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Small footprints expand Middle Permian amphibian diversity in the South African Karoo

Juan Carlos Cisneros, Michael O. Day, Jaco Groenewald and Bruce S. Rubidge
Small footprints expand Middle Permian amphibian diversity in the South African Karoo
Palaios (January 2020) 35 (1): 1-11


Two new tetrapod trackways are described from the Tapinocephalus Assemblage Zone of the South African Karoo Basin. We interpret both to be traces attributable to small anamniote tetrapods. The larger footprints are tentatively referred to aff. Batrachichnus salamandroides. These imprints are distinguished from other records of Batrachichnus by a pentadactyl pes that produces only impressions of digits III-V. Digits I and II are recognized only by their drag marks. This trace occurs in association with a second set of footprints of uncertain affinities. However, these smaller imprints are not sufficiently well preserved and could represent undertracks or partially eroded footprints. None of the footprints can be attributed to the adult forms of the two temnospondyl taxa known from the Guadalupian part of the Karoo Basin: Rhinesuchus whaitsi or Rhinesuchoides tenuiceps. We interpret the aff. Batrachichnus trackway to have been produced by a small, adult temnospondyl or microsaur (Recumbirostrae), whereas the smaller set of footprints was likely made by a juvenile rhinesuchid or an unknown amphibian, either a paedomorphic form or a tiny adult form. The discovery shows that a more diverse aquatic biota existed at this time in the Karoo than osteological records currently suggest.

ISSN: 0883-1351
Serial Title: Palaios
Serial Volume: 35
Serial Issue: 1
Title: Small footprints expand Middle Permian amphibian diversity in the South African Karoo
Affiliation: Universidade Federal do Piaui, Museu de Arqueologia e Paleontologia, Teresina, Brazil
Pages: 1-11
Published: 202001
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 48
Accession Number: 2020-071721
Categories: Vertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. strat. col., 1 table, geol. sketch map
S32°23'60" - S32°23'60", E20°40'00" - E20°40'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Natural History Museum, GBR, United KingdomUniversity of the Witwatersrand, ZAF, South Africa
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2020, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 2020
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