Current Research

Opportunities are available at UF and partnership institutions for students to learn about and to undertake projects in different aspects of paleontology, geochronology, sedimentary geology and tectonics. A list of current peer-reviewed journal articles can be accessed here.  Short synopses of recent abstracts appear below.  

2013 Abstracts

2014 Abstracts

2015 Abstracts


NNB4 | Network for Neotropical Biogeography (2015)

POPULATION STUDY OF PALAEOPINNIXA SP. (DECAPODA: HEXAPODIDAE) FROM THE CULEBRA FORMATION OF THE EARLY MIOCENE PANAMA CANAL BASIN

  • Cristina Robins, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Adam Freierman, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Hannah K. O'Neill, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Lillian K. Pearson, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Javier Luque, University of Alberta, Canada
  • Roger W. Portell, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

Most fossil decapod faunas produce only a few dozen individuals of a given species, however the hundreds of specimens of Palaeopinnixa sp. found in the Culebra Formation is an exception. The large number of individuals allow for a population study of intraspecific variation, sexual dimorphism, and possible ontogenetic changes within Palaeopinnixa.

PEBAS, ACRE, AND PARANA SYSTEMS: CONNECTING THE DOTS TO ELUCIDATE MAMMALIAN BIOGEOGRAPHIC PATTERNS IN THE MIOCENE OF SOUTH AMERICA

  • Julia Tejada, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi, Université Montpellier, France
  • Pierre-Olivier Antoine, Université Montpellier, France

The difference in Tertiary mammal assemblages of northern and southern South America can sometimes by latitudinal differences. Faunal analysis of seven Miocene faunas of South America tested the effect of time and latitude on mammal distribution and produced unexpected results. The vicariant barrier effects of the Pebas megawetland and the fluvial Acre system are here proposed as an explanation for these results.

MIOCENE TERRESTRIAL MAMMALIAN BIOGEOGRAPHY OF SOUTHERN CENTRAL AMERICA

  • Aldo F. Rincón, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Aaron R. Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Jonathan I. Bloch, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Gary S. Morgan, New Mexico Museum of Natural History, USA
  • Bruce J. MacFadden, Florida Museum of Natural History, USA

Many of the mammalian taxa from the Miocene of Panama have Eurasian affinities and include a occurance of platyrrhine monkeys, otherwise only known from South America. This biogeographic pattern is also evident in other mammalian clades and in several groups of reptiles, supporting an earlier stage of biotic interchange before the onset of the GABI that is consistent with recent reconstructions of a narrow Central American Seaway during the early Neogene.

FOSSIL INVERTEBRATES AND SR-ISOTOPE AGE ESTIMATE FOR THE ALAJUELA FORMATION, CENTRAL PANAMA

  • Douglas S. Jones, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Aaron R. Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Bruce J. MacFadden, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

A 36 m stratigraphic section from the upper Alajuela Formation contains terrestrial and marine vertebrates and near-shore to shallow marine invertebrates. 87Sr/86Sr geochronology was used to determine the age, which was found to be late Miocene (~9.8 Ma) instead of early Miocene in age. The marine fossils and strontium ratios suggest that the Alajuela Formation overlaps in time with the late Miocene Gatun Formation, and that the Alajuela Formation represents a shallow marine setting that may have been closer to the coastline than the Gatun Formation.

LATE MIOCENE VERTEBRATES FROM LAKE ALAJUELA, PANAMA

  • Bruce J. MacFadden, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Aaron R. Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Douglas S. Jones, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Aldo F. Rincon, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Gary S. Morgan, New Mexico Museum of Natural History, USA

Fossil vertebrates were collected in 1959 from the shores of Lake Alajuela (then Lake Madden). The approximate sites where these fossils were found were relocated in 2014, and additional terrestrial and marine fossils were collected. The age of the Alajuela Formation will likely be revised as late Miocene, which will make the Alajuela faunule the first late Miocene terrestrial fauna from Panama.

