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Alba, D.M. (2015). Per què és important la Laia? In: Pérez, M. Descobert a Catalunya un nou parent dels hominoïdeus. Sàpiens 163: 7.

Furió, M. (2015). La sexta extinción. Saber y Jugar 32-35.

Alba, D.M. (2015). Per què és important la Laia? In: Pérez, M. Descobert a Catalunya un nou parent dels hominoïdeus. Sàpiens 163: 7.

Furió, M. (2015). La sexta extinción. Saber y Jugar 32-35

Madurell-Malapeira, J., Morales, J., Vinuesa, V. & Boscaini, A. (2015). Early Pleistocene Ursids, hyaenids and felids from Cueva Victoria (Cartagena, Murcia). Mastia, Revista del Museo Arqueológico Municipal de Cartagena: 401-432.

Moyà-Solà, S. (In press). Pierolapithecus. In: International Encyclopedia of Primatology. Edit. Wiley.

Sánchez Marco, A. (2015). Aves del Pleistoceno inferior de Cueva Victoria (costa sudoriental mediterránea de la península Ibérica). In: Gibert, L. & Ferràndez-Cañadell, C. (eds.). Geología y Paleontología de Cueva Victoria. Mastia11(13): 253-267.

Madurell-Malapeira, J., Morales, J., Vinuesa, V. & Boscaini, A. (2015). Early Pleistocene Ursids, hyaenids and felids from Cueva Victoria (Cartagena, Murcia). Mastia, Revista del Museo Arqueológico Municipal de Cartagena: 401-432.

Moyà-Solà, S. (In press). Pierolapithecus. In: International Encyclopedia of Primatology. Edit. Wiley.

Sánchez Marco, A. (2015). Aves del Pleistoceno inferior de Cueva Victoria (costa sudoriental mediterránea de la península Ibérica). In: Gibert, L. & Ferràndez-Cañadell, C. (eds.). Geología y Paleontología de Cueva Victoria. Mastia11(13): 253-267.

Name: Dinamica de la paleobiodiversidad de las faunas de vertebrados fósiles del Vallès-Penedès y comparación con otras cuencas miocenas
IP: David M. Alba  
Funder: Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad  
Period: 2016-2020  
Reference code: CGL2016-76431-P
     
Name: Modelo de redes ecológicas para los últimos dinosaurios de Europa
IP: Àngel Galobart  
Funder: Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad  
Period: 2016-2019  
Reference code: CGL2016-77230-P
     
Name: Canvis climàtics i faunístics al Miocè inferior de Catalunya 
IP: Isaac Casanovas Vilar   
Funder: Departament de Cultura of the Generalitat de Catalunya   
Period: 2014-2017   
Reference code: 2014/100584  
     
Name: Dinàmica de poblacions i impacte dels canvis climàtics en les associacions de grans mamífers del Pleistocè inferior i mitjà de Catalunya 
IP: Joan Madurell-Malapeira  
Funder: Departament de Cultura of the Generalitat de Catalunya  
Period: 2014-2017  
Reference code: 2014/100589  
     
Name: Els primats fòssils del Miocè de la conca del Vallès-Penedès 
IP: David M. Alba  
Funder: Departament de Cultura of the Generalitat de Catalunya  
Period: 2014-2017  
Reference code: 2014/100609  
     
Name: Climate change and faunal dispersals in the Early Miocene of Catalonia (Spain) 
IP: Isaac Casanovas Vilar  
Funder: National Geographic Society  
Period: 2014-2017  
Reference code: #9640-15  
     
Name: Estudi dels primats i faunes associades del Paleogen de Catalunya 
IP: Raef Minwer-Barakat  
Funder: Departament de Cultura of the Generalitat de Catalunya  
Period: 2014-2017  
Reference code: 2014/100604  
     
Name: Ecosystem evolution of the vertebrate faunas from the Permian and Triassic of Catalonia 
IP: Josep Fortuny  
Funder: Departament de Cultura of the Generalitat de Catalunya  
Period: 2014-2017  
Reference code: 2014/100606  
     
Name: Dinamica Ecològica de la Darrera Extinció en Massa: el Pirineu com a laboratori fòssil, subvenció per a projectes de recerca d'investigació en matèria d'arqueologia i paleontologia.
IP: Àngel Galobart  
Funder: Departament de Cultura of the Generalitat de Catalunya  
Period: 2014-2017  
Reference code: 2014/100927
     
