Field of Science

Diverse Tetrapod Track Assemblages from the Late Triassic of Morocco

Lagnaoui, A. Klein, H., Voigt, S., Hminna, A., Saber, H., Schneider, J. W., and R. Werneburg. 2012. Late Triassic Tetrapod-Dominated Ichnoassemblages from the Argana Basin (Western High Atlas, Morocco). Ichnos 19:238-253. 
DOI:
10.1080/10420940.2012.718014


Abstract - Diverse tetrapod track assemblages with Scoyenia invertebrate traces were discovered in the Triassic Timezgadiouine and Bigoudine formations of the Argana Basin (Western High Atlas, Morocco). The ichnofossils occur in alluvial plain sandstones and mudstones of the Irohalène Member (T5) and Tadart Ouadou Member (T6) considered Carnian-Norian in age by vertebrate remains and palynomorphs. Tetrapod footprints are assigned to ApatopusAtreipus-Grallator,Eubrontes isp., Parachirotherium, cf. Parachirotherium postchirotherioidesRhynchosauroides ispp., and Synaptichnium isp. They can be referred to lepidosauromorph/ archosauromorph, basal archosaur, and dinosauromorph trackmakers. Apatopus represented by 11 tracks of a more than 4 m long trackway, is recorded for the first time outside of North America and Europe. The assemblage concurs with the proposed Late Triassic age of the track-bearing beds by the occurrence of ApatopusAtreipus-Grallator, and Eubrontes. If this is accepted, the stratigraphic range of Synaptichnium and Parachirotherium, hitherto known only from Early or Middle Triassic deposits, has to be extended to the Carnian-Norian. The occurrence of Eubrontes in the Irohalene Member (T5) provides further evidence for large theropods in pre-Jurassic strata. All assemblages are referred to the Scoyenia ichnofacies indicating continental environments with alternating wet and dry conditions.

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