Naturhistorisches Museum Wien
Recent publications
Minute moss beetles (Hydraenidae) are one of the most speciose and widespread families of aquatic Coleoptera, with an estimated 4000 extant species, found in the majority of aquatic habitats from coastal rock pools to mountain streams and from the Arctic Circle to the Antarctic islands. Molecular phylogenetic works have improved our understanding of the evolutionary history of the megadiverse Hydraena, Limnebius and Ochthebius in recent years, but most genera in the family have not yet been included in any phylogenetic analyses, particularly most of those which are restricted to the Southern Hemisphere. Using a multimarker molecular matrix, sampling over 40% of described species richness and 75% of currently recognized genera, we infer a comprehensive molecular phylogeny of these predominantly Gondwanan Hydraenidae. Whilst the genera we focus on are morphologically diverse, and currently classified across all four hydraenid subfamilies, our phylogenetic analyses suggest that these Gondwanan genera may instead constitute a single clade. As a result of our findings, the African genus Oomtelecopon Perkins syn.n. is shown to nest within Coelometopon Janssens, the New Zealand Homalaena Ordish syn.n. and Podaena Ordish syn.n. are synonymised with Orchymontia Broun, and the South African Pterosthetops Perkins syn.n. is synonymised with Prosthetops Waterhouse, resulting in Pterosthetopini Perkins syn.n. being synonymised with Prosthetopini Perkins. Mesoceratops Bilton & Jäch gen.n. is erected to accommodate six former members of Mesoceration Janssens, which is shown to be polyphyletic. We propose the replacement name Orchymontia ordishi Jäch & Bilton nom.n. for Homalaena dilatata Ordish, 1984 (now a junior homonym); altogether 39 new combinations are proposed. Our Bayesian divergence times infer an origin for this ‘Gondwana group’ of genera in Africa plus Madagascar in the mid‐Cretaceous and suggest that both vicariant and dispersal processes, together with extinctions, have shaped the biogeographic history of these beetles in the Southern Hemisphere during the Cretaceous, resulting in geographically conserved extant lineages. Finally, we reconstruct ancestral habitat shifts across our phylogeny, revealing numerous changes in habitat occupancy in these genera, including multiple origins of fully terrestrial, humicolous taxa in different regions. Minute moss beetle phylogeny does not reflect current classification, but reveals a mix of vicariance and long distance dispersal in the Southern Hemisphere. Image: Orchymontia latipalpis (Ordish) comb.n., Desmond W. Helmore, Wikimedia Commons. Map by Sean Baker, Wikimedia Commons.
The family Cerasommatidiidae was proposed by Brèthes in 1925 for his new genus Cerasommatidia from Brazil, described as an intermediate taxon between Endomychidae and Coccinellidae (Coccinelloidea). This group was neglected for decades until 1994 when the resemblance of Cerasommatidia with the eupsilobiine genus Ibicarella was noticed, and Cerasommatidiidae was synonymized with Eupsilobiinae (Endomychidae). Based on the newly discovered material from the Neotropical and Afrotropical regions with clear resemblance to Cerasommatidia and Ibicarella, the phylogenetic placement of these taxa and new allied genera was reassessed based on phylogenetic analyses of molecular, morphological and combined datasets. The data were analysed under Bayesian (BI), maximum likelihood (ML) and parsimony (MP) frameworks. Our results support the restoration of Cerasommatidiidae as a distinct family in Coccinelloidea. Close affinity of Cerasommatidiidae with Coccinellidae, Eupsilobiidae and Mycetaeidae is recovered and the sister-relationship to Mycetaeidae is highly supported. Ibicarella is found to be a junior synonym of Cerasommatidia. Three new genera and six new species are described and illustrated: Yamuy gen. nov. (type species, Y. marginatus sp. nov.; and Y. constratus sp. nov.) and Karumbe gen. nov. (type species, K. geiseri sp. nov.; K. brethesi sp. nov. and K. pakaluki sp. nov.) from the Neotropics and Mahavelo gen. nov. (type species, M. madagasus sp. nov.) from Madagascar.
