The sedimentary environment of the Late Devonian East Greenland tetrapods
T. R. Astin, J. E. A. Marshall, H. Blom, C. M. Berry, 2010. "The sedimentary environment of the Late Devonian East Greenland tetrapods", The Terrestrialization Process: Modelling Complex Interactions at the Biosphere–Geosphere Interface, M. Vecoli, G. Clément, B. Meyer-Berthaud
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The Late Devonian early tetrapods in East Greenland occur in the Celsius Bjerg Group. Key occurrences are located in a detailed stratigraphic section used here to interpret the sedimentary palaeoenvironments. The palaeoenvironment for the Britta Dal Formation (which contains both Ichthyostega and Acanthostega) is reinterpreted. The Britta Dal Formation channels have flat bases, are poorly channelized, are of low sinuosity and are part of a very major distributory system that periodically experienced extreme flooding. The tetrapod fossils were recovered from an ephemeral system that was not permanently habitable in the immediate area. Plant megafossils are poorly preserved casts and impressions dominated by lycopsids and fern-like plants. The overbank siltstones are dominated by arid soil forming processes and comprise a spectacular sequence of vertisols. The 1174 m in situ Ichthyostega locality in Paralleldal was relocated and occurs just below the midpoint of the second megacycle in the Britta Dal Formation.
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The Terrestrialization Process: Modelling Complex Interactions at the Biosphere–Geosphere Interface
The invasion of the land by plants (‘terrestrialization’) was one of the most significant evolutionary events in the history of life on Earth, and correlates in time with periods of major palaeoenvironmental perturbations. The development of a vegetation cover on the previously barren land surfaces impacted on the global biogeochemical cycles and the geological processes of erosion and sediment transport. The terrestrialization of plants preceded the rise of major new groups of animals, such as insects and tetrapods, the latter numbering some 24 000 living species, including ourselves. Early land-plant evolution also correlates with the most spectacular decline of atmospheric CO2 concentration of Phanerozoic times and with the onset of a protracted period of glacial conditions on Earth. This book includes a selection of papers covering different aspects of the terrestrialization, from palaeobotany to vertebrate palaeontology and geochemistry, promoting a multidisciplinary approach to the understanding of the co-evolution of life and its environments during Early to Mid-Palaeozoic times.