2023.05.29. PUBLICATION — Ye, F., Bitner, M.A. & Shi, G.R. 2023. Variation of shell ornamentation with latitude and water depth – A case study using living brachiopods. Ecology and Evolution, 13: e10006.
doi: 10.1002/ece3.10006
Figure: The changes of the radial ornamentation index along different latitudinal zones. The data from ventral valve: blue colour, the data from dorsal valve: red colour.
Shell ornamentation of marine calcifiers is considered as a potential anti-predatory defensive structure. We tested the hypothesis that the strength of brachiopod shell ornament treated as anti-predatory defence mechanism decreases with latitude and water depth. We found no statistically significant associations between ornamentation of living brachiopods and latitude or their ornamentation and water depth, a pattern sharply contrasting with that of most fossil brachiopods. Nearly 60% of living brachiopods are characterised by smooth shells. High proportion of smooth shells can be explained, among others, by their preference for cryptic and deep water habitats where the predation pressure is low.

2023.05.22. PUBLICATION
Fostowicz-Frelik Ł. and Tseng J. 2023. Introduction: The mammalian skull: development, structure and function. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 378, 20220077, doi:10.1098/rstb.2022.0077
Beginning from 1665, Philosophical Transactions published by the Royal Society of London is the oldest continuously running scientific journal in the world. The theme issue "The mammalian skull: development, structure, and function", assembled by Guest Editors Łucja Fostowicz-Frelik (Institute of Paleobiology, Polish Academy of Sciences) and Jack Tseng (University of California, Berkeley, USA), brings together multiple perspectives on this fast evolving topic. Overall, 12 original contributions divided evenly between research papers and reviews written by scientists from five continents offer a series of snapshots of the mammalian skull.

Fostowicz-Frelik Ł., Cox P. G., and Li Q. 2023. Mandibular characteristics of early Glires (Mammalia) reveal mixed rodent and lagomorph morphotypes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 378, 20220087, doi: 10.1098/rstb.2022.0087

Glires (rodents, lagomorphs and their fossil kin) is the most speciose and arguably most diversified clade of living placentals. Within the Glires, two basically opposite chewing movements evolved: a mostly transversal power stroke in lagomorphs, and a mostly proal power stroke in rodents, but the ancestral condition for Glires is still unclear. We studied mandibles of Chinese Paleocene Glires representing the lagomorph-like (duplicidentate) and rodent-like (simplicidentate) lineages. The results of biomechanical analysis demonstrate a mixture of duplicidentate and simplicidentate characters among the basal Glires and suggest an early occurrence of a lagomorph-like morphotype.

Ruf I., Meng J., Fostowicz-Frelik Ł 2023. Auditory region circulation in Lagomorpha: the internal carotid artery pattern revisited. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 378, 20220088, doi:10.1098/rstb.2022.0088

The internal carotid artery (ICA) is one of the main vessels in the cranial circulation. Because the ICA openings, canals, and groves can be studied also in fossils, these characters have been used often in comprehensive phylogenetic analyses. We studied the ICA-related features in 11 genera of living lagomorphs and key extinct taxa using μCT data. Our results show that the proposed ancestral state of the ICA course for Lagomorpha is similar to that of the earliest rodents, plesiadapids, and scandentians, and support lagomorphs as as a morphologically conservative clade in contrast to its counterpart, rodents.

2023.05.19. PUBLICATIONSzczygielski T., Sulej T. 2023. Woznikella triradiata n. gen., n. sp. – a new kannemeyeriiform dicynodont from the Late Triassic of northern Pangea and the global distribution of Triassic dicynodonts. Comptes Rendus Palevol 22 (16): 279–406, doi:10.5852/cr-palevol2023v22a16
Dicynodonts were herbivorous synapsids – representatives of the tetrapod group encompassing mammals, their ancestors and relatives, but not reptiles. The dicynodonts achieved an evolutionary success in the Permian and although the extinction at the Permian–Triassic transition severely impoverished their diversity, they recovered during the Triassic. The paper presents a new genus and species of a Late Triassic dicynodont from Poland and Germany, Woznikella triradiata, and discusses the geographic and temporal distribution of dicynodonts in the Triassic. The results highlight the key role of the southeastern part of Africa as a source of numerous westward and northward expansions of various dicynodont groups.
Figure: Woznikella triradiata, skull reconstruction in lateral view.

2023.05.18. PUBLICATION — M. A. Salamon, T. Brachaniec, K. Paszcza, D. Kołbuk, P. Gorzelak 2023. The role of mass extinction events in shaping the body-size dynamics of fossil crinoids.
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. Volume 622, 15 July 2023, 111593, doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2023.111593
The analysis of calyx sizes of fossil crinoids has shown that the mean calyx size significantly decreased during the periods of mass extinction (during the late Ordovician, the middle-late Devonian, the Permian–Triassic boundary, the Cretaceous anoxic events). These declines were mostly governed by extinction of larger taxa, except during the Cretaceous anoxic events, when the mean size decrease was driven by origination of small-sized taxa. The analysis is based on a newly created database with measurements of 1263 Palaeozoic and Mesozoic crinoid calyces.

2023.05.17. PUBLICATION — Wierzbowski, H. and Błażejowski, B. 2023. Chaetognath grasping spines from the Devonian of Poland: their structure and geochemistry. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 68 (1): 103–116, doi:10.4202/app.01012.2022
Previously unidentified small phosphatic spines from the Devonian of the Holy Cross Mountains have been included into arrow worms (phylum Chaetognatha), which is a widespread group of marine invertebrates. The phosphatised grasping spines of chaetognaths are mostly known form the lowermost Paleozoic, therefore, the described fossils are unique remnants of such organic materials. Due to remarkable differences in the construction of the studied spines, compared to Lower Paleozoic forms, they have been included into a new genus and species, Phakeloides polonicus gen. et sp. nov.
Figure: Recent chaetognath of the genus Sagitta (a) and a head with grasping apparatus (b, c), after H. Szaniawski; Devonian chaetognath grasping spines Phakeloides polonicus gen. et sp. nov. (d-g); Ostrówka Quarry (h).

2023.05.10. PUBLICATION — Adams, A., Daval, D., Baumgartner, L.P., Bernard, S., Vennemann,
T., Cisneros-Lazaro, D., Stolarski, J., Baronnet, A., Grauby, O., Guo, J., Meibom, A. 2023. Rapid grain boundary diffusion in foraminifera tests biases paleotemperature records. Communications Earth & Environment 4:144, doi:10.1038/s43247-023-00798-2

Figure: Temperature biases due to grain boundary diffusion in fossil benthic and planktonic foraminifera tests (the left y-axis shows the temperature bias induced by grain boundary diffusion on existing seawater paleotemperature reconstructions; foraminifera δ18OLattice−δ18OBulk, shown on the right y-axis). On the right: ventral sides of pristine and hydrothermally incubated Ammonia sp. tests (no difference can be seen).
The oxygen isotopic compositions of fossil foraminifera tests constitute a continuous proxy record of deep-ocean and sea-surface temperatures spanning the last 120 million years. Here, by incubating foraminifera tests in 18O-enriched artificial seawater analogues, we demonstrate that the oxygen isotopic composition of optically translucent, i.e., glassy (apparently unaltered), fossil foraminifera calcite tests can be measurably altered at low temperatures through rapid oxygen grain-boundary diffusion without any visible ultrastructural changes. Grain boundary diffusion can be shown to bias prior paleotemperature estimates by as much as plus or minus half a degree or nearly one degree centigrade.

seminarium2023.05.09. Seminar
15th May 2023 r. (Monday), 11:00 a.m., Dr Krzysztof Hryniewicz will give a seminar: "Zapis kopalny i ewolucja małży kopalnych źródeł węglowodorowych".