The wild bee community of a sand steppe habitat in Eastern Austria was surveyed in the years 2018 and 2019, complemented with historical data from over 100 years, and analyzed in relation to land use change. The mapping of land use categories was based on historical aerial photographs and orthophotos. Changes in bee community composition were analyzed by a multivariate statistical approach and took ecological traits into account. In total, 310 bee species were recorded in the area, with the oldest records dating back to 1882. The bee species composition differed significantly among four defined timespans. Across the two most intensively sampled time periods (1931–1966 vs. 2001–2021), a decline in species richness of more than 50% was observed. We observed a disproportionally high decline of steppe and sand-associated species, and a distinct shift from ground nesting species to above ground nesting species. The area covered with woods increased from 1966 to 2018, while the total area covered with grassland and fallows decreased slightly between 1966 and 1994. The oligolectic species assemblage was specialized on Dipsacaceae, Brassicaceae and Fabaceae in the two earlier periods, and on Asteraceae and specifically on Carduoideae during the two later ones. Implications for insect conservation: Our results indicate that the shift from grazing to mowing as land management is a major factor in the decline of species diversity in the studied nature reserve and its surrounding. Particular attention should be given to measures that facilitate the re-establishment of steppe species.
Aim The mountainous regions in SW Asia harbour a high number of endemic species, many of which are restricted to the high‐elevation zone. The (sub)alpine habitats of the region are under particular threat due to global change, but their biodiversity hotspots and conservation status have not been investigated so far. Location Subalpine‐alpine habitats of SW Asia. Methods Distribution data of all (sub)alpine vascular plant species of the region were compiled, resulting in 19,680 localities from 1672 (sub)alpine species, the majority of them being restricted to the region (76%). Six quantitative indices of species diversity were used on the basis of 0.5° × 0.5° grid cells to identify (sub)alpine hotspots. Hotspots whose surface area in the (sub)alpine zone was covered by nature reserves maximally by 10% were defined as conservation gaps. Results A high proportion (80%) of the endemic species of the study area is range‐restricted and narrowly distributed. The results of all six indices were highly correlated. Using the top 5%, 10% and 20% richest cells supported by any index, 32, 53 and 98 cells, respectively, were identified as Hotspots. Almost 60% of these Hotspots at all three levels were identified as unprotected (i.e. constituted Conservation Gaps). Generally, only 22%, 18% and 16%, respectively, of the alpine surface area of the identified Hotspots were covered by nature reserves for the top 5%, 10% and 20% richest cells, respectively. Main conclusions Although the rate of protection in (sub)alpine Hotspots exceeds that of the entire region it is still insufficient, because these Hotspots are much richer in endemic and in range‐restricted species, but at the same time are under high pressure of global change. Therefore, the establishment of new nature reserves with high conservation efficiency in (sub)alpine habitats with a particular focus on the identified Hotspots is strongly recommended.
Thanks to the favourable position within the Middle Miocene marine succession of the Vienna Basin, a geochronological study of the St. Georgen tuff becomes essential for the understanding of the timing of the middle Badenian transgression. This contribution reports new data on separated zircon U-Pb ages/phase chemistry and the clay mineralogy of altered tuff used to infer on tephra provenance and paleoenvironmental conditions. The ages ranged between 15.78 ±0.27 and 14.36 ±0.31 Ma, with a weighted mean age of 14.59 ±0.2 Ma. This defines the onset of the second Badenian transgression in the Central Paratethys, which was the strongest transgression in the entire Miocene record of the Vienna Basin. The compositional and temporal relationship between the tuff and neighbouring volcanism indicates the Harsány eruption in the central Pannonian Basin as the most plausible tephra source region. Eastern and NE directed tropospheric trade winds or easterlies are responsible for the transport of the Harsány tephra to its present location. Prevalence of halloysite, as well as post-depositional alteration reactions (glass-smectite-halloysite and kaolinite-halloysite) call for tephra fallout in the very shallow sea, which might have been affected by seasonal wetting and drying cycles at the onset of ash deposition. Supplementary material: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.6294944
Dromaeosaurids were bird-like dinosaurs with a predatory ecology known to forage on fish, mammals and other dinosaurs. We describe Daurlong wangi gen. et sp. nov., a dromaeosaurid from the Lower Cretaceous Jehol Biota of Inner Mongolia, China. Exceptional preservation in this specimen includes a large bluish layer in the abdomen which represents one of the few occurrences of intestinal remnants among non-avian dinosaurs. Phylogenetically, Daurlong nests among a lineage of short-armed Jehol Biota species closer to eudromaeosaurs than microraptorines. The topographic correspondence between the exceptionally preserved intestine in the more stem-ward Scipionyx and the remnants in the more birdlike Daurlong provides a phylogenetic framework for inferring intestine tract extent in other theropods lacking fossilized visceral tissues. Gastrointestinal organization results conservative among faunivorous dinosaurs, with the evolution of a bird-like alimentary canal restricted to avialan theropods.
