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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