2024.05.14. PUBLICATION — Hermanson G., Arnal, F. A. M., Szczygielski T., Evers S. 2024. A systematic comparative description of extant turtle humeri, with comments on humerus disparity and evolution based on fossil comparisons. The Anatomical Record.

Figure: anatomy and evolutionary changes of the turtle humerus.
Turtles are characterized by an unusual anatomy of the locomotor apparatus linked with the development of their shell incorporating modified elements of the axial skeleton and pectoral girdle. However, the appendicular skeleton was never properly documented in representatives of most turtle groups, and the anatomical terminology used by various authors was often ambiguous. The aim of this work is to present the anatomy of the humeri of many extant and extinct turtle species, to standardize the nomenclature, and to highlight phylogenetically meaningful characters.

2024.05.13. PUBLICATIONCzepiński Ł. & Madzia D. 2024. Osteology, phylogenetic affinities, and palaeobiogeographic significance of the bizarre ornithischian dinosaur Ajkaceratops kozmai from the Late Cretaceous European archipelago. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, zlae048.
Ajkaceratops kozmai from the Upper Cretaceous of Hungary was considered the most significant piece of evidence for the presence of Ceratopsia (horned dinosaurs) outside of Asia and North America. A closer inspection of the material has shown that the postulated similarities to this group are largely superficial. The bizarre anatomy of Aikaceratops makes it a peculiar ornithischian dinosaur with uncertain affinities. This is a further evidence of the importance and uniqueness of the European dinosaur faunas.
Figure: Life restoration of Ajkaceratops as an enigmatic ornithischian dinosaur (by Edyta Felcyn-Kowalska) and the described fossil material.

seminarium2024.05.07. Seminar
13th May 2024 (Monday), 11:00 a.m., prof. Wojciech Majewski will give a seminar: "Reakcja za zmiany środowiska i post-industrialna odbudowa populacji otwornic z fiordów Georgii Południowej, sub-Antarktyka".

2024.04.11. PUBLICATIONMachalski, M. 2024. Scaphitid ammonites from the lower Maastrichtian of Nahoryany (western Ukraine) and discussion on the origin of Hoploscaphites constrictus. Netherlands Journal of Geosciences, Volume 103, e6.

Figure:Evolutionary succession of scaphitid ammonites against the upper Campanian and Maastrichtian stratigraphy with geographical and stratigraphical position of the Nahoryany site. M – macroconchs (females?), m – microconchs (males?)
The lower Maastrichtian (Upper Cretaceous) shallow-marine deposits exposed at Nahoryany, south of Lviv (western Ukraine), have been known as a rich source of fossils since 1843. Today, the quarries do not exist but the fossils may be studied based on museum collections. The paper deals with scaphitid ammonites from Nahoryany on the basis of specimens housed in Lviv and Vienna palaeontological collections. The evolution, possible sexual dimorphism, and life habits of these common Late Cretaceous cephalopods have been discussed.

seminarium2024.04.18. Seminar
24th April 2024 r (Wednesday), 11:00 a.m., Dr Tetsuto Miyashita will give a seminar: "Jawless Wonders and the Changing Views on the Origin of Vertebrates".

2024.04.18. PUBLICATIONBłażejowski B., Weryński Ł., Wierzbowski A., Michalska M., Hryniewicz K., Uchman A., Kugler S., Bącal P., Hołda-Michalska A. 2023b. Summary of a decade of research at the Owadów–Brzezinki Lagerstätte (Tithonian, central Poland): A review and perspectives for the future. Volumina Jurassica, 21, 83–98. DOI: 10.7306/VJ.21.5.
The Owadów–Brzezinki palaeontological site is one among major palaeontological discoveries from Poland in recent years. Fossils of Late Jurassic (Tithonian) horseshoe crabs, lobster-like crustaceans, insects, ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and many other animals have been found for a decade. The uncommonly rich and perfectly preserved fossil marine and terrestrial fauna qualifies this site as a Konservat-Lagerstätte, or a deposit of exceptionally preserved fossils. Environmental conditions conductive to the accumulation and preservation of these unique specimens have been reconstructed.
Excavation work underway in the Owadów–Brzezinki quarry, Student Exploration Camps. Photo B. Błażejowski 2019.

seminarium2024.04.16. Seminar
22nd April 2024 r (Monday), 11:00 a.m., prof. Federico Fanti will give a seminar: "In the footsteps of giants: geo-paleontological discoveries in the Gobi desert of Mongolia".

2024.04.11. PUBLICATIONMachalski, M. and Bitner. M. A. 2024. The brachiopod assemblage from the Maastrichtian white chalk at Chełm, eastern Poland: stratigraphical and palaeoecological implications. Netherlands Journal of Geosciences, Volume 103, e3. doi: 10.1017/njg.2023.15.

Figure: location of the Chełm site, an example of a micromorphic brachiopod shell (Terebratulina longicollis), and the chalk succession with ranges of identified taxa.
Shells of small (micromorphic) brachiopods are not so attractive as other fossils preserved in the white chalk facies, for instance the belemnite rostra or echinoid tests. Despite this, they are important for the Late Cretaceous stratigraphy and palaeoecology. We describe brachiopods from the Maastrichtian chalk at Chełm, eastern Poland. The studied assemblage is dominated by small forms and allows for precise dating of the succession and determination of its depositional environment.

