Monday, March 14, 2016

Verbebrate Coprolites Became Less Diverse During the Permian/Triassic Extinction

Reduction of vertebrate coprolite diversity associated with the end-Permian extinction event in Vyazniki region, European Russia


Niedźwiedzki et al


This study investigates the paleoecological significance of vertebrate coprolites collected from seven sections and three lithofacies of the uppermost Permian and lowermost Triassic succession from the Vyazniki site in the European part of Russia. The analysed specimens (coprolites and possibly some cololites) were grouped into nine morphotypes (A–I).The coprolite morphotypes were characterized geochemically and compared to the record of other Permian and Triassic coprolites worldwide. Based on the stratigraphic position, shape, structure and composition, all morphotypes were linked to supposed producers. The phosphatic composition of most of the morphotypes and inclusions of arthropod remains, fish scales and bone fragments, suggest that they were produced by carnivores, but non-phosphatic, carbonate-rich, large and oval-shaped coprolites with impressions after plant remains have also been found. The extinction of terrestrial vertebrates around the Permian–Triassic boundary in Russia is interpreted to have occurred within a few thousands of years. Here, we show a pattern of coprolite morphotypes disappearing across this boundary that is consistent with a relatively sudden change in the vertebrate faunal composition across this interval.

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