Name: Group of Paleoprimatology and Human Paleontology PIPH 
IP: Salvador Moyà-Solà  
Funder: AGAUR. Departament d’Innovació, Universitats i Empresa of the Generalitat de Catalunya 
Period: 2014-2016  
Reference code: 2014 SGR 416, GRC  
     
Name: Group of Mesozoic Faunas  
IP: Àngel Galobart  
Funder: AGAUR. Departament d’Innovació, Universitats i Empresa of the Generalitat de Catalunya 
Period: 2014-2018  
Reference code: SGR 1235  
     
Name: Miocene apes from Castell de Barberà (Catalonia, Spain) 
IP: Sergio Almécija  
Funder: The Leakey Foundation  
Period: 2014-2015  
Reference code: 9316-13  
     
Name: Huellas isotópicas en micromamíferos fósiles como indicadores del cambio climático 
ICP Researcher:
Raef Minwer-Barakat (IP: Antonio Delgado Huertas)  
Funder: Consejería de Innovación, Ciencia y Empresa, Junta de Andalucía 
Period: 2013-2017  
Reference code: P11-RNM-8011  
     
Name: Reconstructing hand posture and locomotor behavior in Ardipithecus ramidus
ICP Researcher: Sergio Almécija  
Funder: National Science Foundation  
Period: 2013-2016  
Reference code:    
     
Name: Colour and Space in Cultural Heritage (COSCH) 
ICP Researcher: Salvador Moyà-Solà (IP: Frank Boochs)  
Funder: COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology)  
Period: 2012-2016  
Reference code:    
     
Name: Vertebrats del Permià i el Triàsic de Catalunya i el seu context geològic 
IP: Josep Fortuny  
Funder: Departament de Cultura of the Generalitat de Catalunya  
Period: 2012-2016  
Reference code:    
     
Name: Torrent de Vallparadís: Impacte de la ciclicitat glacial en les comunitats animals de la transició Vil·lafranquià-Galerià 
IP: Joan Madurell-Malapeira  
Funder:  ICP  
Period: 2011-2015  
Reference code:    
     
Name:  Digital Evolutionary Morphology of the Primate Astragalo-Calcaneal Complex 
ICP Researcher:  Judit Marigó (IP: Doug M. Boyer, Erik R. Seiffert)  
Funder:  National Science Foundation  
Period:  2011-2014  
Reference code:  NSF BCS 1317525  
     
Name: Devolviendo los fósiles a la vida: una aproximación multidisciplinar a la paleobiología de los pequeños mamíferos miocenos de la Península Ibérica 
IP: Isaac Casanovas Vilar  
Funder: MINECO  
Period: 2011-2013  
Reference code: CGL2010-21672/BTE  
     
Name: El Miocè Inferior de la Conca del Vallès-Penedès i àrees properes. Paleontologia de vertebrats, biostratigrafia i biocronologia 
IP: Isaac Casanovas Vilar  
Funder: Servei d’Arqueologia i Paleontologia, Departament de Cultura, Generalitat de Catalunya  
Period: 2011-2013  
Reference code: 2011 PINTER 7013  
     
Name: New Paleontological excavations at the Late Miocene hominoid-bearing site of Can Llobateres 1 (Vallès-Penedès Basin, Catalonia, Spain). 2010-2013 
IP: David M. Alba  
Funder: Servei d’Arqueologia i Paleontologia, Departament de Cultura, Generalitat de Catalunya  
Period: 2010-2013  
Reference code:    
     
Name: Proyecto de divulgación social de la investigación en paleontología  
IP: Laura Celià  
Funder: FECYT  
Period: 2010-2011  
Reference code: FCT-10-1632  
     
Name: Intervencions paleontològiques a diferents afloraments del Triàsic de Catalunya 
IP:
Josep Fortuny  
Funder: Generalitat de Catalunya  
Period: 2010-2011  
Reference code: 2010/70085  
     
Name: Group of Paleoprimatology and Human Paleontology PIPH 
IP: Salvador Moyà-Solà  
Funder: AGAUR. Departament d’Innovació, Universitats i Empresa. Generalitat de Catalunya  
Period: 2009-2013  
Reference code: 2009 SGR 754, GRC  
     
