Fossil Friday 5/6/16: A turtle dentary

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UF 257195, the right dentary of a turtle, possibly Rhinoclemmys panamaensis (dorsal view). Photo © VP FLMNH.

Today’s Fossil Friday post is on the dentary, or lower jaw bone, of a turtle (possibly Rhinoclemmys panamaensis) found at the Hodges Microsite locality in the Cucaracha Formation of the Panama Canal Basin. The fossil is early Miocene in age. Its large size is notable as it is larger than any modern species of Rhinoclemmys.

To learn more about this specimen, read the publication on its discovery here.

Reference:

Cadena, E., Bourque, J., Rincon, A., Bloch, J.I., Jaramillo, C., and MacFadden, B. 2012 New Turtles (Chelonia) from the Late Eocene through Late Miocene of the Panama Canal Basin. Journal of Paleontology 86: 539-557. doi: 10.1666/11-106.1

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Fossil Friday 4/29/16: A white cockle

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UF 208535, a valve of  Apiocardia n. sp. Photo © IVP FLMNH.

This week’s Fossil Friday post focuses on a white cockle of the genus Apiocardia. This bivalve specimen was collected from the Gatún Formation and is Late Miocene in age. This species was endemic to the Caribbean side of Panama.

To learn more about this species, visit the “Fossils of Panama” page on it here.

Fossil Friday 4/22/16: A New World Monkey

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UF 280128, the left upper first molar (M1) and holotype of Panamacebus transitus. Photo courtesy of Aldo Rincon, VP FLMNH and PCP PIRE.

This week’s Fossil Friday (and Earth Day) feature highlights an important new discovery that was just published in the journal Nature this week. Seven fossil teeth of a platyrrhine, or New World Monkey, named Panamacebus transitus were found at the Lirio Norte locality of Las Cascadas, and these teeth are the first known evidence of New World Monkeys in North America. The discovery of the teeth has also rewritten the history of mammalian dispersals from South America to North America, as they are the oldest record of a mammal dispersing from South America to North America with an age of 20.93 ± 0.17 Ma.

To learn more about this key discovery, read the publication on it here.

Reference:

Bloch, J. I., Woodruff, E. D., Wood, A. R., Rincon, A. F., Harrington, A. R., Morgan, G. S., Foster, D. A., Montes, C., Jaramillo, C. A., Jud, N. A., Jones, D. S., and MacFadden, B. J. 2016. First North American Fossil Monkey and Early Miocene Tropical Biotic Interchange. Nature. doi:10.1038/nature17415

Fossil Friday 4/8/16: An artiodactyl tibia

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UF 243751, an artiodactyl tibia. Photo © VP FLMNH.

For this week’s Fossil Friday post I present an artiodactyl tibia, perhaps one of a peccary (Family Tayassuidae) or a protoceratid (Family Protoceratidae). The curvature and the morphology of the end that articulates with the astragalus along with other features strongly suggests it belongs to an artiodactyl, however it was not found in association with other elements, like teeth, that could pinpoint an identification. This specimen was found in the upper Culebra Formation and is early Miocene in age.

To learn more about this specimen, read its description in the paper referenced below on peccaries found in Panama.

Reference:

MacFadden, B.J., Kirby, M.X., Rincon, A., Montes, C., Moron, S., Strong, N., and Jaramillo, C. 2010. Extinct Peccary “Cynorca” occidentale (Tayassuidae) from the Miocene of Panama and Correlations to North America. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 84: 288-298. doi: 10.1666/09-064R.1

Fossil Friday 3/25/16: A basket clam

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UF 221418, the two valves of the basket clam Caryocorbula stena. Note that the valve with the bore hole is much smaller than the other valve. Photo © IVP FLMNH.

This week’s Fossil Friday feature is the basket clam Caryocorbula stena. This specimen was found in the Gatún Formation and is Late Miocene in age. This bivalve would have been found in shallow marine waters, burrowing just under the surface of the sediment. One interesting characteristic of this basket clam is that it is inequivalve, meaning that one valve is much larger than the other.

To learn more about this bivalve, check out the Fossils of Panama here.

Fossil Friday 3/4/16: A fossilized fruit (Oreomunnea grahamii)

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UF 00621-59109, the holotype of Oreomunnea grahamii. The specimen is shown in a lateral view (A), an apical view (B), and in cross section (C). Figure modified from Herrera et al. 2014.

