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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
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)
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References105
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#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
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#1Morgan L. Turner (UW: University of Washington)H-Index: 1
#2Linda A. Tsuji (ROM: Royal Ontario Museum)H-Index: 16
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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...
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#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
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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...
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#1Kenneth D. Angielczyk (FMNH: Field Museum of Natural History)H-Index: 30
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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 ...
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#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...
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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...
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