Recent VP Publications from VMNH scientists

Image from Karen Carr/VMNH

Last June our department published two papers on vertebrate fossils from Virginia. The first, in the June issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, was the description of Mecistotracelos apeoros, a small gliding reptile from the Triassic Cow Branch Formation. There are two known specimens of Mecistotrachelos, which was described based entirely on CT scans of the specimen. An unusual feature of this genus is that, unlike other gliding reptiles, it seems to have had a high degree of control over its flying. It may have been able to adjust the shape of its wing, altering its flight characteristics.

The full citation for this paper is:

Fraser, N. C, P. E. Olsen, A. C. Dooley Jr., and T. R. Ryan, 2007. A new gliding tetrapod (Diapsida: ?Archosauromorpha) from the Upper Triassic (Carnian) of Virginia. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 27(2):261-265.

VMNH’s press release is available here.

The second paper was a report on land mammals from the Carmel Church Quarry (the same place this whale came from.) Land mammals older than the Pleistocene are rare in Virginia, because there are no terrestrial deposits from those time periods in the state. Prior to the Carmel Church excavations, the only reported Miocene land mammals in Virginia were a few specimens from the Potomac and Pamunkey Rivers.

The new paper describes eight new land mammal specimens from the Calvert Formation at Carmel Church. These include the first report of the small horse Calippus regulus and the first dromomerycid from the upper Calvert, as well as tapir and peccary remains. The peccary material includes a partial lower jaw.

The full citation for this paper is:

Dooley, A. C. Jr., 2007. Barstovian (middle Miocene) Land Mammals from the Carmel Church Quarry, Caroline County, Virginia. Jeffersoniana, No.18, 17 pp.

An interesting point about these eight specimens is that seven of them were discovered either by VMNH volunteers, or by participants on our public field trips.

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