Field of Science

First record of stereospondyls from the Upper Triassic of Brazil

Dias-da-Silva, S., Dias, E.V., and C.L. Schultz. 2009. First record of stereospondyls (Tetrapoda, Temnospondyli) in the Upper Triassic of Southern Brazil. Gondwana Research 15:131-136. doi:10.1016/j.gr.2008.07.002

Abstract - Stereospondyls survived the Permo-Triassic extinctions in a refuge probably located in the landmass that nowadays comprises Australia. Subsequently, they radiated to other parts of Pangaea, reaching their highest distribution and diversification during the Early Triassic. An incomplete interclavicle from the Caturrita Formation represents their first record in the Upper Triassic of Brazil. Previously, Upper Triassic South American stereospondyls were restricted to Argentina. This new record reinforces a former hypothesis that suggests the presence of a more diverse stereospondyl fauna in South America during the Late Triassic than previously assumed. Additionally, the presence of a stereospondyl and a phytosaur in the Caturrita Formation reinforces the hypothesis of a change to more humid climatic conditions in the Paraná Basin during the Upper Triassic. The record of Early Triassic stereospondyls in South America suggests that they first colonized Brazil and/or Uruguay, spreading from South Africa during the Early Triassic, subsequently reaching Argentina. Up till now, there is no record of Middle Triassic stereospondyls in either Argentina and Brazil, probably due to either taphonomic bias or insufficient prospecting. Despite the lack of direct evidence, one should not dismiss an earlier stereospondyl colonization of Argentina still during the Early or Middle Triassic.

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