POTENTIAL RECORD OF A PANAMANIAN MIOCENE FOSSIL CROCODYLIAN NESTING GROUND AT HODGE'S HILL MICROSITE

  • Ryan Haupt, University of Wyoming, USA
  • Alex K. Hastings, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

Some have claimed that the Hodge's Hill Microsite locality in Panama represents a crocodylian hatchery due to the abundance of small crocodylian teeth. Measurements of crown height and body length of modern yearlings were compared to measurements of fossil crocodylian teeth from several localities. Although Hodge's Hill had smaller teeth than other sites, they were still larger than modern yearlings, suggesting that the locality may represent a safe haven for sub-adult crocodylians.

OLIGOCENE AND MIOCENE BATS (MAMMALIA: CHIROPTERA) FROM FLORIDA AND PANAMA, AND THE ORIGINS OF THE NEOTROPICAL CHIROPTERAN FAUNA

  • Gary Morgan, New Mexico Museum of Natural History, USA
  • Nicholas J. Czaplewski, Oklahoma Museum of Natural History/University of Oklahoma, USA
  • Aldo F. Rincon, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Aaron R. Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Bruce J. MacFadden, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Jonathan I. Bloch, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

Bat fossils from Florida and Panama have added a significant amount to our knowledge of the origins of the Neotropical chiropteran fauna. Previously, several New World bat families were believed to have arisen in South America and immigrated to North America during the Great American Biotic Interchange. However, Oligocene and Miocene bats with Neotropical affinities found in Florida and Panama suggest that some New World bat families may have first appeared in North America.

SHARKS (CHONDRICHTHYES) OF THE CHUCUNAQUE FORMATION OF LAKE BAYANO AND THE BIOGEOGRAPHIC IMPLICATIONS

  • Victor J. Pérez, University of Florida, USA
  • Catalina Pimiento, University of Florida, USA
  • Austin Hendy
  • Gordon Hubbell, Jaws International, USA
  • Bruce J. MacFadden, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

Shark fossils from nine localities in Lake Bayano are dominated by shallow, nearshore taxa, similar to the contemporaneous, shallow-water Gatun Formation. However, teeth of deep-water sharks were also found in Lake Bayano. This difference may be due to the Gatun Formation's location between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean and Lake Bayano's orientation to the Pacific Ocean. Biogeographic analysis of the sharks' affinities will be established and compared to other Neotropical assemblages.

PALEOBIOGEOGRAPHIC IMPLICATIONS OF PARINARI (CHRYSOBALANACEAE) FOSSILS FROM THE EARLY MIOCENE OF PANAMÁ

  • Nathan Jud, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Chris Nelson, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Fabiany A. Herrera, Chicago Botanic Garden, USA

The pantropical plant family Chrysobalanaceae is believed to have an Old World origin. New fossil endocarps from the Cucuracha Formation of the Panama Canal area (~19Ma) appear to be aligned with Parinari, a genus with its highest species richness in the Neotropics. Recent phylogenetic studies suggested that the age of crown-group Parinari is 8-17Ma. Depending on the affinities of these new fossils, our understanding of the evolutionary history of Parinari could change drastically.

NEW PALEOGEOGRAPHIC MODEL FOR THE CLOSURE OF THE ISTHMUS OF PANAMA

  • Camilo Montes, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
  • A. Cardona, Universidad Nacional, Colombia
  • Carlos Jaramillo, Smithsonian Tropical Research Insitute, Panama
  • F. Moreno, University of Rochester, USA

According to a new model for the closure of the Isthmus of Panama, a land connection between eastern Panama and northern South America was present by ~13-15Ma. Deep water connections between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean would no longer have existed at this time. Eastern Panama was connected to North America at least until the early Miocene, however deformation of the Isthmus in the early to middle Miocene caused fracturing and allowed for the formation of a shallow water passage west of the Canal Basin. This passage was then cut off by the formation of the El Valle Volcano.