Name: Grup de recerca del Mesozoic reconegut com a Grup de Recerca Singular  
IP: Àngel Galobart  
Funder: AGAUR. Departament d’Innovació, Universitats i Empresa. Generalitat de Catalunya  
Period: 2009-2013  
Reference code: NSF BCS 1317525  
     
Name: Grandes simios (Hominoidea) del Mioceno del área Mediterránea: origen,evolución y paleobiología 
IP: Salvador Moyà-Solà  
Funder: MINECO  
Period: 2009-2011  
Reference code: CGL2008‐00325/BTE  
     
Name: La evolución de patrones de life‐history en mamíferos insulares y continentales fósiles y recientes: un enfoque comparativo 
IP: Meike Köhler  
Funder: MINECO  
Period: 2008-2011  
Reference code: CGL2006‐ 04548/BTE  
     
Name: Projecte de investigació dels afloraments Triàsics amb fauna de vertebrats de Catalunya 
IP: Àngel Galobart  
Funder: Departament de Cultura. Generalitat de Catalunya.  
Period: 2008-2011  
Reference code:    
     
Name: Evolución de los dinosaurios en el Este Ibérico y su entorno durante el Cretácico 
IP: Àngel Galobart  
Funder: MINECO  
Period: 2008-2011  
Reference code: CGL2008-06533-C03-01/BTE 2008-2011  
     
Name: Projecte de recerca dels jaciments paleontològics del trànsit Cretaci/Paleògen del Prepirineu Català: sistemàtica, paleoecologia i implicacions paleobiogeogràfiques 
IP: Àngel Galobart  
Funder: Area de coneixament i recerca. Direcció general de patrimoni del Departament de Cultura. Generalitat de Catalunya 
Period: 2007-2011  
Reference code:    
     
Name: Dinámica de Ecosistemas Terrestres en el Plio-Pleistoceno de las cuencas del Levante español  
ICP Researcher: Isaac Casanovas Vilar (IP: Jordi Agustí)  
Funder: MINECO  
Period: 2006-2009  
Reference code: CGL2006‐ 04548/BTE  
     
Name: Energy factors and patterns of evolution in insular mammals and domesticated mammals  
IP: Meike Köhler  
Funder: CAICYT (Comisión Asesora de Investigación Científica y Técnica)  
Period: 2006-2009  
Reference code: CGL2005-03159  
     
Name: Vallès-Penedès research project in the context of RHOI (Revealing Hominid Origins Initiative). 
ICP Researcher: Salvador Moyà-Solà (IP: T. White)  
Funder: National Science Foundation (NSF)  
Period: 2005-2009  
Reference code: RHOI-Hominid-NSF-BCS-0321893  

 

It is a global project that has been on for more than 10 years that takes place in several regions of Catalonia to create the Museum of the Dinosaurs of the Pyrenees. The philosophy of this project is to return to the territory, in the form of scientific dissemination, the results of the scientific research performed on the fossils of the last dinosaurs that lived in Europe. 

At present, this project is a reality thanks to the participation of the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont as scientific advisor and Museum of Conca Dellà and Dinosfera as exhibition rooms, which complement each other to show different fields of knowledge.

espai Dinosfera (Coll de Nargó)

The exhibition at the espai Dinosfera in Coll de Nargó (Leida) is focused on its main asset equity: the eggs and nests of dinosaurs. The exhibitions revelas the current knowledge on the reproduction of dinosaurs through the research on fossils and, specifically, from fossils recovered in Coll de Nargó, which has the most important deposits of dinosaur eggs in Europe.

More information: http://www.dinosfera.com

 

Museu de la Conca Dellà (Isona)

The Conca Dellà Museum, which holds the Cretaceous Park, is the scene for an exciting trip to the past. The museum offers the possibility to discover an area that was occupied by the Roman culture in the past and, many years before that, inhabited by the last dinosaurs that lived on the Earth.

More information: http://www.parc-cretaci.com/

Australopithecus africanus skull known as Mrs. Ples (José Braga / Didier Descouens: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australopithecus_africanus#/media/File:Mrs_Ples.jpg))

Science publishes today a technical comment led by Sergio Almécija, paleontologist at the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP). In this article, the authors refute the arguments previously published by a team at the University of Kent in the same journal, who attributed to the species Australopithecus africanus the ability to manufacture and manipulate stone objects in the same way that modern humans do, 3 million years ago.

