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Abstract

Defining species boundaries, due to morphological variation, often represents a significant challenge in paleozoology. In this paper we report results from multi− and univariate data analyses, such as enhanced clustering techniques, principal coordinates ordination method, kernel density estimations and finite mixture model analyses, revealing some morphometric patterns within the Eocene Antarctic representatives of Palaeeudyptes penguins. These large−sized birds were represented by two species, P. gunnari and P. klekowskii , known mainly from numerous isolated bones. Investigations focused on tarsometatarsi, crucial bones in paleontology of early penguins, resulted in a probability−based framework allowing for the “fuzzy” partitioning the studied specimens into two taxa with partly overlapping size distributions. Such a number of species was supported by outcomes from both multi− and univariate studies. In our opinion, more reliance should be placed on the quantitative analysis of form when distinguishing between species within the Antarctic Palaeeudyptes .
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Abstract

Material of tesseraspids (Tesseraspidiformes) is reported from the uppermost Severnaya Zemlya Formation (Lochkovian, Lower Devonian) of the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago, in the Russian Arctic, where it is associated with other vertebrate remains, including corvaspids, acanthodians, and large but rare specimens of osteostracans. The tesseraspid material is not abundant, and most often preserved as a “patchwork” of bony platelets (tesserae), except for a few partly articulated specimens. We redescribe the holotype of Tesseraspis mosaica Karatajūtė-Talimaa, 1983, whose head carapace is preserved as a flattened tube of adjacent tesserae. This material is compared to the already published tesseraspid taxa, i.e., T. tessellata Wills, 1935, T. toombsi Tarlo, 1964, T. mutabilis (Brotzen, 1934), T. oervigi Tarlo, 1964 emend. Dineley and Loeffler, 1976, T. denisoni Tarlo, 1964, and T. talimaae Tarlo, 1965. All species are based upon rare and incomplete material, as no head carapaces associated with trunk and tail are known, and so, the intraspecific variability is also unknown. Distinction between “species” is based on the detail of the superficial sculpture of the tesserae of the head carapaces, which is unsatisfactory. It is concluded that only four of the nominal species can be retained. A review of all other known tessellated pteraspidomorphs indicates that our knowledge of tessellated heterostracans is currently insufficient to support a meaningful classification.
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