PROVENANCE ANALYSIS AND THE MIDDLE MIOCENE CLOSURE OF THE CENTRAL AMERICAN SEAWAY

  • Camilo Montes, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
  • A. Cardona, Universidad Nacional, Colombia

Although the closing of the Isthmus of Panama likely had worldwide effects, it is difficult to assess the role of the Isthmus because of the difficulty in establishing the timeline of seaway closure. Detrital zircons were collected for provenance analysis and a strong, uniquely Panamanian signature appears in middle Miocene strata of northwesternmost South America, marking the beginning of fluvial detrital exchange between the Panama arc and South America.

PHYLOGENY AND HISTORICAL BIOGEOGRAPHY OF TRILOPHODONT GOMPHOTHERES (MAMMALIA: PROBOSCIDEA: GOMPHOTHERIIDAE)

  • Dimila Mothe, Museu Nacional/Federal University of the Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil
  • Leonardo S. Avilla, Federal University of the Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil

Phylogenetic and biogeographic analyses are conducted on trilophodont gompthotheres. Vicariant events appear to be related to climatic-enviromental changes, not geological events such as the uplift of the Isthmus of Panama. The greatest amount of diversification in trilophodont gomphotheres likely took place in central North America during the late Miocene.

THE SYSTEMATICS OF THE HIPPIDIFORMES (EQUIDAE: PERRISODACTYLA: MAMMALIA)

  • Leonardo S. Avilla, Federal University of the Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil
  • Dimila Mothe, Museu Nacional/Federal University of the Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil

Revision of Hippidiformes reveals that several changes must be made to the taxonomy of this group in order to properly represent valid relationships. Hippidiformes appear to have originated and diversified in the Late Miocene of North America, and one genus dispersed to South America before Hippidiformes went extinct in North America by the middle Pleistocene. There they diversified before becoming extinct in South America at the end of the Pleistocene.

LINKS BETWEEN TECTONICS, CLIMATE, AND EVOLUTION THROUGHOUT THE CENOZOIC

  • Pierre Sepulchre, LSCE/CNRS, France

Tools such as General Circulation Models have been used to quantify the impact of the uplift of the Andes and the closure of the Central American Seaway on global and regional climate. Continental effects of the Andes uplift can also be modeled and it appears that mechanical and hydrological effects of the uplift do not act in the same direction. These models do not precisely explain environmental change through time on a regional scale. Possible new techniques for regional scale paleoclimate modeling will be discussed.


National Science Teachers Association 2014 Long Beach Area Conference

RESEARCH EXPERIENCES FOR SCIENCE TEACHERS

  • Rob Hoffman, Pajaro Valley Unified School District, USA
  • Jill Madden, Pajaro Valley Unified School District, Cesar Chavez Middle School and Monterey Bay Aquarium, USA
  • Jason Tovani, Santa Cruz County/Delta Charter, USA
  • Claudia Grant, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Sean Moran, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

Representatives of GABI RET presented on how their partnership (PCP-PIREteach) has impacted science teachers and their middle and high school students by giving them the opportunity to interact with an international community of scientists and get a glimpse of STEM careers. These teachers explain how they have changed their classroom practices to produce an authentic science curriculum that follows the Next Generation Science Standards’ Science and Engineering Practices.

SVP | Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (2014)

EXTINCTION AND BODY SIZE PATTERNS OF THE GIANT SHARK CARCHAROCLES MEGALODON

  • Catalina Pimiento, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

The giant predatory shark Caracharocles megalodon likely played a key role in marine ecosystems. The extinction of this giant shark is not well understood. An analysis of the body size of several specimens shows that the size of C. megalodon was stable over time, and body size changes were not an important factor in its extinction. The estimated extinction time of C. megalodon is the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary, about 2.5 Ma, which coincides in the extinction of smaller prey and the evolution of new competitors.

