Field of Science

Investigating the Non-Marine TR/J Boundary in Portugal

Dr. Richard Butler (Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und Geologie, Munich), Dr. Octavio Mateus (University of Lisbon) and Steven Brusatte (American Museum of Natural History) have initiated a new field project to study terrestrial strata (Grès de Silves Formation) spanning the Triassic-Jurassic boundary in Portugal in hopes of recovering late surviving temnospondyls and possibly other Late Triassic vertebrates. Preliminary results are encouraging and you can read about them here.


Given that many Late Triassic Laurasian faunal assemblages appear very similar in content despite their stratigraphic position (e.g., Placerias Quarry vs. Coelophysis Quarry in the Chinle Formation), these types of studies are crucial to our understanding of exactly what is happening with the Triassic-Jurassic non-marine extinctions. Unfortunately many places that preserve this boundary and are accessible are non-fossiliferous (e.g., Newark Supergroup); whereas other places that may be very fossiliferous (e.g., Moenave and Kayenta Formations of Arizona) are not easily accessible.

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