Extant shrew (USGS Bee Inventory//CC2.0)

ICP researcher Marc Furió publishes in the journal Comptes Rendus Palevol an article analyzing the remains ofDinosorex found in the Vallès-Penedès basin. This genus belonging to the order Insectivora is popularly known as the "Terror-shrew" because of its body size and huge incisors. The study reveals that Dinosorex lived in this area for more than 3 million years without showing significant morphological changes. Its extinction is related to a climate change that took place 9.6 million years ago.

 

The Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) is the largest amphibian in the world (Photo: Egon Heiss)

The Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) is the largest amphibian in the world (Photo: Egon Heiss)

An international team has developed three-dimensional models of the bite of the world's largest living amphibian, the Chinese giant salamander. The study, led by Josep Fortuny, researcher at the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP) and published in the journal PLOS ONE, explains the feeding mechanisms of this enigmatic endangered animal of which biology is poorly understood. Research reveals that this salamander feeds especially on preys located right in front of it but can also perform quick strikes on laterally approaching animals. Understanding how this species hunts not only broadens the knowledge of its biology but can also help in reconstructing how early tetrapods and extinct amphibians fed.  

Researchers at the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP) and the Laboratory for the Technological Innovation of Structures and Materials (LITEM) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) have modelled thebiomechanics of the bite of the Chinese giant salamander from 3D CT-scan images of skulls of this species and applying a finite element analysis, a method for simulating complex physical and biological problems computationally. In this case, this method is particularly useful for investigating the distribution of forces within the skull of extinct animals or living animals using non-invasive techniques.

Vídeo: 3D bite modeling and feeding mechanics of the Chinese giant salamander

The giant salamander feeds on crustaceans and worms, but also on fish, amphibians and other small mammals performing a sit-and-wait strategy and biting when they are close enough. This salamander typically captures their prey by suction feeding, a common system in amphibians, but also capturing prey directly by the jaws. The position where prey contacts the snout is crucial and biting is especially optimal when the prey is directly in front of the animal. However, the study reveals that this salamander can also perform an asymmetric strike, that is biting only with one side of the mouth. This is a unique feature among vertebrates and allows them to capture laterally approaching prey. Once trapped, the salamander pulls the prey to the back of the jaw where a stronger bite is performed to prevent prey from escaping.

The coordinator of the Virtual Paleontology research group of the ICP, Josep Fortuny, heads the study. "The position where the prey comes into contact with the skull and jaw of the salamander shows us that there are some areas that are better than others when biting, being optimal when they bite with the anterior part on the snout. Possibly, when the prey is situated in a less optimal position the animal has to bite twice: one to catch the prey and again to put in a frontal position", explains Fortuny. This is possibly related to the architecture of the skull of these animals, they lack of a bony bridge between the posterior end of the maxilla and the anterior quadrato-squamosal region, typical of most salamanders.

Paleontologists are interested in the bite of this living animal because the Chinese giant salamander belongs to the oldest known group of amphibians, the Cryptobranchids, which appear 161 million years ago, during the Jurassic period. This is what is often miscalled a "living fossil", an animal that has changed relatively little from their ancestors throughout evolution. In fact, the first amphibians were aquatic predators, with a long flat skull, similar to this species, so the characterization of its bite can help to understand how their ancestors fed.

Distribution of forces in the jaw in a unilateral bite (Photo: ICP/LITEM)

Distribution of forces in the jaw in a unilateral bite (Photo: ICP/LITEM)

LITEM has performed the most technical part of the study, transforming tomographic images in a CAD model and developing a finite element model that shows how muscle forces are distributed. “We have applied methods from the field of mechanical engineering usually used to study and calculate the behaviour of structures such as buildings, chassis cars, planes, etc. and applied to vertebrates, which basically differ by having a more complex geometry and are made of bone, instead of steel or concrete. So we recreate the mechanical behaviour of salamander skull when biting and infer biological issues from it”, says Jordi Marcé-Nogué, the UPC researcher who participated in the study.

The research was published today in PLOS ONE.