ISOTOPE ECOLOGY OF A NEW MAMMALIAN FAUNA FROM THE LATE MIDDLE MIOCENE OF TROPICAL SOUTH AMERICA (PERUVIAN AMAZONIA)

  • Julia Tejada-Lara, University of Florida, USA
  • Bruce MacFadden, University of Florida, USA
  • Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi, Université Montpellier, France
  • Patrice Baby, Université de Toulouse, France
  • Pierre-Olivier Antoine, Université Montpellier, France

Although the Miocene was surely an important time in the evolutionary history of many animals and plants in the Amazonian region, there is little vertebrate fossil evidence from the area. Faunal analysis of the newly described Fitzcarrald fauna from the late Miocene of western Amazonia in Peru and isotopic analysis offers new insight into the devlopment of proto-Amazonia.

PALEOECOLOGICAL INSIGHTS FROM DENTAL MICROWEAR TEXTURES OF EXTINCT XENARTHRANS DURING GLACIAL AND INTERGLACIAL PERIODS IN PLEISTOCENE FLORIDA

  • Ryan Haupt, University of Wyoming, USA
  • Larisa R. Desantis, Vanderbilt University, USA

Dental microwear texture analysis is conducted on extinct xenarthrans. Examination of microwear in extant xenarthrans has provided useful information on the relationship between dentin microwear and diet. No significant difference in dental microwear is detected within a genus during glacial and interglacial periods in the Pleistocene. Diet of the extinct xenarthrans based on dental microwear attributes is also discussed.

PALEOBIOGEOGRAPHY OF NON-EQUID PERISSODACTYLS FROM THE EARLY MIOCENE OF PANAMA

  • Aaron Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Nicole Ridgwell, University of Colorado Boulder, USA
  • Jason Bourque, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Aldo Rincon, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Jonathan Bloch, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Bruce MacFadden, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

The discovery of chalicotheriid and rhinocerotid fossils in the Panama Canal Basin may shed light on the timing of dispersal events into North America. The primitive morphology of the chalicotheriid along with its age (after the first dispersal of chalicotheriids into North America) suggests that chalicotheriids emigrated multiple times from Eurasia. The co-occurance of Aphelops and Floridaceras in the Centenario Fauna suggests that the two genera immigrated to North America in the same dispersal event.

A NEW EARLY MIOCENE PARAHIPPINE (MAMMALIA, EQUIDAE) FROM THE PANAMA CANAL AREA, CENTRAL AMERICA

  • Aldo F. Rincon, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Richard C. Hulbert, Florida Museum of Natural History, USA
  • Jay A. O'Sullivan, University of Tampa, USA
  • Jonathan I. Bloch, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Bruce J. MacFadden, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Aaron R. Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

Parahippine fossils from the late Arikareean Las Cascadas assemblage are described. Two innovations appeared in tridactyl parahippines: the inception of hypsodonty and the tooth crowns coated in cementum. The Panamanian parahippine possesses incipient hypsodont dentition but lacks cementum. The absence of mesodont parahippines like this one in the younger Centenario Fauna of Panama suggests that these horses did not persist the New World Tropics as they did in higher latitudes.

IPC4 | The 4th International Palaentological Congress (2014)

FIRST FOSSILS OF A PLATYRRHINE MONKEY FROM PANAMA PROVIDE EVIDENCE FOR MAMMALIAN DISPERSAL ACROSS THE CENTRAL AMERICAN SEAWAY IN THE EARLY MIOCENE

  • Jonathan I. Bloch, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Aaron R. Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Aldo F. Rincon, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Arianna R. Harrington, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Bruce J. MacFadden, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Gary S. Morgan, New Mexico Museum of Natural History, USA
  • David A. Foster, University of Florida, USA
  • Camilo Montes, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
  • Carlos A. Jaramillo, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama

The discovery of seven isolated teeth of a new platyrrhine monkey from the early Miocene of Panama marks the first known evidence of anthropoid monkeys in Central America prior to the rise of the Isthmus of Panama and the Great American Biotic Interchange.

AGE OF THE TARIJA FAUNA, BOLIVIA: IMPLICATIONS FOR EQUUS DISPERSAL AND CALIBRATION OF GABI 3

  • Bruce J. MacFadden, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

The Tarija fauna of southern Bolivia records the height of the Great American Biotic Interchange. Previously, horses (genus Equus) were believed to have arrived in South America as part of GABI 4, which defines the base of the Lujanian SALMA. However the horses found throughout the Tarija sequence suggest that the genus arrived in South America earlier, in GABI 3.

