Volume 20 1977

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    Palaeontologia africana Volume 20
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1977)
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    New species of Parmularius hopwood and Damaliscus sclater and Thomas (Alcelaphini, Bovidae, Mammalia) from Makapansgat, and comments on faunal chronological correlation
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1977) Vrba, Elizabeth S.
    Two new species of Alcelaphini, based on fossils from the Makapansgat Limeworks, are described. One is an early member species of the extinct genus Parmularius Hopwood. The present description is the first record of a Parmularius from any southern African fossil site. The other new species belongs to Damaliscus Sclater and Thomas, and is closely related to the extinct Damaliscus niro (Hopwood). The phylogenetic relationships of the new species to other extant and extinct alcelaphines are discussed. Comparison with fossils of the same, and/or related, species elsewhere in Africa gives rise to comments on faunal chronological correlation.
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    Technological note: a cheap stereophotograph apparatus
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1977) Thackwray, H. O.
    The need for a gadget for taking stereo pairs of photographs has been evident for some time. What was needed was a cheap, pocket-sized gadget that would fit all makes of cameras, could be used for close-up photos, large immovable objects and even landscapes. It had to be simple and easy to operate.
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    Fossil insect wings from the early Permian White Band formation, South Africa
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1977) McLachlan, Ian R Anderson, Anne M
    Fossil insect remains are reported for the first time from the Lower Karroo White Band in South Africa. The wings of two individuals have been recovered from separate localities 140 km apart in the southern Cape fold-belt. They unfortunately supply little useful information on the depositional environment of the White Band as they were probably transported some distance to their final site of preservation.
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    An investigation of the lower Permian middle Ecca ammonite locality at Alleta, Natal
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1977) McLachlan, I. R.
    The problematic ammonite Paraceltites bowdeni Teichert & Rilett has been recorded only from the Alleta iron-ore mine near Dundee in Natal. It is unique in the Early Permian Ecca Series as it suggests a normal salinity for the depositional environment of sediments that have yielded no other clearly marine fossils. An investigation of the matrix of the specimen slabs, however, yields information which is incompatible with equivalent data from the Alleta mine and the Ecca sediments in general. The matrix contains the distinctive pollen Classopollis which is not known from elsewhere in the world in deposits older than Late Triassic. Comparative tests of the degree of thermal diagenesis of the contained organic material suggests that the ammonite specimens have not been subjected to the same degree of alteration as the sediments at the Alleta mine. Results of other tests have not been definitive but do not contradict the suggestion that the ammonites were mistakenly accredited to the A1leta mine. It is concluded that the ammonites derived originally from sediments of Late Triassic to Early Jurassic age at an unknown locality outside of South Africa.
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    A review of the localities and flora of the lower Permian Karoo strata at Vereeniging, South Africa
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1977) LeRoux, S F Anderson, Heidi M
    The Vereeniging fossil floras are particularly well known and often referred to, as it is among them that attached glossopteridophyte fructifications were first recorded. No recent review of the localities, flora and age of the deposits is available. The history of collecting and description of fossil plants from Vereeniging dates from 1879. Ten localities have been recorded to date, the most important of which are the three Leeukuil quarries from which a diverse flora has been collected and described over the past thirty years. Two of the localities are considered to fall within the Lower Ecca and the remaining eight within a restricted section of the Middle Ecca coal measures. The older flora is poorly known and is represented only by the genera Gangamopteris and Noeggerathiopsis. The younger flora is fairly comprehensively known and includes some 23 genera and 33 species of plants.
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    Postcanine tooth function and jaw movement in the gomphodont cynodont Diademodon (Reptilia; Therapsida)
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1977) Grine, Frederick E.
