Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Archosauriforms From a Flood Plain in Late Triassic Argentina

Archosauriform remains from the Late Triassic of San Luis province, Argentina, Quebrada del Barro Formation, Marayes–El Carrizal Basin


Gianechini et al


Here we present archosauriform remains from ‘Abra de los Colorados’, a fossiliferous locality at Sierra de Guayaguas, NW San Luis Province. Two fossiliferous levels were identified in outcrops of the Quebrada del Barro Formation (Norian), which represent the southernmost outcrops of the Marayes–El Carrizal Basin. These levels are composed by massive muddy lithofacies, interpreted as floodplain deposits. The specimens consist of one incomplete maxilla (MIC-V718), one caudal vertebra (MIC-V719), one metatarsal (MIC-V720) and one indeterminate appendicular bone (MIC-V721). The materials can be assigned to Archosauriformes but the fragmentary nature and lack of unambiguous synapomorphies preclude a more precise taxomic assignment. The maxilla is remarkably large and robust and represents the posterior process. It preserved one partially erupted tooth with ziphodont morphology. This bone shows some anatomical traits and size match with ‘rauisuchians’ and theropods. MIC-V719 corresponds to a proximal caudal vertebra. It has a high centrum, a ventral longitudinal furrow, expanded articular processes for the chevrons, a posteriorly displaced diapophysis located below the level of the prezygapophyses, and short prezygapophyses. This vertebra would be from an indeterminate archosauriform. MIC-V720 presents a cylindrical diaphysis, with a well-developed distal trochlea, which present resemblances with metatarsals of theropods, pseudosuchians, and silesaurids, although the size matches better with theropods. MIC-V721 has a slender diaphysis and a convex triangular articular surface, and corresponds to an indeterminate archosauriform. Despite being fragmentary, these materials indicate the presence of a diverse archosauriforms association from Late Triassic beds of San Luis. Thus, they add to the faunal assemblage recently reported from this basin at San Juan Province, which is much rich and diverse than the coeval paleofauna well known from Los Colorados Formation in the Ischigualasto–Villa Union Basin.

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