2023.04.24. PUBLICATIONBaliński, A. & Halamski, A.T. 2023. Pre-Taghanic (Lower to lower Middle Givetian) brachiopods from Miłoszów in the Holy Cross Mountains (Poland). Annales Societetis Geologorum Poloniae, 93 (1): 3–102, doi: 10.14241/asgp.2023.01

A monographic description of 68 brachiopod species (three new, including one within a new genus), the most diversified faunal group in the Middle Devonian (Givetian) of Miłoszów in the Holy Cross Mountains. The evolutionary sequence within the genus Skenidioides was interpreted as budding cladogenesis. Brachiopods belonged to several palaeoecosystems ranging from about 20 m to about 100 m depth. This is the second part of a special issue of the Annales Societatis Geologorum Poloniae entitled „Middle Devonian biota and environments of the Łysogóry Region (Poland)”.

Figure: Atrypide brachiopod Davidsonia septata cemented onto a rugosan coral (Baliński & Halamski 2023, fig. 32H).

seminarium2023.04.19. Seminar
24th April 2023 r. (Monday), 3:00 p.m., prof. Roger B. J. Benson will give a seminar: "Hearing and vision in theropod dinosaurs".

2023.04.17. PUBLICATIONMandera, S., Coronado, I., Fernandez-Diaz, L., Mazur, M., Cruz, J.A., Januszewicz, B., Fernandez-Martinez, E., Cozar, P., Stolarski, J. 2023. Earthworm granules: a model of non-classical biogenic calcium carbonate phase transformations. Acta Biomaterialia,
doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2023.03.034

Figure: A new model for the formation of earthworms calcareous granules. Primarily amorphous granules crystallize into calcite through the amorphous particle attachment and the ion-by-ion classical growth mechanism; see from left to right. In the lower center, a tomographic image of the glands forming the granules (red) and the granules themselves (yellow) in the body of an earthworm.
Understanding the mechanisms of nucleation, stabilization and aggregation of amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC) and factors controlling its further transformation into crystalline phases is fundamental for elucidation of biogenic mineralization. Some species of earthworms create millimeter-sized calcareous granules from amorphous calcium carbonate, which crystallize to a more stable mineral phase (mostly calcite). This study investigates the mechanisms of ACC stabilization by the incorporation of trace elements, like manganese, and the ulterior precipitation of calcareous granules by a coupled process of amorphous particle attachment and ion-by-ion growth. The study highlights also potential threat that chemical pollution of soil poses to the normal development of earthworm granules.

2023.04.03. PUBLICATIONMachalski, M., Olszewska-Nejbert, D. and Wilmsen, M. 2023.
Stratigraphy of the Albian–Cenomanian (Cretaceous) phosphorite interval in central Poland: a reappraisal. Acta Geologica Polonica, 73 (1), 1–31. Warszawa, doi: 10.24425/agp.2022.142650

Illustration: Sections, stratigraphy and location of key sites of Cretaceous phosphorites at Annopol and Chałupki (Machalski et al. 2023).
The Albian and Cenomanian (Cretaceous) deposits at Annopol in Central Poland have been famous for their wealth of phosphates and fossils. By 1970, over a million tons of phosphate rock had been mined here for production of fertilizers, and recently the phosphorites have been investigated as a potential source of rare earth elements (REE). In the years 2008–2016, thousands of remains of marine animals were excavated at Annopol, including bones and teeth of giant marine reptiles. The paper presents a new stratigraphical interpretation of the phosphorite interval and its implications for our understanding of this type of fossil accumulations.

2023.03.31. PUBLICATIONGorzelak P., Kołbuk D., Stolarski J., Bącal P., Januszewicz B., Duda P., Środek D., Brachaniec T., Salamon M.A., 2023. A Devonian crinoid with a diamond microlattice. Proceedings of The Royal Society B 290: 20230092, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2023.0092
It has been recently discovered that some species of modern starfish form a calcite skeleton with a triply periodic trabecular microstructure resembling the atomic structure of diamond, composed of a network of hexagonally ordered four-armed tetrapods, which gives them extraordinary mechanical strength, optimum packing in space, and minimum material expenditure. We described a similar microstructure in a Devonian crinoid from the Holy Cross Mountains. Such a highly ordered microstructure, additionally enriched in magnesium, might have developed in these echinoderms in response to increased predation pressure.
Figure: The atomic structure of a diamond composed of interconnected tetrahedrons and a breakwater made of wave-dissipating tetrapods juxtaposed with the microstructure of Recent starfish and Devonian crinoids.

2023.03.24. PUBLICATION — Arrigoni, R, Stolarski, J., Terraneo, T.I., Huang, D, Hoeksema, B.W., Berumen, M.L., Payri, C., Montano, S., Benzoni, F. 2023. Phylogenetics and taxonomy of the
scleractinian coral family Euphylliidae. Contributions to Zoology 1–42, doi: 10.1163/18759866-bja10041
The family Euphylliidae consists of reef-building scleractinian corals distributed across the Indo-Pacific. The published comprehensive study on phylogeny and taxonomy of Euphylliidae combines molecular and morphological data (skeleton and polyp morphology). All analysed genera, i.e., Ctenella, Euphyllia, Fimbriaphyllia, Galaxea, and Gyrosmilia, were reciprocally monophyletic based on molecular results. Coeloseris was nested within the family and, therefore, is formally moved into Euphylliidae. This study further demonstrated that a phylogenetic classification of scleractinian corals can be achieved by applying a combined morpho-molecular approach.
Figure: Many euphylliids (like Galaxea, see photograph) have a squamate texture of the surface of skeletal elements, but such texture is present among agariciids and acroporids as well.

2023.03.22. PUBLICATION — López-Torres S., Bhagat R., Bertrand O. C., Silcox M. T., and Fostowicz-Frelik Ł. 2023. Locomotor behavior and hearing sensitivity in an early lagomorph reconstructed from the bony labyrinth. Ecology and Evolution 13 (3), 9890. doi: 10.1002/ece3.9890

The structure of the inner ear in mammals is highly informative with respect to locomotor agility and hearing sensitivity. In our paper for the first time we studied the early evolutionary stage of the lagomorph hearing and balance organs. Based on the digital endocast of the bony labyrinth (housing the inner ear structures) of the North American lagomorph Megalagus turgidus, early Oligocene in age, we suggest that its hearing sensitivity and agility were within the range of modern rabbits. Megalagus was probably a woodland dweller and thus, less agile than hares (Lepus).

seminarium2023.03.21. Miniseminar
27 th March 2023 r. (Monday), 11:00 a.m., dr hab. Błażej Błażejowski will give a miniseminar: "Podsumowanie dekady badań na stanowisku paleontologicznym Owadów-Brzezinki".

2023.03.21. PUBLICATION — Surmik D., Słowiak-Morkovina J., Szczygielski T., Wojtyniak M.,
Środek D., Dulski M., Balin K., Krzykawski T., Pawlicki R. (2023) The first record of fossilized soft parts in ossified tendons and implications for the understanding of tendon mineralization, Zoological Journal
of the Linnean Society
: zlad001
, doi: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlad001

Illustration: On the left SEM image showing an osteocyte-like cell. On the right restoration of a blood vessel of an
remontowanie with cells on its surface based on the scanning microscopy imaging. Illustration: Jakub Zalewski.
Tendons are elements connecting muscles and bones. In most vertebrates, they are flexible and elastic but in dinosaurs (including birds) some of them ossify. The excellent state of preservation of ossified tendons of three dinosaurs allowed discovery of fossilized soft tissues. Structures resembling fibril bundles, blood vessels, and bone cells were identified, resembling those present in ossified turkey tendons. The research indicates that dinosaur tendons ossified through metaplasia, i.e., mineralization of already differentiated soft tissues.

seminarium2023.03.17. New date of the Seminar
23rd March 2023 (Thursday), 11:00 a.m. (local time in Warsaw), prof. Maria McNamara will give a seminar: "A new perspective on the evolution of melanin in vertebrates".