The small mammals Myomiminae indet. (Gliridae), Leptodontomys cf. gansus Zheng and Li, 1982 (Eomyidae) and the new species Keramidomys sibiricus nov. spec. (Eomyidae) are described. They were collected from six layers of the middle to upper part of the Tagay-1 section on Olkhon Island. The glirid Myomiminae indet. is represented by only a few isolated teeth, the small eomyid Leptodontomys cf. gansus by a mandible with two teeth, and the second small eomyid Keramidomys sibiricus nov. spec. by several isolated teeth and a mandible. The ancestral tooth characteristics of Keramidomys sibiricus nov. spec. indicate an early evolutionary stage of Keramidomys in Asia. The suggested age of the assemblage is Early/Middle Miocene transition.
On the night of June 22, 1931 at 4 h 30 min, a fireball was seen in the vicinity of Malotas, Argentina. During the atmospheric trajectory (southwest to northeast), it experienced several fragmentation events. After the fall, a piece was given to Professor Juan A. Olsacher (National University of Córdoba City, Argentina), who collected some further pieces. One of those samples was officially classified as an H5 ordinary chondrite termed Malotas. The present work focuses on the study of another two pieces rediscovered recently in the Museo de Mineralogía y Geología Dr. Alfred Stelzner in Cordoba City, Argentina. The first piece turned out to be an achondritic meteorite termed Malotas (b). Petrographic features, chemical composition, and oxygen isotopes point to a monomict basaltic eucrite belonging to the Stannern‐trend chemical subgroup of eucrites. The occurrence of anorthitic plagioclase veins in clinopyroxene, veinlet apatite, irregular‐shaped pockets of silica and troilite and porous silica signal metasomatism and thermal annealing before a late thermal event took place after brecciation. The latter was possibly recorded in the nominal U/Th‐4He ages of 1.2–3.4 Ga detected in this work, whereas nominal K‐Ar gas retention ages are within the range 3.5–4.2 Ga and may have escaped late thermal modifications. The second piece is classified as an L5 chondrite. The different cosmic ray exposure ages of 3, ~50, and 27 Ma determined for the H5 and L5 chondrites and the eucrite samples, respectively, might signal a common fall as a result of the breakup of a polymict meteoroid.
Tourmaline has two different [6]-coordinated sites, the Y site and the Z site. Vacancies were reported from both sites. Based on high-quality chemical and single-crystal structural data it always needs increasing proportions or short-range order configurations Na(Al2⊏)Al6(BO3)3[Si6O18]V(OH)3W(OH) or Na(Al2⊏)Al6(BO3)3[Si6O18]V(OH)3WF in order to produce Y-site vacancies. Therefore, tourmalines enriched in cations with charge 2+ (Fe2+, Mn2+, Mg) contain only insignificant Y-site vacancies. Only Al-rich tourmalines with >7.0 apfu Altotal that usually contain >0.2 apfu Li may have significant vacancies at the Y site. However, no more than 12% vacancies (0.36 pfu) at the Y site can be observed in such samples. It is proposed to calculate the Li content in such colourless or coloured tourmalines (elbaite, fluor-elbaite, fluor-liddicoatite, rossmanite), if no chemical data for Li is available, for Y = 2.8 apfu or for Y + Z + T = 14.8 apfu, because this calculation should give more accurate results than calculating the Li content as the difference to 3.0 apfu at the Y site. For Fe2+-rich and Mg-bearing tourmalines (schorl-dravite series) with MgO >1.0 wt% the structural formula can still be calculated for Y + Z + T = 15 apfu, because such tourmalines do not appear to contain significant Y-site vacancies. It can further be concluded that the Z site could be only <1% vacant and therefore such vacancies would be insignificant even in Al-rich tourmaline.
