Thursday, April 14, 2005

New Amphibians From The Permian Of Africa

Permian tetrapods from the Sahara show climate-controlled endemism in Pangaea. CHRISTIAN A. SIDOR, F. ROBIN O'KEEFE, ROSS DAMIANI, J. SÉBASTIEN STEYER, ROGER M. H. SMITH, HANS C. E. LARSSON, PAUL C. SERENO, OUMAROU IDE & ABDOULAYE MAGA. 2005. Nature 434: 886 - 889.

From the abstract from the latest issue of Nature:

“New fossils from the Upper Permian Moradi Formation of northern Niger provide an insight into the faunas that inhabited low-latitude, xeric environments near the end of the Palaeozoic era ( 251 million years ago). We describe here two new temnospondyl amphibians, the cochleosaurid Nigerpeton ricqlesi gen. et sp. nov. and the stem edopoid Saharastega moradiensis gen. et sp. nov., as relicts of Carboniferous lineages that diverged 40–90 million years earlier. Coupled with a scarcity of therapsids, the new finds suggest that faunas from the poorly sampled xeric belt that straddled the Equator during the Permian period differed markedly from well-sampled faunas that dominated tropical-to-temperate zones to the north and south. Our results show that long-standing theories of Late Permian faunal homogeneity are probably oversimplified as the result of uneven latitudinal sampling.”