OPTICS AND PHYLOGENY: A GLIMPSE INTO THE PAST THROUGH COMPOUND EYES
  • Javier Luque, University of Alberta, Canada and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
  • A. Rich Palmer, University of Alberta, Canada

Eyes have evolved independently many times in higher taxa and can serve as useful tools in resolving evolutionary relationships. One group that can benefit from an analysis of eye evolution is crustaceans, which have several different optical designs. A study of the eyes of the group Podotremata suggests that the group might be paraphyletic, with Podotremata representing not a monophyletic group but a grade of increasing morphological complexity.

A NEW PYGMY SPERM WHALE (ODONTOCETI, PHYSETEROIDEA, KOGIIDAE) FROM THE LATE MIOCENE OF PANAMA

  • Jorge Vélez-Juarbe, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, USA
  • Carlos De Gracia, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
  • Aaron R. Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Austin J. W. Hendy, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

A pygmy sperm whale from the late Miocene Piña Facies of the Chagres Formation of Panama is the first record of a kogiid in the Northern Neotropics. A phylogenetic analysis including this new whale produced a strict consensus tree that placed it in a crown group of kogiid whales that included several extinct Neogene species and the extant Kogia spp.

CHONDRICHTHYAN FAUNA FROM THE LATE MIOCENE CHAGRES FORMATION (PANAMA CANAL BASIN): A NEW PALEOENVIRONMENT INFERENCE

  • Jorge D. Carrillo-Briceño, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Carlos De Gracia, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
  • Catalina Pimiento, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
  • Orangel A. Aguilera, Universidad Federal Fluminense, Brazil
  • Carlos Jaramillo, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama

Two chondricthyan assemblages are reported from the Rio Indio and Piña Facies of the late Miocene Chagres Formation. Paleobathymetry analyses of the assemblages from the two facies show that the taxa from the Rio Indio Facies have a neritic depth preference while those from the Piña Facies have deeper, oceanic affinities.

GSA | Geological Society of America (2014)

UTILIZING DIGITAL MEDIA TO COMMUNICATE SCIENCE FINDINGS WITH A DIVERSE AUDIENCE

  • Cristina M. Robins, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Claudia Grant, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Aaron R. Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Shari Ellis, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

In order to facilitate communication between the scientists of PCP PIRE and the general public, different types of media are used to provide a diversity of content. The project website and eNewsletter present the bulk of the information and updates on the project while the blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr provide short-form content, updates, and photos to the public. Tracking what is trending on these websites using Google Analytics and built-in statistics platforms allow us to understand what content the public is most receptive to.

GEOLOGICAL RECONNAISSANCE OF THE MIDDLE-LATE MIOCENE ALHAJUELA FORMATION (PANAMA): IMPLICATIONS FOR SHOALING OF THE CENTRAL AMERICAN SEAWAY

  • Robyn L. Henderick, Lafayette Collete, USA
  • Jorge W. Moreno-Bernal, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
  • Wesley von Dassow, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Aaron R. Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Austin J. W. Hendy, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Evan Whiting, University of Nebraska, USA
  • Michelle M. Barboza, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
  • Bruce J. MacFadden, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

Stratigraphic data from the Alhajuela Formation provides new information related to the shoaling and closure of the Central American Seaway. The transgressive sequence observed in the Alhajuela Formation is consistent with paleobathymetry data from the late Miocene Gatun Formation, which is contemporaneous to the Alhajuela Formation or slightly younger.

AN UNDERGRADUATE FIELD COURSE IN THE AZUERO PENINSULA, PANAMA: INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION BETWEEN RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS IN COLOMBIA, PANAMA, AND THE USA

  • Wesley von Dassow, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Robyn L. Henderick, Lafayette College, USA
  • Michelle M. Barboza, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
  • Camilo Montes, Universidad de Los Andes, Colombia

Undergraduate PCP PIRE interns collaborated with students from the Universidad de Los Andes to produce original research in several sub-divisions of geology. Interaction between these students necessitated constant communication regardless of previous language experience and skill level. The common interests of the participants and their collaboration in the field allowed them to build valuable work relationships despite any language or cultural barriers.


