from: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, v. 23, supplement to no. 3, p. 102A

 

 

 

LIFE AND DEATH IN THE LATE TRIASSIC: AN EXTRAORDINARY TETRAPOD ASSEMBLAGE FROM THE NEWARK SUPERGROUP OF NORTH CAROLINA

SUES, Hans-Dieter, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, PA; CARTER, Joseph, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC; OLSEN, Paul, Columbia University, Palsades, NY; NOVAK, Stephanie, PEYER, Karin, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.

An extraordinary tetrapod assemblage has been recovered from Upper Triassic red flu­-vial mudstones of ≥Lithofacies Association II≤ of the Deep River Basin of the Newark Supergroup near Raleigh, NC. It provides a unique snapshot of trophic interactions between Triassic tetrapods. A well-preserved partial skeleton of a rauisuchian (Postosuchus sp.) has gut contents comprising a partial skeleton of a small aetosaur (Stegomus sp.), a snout and limb-bones of a juvenile traversodont cynodont, a partial dicynodont digit, and a dermal bone of an indeterminate temnospondyl. Beneath the torso of the rauisuchian, a nearly complete skeleton of a new taxon of sphenosuchian crocodylomorph was preserved. The latter specimen shows bite marks to the head and neck, which match the teeth of the rauisuchian in size. This asso­ciation supports the interpretation of rauisuchians as top predators in Late Triassic continen­tal ecosystems. Associated teeth attest to scavenging of the rauisuchian by phytosaurs, and Scoyenia burrows near and through some bones indicate additional scavenging by arthropods.

Preliminary paleomagnetic data support an early Norian age for the new tetrapod assemblage. The composition of this assemblage is consistent with other data indicating that terrestrial faunal change at the Carnian-Norian boundary was not as marked as previously claimed.