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Evolution of the southeastern Brazilian reptile fauna from Cretaceous: paleontology, phylogeny and biogeography

Grant number: 02/13602-4
Support type:BIOTA-FAPESP Program - Thematic Grants
Duration: April 01, 2004 - October 31, 2009
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology
Principal Investigator:Hussam El Dine Zaher
Grantee:Hussam El Dine Zaher
Home Institution: Museu de Zoologia (MZ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Co-Principal Investigators:Marta Maria Antoniazzi ; Max Cardoso Langer
Associated grant(s):05/55100-3 - Gerald Grellet Tinner | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County - United States, AV.EXT
Associated scholarship(s):07/52222-6 - Morphological analysis of the mandibular symphysis in the clado Squamata, BP.MS
07/52144-5 - Analysis of the longitudinal variation of the axial skeleton in serpents (Squamata) using tools of geometric mophometry, BP.MS
06/61130-5 - Micro remains of vertebrates of the region of Ibirá, northwest of the State of São Paulo (Bauru Group, Upper Cretaceous), BP.IC
+ associated scholarships 06/51655-3 - Relational database in the palaeontolgical context, BP.IC
05/52411-8 - Morphological description and taxonomic positioning of a crocodyliform of the upper Cretaceous of the Bauru Basin, region of General Salgado, SP, BP.MS
05/50161-4 - Anatomical description of the Mariliasuchus amarali (Crocodyliformes, Mesoeucrocodylia), BP.IC
04/11205-3 - The osteology of the waist and pectoral members of Saturnalia tupiniquim (Dinosauria, Saurischia) and its phylogenetic and paleobiological importance, BP.MS
04/10714-1 - Survey of the herpetofauna in a locality of Atlantic Rainforest: the State Park of Jacupiranga (SP), BP.MS - associated scholarships


This project's main objective is the study of phylogenetic and biogeographic patterns of the reptile fauna of southeastern Brazil, From the upper Cretaceous to the present time, allowing the characterization of expansion and retraction pulses that took place in the past 70 million years, and responsible for the present configuration of the reptile biodiversity. The improvement of knowledge about these processes will help in the recognition of parameters leading to the loss of biodiversity (in different temporal scales) in southeastern Brazil and ultimately contribute to the establishment of conservation strategies and sustainable use of natural resources. Thus, and for the first time within the Biota Program of FAPESP, we intend to include paleontological data in the study of biodiversity. The traditional definition of extant reptiles encompasses the clades Quelonii, Crocodylia and Squamata (including snakes, lizards and amphisbaenians). These groups are represented in the Cretaceous and Tertiary fossil record of Brazil, thus providing an ideal database to the approach adopted in this project. Southeastern Brazil includes the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais, a privileged study area in the sense that it harbors a significant fraction of the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado biomes, besides the Bauru, ltaboraí and Taubaté fossil basins, and the carstic region of the Ribeira river valley. This assemblage of sedimentary basins, biomes and carstic caves offers a unique opportunity for sampling reptiles in a timeframe of 70 million years. ln order to develop the study here proposed, it is necessary improve and organize our knowledge of the reptile diversity through geological time. The confection of such a survey will allow the cross-checking of data of extant and past faunas in a vertical axis (chronostratigraphic axis) hitherto unexplored within the Biota Program. The implementation strategy possesses seven major tines of scientific activities: 1) the survey of the reptile diversity in the state of São Paulo from the upper Cretaceous to Recent, thus compiling a database including all recent species described so far as well as the specimens in natural history collections. 2) To collect living and fossil reptiles in the biomes and fossil basins of southeastern Brazil. 3) To develop phylogenetic studies of key extant and extinct taxa. 4) ln the case of extant key taxa, to elaborate molecular and morphological phylogenies in order to contrast their results. 5) To combine data on the distribution of fossil and living taxa with phylogenies and identified timeframes, to study past and present biogeographic and faunistic patterns of the Brazilian southeast. 6) To develop fine morphological studies aiming the understanding of the evolution of complex structures in reptiles. 7) To strength collections and study groups of vertebrate paleontology in the state of São Paulo through the creation of laboratories for preparation and study of fossils in the Museu de Zoologia and the FFCLRP of the Universidade de São Paulo. The Cretaceous and Tertiary will be surveyed in the following basins: 1) Bauru basin (upper Cretaceous); 2) ltaboraí basin (paleocene); Taubaté basin (Eocene -Oligocene). Pleistocene and Holocene material will be collected in the carstic caves of the Vale do Ribeira (Ribeira river valley) in the state of São Paulo, in southern Bahia and northern Minas Gerais. The extant reptile fauna will be sampled in localities within the two major biomes of the southeast: the Atlantic Forest and the Cerrado. Other regions of Brazil will be surveyed in order to provide a comparative background for the reptile diversity pattern found in the Brazilian southeast. (AU)

