Publications by authors named "Neil J Tabor"

3 Publications

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Primitive Old World monkey from the earliest Miocene of Kenya and the evolution of cercopithecoid bilophodonty.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2019 03 11;116(13):6051-6056. Epub 2019 Mar 11.

Palaeontology Section, National Museums of Kenya, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya.

Old World monkeys (Cercopithecoidea) are a highly successful primate radiation, with more than 130 living species and the broadest geographic range of any extant group except humans. Although cercopithecoids are highly variable in habitat use, social behavior, and diet, a signature dental feature unites all of its extant members: bilophodonty (bi: two, loph: crest, dont: tooth), or the presence of two cross-lophs on the molars. This feature offers an adaptable Bauplan that, with small changes to its individual components, permits its members to process vastly different kinds of food. Old World monkeys diverged from apes perhaps 30 million years ago (Ma) according to molecular estimates, and the molar lophs are sometimes incompletely developed in fossil species, suggesting a mosaic origin for this key adaptation. However, critical aspects of the group's earliest evolution remain unknown because the cercopithecoid fossil record before ∼18 Ma consists of only two isolated teeth, one from Uganda and one from Tanzania. Here we describe a primitive Old World monkey from Nakwai, Kenya, dated at ∼22 Ma, that offers direct evidence for the initial key steps in the evolution of the cercopithecoid dentition. The simple dentition and absence of bilophodonty in the Nakwai monkey indicate that the initial radiation of Old World monkeys was first characterized by a reorganization of basic molar morphology, and a reliance on cusps rather than lophs suggests frugivorous diets and perhaps hard object feeding. Bilophodonty evolved later, likely in response to the inclusion of leaves in the diet.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1815423116DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6442627PMC
March 2019

Conservatism of Late Pennsylvanian vegetational patterns during short-term cyclic and long-term directional environmental change, western equatorial Pangea.

Geol Soc Spec Publ 2013 Sep;376(1):201-234

Department of Paleobiology, NMNH Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560, USA.

Patterns of plant distribution by palaeoenvironment were examined across the Pennsylvanian-Permian transition in North-Central Texas. Stratigraphically recurrent packages of distinct lithofacies, representing different habitats, contain qualitatively and quantitatively different macrofloras and microfloras. The species pools demonstrate niche conservatism, remaining closely tied to specific habitats, during both short-term cyclic environmental change and a long-term trend of increasing aridity. The deposits examined principally comprise the terrestrial Markley and its approximate marine equivalent, the Harpersville Formation and parts of lower Archer City Formation. Fossiliferous deposits are lens-like, likely representing fill sequences of channels formed during abandonment phases. Palaeosols, represented by blocky mudstones, comprise a large fraction of the deposits. They suggest progressive climate change from minimally seasonal humid to seasonal subhumid to seasonal dry subhumid. Five lithofacies yielded plants: kaolinite-dominated siltstone, organic shale, mudstone beds within organic shale, coarsening upward mudstone-sandstone interbeds and channel sandstone. Both macro- and microflora were examined. Lithofacies proved compositionally distinct, with different patterns of dominance diversity. Organic shales (swamp deposits), mudstone partings (swamp drainages) and coarsening upward mudstone-sandstone interbeds (floodplains) typically contain Pennsylvanian wetland vegetation. Kaolinite-dominated siltstones and (to the extent known) sandstones contain taxa indicative of seasonally dry substrates. Some kaolinite-dominated siltstones and organic shales/coals yielded palynomorphs. Microfloras are more diverse, with greater wetland-dryland overlap than macrofloras. It appears that these two floras were coexistent at times on the regional landscape.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4203347PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1144/sp376.14DOI Listing
September 2013

CO2-forced climate and vegetation instability during Late Paleozoic deglaciation.

Science 2007 Jan;315(5808):87-91

Department of Geology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.

The late Paleozoic deglaciation is the vegetated Earth's only recorded icehouse-to-greenhouse transition, yet the climate dynamics remain enigmatic. By using the stable isotopic compositions of soil-formed minerals, fossil-plant matter, and shallow-water brachiopods, we estimated atmospheric partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2) and tropical marine surface temperatures during this climate transition. Comparison to southern Gondwanan glacial records documents covariance between inferred shifts in pCO2, temperature, and ice volume consistent with greenhouse gas forcing of climate. Major restructuring of paleotropical flora in western Euramerica occurred in step with climate and pCO2 shifts, illustrating the biotic impact associated with past CO2-forced turnover to a permanent ice-free world.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1134207DOI Listing
January 2007