Vertebrates from the Late Triassic Thecodontosaurus-bearing rocks of Durdham Down, Clifton (Bristol, UK)

Davide Foffa*, David I. Whiteside, Pedro A. Viegas, Michael J. Benton

*Corresponding author for this work

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

21 Citations (Scopus)


Since the discovery of the basal sauropodomorph dinosaur Thecodontosaurus in the 1830s, the associated fauna from the Triassic fissures at Durdham Down (Bristol, UK) has not been investigated, largely because the quarries are built over. Other fissure sites around the Bristol Channel show that dinosaurs represented a minor part of the fauna of the Late Triassic archipelago. Here we present data on microvertebrates from the original Durdham Down fissure rocks, which considerably expand the taxonomic diversity of the island fauna, revealing that it was dominated by the sphenodontian Diphydontosaurus, and that archosauromorphs, including sphenosuchian crocodylomorphs, coelophysoid theropods, and the basal sauropodomorph Thecodontosaurus, were diverse. Importantly, a few fish teeth provide new information about the debated age of the fissure deposit, which is identified as lower Rhaetian. Thecodontosaurus had been assigned an age range over 20-25. Myr of the Late Triassic, so this narrower age determination (209.5-204. Myr) is important for studies of early dinosaurian evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-328
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of the Geologists' Association
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Archosaurs
  • Durdham Down
  • Fissure fills
  • Late Triassic
  • Rhaetian
  • Sphenodontians


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