2024.04.09. PUBLICATION — Weryński Ł., Błażejowski B., Szczygielski T., Young M.T. 2024. The first occurrence of machimosaurid crocodylomorphs from the Oxfordian of south-central Poland provides new insights into the distribution of macrophagous teleosauroids. PeerJ 12:e17153, doi:10.7717/peerj.17153.

Figure: A. Life reconstruction of the machimosaurid from south-central Poland by Stanisław Kugler. Typical specimen (whole body) and MZ VIII Vr-72 (head reconstruction). B. Overview of MZ VIII Vr-72 fossil specimen. C. A photograph of F2 (central part of preserved rostrum fragment). D. Close up of the teeth structure, with prominent enamel ornamentation.
In the Jurassic period, besides the well-known plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs, there existed a third group of widely distributed large predatory marine reptiles – the Thalattosuchia, popularly known as "sea crocodiles". A rostrum of a large teleosauroid from the Oxfordian of Załęcze Wielkie was studied. Mechanical preparation and application of computer microtomography allowed to interpret this fossil as a machimosaurid similar to genera Neosteneosaurus and Proexochokefalos. A pathological bending of the upper jaw of this individual occurred most likely during its lifetime.

seminarium2024.04.08. Miniseminar
15th April 2024 r (Monday), 11:00 a.m., dr Łukasz Czepiński, dr hab. Tomasz Sulej i dr Tomasz Szczygielski will give a seminar:"Zmierzch ery gadów ssakokształtnych - raport z grantu".

2024.04.05. PUBLICATION — Canesi, M., Douville, E., Montagna, P., Bordier, L., Caquineau, S., Pons-Branchu, E., Iwankow, G., Stolarski, J., Allemand, D., Planes, S., Moulin, C., Lombard, F., Bourdin, G., Troublé, R., Agostini, S., Banaigs, B., Boissin, E., Boss, E., Bowler, C., Vargas, C., Flores, M., Forcioli, D., Furla, P., Gilson, E., Galand, P.E., Pesant, S., Sunagawa, S., Thomas, O., Thurber, R.V., Voolstra, C.R., Wincker, P., Zoccola, D., Reynaud, S. 2024. Sea surface temperature reconstruction in the Pacific Ocean using multi-elemental proxy in Porites and Diploastrea corals: Application to Palau Archipelago. Chemical Geology 645: 121884, doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2023.121884.

Figure: Reconstruction of sea surface temperature (SST) based on multi-proxy analysis of elements in the skeletons of reef corals Porites and Diploastrea (upper panel), and differences in ratios between major microstructural skeletal components (Rapid Accretion Deposits vs. Thickening Deposits) in Porites and Diploastrea (lower panel).

The published study offers a comprehensive analysis of geochemical proxies extracted from reef coral skeletons (Porites and Diploastrea) aimed to reconstruct sea surface temperature (SST). Employing a multi-element approach (e.g., Sr/Ca and Li/Mg) notably reduced uncertainties in temperature calibration. Discrepancies in SST reconstructions were more pronounced in Porites compared to Diploastrea colonies, attributed to variations in ratios between major microstructural skeletal components. These ratios influence the integration of trace elements and reflect physiological differences between taxa.

2024.04.04. PUBLICATIONSulej, T., Machalski, M., and Tałanda, M. 2024. New finds of Olenekian, Early Triassic, trematosaurid amphibians and prolocophonid reptiles from Poland. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 69 (1): 49–56. doi:10.4202/app.01109.2023.

Figure: Vertebrate remains from the Triassic of Stryczowice: A, Maxilla of a procolophon; B, Reconstruction of trematosaur parasphenoid; C. Trematosaur parasphenoid in the sediment.
Vertebrate bones are rare in the Lower Triassic deposits of the Holy Cross Mountains. We describe remains of Early Triassic amphibians (trematosaurs) and reptiles (a procolophon, a herbivorous reptile similar to lizards) from Stryczowice near Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski. Similar animals are known from the Triassic of Germany and Russia. Only fragmentary finds of trematosaurs are known from Poland, but there is a rich procolophon assemblage from Czatkowice (a suburb of Krzeszowice near Cracow). None of the Czatkowice procolophons matches that from Stryczowice, and there are no trematosaurs at Czatkowice. This may result from environmental differences between these sites.

2024.04.03. PUBLICATIONSzczygielski, T., Marchetti, L., Dróżdż, D. 2024. Natural external plastron mold of the Triassic turtle Proterochersis: an unusual mode of preservation. PLoS One 19 (3): e0299314. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0299314.
Natural molds and impressions of invertebrate shells, devoid of remains of skeletal tissues, are common fossils. In the case of large vertebrate bones, such a mode of preservation is, however, rare. The paper presents a natural external mold of a turtle plastron from the Triassic Löwenstein Formation of Germany. The specimen represents an exceptionally large individual, larger than the known representatives of Proterochersis robusta from the same formation and close in size to P. porebensis from the Grabowa Formation of Poland. On its surface, impressions of lesions are present which likely represent traces left by ectoparasites.
Figure: Plastron of a middle-sized individual of Proterochersis robusta (middle) and the described specimen: natural mold of the external surface of plastron (right) and virtual positive (left).

