotype of Lygosoma vittigerum (= Lipinia vittigera) Boulenger, 1894


We report about the rediscovery of the holotype of the Southeast Asian striped skink Lipinia vittigera and provide a detailed redescription together with photographs and drawings. The species was first described by George Albert Boulenger in 1894 as Lygosoma vittigerum based on a specimen collected by Elio Modigliani on the island of Sereinu (= Sipura), west of Sumatra. The original type specimen was considered to be lost for more than a century and was recently rediscovered in the Museo Civico di Storia Naturale “Giacomo Doria” (MSNG) in Genova, Italy.

Keywords: holotype, rediscovery, re-description, Lipinia, skink, Squamata, Indonesia

Yannick Bucklitsch, Peter Geissler, Timo Hartmann, Giuliano Doria and André Koch. 2012. Rediscovery and Redescription of the Holotype of Lygosoma vittigerum (= Lipinia vittigera) Boulenger, 1894. Acta Herpetologica. 7(2): 325-329

[Herpetology • 2011] The Terrestrial Reptile Fauna of the Biosphere Reserve Cat Ba Archipelago, Hai Phong, northeastern Vietnam

A total of 40 species of reptiles was recorded within two herpetological surveys during May 2007 and April 2008 on Cat Ba Island, Hai Phong, northeastern Vietnam: one species of turtle, 19 species of lizards, and 20 species of snakes. Nineteen species (47.5%) were new records for the island. Compared with previous herpetological surveys on Cat Ba Island, the diversity of terrestrial reptiles recorded during our field work was five times higher than given in Darevsky (1990) and two times higher than indicated by Nguyen & Shim (1997). Taxonomic comparisons revealed that one lizard is endemic, the eublepharid gecko Goniurosaurus catbaensis (Ziegler et al. 2008), and another new skink species, Sphenomorphus tonkinensis (Nguyen et al. 2011); the divergent status of other squamate species (e.g., Pareas cf. hamptoniViridovipera cf. stejnegeri) is still under examination.

Key words: Vietnam, Cat Ba Archipelago, Diversity, new record 

T.Q. Nguyen (Nguyễn), R. Stenke, H.X. Nguyen (Nguyễn) & T. Ziegler. 2011. The Terrestrial Reptile Fauna of the Biosphere Reserve Cat Ba Archipelago, Hai Phong, Vietnam. Bonner Zoologische Monographien. (57)