Paleontological Discoveries of 2008

Zoltan Csiki, as characterized in 2008 in connection with the discoveries in the field of paleontology? And suggest how to group the events about which we speak in this interview?
ZC. The year 2008 was relatively rich in important discoveries in the field of paleontology, even if truly remarkable discoveries were not very numerous.
I propose to share the news of the most representative in the following categories:
Fossil humans
Fossil DNA
dinosaurs and birds
origin of turtles
News about dinosaurs in Romania and surrounding regions.

 Zoltan Csiki, as characterized in 2008 in connection with the discoveries in the field of paleontology? And suggest how to group the events about which we speak in this interview?
ZC. The year 2008 was relatively rich in important discoveries in the field of paleontology, even if truly remarkable discoveries were not very numerous.
I propose to share the news of the most representative in the following categories:

  • Fossil humans
  • Fossil DNA
  • dinosaurs and birds    
  • origin of turtles
  • News about dinosaurs in Romania and surrounding regions

1. Fossil Men
Two news on the ancestors of Homo sapiens seems to have a special significance.
On the one hand, the controversy around the status of Flores hobbit ”seems to approach

a final answer. hobbits of Flores (small-sized humanoid specimens, described in 2004 in Flores Island, Indonesia) was considered alternatively as representing either a new species of hominid - Homo floresiensis - or close to Homo sapiens , or Homo Erectus ( ), or as diseased specimens Homo sapiens ( p = eb0a1d719c8e4a058164637564d8d385 & pi = 0 ).

In 2008 the Florres hobbits ”were re-evaluated in a comprehensive morphometric study, which took into account all humanoid groups considered in previous studies. Study results appear to show unequivocally that thesmall size of fossil umanoizii Flores NOT closely related to Homo sapiens. This is true both for H. sapiens with normal morphology, but also for dwarf forms of H. sapiens , whether they are of pathological (diseased individuals), or evolutionary origin (such as human specimens found on many islands – the latest examples of this type were identified in 2008 in the Palau Islands).

On the contrary, “ Hobbits of Flores ”shows the primitive features that you definitely coming in the species Homo erectus , which inhabited South and East Asian regions far 50-400 thousand years. Although the final status of this hominid is not established, explanations about the possibility that the skeletons belonged to individuals of Homo sapiens appear permanently excluded patients. ( )

A second news about human origins is a European significance. The discovery of remains of hominids in the cave deposits in Spain, dated by using various modern methods as now approx. 1.1 to 1,200,000 years, are considered to be the oldest remains of Homo known in Europe. They therefore constitute a first migrations of immigrant descendants of primitive hominids in Africa. ( )

2. The study of fossil DNA
The year 2008 brought paleogenetice multiplying and deepening studies on species 

best known fossils from this point of view – the woolly mammoth ( Mammuthus primigenius ). Currently, it is already identified around mammoth genome sequence contained in mitochondrial DNA, this result is mainly due to exceptional preservation of many specimens in the permafrost (frozen ground) Arctic regions (doi: 10.1038/nature07446, Letter, http: / / ).

Paleogenetica studies have advanced sufficiently to permit the identification of populations of genetically distinct in the Siberian mammoth (possibly two different subspecies) and follow the evolutionary fate of the two populations.Further studies will provide valuable information on the origin of the mammoth and kinship relations (ie on certain portions of the tree proboscidienilor – a group whose representatives today are the elephants).Moreover, further research opens up the prospect of bringing re- the life of this impressive animal fossil (and had not gone than 8000 years ago!).

3. The transition from dinosaurs to birds
Let us move forward in time in the history of life on Earth. It was the dinosaurs mesozoicul, always attracts attention not only specialists but also of paleontology enthusiasts. The year 2008 was marked by more news from the world of dinosaurs. Please mention to those that you feel are most representative.
ZC. Many new discoveries of 2008 were allowed to deepen knowledge

about one of the major evolutionary transitions (and controversial) of the living world, one related to the origin of birds and their ancestors. 