For this week’s Fossil Friday post, I would like to show you a fossilized fruit called Oreomunnea grahamii. It was found in 2007 at the Lirio East locality of the Cucaracha Formation and is Early Miocene in age. This fruit belongs to the Family Juglandaceae, which is commonly known as the walnut family of trees. Before the discovery of this fossil fruit, the occurrence of the modern Neotropical genus Oreomunnea was mostly restricted to the microfossil record in the form of pollen.

To learn more about this fossil fruit discovery, download the publication by clicking here.

References:

Herrera, F., Manchester, S. R., Koll, R., and Jaramillo, C. 2014. Fruits of Oreomunnea (Juglandaceae) in the early Miocene of Panama. Pages 124-133 in W. D. Stevens, O. M. Montiel, and P. Raven, editors. Paleobotany and Biogeography: A Festschrift for Alan Graham in His 80th Year. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St Louis, MO.

 

Fossil Friday 2/26/16: A boa constrictor

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A modern Boa constrictor imperator, which is a subspecies of Boa constrictor. Photo © Esteban Alzate.

This week’s Fossil Friday post highlights fossil vertebrae of the boa constrictor (binomial name: Boa constrictor) found in the Las Cascadas (UF 255000) and Cucaracha Formations (UF 237882 and UF 237883). These specimens represent some of the oldest fossil vertebrates from South America dispersing to Central America at 19.3 million years ago.

For images of the fossil specimens and for more information on them, be sure to read the publication on them here.

Reference:

Head, J., Rincon, A., Suarez, C., Montes, C., and Jaramillo, C. 2012 Fossil evidence for earliest Neogene American faunal interchange: Boa (Serpentes, Boinae) from the early Miocene of Panama. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32: 1328-1334.
www.dx.doi.org/10.1080/02724634.2012.694387

Fossil Friday 2/5/16: A hammerhead shark tooth

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UF 232587, a hammerhead (Sphyrna sp.) shark tooth. Photo © VP FLMNH.

This week’s Fossil Friday post showcases a hammerhead (Sphyrna sp.) shark tooth. This particular specimen is from the Milwhite Gunn Farm Mine site in Florida, but fossil hammerhead teeth have been found in the Gatún Formation in Las Lomas and the Chucunaque Formation in Lago Bayano. Hammerhead sharks are found worldwide today but are only found in the Caribbean in the fossil record.

To learn more about fossil hammerhead sharks from Panama, check out the “Fossils of Panama” page on hammerhead shark teeth here.

Fossil Friday 1/22/16: A turrid snail

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UF 208176, the shell of Hindsiclava consors. Many turrid snails are venomous and can inject venom into their prey using their specialized radula. Photo © IVP FLMNH.

This week’s Fossil Friday post features the turrid snail Hindsiclava consors (Family Turridae). H. consors would have been found in both on the Caribbean and the Pacific sides of Panama from the early Miocene to the late Pliocene. This specimen was found by Gary Morgan in the Gatún Formation and is late Miocene in age.

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Two Christmas tree worms (Spirobranchus giganteus). Photo by Nick Hobgood.

This family of predatory snails is known to prey primarily on polychaete worms (Phylum Annelida, Class Polychaeta). One modern-day polychaete worm is the Christmas tree worm, which uses its Christmas tree-shaped appendages for respiration and for filter feeding.

To learn more about this turrid snail, see the “Fossils of Panama” post on it here.

Fossil Friday 1/15/16: A camel mandible

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UF 254113, the right mandible of Aguascalientia minuta. The left mandible of this particular individual (not shown here) was also recovered and has the same catalog number. Photo © VP FLMNH.

This week’s Fossil Friday is the mandible of the camel Aguascalientia minuta. This specimen was found at the Lirio Norte Graben site in the Las Cascadas Formation and is early Miocene in age. This fossil camel species is the smallest known floridatraguline (Family Floridatragulinae).

To learn more about this specimen, read the publication on it here. Also, be sure to check out another floridatraguline from Panama (Aguascalientia panamaensis) at one of our previous Fossil Friday posts here.

Reference

Rincon, A., Bloch, J.I., Suarez, C., MacFadden, B.J., and Jaramillo, C. 2012 New Floridatragulines (Mammalia, Camelidae) From The Early Miocene Las Cascadas Formation, Panama. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 32: 456-475.
www.dx.doi.org/10.1080/02724634.2012.635736