Botany Conference (2013)

INSIGHTS INTO THE MIDDLE MIOCENE CLIMATIC OPTIMUM FROM A NEOTROPICAL LEAF ASSEMBLAGE

  • Liliana Londoño, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
  • Mónica R. Carvalho, Cornell University, USA
  • Aaron R. Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Andrés L. Cárdenas, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
  • Jaime Escobar, Universidad del Norte, Colombia
  • Fabiany Herrera, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Carlos Jaramillo, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
  • Dana L. Royer, Wesleyan University, USA

Exquisite preservation of leaves from the Mid-Miocene may provide an analogue to current global climate trends.
Insights into the middle Miocene Climatic Optimum from a Neotropical leaf assemblage.
Mummified Leaf Assemblage Provides Insight To Neotropical Forest Ecophysiology During The Middle Miocene Climatic Optimum.

GSA | Geological Society of America (2013)

MIOCENE DEPOSITIONAL ENVIRONMENTS OF THE SOUTHEASTERN GAILLARD CUT, PANAMA CANAL, REPUBLIC OF PANAMA

  • Pedro M. Monarrez, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA (formerly with Applied Earthworks, USA)
  • Aaron R. Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Jorge Vélez-Juarbe, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Samantha Couper, University of Utah, USA
  • Erik K. Fredrickson, University of Washington, USA
  • Nicole Ridgwell, University of Colorado Boulder, USA

New stratigraphic sections exposed by the Panama Canal excavations allow a more detailed picture of the paleoenvironments of Panama during the closing of the isthmus.
Miocene Depositional Environments of The Southeastern Gaillard Cut, Panama Canal, Republic of Panama

FOSSILS OF PANAMA: DEVELOPING A BILINGUAL ONLINE HUB FOR EDUCATION AND RESEARCH RESOURCES

  • Katherine Hendy, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Austin J.W. Hendy, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Bruce J. MacFadden, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Claudia Grant, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

An overview and update on the Fossils of Panama project, an ambitious effort to fully catalog and photograph the fossils of Panama curated at the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Full abstract | Fossils of Panama

THE GATUN FORMATION: A NATURAL LABORATORY FOR ANALYSIS OF NEOTROPICAL PALEOECOLOGIC AND DIVERSITY PATTERNS

  • Austin J.W. Hendy, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

An overview of the extremely fossiliferous Gatun formation of the Miocene of Panama, and an analysis of fine scale paleoecological changes.
The Gatun Formation: A Natural Laboratory for Analysis of Neotropical Paleoecologic and Diversity Patterns

NAPC | North American Paleontological Convention (2013)

THE FIRST FOSSIL RECORD OF THE GENUS ZAMIA L. (ZAMIACEAE, CYCADALES) EVIDENCED BY EPIDERMAL STRUCTURE FROM THE EOCENE OF PANAMA AND ITS COMPARISON WITH MODERN SPECIES OF ZAMIA.

  • Boglárka Erdei, Hungarian Natural History Museum, Hungary
  • Austin Hendy, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Michael Calonje, Montgomery Botanical Center Miami, USA
  • Nicolas Espinoza, Florida International University, USA

Eocene marine sediments from Panama preserved a fossil leaflet that was proved to be the first, unequivocal fossil record of the modern cycad genus Zamia based on its characteristic epidermal traits. We adopted morphometric measurements to compare cuticle morphology of the fossil with modern species of Zamia belonging to various clades of the genus. Our results corroborated a closer similarity with Caribbean Zamia species than with other Mesoamerican or South American species.

