Biological and physical evidence for extreme seasonality in central Permian Pangea

Published on Jun 1, 2016in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology2.616
· DOI :10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.02.016
Cindy V. Looy24
Estimated H-index: 24
(University of California, Berkeley),
Stephanie L. Ranks1
Estimated H-index: 1
(University of California, Berkeley)
+ 7 AuthorsNeil J. Tabor27
Estimated H-index: 27
(SMU: Southern Methodist University)
Abstract Climate models indicate increased desertification in the continental interior of Pangea during the Permian, which would have affected the composition of the flora and fauna. We present a multi-proxy paleoenvironmental reconstruction of a terrestrial ecosystem in central Pangea of Lopingian age. The reconstruction is based on biological and physical data from the Moradi Formation, located in the Tim Mersoi sub-Basin, northern Niger. Paleosols and sedimentological evidence indicate that the prevailing climate was semi-arid to very arid with marked intervals of high water availability. Carbon stable isotope data from organic matter and paleosols suggest that both the soil productivity and actual evapotranspiration were very low, corresponding to arid conditions. Histological analysis of pareiasaur bones shows evidence of active metabolism and reveals distinct growth marks. These interruptions of bone formation are indicative of growth rhythms, and are considered as markers for contrasting seasonality or episodic climate events. The macrofossil floras have low diversity and represent gymnosperm-dominated woodlands. Most notable are ovuliferous dwarf shoots of voltzian conifers, and a 25-m long tree trunk with irregularly positioned branch scars. The combined biological and physical evidence suggests that the Moradi Formation was deposited under a generally arid climate with recurring periods of water abundance, allowing for a well-established ground water-dependent ecosystem. With respect to its environment, this system is comparable with modern ecosystems such as the southern African Namib Desert and the Lake Eyre Basin in Australia, which are discussed as modern analogues.
  • References (105)
  • Citations (10)
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
16 Citations
24 Citations
26 Citations
78% of Scinapse members use related papers. After signing in, all features are FREE.
#1Roger M.H. Smith (University of the Witwatersrand)H-Index: 10
#2Christian A. Sidor (UW: University of Washington)H-Index: 27
Last. J. Sébastien Steyer (CNRS: Centre national de la recherche scientifique)H-Index: 17
view all 4 authors...
16 CitationsSource
#1Morgan L. Turner (UW: University of Washington)H-Index: 1
#2Linda A. Tsuji (ROM: Royal Ontario Museum)H-Index: 16
Last. Christian A. Sidor (UW: University of Washington)H-Index: 27
view all 4 authors...
ABSTRACTPareiasaurs were a group of herbivorous reptiles that lived during the middle to late Permian (˜265–252 Ma) in what is modern-day Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa. Field work in the Moradi Formation of northern Niger has produced multiple elements of the appendicular skeleton of the pareiasaur Bunostegos akokanensis. The considerable size disparity and morphological variation among the elements suggest that they represent ontogenetic stages ranging from relatively juvenile to adul...
11 CitationsSource
We describe the conifer genus Manifera (Majonicaceae, voltzian Voltziales) from the Lower Pease River flora (Early Permian, north central Texas) on the basis of dispersed ovuliferous dwarf shoots and seeds and compare it with coeval and Late Permian taxa. Manifera talaris gen. et sp. nov. is exceptional for two reasons. First, it is the earliest known conifer with winged seeds adapted for autorotating wind dispersal; second, its seeds had variable wing configurations. The ovuliferous dwarf shoot...
10 CitationsSource
#1Robert A. Gastaldo (Colby College)H-Index: 31
#2Cassandra L. Knight (Colby College)H-Index: 1
Last. Neil J. Tabor (SMU: Southern Methodist University)H-Index: 27
view all 4 authors...
Terrestrial settings preceding the endPermian crisis are reported to trend toward increasingly dry and arid conditions, resulting in landscape change and a shift in fl architectures and regimes. Much of the latest Permian (Changhsingian) stratigraphic record in the Karoo Basin, South Africa, consists of paleosols, which record the physical conditions across time and space. Preboundary sequences at Wapadsberg Pass, Eastern Cape Province, provide insight into the climate regime that infl uenced pa...
22 CitationsSource
#1Kenneth D. Angielczyk (FMNH: Field Museum of Natural History)H-Index: 30
#2Jean-Sébastien Steyer (CNRS: Centre national de la recherche scientifique)H-Index: 8
Last. Stephen TolanH-Index: 2
view all 6 authors...