2023.03.15. PUBLICATION — Bates D. E. B., Kirk† N. H. & Kozłowska A. 2023. — Morphology and reconstruction of the retiolitines: Silurian graptolites of the Paraplectograptus lineage (Graptolithina). Comptes Rendus Palevol 22 (4): 45-57, doi: 10.5852/cr-palevol2023v22a4
Retiolitids are one of the group of graptolites with collagenous skeleton (rhabdosome) formed mostly by a network of lists. In the paper the morphology of the skeleton of the Paraplectograptus was recognised thanks to 3D-preserved specimens (430 million years old) from the Arctic Canada and Poland and their detailed study under The thecal fusellar wall was reconstructed despite its fragmentary preservation. Paraplectograptus is among the first retiolites showing some morphological features that afterwards were characteristic for all members of the group after the lundgreni Event. The presented models are by Nancy Kirk.

2023.03.13. PUBLICATIONStolarski, J., Drake, J., Coronado, I., Vieira, A.R., Radwańska, U., Heath-Heckman, E.A.C., Mazur, M., Guo, J., Meibom, A. 2023. First paleoproteome study of fossil fish otoliths and the pristine preservation of the biomineral crystal host. Scientific Reports 13:3822,
doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-30537-8
Otoliths are calcium carbonate components of the inner ear in teleost fish. Otolith morphology and carbonate mineralogy is influenced by proteins present in the environment where biomineralization took place. However, in the fossil record proteins incorporated into biomineral structure are mostly lost through diagenesis. The published paper reports the presence of 11 fish-specific proteins in Miocene (over 14 Ma) phycid hake otoliths. These fossil otoliths exhibit microscopic and crystallographic features indistinguishable from those of modern representatives. Identification of identical proteins in modern and fossil phycid hake otoliths implies a highly conserved inner ear biomineralization process through time.

2023.03.10. PUBLICATIONBłażejowski, B., Pszczółkowski, A., Grabowski, J., Wierzbowski, H., Deconinck, J. F., Olempska, E., Teodorski, A., Nawrocki, J. (2023). Integrated stratigraphy and clay mineralogy of the Owadów–Brzezinki section (Lower–Upper Tithonian transition, central Poland): implications for correlations between the Boreal and the Tethyan domains and palaeoclimate. Journal of the Geological Society, Volume 180, Issue 2,. doi:10.1144/jgs2022-073
The Owadów–Brzezinki palaeontological site is a new Jurassic taphonomic window. A new dating is presented. Uppermost Jurassic shallow marine and lagoonal carbonate deposits of the NW margin of the Holy Cross Mountains are investigated. It was here that marine and terrestrial faunas from various parts of the present day’s Europe were meeting, namely from the Boreal (today’s Arctic) and Subboreal Provinces (today’s European Russia and England), and periodically also from the southern areas, including southern Germany and the Tethys Ocean (through the existing belt of the Štramberk-type coral reefs).
Figure: Paleogeographical map of Europe at the end of Jurassic (acc. Błażejowski B., Hołda-Michalska A., Matyja B., Wierzbowski A.).

2023.03.09. Professor Maria McNamara's seminar - cancelled.
Dear Sirs, We would like to inform you that at the last minute Prof. Maria McNamara has cancelled her lecture due to health problems. We will inform you of the new date soon.

2023.03.08. PUBLICATION — Lee S., Słowiak-Morkovina J. (2023) The Resting Breathing Rate of the Dinosaur Plateosaurus trossingensis via Conservation of Energy. The Physics Teacher 61, 166-169. doi: 10.1119/5.0077948

Illustration: Life reconstruction of Plateosaurus trossingensis.
Plateosaurus trossingensis is one of the largest herbivorous Late Triassic dinosaurs, numerous fossils of which, including complete skeletons, are known from Europe. Thanks to this great fossil record, it is possible to estimate the growth curve, body mass, and even the tidal volume of this dinosaur. Those data were used to calculate the metabolism and the resting breathing rate. The results revealed that the resting breathing rate in P. trossingensis was 7 + 3 breaths per minute, about the same as the modern rhinoceros.

2023.03.07. PUBLICATION — Bielak, K., Benkowska-Biernacka, D., Ptak, M., Stolarski, J. Kalka, M., Dobryszycki, P. 2023. Otolin-1, an otolith- and otoconia-related protein, controls calcium carbonate bioinspired mineralization. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects 1867(5): 130327,
doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2023.130327

Formation of the biomineral structures in the inner ear (otoliths and smaller, but having the same function otoconia) is tightly linked to the formation of organic matrix framework, among which the
otolin-1, a short collagen-like protein, is one of its major components. The published work examines the activity of recombinant fish (Danio) and human otolin-1 on calcium carbonate bioinspired mineralization. Both proteins are embedded in the core of CaCO3 crystals formed through slow-diffusion mineralization process. Both of them influence the morphology, but do not cause the polymorphic change of the mineral phase. The fish otolin-1 is also closely adhering to the crystal surface. The results suggest that also in natural biomineralization environment, the otolin-1 is not a passive scaffold but is directly involved in the regulation of morphology of the resulting calcium carbonate biocrystals.

seminarium2023.02.24. Seminar
9th March 2023 (Thursday), 11:00 a.m. (local time in Warsaw), prof. Maria McNamara will give a seminar: "A new perspective on the evolution of melanin in vertebrates".

2023.02.24. PUBLICATIONMajewski, W., Szczuciński, W., and Gooday, A. J. 2023. Unique benthic foraminiferal communities (stained) in diverse environments of sub-Antarctic fjords, South Georgia, Biogeosciences, 20, 523–544. doi:10.5194/bg-20-523-2023

Illustration: Foraminifera from fjords of South Georgia and a view towards glaciers in Antarctic Bay.
Foraminifera are unicellular organism, which commonly inhabit seafloor. They are often used for paleoenvironmental studies, especially in polar regions. We studied foraminifera living in the fjords of South Georgia, a sub-Antarctic island sensitive to climate change. As conditions in water and on the seafloor vary, different associations of these microorganisms dominate in different parts of fjords. Assemblages in inner and middle parts of fjords seem endemic to South Georgia, but they may become widespread with anticipated warming. Our results are important for interpreting fossil records and monitoring future change.

14th Symposium of the International Fossil Coral and Reef Society (IFCRS)

Institute of Paleobiology, Polish Academy of Sciences (organiser) and University of Warsaw, Faculty of Geology, Adam Mickiewicz University Poznań, Faculty of Geographical and Geological Sciences, and Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Faculty of Geography and Geology (co-organisers) cordially invite you to participate in the 14th Symposium of the International Fossil Coral and Reef Society (IFCRS). The conference will be held in Poland (Warsaw, Chęciny (European Centre for Geological Education), Kraków), September 10-16, 2023. All details are available on the conference website: which will be regularly updated.

IFCRS symposia are important avenues for researchers studying fossil corals and reefs. Today’s reef environments are some of the most vulnerable marine ecosystems to changing climatic conditions. Climate change models predict the extinction of most of today’s known shallow-water reef environments by the end of 21st century. However, recent research suggests that not all corals have the same potential to survive change, and the key to understanding these differences lies in their geological and evolutionary past. The leading theme of the conference will be the study of corals from mesophotic and deep-water environments (motto: “Going deeper“), as these environments are now potential coral refugia in the event of extinction of shallow-water reefs. The fossil mesophotic reef environments in Poland are well understood and represent the first preserved reefs of modern type in the world.