FOSSIL PYGMY SPERM WHALES (ODONTOCETI; PHYSETEROIDEA; KOGIIDAE) FROM THE LATE MIOCENE OF PANAMA AND EARLY PLIOCENE OF FLORIDA

  • Jorge Velez-Juarbe, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Carlos De Gracia, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
  • Aaron R. Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Austin J.W. Hendy, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

We describe a new fossil species of pygmy sperm whale from Panama which shows that these cetaceans have been present in the Neotropics during the last 6 million years. We also describe fossil from Florida which show that at least two species of pygmy sperm whales lived in the region about 5 million years ago and formed part of one of the most diverse marine mammal assemblages of that time.

NEOTROPICAL FLORAS REVEAL THE BIOGEOGRAPHIC EVOLUTION OF PALEOCENE TO MIOCENE (60 TO 19 MA) FORESTS

  • Fabiany Herrera, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Steven R. Manchester, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Carlos Jaramillo, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama

I am investigating well-preserved fruit and seed floras ranging from ~60 to ~19 million years ago, from the Paleocene (Cerrejón & Bogotá floras), Eocene (Tonosí flora), and Miocene (Cucaracha flora) of Central and northern South America (specifically Colombia and Panama), to address the following questions: 1) Was northern South America phytogeographically isolated during the Paleogene? 2) What families first colonized the emergent land in the Panamanian arch during the late Eocene? 3) Did the Panamanian seaway act as a strong geographic barrier between the South and Central American forests in the Miocene?

RECONSTRUCTING THE EXTINCTION OF THE GIANT MEGALODON SHARK (CARCHARCOLES MEGALODON)

  • Catalina Pimiento, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Meghan Balk, University of New Mexico, USA
  • Christopher Celements, University of Sheffield, UK

Exploring the details surrounding the extinction of the shark C. megalodon, the largest known marine predator, can hopefully offer some insight into current conservation efforts of threatened modern sharks.

BODY SIZE CHANGE OF CARCHAROCLES MEGALODON THROUGH TIME IN COMPARISON WITH CONTEMPORANEOUS MARINE MEGA-FAUNA

  • Meghan A Balk, University of New Mexico, USA
  • Catalina Pimiento, University of Sheffield, UK

Body size is inherently related to a species' ecology. Understanding how body size changes in a species and throughout a community through time can reveal changes in a species ecology and relationships within a community. We, Catalina Pimiento and I, are investigating how C. megalodon's body size evolved through space and time, as well as how the body size of species in the marine community changed in the Early Pliocene, at the time of C. megalodon's extinction.

EXPANSION OF THE PANAMA CANAL AND THE RISE OF THE ISTHMUS

  • Carlos Jaramillo, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
  • Bruce MacFadden, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Jonathan Bloch, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Douglas S. Jones, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Gary Morgan, New Mexico Museum of Natural History, USA

I present an overall summary of the main findings of PIRE compared with previous hypotheses on the rise of the isthmus and its consequences.

THE EARLY MIOCENE PROTOCERATIDS (MAMMALIA, ARTIODACTYLA) FROM THE PANAMA CANAL BASIN

  • Aldo F. Rincon, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Jonathan I. Bloch, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Bruce J. MacFadden, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

New fossil finds from the exposures along the Panama Canal shed light on the evolution and distribution of protoceratids, an extinct group of artiodactyls with a similar appearance to a deer.

SHAPE CHANGE IN A CARIBBEAN MIOCENE BIVALVE AND IMPLICATIONS FOR CONSERVATION AND MODERN ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT

  • Sahale N. Casebolt, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Austin J.W. Hendy, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Michal Kowalewski, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

Mapping intraspecific variation of the commonly preserved bivalve Anadara dariensis can allow us to establish a baseline of diversity and changes that are independent of anthropogenic, or human, influence.

SVP | Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (2013)

NEW TURTLES (REPTILIA, TESTUDINES) FROM THE LAS CASCADAS FORMATION, PANAMA CANAL BASIN, SUGGEST LOW DIVERSITY IN THE EARLY MIOCENE (ARIKAREEAN) NEOTROPICS

  • Jason Bourque, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Aldo Fernando Rincon Burbano, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Aaron R. Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Jonathan I. Bloch, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Bruce MacFadden, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

Turtle diversity was relatively low in the Panama Canal Basin during the earliest Miocene Las Cascadas Formation (21 million years ago), but greatly increased during the Cucaracha Formation (~19 million years ago) when species diversity more than doubled.

