Volume 35 1999

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    Palaeontologia africana Volume 35
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1999)
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    Stereospondyl amphibians from the Elliot Formation of South Africa
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1999) Warren, Anne; Damiani, Ross
    This paper documents the first members of the Chigutisauridae (Amphibia, Stereospondyli) from southern Africa and the first post-Triassic stereospondyls from that region. The material, from the Lower and Upper Elliot Formation, was associated with a diverse fauna including early mammals and dinosaurs. Most temnospondyls known to have survived the Triassic are brachyopoids, with large members of the Chigutisauridae present in the Jurassic and Cretaceous of Gondwana, and smaller members of the Brachyopidae in the Jurassic of Eurasia.
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    Permo-Triassic fossil woods from the South African Karoo Basin
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1999) Bamford, Marion K
    The Karoo Basin extends over more than half of the South African land surface and incorporates sediments deposited over a period of more than 100 million years, from the Upper Carboniferous to the Lower Jurassic. Biozones have been established on the basis of the abundant vertebrate fauna. Fossil plant deposits are numerous but best represented by the Lower Permian Glossopteris floras and Middle to Upper Triassic Dicroidium floras. Fossil woods occur throughout the sequence. In this paper previously described woods are discussed, newly collected woods are described and an attempt is made to correlate the woods with the Formations and vertebrate biozones. Prototaxoxylon africanum (Walton) Krausel and Dolianiti is common but restricted to the Permian (Ecca and Lower Beaufort Groups). Prototaxoxylon uniseriale Prasad has the same distribution but is rare. Australoxylon teixeirae Marguerier extends from the Ecca to the middle Beaufort. Araucarioxylon occurs throughout the Karoo but there are several species that have different ranges. Araucarioxylon africanum Bamford sp. nov. occurs throughout the Beaufort and into younger deposits. Araucarioxylon karooensis Bamford sp. nov. occurs in the Normandien Formation of the Beaufort Group. Woods with podocarpacean affinities, recognized as Mesembrioxylon, first occur in the uppermost Beaufort and extend into the Cretaceous. The woods can, therefore, be used as broadscale biostratigraphic indicators but further data need to be collected.
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    Taxonomic status of the skull A.l.444-2 from the Pliocene of Hadar, Ethiopia
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1999) Ferguson, Walter W
    A nearly complete hominid skull, A.L.444-2, from the Pliocene of Hadar in Ethiopia, has been attributed to Australopithecus afarensis Johanson, White & Coppens 1978. Comparative morphological analysis indicates that it may not conform to this species. Cranial and dental morphology and measurements of A.L.444-2 agree more closely with those of A. africanus Dart 1925, to which it could be reassigned.
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    Recognition of neotype specimens for species described from the Arnot Pipe, Banke, Namaqualand, South Africa
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1999) de Villiers, S E
    Important palynological studies were completed by Scholtz (1985) on material from the Arnot Pipe on the farm Banke in Namaqualand, Northern Cape Province. The results comprised a rare record of early Tertiary vegetation in southern Africa. The body of Scholtz’s research consisted of systematic, descriptive palynology including the description of one new genus and fifteen new species. Ongoing research into South Africa’s Tertiary palynology requires that the type specimens from Arnot be used for comparative purposes. However, the microscope slides on which they were founded were not available for examination. Another set of slides, representing two of the seven samples taken at Arnot, was used to search for neotype specimens to replace the missing holotypes. Specimens representing all fifteen new species were found, but were often badly preserved, obscured by debris or trapped between air bubbles as the condition of the decade-old microscope slides had deteriorated. Only specimens in good condition were selected as neotypes, and comprehensively illustrated. Four of Scholtz’s new species were transferred to alternative, more applicable, genera.