uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
Link to record
Permanent link

Direct link
BETA
Alternative names
Publications (10 of 128) Show all publications
Qvarnström, M., Vikberg Wernström, J., Piechowski, R., Talanda, M., Ahlberg, P. E. & Niedzwiedzki, G. (2019). Beetle-bearing coprolites possibly reveal the diet of a Late Triassic dinosauriform. Royal Society Open Science, 6(3), Article ID 181042.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Beetle-bearing coprolites possibly reveal the diet of a Late Triassic dinosauriform
Show others...
2019 (English)In: Royal Society Open Science, E-ISSN 2054-5703, Vol. 6, no 3, article id 181042Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Diets of extinct animals can be difficult to analyse if no direct evidence, such as gut contents, is preserved in association with body fossils. Inclusions from coprolites (fossil faeces), however, may also reflect the diet of the host animal and become especially informative if the coprolite producer link can be established. Here we describe, based on propagation phase-contrast synchrotron microtomography (PPC-SRμCT), the contents of five morphologically similar coprolites collected from two fossil-bearing intervals from the highly fossiliferous Upper Triassic locality at Krasiejow in Silesia, Poland. Beetle remains, mostly elytra, and unidentified exoskeleton fragments of arthropods are the most conspicuous inclusions found in the coprolites. The abundance of these inclusions suggests that the coprolite producer deliberately targeted beetles and similar small terrestrial invertebrates as prey, but the relatively large size of the coprolites shows that it was not itself a small animal. The best candidate from the body fossil record of the locality is the dinosauriform Silesaurus opolensis Dzik, 2003, which had an anatomy in several ways similar to those of bird-like neotheropod dinosaurs and modern birds. We hypothesize that the beak-like jaws of S. opolensis were used to efficiently peck small insects off the ground, a feeding behaviour analogous to some extant birds.