AN EARLY MIOCENE BAT (CHIROPTERA: PHYLLOSTOMIDAE) FROM PANAMA AND MID CENOZOIC CHIROPTERAN DISPERSALS BETWEEN THE AMERICAS

  • Gary Morgan, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, USA
  • Nicholas Czaplewski, Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, USA
  • Aldo Fernando Rincon Burbano, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Aaron R. Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Bruce MacFadden, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

A new finding of a fossil bat indicates an earlier episode of the Great American Biotic Interchange, as well as a tropical North American origin for spear nosed bats.

CHRONOCLINAL BODY SIZE INCREASE OF THE EXTINCT GIANT SHARK MEGALODON (CARCHARCOLES MEGALODON)

  • Catalina Pimiento, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Meghan Balk, University of New Mexico, USA

Preliminary high-resolution analysis of teeth measurements of the giant shark Carcharcoles megalodon show an increase in the proportion of larger individuals over time, which may allow broader understanding of the evolutionary advantages and perils of large size.

NEW EARLY MIOCENE BASAL PROCYONIDS FROM PANAMA: THE OLDEST NORTH AMERICAN PROCYONID AND ORIGIN OF THE TRIBE POTOSINI (CARNIVORA, PROCYONIDAE).

  • Aldo F. Rincon Burbano, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Gary Morgan, New Mexico Museum of Natural History, USA
  • Richard Hulbert, Jr., Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Jonathan I. Bloch, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Aaron R. Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

A new species of procyonid, a group that includes both kinkajous and raccoons, has been found in Panama, which indicates they evolved and diversified in primarily a tropical and subtropical forest habitat.

PARTIAL SKELETON OF A TOOTHED WHALE (ODONTOCETI, CETACEA) FROM THE MID TO LATE MIOCENE GATUN FORMATION, PANAMA

  • Jorge Vélez-Juarbe, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Aaron R. Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Nicole Ridgwell, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA
  • Jonathan I. Bloch, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Bruce MacFadden, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

A new species of toothed whale found in the Gatun Formation, Panama, exhibits a relatively long neck and dense ribs, which are features not typically seen in whales. These features indicate that the Gatun whale likely foraged at shallow depths, an interpretation that is consistent with a depth estimate of 25 meters for the layers in which it was discovered.

DIFFERENCES IN INFERRED FORAGING BEHAVIOR AMONG EARLY MIOCENE SPECIES OF DIPLOTHERIUM: EVIDENCE FROM A NEW FOSSIL DUGONG FROM THE PANAMA CANAL

  • Aaron R. Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Jorge Vélez-Juarbe, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Jason Bourque, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Jonathan I. Bloch, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Carlos Jaramillo, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama

A well-preserved skull of a new species of fossil dugong was discovered along the Panama Canal from the Culebra Formation. Characteristics of the back of the skull indicate a specialized feeding strategy that differs from closely related dugongs found along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North and South America in the fossil record. These results are important for understanding competition among fossil dugong species for dietary resources, like sea grass.

International Bat Research Conference (2013)

A NEW EARLY MIOCENE PHYLLOSTOMINE FROM PANAMA: EVIDENCE FOR A MID CENOZOIC INTERCHANGE OF BATS BETWEEN THE AMERICAS

  • Gary Morgan, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, USA
  • Nicholas Czaplewski, Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, USA
  • Aldo Fernando Rincon Burbano, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Aaron R. Wood, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Jonathan I. Bloch, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Bruce MacFadden, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA
  • Maria Camila Villejo, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
  • David Foster, Florida Museum of Natural History/University of Florida, USA

A new finding of a fossil bat indicates an earlier episode of the Great American Biotic Interchange, as well as a tropical North American origin for spear nosed bats.

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