Articles published in other media outlets (2 total):
Folha de S. Paulo: Dinossauro achado em MG lembra um minitiranossauro (17/Oct/2020) Novo dinossauro brasileiro achado em MG lembra um tiranossauro em miniatura (16/Oct/2020)

Scientific publications (26)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
ZAHER, HUSSAM; MURPHY, ROBERT W.; ARREDONDO, JUAN CAMILO; GRABOSKI, ROBERTA; MACHADO-FILHO, PAULO ROBERTO; MAHLOW, KRISTIN; MONTINGELLIL, GIOVANNA G.; QUADROS, ANA BOTTALLO; ORLOV, NIKOLAI L.; WILKINSON, MARK; ZHANG, YA-PING; GRAZZIOTIN, FELIPE G. Large-scale molecular phylogeny, morphology, divergence-time estimation, and the fossil record of advanced caenophidian snakes (Squamata: Serpentes). PLoS One, v. 14, n. 5 MAY 10 2019. Web of Science Citations: 5.
ZAHER, HUSSAM; YANEZ-MUNOZ, MARIO H.; RODRIGUES, MIGUEL T.; GRABOSKI, ROBERTA; MACHADO, FABIO A.; ALTAMIRANO-BENAVIDES, MARCO; BONATTO, SANDRO L.; GRAZZIOTIN, FELIPE G. Origin and hidden diversity within the poorly known Galapagos snake radiation (Serpentes: Dipsadidae). SYSTEMATICS AND BIODIVERSITY, v. 16, n. 7, p. 614-642, 2018. Web of Science Citations: 4.
DOMENICO, ELEONORA A.; HADDAD, CELIO F. B.; ZAHER, HUSSAM. Natural History of Paratelmatobius gaigeae (Amphibia, Anura, Leptodactylidae): Description of the Tadpole and Advertisement Call. Journal of Herpetology, v. 48, n. 3, p. 430-433, SEP 2014. Web of Science Citations: 2.
KLACZKO, JULIA; MONTINGELLI, GIOVANNA G.; ZAHER, HUSSAM. A combined morphological and molecular phylogeny of the genus ChironiusFitzinger, 1826 (Serpentes: Colubridae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, v. 171, n. 3, p. 656-667, JUL 2014. Web of Science Citations: 7.
MARTINS, ITAMAR A.; ZAHER, HUSSAM. A new species of the highland frog genus Holoaden (Amphibia, Strabomantidae) from cloud forests of southeastern Brazil. Zootaxa, v. 3599, n. 2, p. 178-188, JAN 4 2013. Web of Science Citations: 3.
MOLINA, FLAVIO B.; MACHADO, FABIO A.; ZAHER, HUSSAM. Taxonomic validity of Mesoclemmys heliostemma (McCord, Joseph-Ouni & Lamar, 2001) (Testudines, Chelidae) inferred from morphological analysis. Zootaxa, n. 3575, p. 63-77, DEC 7 2012. Web of Science Citations: 4.
GRAZZIOTIN, FELIPE G.; ZAHER, HUSSAM; MURPHY, ROBERT W.; SCROCCHI, GUSTAVO; BENAVIDES, MARCO A.; ZHANG, YA-PING; BONATTO, SANDRO L. Molecular phylogeny of the New World Dipsadidae (Serpentes: Colubroidea): a reappraisal. CLADISTICS, v. 28, n. 5, p. 437-459, OCT 2012. Web of Science Citations: 86.
ZAHER, HUSSAM; AGUSTIN SCANFERLA, CARLOS. The skull of the Upper Cretaceous snake Dinilysia patagonica Smith-Woodward, 1901, and its phylogenetic position revisited. ZOOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, v. 164, n. 1, p. 194-238, JAN 2012. Web of Science Citations: 38.
HUSSAM ZAHER; FELIPE G. GRAZZIOTIN; ROBERTA GRABOSKI; RICARDO G. FUENTES; PAOLA SÁNCHEZ-MARTINEZ; GIOVANNA G. MONTINGELLI; YA-PING ZHANG; ROBERT W. MURPHY. Phylogenetic relationships of the genus Sibynophis (Serpentes: Colubroidea). Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia (São Paulo), v. 52, n. 12, p. 141-149, 2012.
NASCIMENTO, PAULO MIRANDA; ZAHER, HUSSAM. The skull of the Upper Cretaceous baurusuchid crocodile Baurusuchus albertoi Nascimento & Zaher 2010, and its phylogenetic affinities. ZOOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, v. 163, n. 1, p. S116-S131, DEC 2011. Web of Science Citations: 6.