2024.03.19. PUBLICATION — Spiekman, S.N.F., Ezcurra, M.D., Rytel, A., Wang W., Mujal, E., Buchwitz, M. & Schoch, R.S. 2024. A redescription of Trachelosaurus fischeri from the Buntsandstein (Middle Triassic) of Bernburg, Germany: the first European Dinocephalosaurus-like marine reptile and its systematic implications for long-necked early archosauromorphs. Swiss Journal of Palaeontology 143, 10. doi: 10.1186/s13358-024-00309-6.
The Bernburg quarry (Saxony-Anhalt, Germany) is known from amphibian skulls found there. A single reptile skeleton excavated there was named Trachelosaurus fischeri over 100 years ago. For many years the specimen was regarded as intermixed remains of several different animals. New research shows that all of these bones come from a single individual – Trachelosaurus was simply an animal with a very long backbone, including at least 48 presacral vertebrae (twice more than in a human!). Trachelosaurus is the oldest and the only European member of the Trachelosauridae – Middle Triassic aquatic reptiles.

Photo: Liliana Reinöhl

2024.03.05. PUBLICATION — Sachs, S., Eggmaier, S., Madzia, D. 2024. Exquisite skeletons of a new transitional plesiosaur fill gap in the evolutionary history of plesiosauroids. Frontiers in Earth Science 12: 1341470, doi: 10.3389/feart.2024.1341470.
Franconiasaurus brevispinus is a new early plesiosaur established based on two three-dimensionally preserved skeletons from the Lower Jurassic of Germany. It lived during the late Toarcian (∼175 Mya), near the onset of an Early–Middle Jurassic turnover of marine reptiles. Franconiasaurus displays an intriguing combination of characters of early and later-diverging plesiosaurs. Phylogenetic analyses place it as the sister taxon to Cryptoclidia, bridging an evolutionary gap between Plesiosaurus-like forms and microcleidids on the one hand, and cryptoclidids, leptocleidians, and elasmosaurids on the other hand.

Reconstruction: Joschua Knüppe

seminarium2024.03.04. Seminar
11th March 2024 (Monday), 11:00 a.m., dr Milan Chroust will give a seminar: "Fossil Turtles: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow".

2024.02.26. Selected highlights of 2023

An article on palaeobionics ("Soft robotics informs how an early echinoderm moved") co-authored by Przemysław Gorzelak, PhD, was among 10 highlighted articles published in PNAS by the journal's editorial board in 2023 that have had a major impact on public understanding of science and research. (Selected highlights of 2023)

2024.02.22. PUBLICATIONSłowiak J, Brusatte S.L., Szczygielski T. (2024) Reassessment of the enigmatic Late Cretaceous theropod dinosaur, Bagaraatan ostromi, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society: zlad169, doi: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlad169.

Figure: Above the originally described skeleton of Bagaraatan, below the recent reconstruction.
Bagaraatan ostromi is an enigmatic carnivorous dinosaur described from the Upper Cretaceous Nemegt Formation in Mongolia. For more than 30 years its systematic position remained unresolved. The revision of Bagaraatan revealed that this genus is a chimaera – its skeleton was initially reconstructed based on mixed bones of two different dinosaurs: an oviraptorosaur (cf. Elmisaurus) and a very young tyrannosaurid. It is still an open question whether Bagaraatan is in fact a separate representative of tyrannosaurids or a juvenile Tarbosaurus or Alioramus. Bagaraatan is among the smallest juvenile tyrannosaurids.

seminarium2024.02.20. Miniseminar
26th February 2024 (Monday), 11:00 a.m., dr Łukasz Czepiński will give a seminar: "Deinonychozaury z późnej kredy Pustyni Gobi".

2024.02.14. PUBLICATION — Kalka, M., Bielak, K., Ptak, M., Stolarski, J., Dobryszycki, P., Wojtas, M. 2024. Calcium carbonate polymorph selection in fish otoliths: a key role of phosphorylation of Starmaker-like protein. Acta Biomaterialia 174: 437-446, doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2023.11.039

Figure: An experiment suggesting different biomineralization activity of a Starmaker-like protein (from fish otoliths), which
in its phosphorylated form influences the formation of vaterite, whereas it promotes the formation of calcitic calcium carbonate crystals if it is in a dephosphorylated form.
Many organisms exhibit astonishing biomineralization abilities, forming polymorphic minerals from the same chemical substance. Fish inner ear otoliths consist of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in various polymorphic forms (e.g., vaterite, aragonite). Proteins are known to be involved in controlling polymorphic forms, with a new study suggesting a mechanism involving phosphorylation of a protein responsible of biomineralisation. Phosphorylation corresponds to calcium carbonate crystallizing as vaterite, whereas its absence leads to calcite precipitation.

2024.01.24. PUBLICATION — Gaaloul, N., Uchman, A., Riahi, S., Janiszewska, K., Stolarski, J., Kołodziej, B., Ben Ali, S. 2023. In vivo and post-mortem bioerosion traces in solitary corals from the Pliocene of Tunisia. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 68:659-681, doi: 10.4202/app.01095.2023.

