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Article: Taxonomic identification using virtual palaeontology and geometric morphometrics: a case study of Jurassic nerineoidean gastropods

Palaeontology - Vol. 64 Part 2 - Cover Image
Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 64
Part: 2
Publication Date: March 2021
Page(s): 249 261
Author(s): Yael Leshno Afriat, Yael Edelman‐Furstenberg, Rivka Rabinovich, Jonathan A. Todd, and Hila May
Addition Information

How to Cite

AFRIAT, Y.L., EDELMAN‐FURSTENBERG, Y., RABINOVICH, R., TODD, J.A., MAY, H. 2021. . Palaeontology, 64, 2, 249-261. DOI: /doi/10.1111/pala.12521

Author Information

  • Yael Leshno Afriat - The Fredy & Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences The National Natural History Collections of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Edmond J. Safra Campus Jerusalem 9190401 Israel
  • Yael Leshno Afriat - Geological Survey of Israel 32 Yesha'yahu Leibowitz Str. Jerusalem 9692100 Israel
  • Yael Edelman‐Furstenberg - Geological Survey of Israel 32 Yesha'yahu Leibowitz Str. Jerusalem 9692100 Israel
  • Rivka Rabinovich - The Fredy & Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences The National Natural History Collections of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Edmond J. Safra Campus Jerusalem 9190401 Israel
  • Jonathan A. Todd - Department of Earth Sciences Natural History Museum Cromwell Road London SW7 5BD UK
  • Hila May - Department of Anatomy & Anthropology Sackler Faculty of Medicine Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv 69978 Israel
  • Hila May - The Dan David Center for Human Evolution & Biohistory Research Sackler Faculty of Medicine Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv 69978 Israel

Publication History

  • Issue published online: 04 March 2021
  • Manuscript Accepted: 12 November 2020
  • Manuscript Received: 02 June 2020

Funded By

Israel Ministry of Energy and Water Resources. Grant Number: 214‐17-001
Israel Ministry of Science and Technology. Grant Number: 0399589
European Community Research Infrastructure Action

Online Version Hosted By

Wiley Online Library
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Abstract

Taxonomic identification of fossils is fundamental to a wide range of geological and biological disciplines. Many fossil groups are identified based on expert judgement, which requires extensive experience and is not always available for the specific taxonomic group at hand. Nerineoideans, a group of extinct gastropods that formed a major component of Mesozoic shallow marine environments, have distinctive internal spiral folds that form the basis for their classification at the genus level. However, their identification is often inconsistent because it is based on a set of selected characters reliant upon individual interpretation. This study shows a non‐destructive and quantitative method for their identification using micro‐CT and geometric morphometrics. We examined and micro‐CT‐scanned nerineoidean specimens from five main families that dominated Europe, Arabia and Africa during the Middle–Late Jurassic. Optimal longitudinal slices were selected from the tomographic reconstructions or from images of polished cross‐sections compiled from fossil collections, published work and online databases. Internal whorl outlines were represented by 30 evenly distributed sliding semilandmarks and shape variations were studied using the Procrustes‐based geometric morphometrics method. Multivariate analysis shows that Ceritellidae and Ptygmatididae are distinct families, whereas Nerinellidae, Eunerineidae and Nerineidae fall within the same shape variance and cannot be distinguished based on internal whorl outlines. The suggested method can be applied to images from various sources as well as to poorly preserved specimens. Our case study demonstrates the importance of quantitatively re‐evaluating taxonomy in the fossil record, promoting the future utility of large datasets.

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