Volume 39 December 2003

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    Palaeontologia africana Volume 39
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 2003)
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    The formation and sedimentary infilling of the Limeworks Cave, Makapansgat, South Africa
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 2003) Latham, Alfred G.; Herries, Andy I. R.; Kuykendall, K.
    The remnant cavern of the Limeworks australopithecine site has a number of special features. Firstly, unlike Swartkrans and Sterkfontein, which developed in relatively flat relief, the Limeworks Cave developed as part of a mountain karst. Then upon abandonment by its formative river, there formeda unique, conjoined series of tall stalagmites and columns arranged in an irregular arc against the walls of the cavern. This arc had the effect of dividing up the space into a central volume and several lateral alcoves. The spaces were separated from each other, so that, when the cavern began to unroof, each came to be filled by its own surficial deposits or, in some cases, not at all. At only one level is it possible to show that a gap existed between two adjacent repositories so as to produce common, contemporaneous deposits. This turns out to be the hyena den layer known as the Grey Breccia, and a connection was made possible with the centre by spaces that existed at local roof level for a limited period. The Grey Breccia appears to be about contemporaneous with the white bone breccia at the back of the cavern, whereas the black bone breccia in theMain Quarry is slightly younger than these two. The recognition of distinctive depositional horizons has allowed us to reconstruct a stratigraphic section for all deposits from the known base to the known top on the western side of the site. This section can be used for magnetostratigraphic purposes to construct a firmer chronology that includes the Grey Breccia; but further work is required to tie in the eastern side.
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    Biological aspects of the Permian dicynodont Oudenodon (Therapsida: Dicynodontia) deduced from bone histology and cross-sectional geometry
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 2003) Botha, Jennifer
    Bone histology and cross-sectional geometry were used to examine the growth patterns and lifestyle habits of the Late Permian dicynodont, Oudenodon. Several limb bones were analysed, revealing rapidly deposited fibro-lamellar bone, interrupted by annuli or sometimes Lines of Arrested Growth. Peripheral slowly deposited parallel-fibred bone was observed in several elements. It is suggested that the initial growth of Oudenodon was rapid during the favourable growing season, but decreased or sometimes ceased completely during the unfavourable season. Growth was cyclical and may have been sensitive to environmental fluctuations. The slowly forming parallel-fibred bone towards the sub-periosteal surface in several elements indicates a permanent transition to slow growth and may reflect the onset of sexual maturity. Bone cross-sectional geometry results reveal a markedly thick cortex, indicating a possible modification for digging. These cross-sectional geometry values, in conjunction with the limb morphology, suggest that Oudenodon was fossorial.
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    The vertebrate fauna of the Upper Permian of Niger — II, Preliminary description of a new pareiasaur
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 2003) Sidor, Christian A.; Blackburn, David C.; Gado, Boube
    The skull of a new pareiasaur, Bunostegos akokanensis gen. et sp. nov., is described on the basis of a partial skull from the Upper Permian Moradi Formation of north-central Niger. Autapomorphies of the genus include the presence of three hemispherical bosses at the tip of the snout, an enlarged laterally projecting supraorbital boss positioned on each postfrontal, and additional, smaller bosses on the squamosal and supratemporal bones. Bunostegos is further characterized by a tab-like process of the nasal that articulates with the frontal, a pineal foramen located equidistant between the parietal-frontal and parietal-postparietal sutural contacts, a postparietal that is excluded from the caudal margin of the dorsal skull roof, and a blunt interpterygoid vacuity. The discovery of Bunostegos suggests an unsuspected degree of biogeographic endemism for central West Africa during the Late Permian.
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    Barendskraal, a diverse amniote locality from the Lystrosaurus Assemblage Zone, Early Triassic of South Africa
    (Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, 2003) Damiani, Ross; Neveling, Johann; Modesto, Sean; Yates, Adam
    A diverse amniote fauna has been recovered from Lower Triassic Lystrosaurus Assemblage Zone exposures on the farm Barendskraal, near Middelburg in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. The fauna includes the dicynodont therapsid Lystrosaurus sp., the therocephalian therapsids Tetracynodon darti, Moschorhinus kitchingi and Ericiolacerta parva, the archosauromorph reptiles Proterosuchus fergusi and Prolacerta broomi, and the procolophonoid reptiles Owenetta kitchingorum, Sauropareion anoplus and Saurodectes rogersorum. The locality is remarkable in that although it is fossil-rich, Lystrosaurus fossils do not appear to be as abundant as elsewhere in this assemblage zone, and the diversity of taxa at Barendskraal (at least nine species) is surpassed only by that of the famous HarrismithCommonage locality in the northeastern Free State province (at least 13 species). However, the fauna at Harrismith Commonage is typical of most other Lystrosaurus biozone localities in being dominated numerically by Lystrosaurus. Study of the tetrapod taxa from Barendskraal is providing new insights into procolophonoid phylogeny and survivorship across the Permo-Triassic boundary, as well as the stratigraphic ranges of various taxa in the Lower Triassic deposits of the Karoo Basin.