What's New at the Shuler Museum
Research Associate Michael Polcyn is a co-author on a recently published paper in Nature that presents evidence of dark pigmentation in ancient marine reptiles. Well-preserved soft tissue from a sea turtle, a mosasaur, and an ichthyosaur indicate that these groups convergently evolved melanism, perhaps to aid in thermoregulation or camouflage.
Holotypes of the pterosaurs Alamodactylus byrdi and Radiodactylus langstoni have been added to the online type specimen database for the vertebrate paleontology collection. The Shuler Museum currently houses over 50 vertebrate type specimens.
A new synapsid from the Late Permian of Mozambique is described by recent SMU graduate Ricardo Araújo and colleagues. CT data allowed researchers to reconstruct the brain and inner ear anatomy of the specimen. This study is published in PLoS ONE and may be downloaded here.
Shuler Museum Research Curator Timothy Myers and Brian Andres describe two new pterosaur taxa from the Cretaceous of Texas in a special issue of Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh assembled in honor of Texas paleontologist Wann Langston, Jr. The paper, which presents the exceptional record of pterosaurs from Texas, is available here. This issue also contains a report by Shuler Museum Director Dale Winkler and colleagues on new material of the sauropod dinosaur 'Paluxysaurus jonesi' (Sauroposeidon proteles) from the Early Cretaceous of Texas.
SMU graduate student Ricardo Araújo's recent study of dinosaur eggs from the Late Jurassic of Portugal was featured on National Geographic's website. The eggs are one of the earliest known examples that can be traced to theropod dinosaurs. Araújo's paper, published in the open access journal Scientific Reports, is available for download here.
The 4th Triennial International Mosasaur Meeting will be held at SMU, May 20-25, 2013. The meeting will showcase the latest research on all aspects of mosasaur paleontology, and participants include researchers from the Shuler Museum and scholars from around the world. To find out more, check out the website.
Personnel from the Shuler Museum - including Louis Jacobs, Mike Polcyn, and Dale Winkler - are leading a field trip for the 47th annual meeting of the Geological Society of America South-Central Section. The field trip, scheduled for Saturday, April 6, will visit Upper Cretaceous outcrops throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Registration is now closed, but you can still get a copy of the associated stratigraphic guide and road log, which is published in GSA Field Guide volume 30.
John Graf, a graduate student in the SMU Department of Earth Sciences, describes a new species of coelacanth from the Early Cretaceous of Texas based on a specimen in the Shuler Museum. This study is published in a recent issue of Historical Biology.
Curator of Paleontology Louis Jacobs delves into the early history of fossil collecting in Texas, using letters from the late 1800s in SMU's DeGolyer Library. This research is featured in Discover Magazine's website.
Personnel from the Shuler Museum and the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences just completed a successful expedition to Angola. You can read all about it here.