Palaeoecological and palaeoenvironmental influences revealed by long-bone palaeohistology: the example of the Permian branchiosaurid Apateon
Sophie Sanchez, J. Sébastien Steyer, Rainer R. Schoch, Armand De Ricqlès, 2010. "Palaeoecological and palaeoenvironmental influences revealed by long-bone palaeohistology: the example of the Permian branchiosaurid Apateon", The Terrestrialization Process: Modelling Complex Interactions at the Biosphere–Geosphere Interface, M. Vecoli, G. Clément, B. Meyer-Berthaud
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Apateon, a small temnospondyl from the Permian freshwater-lake deposits of the Saar-Nahe Basin (SW Germany), is known by exceptionally well-preserved material. Here we report the first palaeohistological analysis of Apateon that focuses on its life-history traits and palaeoenvironments. Different samples (different localities and horizons) of Apateon caducus and Apateon pedestris have been analysed. Their stylopod histology shows different growth rhythms that might be correlated to changes in palaeoecosystems: food availability and/or presence of predators. Palaeoenvironmental influences are also recognized during the limb-bone osteogenesis by the expression of simple and/or double patterns of Lines of Arrested Growth (LAG). A double-LAG pattern expresses hibernating and aestivating arrests of growth in extant newts. The fossil samples from the two stratigraphically oldest horizons preserved a similar double-LAG pattern, suggesting that they may have hibernated and aestivated every year because of harsh climatic conditions. The Saar-Nahe lake system probably passed from a higher altitude zone into a lower one, possibly because of subsidence and/or erosion. It could also be correlated to the size of the lakes that differs from one locality to another, inducing different responses of the organisms to the climatic variations.
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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.