The origin of birds from one group (we still definitively stated) carnivorous dinosaurs (theropode) is becoming better supported and more widely accepted. However, the exact identity of the original group, and the manner and cause of various features typical “ Avien ”(characteristic of birds) are far from being well understood. Five different directions of research have brought new clarifications about this issue. A recent study has reported the discovery of a new species of dinosaur in South America, species named Aerosteon (in translation – the air filled with bones). Preservation of skeletal remains exceptionally good recognition and allowed detailed reconstruction of the skeleton structure of the pneumatic theropod dinosaur. Pneumatizarea extreme skeleton, reminiscent of the bird (which pneumatizarea – bone filling the air – unique type is related to their breath), suggests that the occurrence of this type of respiration (breathing called costo-sternal) pre-dates its origin , called the bird and she already characterize many species of dinosaurs theropozi.

Other fossils from the medium-upper Jurassic of China (like Epidexipteryx ), demonstrates

Other biological features of birds have also appeared dinozaurieni their ancestors – is about plumage, whose role was to dinosaurs theropozi ornamental (thus suggesting similar mating behavior known in birds), before being involved in flight , in birds. ( , Now-100-million-year-dinosaur-pene.htm )

Behaviors typical birds, but already present in many groups of dinosaurs theropozi were documented by two other studies on dinosaur eggs and nests. The first study on uunui nest completely, but well preserved, documented the existence of a typical avian behavior, nest building and the regular arrangement of eggs in it ( scientifically demonstrated-was-more-first-oul.htm ).

The second study, published in mid-December in the journal Science , shows that the structure and size of nests of three different species of dinosaurs theropozi (Asia and North America) and the internal structure (histology) bone found in the vicinity of nests parents is compatible only with the reproductive behavior of certain birds, behavior characterized by a system of imperechiere polygamist and parental care (by male) of the nest. So, not mothers, but fathers were caring parents with certain species of dinosaurs theropozi. ( )

4. The origin of turtles
You chose the important event of 2008 to study the origin of a class of reptiles that came to the attention of the general public less – turtles.Why?
ZC. Even if the turtles do not compete with the dinosaurs or mammoths fame in the year 2008 was marked by some extremely important studies on the origin and early evolution of these animals. Chelonienii (turtles) are a group whose origin is extremely difficult to understand precisely because of their morphology, body covered with a bony shell developed is unique and never knew until this

Since intermediates. 

The oldest species chelonieni ( Proganochelys , the upper Triassic – about 210 million years ago – found in Germany) were already known species unique morphology present. Some findings published in 2008 in China (recently published in Nature), North America and South America provide important clarification of the origin of the group, even if not definitively close this file. Chinlechelys of upper Triassic of North America, documenting intermediate stage in the development of the carapace, where it is not yet completely ossified and thick, while the neck and tail and they are covered by bony plates, unlike the more advanced chelonienii. To illustrate the complexity chelonienilor stage debut, Odontochelys , upper Triassic of China, has fully formed the ventral carapace, while the back of the shell is incomplete. ( )

But while all primitive turtles (including Chinlechelys ) animals were typical continental (suggesting that the origin of the group took place on continents)Odontochelys was found in ancient marine sediments typical of coastal and delta areas, and was quoted as an argument for an aquatic origin of the group.

5. News about dinosaurs in Romania and surrounding regions
In Romania have been found since the nineteenth-century fragments of the dinosaurs – and the many discoveries made in the last decades of the twentieth century leading up to, during the end of the dinosaur era, a relatively complete reconstruction paleogeographical. Then, in what is now Romania were several islands, bordered by warm ocean waters. And the island’s most representative today was Hateg County area, where most of the discoveries were made. Zoltan Cziki that made 2008 what new stiusem so far?
ZC. I think that two very interesting preliminary study that refers to the territory of Romania and neighboring regions. In Romania, for the first time is dramatically documented the existence of dinosaurs on a much larger area in the late Cretaceous. Besides dinosaurs Country Hategului, here we can talk about dinosaurs in Salaj, Romania and Belgium described by paleontologists.(
Their presence documents the extension north of the island that these dinosaurs lived dwarfs. 

Moreover! Each island with its dinosaurs – 2008 will see the alert first dinosaur remains in Bulgaria. Even if these remains are few in number and come from marine deposits, landlocked nature of the dinosaurs suggests possible existence of the country and neighboring islands. To what extent the two areas were separate islands or large parts of the same islands that were the Dinosaur faunele relations between the two regions (which are the same age) – all these questions will be able to get the answer through further research in both Romania and Bulgaria in the years to come.

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