Piccoliite, ideally NaCaMn3+2(AsO4)2O(OH), is a new mineral discovered in the Fe-Mn ore hosted in metaquartzites of the Montaldo di Mondovì mine, Corsaglia Valley, Cuneo Province, Piedmont, Italy. It occurs as small and rare black crystals and aggregates hosted by a matrix of quartz, associated with calcite and berzeliite/manganberzeliite. It has been also found in the Valletta mine near (Canosio, Maira Valley, Cuneo Province, Piedmont, Italy), where it occurs embedded in quartz associated to grandaite, hematite, tilasite/adelite and rarely thorianite. The mineral is opaque (thin splinters may be very dark red), with brown streak and has a resinous to vitreous lustre. It is brittle with irregular fracture. No cleavage has been observed. Measured Mohs hardness is ∼5-5.5. Calculated density is 4.08 g⋅cm-3. Piccoliite is non-fluorescent. Chemical spot analyses by WDS-EPMA resulted in the empirical formula (based on 10 anions pfu) (Na0.64Ca0.35)Σ0.99(Ca0.75Na0.24)Σ0.99(Mn 3+ 1.08Fe 3+ 0.59Mg0.20Ca0.10)Σ1.97 (As2.03V0.03Si0.01)Σ2.07O9(OH). The mineral is orthorhombic, Pbcm, with single-crystal unit-cell parameters a = 8.8761(9), b = 7.5190(8), c = 11.689(1) Å and V = 780.1(1) Å 3 , with Z = 4. The seven strongest X-ray powder diffraction lines are [d Å (Irel; hkl)]: 4. 320, 214, 223). The crystal structure (R1 = 0.0193 for 1554 unique reflections) has MnO5(OH) octahedra forming edge-shared dimers; these dimers are connected through corner-sharing, forming two-up-two-down [ [6] M2([4] TO4)4φ2] chains [M = Mn; T = As; φ = O(OH)] running along [001]. These chains are bonded in the a and b directions by sharing corners with AsO4 tetrahedra, giving rise to a framework of tetrahedra and octahedra hosting seven-coordinated Ca 2+ and Na + cations. The crystal structure of piccoliite is closely related to that of pilawite-(Y), ideally CaYAl2(SiO4)2O(OH), as well as to carminite-group minerals that also show the same type of chains but with different linkage. The mineral is named after the mineral collectors Gian Paolo and Gian Carlo Piccoli (father and son) (1926-1996 and b. 1953, respectively), the latter having discovered the type material at the Montaldo di Mondovì mine.
Background Ancient DNA studies suggest that Late Pleistocene climatic changes had a significant effect on population dynamics in Arctic species. The Eurasian collared lemming ( Dicrostonyx torquatus ) is a keystone species in the Arctic ecosystem. Earlier studies have indicated that past climatic fluctuations were important drivers of past population dynamics in this species. Results Here, we analysed 59 ancient and 54 modern mitogenomes from across Eurasia, along with one modern nuclear genome. Our results suggest population growth and genetic diversification during the early Late Pleistocene, implying that collared lemmings may have experienced a genetic bottleneck during the warm Eemian interglacial. Furthermore, we find multiple temporally structured mitogenome clades during the Late Pleistocene, consistent with earlier results suggesting a dynamic late glacial population history. Finally, we identify a population in northeastern Siberia that maintained genetic diversity and a constant population size at the end of the Pleistocene, suggesting suitable conditions for collared lemmings in this region during the increasing temperatures associated with the onset of the Holocene. Conclusions This study highlights an influence of past warming, in particular the Eemian interglacial, on the evolutionary history of the collared lemming, along with spatiotemporal population structuring throughout the Late Pleistocene.
