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13 January 2020 SMALL FOOTPRINTS EXPAND MIDDLE PERMIAN AMPHIBIAN DIVERSITY IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN KAROO
Juan Carlos Cisneros, Michael O. Day, Jaco Groenewald, Bruce S. Rubidge
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Abstract

Two new tetrapod trackways are described from the Tapinocephalus Assemblage Zone of the South African Karoo Basin. We interpret both to be traces attributable to small anamniote tetrapods. The larger footprints are tentatively referred to aff. Batrachichnus salamandroides. These imprints are distinguished from other records of Batrachichnus by a pentadactyl pes that produces only impressions of digits III–V. Digits I and II are recognized only by their drag marks. This trace occurs in association with a second set of footprints of uncertain affinities. However, these smaller imprints are not sufficiently well preserved and could represent undertracks or partially eroded footprints. None of the footprints can be attributed to the adult forms of the two temnospondyl taxa known from the Guadalupian part of the Karoo Basin: Rhinesuchus whaitsi or Rhinesuchoides tenuiceps. We interpret the aff. Batrachichnus trackway to have been produced by a small, adult temnospondyl or microsaur (Recumbirostrae), whereas the smaller set of footprints was likely made by a juvenile rhinesuchid or an unknown amphibian, either a paedomorphic form or a tiny adult form. The discovery shows that a more diverse aquatic biota existed at this time in the Karoo than osteological records currently suggest.

Copyright © 2020, SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology)
Juan Carlos Cisneros, Michael O. Day, Jaco Groenewald, and Bruce S. Rubidge "SMALL FOOTPRINTS EXPAND MIDDLE PERMIAN AMPHIBIAN DIVERSITY IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN KAROO," Palaios 35(1), 1-11, (13 January 2020). https://doi.org/10.2110/palo.2018.098
Received: 30 October 2018; Accepted: 24 November 2019; Published: 13 January 2020
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