The 15th International Jurassica Conference

The Polish Geological Institute ‒ National Research Institute, the Institute of Paleobiology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the State Geological Institute of Dionýz Štúr in Bratislava and the Community of Iłża are pleased to announce the forthcoming 15th International Jurassica Conference held in the City of Iłża (Central Poland) on the 19-22 September 2023. For information on the conference, see Circular.

The Jurassica conference is open to all geologists who deal with the Jurassic system as well as Triassic/Jurassic and Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary deposits. The conference is designated to exchange novel ideas and discoveries and to stimulate discussions on crucial aspects of Jurassic stratigraphy, GSSPs, sedimentology, geochemistry, palaeontology, tectonics, palaeomagnetism and geotourism. The meeting additionally offers a forum for presentation of study results of young researchers and PhD students on specific areas of Jurassic geology.

Apart from the presentation of scientific reports, during the "Jurassica XV" conference, will also be organized field trips. The excursions and presented issues will be devoted to the shallow-water Upper Jurassic deposits of the north-eastern margin of the Holy Cross Mountains containing diverse faunal assemblages.

2023.02.13. PUBLICATIONHalamski, A.T. 2022. Middle Devonian biota and environments of the Łysogóry Region (Poland): Introduction. Annales Societatis Geologorum Poloniae, 92 (4): 317–321.

Halamski, A.T., Baliński, A., Racki, G., Amler, M.R.W., Basse, M., Denayer, J., Dubicka, Z., Filipiak, P., Kondas, M., Krawczyński, W., Mieszkowski, R., Narkiewicz, K., Olempska, E., Wrzołek, T., Wyse
Jackson, P.N., Zapalski, M.K., Zatoń, M. & Kozłowski, W., 2022. The pre-Taghanic (Givetian, Middle Devonian) ecosystems of Miłoszów (Holy Cross Mts, Poland). Annales Societatis Geologorum Poloniae, 92 (4): 323–379.

Racki, G., Wójcik, K., Halamski, A.T. & Narkiewicz, M. 2022. Middle Devonian Skały Formation in the
Holy Cross Mountains (Poland) – formal description and subdivision based on new field data. Annales Societatis Geologorum Poloniae, 92 (4): 425–444.

Woźniak, P., Halamski, A.T. & Racki, G. 2022. Cyclic ecological replacement of brachiopod
assemblages in the top-Eifelian Dobruchna Brachiopod Shale Member (Skały Formation) of the Holy Cross Mountains (Poland). Annales Societatis Geologorum Poloniae, 92 (4): 445–463.

A pictorial reconstruction of the Middle Devonian (Givetian) seafloor at Miłoszów (compare Halamski et al., 2022, fig. 27) with small patch reefs in the shallower part and a brachiopod meadow in the deeper part (drawing by Bogusław Waksmundzki). The photographs show selected inhabitants of the Miłoszów ecosystems. Top row: left to right rugosan coral Thamnophyllum (cross-section), stem element (columnal) of an unidentified crinoid (see lily), spicule of an octactinellid sponge, and an anal tooth of the holothurian (see cucumber) Devonothyonites; not to scale (compare Halamski et al., 2022, figs 12, 13, 23, 24). Bottom row: left to right foraminifer Semitextularia, brachiopod Pentamerella, ostracod Kozlowskiella, trilobite Hypsipariops (enlargement of an eye), and a skeletal element (goniodont) of an unidentified ophiocistoid (extinct class of echinoderms); not to scale (compare Halamski et al., 2022, figs 11, 19 20, 22, 23).

A special issue of the Annales Societatis Geologorum Poloniae, guest edited by Adam T. Halamski and entitled „Middle Devonian biota and environments of the Łysogóry Region (Poland)”, has been published. Six papers in this special issue are authored by 27 scientists from four countries (including three persons from IPal); generalities about this project can be found in the preface.
We investigated the biota (all living organisms) of the Skały Formation, a stratigraphic unit corresponding to sediments formed in the Devonian period, more exactly about 386–382 million years ago. Lithological, geochemical, and palaeontological data collected at Miłoszów (Holy Cross Mts., Poland) served for reconstructing a Middle Devonian ecosystem. 200 species of marine organisms are recorded, among which brachiopods with 68 species are the most diversified, followed by echinoderms and bryozoans. For the first time a detailed palaeoecological reconstruction of one of the most famous localities in Poland, the so-called brachiopod shale at Skały, has been presented. We explored the succession of communities, or, in other words, we showed which brachiopod species had genuinely co-existed the sea located in the area of the present-day Holy Cross Mountains, and which species had followed one another.
We concluded that the exceptionally rich biota of the Skały Formation corresponds to a period of particularly favourable conditions for marine organisms between the so-called Kačák Event about 386 million years ago and the Taghanic Event about 381 million years ago.

2023.02.02. PUBLICATION — Calábková, G., Březina, J., Nosek, V. & D. Madzia. 2023. Synapsid
tracks with skin impressions illuminate the terrestrial tetrapod diversity in the earliest Permian of
equatorial Pangea. Scientific Reports 13: 1130. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-27939-z

Reconstruction: Edyta Felcyn-Kowalska
Lower Permian deposits of the Boskovice Basin in Moravia (Czech Republic) have long been renowned for extraordinarily abundant specimens of discosauriscid seymouriamorphs. The only other tetrapods from the strata are represented by rare temnospondyls. The new study provides the first evidence of early-diverging synapsids from the Permian of the Czech Republic. The material is composed of well-preserved isolated tracks, manus-pes couples, and a slab with trackways composed of approximately 20 tracks in at least four different directions. The best-preserved specimen further shows rare skin impressions, which have not been observed from the hands or feet of early-diverging mammal-line amniotes before. The new material adds to the scarce record of synapsids from the Carboniferous/Permian transitional interval of equatorial Pangea.

seminarium2023.02.01. Seminar
1st February 2023 (Wednesday), 11:00 a.m., dr Erin E. Saupe will give a miniseminar: "The emergence of latitudinal biodiversity gradients in deep time".

2023.01.19. PUBLICATION — Surmik, D., Szczygielski, T., Słowiak-Morkovina, J., Sander, M.,
Rothschild, B., Duda, P., & Klein, N. (2023). Bone abnormalities in the middle Anisian marine sauropsids from Winterswijk. Journal of Morphology, 284, e21550. doi:10.1002/jmor.21550

The illustration shows the eosauropterygian cf. Notosaurus marchicus with mandible which bears signs of healed fracture. Despite the broken jaw, the animal lived on, what is indicated by the fact that the fracture healed. Below, a photograph of the fossilized mandible, the helaed fracture is marked.Illustrator: Jakub Zalewski.
The Vossenveld Formation cropping out near Winterswijk in the Netherlands is well known because of its rich Middle Triassic marine reptile fauna assemblage. The aim of the study was to detect and examine bones with unusual shapes in order to identify the causes of their deformation, i.e., taphonomic, traumatic, or related to illness. The unusual, kinked shape of a sauropterygian humerus appears to result from taphonomic processes. Pathological changes were identified on a sauropterygian rib (osteofibrous dysplasia), large bone of uncertain identity (unusual coossification), and on the mandible of cf. Notosaurus marchicus (healed fracture). Despite hundreds of fossilized bones of marine reptiles found in Winterswijk, only few of them preserve pathologies, what may mean that sick or wounded individuals were quickly eliminated from the population.

