SciCombinator

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Concept: Early Jurassic

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Approximately 40% of a skeleton including cranial and postcranial remains representing a new genus and species of basal neotheropod dinosaur is described. It was collected from fallen blocks from a sea cliff that exposes Late Triassic and Early Jurassic marine and quasi marine strata on the south Wales coast near the city of Cardiff. Matrix comparisons indicate that the specimen is from the lithological Jurassic part of the sequence, below the first occurrence of the index ammonite Psiloceras planorbis and above the last occurrence of the Rhaetian conodont Chirodella verecunda. Associated fauna of echinoderms and bivalves indicate that the specimen had drifted out to sea, presumably from the nearby Welsh Massif and associated islands (St David’s Archipelago). Its occurrence close to the base of the Blue Lias Formation (Lower Jurassic, Hettangian) makes it the oldest known Jurassic dinosaur and it represents the first dinosaur skeleton from the Jurassic of Wales. A cladistic analysis indicates basal neotheropodan affinities, but the specimen retains plesiomorphic characters which it shares with Tawa and Daemonosaurus.

Concepts: United Kingdom, Wales, Dinosaur, Jurassic, Cardiff, Early Jurassic, Hettangian, Lias Group

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Owing to the assumed lack of deep-sea macrofossils older than the Late Cretaceous, very little is known about the geological history of deep-sea communities, and most inference-based hypotheses argue for repeated recolonizations of the deep sea from shelf habitats following major palaeoceanographic perturbations. We present a fossil deep-sea assemblage of echinoderms, gastropods, brachiopods and ostracods, from the Early Jurassic of the Glasenbach Gorge, Austria, which includes the oldest known representatives of a number of extant deep-sea groups, and thus implies that in situ diversification, in contrast to immigration from shelf habitats, played a much greater role in shaping modern deep-sea biodiversity than previously thought. A comparison with coeval shelf assemblages reveals that, at least in some of the analysed groups, significantly more extant families/superfamilies have endured in the deep sea since the Early Jurassic than in the shelf seas, which suggests that deep-sea biota are more resilient against extinction than shallow-water ones. In addition, a number of extant deep-sea families/superfamilies found in the Glasenbach assemblage lack post-Jurassic shelf occurrences, implying that if there was a complete extinction of the deep-sea fauna followed by replacement from the shelf, it must have happened before the Late Jurassic.

Concepts: Animal, Cretaceous, Pterosaur, Ocean, Dinosaur, Jurassic, Plesiosaur, Early Jurassic