Keywords
coprolites, palaeoecology, Dinosauromorpha, beetle elytra, insectivore
National Category
Geosciences, Multidisciplinary Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-383880 (URN)10.1098/rsos.181042 (DOI)000465470300008 ()31031991 (PubMedID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2017-05248
Available from: 2019-06-11 Created: 2019-06-11 Last updated: 2020-02-16Bibliographically approved
Qvarnström, M., Elgh, E., Owocki, K., Ahlberg, P. & Niedzwiedzki, G. (2019). Filter feeding in Late Jurassic pterosaurs supported by coprolite contents. PeerJ, 7, Article ID e7375.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Filter feeding in Late Jurassic pterosaurs supported by coprolite contents
Show others...
2019 (English)In: PeerJ, ISSN 2167-8359, E-ISSN 2167-8359, Vol. 7, article id e7375Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Diets of pterosaurs have mainly been inferred from indirect evidence such as comparative anatomy, associations of co-occurring fossils, and functional morphology. Gut contents are rare, and until now there is only a single coprolite (fossil dropping), with unidentified inclusions, known. Here we describe three coprolites collected from a palaeosurface with numerous pterosaur tracks found in early Kimmeridgian (Hypselocyclum Zone) intertidal deposits of the Wierzbica Quarry, Poland. The specimens' morphology and association to the tracks suggest a pterosaur producer. Synchrotron scans reveal numerous small inclusions, with foraminifera making up the majority of the identifiable ones. Other small remains include shells/carapaces (of bivalves, ostracods, and other crustaceans/arthropods) and bristles (some possibly of polychaete worms). The high density of the small shelly inclusions suggest that they were not accidently ingested, but constituted an important food source for the pterosaur(s), perhaps together with unpreserved soft-bodied animals. The combined evidence from the tracks and coprolites suggest a filter-feeding ctenochasmatid as the most likely tracemaker. If true, this significantly expands the bromalite record for this pterosaur group, which was previously only known from gastroliths. Moreover, this study also provides the first direct evidence of filter feeding in Jurassic pterosaurs and shows that they had a similar diet to the recent Chilean flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
PEERJ INC, 2019
Keywords
Filter feeding, Coprolites, Pterosaur, Palaeoecology, Ctenochasmatidae, Late Jurassic
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-398849 (URN)10.7717/peerj.7375 (DOI)000482716000001 ()31523493 (PubMedID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2017-05248
Available from: 2019-12-19 Created: 2019-12-19 Last updated: 2020-02-16Bibliographically approved
Ahlberg, P. (2019). Follow the footprints and mind the gaps: a new look at the origin of tetrapods. Earth and environmental science transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 109(1-2), 115-137
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Follow the footprints and mind the gaps: a new look at the origin of tetrapods
2019 (English)In: Earth and environmental science transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, ISSN 1755-6910, E-ISSN 1755-6929, Vol. 109, no 1-2, p. 115-137Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The hypothesis that tetrapods evolved from elpistostegids during the Frasnian, in a predominantly aquatic context, has been challenged by the discovery of Middle Devonian tetrapod trackways predating the earliest body fossils of both elpistostegids and tetrapods. Here I present a new hypothesis based on an overview of the trace fossil and body fossil evidence. The trace fossils demonstrate that tetrapods were capable of performing subaerial lateral sequence walks before the end of the Middle Devonian. The derived morphological characters of elpistostegids and Devonian tetrapods are related to substrate locomotion, weight support and aerial vision, and thus to terrestrial competence, but the retention of lateral-line canals, gills and fin rays shows that they remained closely tied to the water. Elpistostegids and tetrapods both evolved no later than the beginning of the Middle Devonian. The earliest tetrapod records come from inland river basins, sabkha plains and ephemeral coastal lakes that preserve few, if any, body fossils; contemporary elpistostegids occur in deltas and the lower reaches of permanent rivers where body fossils are preserved. During the Frasnian, elpistostegids disappear and these riverine-deltaic environments are colonised by tetrapods. This replacement has, in the past, been misinterpreted as the origin of tetrapods.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2019
Keywords
body fossils, Devonian, terrestrialisation, trackways, vertebrates
National Category
Geology Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-407125 (URN)10.1017/S1755691018000695 (DOI)000512150800009 ()
Funder
Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
Available from: 2020-03-19 Created: 2020-03-19 Last updated: 2020-03-19Bibliographically approved
Ruta, M., Ahlberg, P. & Smithson, T. R. (2019). Fossils, function and phylogeny: Papers on early vertebrate evolution in honour of Professor Jennifer A. Clack - Introduction. Earth and environmental science transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 109(1-2), 1-14
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fossils, function and phylogeny: Papers on early vertebrate evolution in honour of Professor Jennifer A. Clack - Introduction
2019 (English)In: Earth and environmental science transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, ISSN 1755-6910, E-ISSN 1755-6929, Vol. 109, no 1-2, p. 1-14Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2019
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-407198 (URN)10.1017/S1755691019000057 (DOI)000512150800001 ()
Available from: 2020-03-23 Created: 2020-03-23 Last updated: 2020-03-23Bibliographically approved
Kamska, V., Daeschler, E. B., Downs, J. P., Ahlberg, P., Tafforeau, P. & Sanchez, S. (2019). Long-bone development and life-history traits of the Devonian tristichopterid Hyneria lindae. Earth and environmental science transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 109(1-2), 75-86
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Long-bone development and life-history traits of the Devonian tristichopterid Hyneria lindae
Show others...
2019 (English)In: Earth and environmental science transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, ISSN 1755-6910, E-ISSN 1755-6929, Vol. 109, no 1-2, p. 75-86Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Hyneria lindae is one of the largest Devonian sarcopterygians. It was found in the Catskill Formation (late Famennian) of Pennsylvania, USA. The current study focuses on the palaeohistology of the humerus of this tristichopterid and supports a low ossification rate and a late ossification onset in the appendicular skeleton. In addition to anatomical features, the large size of the cell lacunae in the cortical bone of the humerus mid-shaft may suggest a large genome size and associated neotenic condition for this species, which could, in turn, be a partial explanation for the large size of H. lindae. The low metabolism of H. lindae revealed here by bone histology supports the hypothesis of an ambush predatory behaviour. Finally, the lines-of-arrested-growth pattern and late ossification of specimen ANSP 21483 suggest that H. lindae probably had a long juvenile stage before reaching sexual maturity. Although very few studies address the life-history traits of stem tetrapods, they all propose a slow limb development for the studied taxa despite different ecological conditions and presumably distinct behaviours. The bone histology of H. lindae would favour the hypothesis that a slow long-bone development could be a general character for stem tetrapods.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2019
Keywords
fin evolution, stem-tetrapod development, three-dimensional virtual palaeohistology
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-407201 (URN)10.1017/S175569101800083X (DOI)000512150800006 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2015-04335Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
Available from: 2020-03-23 Created: 2020-03-23 Last updated: 2020-03-23Bibliographically approved
Beznosov, P. A., Clack, J. A., Luksevics, E., Ruta, M. & Ahlberg, P. (2019). Morphology of the earliest reconstructable tetrapod Parmastega aelidae. Nature, 574(7779), 527-531
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Morphology of the earliest reconstructable tetrapod Parmastega aelidae
Show others...
2019 (English)In: Nature, ISSN 0028-0836, E-ISSN 1476-4687, Vol. 574, no 7779, p. 527-531Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The known diversity of tetrapods of the Devonian period has increased markedly in recent decades, but their fossil record consists mostly of tantalizing fragments(1-15). The framework for interpreting the morphology and palaeobiology of Devonian tetrapods is dominated by the near complete fossils of Ichthyostega and Acanthostega; the less complete, but partly reconstructable, Ventastega and Tulerpeton have supporting roles(2,4,16-34). All four of these genera date to the late Famennian age (about 365-359 million years ago)-they are 10 million years younger than the earliest known tetrapod fragments(5,10), and nearly 30 million years younger than the oldest known tetrapod footprints(35). Here we describe Parmastega aelidae gen. et sp. nov., a tetrapod from Russia dated to the earliest Famennian age (about 372 million years ago), represented by three-dimensional material that enables the reconstruction of the skull and shoulder girdle. The raised orbits, lateral line canals and weakly ossified postcranial skeleton of P. aelidae suggest a largely aquatic, surface-cruising animal. In Bayesian and parsimony-based phylogenetic analyses, the majority of trees place Parmastega as a sister group to all other tetrapods.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-396953 (URN)10.1038/s41586-019-1636-y (DOI)000492991700049 ()31645719 (PubMedID)
Funder
Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
Available from: 2019-11-15 Created: 2019-11-15 Last updated: 2019-11-15Bibliographically approved
Kundrát, M., Nudds, J., Kear, B. P., Lu, J. & Ahlberg, P. (2019). The first specimen of Archaeopteryx from the Upper Jurassic Mornsheim Formation of Germany. Historical Biology, 31(1), 3-63
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The first specimen of Archaeopteryx from the Upper Jurassic Mornsheim Formation of Germany
Show others...
2019 (English)In: Historical Biology, ISSN 0891-2963, E-ISSN 1029-2381, Vol. 31, no 1, p. 3-63Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