Figure: Corallum of solitary Ceratotrochus (Edwardsotrochus) duodecimcostatus from the upper Pliocene of Tunisia (distal and lateral views); longitudinal thin-section and virtual (mCT) longitudinal section of the coral skeleton with probably in-vivo polycha ete borings (ichnogenus Maeandropolydora).
One of the basic taphonomic questions is whether the borings in skeletal structures were produced in vivo or post mortem. Borings influencing the growth of the skeleton were produced during the life of the animal; the same for borings that are distributed very close to the surface of the skeletal structure and are elsewhere known from deep penetration into the substrate. Conversely, borings that penetrate deeply into the skeletal structure and those that are always close to the surface, irrespective of the substrate, can be regarded as produced post mortem. These criteria are used to distinguish the two categories of polychaete, bryozoan, and phoronid borings made in coralla of fossil (Pliocene of Tunisia) solitary scleractinian coral Ceratotrochus.


2023.12.15. PUBLICATION — Calábková, G., Madzia, D., Nosek, V., and Ivanov, M. 2023. Tracking ‘transitional’ diadectomorphs in the earliest Permian of equatorial Pangea. PeerJ 11: e16603. doi:10.7717/peerj.16603.
Diadectomorpha was a group of large-bodied herbivorous tetrapods that existed from the late Carboniferous to the late Permian. A new trackway from the Asselian (lowermost Permian) of the Boskovice Basin in the Czech Republic illustrates a ‘transitional’ stage in the posture evolution of diadectomorphs, showing track morphologies possibly attributable to a Diadectes-like taxon combined with distances between the successive manus and pes imprints similar to those observable in earlier-diverging diadectomorphs, such as Orobates.
Rekonstrukcja: Petr Modlitba

The new study adds to the diversity of the ichnological record of Permian tetrapods in the Boskovice Basin which had been poorly explored until very recently.

seminarium2023.12.06. Seminar
12th December 2023 (Tuesday), 15:00 (local time in Warsaw),
dr Javier Ortega-Hernández will give a seminar: "Along came a spider - tracking the Cambrian origin of chelicerates".

2023.12.05. PUBLICATIONCzepiński, Ł., Pawlak, W., Rytel, A., Tałanda, M., Szczygielski, T., & Sulej, T. (2023) A new Middle Triassic vertebrate assemblage from Miedary (southern Poland). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. doi: 10.1080/02724634.2023.2265445.

Figure: Vertebrate remains from the Middle Triassic of Miedary, Poland.
A new, rich vertebrate assemblage was discovered in the Middle Triassic strata of Miedary in southern Poland. More than 20 vertebrate taxa have been identified here, including a dozen fishes, several amphibians and reptiles (e.g., Nothosaurus and a hitherto unknown taxon of armoured archosauromorph). The most surprising is the overabundance of Tanystropheus, the mysterious long-necked reptile – over half a thousand bones of this animal account for more than a half of all the macrofossils identified so far at the site. This makes the Miedary assemblage the richest source of three-dimensionally preserved Tanystropheus material in the world.

seminarium2023.11.29. Seminar
28th November 2023 r. (Tuesday), 16:00 p.m. (local time in Warsaw) dr Jasmina Wiemann gave a seminar: "Life finds a way: How the integration of modern and fossil biomolecular information reveals the history of Life on Earth and beyond".

2023.11.21. PUBLICATION — Desatnik R., Patterson Z.J., Gorzelak P., Zamora S., LeDuc P., and Majidi C., 2023. Soft robotics informs how an early echinoderm moved. PNAS 2023, Vol. 120, No. 46, e2306580120. doi:10.1073/pnas.2306580120.

The mode of locomotion of one of the earliest free-living stalked echinoderms – Ordovician Pleurocystites belonging to the subphylum Blastozoa – was reconstructed. This was done by constructing a soft robot. For its construction, a 3D printed replica of these fossils was used, in which flexible artificial contractile fibers, resembling the muscles of living organisms, were embedded. The results of this research, published and highlighted by the editors of PNAS, show that similar robots inspired by organisms extinct millions of years ago can provide unique insights into their evolution and way of life, as well as find engineering applications, contributing to the development of a new research sub-discipline – palaeobionics.

seminarium2023.11.21. Seminar
24th November 2023 r. (Friday), 11:00 a.m. (local time in Warsaw), Prof. dr hab. Andrzej Baliński i dr hab. Adam T. Halamski will give a seminar: "Ekosystemy Gór Świętokrzyskich przed wydarzeniem Taghanic (dewon środkowy)".

2023.11.20. PUBLICATIONŁukowiak M, Meiro G, Peña B, Villanueva Guimerans P, Corbí H. 2023. Miocene sponge assemblages in the face of the Messinian Salinity Crisis—new data from the Atlanto-Mediterranean seaway. PeerJ 11:e16277. doi:10.7717/peerj.16277.
During the Miocene salinity crisis, changing environmental conditions, including a sharp reduction in water exchange between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, changed the geographic ranges of many organisms. We investigated loose Miocene sponge spicules from a population then inhabiting the strait between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean. From the 18 recognized species, at least 8 still inhabit the area and others are recorded from closely located areas. Some have their closest relatives in Indo-Pacific waters and Japan today, the range of some populations may have shrunk after the closure of the Mediterranean Sea, with some sponge species surviving only in refugia.