Researcher Egon Heiss with a live specimen (Foto: Egon Heiss)

Researcher Egon Heiss with a live specimen (Photo: Egon Heiss)

An endangered giant

The Chinese giant salamander is the largest living species of amphibian, reaching a maximum length of 1.8 metres. It lives in cool, fast-flowing streams and mountain lakes. Their large size, lack of gills and inefficient lungs confine this species to flowing water as the main oxygen uptake is through the skin. Individuals are dark brown, black or greenish in colour with irregularly spotted patterning. It is generally nocturnal, is generally nocturnal, although they become more diurnal during the breeding season.

The species is included in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and in critical danger of extinction due to indiscriminate hunting for human consumption and degradation of their natural habitat.

+ info: Fortuny  J, Marcé-Nogué J, Heiss E, Sanchez M, Gil L, Galobart À (2015) 3D Bite Modeling and Feeding Mechanics of the Largest Living Amphibian, the Chinese Giant Salamander Andrias davidianus (Amphibia:Urodela). PLoS ONE 10(4): e0121885. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121885

 
3D reconstruction of the skull and brain of Arenysaurus ardevoli

3D reconstruction of the skull and brain of Arenysaurus ardevoli

Researchers at the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP) have collaborated in the first three-dimensional reconstruction of the brain of Arenysaurus ardevoli, a European hadrosaur dinosaur species. Cranial material was CT-scanned and intracranial cavity, nerves and even the inner ear were 3D-modelled. Further analysis of the images supports the original classification of this specimen and may reflect some degree of dwarfism as a result of the conditions in the archipelago where this species evolved.

The analyzed skull of Arenysaurus ardevoli is remarkably well preserved and without significant deformations, so an almost complete three-dimensional endocast could be reconstructed using a CT-scan. Segmentation of images was performed at the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont. "The process involves assembling radiographic images and, virtually, separate the different materials found in the sample such as bone, matrix, air, etc. to generate a 3D model that shows the shape, size and volume of the inner cavities of the skull by means of a non-destructive system", explains Josep Fortuny, coordinator of the Research Group on Virtual Paleontology at the ICP.

Reconstruction of Arenysaurus ardevoli at Arén, Huesca (Diego Castanera)

Reconstruction of Arenysaurus ardevoli at Arén, Huesca (Diego Castanera)

Further analysis of the images has enabled researchers to validate the correct classifications of this species as a member of the lambeosaurine subfamily within the family of hadrosaurs (also known as "duck-billed" dinosaurs), which have the largest brains (in proportion to its body) within ornitischians, a large group of dinosaurs that includes well-known species such as triceratops or stegosaurus. In addition to its big brain size, hadrosaurs also show highly developed olfactory bulbs (a brain structure related to the sense of smell).

Video: 3D model of the paleoneuroanatomical reconstruction

3D images also revealed some unique characters that might show an incipient process of dwarfism in this species due to insularity since, during the Late Cretaceous, what is nowadays known as Europe used to be an archipelago. Under insular conditions, where food resources are often limited and there is low predation pressure, species tend to be smaller than their mainland counterparts in order to maximize energy efficiency.

Cranial remains of Arenysaurus ardevoli were found in Aren (Huesca) in the 90s by a research team from the University of Zaragoza. This species coexisted with other dinosaurs found in the Pyrenees such as Pararhabdodon isonensis, found just a few miles away in several sites of Isona. These areas of Aragon and Catalonia belong to the same geological unit, the Tremp basin, which for years has been providing exceptional fossil record remains of dinosaurs that lived about 70 million years ago.

Reconstrucció de Pararhabdodon isonensis (Oscar Sanisidro)

Reconstrucció de Pararhabdodon isonensis (Oscar Sanisidro)

The neuroanatomy of American and Asian hadrosaurids is well known, but only a few cranial remains have been recovered in Europe that include the braincase. This scientific article, published in the latest issue of the PeerJ, is the result of the collaboration of researchers from the ICP, the University of Rio Negro-CONICET in Argentina and the University of Zaragoza.

+ info: Cruzado-Caballero P, Fortuny J, Llacer S, Canudo J. (2015) Paleoneuroanatomy of the European lambeosaurine dinosaur Arenysaurus ardevoli. PeerJ 3:e802 DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.802

 

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