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Taphonomic analysis of Saurichthys from two stratigraphic horizons in the Middle Triassic of Monte San Giorgio, Switzerland


Beardmore, Susan R; Furrer, Heinz (2016). Taphonomic analysis of Saurichthys from two stratigraphic horizons in the Middle Triassic of Monte San Giorgio, Switzerland. Swiss Journal of Geosciences, 109(1):1-16.

Abstract

Excavations of Middle Triassic strata at Monte San Giorgio (Switzerland–Italy) have famously recovered a range of reptiles whose affinities, morphology and preservation have been extensively described. The locality has also yielded a contemporaneous and equally diverse fish fauna that has yet to be described to the same degree. To address this imbalance, a taphonomic study was undertaken using the actinopterygian Saurichthys, a relatively abundant taxon found in the Besano Formation (latest Anisian– earliest Ladinian) and Cassina Beds of the Meride Formation (early Ladinian). Specimens from each horizon were scored for articulation and completeness across ten anatomical units, the resulting datasets being used to determine a taphonomic model and investigate preservational variation through time. Saurichthys showing moderate to high articulation and high completeness occur in both horizons but states of low articulation and moderate completeness are only present in the Besano Formation. The same feature is apparent in corresponding unit plots, suggesting different environmental conditions were present during deposition of each horizon, specifically those that reduced articulation and completeness during a prolonged residence on the sediment surface.

Abstract

Excavations of Middle Triassic strata at Monte San Giorgio (Switzerland–Italy) have famously recovered a range of reptiles whose affinities, morphology and preservation have been extensively described. The locality has also yielded a contemporaneous and equally diverse fish fauna that has yet to be described to the same degree. To address this imbalance, a taphonomic study was undertaken using the actinopterygian Saurichthys, a relatively abundant taxon found in the Besano Formation (latest Anisian– earliest Ladinian) and Cassina Beds of the Meride Formation (early Ladinian). Specimens from each horizon were scored for articulation and completeness across ten anatomical units, the resulting datasets being used to determine a taphonomic model and investigate preservational variation through time. Saurichthys showing moderate to high articulation and high completeness occur in both horizons but states of low articulation and moderate completeness are only present in the Besano Formation. The same feature is apparent in corresponding unit plots, suggesting different environmental conditions were present during deposition of each horizon, specifically those that reduced articulation and completeness during a prolonged residence on the sediment surface.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:21 Jun 2016 13:32
Last Modified:21 Jun 2016 13:34
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1661-8726
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00015-015-0194-z
Related URLs:http://link.springer.com/journal/15

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