2023.11.17. PUBLICATIONSzczygielski T., Klein N., Słowiak-Morkovina J., Scheyer T. M. 2023. Limb histology of the Triassic stem turtles Proterochersis porebensis Szczygielski & Sulej, 2016 and Proganochelys quenstedtii Baur, 1887 with insights into growth patterns of early turtles. Comptes Rendus Palevol 22 (32): 635–665. doi:10.5852/cr-palevol2023v22a32

Turtles have a characteristic limb bone microstructure: the poorly vascularized tissue grows slowly throughout most of their life; in addition, there is no medullary cavity. This structural pattern is well documented in extant species but fossil turtles are poorly studied in that context. The authors present the bone microstructure of two of the oldest (Triassic, ca. 215-210 Myr) turtles. The typical features of the bone tissue appeared very early in the evolution of these animals. Moreover, divergent growth strategies were already present at the time – the growth tempo differed particularly at a young age, so various species attained comparable body sizes at different stages of life.

2023.11.17. PUBLICATIONSzczygielski T., Piechowski R. 2023. Limb anatomy of the Triassic turtles: appendicular osteology of Proterochersis (Testudinata, Proterochersidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 199: 771-831. doi:10.1093/zoolinnean/zlad057
The paper deals with the anatomy of limbs and associated skeletal structures in the Triassic (c.a. 215 Myr) turtles belonging to the genus Proterochersis known from the territory of modern-day Germany and Poland. The material includes specimens coming from individuals of varied age. The observed changes occurring during growth suggest that adult individuals may have had a more terrestrial mode of life than juveniles. This is the first study of the limb anatomy in Proterochersis, which represents the most ancestral group of turtles.

2023.11.08. PUBLICATION — Binczewska A., Majewski W., Wachnicka A., Frankovich T., Borówka R.K., Sławińska J., Bąk M., Witkowski A. 2023. Reconstruction of climate-induced environmental changes in
the eastern Gulf of Mexico based on foraminifera sediment assemblages. Journal of Sea Research 196: 102451.
Foraminifera (unicellular protists) from the Marquesas Keys, located 30 km west of Key West (Florida) allowed to reconstruct climatic conditions in this shallow-water carbonate platform for the last 150 years. Climatic changes were related with variation in precipitation patterns in the Gulf of Mexico region linked with shifts in the major modes of natural climate variability (like for example El Niño), along with tropical storms and hurricanes. Despite a generally negative impact of the ocean-atmosphere teleconnections on the South Florida region, a well-developed assemblage associated with sea-grass was recorded in the uppermost part of the record dated to the period between 1990 and 2010.

Figure: Foraminifera from the Marquesas Keys, Florida (Foto: Anna Binczewska) .

2023.10.31. PUBLICATION — Sachs, S., Madzia, D., Thuy, B., and Kear, B.P. 2023. The rise of macropredatory pliosaurids near the Early-Middle Jurassic transition. Scientific Reports 13: 17558. doi:10.1038/s41598-023-43015-y

Reconstruction: Juschua Knüppe
Lorrainosaurus from the Bajocian (Middle Jurassic) of France is the earliest large-bodied pliosaurid and the oldest known representative of a dynasty of marine reptile mega-predators that ruled the Mesozoic oceans for around 80 million years. Its identification demonstrates that these creatures emerged shortly after a landmark restructuring of marine ecosystems close to the Early-to-Middle Jurassic boundary, some 175 to 171 million years ago. This event profoundly affected many vertebrate groups and brought pliosaurids to dominance over ‘fish-like’ ichthyosaurs, ancient marine crocodile relatives, and other large-bodied predatory plesiosaurs.

2023.10.20. PUBLICATION — Weryński Ł., Błażejowski B., Kędzierski M. 2023. A comparison of teeth in Tithonian, Late Jurassic, predatory actinopterygian fishes from Owadów-Brzezinki Lägerstatte and its palaeoecological implications. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 68 (3), 493–512, doi:10.4202/app.01058.2023
The paper presents the results of histological studies of teeth of Late Jurassic fish from Owadów-Brzezinki. Through observation using optical and electron microscopy, it was shown that the examined tooth samples of holosteans (Strobilodus sp. belonging to the Amiiformes) and teleost-like fish (Orthocormus teyleri belonging to the Pachycormiformes, an extinct order) possess different internal structures. The observed microstructural and morphological features indicate that these similar-sized fish inhabited different ecological niches.

Figure: Dentary bone of actinopterygian fish Strobilodus sp. from Owadów-Brzezinki; reconstruction: Ola Hołda-Michalska & Marta Szubert.

seminarium2023.10.16. Seminar
23rd October 2023 (Monday), 11:00 a.m. (local time in Warsaw),
Dr Igor Zlotnikov will give a seminar: "Morphogenesis of Protein Superstructures in Demospongiae".

2023.10.13. HR Excellence in Research
12 October 2023 the Institute of Paleobiology of the Polish Academy of Sciences was awarded the HR Excellence in Research logo. This is a prestigious award aimed at enhancing the attractiveness of
working conditions and career development of researchers in the European Union. It is awarded to institutions that provide the best working conditions for researchers and conduct their recruitment processes transparently and in accordance with the guidelines of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.


