Thursday, June 08, 2006

Articles of Note: Comptes Rendus Palevol.

The evolution of locomotion in archosaurs. 2006. John R. Hutchinson. Comptes Rendus Palevol 5: 519-530.

Abstract: Archosaurian reptiles evolved a more erect posture and parasagittal gait early on. Early dinosaurs were the first habitual striding bipeds, a trait retained by living birds. Yet there is much more to archosaur locomotor evolution than these two transitions. I review our understanding of the pattern of locomotor evolution from the first archosaurs to Crocodylia and Neornithes, outlining where transitions of locomotor function evolved. I evaluate current research approaches, advocating more experimental work on extant animals to establish rigorous form–function relationships, and more biomechanical research that is bolstered by validation and sensitivity analysis of its assumptions, methods, and results.

Time recording in bone microstructures of endothermic animals; functional relationships. 2006. Jacques Castanet. Comptes Rendus Palevol 5: 629-636.

Abstract: Because they are mineralized, skeletal tissues can record and preserve indefinitely in their microstructures the expression of various constraints and especially the passage of time. Such traces of time can be either continuous or periodic (growth marks), but when deciphered they offer a powerful tool to reconstruct life history traits and even ecological conditions of time in extant as well as extinct species. Nevertheless, the temporal message ‘printed’ in skeletal tissues can be disturbed or even destroyed by various causes that need to be understood before this ‘biological chronometer’ can be accurately used.