From an initial isolated position as the oldest evolutionary prototype of a bird, Archaeopteryx has, as a result of recent fossil discoveries, become embedded in a rich phylogenetic context of both more and less crownward stem-group birds. This has prompted debate over whether Archaeopteryx is simply a convergently bird-like non-avialan theropod. Here we show, using the first synchrotron microtomographic examination of the genus, that the eighth or Daiting specimen of Archaeopteryx possesses a character suite that robustly constrains it as a basal avialan (primitive bird). The specimen, which comes from the Mornsheim Formation and is thus younger than the other specimens from the underlying Solnhofen Formation, is distinctive enough to merit designation as a new species, Archaeopteryx albersdoerferi sp. nov., but is recovered in close phylogenetic proximity to Archaeopteryx lithographica. Skeletal innovations of the Daiting specimen, such as fusion and pneumatization of the cranial bones, well vascularized pectoral girdle and wing elements, and a reinforced configuration of carpals and metacarpals, suggest that it may have had more characters seen in flying birds than the older Archaeopteryx lithographica. These innovations appear to be convergent on those of more crownward avialans, suggesting that Bavarian archaeopterygids independently acquired increasingly bird-like traits over time. Such mosaic evolution and iterative exploration of adaptive space may be typical for major functional transitions like the origin of flight.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2019
Keywords
Aves, Avialae, Tithonian, origin of birds, flight, evolution, development, phylogeny, synchrotron microtomography
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-369376 (URN)10.1080/08912963.2018.1518443 (DOI)000448258500002 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2019-01-15 Created: 2019-01-15 Last updated: 2019-01-15Bibliographically approved
Qvarnström, M., Ahlberg, P. & Niedzwiedzki, G. (2019). Tyrannosaurid-like osteophagy by a Triassic archosaur. Scientific Reports, 9, Article ID 925.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Tyrannosaurid-like osteophagy by a Triassic archosaur
2019 (English)In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 9, article id 925Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Here we present evidence for osteophagy in the Late Triassic archosaur Smok wawelski Niedzwiedzki, Sulej and Dzik, 2012, a large theropod-like predator from Poland. Ten medium to large-sized coprolites are matched, by their dimensions and by association with body fossils and footprints, to S. wawelski. The coprolites contain fragments of large serrated teeth as well as up to 50 percent by volume of bone fragments, with distinct fragmentation and angularity, from several prey taxa. This suggests pronounced osteophagy. Further evidence for bone-crushing behaviour is provided by isolated worn teeth, bone-rich regurgitalites (fossil regurgitates) and numerous examples of crushed or bite-marked dicynodont bones, all collected from the same bone-bearing beds in the Lipie Slaskie clay-pit. Several of the anatomical characters related to osteophagy, such as a massive head and robust body, seem to be shared by S. wawelski and the tyrannosaurids, despite their wide phylogenetic separation. These large predators thus provide evidence of convergence driven by similar feeding ecology at the beginning and end of the age of dinosaurs.

