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Weekly stuff roundup: 16th March, 2018

Welcome to your usual weekly roundup of vaguely interesting stuff that happened in the last week! Enjoy, and let me know if I’ve missed anything out.

Palaeontology stuff

  • Smiley (2018): Detecting diversification rates in relation to preservation and tectonic history from simulated fossil records. “Results from these simulations indicate that elevated diversification rates in relation to tectonic activity during the middle Miocene are likely to be evident in the fossil record, even if preservation in the North American fossil record was variable.
  • Voeten et al. (2018): Could Archaeopteryx fly? The latest research suggests…yes! “Our analyses reveal that the architecture of Archaeopteryx’s wing bones consistently exhibits a combination of cross-sectional geometric properties uniquely shared with volant birds, particularly those occasionally utilising short-distance flapping. We therefore interpret that Archaeopteryx actively employed wing flapping to take to the air through a more anterodorsally posteroventrally oriented flight stroke than used by modern birds.
  • Longrich et al. (2018): Late Maastrichtian pterosaurs from North Africa and mass extinction of Pterosauria at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary. “With 3 families and at least 7 species present, the assemblage represents the most diverse known Late Cretaceous pterosaur assemblage and dramatically increases the diversity of Maastrichtian pterosaurs. At least 3 families—Pteranodontidae, Nyctosauridae, and Azhdarchidae—persisted into the late Maastrichtian. Late Maastrichtian pterosaurs show increased niche occupation relative to earlier, Santonian-Campanian faunas and successfully outcompeted birds at large sizes. These patterns suggest an abrupt mass extinction of pterosaurs at the K-Pg boundary.
Size comparisons between birds and pterosaurs in the latest Cretaceous (Longrich et al., 2018).

Open Science stuff

Jon stuff

Other stuff