Field of Science

Diverse New Microvertebrate Assemblage from the Late Triassic of North Carolina


Heckert, A. B., Mitchell, J. S., Schneider, V. P., and P. E. Olsen. 2012. Diverse New Microvertebrate Assemblage from the Upper Triassic Cumnock Formation, Sanford Subbasin, North Carolina, USA. Journal of Paleontology 86(2): 368-390 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1666/11-098.1


Abstract - The Moncure microvertebrate locality in the Cumnock Formation, Sanford sub-basin, North Carolina, dramatically increases the known Late Triassic age vertebrate assemblage from the Deep River Basin. The 50,000 recovered microvertebrate fossils include osteichthyans, amphibians, and numerous lepidosauromorph, archosauriform, and synapsid amniotes. Actinopterygian fossils consist of thousands of scales, teeth, skull, and lower jaw fragments, principally of redfieldiids and semionotids. Non-tetrapod sarcopterygians include the dipnoan Arganodus sp., the first record of lungfish in the Newark Supergroup. Temnospondyls are comparatively rare but the preserved centra, teeth, and skull fragments probably represent small (juvenile) metoposaurids. Two fragmentary teeth are assigned to the unusual reptile Colognathus obscurus (Case). Poorly preserved but intriguing records include acrodont and pleurodont jaw fragments tentatively assigned to lepidosaurs. Among the archosauriform teeth is a taxon distinct from R. callenderi that we assign to Revueltosaurus olseni new combination, a morphotype best assigned to cf. Galtonia, the first Newark Supergroup record of Crosbysaurus sp., and several other archosauriform tooth morphotypes, as well as grooved teeth assigned to the recently named species Uatchitodon schneideri. Synapsids represented by molariform teeth include both “traversodontids” assigned to aff. Boreogomphodon and the “dromatheriid” Microconodon. These records are biogeographically important, with many new records for the Cumnock Formation and/or the Newark Supergroup. In particular, Colognathus, Crosbysaurus, and Uatchitodon are known from basins of Adamanian age in the southwestern U.S.A. These new records include microvertebrate taxa more typical of non-Newark basins (abundant archosauriforms, temnospondyls, lungfish) as well as more typical Newark osteichthyans and synapsid-rich faunal elements.

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