    The postcanine dentition of Diademodon was well adapted, in both morphology and pattern of replacement, to exercising and maintaining precise occlusion. These teeth may be grouped into three morphological classes, consisting of conical, gomphodont and sectorial teeth. The anterior conicals may have acted as gripping teeth, and the posterior sectorials may have been utilized as food "tenderizers" or shredders, while the intermediate gomphodont teeth were utilized in the mastication of food items. The gomphodont teeth, which show evidence of heavy wear, were examined in the scanning electron microscope (SEM), in order to attempt a reconstruction of the masticatory jaw movements in this animal, based on the morphology and orientation of the occlusal wear facets. The occlusal surfaces of the gomphodont teeth are pitted. The pitted occlusal surface texture is an indication of either abrasion or attrition, resulting from direct pounding of the lower teeth against their maxillary antagonists. It is concluded that masticatory jaw movements in Diademodon were wholly orthal. There is no dental evidence to support the contention that this reptile exercised either propalinal (Hopson, 1971) or ectental chewing movements. The jaw closing action in Diademodon appears to have been equivalent to the masticatory power stroke.
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    Fossil vertebrate studies in Rhodesia: sphenodontid remains from the upper Trias of Rhodesia
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1977) Gow, C. E.
    Small sphenodontid rhynchocephalians are known from the upper Trias in Britain (Robinson, 1973). This paper records for the first time the presence of sphenodontids of very similar age, size, and morphology from the Upper Trias of Rhodesia.
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    On a supposed skin impression of Procolophon
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1977) Gow, C. E.
    Van Heerden (1974) described and figured what he took to be an impression of the skin of Procolophon found with a typical assemblage of natural moulds of that animal. The stereophotographs in his Plate 4 seemed, however, to show sutures and the impressions of a few tiny sharp pointed teeth. Examination of the original shows that this is indeed the case. The accompanying explanatory sketch (fig. 1), which may be read in conjunction with Van Heerden's published photographs, shows that the pattern of dermal bones is typically amphibian and quite unlike that of Procolophon, as too are the teeth. The conclusion is reached that the specimen (QR 1597) shows normal bones of the skull and is not a skin impression.
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    Owenetta in perspective
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1977) Gow, C. E.
    This paper adds detail to the existing description of the small procolophonid Owenetta rubidgei Broom. The relationships of this animal are assessed with reference to other South African procolophonids and pareiasaurs. All are broadly related but a mosaic of characters precludes any direct phyletic relationships.
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    Discussion on: numerical methods in the definition of palynological assemblage zones in the Lower Karroo (Gondwana) of Rhodesia
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1977) Falcon, R. M. S.
    Subsequent to the publication of the above paper (in which a number of errata appeared) certain points of discussion have been raised regarding the interpretation of the single axis spatial ordinations. In particular delineation of the numerical assemblage zones based upon the spacings between the clustered groups has been in question. In order to understand fully the significance of these groupings the following points should be borne in mind.
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    A reassessment of Phrynosuchus whaitsi Broom
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1977) Chernin, Sarah; Kitching, James W
    Phrynosuchus whaitsi Broom 1913, from either the Tapinocephalu.s or Cistecephalus zones of .South Africa, is reassessed and is now considered nomen vanum due to the poor state of preservation of the specimen. The specimen shows some rhinesuchid characters, and is tentatively assigned to Rhinesuchus sp. indet. and in all probability is that of a juvenile.
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    A new brachyopid, Batrachosuchus concordi sp. nov. from the Upper Luangwa Valley, Zambia with a redescription of Batrachosuchus browni Broom, 1903
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1977) Chernin, Sharon
    Two brachyopid skulls from southern Africa are described: one from the N'tawere Formation, Zambia is assigned to Batrachosuchus concordi sp. nov. and the other, B. browni Broom from the Cynognathus zone of South Africa is used as comparative material after further preparation had been effected on it. Both are assessed in relation to published descriptions of B. watsoni and it is concluded that B. concordi is closest to B. watsoni. The possibility that B. watsoni and B. browni belong to the same species is discounted for the present as there are four distinct differences in their skull morphology. Some poorly preserved and enigmatic bones from immediately behind the occiput of B. concordu are interpreted as limb and girdle elements. Associated with these bones are an axis and an atlas. All three species are at about the same level of organisation and that helps confirm that the Cynognathus zone of South Africa and the N'tawere Formation of Zambia are of approximately the same age and span the Lower-Middle Triassic boundary.
