A Message from Colin Sumrall, Editor in Chief, Elements of Paleontology

As Editor in Chief of the Paleontological Society’s Book/Journal Elements of Paleontology, I wanted to draw your attention to two recently published articles that highlight the breadth of Elements as well as highlight some of the publishing capabilities of the series.  Elements is more than just a series for the Paleontological Society Short Course Notes.  It publishes longer articles on a variety of paleontological topics including education and outreach in paleontology, stratigraphy, taxonomy and paleontological methods and techniques, to name a few.  As always, we are looking for content.  Feel free to contact me concerning ideas for new elements and edited volumes. 

The Stratigraphic Paleobiology of Nonmarine Systems by Steven Holland, University of Georgia; Katharine M. Loughney, University of Michigan 

This paper reviews issues surrounding the interplay of sequence stratigraphy and the fossil record in terrestrial settings 

Abstract: The principles of stratigraphic paleobiology can be readily applied to the nonmarine fossil record. Consistent spatial and temporal patterns of accommodation and sedimentation in sedimentary basins are an important control on stratigraphic architecture. Temperature and precipitation covary with elevation, causing significant variation in community composition, and changes in base level cause elevation to undergo predictable changes. These principles lead to eight sets of hypotheses about the nonmarine fossil record. Three relate to long-term and cyclical patterns in the preservation of major fossil groups and their taphonomy, as well as the occurrence of fossil concentrations. The remaining hypotheses relate to the widespread occurrence of elevation-correlated gradients in community composition, long-term and cyclical trends in these communities, and the stratigraphic position of abrupt changes in community composition. Testing of these hypotheses makes the stratigraphic paleobiology of nonmarine systems a promising area of investigation. 

Expanded Sampling Across Ontogeny in Deltasuchus motherali (Neosuchia, Crocodyliformes): Revealing Ecomorphological Niche Partitioning and Appalachian Endemism in Cenomanian Crocodyliforms by Stephanie K. Drumheller, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Thomas L. Adams, Witte Museum; Hannah Maddox, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Christopher R. Noto, University of Wisconsin, Parkside 

This paper provides a complete description of the skull elements of the crocodyliform Deltasuchus motherali, providing insight into ontogeny and ecology.  It also highlights the video capabilities of the elements series. 

Abstract: New material attributable to Deltasuchus motherali, a neosuchian from the Cenomanian of Texas, provides sampling across much of the ontogeny of this species. Detailed descriptions provide information about the paleobiology of this species, particularly with regards to how growth and development affected diet. Overall snout shape became progressively wider and more robust with age, suggesting that dietary shifts from juvenile to adult were not only a matter of size change, but of functional performance as well. These newly described elements provide additional characters upon which to base more robust phylogenetic analyses. The authors provide a revised diagnosis of this species, describing the new material and discussing incidents of apparent ontogenetic variation across the sampled population. The results of the ensuing phylogenetic analyses both situate Deltasuchus within an endemic clade of Appalachian crocodyliforms, separate and diagnosable from goniopholidids and pholidosaurs, herein referred to as Paluxysuchidae.

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