CRETACEOUS MAMMALS FROM MADAGASCAR
Dr. Simone Hoffmann
Dept. of Anatomy, College of Osteopathic Medicine
New York Institute of Technology, Old Westbury, Long Island, N.Y.
Sunday, November 18, 2018 2:00 P.M. Room 319
American Museum of Natural History New York City
Within the last decades the fossil record of Mesozoic mammals and their ancestors (termed mammaliaforms) has seen a tremendous increase, mainly driven by the discovery of complete skeletons from China. These new fossils demonstrate that early mammals were diverse and occupied a plethora of ecological niches similar to mammals today. Mesozoic ecosystems included digging, semiaquatic, climbing, gliding, and even carnivorous mammals that preyed on small dinosaurs. In stark contrast to the record of Laurasian mammals, mammal skeletons are extremely rare from the southern supercontinent Gondwana. To date, only five mammaliaform taxa are known from the entire Mesozoic of Gondwana that are represented by more than isolated elements.
Two Late Cretaceous mammals from Madagascar offer an exceptional window into mammalian evolution on the southern hemisphere. The skull of Vintana and a complete skeleton and skull of a yet undescribed and new mammal drastically improve the Gondwana fossil record. Vintana and the new mammal are truly bizarre. They are characterized by a unique mixture of derived and basal traits reflective of their long evolutionary history in geographic isolation on Madagascar. For example, Vintana and the new fossil are among the largest mammals known from the entire Mesozoic. Both species belong to the enigmatic Gondwanatheria, a southern radiation of previously poorly represented Late Cretaceous to Paleogene mammals. Recently Gondwanatheria have gained much attention as they are part of the heavily debated Allotheria. Based on newly described fossils from China and North America, different studies have come to very different conclusions on the composition and validity of Allotheria, either including the Late Triassic haramiyidans within Allotheria (and within Mammalia) or placing them outside of Mammaliaformes. The differing compositions of Allotheria result in drastically different estimates for the timing of origin of mammals (either within the Triassic or the Early Jurassic). The new Malagasy gondwanatherians are a critically important piece in the puzzle of mammalian relationships.
THE NEW YORK PALEONTOLOGICAL SOCIETY'S
ANNUAL HOLIDAYS PARTY
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2018 FROM ABOUT 12:30 to 6:00 P.M.
NYU TANDON SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING
2 METROTECH CENTER, BROOKLYN, N.Y.
Our Society is once again gearing-up for the festivities of the holiday season with its own Annual Holidays Party. It’s being held on the first Saturday of December (December 1st), early enough not to interfere with your holiday celebrations later in the month. Also, maybe you can pick up some presents at the party and help the Society’s treasury at the same time!
The party will feature our usual free food and beverages (for members and those guests who are registered), including many specialty foods and desserts. Many books, magazines and other items will be given away free as door prizes - and everybody gets one! There will also be sales tables, copies of our Society’s award winning field guides and publications and free copies of our Newsletters. And thanks to donations by our members, there will be many books on topics in paleontology, geology, dinosaurs and minerals, as well as in anthropology and natural history.
In addition, the events will include educational exhibits, children's events, some brief talks, classic videos with a prehistoric theme, and much more. A more detailed notice will be sent to members.
Located between BAM, the new Barclays Center and DUMBO in Borough Hall and Brooklyn Heights and its famous Promenade view of lower Manhattan, NYU Tandon (formerly Polytechnic) School of Engineering is part of Metrotech Center. It is in the center of the booming revitalization that downtown Brooklyn is experiencing - so come and see what’s going on across the Brooklyn Bridge (which is also close to NYU Tandon!).
The site provides ample space for all of our events, and all events and tables (including our legendary food tables) are in connected rooms.
Contact Donald Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.