Paleontology and Evolutionary Science

Article commentary

Phylogeny of Paleozoic limbed vertebrates reassessed through revision and expansion of the largest published relevant data matrix

Editor rating: 6 / 10

Stephanie Pierce –– It is important to understand the correct phylogenetic relationships of early tetrapods so we can make broader evolutionary hypotheses (e.g. ecology, function etc).
Shell variability in the stem turtles Proterochersis spp.

Editor rating: 7 / 10

Jérémy Anquetin –– Detailed description of morphological variability in early turtles
Ornithopod diversity in the Griman Creek Formation (Cenomanian), New South Wales, Australia

Editor rating: 7 / 10

Hans-Dieter Sues –– Important records of Cretaceous ornithopod dinosaurs from Australia.
Postmortem transport in fossil and modern shelled cephalopods

Editor rating: 9 / 10

Kenneth De Baets –– The manuscript introduces a new metric for drift potential of cephalopod shells relevant for paleontologist and biologists. When applying it on fossil ammonoids and modern nautilids, the author demonstrates that long post-mortem drift is more than sometimes claimed and that their geographic ranges are reasonable proxies for geographic range during life making it also of great interest to biogeographers and ecologists. The results also suggest the presence modern or recently extirpated populations of Nautilus in the Indian ocean, which is of relevance for conservation efforts.
A needle in a haystack: Mesozoic origin of parasitism in Strepsiptera revealed by first definite Cretaceous primary larva (Insecta)

Editor rating: 7 / 10

Kenneth De Baets –– This article allow back to track the origin of strepsipteran parasitic lifestyle back ca. 100 million years indicating an exceptional case of evolutionary stasis.
Prionochelys matutina Zangerl, 1953 (Testudines: Pan-Cheloniidae) from the Late Cretaceous of the United States and the evolution of epithecal ossifications in marine turtles

Editor rating: 7 / 10

Mark Young –– This contribution is important as it is one of a growing number of papers that is elucidating the evolution of marine turtles. Compared to other Mesozoic marine reptiles, the evolution, taxonomy and comparative anatomy of marine turtles is still poorly understood.
Cancellous bone and theropod dinosaur locomotion. Part I—an examination of cancellous bone architecture in the hindlimb bones of theropods

Editor rating: 8 / 10

Mathew Wedel –– This work is legitimately groundbreaking in its scope and in its potential to move the field forward. The papers in this series seem destined to become citation classics.
Cancellous bone and theropod dinosaur locomotion. Part III—Inferring posture and locomotor biomechanics in extinct theropods, and its evolution on the line to birds

Editor rating: 8 / 10

Mathew Wedel –– This work is legitimately groundbreaking in its scope and in its potential to move the field forward. The papers in this series seem destined to become citation classics. (Applies to all three papers in this series.)
New records of the archaic dolphin Agorophius (Mammalia: Cetacea) from the upper Oligocene Chandler Bridge Formation of South Carolina, USA

Editor rating: 8 / 10

J. Thewissen –– Modern toothed whales (odontocetes) are interesting because they are able to shed the design constraints that most mammals, including Eocene whales, have (for instance, in the number of teeth and the number of phalanges). Early odontocetes, such as the one described here, are on that path: they are exploring the limits of the mammalian bauplan. We don't know much about the morphology of these groups, so every fossil described helps us understand that evolutionary exploration better.
A close relative of the Amazon river dolphin in marine deposits: a new Iniidae from the late Miocene of Angola

Editor rating: 6 / 10

Tomas Hrbek –– A fine contribution of our understanding of the evolution of Inioid dolphins and how and when South American freshwater habitats were colonized.

Discussing these articles

My article (mostly David's, actually), after about 15 years in the making, has been published today in @thePeerJ https://t.co/cr2GNEz73Q #Biodiversity #Ecology #EvolutionaryStudies #Paleontology #Zoology

Shell variability in the first turtles https://t.co/9XlLjne3aL

New paper on dinosaur Weewarrasaurus and other Lightning Ridge fossils, by Phil Bell and colleagues, published today in @thePeerJ https://t.co/GAcW8tKU2t

Postmortem transport in #fossil and modern shelled #cephalopods with important implications for #biogeography and #conservation https://t.co/hIdxJI7ncT via @thePeerJ https://t.co/WekOQR2rEA

60 days ago
A needle in a haystack: Mesozoic origin of parasitism in Strepsiptera revealed by first definite Cretaceous primary larva (Insecta) https://t.co/qKHSWWXp4A #Entomology #Paleontology #Taxonomy #Amber https://t.co/1gFkUx1n2G

An article I handled as editor has been published today @thePeerJ https://t.co/IkDFf01A5L #EvolutionaryStudies #MarineBiology #Paleontology

Big day for #DAWNDINOS postdoc Peter Bishop! Not 1 or 2 but *3* papers from his PhD, on relating trabecular bone structure to locomotion in theropod dinosaurs! 1. Bone architecture https://t.co/ei8v5rnoIB 2. Chicken https://t.co/DcppV2SU7q 3. Dinos https://t.co/imGf9Hq4T0

Cancellous bone and theropod dinosaur locomotion. Part I—an examination of cancellous bone architecture in the hindlimb bones of theropods https://t.co/6Ecrq5bEyS @thePeerJ https://t.co/SMCki3M02w

115 days ago
Some new stem odontocete info from @CoastalPaleo & Jonathan Geisler. Nice work guys! https://t.co/Xxh9vscGK7

A close relative of the Amazon river dolphin in marine deposits: a new Iniidae from the late Miocene of Angola https://t.co/vX6eykXZa3 @thePeerJ https://t.co/CYuwXOxiFZ