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Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
Fieldwork conducted in the Wasatch Formation in and around Fossil Butte has yielded a diverse assemblage of early Eocene vertebrates. Fossil vertebrates are distributed through three discrete stratigraphic intervals within the uppermost 180 m of the main body of the Wasatch Formation underlying the Green River Formation. These assemblages were derived primarily from fluvial overbank mudstone units overprinted with variably well-developed paleosols. The lowest (20 m) and highest (60 m) sections are characterized by less mature and more hydromorphic paleosols, whereas the middle section (100 m) is typified by more mature paleosols and more abundant channel sandstones.
The combined assemblages contain at least 46 species of mammals. Faunal characteristics include high abundances of equid perissodactyls and a relatively high abundance and diversity of notharctines primates, an apparent absence of omomyid primates, relatively high rodent diversity, and relatively diverse and abundant artiodactyls. One new genus (Eoictops new genus) and three new species (Eoictops novaceki new species, Palaeosinopa lacus new species, and ?Notoparamys blochi new species) are included in the Fossil Butte assemblage. Also recorded are late occurrences of two hyopsodontid condylarths and an early occurrence of a rare phenacodontid condylarth. The relatively high abundances of equids and notharctines suggest that vertebrate samples were derived from relatively open paleohabitats that included forested areas along water courses.
All three assemblages contain characteristic Lysitean (Wasatchian biochron Wa-6) elements, but the occurrence of the palaeotheriid perissodactyl Lambdotherium in the uppermost horizon indicates a Lostcabinian (Wa-7) age for at least the top of the Wasatch Formation. The overlying predominantly fish-bearing Fossil Butte Member of the Green River Formation also contains Lambdotherium and is therefore Wa-7 in age as well.
Borings in fossil turtle shells collected from the lowermost beds of the early Eocene Cathedral Bluffs Tongue of the Wasatch Formation in the northwestern part of the Green River Basin near South Pass, Wyoming, are herein described. Individual turtle shells in the study area are characterized by as few as one or two and as many as >100 borings. The borings include both non-penetrative forms (those which do not pass fully though the shell) as well as penetrative forms (those which pass fully from the exterior to the interior surface of the shell). All non-penetrative forms occur on external surfaces of the carapace and plastron (i.e. those that would have been accessible while the host taxon was alive). Two new ichnogenera and four new ichnospecies are established to describe these borings. Karethraichnus (new ichnogenus) includes three ichnospecies: K. lakkos (new ichnospecies), K. kulindros (new ichnospecies), and K. fiale (new ichnospecies). Karethraichnus lakkos are shallow (non-penetrating), hemispherical pits with rounded, to flattened bases. Karethraichnus kulindros are deep, non-penetrative traces with a cylindrical profile, an axis approximately perpendicular to the substrate surface and with rounded to flattened, hemispherical termini. Karethraichnus fiale are penetrative traces with a cylindrical to bi-convex or flask-shaped profile, and an axis approximately perpendicular to the substrate surface. Thatchtelithichnus (new ichnogenus) Thatchtelithichnus holmani (new ichnospecies) consist of non-penetrative borings into a bone substrate. They consist of a ring-shaped trace, with a central pedestal or platform. The position of the borings on the shells, and evidence of syn-emplacement healing of the borings in several of the turtles, indicates that these borings were emplacement by ectoparasites/mesoparasites while the animals were living. Similar traces in modern emydid turtles are attributed to ticks, leeches, or spirorchid liver flukes.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
The Paleogene of Wyoming and Montana and the Neogene Siwaliks of Pakistan contain deposits representing a wide variety of terrestrial environments. Although fossils are preserved in all of these environments, fossil vertebrates are abundant in only certain facies. These principal preservational environments vary within and, particularly, between formations in each region.
The Bighorn and Crazy Mountain basins of Wyoming and Montana contain abundant remains of Paleocene and Eocene vertebrates. Over 1800 localities in this region have been established in the Paleocene Fort Union and Paleocene to Eocene Willwood formations. The distribution of vertebrate remains changes dramatically upsection in this sequence. The Fort Union consists of thick fluvial sandstones and minor swampy floodplain mudstones in the lower part, and more widely separated channel sandstones interbedded with better drained floodplain deposits that include paleosol horizons in the upper part. These changes reflect a local increase in aggradation rate. Vertebrates are preserved almost exclusively in channel mud-clast conglomerates in the lower part of the formation, but appear in a wider variety of environments (channels, splays, swamps, and paleosols) in the upper part. The Willwood Formation continues the changes evident in the upper Fort Union. With increased aggradation rates, floodplain deposits became thicker and more well drained. Except for rare occurrences in other environments (channels, a variety of calcareous environments, and oxbows), fossils are recovered primarily from paleosol horizons developed in fine grained floodplain deposits.