Dicynodont fossils were first collected in the Luangwa Basin, Zambia, in the 1920s, but limited detailed study and taxonomic uncertainty have obscured their biostratigraphic utility and their implications for topics such as dicynodont biogeography and the effects of the end-Permian extinction. Here we present a comprehensive taxonomic revision of the dicynodonts of the Luangwa Basin, taking into account specimens in all major museum collections and new material collected by our team in 2009. We ...
43 CitationsSource
#1Christian A. Sidor (UW: University of Washington)H-Index: 27
Abstract The Moradi Formation of northern Niger preserves a rare glimpse of tetrapods inhabiting the low paleolatitude regions of Pangea during Late Permian times. In contrast to the broadly distributed and dicynodont-dominated Karoo fauna known from southern Pangea (e.g., South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Malawi), recent work has shown that (1) Moradi tetrapods are endemic, and (2) the taxonomic composition of the Moradi fauna is unlike that of any other Upper Permian fauna. In this contribut...
8 CitationsSource
#1Jessica M. Giles (Chesapeake Energy)H-Index: 1
#2Michael J. Soreghan (OU: University of Oklahoma)H-Index: 19
Last. Stephen T. Hasiotis (KU: University of Kansas)H-Index: 31
view all 5 authors...
Abstract Lower to mid-Permian deposits of the Midcontinent (U.S.A.) record a significant and long recognized aridification because they archive the shift from more humid facies (e.g., coal, organic shale) of the Pennsylvanian to widespread redbeds, semiarid to seasonal paleosols (Calcisols, Vertisols), and evaporites by the mid-Permian. The provenance, transport and depositional processes of the voluminous Permian redbeds of the Midcontinent, however, remain largely undefined. The Artinskian Wel...
19 CitationsSource
#1Linda A. Tsuji (UW: University of Washington)H-Index: 16
#2Christian A. Sidor (UW: University of Washington)H-Index: 27
Last. Oumarou Ide (Abdou Moumouni University)H-Index: 11
view all 6 authors...
ABSTRACT We describe newly recovered cranial material of Bunostegos akokanensis, a pareiasaurian reptile known from the Upper Permian Moradi Formation of northern Niger. Bunostegos is highly autapomorphic, with diagnostic cranial features including two or three hemispherical bosses located above and between the external nares; laterally projecting supraorbital ‘horn’ formed by an enlarged postfrontal; large foramen present on ventral surface of postfrontal; and hemispherical supratemporal boss l...
17 CitationsSource
#1Robert A. Gastaldo (Colby College)H-Index: 31
#2Bryce A. Pludow (Colby College)H-Index: 1
Last. Johann NevelingH-Index: 10
view all 3 authors...
Mudclast aggregates are documented in the Lower Triassic, anabranching fluvial deposits of the Katberg Formation, Karoo Basin, South Africa. Here, aggregates are: (1) coarse silt to fine sand size, (2) of a heterogeneous texture consisting of several clay clasts, some of which display the presence of clay skins, (3) uniquely shaped, not simply filling pore space between other grains as matrix, and (4) in association with reworked carbonate nodules and mud-chip rip-up clasts. They occur in basal ...
11 CitationsSource
#1Sophie Sanchez (Uppsala University)H-Index: 16
#2Rainer R. Schoch (Museum für Naturkunde)H-Index: 30
Evolutionary stasis (long-term stability of morphology in an evolving lineage) is a pattern for which explanations are usually elusive. The Triassic tetrapod Gerrothorax pulcherrimus, a gill-bearing temnospondyl, survived for 35 million years in the Germanic Basin of Central Europe persisting throughout the dinosaur-dominated Late Triassic period. This evolutionary stasis coincides with the occurrence of this species in a wide range of habitats and environmental conditions. By the combination of...
22 CitationsSource
Cited By10
#1Steffen TrümperH-Index: 1
#2Jens GötzeH-Index: 28
Last. Ronny RößlerH-Index: 13
view all 3 authors...
#1Elizaveta A. Boitsova (SPbU: Saint Petersburg State University)H-Index: 2
#2Pavel P. Skutschas (SPbU: Saint Petersburg State University)H-Index: 13
Last. Olga A MasuytinaH-Index: 1
view all 6 authors...
1 CitationsSource
#2Cesar L. Schultz (UFRGS: Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul)H-Index: 26
Last. Marina Bento Soares (UFRGS: Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul)H-Index: 14
view all 3 authors...
ABSTRACTProvelosaurus americanus from the Guadalupian of Brazil, is the only species of pareiasaur known from South America and its studies are limited to anatomical descriptions. Here, we examined the microstructure of limb bones, a rib fragment and osteoderms of P. americanus, aiming to answer questions related to its paleobiology. The bone tissues of this specimen comprise poorly vascularised parallel-fibred bone interrupted by growth marks indicating slow, cyclical growth. This is consistent...
