Tetrapod localities from the triassic of the SE of European Russia

VP Tverdokhlebov, GI Tverdokhlebova, MV Surkov, MJ Benton*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

60 Citations (Scopus)


Fossil tetrapods (amphibians and reptiles) have been discovered at 206 localities in the Lower and Middle Triassic of the southern Urals area of European Russia. The first sites were found in the 1940s, and subsequent surveys, from the 1960s to the present day, have revealed many more. Broad-scale stratigraphic schemes have been published, but full documentation of the rich tetrapod faunas has not been presented before. The area of richest deposits covers some 900,000 km(2) of territory between Samara on the River Volga in the NW, and Orenburg and Sakmara in the SW. Continental sedimentary deposits, consisting of mudstones, siltstones, sandstones, and conglomerates deposited by rivers flowing off the Ural Mountain chain, span much of the Lower and Middle Triassic (Induan, Olenekian, Anisian, Ladinian). The succession is divided into seven successive svitas, or assemblages: Kopanskaya (Induan), Staritskaya, Kzylsaiskaya, Gostevskaya, and Petropavlovskaya (all Olenekian), Donguz (Anisian), and Bukobay (Ladinian). This succession, comprising up to 3.5 km of fluvial and lacustrine sediments, documents major climatic changes. At the beginning of the Early Triassic, arid-zone facies were widely developed, aeolian, piedmont and proluvium. These were replaced by fluvial facies, with some features indicating aridity. At the end of the Middle Triassic, deltaic and lacustrine-marsh formations were dominant, indicating more humid conditions. The succession of Early to Mid Triassic tetrapod faunas documents the recovery of life after the end-Permian mass extinction. The earliest faunas consist only of small, aquatic tetrapods, in low-diversity, low-abundance assemblages. Climbing the succession through the Early Triassic, more terrestrially adapted tetrapods appear, and larger herbivorous and carnivorous reptiles come to dominate in the. Mid Triassic as ecosystems were rebuilt. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberPII S0012-8252(02)00076-4
Pages (from-to)1-66
Number of pages66
JournalEarth-Science Reviews
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003


  • Permian
  • Triassic
  • tetrapod
  • amphibian
  • reptile
  • Russia
  • Urals
  • stratigraphy


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