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    The morphology and taxonomy of Cycadolepis jenkinsiana and Zamites recta from the Lower Cretaceous Kirkwood Formation of South Africa
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1977) Brown, John T.
    Cycodolepis jenkinsiana, a bennettitalean scale-leaf, is shown to have had two types of venation, is shown not to be covered by hairs as had previously been thought and has a strong association with Zamites recta, the most common vegetative leaf species to be found in the Kirkwood Formation of the Algoa Basin. The morphology of Zamites recta is reasonably clear and this species has definite affinities with the Bennettitales based on its gross morphology and a single microscopic character, i.e. sinuous epidermal cell walls of the pinnae. Zamites morrisii is shown to be only a variant of the better represented Z. recta. Two of the previously described species of Zamites, Z. rubidgei and Z. africana are excluded from Zamites.
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    On Araucarites rogersii Seward from the Lower Cretaceous Kirkwood Formation of the Algoa Basin, Cape Province, South Africa
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1977) Brown, J. T.
    Araucarites rogersii Seward from the Kirkwood Formation (Lower Cretaceous) of South Africa, is redescribed based on new fossil material including a single compressed cone. Some additional observations on the flora and environment of the Early Cretaceous in the Algoa Basin are made.
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    Upper Cretaceous Bryozoa from Need's Camp, South Africa
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1977) Brood, K.
    The bryozoan fauna from the Upper Cretaceous limestones of the lower quarry at Need's Camp, South Africa is revised. Eighteen cyclostomatous species are identified, of which twelve are new: Desmeplagioecia primitiva, Diastopora solida, Pustulopora minuta, Spiropora irregularis, Clausa crassa, Foliopora expansa, ldmidronea robusta, ldmidronea africana, ldmidronea capensis, ldmidronea langi, ldmonea compressa, and Multicavea rotunda. The fauna seems to indicate a shallow-water, strongly agitated environment and differs in composition from the probably contemporaneous fauna from Madagascar. There is a suggestion that distinct biogeographical provinces may be represented.
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    Columnar stromatolites from the Early Proterozoic Schmidtsdrift Formation, Northern Cape province, South Africa - Part I: systematic and diagnostic features
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 1977) Bertrand-Sarfati, J.
    The Schmidtsdrift Formation (Transvaal Dolomite) is a Lower Proterozoic stromatolite-bearing carbonate unit. A good succession of columnar stromatolites occurs along the Boetsap River (Northern Cape Province). Using the method of serial sections to draw the gross morphology of columns and following the actual classification based on a succession of different characters, many new groups and forms have been found : Topinamboura insulata is a bulbous column with wart-like projections spreading out everywhere on the smooth surface. Radiatina isotropa presents closely packed radiating columns forming compact bioherms. The small rhythmically superposed columns of Tibia cristata, Tibia plumata and Sapinia fucoides offer tiny bushy columns with a constant crestal zone, a very unusual feature, giving an angular ,shape to the laminae. Some of the stromatolites belong to previously described groups, from the same area as Katernia africana or Katernia perlina new form, which present true bushy columns forming thin biostromes; or, from other parts of the world, as Pilbaria boetsapia and Pilbaria inzeriformis, two new forms, attributed to a Lower Proteroroic group described in Australia. Besides description of morphologies and mode of occurrences, detailed studies of lamina microstructures have been carried out. Very interesting fabrics have been described but, until now, no true organic remains (cells) have been found. The conclusions emphasize the importance of detailed systematic description of stromatolites in order to make a biostratigraphical model of the Lower Proterozoic and to clear up confusions with Upper Proterozoic stromatolites which also present varied assemblages of ramified stromatolites.