National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-377342 (URN)10.1038/s41598-018-37540-4 (DOI)000457128700002 ()30700743 (PubMedID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2017-05248Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
Available from: 2019-02-25 Created: 2019-02-25 Last updated: 2020-02-16Bibliographically approved
Chen, D. L., Alavi, Y., Brazeau, M. D., Blom, H., Millward, D. & Ahlberg, P. E. (2018). A partial lower jaw of a tetrapod from "Romer's Gap". Earth and environmental science transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 108(1), 55-65
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A partial lower jaw of a tetrapod from "Romer's Gap"
Show others...
2018 (English)In: Earth and environmental science transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, ISSN 1755-6910, E-ISSN 1755-6929, Vol. 108, no 1, p. 55-65Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The first half of the Mississippian or Early Carboniferous (Tournaisian to mid-Visean), an interval of about 20 million years, has become known as "Romer's Gap" because of its poor tetrapod record. Recent discoveries emphasise the differences between pre-"Gap" Devonian tetrapods, unambiguous stem-group members retaining numerous "fish" characters indicative of an at least partially aquatic lifestyle, and post-"Gap" Carboniferous tetrapods, which are far more diverse and include fully terrestrial representatives of the main crown-group lineages. It seems that "Romer's Gap" coincided with the cladogenetic events leading to the origin of the tetrapod crown group. Here, we describe a partial right lower jaw ramus of a tetrapod from the late Tournaisian or early Visean of Scotland. The large and robust jaw displays a distinctive character combination, including a significant mesial lamina of the strongly sculptured angular, an open sulcus for the mandibular lateral line, a non-ossified narrow Meckelian exposure, a well-defined dorsal longitudinal denticle ridge on the prearticular, and a mesially open adductor fossa. A phylogenctic analysis places this specimen in a trichotomy with Crassigyrinus and baphetids + higher tetrapods in the upper part of the tetrapod stem group, above Whatcheeria, Pederpes, Ossinodus, Sigournea and Greererpeton. It represents a small but significant step in the gradual closure of "Romer's Gap".

Keywords
Early Carboniferous, fossil, palaeontology, Tantallon Castle
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-375860 (URN)10.1017/S1755691018000099 (DOI)000456089700006 ()
Funder
EU, European Research Council, 233111Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
Available from: 2019-02-01 Created: 2019-02-01 Last updated: 2019-02-01Bibliographically approved
Gess, R. & Ahlberg, P. (2018). A tetrapod fauna from within the Devonian Antarctic Circle. Science, 360(6393), 1120-1124
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A tetrapod fauna from within the Devonian Antarctic Circle
2018 (English)In: Science, ISSN 0036-8075, E-ISSN 1095-9203, Vol. 360, no 6393, p. 1120-1124Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Until now, all known fossils of tetrapods (limbed vertebrates with digits) and near-tetrapods (such as Elpistostege, Tiktaalik, and Panderichthys) from the Devonian period have come from localities in tropical to subtropical paleolatitudes. Most are from Laurussia, a continent incorporating Europe, Greenland, and North America, with only one body fossil and one footprint locality from Australia representing the southern supercontinent Gondwana. Here we describe two previously unknown tetrapods from the Late Devonian (late Famennian) Gondwana locality of Waterloo Farm in South Africa, then located within the Antarctic Circle, which demonstrate that Devonian tetrapods were not restricted to warm environments and suggest that they may have been global in distribution.

National Category
Geology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-357682 (URN)10.1126/science.aaq1645 (DOI)000434635500046 ()29880689 (PubMedID)
Funder
Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
Available from: 2018-08-20 Created: 2018-08-20 Last updated: 2018-08-20Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-9054-2900

Search in DiVA

Show all publications