Klein, H., Voigt, S., Hminna, A., Saber, H., Schneider, J., and D. Hmich. 2010. Early Triassic Archosaur-Dominated Footprint Assemblage from the Argana Basin (Western High Atlas, Morocco). Ichnos 17:1–13. DOI: 10.1080/10420940.2010.510030
Abstract - An assemblage of abundant and well-preserved tetrapod footprints has been discovered in the Tanamert Member (T3) of the Triassic Timezgadiouine Formation (Argana basin, western High Atlas, Morocco). It is the first fossil record from T3. Surfaces from different localities show a uniform tetrapod ichnofauna that consists of chirotherian and small lacertoid forms. The chirotherians are assigned to the plexus Protochirotherium—Synaptichnium, their trackmakers interpreted as basal archosaurs. The lacertoid imprints show close affinities with Rhynchosauroides and may reflect archosauromorphs or lepidosauromorphs. Protochirotherium—Synaptichnium assemblages are characteristic of the Early Triassic and were known previously only from units of this age in central Europe. Biostratigraphically, the European record implies a wide-spread pre-Anisian Protochirotherium—Synaptichnium dominated assemblage preceding the first appearance of Chirotherium barthii near the Olenekian-
Anisian boundary. The stratigraphic position of T3 between Late Permian (uppermost T2) and Middle Triassic (T4) and the European correlatives suggest an Early Triassic age of this unit. It is the first record of Early Triassic continental deposits in Morocco. The surfaces from T3 open up perspectives for further contributions to ecology, biogeography and locomotion of early archosaurs. Furthermore, excellent outcrops and quality of footprint preservation in the Argana basin offer a potential for clarification of ichnotaxonomic and biostratigraphic issues.
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