2023.10.12. PUBLICATION — Maletz, J. (Coordinating author). 2023. Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, Part V, Hemichordata, Second Revision, Including Enteropneusta, Pterobranchia (Graptolithina). (authors: D. E. B. Bates, E. Beli, E. D. Brussa, C. B. Cameron, R. A. Cooper, P. Gonzalez, A. Kozłowska, A. C. Lenz, D. K. Loydell, J. Maletz, S. Rigby, J. F. Riva, M. Steiner, B. A. Toro, A. H. M. VandenBerg, J. A. Zalasiewicz, Y. D. Zhang). The University of Kansas, Paleontological Institute, Lawrence, Kansas, U.S.A. xxx + 548 pp., 310 figs.

seminarium2023.10.09. Seminar
9th October 2023 (Monday), 11:00 a.m., dr hab. Łucja Fostowicz-Frelik will give a seminar: "Krewni i znajomi królika Morfologia ewolucyjna siekaczowców (Glires, Mammalia)".

2023.10.04. PUBLICATION — Różycka, M., Bielak, K., Ptak, K., Jost, B., MeloRodriguez, G., Schoelkopf, J., Stolarski, J., Dobroszycki, P., Ożyhar, A. 2023. The effect of gel exposition on calcium and carbonate ions determines the Stm-l effect on calcium carbonate crystals morphology. Biomacromolecules 24: 4042−4050, doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.3c00395

Figure: The CaCO3 crystals grown in the presence of the Starmaker-like protein show radically different morphology and intra-crystalline protein distribution depending on the prior exposition of the protein to calcium or carbonate ions.
Biomineralization of fish otoliths is regulated by macromolecules, such as proteins, whose presence is crucial for the functionality and properties of these mineralized structures. In this study, we investigated the effect of a protein on calcium carbonate biominerals. The bioinspired minerals grown in the presence of the protein show radically different morphology and protein distribution within the crystals depending on the prior exposition of the protein to calcium or carbonate ions. The finding suggests the pathway in which the environmental factors may influence the macromolecular functionality of biomineralization.

2023.10.04. PUBLICATION — Canesi, M., Douville, E., Montagna, P., Stolarski, J., Bordier, L., Dapoigny, A., Coulibaly, G.E.H., Simon, A-C., Agelou, M., Iwankow, G., Allemand, D., Planes, S., Moulin, C. Tara Pacific Consortium Coordinators, Reynaud, S. 2023. Differences in carbonate chemistry up-regulation of long-lived reef-building corals. Scientific Reports 13:11589, doi:10.1038/s41598-023-37598-9

Figure: Biological mediation of the carbonate chemistry of the coral calcifying fluid in two reef-building scleractinian coral genera Porites and Diploastrea.
Capacity of physiological modifications of the chemistry of the coral calcifying fluid that contains the molecules necessary for the formation of the skeleton is an adaptation of hexacorals to life in acidified seawater. In the published paper, the calcification patterns of Porites and Diploastrea, two reef-building scleractinian coral genera common in the Pacific Ocean, are shown to differ: Porites corals increase the aragonite saturation state of the calcifying fluid at higher temperatures, whereas Diploastrea shows a steady saturation state across the temperature gradient. This physiological difference will likely influence future survival of these corals under ongoing climate change.

2023.10.03. PUBLICATION — Gałązka, D., Boerner, A., Rytel, A., Szczygielski, T., Borecka, A., Danel,
W., & Chruściel, M. (2023). Reinterpretacja fragmentu szkieletu gada z wczesnego triasu Pomorza. Przegląd Geologiczny, 71(7), 386–391, doi: 10.7306/2023.34

Figure: Drill core fragments (BGR collection) with the reptile vertebra described as "Microcnemus sp.". A-C, fossil of the damaged vertebra: normal light (A), 3D model (B), perpendicular light (C). D, counterpart with the imprint of the vertebra before it has been damaged.
The territory of Poland is mostly covered by sediments of glacial origin, which cover the Mesozoic rocks. That is why most of the fossil vertebrate remains, older than just a few millions of years, originate from southern Poland, where appropriate outcrops are available. In Pomerania the whole Triassic tetrapod fossil record is limited to a single vertebra, which was collected from a drilling core from Darłowo, and is reinterpreted in this publication. The scientific value of the specimen is great despite its small size, as it provides evidence for the presence of reptiles in the extremely dry and hot equatorial regions of the Pangaea supercontinent.

2023.10.02. PUBLICATION — Skompski S., Kozłowska A., Kozłowski W. & Łuczyński P. 2023. Coexistence of algae and a graptolite-like problematicum: a case study from the late Silurian of Podolia (Ukraine). Acta Geologica Polonica, 73, pp. 115–133, doi: 0.24425/agp.2022.143599
For the first time, the unusual phenomenon of graptolites growing on algae is observed. Sessile green algae belonging to the Dasycladales were found in the Silurian (about 427 million years ago) sediments of a shallow shelf sea, in Podolia, western Ukraine. Graptolites belonging to the Dendroidea were epiphytes growing on the alga. Both forms, Voronocladus dryganti (alga) and Podoliagraptus algaeoides (graptolite), were unknown until now. The exceptional state of preservation of both forms allows treating the outcrop as a ‘Konservat Lagerstätte’.