The Fort Union channel deposits contain assemblages that are often highly biased samples of faunal composition with large aquatic taxa well represented and small terrestrial forms unevenly represented. The upper Fort Union and Willwood floodplain paleosols contain more homogeneous (and therefore comparable) assemblages. These paleosols differ systematically, however, in terms of soil maturity and vertebrate composition, and they are commonly biased against large or aquatic taxa.
The distribution of Siwalik vertebrate localities among sedimentary environments is known for four formations spanning early middle to late Miocene: Kamlial, Chinji, Nagri, and Dhok Pathan. The principal deposits in which fossils occur are: major stream channel complexes, secondary (floodplain) channels, crevasse splays, and floodplains. The Kamlial and Nagri formations, dominated by coarse lithologies (>50% sandstone), are notably less productive of fossil localities than the Chinji and Dhok Pathan formations, dominated by fine grained lithologies (>50% mudstone). In the Kamlial and Nagri formations, major channel complexes form the most prevalent environment, and more localities are associated with these channels than with any other environment. In the Chinji and Dhok Pathan formations, the most prevalent environment is floodplain, but more localities are associated with the secondary channels on these floodplains than with any other environment. In the Chinji Formation, most localities developed in secondary channels occur in fining-upward fill sequences, whereas in the Dhok Pathan Formation, most sites in these channels occur in their lag deposits. In these more productive formations, the abundance of certain mammalian taxa is correlated with specific depositional environments. Change upsection in the abundance of these taxa could result largely from change in facies productivity.
The taphonomy of the two areas is similar in that channel lag deposits are an important source of fossil vertebrates. The major difference is that the Rocky Mountain Paleogene contains fewer, but highly productive, environments that changed significantly through time, including the Eocene emergence of floodplain paleosols as the primary environment of vertebrate preservation.
The Paleocene to early Eocene sequence of Wyoming-Montana and the Miocene to Pleistocene Siwalik record of Pakistan are exceptionally long, continental sequences, each containing a rich and well documented fossil record, especially of mammals. The two sequences are broadly similar in tectonic setting and sedimentary environment, in duration and facies changes, and in diversity of fossils. Each contains a paleoclimatic record in stable isotopes and, in the Paleogene, floras. Comparison of these two sequences has focused our attention on the interaction of tectonic, climatic, sedimentologic, and taphonomic factors that produce a particular fossil record and on the co-occurring ecological and evolutionary changes that result in a historical series of biotas, each the product of local and global events.
In the Paleogene record, the geographic scope of the record encompasses much of the floodbasin, and the spatial distribution of paleoenvironments formed fairly straightforward gradients from channel to distal floodplain. The Siwalik record has a smaller window onto a larger, heterogeneous fluvial system often with multiple, contemporaneous river systems that differ in magnitude. The spatial distribution of paleoenvironments was a mosaic without long proximal to distal gradients. In both records, major facies changes are correlated with striking changes in fossil productivity.
The overall pattern of fossil preservation by depositional environment differs substantially in the two areas. The Siwalik sequence has a greater variety of depositional environments that produce fossils throughout the section. The primary productive environment in the older part of the Paleocene record declined in productivity upsection, while a previously unproductive facies became the major source of fossils. Much of the record represents attritional accumulation in each area, but a significant portion is transported. The taphonomic processes that created fossil concentrations led to better taxonomic resolution for most Paleogene localities than in most Siwalik localities.
In each record, both aquatic and terrestrial components of the vertebrate faunas are correlated with facies. Since facies varied in productivity over time, some changes in faunal composition may have resulted from change in the prevalence or productivity of particular facies. At least one faunal turnover coincided with major facies changes in each sequence.
For mammals in each record, immigration rather than speciation in situ was the primary means of appearance of new species. Episodes of immigration were not closely followed by extinctions of resident species. Mean species longevity appears to have been more than twice as great in the Neogene than in the Paleogene record. Changes in faunal composition and species richness occurred during times of global climatic change; causal connections are still being explored. Changes in species richness did not track changes in relative abundance of taxa or changes in size within lineages or faunas. In terms of guild structure, the herbivore guild had high relative generic diversity through most of both sequences. The Paleogene record had a more even distribution of taxa in the five principal guilds, while the Siwalik record was heavily dominated by the herbivore guild. Size distributions differed substantially, reflecting the early and late windows into the mammalian radiation, rather than sampling bias.
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