Palaeoecology of Middle Triassic tetrapod ichnoassociations (middle Muschelkalk, NE Iberian Peninsula) and their implications for palaeobiogeography in the western Tethys region

Chabier De Jaime-Soguero, Eudald Mujal*, Jaume Dinarès-Turell, Oriol Oms, Arnau Bolet, Guillem Orlandi-Oliveras, Josep Fortuny

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

Tetrapod ichnology is a powerful tool to reconstruct the faunal composition of Middle Triassic ecosystems. However, reconstructions based on a single palaeoenvironment provide an incomplete and impoverished picture of the actual palaeodiversity. In this paper, we analyse Middle Triassic tetrapod ichnoassociations from the detrital Muschelkalk facies of the Catalan Basin of northeast Spain, ranging from terrestrial to coastal settings. We identified two main tetrapod ichnoassociations, preserved in two different palaeoenvironments, comprising the following ichnogenera and morphotypes: Procolophonichnium, Chelonipus, Rhynchosauroides, Rotodactylus, Chirotherium, Isochirotherium, Sphingopus, and indeterminate chirotheriids. We also statistically analyse a database of all known Middle Triassic tetrapod footprint localities worldwide; this database includes, for each track locality, the precise age, the palaeoenvironment and the presence/absence of ichnotaxa. Our results on the composition of ichnofauna within the palaeoenvironments of the Catalan Basin are integrated into this database. This approach allows us to revisit the palaeoenvironmental bias linked to the marine transgression that affected the Western Tethys region. Tetrapod ichnoassociations reveal the following palaeoenvironmental patterns: (1) in coastal settings, ichnoassociations are Rhynchosauroides-dominated and diversity is relatively low; (2) in terrestrial settings and those with less marine influences, ichnoassociations are non-Rhynchosauroides-dominated, usually characterised by more abundant chirotheriid tracks and, generally, a higher track diversity. The correlation between tetrapod ichnoassociations and sedimentary facies reveals how palaeoenvironmental constraints influenced faunal assemblages, especially those of the Middle Triassic of the Western Tethys region. Ichnoassociations allow the ecological response of tetrapod faunas to the environmental changes to be inferred for this critical time interval. Marine transgressions strongly influenced tetrapod ecosystems: environmental conditions were key for the faunal recovery in the aftermath of the end-Permian extinction, with the settlement of the so-called modern faunas and the rise of the dinosaur lineage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110204
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Volume565
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Our special thanks to Bel?n Mu?oz for reporting the discovery of the Puigvent?s ichnosite, as well as to Joan Soler for guidance to the outcrops. Manel M?ndez, Marc Riccetto, Alejandro Granados, Montse Vilalta and Albert Vidal are acknowledged for their fieldwork support and X?nia Aymerich (ICP) for the preparation of the track samples. We acknowledge Jordi Ib??ez-Insa (GEO3BCN-CSIC, Barcelona) for mineralogical determinations. C.D.J.S. is granted by a FI AGAUR fellowship (ref. 2020 FI_B 00472) funded by the Secretaria d'Universitats i Recerca de la Generalitat de Catalunya and the European Social Fund. E.M. acknowledges Secretaria d'Universitats i Recerca del Departament d'Economia i Coneixement de la Generalitat de Catalunya (expedient number 2013 CTP 00013) and the Erasmus+ program from the UAB for funding used for visiting collections at the Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution de Montpellier (Universit? Montpellier, France). J.F. is supported by the Spanish Agencia Estatal de Investigaci?n and the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union (AEI/FEDER EU, project CGL2017-82654-P). J.F. and O.O. are members of the consolidated research groups (GRC) 2017 SGR 86 and 1666, respectively, of the Generalitat de Catalunya. A.B. work is supported by a Juan de la Cierva Incorporaci?n Fellowship (IJC2018-037685-I, funded by Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovaci?n of the Spanish Government). We acknowledge support from the CERCA programme (ICP) from the Generalitat de Catalunya, and the projects ?Evoluci? dels ecosistemes amb faunes de vertebrats del Permi? i el Tri?sic de Catalunya? (ref. 2014/100606) and ?Evoluci? dels ecosistemes durant la transici? Paleozoic?Mesozoic a Catalunya? (ref. CLT009/18/00066), based at the ICP and financially supported by the Departament de Cultura (Generalitat de Catalunya). We acknowledge the reviewers Lorenzo Marchetti and Hendrik Klein and the editor Prof. Howard Falcon-Lang, whose comments and suggestions highly improved a previous version of the manuscript.

Funding Information:
Our special thanks to Belén Muñoz for reporting the discovery of the Puigventós ichnosite, as well as to Joan Soler for guidance to the outcrops. Manel Méndez, Marc Riccetto, Alejandro Granados, Montse Vilalta and Albert Vidal are acknowledged for their fieldwork support and Xènia Aymerich (ICP) for the preparation of the track samples. We acknowledge Jordi Ibáñez-Insa (GEO3BCN-CSIC, Barcelona) for mineralogical determinations. C.D.J.S. is granted by a FI AGAUR fellowship (ref. 2020 FI_B 00472 ) funded by the Secretaria d'Universitats i Recerca de la Generalitat de Catalunya and the European Social Fund. E.M. acknowledges Secretaria d'Universitats i Recerca del Departament d'Economia i Coneixement de la Generalitat de Catalunya (expedient number 2013 CTP 00013 ) and the Erasmus+ program from the UAB for funding used for visiting collections at the Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution de Montpellier (Université Montpellier, France). J.F. is supported by the Spanish Agencia Estatal de Investigación and the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union (AEI/FEDER EU, project CGL2017-82654-P ). J.F. and O.O. are members of the consolidated research groups (GRC) 2017 SGR 86 and 1666, respectively, of the Generalitat de Catalunya. A.B. work is supported by a Juan de la Cierva Incorporación Fellowship ( IJC2018-037685-I , funded by Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación of the Spanish Government). We acknowledge support from the CERCA programme (ICP) from the Generalitat de Catalunya, and the projects “Evolució dels ecosistemes amb faunes de vertebrats del Permià i el Triàsic de Catalunya” (ref. 2014/100606 ) and “Evolució dels ecosistemes durant la transició Paleozoic–Mesozoic a Catalunya” (ref. CLT009/18/00066 ), based at the ICP and financially supported by the Departament de Cultura (Generalitat de Catalunya) . We acknowledge the reviewers Lorenzo Marchetti and Hendrik Klein and the editor Prof. Howard Falcon-Lang, whose comments and suggestions highly improved a previous version of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.

Copyright:
Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Anisian
  • Coastal settings
  • Equatorial Pangaea
  • Ladinian
  • Palaeoenvironments
  • Tetrapod footprints

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