2023.01.05. PUBLICATIONOlempska E., Błażejowski B., Waloszek D., Maas A. 2023. Phosphatic bromalites and microfossils from the Furongian (Cambrian) of northern Poland (Baltica) and palaeobiological implications. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 610, 111350. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2022.111350
The Upper Cambrian Słowińska Formation yielded minute three-dimensionally preserved, phosphatic microfossils. Based on shape and structure, two distinct types are identified. The first type comprises sinuously folded, coiled, or spiral string-shaped objects interpreted as coprolites produced by benthic worms. The second type of fossils comprises ellipsoidal to spherical forms with a non-ornamented but wrinkled surface. They are interpreted as collapsed and deformed eggs or embryos lacking the egg shell. We interpret this type as the first evidence of eggs in the so-called Orsten-type preservation, most likely belonging to phosphatocopid crustaceans. The findings are a significant contribution to our understanding of the faunal composition in the Late Cambrian Sea and demonstrates the potential for further research on the phosphatic microfossils from northern Poland (Baltica).


2022.12.21. PUBLICATION — Barbacka, M., Pacyna, G. & Halamski, Adam T., 2022. Polish Palaeobotany: 750 Million Years of Plant History as Revealed in a Century of Studies. Mesozoic Macroflora. Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae, 91: e9126.

Fragment of the reconstruction of Late Cretaceous plant communities from Lower Silesia. See Barbacka et al. (2022, fig. 11). Drawing by Bogusław Waksmundzki.

Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae, the journal of the Polish Botanical Society, founded in 1922, published a special collection of papers entitled Polish Botany Centennial. Among five palaeobotanical reports there is a historical synthesis of research on Mesozoic macrofloras. It contains, among others, three palaeovegetation reconstructions (Early Jurassic of the environs of Cracow and of the northern margin of the Holy Cross Mountains, Late Cretaceous of Lower Silesia). A short interpretation of research on Cretaceous floras in terms of philosophy of science is also given, signalling the phenomena of paradigm shift and social context of science.

2022.12.20. PUBLICATION — Surmik D., Słowiak-Morkovina J., Szczygielski T., Kamaszewski M.,
Kalita S., Teschner E. M., Dróżdż D., Duda P., Rothschild B. M., Konietzko-Meier D. 2022. An insight
into cancer palaeobiology: does the Mesozoic neoplasm support tissue organization field theory of tumorigenesis? BMC Ecology & Evolution 22: 143.

The oldest tumour in a fossil amphibian. It is over 210 million years old!
Figure: Reconstruction of the tumor growth and invasion stages. Illustrator: Jakub Zalewski.

Neoplasms are diseases that develop when body cells divide uncontrollably. They affect all vertebrates, and as it turns out, they have been doing so for more than 210 million years. Among a great number of vertebrae of the Triassic amphibian Metoposaurus krasiejowensis found in Krasiejów, one specimen was identified with a case of a malignant neoplasm: osteosarcoma.

Figure: Metoposaurs, representatives of temnospondyl amphibians in their habitat. Illustrator: Jakub Zalewski.

Protoceratops are hatching at the Museum of Evolution IP PAS!

The author of the diorama is Marta Szubert, a sculptor.

On December 6, a new exhibition was unveiled at the Museum of Evolution of the Institute of Paleobiology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw showing a restoration of a protoceratops nest. The protoceratops was a small herbivorous dinosaur which lived in the Late Cretaceous (about 70–75 million years ago) of the present-day Mongolia. The new exhibition includes a diorama with reconstructions of a female with two juveniles standing next to a nest with eggs and tiny hatchlings. The dinosaurs and their eggs are reconstructed based on the current paleontological data. The showcases present original protoceratops fossils, discovered and described by Polish scientists from the Institute of Paleobiology PAS, presented to the public for the first time. The exhibition was created with the funds collected during a public fundraising initiated by Dawid Myśliwiec from the channel Uwaga! Naukowy Bełkot.

We invite you to visit the museum!

2022.12.13. PUBLICATION — Gooday A.J., Holzmann M., Majewski W. & Pawlowski J. 2022. New species of Gromia (Protista, Rhizaria) from South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. Polar Biology 45: 647–666.
Holzmann M., Gooday A.J., Majewski W. & Pawlowski J. 2022. Molecular and morphological diversity of monothalamous foraminifera from South Georgia and the Falkland Islands: Description of four new species. European Journal of Protistology 85: 125909.
Foraminifera and closely related gromiids dominate meiobenthos communities in polar regions. While foraminifera with hard shells are relatively well known, softly-shelled ones, just like gromiids, have been largely ignored. Incorrectly, because as evidenced by environmental DNA research, they have great potential as bioindicators for environmental and paleoenvironmental studies. This potential remains largely unexploited due to insufficient understanding of taxonomy and distribution of these microorganisms.
The “Eye of Sauron” - unusual foraminifer of the genus Vanhoeffenella. Photo by Jan Pawlowski.

Thanks to field work led by Prof. Wojciech Majewski, during the NCN project "Response to environmental changes and post-industrial recovery of foraminiferafrom South Georgia fjords, sub-Antarctic", it was possible to describe three new to science genera and four species of monothalamous foraminifera, as well as six species of the genus Gromia found in the fjords of South Georgia and off the coast of the Falkland Islands.

2022.11.17. PUBLICATION — Qiao, Y., Liu, J., Wolniewicz, A. S., Iijima, M., Shen, Y., Wintrich, T., Li, Q., and Sander, P. M. A globally distributed durophagous marine reptile clade supports the rapid recovery of pelagic ecosystems after the Permo-Triassic mass extinction. Communications Biology 5, 1242 (2022). doi:10.1038/s42003-022-04162-6

Reconstruction by Nikolay Zverkov

Omphalosauridae are one of the most enigmatic groups of Mesozoic marine reptiles. They were hitherto known only from fragmentary fossils from the Early and Middle Triassic, represented mainly by jaw fragments with characteristic crushing teeth and paleontologists have not been able to determine exactly which group of reptiles omphalosaurids were most closely related to. A new specimen of the marine reptile Sclerocormus from the Early Triassic of South China is identified as an omphalosaurid and provides strong evidence for their close phylogenetic relationship with ichthyosaurs. The new discovery thus solves the over 100-year-old puzzle surrounding the systematic affinity of omphalosaurids.

2022.10.28. PUBLICATIONŁukowiak, M., Van Soest, R., Klautau, M., Pérez, T., Pisera, A., & Tabachnick, K. (2022). The terminology of sponge spicules. Journal of Morphology 283 (12): 1517-1545. doi:10.1002/jmor.21520
Sponges (Porifera) are a diverse and globally distributed group of benthic organisms, that are subjects of intense studies in many fields, including paleontology, evolutionary biology, and even bioengineering and pharmacology. Their skeletons are mostly characterized by the presence of mineral elements termed spicules. The description of the spicules' shape and the skeleton organization represents the fundamental basis of sponge taxonomy and systematics. Here, we provide an illustrated catalogue of sponge spicules, which is based on previous works on sponge spicules and gathers and updates all terms that are currently used in sponge descriptions. Each spicule type is further illustrated through high quality scanning electron microscope micrographs.
Figure: Examples of morphological types sponge needles.

2022.10.20. PUBLICATIONPindakiewicz M. K., Hryniewicz K., Janiszewska K., Kaim A. 2022. First Cretaceous cephalopod statoliths fill the gap between Jurassic and Cenozoic forms. Comptes Rendus Palevol 21(36):801-813. doi: 10.5852/cr-palevol2022v21a36
Statoliths are aragonitic structures inside cephalopod head, responsible for the sense of balance. Up to now, Mesozoic statoliths were known only from the Jurassic; here we report first Cretaceous cephalopod statoliths. Mesozoic forms somewhat resemble the statoliths of Recent Pygmy Squid (see figure). This suggests that pygmy squids (Idiosepiidae) are basal decabrachians and Mesozoic statoliths belong to their relatives and/or belemnoids.