Ultralow frequency (ULF) to low frequency (LF) electromagnetic radiation represents one of the most promising effects of brittle rock strain and microcracking that might be potentially helpful for short term earthquake forecasting. In this study the results of a six month monitoring campaign are presented from Obir Cave in the eastern Alps. Direct experimental observations of electromagnetic radiation have been made using a customised broadband data logger installed next to the Obir Fault - this seismogenic fault near the Periadriatic Lineament is known to be related to at least three large prehistoric earthquakes. On the basis of these measurements it has been possible to characterise a number of distinct signals: artificial constant narrowband signals at discrete frequencies; short serial broadband impulses; high energy broadband impulses; and low energy broadband impulses. The narrowband artificial signals were removed from the electromagnetic radiation time series analysis so that the natural signals were enhanced and could be compared more easily to meteorological parameters and rock strain indicators. Critically, the high energy broadband impulses show a strong correlation with lightning activity across much of central Europe and the eastern Mediterranean while the low energy broadband impulses appear to be associated with local rock strain in and around Obir Cave. Unfortunately, it seems certain that some of the essential strain related impulses are likely to have been overprinted by the larger lightning related impulses.
Extensive bulk sampling of seven horizons of a continuous succession deposited in an outer neritic environment of the latest Maastrichtian yielded more than three thousand ichthyoliths, including 1347 elasmobranch teeth. The sampled succession represents a characteristic deep-water fauna dominated by small squaliform sharks with an increase of species richness towards the end of the Cretaceous. The multidisciplinary approach of precise sampling in combination with a well-founded biostratigraphic classification of seven assemblages provides rare and direct evidence of diversity fluctuations within the latest Maastrichtian, immediately before the bolide impact triggered the severe mass extinction event at the K/Pg boundary. Although squaliform sharks dominate the fauna, a conspicuous heterogeneity of species abundance between the assemblages is observed and a noteworthy correlation between squaliform species richness and the abundance of Parasquatina zitteli (Orectolobiformes) might indicate clade competition for ecological niches. Among 15 elasmobranch species, this study describes one new genus (Fredipristis gen. nov.) and four new squaliform species (F. eximia gen. et sp. nov., Eoetmopterus davidi sp. nov., Proetmopterus lukasi sp. nov., and Cretascymnus beauryi sp. nov.), which highlights the importance and potential of bulk sampling for reconstructing elasmobranch diversity of deep-marine realms through time.
Impact events that create complex craters excavate mid- to lower-crustal rocks, offering a unique perspective on the interior composition and internal dynamics of planetary bodies. On the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico, the surface geology mainly consists of ~3 km thick sedimentary rocks, with a lack of exposure of crystalline basement in many areas. Consequently, current understanding of the Yucatán subsurface is largely based on impact ejecta and drill cores recovered from the 180–200-km-diameter Chicxulub impact structure. In this study, we present the first apatite and titanite UPb ages for pre-impact dacitic, doleritic, and felsitic magmatic dikes preserved in Chicxulub's peak ring sampled during the 2016 IODP-ICDP Expedition 364. Dating yielded two age groups, with Carboniferous-aged dacites (327–318 Ma) and a felsite (342 ± 4 Ma) overlapping in age with most of the granitoid basement sampled in the Expedition 364 drill core, as well as Jurassic dolerites (168–159 Ma) and a felsite (152 ± 11 Ma) that represent the first in situ sampling of Jurassic-age magmatic intrusions for the Yucatán Peninsula. Further investigation of the Nd, Sr, and Hf isotopic compositions of these pre-impact lithologies and impact melt rocks from the peak ring structure suggest that dolerites generally contributed up to ~10 vol% of the Chicxulub impact melt rock sampled in the peak ring. This percentage implies that the dolerites comprised a large part of the Yucatán subsurface by volume, representing a hitherto unsampled pervasive Jurassic magmatic phase. We interpret this magmatic phase to be related to the opening of the Gulf of Mexico, representing the first physical sampling of lithologies associated with the southern extension of the opening of the Gulf of Mexico and likely constraining its onset to the Late Middle Jurassic.