#1Li Zhang (China University of Petroleum)H-Index: 3
#2Zhidong Bao (China University of Petroleum)H-Index: 2
Last. Zecheng Wang (PetroChina)H-Index: 3
view all 8 authors...
Abstract Shallow water delta developed during the Late Cretaceous greenhouse climate depositing in the red bed succession of the Yaojia Formation in the Southern Songliao Basin, NE China. The shallow water delta deposits provide an opportunity to understand the influence of high discharge variability in a semi-arid climate on the fluvial patterns, internal sedimentary details, and reservoir quality of distributary channels. The sedimentary process of the shallow water delta in the Yaojia Formati...
3 CitationsSource
#1Sean P. Modesto (Cape Breton University)H-Index: 20
Last. Christian A. Sidor (UW: University of Washington)H-Index: 27
view all 4 authors...
ABSTRACTRecent field work in the upper Permian Moradi Formation of Niger has yielded new material of the late-occurring and largest moradisaurine captorhinid, Moradisaurus grandis. The material inc...
1 CitationsSource
#1Massimo Bernardi (UoB: University of Bristol)H-Index: 10
#2Fabio Massimo PettiH-Index: 12
Last. Kenneth D. Angielczyk (FMNH: Field Museum of Natural History)H-Index: 30
view all 10 authors...
Abstract The late Palaeozoic is a pivotal period for the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems. Generalised warming and aridification trends resulted in profound floral and faunal turnover as well as increased levels of endemism. The patchiness of well-preserved, late Permian terrestrial ecosystems, however, complicates attempts to reconstruct a coherent, global scenario. In this paper, we provide a new reconstruction of the Bletterbach Biota (Southern Alps, NE Italy), which constitutes a unique, ...
11 CitationsSource
#1Eudald Mujal (Autonomous University of Barcelona)H-Index: 6
#2Josep Maria Fortuny Aymemí (CNRS: Centre national de la recherche scientifique)H-Index: 17
Last. Pere Anadón (CSIC: Spanish National Research Council)H-Index: 18
view all 9 authors...
E. Mujal obtained financial support from the PIF grant of the Geology Department at UAB, and from the Erasmus + program of the UAB performed at the Palaeontology Department from the Institut des Sciencies de l'Evolution (Universite de Montpellier, France). E. Mujal received funding from the SYNTHESYS Project (FR-TAF-3621, FR-TAF-4808) which is financed by European Community Research Infrastructure Action under the FP7 “Capacities” Program. J. Fortuny acknowledges the s...
9 CitationsSource
#1Neil J. Tabor (SMU: Southern Methodist University)H-Index: 27
#2Christian A. Sidor (UW: University of Washington)H-Index: 27
Last. Kenneth D. Angielczyk (FMNH: Field Museum of Natural History)H-Index: 30
view all 5 authors...
ABSTRACT Stable carbon isotope analysis of coexisting soil calcite and organic matter sampled from modern, California soil profiles representing 18 different U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) official soil series yields 51 paired calcite–organic matter δ13C values (Δ13Ccc-om values). These paired values correspond to atmospheric pCO2 estimates ranging from less than ~100 to 2200 ppmv using standard assumed soil pCO2 concentrations at temperatures spanning the typical range of modern soil cal...
3 CitationsSource
#1Savannah L. Olroyd (UW: University of Washington)H-Index: 3
#2Christian A. Sidor (UW: University of Washington)H-Index: 27
Abstract Until recently, the Guadalupian (middle Permian) tetrapod fossil record was known almost exclusively from the Karoo Basin of South Africa and the Cis-Urals region of Russia, limiting progress towards understanding global middle Permian tetrapod biogeography. Recent work has shed light on several new or under-explored Guadalupian tetrapod-bearing basins, and we review and synthesize these findings here. We also review changes to the international and Russian Guadalupian time scales and p...
10 CitationsSource
#1Aurore Canoville (UCT: University of Cape Town)H-Index: 11
#2Anusuya Chinsamy (UCT: University of Cape Town)H-Index: 29
Numerous morphological studies have been carried out on pareiasaurs; yet their taxonomy and biology remain incompletely understood. Earlier works have suggested that these herbivorous parareptiles had a short juvenile period as compared to the duration of adulthood. Several studies further suggested an (semi-) aquatic lifestyle for these animals, but more recent investigations have proposed a rather terrestrial habitat. Bone paleohistology is regarded as a powerful tool to assess aspects of tetr...
2 CitationsSource