2022.10.07. PUBLICATIONKaim, A., Cochran J. K. & Landman, N. H. (eds). 2022. Ancient Hydrocarbon Seeps. Topics in Geobiology 53: 1-687. Springer, Cham. [Text-journal site]
This book summarizes hydrocarbon seep functioning, their evolution over time, the most important seep occurrences and the fauna present in ancient hydrocarbon seeps. While several publications exist that cover modern seeps and vents, fossil seeps only constitute a small component of the literature. Therefore the main aim in this publication is to explain the geological and evolutionary aspects of ancient chemoautotrophic communities. Many geologists, stratigraphers and paleontologists, as well as undergraduates and graduate students, are not very familiar with ancient hydrocarbon seep deposits and their associated fauna. This text is the first to comprehensively discuss the nature of such animal groups and how to recognize them. In addition to summarizing available knowledge on these topics for specialists in the field, this book offers the background needed to be of use to students as well as the wider community of geologists and paleontologists.
Chapters authored or co-authored by staff of the Institute of Paleobiology of the Polish Academy of Sciences:
  • Amano K., Kiel S., Hryniewicz K. & Jenkins R.G. 2022. Bivalvia in Ancient Hydrocarbon Seeps. In: A. Kaim, J. K. Cochran & N. H. Landman (eds), Ancient Hydrocarbon Seeps. Topics in Geobiology 53: 267-321. Springer, Cham.
  • Baliński A., Bitner M. A. & Jakubowicz M. 2022 Brachiopods at Hydrocarbon Seeps. In: A. Kaim, J. K. Cochran & N. H. Landman (eds), Ancient Hydrocarbon Seeps. Topics in Geobiology 53: 223-251. Springer, Cham.
  • Hryniewicz K. 2022. Ancient Seep Carbonates: From Outcrop Appearance to Microscopic Petrography. In: A. Kaim, J. K. Cochran & N. H. Landman (eds), Ancient Hydrocarbon Seeps. Topics in Geobiology 53: 79-110. Springer, Cham.
  • Hryniewicz K. 2022. Ancient Hydrocarbon Seeps of the World. In: A. Kaim, J. K. Cochran & N. H. Landman (eds), Ancient Hydrocarbon Seeps. Topics in Geobiology 53: 571-647. Springer, Cham.
  • Jakubowicz M., Berkowski B., Hryniewicz K. & Belka Z. 2022. Middle Palaeozoic of Morocco: The Earliest-Known Methane Seep Metazoan Ecosystems. In: A. Kaim, J. K. Cochran & N. H. Landman (eds), Ancient Hydrocarbon Seeps. Topics in Geobiology 53: 479-516. Springer, Cham.
  • Kaim, A. 2022. A review of gastropods at ancient hydrocarbon seeps. In: A. Kaim, J. K. Cochran & N. H. Landman (eds), Ancient Hydrocarbon Seeps. Topics in Geobiology 53: 323-374. Springer, Cham.
  • Kaim, A., Cochran J. K. & Landman, N. H. 2022. Preface. In: A. Kaim, J. K. Cochran & N. H. Landman (eds), Ancient Hydrocarbon Seeps. Topics in Geobiology 53: vii-x. Springer, Cham.
  • Pisera A., Hryniewicz K., Bitner M. A. & Kaim, A. 2022. Extant and Fossil Sponges Associated with Hydrothermal Vent and Cold Seep Communities. In: A. Kaim, J. K. Cochran & N. H. Landman (eds), Ancient Hydrocarbon Seeps. Topics in Geobiology 53: 253–266. Springer, Cham.

2022.10.03. PUBLICATIONMachalski, M., Świerczewska-Gładysz, E & Olszewska-Nejbert, D. 2022. The end of an era: A record of events across the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary in Poland. In: Walaszczyk, I. and Todes, J. (Eds) 2022. Cretaceous of Poland and of adjacent areas. Field trip Guides, pp. 37-86. Faculty of Geology, University of Warsaw; Warsaw. [text]

Opis figury: Correlation between the Stevns Klint section in Denmark and the key Cretaceous–Paleogene sections in the Lublin Upland. CL? – a possible counterpart of the Danish Cerithium Limestone; mbs – main burrowed surface. Hiatus = stratigraphic gap.

The record of environmental turmoil and biotic turnover across the Cretaceous–Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary has been subject of hot debates. Unraveling the K-Pg global patterns is possible only by collecting data from regional successions. The paper provides new data on facies development, fossil assemblages, stratigraphic completness, and depositional history of the K-Pg boundary strata across the west-east trending outcrop belt in the Lublin Upland, Poland. The proposed interpretations will serve as a framework for future research.

2022.09.14. PUBLICATIONSzczygielski T., Słowiak J. 2022. Shell histology of the Triassic turtle, Proterochersis porebensis Szczygielski & Sulej, 2016, provides novel insights about shell ankylosis. Comptes Rendus Palevol 21 (29): 619-679. doi: 10.5852/cr-palevol2022v21a29

Figure description: Vital reconstruction of the extinct turtle Proterochersis porebensis (left). On the right, cross-sections through the carapace of a juvenile turtle with visible sutures (top), and an individual with fading sutures (bottom).

Modern turtles grow mostly along shell sutures, in very old individuals these sutures can obliterate (ankylosis), stopping the body growth. As it turns out, that was not always the case. The ankylosis in the Triassic turtle Proterochersis porebensis from Poręba (southern Poland) occurred seemingly randomly in individuals of variable size (even juveniles!) and completely obscured the initial bony layout. We propose that the ankylose of the carapace of the Triassic turtle resulted from the physiological mechanisms used in modern species solely in shell regeneration. Bone microstructural changes imply that Proterochersis porebensis could change habitat during ontogeny, small individuals appearing more aquatic and larger more terrestrial.

Field Tours of the 11th International Cretaceous Symposium
On August 22-26, 2022, the 11th International Cretaceous Symposium was held in Warsaw to discuss various aspects of geology and palaeontology of the Cretaceous period. The main organizer of the symposium was the Faculty of Geology, University of Warsaw, and one of the co-organizers was the Institute of Paleobiology of Polish Academy of Sciences. During the post-symposium trip "The end of an era: a record of events across the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary in Poland" (August 27-28), prof. Marcin Machalski from our institute guided the participants around the most important exposures of the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary in Poland, demonstrating the classic outcrops near Kazimierz Dolny, the site with the last ammonites at Mełgiew near Lublin, as well as the Lechówka exposure - the only place in Poland with the boundary clay layer, created as a result of the global cataclysm that ended the Mesozoic era. Great exposures, interesting specimens and inspiring discussions provided a lot of scientific fun for both the guide and participants.

Photo authors: John Jagt and Aleksandra Stachowska.

200th Anniversary of the Cretaceous System


See website for details:

2022.08.17. PUBLICATION — Paszcza, K., Salamon, M. A., Duda, P., Gorzelak, P. 2022. Morphologic variation of the Middle Devonian crinoid genus Haplocrinites from Poland. Neues Jahrbuch
für Geologie und Paläontologie
, doi.:10.1127/njgpa/2022/1078
A collection of crinoid thecae of Haplocrinites from the Devonian of the Holy Cross Mountains is described. Morphometric analyses revealed that these thecae likely represent the same species displaying a wide range of morphologic variation. It has been argued that H. aremoricensis is a junior synonym of H. boitardi. The study indicates that traditional classifications of haplocrinitids require substantial revision.

seminarium2022.08.11. Miniseminar
18th August 2022 r. (Thursday), 11:00 a.m., dr Magdalena Łukowiak will give a miniseminar: "Insights into the structure and morphogenesis of the giant basal spicule of the glass sponge Monorhaphis chuni".