The Neogene Lake Pannon was the largest lake that ever existed in Europe. It attained its greatest extent during the Tortonian Thermal Maximum. For the first time, results from a detailed lake record documenting about 85 kyr of Late Miocene time in a continuously recovered, 60-m-long, clay-rich core of Lake Pannon are reported. This record includes the transition from the lake's maximum transgression into its highstand at around 10.4 Ma. The environmental development of Lake Pannon during its maximum extent is interpreted based on integrated paleontological, sedimentological, mineralogical and geochemical data. The maximum coincided with stable sedimentation of clay, little influx from the hinterland, low surface productivity and severe bottom-water anoxia. The clay mineralogy of the lower part of the core points to prevailing chemical weathering based on the illite/smectite ratios. Distinct Fe, Mn and Ba enrichments are interpreted to have formed close to sulfate-methane transition zones during the maximum flooding. The highstand phase was marked by rapid environmental shifts with frequent phases of well‑oxygenated bottom waters. These phases are reflected by rich benthic communities including stenohaline tunicates. The increased input of detritic kaolinite suggests a shift towards physical weathering and higher precipitation coinciding with a shift in the provenance of clay minerals. Increasing amounts of nutrients stimulated surface water productivity and nannoplankton blooms. Despite the offshore position of the core at ~8 km from the mountainous ranges of the Alps, strong fluvial input is reflected from 32.5 to 30.3 m by coarser sediment and the occurrence of terrestrial and freshwater molluscs. The Rhenodanubian Flysch Unit was the main source of the siliciclastics of the core and was drained by the Paleo-Wien river. Drainage from the Calcareous Alps was limited to an exceptionally strong fluvial event and related deposits, which documents the presence of a second river in the southwest, which might represent the Paleo-Liesing. The dominance of smectite throughout the core suggests a temperate climate with distinct seasonality during the Tortonian Thermal Maximum. In view of the autochthonous ascidian sclerites in three samples, and assuming generally similar ecological requirements for both Pannonian and modern tunicates, we conclude a polyhaline salinity for Lake Pannon around 10.4 Ma.
The Late Cretaceous orogeny followed by the Eocene collision of the Adriatic with the European plate dissected the Northern Calcareous Alps (NCA) by a number of well-studied strike-slip fault systems accommodating N-S shortening and E-W stretching. However, the post-Miocene fault activity is poorly constrained due to lack of Neogene faulted sediments, and glacial erosion of geomorphic indicators. Using the protected environment of caves, we fill the knowledge gap in the post-Miocene evolution of the NCA by paleostress analysis of 172 reactivated faults that offset passages in 28 caves near major faults. Constrained maximum age of caves, our results indicate that the NCA have been subjected to N to NE trending compression since Pliocene. Faulted speleothems dated with ²³⁰ Th/U method, indicate that the recorded present-day stress state did not significantly change during the last 0.5 Ma. In contrast to the previously proposed post-Miocene N-S extension of NCA, but in agreement with what was observed in Vienna and Pannonian basins, we conclude that the eastward extrusion resulting from N-S convergence has continued despite a distinct slowdown of plate tectonic velocities in the late Miocene. The N-S extension affected only the Alpine front during Pliocene Molasse basin inversion, while at the scale of the Alpine orogen the NCA underwent successive N-S shortening and E-W stretching.
