Ancient reptile tracks in the Pyrenees may include evidence of new type of footprint
A large set of tracks made by archosauromorphs in the Pyrenees mountain range may include a new type of footprint made by reptiles that lived 247 million years ago, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.
|A large set of tracks made by archosauromorphs in the Pyrenees mountain range may include a new type |
of footprint made by reptiles that lived 247 million years ago, according to a study
[Credit: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona/PLOS]
To investigate which vertebrates lived during beginning of the Mesozoic Era, which followed the Permian extinction, Mujal and colleagues examined trace fossils of vertebrates in the Pyrenees mountains in Catalonia from approximately 247 to 248 million years ago. The researchers made 3D models and created silicone molds of these ephemeral fossils, enabling them to preserve the fossils in scientific collections.
|Tracks of Prorotodactylus mesaxonichnus [Credit: Eudald Mujal et al./PLOS]|
The researchers also identified a new footprint, Prorotodactylus mesaxonichnus, and the new fossil evidence from the Pyrenean tracks suggests that at least the Pyrenean Prorotodactylus genus is related to archosauromorphs, rather than being a dinosauromorph as previously thought from other records.
|Fossil assemblage, paleoenvironment and biochronologic interval [Credit: Eudald Mujal et al./PLOS]|
"Trace fossils are evidence that archosauromorphs dominated the fluvial environments of the Catalan Pyrenees during the Triassic vertebrate recovery, early after the end-Permian mass extinction," says Mujal.
Source: PLOS [April 19, 2017]