Figure: Reconstruction of the dasycladalean green alga Voronocladus dryganti gen. et sp. nov. (drawing by Bogusław Waksmundzki)

seminarium2023.09.29. Seminar
3rd October 2023 (Tuesday), 4.00 p.m., dr Jingmai O'Connor will give a seminar: "Evolution of the biologically modern bird: evidence from the Jehol Biota".

On 10 September in Warsaw starts: 14th Symposium of the International Fossil Coral and Reef Society (IFCRS)

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.
All details are available on the conference website:

2023.09.04. PUBLICATIONOlempska, E., Mundy, David, J.C & Zatoń, M. 2023. Cryptic moulting behaviour of some Carboniferous Ostracoda. Papers in Paleontology, e1519, doi: 10.1002/spp2.1519
Monospecific ostracod accumulations mainly within cephalopod (a nautiloid and two goniatites) phragmocones (siphuncle and camerae), are described from the Carboniferous of England. Exclusive occurrence of disarticulated carapaces and preservation of delicate morphological structures indicate that these accumulations did not result from sedimentological processes, but rather reflect the ostracod behaviour, namely seeking a sheltered place for moulting, as well as for egg laying, the latter supported by the presence of spherical structures preserved within one of the accumulations.

seminarium2023.08.29. Seminar
5th September 2023 (Tuesday), 10:00 a.m. (local time in Warsaw),  prof. Stephen Brusatte will give a seminar: "The Rise of Placental Mammals: Dissecting our Evolutionary Radiation after the End-Cretaceous Mass Extinction".

2023.08.18. PUBLICATION — Parent, H., Kaim, A., Alberto C. Garrido, A.,C. 2023. Ammonite assemblage and age of the hydrocarbon seep La Elina, Neuquén Basin, Argentina. Annales Societatis Geologorum Poloniae, 93: in press, doi: 10.14241/asgp.2023.14

Jurassic sediments of hydrocarbon seeps from La Elina Ranch (northern Patagonia) are the only source of information on this kind of environment in South America. Apart from gastropods and bivalves typical of hydrocarbon seeps and usually deep-water, this site provided also numerous ammonoids, which suggest rather shallow water character of this seep. The absence of shallow water gastropods and bivalves might be related to unusual environmental conditions in the basin, most likely oxygen depletion of surrounding bottom waters.

2023.08.16. PUBLICATIONWolniewicz, A. S., Shen, Y., Li, Q., Sun, Y., Qiao, Y., Chen, Y., Hu, Y., and Liu, J. (2023). An armoured marine reptile from the Early Triassic of South China and its phylogenetic and evolutionary implications. eLife, 83163, doi: 10.7554/eLife.83163

Reconstruction by Zhixin Han.
A Polish-Chinese research team described a new saurosphargid marine reptile from the Early Triassic of China (Hubei Province) – Prosaurosphargis yingzishanensis. A phylogenetic hypothesis on relationships between the major groups of reptiles presented in the article proposes that saurosphargids are nested within Sauropterygia, a group of Mesozoic marine reptiles, which also includes the famous plesiosaurs. Sauropterygians themselves were recovered as members of Archelosauria, a large group of reptiles that also includes turtles and archosauromorphs (crocodiles, dinosaurs, birds, and their relatives).

2023.08.08. PUBLICATIONPindakiewicz, M.,K., Hryniewicz, K., Kaim, A. 2023. Early Cretaceous radiation of teleosts recorded by the otolith-based ichthyofauna from the Valanginian of Wąwał, central Poland. Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology e2232008, doi:10.1080/02724634.2023.2232008

About 140 million years ago, Poland was a sea connecting the Tethys Ocean with the Boreal Sea. The fish that inhabited this sea left no skeletal remains, but have been identified based on otoliths, found in Wąwał, central Poland. Those “earstones” are responsible (among others) for sense of balance. This study shows that Early Cretaceous seas covering Poland were populated by the ancestors of silverfish, Japanese gisu fish, and cousins of slanderers, albulas and marine relatives of arapaima. Interestingly, some otolith species were previously known from younger marine sediments.

2023.07.24. PUBLICATION — Weryński Ł, Błażejowski B. 2023. Late Jurassic teeth of plesiosauroid origin from the Owadów-Brzezinki Lägerstatte, Central Poland. PeerJ 11:e15628,

Figure: Lithological succession of the Owadów-Brzezinki Quarry; plesiosaur tooth ZPAL R.11/OB/T4; reconstruction: Stanisław Kugler.
The Owadów-Brzezinki quarry is one of the most important paleontological sites in Poland, known from its exceptionally well-preserved Late Jurassic fossils of marine and terrestrial organisms, including xiphosurans, insects numerous vertebrates such as ray-finned fishes, turtles, crocodylomorphs and ichthyosaurs. One of the newest findings from the site is large, curved teeth with prominent grooves. representing a new group of vertebrates from Owadów-Brzezinki – plesiosaurs. General morphology, stratigraphic context, and morphometric analysis indicate that these teeth belong to a representative of the Plesiosauroidea, probably from the family Cryptoclididae.

