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Archosauriform footprints in the Lower Triassic of Western Alps and their role in understanding the effects of the Permian-Triassic hyperthermal


Petti, Fabio Massimo; Furrer, Heinz; Collo, Enrico; Martinetto, Edoardo; Bernardi, Massimo; Delfino, Massimo; Romano, Marco; Piazza, Michele (2020). Archosauriform footprints in the Lower Triassic of Western Alps and their role in understanding the effects of the Permian-Triassic hyperthermal. PeerJ, 8:e10522.

Abstract

The most accepted killing model for the Permian-Triassic mass extinction (PTME) postulates that massive volcanic eruption (i.e., the Siberian Traps Large Igneous Province) led to geologically rapid global warming, acid rain and ocean anoxia. On land, habitable zones were drastically reduced, due to the combined effects of heating, drought and acid rains. This hyperthermal had severe effects also on the paleobiogeography of several groups of organisms. Among those, the tetrapods, whose geographical distribution across the end-Permian mass extinction (EPME) was the subject of controversy in a number of recent papers. We here describe and interpret a new Early Triassic (?Olenekian) archosauriform track assemblage from the Gardetta Plateau (Briançonnais, Western Alps, Italy) which, at the Permian-Triassic boundary, was placed at about 11° North. The tracks, both arranged in trackways and documented by single, well-preserved imprints, are assigned to <jats:italic>Isochirotherium gardettensis</jats:italic> ichnosp. nov., and are here interpreted as produced by a non-archosaurian archosauriform (erytrosuchid?) trackmaker. This new discovery provides further evidence for the presence of archosauriformes at low latitudes during the Early Triassic epoch, supporting a model in which the PTME did not completely vacate low-latitude lands from tetrapods that therefore would have been able to cope with the extreme hot temperatures of Pangaea mainland.

Abstract

The most accepted killing model for the Permian-Triassic mass extinction (PTME) postulates that massive volcanic eruption (i.e., the Siberian Traps Large Igneous Province) led to geologically rapid global warming, acid rain and ocean anoxia. On land, habitable zones were drastically reduced, due to the combined effects of heating, drought and acid rains. This hyperthermal had severe effects also on the paleobiogeography of several groups of organisms. Among those, the tetrapods, whose geographical distribution across the end-Permian mass extinction (EPME) was the subject of controversy in a number of recent papers. We here describe and interpret a new Early Triassic (?Olenekian) archosauriform track assemblage from the Gardetta Plateau (Briançonnais, Western Alps, Italy) which, at the Permian-Triassic boundary, was placed at about 11° North. The tracks, both arranged in trackways and documented by single, well-preserved imprints, are assigned to <jats:italic>Isochirotherium gardettensis</jats:italic> ichnosp. nov., and are here interpreted as produced by a non-archosaurian archosauriform (erytrosuchid?) trackmaker. This new discovery provides further evidence for the presence of archosauriformes at low latitudes during the Early Triassic epoch, supporting a model in which the PTME did not completely vacate low-latitude lands from tetrapods that therefore would have been able to cope with the extreme hot temperatures of Pangaea mainland.

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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
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > General Neuroscience
Life Sciences > General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Life Sciences > General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, General Neuroscience, General Agricultural and Biological Sciences, General Medicine
Language:English
Date:18 December 2020
Deposited On:21 Jan 2021 16:33
Last Modified:02 Feb 2021 13:14
Publisher:PeerJ, Ltd.
ISSN:2167-8359
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.10522
PubMed ID:33384899

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