'Rauisuchian' material from the lower Elliot Formation of South Africa and Lesotho: implications for Late Triassic biogeography and biostratigraphy

Frederick Tolchard, Sterling Nesbitt, Julia Desojo, Pia Viglietti, Richard Butler, Jonah Choiniere

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Abstract

‘Rauisuchians’ are non-crocodylomorph pseudosuchian archosaurs that played important roles in terrestrial Triassic ecosystems. Because they are generally considered to have gone extinct in the end-Triassic mass extinction, they are potentially useful for relative dating of terrestrial strata. Despite the abundance of fossils of this group in South America, East Africa and Laurasia, there is currently no published definitive rauisuchian fossil record from southern Africa. However, several fragmentary archosaurian remains representing potential members of this grade have been recovered from the latest Triassic lower Elliot Formation of southern Africa. Here, we critically review this material and show that it represents a modest diversity of rauisuchians. These records are the southernmost palaeolatitudes that these animals are known to have occurred and the first definitive remains from southern Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103610
JournalJournal of African Earth Sciences
Volume160
Early online date27 Aug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Rauisuchia’
  • Late triassic
  • Lower elliot formation- archosauria

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