2022.07.26. PUBLICATION — Salamon, M. A., Jain, S., Brachaniec, T., Duda, P., Bartosz J. Płachno, B.J., Gorzelak, P. 2022. Ausichicrinites zelenskyyi gen. et sp. nov., a first nearly complete feather star (Crinoidea) from the Upper Jurassic of Africa. The Royal Society Publishing, doi.:10.1098/rsos.220345
The paper describes an extraordinary preserved new genus and species of fossil feather star. It is named after the sixth and current president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy for his courage and bravery in defending free Ukraine. Ausichicrinites zelenskyyi had 10 massive arms and a ring of clawlike appendages near the base to grip the substrate. It lived 150 million years ago and represents a new species of fossil feather star (marine invertebrates of the phylum Echinodermata). The genus name is in recognition of the substantial contributions that prof. William Ausich made to the knowledge on fossil crinoids. See also research highligts in Nature.

seminarium2022.07.14. Miniseminar
19th July 2022 r. (Tuesday), 11:00 a.m., dr Krzysztof Hryniewicz will give a miniseminar: "The fossil record of deep-sea chondrichthyan egg capsules".

2022.07.13. PUBLICATION — Brachaniec, T., Środek, D., Surmik, D., Niedźwiedzki, R., Georgalis, G.L., Płachno, B. J., Duda, P., Lukeneder, A., Gorzelak, P., Salamon, M.A. 2022. Comparative actualistic study hints at origins of alleged Miocene coprolites of Poland. PeerJ 10:e13652,
doi: 10.7717/peerj.13652
The paper presents the results of integrated morphological and geochemical analyses of excrement-shaped siderite masses from the Miocene of Turów mine. These structures have been the subject of much controversy, having been interpreted either as being coprolites or pseudofossils created by mechanical deformation of plastic sediment. The paper presents arguments suggesting their biological origin. Their characteristic shape and the presence of inclusions in the form of coalified debris or hair-like structures indicate that they may be coprolites of turtles and snakes.

2022.07.07. PUBLICATION — Seiblitz, I. G. L., Vaga, C. F., Capel, K. C. C., Cairns, S. D., Stolarski, J., Quattrini, A.M., Kitahara, M. V. 2022. Caryophylliids (Anthozoa, Scleractinia) and mitochondrial gene order: Insights from mitochondrial and nuclear phylogenomics. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2022.107565


Unique mitochondrial gene rearrangement in caryophylliid scleractinian corals

Traditional Caryophylliidae has been known as the most speciose scleractinian coral family. Mito/nuclear phylogenomics point that some caryophylliids that form a clade (“true” Caryophylliidae) have unique mt gene rearrangement: a transposition of the gene block containing cob, nad2, and nad6, which is located between nad5 5’ exon and trnW. Such mitochondrial gene rearrangement is proposed as a synapomorphy of “true” Caryophylliidae. Skeletal microstructure provides additional support for distinct position of “caryophylliids” with or without the mitochondrial gene rearrangement.

2022.06.07. PUBLICATIONSaha A., Baca M., Popović D., Mohammadi Z., Olsson U., and
Fostowicz-Frelik Ł. 2022. The first complete mitochondrial genome data of the pygmy rabbit Brachylagus idahoensis, the world’s smallest leporid. Data in Brief 42: 108314. doi: 10.1016/j.dib.2022.108314

We sequenced the first complete mitochondrial genome of the pygmy rabbit, Brachylagus idahoensis (17,021 bp in length; GenBank accession: OL436257). Brachylagus is the world’s smallest leporid, endemic to the USA and one of the seven monotypic genera in the family. This true fossorial rabbit is adapted to specialized sagebrush habitat. It is an important taxon in lagomorph evolutionary research, especially the phylogeny of North American leporids as well as climate dynamics and landscape genetics studies, as this species is restricted to one habitat type and can be treated as a model small herbivore in vulnerable ecosystems. The mitogenome was generated from ethanol-preserved muscle tissue DNA extract from a specimen at the Burke Museum, University of Washington, WA, USA.

seminarium2022.06.06. Seminar
13th June 2022 (Monday) 11:00 a.m., Institute of Paleobiology, PAS Warsaw, Twarda 51/55 conference room - 6th floor
prof. Michał Kowalewski (Florida Museum of Natural History) will give a seminar: "Evolutionary history of prey: 600 million years of predation in Earth’s oceans".

2022.06.02. PUBLICATIONHalamski, A.T. & Taylor, P.D. 2022. Angiosperm tree leaf as a bryozoan substrate: a case study from the Cretaceous and its taphonomic consequences. Lethaia, 55 (1.9): 1–7. doi:10.18261/let.55.1.9


Dewalquea? sp., incompletely preserved angiosperm leaf overgrown by colonies of cheilostome bryozoans. Upper Cretaceous, Coniacian; Karczmisko hill near Zbylutów, Lower Silesia, Poland. Specimen MB.Pb.2008/336, collected by W. Zimmer, 1918. Photograph and interpretive drawing (compare Halamski & Taylor 2022, figs 2, 3).

The subject of this paper is a single Cretaceous specimen collected near Lwówek Śląski, now kept in the Museum of Natural History in Berlin. It is a very rare finding: a tree leaf overgrown by marine bryozoans. This evidences that the leaf was intact for a sufficiently long time for the growth of a bryozoan colony, which is, in turn, significant for deducing the length of the transport of land plant remains from the place where they grew to the place where they were buried.

seminarium2022.05.30. Miniseminar
3rd June 2022 r. (Friday), 11:00 a.m., mgr Anwesha Saha will give a miniseminar: "Towards filling the gap: the evolutionary puzzle of living lagomorphs".

2022.05.20. PUBLICATIONKaźmierczak J. & Kremer B. 2022. Archaeocyaths: alternatively explained as consortia of siphonous algae and cyanobacteria-like microbes in shallow Cambrian seas. Palaeoworld (Elsevier), 31, p. 218–238. doi:10.1016/j.palwor.2021.08.003
The paper presents an alternative explanation of the systematic position of archaeocyaths, Cambrian calcareous fossils interpreted for over 30 years mostly as sponges (Porifera), herein treated as closely related to modern siphonous green algae, especially representatives of the genus Codium (Bryopsidales, Chlorophyta). The basis for this conclusion was the demonstration, grounded on samples from NE Siberia, that the skeleton of archaeocyaths was not an indigenous product of the siphonous algae, but the product of calcified microorganisms, close to modern cyanobacteria (Chroococcales), that overgrew the algae during their lifetime. The calcification of cyanobacterial epibiontic biofilms on siphonous green algae thalli evidences high saturation of the Cambrian sea with calcium carbonate ("calcium stress"), which should be considered one of the main causes of the mass formation of first calcareous skeletons at that time. This is an aspect of the Cambrian explosion, one of the major events in the history of life.
NCN 2015/17 / B / ST10 / 03340, leader prof. dr. hab. Józef Kaźmierczak.

2022.04.20. PUBLICATION Madzia, D., Sachs, S. & C. Klug. 2022. Historical significance and taxonomic status of Ischyrodon meriani (Pliosauridae) from the Middle Jurassic of Switzerland. PeerJ 10: e13244. doi:10.7717/peerj.13244
Ischyrodon meriani is an obscure pliosaurid taxon from the Middle Jurassic of Switzerland. Despite being described in 1838, which likely makes it the historically oldest-established pliosaurid, the type specimen of Ischyrodon remains poorly researched. The new study presents a detailed redescription of I. meriani and shows its close resemblance to Liopleurodon ferox which originates from strata of a similar age and provenance. While it is likely that I. meriani represents a Liopleurodon-like taxon, or is even conspecific with L. ferox, which would make I. meriani the proper name for the species, any such taxonomic considerations are hindered by the fragmentary nature of the type specimens of both these taxa. The new study highlights the need for a detailed taxonomic reevaluation of Liopleurodon ferox.
Reconstruction: Joschua Knüppe

2022.04.05. PUBLICATIONŁukowiak, M., Dieni, I., Dumitrica, P., Massari, F., 2022. Late Valanginian sponge spicules from north-eastern Sardinia (Italy). Cretaceous Research.