2023.07.18. PUBLICATION — Sachs, S., Abel, P. & Madzia, D. 2022. A ‘long-forgotten’ plesiosaur provides evidence of large-bodied rhomaleosaurids in the Middle Jurassic of Germany. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 42 (5): e2205456, doi:10.1080/02724634.2023.2205456
Described in 1858, Trematospondylus macrocephalus from the Bathonian (Middle Jurassic) of Germany is one of the earliest established plesiosaur taxa. However, despite being historically significant, the taxon disappeared from the literature shortly after its initial description and has not been mentioned for over a century. The new study shows that Trematospondylus most likely belongs to the Rhomaleosauridae and represents a large-bodied member of this archaic clade. The material adds to the rare Middle Jurassic record of rhomaleosaurids and enhances our knowledge of the plesiosaur diversity during the pre-Callovian Middle Jurassic, which has been very limited.

Reconstruction: Dmitry Bogdanov

2023.07.17. PUBLICATIONPisera, A., Bitner, M.A., & Fromont, J. 2023. Eocene phymaraphiniid demosponges from South Western Australia: filling the gap. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 68 (2): 261-272, doi: 10.4202/app.01052.2023
The newly collected, very rich and well preserved material showed that previously wrongly attributed Eocene sponges from SW Australia belong to the demosponge family Phymaraphiniidae. Two new genera, Twertupia and Pickettispongia are proposed for them. This is the first record of bodily preserved phymaraphiniid sponges from Eocene rocks, as well as from the southern hemisphere. The reported occurrence is filling the stratigraphical gap between well-known Cretaceous phymaraphiniids from Europe and extant phymaraphiniids.

2023.06.22. PUBLICATIONCzepiński, Ł. 2023. Skull of a dromaeosaurid dinosaur Shri devi from the Upper Cretaceous of the Gobi Desert suggests convergence to the North American forms. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 68 (2), 227-243. doi:10.4202/app.01065.2023

Figure: skull and left foot of a dromaeosaurid from Khulsan, Baruungoyot strata, Mongolia (drawing: Jakub Zalewski).
The material of a carnivorous dinosaur found in the 1970s by a Polish-Mongolian paleontological expedition in the Gobi Desert is newly interpreted as belonging to the Shri devi species, closely related to the famous Velociraptor. The specimen includes a skull that was previously unknown in this species. Unlike other velociraptorines from Mongolia, Shri devi had a relatively short snout, with the proportions resembling the dromaeosaurids from North America. It is possible that the convergence in the skull anatomy of these animals may be due to adaptation to the desert-like environmental conditions.

2023.06.20. PUBLICATION — Ye, F., Shi, G.R. & Bitner, M.A. 2023. Interhemispheric biodiversity peaks of living brachiopods coinciding with warm-temperate zones and correlated to a multitude of biotic, abiotic and evolutionary factors. Global and Planetary Change, 227, 104163. doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2023.104163

Figure: (a) Latitudinal diversity gradient of living brachiopods vs. mean latitudinal range of brachiopods in 20° latitudinal bins.
(b) Latitudinal diversity gradient of living brachiopods vs. mean sea surface temperature.
The latitudinal diversity gradient is one of the most extensive and important biodiversity patterns on the Earth. The analysis of the global latitudinal diversity patterns of living brachiopods showed a consistent bimodal pattern dominated by two mid-latitude peaks at warm-temperate zones what is in contradiction to the classical unimodal latitudinal diversity gradient. This bimodal pattern of living brachiopods is not affected by taxonomic, bathymetric and spatial scales. We tested several ecological hypotheses to explain such pattern and the Rapoport's rule was found to be the best fitting the bimodal pattern.

2023.06.15. PUBLICATION — Korsun, S., Kniazeva, O., Majewski, W., Godoi, M. A., Hromic, T., Varfolomeeva, M., Pawlowski, J. 2023. Foraminifera in temperate fjords strongly affected by glacial meltwater, Tierra del Fuego, South America. Marine Micropaleontology 181, 102248. doi:10.1016/j.marmicro.2023.102248

Figure: Ready-to-go Van Veen grab, which we used to collect seafloor sediments in the fjords of Patagonia. Foraminiferal images not to scale.
Foraminifera, a group of unicellular organisms, are commonly used as bioindicators in paleoenvironmental studies. Unfortunately, their distribution in many key areas is poorly understood. One such region is southern Patagonia, which is a subject to unstable conditions due to the migration of the southern westerly wind belt and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. The work based on the material collected in 2013 describes the distribution of foraminifera in the sediments of the Beagle Channel and its tributary fjords. Unusually for similar areas, there are no assemblages typical of habitats proximal to glacier fronts that are under strong environmental pressure.

seminarium2023.06.14. Seminar
19th June 2023 (Monday), 2.00 p.m., prof. Christian Klug will give a seminar: "New early vertebrate-treasures from the Late Devonian of the Moroccan Anti-Atlas".

seminarium2023.06.06. Science workshops
12th June 2023 (Monday), 11:30 a.m., Dr Pavel Komarov will give a workshops: "The AFM-in-SEM Technique: True correlative sample analysis with the LiteScope".

seminarium2023.05.30. Seminar
5th June 2023 (Monday), 11:00 a.m., Dr Magdalena Łukowiak will give a seminar: "Krzemionkowe igły gąbek jako nośnik informacji taksonomicznych, strukturalnych, środowiskowych i biogeograficznych".

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).

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