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Article: Reassessment of historic ‘microsaurs’ from Joggins, Nova Scotia, reveals hidden diversity in the earliest amniote ecosystem

Papers in Palaeontology - Volume 6 Issue 4 - Cover
Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 6
Part: 4
Publication Date: November 2020
Page(s): 605 625
Author(s): Arjan Mann, Bryan M. Gee, Jason D. Pardo, David Marjanović, Gabrielle R. Adams, Ami S. Calthorpe, Hillary C. Maddin, and Jason S. Anderson
DOI: 10.1002/spp2.1316
Addition Information

How to Cite

MANN, A., GEE, B.M., PARDO, J.D., MARJANOVIć, D., ADAMS, G.R., CALTHORPE, A.S., MADDIN, H.C., ANDERSON, J.S. 2020. . Papers in Palaeontology, 6, 4, 605-625. DOI: /doi/10.1002/spp2.1316

Author Information

  • Arjan Mann - Department of Earth Sciences Carleton University 1125 Colonel By Drive Ottawa ON K1S 5B6 Canada
  • Bryan M. Gee - Department of Biology University of Toronto Mississauga 3359 Mississauga Road Mississauga ON L5L 1C6 Canada
  • Jason D. Pardo - Department of Comparative Biology & Experimental Medicine University of Calgary 3330 Hospital Drive NW Calgary AB T2N 4N1 Canada
  • Jason D. Pardo - McCaig Institute for Bone & Joint Health University of Calgary 3280 Hospital Drive NW Calgary AB T2N 4Z6 Canada
  • David Marjanović - Department ‘Evolutionary Morphology’ Science Programme ‘Evolution and Geoprocesses’ Museum für Naturkunde – Leibniz Institute for Evolutionary and Biodiversity Research Invalidenstraße 43 10115 Berlin Germany
  • Gabrielle R. Adams - Department of Earth Sciences Carleton University 1125 Colonel By Drive Ottawa ON K1S 5B6 Canada
  • Ami S. Calthorpe - Department of Earth Sciences Carleton University 1125 Colonel By Drive Ottawa ON K1S 5B6 Canada
  • Hillary C. Maddin - Department of Earth Sciences Carleton University 1125 Colonel By Drive Ottawa ON K1S 5B6 Canada
  • Jason S. Anderson - Department of Comparative Biology & Experimental Medicine University of Calgary 3330 Hospital Drive NW Calgary AB T2N 4N1 Canada
  • Jason S. Anderson - McCaig Institute for Bone & Joint Health University of Calgary 3280 Hospital Drive NW Calgary AB T2N 4Z6 Canada

Publication History

  • Issue published online: 25 November 2020
  • Manuscript Accepted: 18 February 2020
  • Manuscript Received: 08 August 2019

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Abstract

‘Microsaurs’ are traditionally considered to be lepospondyl non‐amniotes, but recent analyses have recovered a subset of ‘microsaurs’, the fossorially adapted Recumbirostra, within Amniota. This novel conclusion highlights the need for additional work to evaluate these competing hypotheses with the aim of refining the phylogenetic position of ‘microsaurs’. Of particular importance in this regard is the placement of potential close relatives of recumbirostrans to determine whether they support an early, stepwise acquisition of the derived morphology seen in recumbirostrans for a fossorial lifestyle, or whether this morphology is the result of evolutionary convergence. Asaphestera intermedia is part of a diverse ‘microsaur’ assemblage preserved at the famous Pennsylvanian Joggins locality in Nova Scotia, Canada. As part of a broader exploration of ‘microsaur’ taxonomy, we find that the material assigned to this taxon is a composite of a synapsid (herein Asaphestera platyris), indeterminate tetrapod material named ‘Hylerpetonintermedium (a nomen dubium not referable to Hylerpeton), and the newly recognized recumbirostran Steenerpeton silvae gen. et sp. nov. Further, Archerpeton anthracos from the same site must at present be considered a nomen dubium and may or may not be a ‘microsaur’. Recognition of Asaphestera platyris as a synapsid provides the earliest unambiguous evidence of ‘mammal‐like reptiles’ in the fossil record.

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