We describe very rare Early Cretaceous (Valanginian) siliceous sponges from Sardinia, Italy. The assemblage that consisted of skeletal elements (spicules) of “soft” demosponges, lithistids, and hexactinellids, links modern sponge faunas with ancient (e.g., Triassic) assemblages. The presence of spicules that belong to shallow-water sponges as well as to forms that today inhabit wide depth ranges, suggests that this Early Cretaceous assemblage lived at depths around 200 m.

2022.04.05. PUBLICATION — Calábková, G, Březina, J. & D. Madzia. 2022. Evidence of large terrestrial seymouriamorphs in the lowermost Permian of the Czech Republic. Papers in Palaeontology 8: e1428. doi:10.1002/spp2.1428


Reconstruction: Petr Modlitba

Permian deposits of the Boskovice Basin in the Czech Republic have yielded hundreds of seymouriamorph individuals (a group of extinct tetrapods). Most are referable to Discosauriscus and – with possible exception of a single specimen – represent larvae and juveniles tied to aquatic environments. The new study describes seymouriamorph tracks from the Boskovice Basin that belonged to adults tied to terrestrial environments, documenting a habitat shift that occurred relatively late in the ontogenetic development of these seymouriamorphs. The largest track is preserved with clear skin impressions, making it one of the best preserved seymouriamorph tracks described to date. One of the tracks originates from the lowermost Asselian (ca. 299 mya) and is therefore among the oldest known records of seymouriamorphs worldwide.

2022.04.04. PUBLICATION — Juszkiewicz, D. J., White, N.E., Stolarski, J., Benzoni, F., Arrigoni, R., Hoeksema, B., Wilson, N.G., Buncea, M., Richards, Z.T. 2022. Phylogeography of recent Plesiastrea (Scleractinia: Plesiastreidae) based on an integrated taxonomic approach. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 107469, doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2022.107469.
Cryptic species pose a great challenge for the traditional taxonomy and estimates of the actual species diversity: similar morphology of these species (a basis for traditional taxonomic identification) exists despite of different evolutionary history and often reproductive separation. The published work is the first such detailed phylogeographic analysis of the scleractinian coral known as Plesiastrea versipora widespread in the Indo-Pacific. The analysis of molecular data, as well as the macroscopic and microscopic skeletal features of over 80 specimens from the entire range of P. versipora, indicates existence of two distinct groups of species: forms belonging to the "temperate clade" (with the characteristics of the type of Plesiastrea versipora) and to the "tropical clade", represented by the restored species Plesiastrea peroni. The work exemplifies the utility of an integrated skeletal and molecular approach to coral taxonomy.

2022.03.11. PUBLICATIONBitner, M.A. & Müller, A. 2022. Early Oligocene brachiopods from the rocky shore deposists at Mammendorf, central Germany. Annales Societatis Geologorum Poloniae, 92(1): 87–107.

The Lower Oligocene rocky-shore deposits at Mammendorf, central Germany yielded a surprisingly rich brachiopod fauna, containing 13 species belonging to 11 genera. The short-looped Pliothyrina grandis, species restricted to the Oligocene of North Sea Basin, is most common but the predominant and most diverse group, constituting nearly 50% of the material, is the family Megathyrididae, represented by six species in the Mammendorf assemblage. The Mammendorf brachiopod fauna displays a great affinity to the Early Oligocene fauna of the Mainz Basin.

2022.03.09. PUBLICATION — Halamski, A.T., Baliński, A. & Koppka, J., 2022. Middle Devonian brachiopods from northern Maïder (eastern Anti-Atlas, Morocco). Annales Societatis Gologorum Poloniae, 92(1): 1-86. doi:
60 species of Middle Devonian brachiopods are described from Jbel Issoumour (Anti-Atlas, Morocco), an area located in terms of palaeogeography on the southern shore of the Rheic Ocean. Most of them are the same as or similar to those known from the Eifel (Germany) and the Holy Cross Mountains (Poland), areas located in the Devonian on the northern shore of the Rheic Ocean; this is a new argument in the controversy about the width of the Rheic Ocean: given the similarity of the faunas, the Ocean is likely to have been rather narrow. Two new brachiopod species are described: one of them, Prodavidsonia ebbighauseni is named in honour of Volker Ebbighausen, the amateur palaeontologist who assembled the described collection; the other one, Spinatrypa ennigaldinannae, is named in honour of Babylonian princess Ennigaldi-Nanna, curator of the oldest known museum (6th century B.C.).

Figure: Newly described Middle Devonian brachiopods from Jbel Issoumour (single shells in dorsal and lateral views, compare Halamski et al. 2022, figs 25, 28).

2022.02.18. PUBLICATION — Ausich, W.I., Salamon, M.A., Płachno, B. J., Brachaniec, T., Krawczyński, W., Boczarowski, A., Paszcza, K., Łukowiak, M., Gorzelak, P. 2022. Unraveling the hidden paleobiodiversity of the Middle Devonian (Emsian) crinoids (Crinoidea, Echinodermata) from Poland. PeerJ 10:e12842


Devonian crinoids from Holy Cross Mountains, including a new species - Codiacrinus sevastopuloi, were described. The species name is in recognition of the paleontologist working on fossil crinoids – prof. George Sevastopulo who recently passed away. The fossils found are preserved as fragments of stems and, what is rare, cups and crowns. They indicate a rich diversity of crinoids in the Devonian of Holy Cross Mountains.

2022.02.04. PUBLICATION — Gorzelak, P., Kołbuk, D., Dec, M., Oji, T., Oguri, K., Brom, K., Brachaniec, T., Paszcza, K., Salamon, M.A. 2022. Recent Advances in Ichnology of Crawling Stalked Crinoids. Contributions from the Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan, Vol. 34, no. 5, pp. 54-62. doi:10.7302/3815


In Contributions from the Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan, a special volume to celebrate the retirement of Prof. Tomasz Baumiller was published. Among published articles is a paper on ichnology of stalked crinoids. The paper presents the results of analyses of time-lapse movies recording a previously unknown mode of crinoid locomotion. The traces produced by Recent crinoids on the sediment surface were documented using 3D digitization techniques (laser scanning and photogrammetry). It was stressed that the moment of key evolutionary changes in crinoids (transition from sessile to mobile lifestyle) may be identified in the fossil record with the aid of crinoid trace fossils.

2022.01.11. PUBLICATION — Cisneros-Lazaro, D., Adams, A., Guo, J., Bernard, S., Baumgartner, L.P., Daval, D., Baronnet, A., Grauby, O., Vennemann, T., Stolarski, J., Escrig. J., Meibom, A. 2022.
Fast and pervasive diagenetic isotope exchange in foraminifera tests is species-dependent. Nature Communications 13:113. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-27782-8


Paleoclimate reconstructions commonly use oxygen isotope compositions from fossil foraminifera tests as proxies. However, the isotopic composition of these calcitic tests can be substantially altered during diagenesis. In the published paper the fluid-mediated isotopic exchange was examined in pristine tests of three modern benthic foraminifera species i.e., Ammonia sp., Haynesina germanica, and Amphistegina lessonii. Reacted tests remained texturally ‘pristine’ but their bulk oxygen isotope compositions revealed rapid and species-dependent isotopic exchange with the water; diagenetic alteration is correlated with test ultra-structure and associated organic matter. The result implies that the tests that are considered texturally ‘pristine’ for paleo-climatic reconstruction purposes may have experienced substantial isotopic exchange; critical paleo-temperature record re-examination is warranted.

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