Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Trackway Compositions Appear to Indicate PaleoEnvironment, Biome in Early Permian Spain

Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and early Permian ichnoassemblage from the NE Iberian Peninsula (Pyrenean Basin)


Mujal et al


Recent finds of tetrapod ichnites in the red-bed and volcaniclastic succession of the Iberian Pyrenean Basin permits an assessment of the faunal diversity and palaeoenvironment of a late early Permian setting. The tetrapod ichnoassemblage is inferred with the aid of photogrammetry and constituted by Batrachichnus salamandroides, Limnopus isp., cf. Amphisauropus (these three ichnotaxa present associated swimming traces, assigned to Characichnos), cf. Ichniotherium, Dromopus isp., cf. Varanopus, Hyloidichnus isp. and Dimetropus leisnerianus. These ichnotaxa suggest the presence of temnospondyls, seymouriamorphs, diadectomorphs, araeoscelids, captorhinids and synapsid pelycosaurs as potential trackmakers. These faunas correlate to the late early Permian. Two ichnoassociations correspond to two different palaeoenvironments that were permanently or occasionally aquatic (meandering fluvial systems and unconfined runoff surfaces, respectively). Ichnotaxa in the fluvial system is more diverse and abundant than in the runoff surfaces system. The Iberian Pyrenean ichnoassemblage reveals the faunistic connection and similarities among nearing basins (Spain, southern France and Morocco) differing from the Central European basins (i.e. German Tambach Formation). Based on the palaeogeography and the climate models of the early Permian, we suggest the correlation of ichnofaunal composition with different palaeoclimate biomes. This results in a diffuse boundary of Gondwana–Laurasia land masses, indicating no geographic barriers but a possible climate control on the faunal distribution. Further studies, integrating data from distant tracksites, should refine these biome boundaries.

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