VASCONCELOS, TIAGO DA S.; DOS SANTOS, TIAGO G.; ROSSA-FERES, DENISE DE C.; HADDAD, CELIO F. B. Spatial and temporal distribution of tadpole assemblages (Amphibia, Anura) in a seasonal dry tropical forest of southeastern Brazil. Hydrobiologia, v. 673, n. 1, p. 93-104, SEP 2011. Web of Science Citations: 10.
MONTINGELLI, GIOVANNA C.; ZAHER, HUSSAM. New Species of Mastigodryas Amaral, 1934 from Brazilian Amazonia and Guyana (Serpentes: Colubridae). Journal of Herpetology, v. 45, n. 1, p. 111-119, MAR 2011. Web of Science Citations: 5.
VASCONCELOS‚ T. S.; DOS SANTOS‚ T. G.; ROSSA-FERES‚ D. C.; HADDAD‚ C. F. B. Spatial and temporal distribution of tadpole assemblages (Amphibia‚ Anura) in a seasonal dry tropical forest of southeastern Brazil. Hydrobiologia, p. 93-104, 2011.
VASCONCELOS, TIAGO DA S.; DOS SANTOS, TIAGO G.; ROSSA-FERES, DENISE DE C.; HADDAD, CELIO F. B. Similarity of ground-dwelling anuran (Amphibia) composition among different vegetation physiognomies in a Mesophytic Semideciduous Forest from southeastern Brazil. North-Western Journal of Zoology, v. 6, n. 2, p. 275-285, DEC 2010. Web of Science Citations: 9.
MACHADO, FABIO A.; ZAHER, HUSSAM. Pitfalls of artificial grouping and stratification of scientific journals based on their Impact Factor: a case study in Brazilian Zoology. Zoologia, v. 27, n. 4, p. 493-502, AUG 2010. Web of Science Citations: 2.
VASCONCELOS, TIAGO DA SILVEIRA; DOS SANTOS, TIAGO GOMES; BAPTISTA HADDAD, CELIO FERNANDO; ROSSA-FEREST, DENISE DE CERQUEIRA. Climatic variables and altitude as predictors of anuran species richness and number of reproductive modes in Brazil. JOURNAL OF TROPICAL ECOLOGY, v. 26, n. 4, p. 423-432, JUL 2010. Web of Science Citations: 26.
VASCONCELOS, T. S.; SANTOS, T. G.; ROSSA-FERES, D. C.; HADDAD, C. F. B. Influence of the environmental heterogeneity of breeding ponds on anuran assemblages from southeastern Brazil. CANADIAN JOURNAL OF ZOOLOGY, v. 87, n. 8, p. 699-707, AUG 2009. Web of Science Citations: 39.
ZAHER, HUSSAM; APESTEGUIA, SEBASTIAN; AGUSTIN SCANFERLA, CARLOS. The anatomy of the upper cretaceous snake Najash rionegrina Apesteguia & Zaher, 2006, and the evolution of limblessness in snakes. ZOOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, v. 156, n. 4, p. 801-826, AUG 2009. Web of Science Citations: 38.
FABREZI, MARISSA; MANZANO, ADRIANA; ABDALA, VIRGINIA; ZAHER, HUSSAM. Developmental basis of limb homology in Pleurodiran turtles, and the identity of the hooked element in the chelonian tarsus. ZOOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, v. 155, n. 4, p. 845-866, APR 2009. Web of Science Citations: 16.
DOMINGOS CINTRA, CARLOS EDUARDO; RODRIGUES SILVA, HELDER LUCIO; DA SILVA, JR., NELSON JORGE; DE ANCHIETTA GARCIA, PAULO CHRISTIANO; ZAHER, HUSSAM. A new species of Trachycephalus (Amphibia, Anura, Hylidae) from the State of Goias, Brazil. Zootaxa, n. 1975, p. 58-68, JAN 12 2009. Web of Science Citations: 3.
HUSSAM ZAHER; FELIPE GOBBI GRAZZIOTIN; JOHN E. CADLE; ROBERT W. MURPHY; JULIO CESAR DE MOURA-LEITE; SANDRO L. BONATTO. Molecular phylogeny of advanced snakes (Serpentes, Caenophidia) with an emphasis on South American Xenodontines: a revised classification and descriptions of new taxa. Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia (São Paulo), v. 49, n. 11, p. 115-153, 2009.
OLIVEIRA, LEONARDO DE; JARED, CARLOS; PRUDENTE, ANA LÚCIA DA COSTA; ZAHER, HUSSAM; ANTONIAZZI, MARTA MARIA. Oral glands in dipsadine "goo-eater" snakes: Morphology and histochemistry of the infralabial glands in Atractus reticulatus, Dipsas indica, and Sibynomorphus mikanii. Toxicon, v. 51, n. 5, p. 898-913, Apr. 2008.

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