Terrestrial tetrapod communities of the Late Palaeozoic: an ichnological perspective

Tucker, Lauren (2004). Terrestrial tetrapod communities of the Late Palaeozoic: an ichnological perspective. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The Late Palaeozoic was an important period in the evolutionary development of terrestrial tetrapod communities. Carboniferous assemblages that comprised predominantly ‘temnospondyl’ stem-lissamphibians declined as the amniotes rose to dominance during the Permian. The transition is here charted from an ichnological perspective, using vertebrate trace fossil evidence from present date Europe and North America. The only comprehensive Late Carboniferous vertebrate trackway assemblage known from Europe, from Alveley, southern Shropshire (UK) represents the principal dataset for this study. The introduction of a new method for stabilising ichnotaxonomy through the use of phenetic, numerical methods facilitates the integration of European and North American ichnological classifications, and the material from Alveley extends the stratigraphic ranges of a number of ichnotaxa back from the Early Permian. Trackway data are correlated with body fossil data through the development of a protocol that uses a combination of phenetic and phylogenetic, or character-based, methods. This synthesis of evidence from skeletal material and trackway data enables the evolutionary development of early terrestrial tetrapod communities to be charted. On the basis of this new perspective, models proposed for the observed Late Palaeozoic vertebrate faunal turnover are reviewed, and a mew model is formulated, bearing in mind that patterns of Late Palaoeozoic lissamphibian and amniote diversity and abundance resulted from the interaction of intrinsic, biological processes with dynamic, extrinsic systems.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Earth Sciences
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Q Science > QH Natural history
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/12036


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