Climate change is an important driver of the spread of apiary pests and honeybee predators. These impact on one of the economically most important pollinators and thus pose serious threats to the functioning of both natural ecosystems and crops. We investigated the impact of the predicted climate change in the periods 2040-2060 and 2060-2080 on the potential distribution of the European beewolf Philanthus triangulum, a specialized honeybee predator. We modelled its potential distribution using the MaxEnt method based on contemporary occurrence data and bioclimatic variables. Our model had an overall good performance (AUC = 0.864) and the threshold of occurrence probability, assessed as the point with the highest sum of sensitivity and specificity, was at 0.533. Annual temperature range (69.5%), mean temperature in the warmest quarter (12.4%), and precipitation in the warmest quarter (7.9%) were the principal bioclimatic variables significantly affecting the potential distribution of the European beewolf. We predicted the potential distribution shifts within two scenarios (optimistic RPC4.5 and pessimistic RCP8.5) and three Global Circulation Models (HadGEM2-ES, IPSL-CM5A-LR, and MPI-SM-LR). Both optimistic and pessimistic scenarios showed that climate change will significantly increase the availability of European beewolf potential niches. Losses of potential niches will only affect small areas in southern Europe. Most of the anticipated changes for the period 2060-2080 will already have occurred in 2040-2060. The predicted range expansion of European beewolf suggests that occurrence and abundance of this species should be monitored.
In contrast to other kinds of biological interactions, symbiosis is a scarcely investigated aspect of the fossil record. This is largely due to taphonomic biases that often frustrate any attempt to make a strong case that two organisms shared an intimate association in life. Among extant marine vertebrates, the sea turtles (Cheloniidae and Dermochelyidae) bear a broad and diverse spectrum of epibiotic symbionts, including specialists such as the turtle barnacles (Chelonibiidae and Platyleapa-didae). Here, we reappraise an early Oligocene (Rupelian) fossil cheloniid skeleton, featuring the remains of cirripedes on the exterior of its entoplastron, from the Rauenberg fossil-lagerstätte, southwestern Germany. The barnacle specimens are assigned to Protochelonibia melleni, an extinct protochelonibiine species and the geologically oldest known member of Chelonibiidae. In the light of taphonomic and palaeoenvironmental considerations, and given that the extant chelonibiids are mostly known as epizoic symbionts of sea turtles, we conclude that this unique fossil association resulted from the epizoic growth of the barnacles on the external surface of the plastron of the turtle during its lifetime. This remarkable fossil association provides evidence that chelonibiids, including the extinct protochelonibiines, have been chelonophilic epizoans for more than 30 Myr. A survey of the trace and body fossil records shows that platylepadids are also likely as old as the Rupelian as is their symbiotic association with cheloniid hosts. This early emergence of the modern-looking, turtle-dwelling barnacle lineages corresponds to a climate-driven phase of major radiation and taxonomic turnover among sea turtles at the Eocene-Oligocene transition.
Scientific collections have been built by people. For hundreds of years, people have collected, studied, identified, preserved, documented and curated collection specimens. Understanding who those people are is of interest to historians, but much more can be made of these data by other stakeholders once they have been linked to the people’s identities and their biographies. Knowing who people are helps us attribute work correctly, validate data and understand the scientific contribution of people and institutions. We can evaluate the work they have done, the interests they have, the places they have worked and what they have created from the specimens they have collected. The problem is that all we know about most of the people associated with collections are their names written on specimens. Disambiguating these people is the challenge that this paper addresses. Disambiguation of people often proves difficult in isolation and can result in staff or researchers independently trying to determine the identity of specific individuals over and over again. By sharing biographical data and building an open, collectively maintained dataset with shared knowledge, expertise and resources, it is possible to collectively deduce the identities of individuals, aggregate biographical information for each person, reduce duplication of effort and share the information locally and globally. The authors of this paper aspire to disambiguate all person names efficiently and fully in all their variations across the entirety of the biological sciences, starting with collections. Towards that vision, this paper has three key aims: to improve the linking, validation, enhancement and valorisation of person-related information within and between collections, databases and publications; to suggest good practice for identifying people involved in biological collections; and to promote coordination amongst all stakeholders, including individuals, natural history collections, institutions, learned societies, government agencies and data aggregators.
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117 members
Christoph Hörweg
  • Zoological Department III
Nikolaus Szucsich
  • Central Research Laboratories
Paloma López-Guerrero
  • Department of Geology and Palaentology
Martin Schwentner
  • Zoological Department III
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