Paleontology and Evolutionary Science

Article commentary

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.
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.
Cranial anatomy of Bellusaurus sui (Dinosauria: Eusauropoda) from the Middle-Late Jurassic Shishugou Formation of northwest China and a review of sauropod cranial ontogeny

Editor rating: 8 / 10

Andrew Farke –– Detailed description of an important taxon for sauropod workers.
Assessing canalisation of intraspecific variation on a macroevolutionary scale: the case of crinoid arms through the Phanerozoic

Editor rating: 8 / 10

Philip Cox –– This is a thorough study on an extensive dataset that will provide a model for other such macroevolutionary investigations.
Fingerprinting snakes: paleontological and paleoecological implications of zygantral growth rings in Serpentes

Editor rating: 8 / 10

Andrew Farke –– This study presents data applicable for many paleontologists in trying to establish life history information for snakes extant and extinct.
Reinvestigating an enigmatic Late Cretaceous monocot: morphology, taxonomy, and biogeography of Viracarpon

Section Editor rating: 8 / 10

Andrew Farke –– Excellent imagery and descriptions of an important taxon.
Evolutionary persistence in Gunnera and the contribution of southern plant groups to the tropical Andes biodiversity hotspot

Editor rating: 9 / 10

Luis Eguiarte –– Gunnera is a genus of plants that have fascinated scientist for a long time, in particular for the very large leaves of some species and because its symbiotic relationship with the nitrogen fixing cyanobacteria Nostoc. For a many years, some botanists suspected it to be a very old, primitive genus, perhaps basal in the phylogeny of the Angiosperms. While latter molecular phylogenies did not support this position, this paper shows that indeed Gunnera is an old genus, with a complex evolutionary and phylogeographic history, and a recent radiation in the Andes. All these new results are relevant for understanding why the Neotropics have so many plant species, more than any other similar region in the planet.
Out of Asia: mitochondrial evolutionary history of the globally introduced supralittoral isopod Ligia exotica

Editor rating: 8 / 10

Curtis Daehler –– This work provides genetic evidence suggesting the native range of a widely distributed animal that was accidentally spread by humans starting hundreds of years ago.

Discussing these articles

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

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

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

ベルサウルスの頭蓋解剖学と竜脚類頭蓋、個体発生のレビュー 論文フリー https://t.co/aG5R5OzGiE https://t.co/6bjGiokyZo

Glad to see this published: Assessing canalisation of intraspecific variation on a macroevolutionary scale: the case of #crinoid arms through the #Phanerozoic https://t.co/IxjdFj99K3 via @thePeerJ #paleobiology #paleontology https://t.co/K9i8e99KEI

Fingerprinting snakes: paleontological and paleoecological implications of zygantral growth rings in Serpentes https://t.co/TVDSmgogPG

Reinvestigating an enigmatic Late Cretaceous monocot: morphology, taxonomy, and biogeography of Viracarpon https://t.co/7fmiNcjumu

Hot off the press – The contribution of southern plant groups to the tropical Andes biodiversity hotspot! https://t.co/5O6fZBPI8M #Biogeography #Evolution #Neotropics @GGBC_GU @thePeerJ