The end-Triassic extinction event (ETE), considered one of the ‘Big Five’ mass extinctions, marks a dividing line between early Mesozoic vertebrate assemblages, typically including abundant temnospondyls, basal synapsids and basal archosaurs, and ‘typical’ Mesozoic faunas dominated by dinosaurs, pterosaurs, crocodylomorphs, turtles and mammaliaforms. Recent geochemical work has provided strong evidence that the ETE is synchronous with, and likely caused by, the emplacement of the Central Atlantic magmatic province (CAMP). However, stratigraphic sections containing both terrestrial vertebrates and CAMP basalts are scarce, complicating attempts to examine terrestrial faunal changes during this extinction event. The Triassic–Jurassic Algarve Basin, southern Portugal, is an extensional rift basin to-marginal marine red beds (the ‘Grés de Silves’ Group) interbedded with CAMP basalts.... bonebed from the interval ‘AB1’ of the Grés de Silves. Preliminary excavations yielded at least nine well-preserved temnospondyl individuals represented by partial to nearly complete skulls and disarticulated postcranial elements of juvenile to adult ages. Nearly all material appears to represent a single species of metoposaurid referable to the genus Metoposaurus, well known from the late Carnian–early Norian of Germany and Poland. A number of char- acters of the occiput and mandible suggest that the Algarve material may represent a new species. This new material provides new data on the diversity and paleogeographical distri- bution of the metoposaurids, a highly autapomorphic and peculiar group composed of large aquatic carnivores with a unique elongated but brevirostral skull. This taxon also provides [...] Horizon may be within or close to the late Carnian–early Norian. Additional bone-bearing horizons within the ‘Grés de Silves’ provide a rare opportunity to examine terrestrial faunal change in the lead-up to the ETE.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2011|