Abstract

The ichnological fossil record has previously provided key evidence for the diversification of land vertebrates (tetrapods) during the Carboniferous Period, following the invasion of the land. Within the UK, tetrapod ichnofossils from the late Carboniferous of the English Midlands are well documented, but few such fossils are known from earlier in the period. We present a rare ichnological insight into early Carboniferous tetrapod diversification in the United Kingdom based on a Visean-aged specimen collected from an interdistributary trough palaeoenvironment at Hardraw Scar, Wensleydale, North Yorkshire. This specimen represents the stratigraphically oldest known tetrapod trackway from the UK. We refer this specimen to Palaeosauropus sp., providing the earliest known occurrence of an edopoid temnospondyl. Supplementing the sparse record of contemporary body fossils from the early Carboniferous, this provides further insights into the diversification of temnospondyl amphibians across Euramerica.

Supplementary material: A 3D model of the plaster cast produced from the trackway specimen is available at https://doi.org/10.5519/0022377 and a lower resolution version is available on Sketchfab (https://skfb.ly/6OAxR).

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