A life changing continent
Age: ~270 to ~235 mya Middle Permian to Middle Triassic
Why? Most of our record of the Permian to Triassic terrestrial transition comes from the Karoo Basin in southern Africa, so our team decide to intensely investigate other depositional basins in Tanzania. Although grass is very tall, rocks are found throughout the basin and within those rocks, terrestrial vertebrate are abundant.
Importance: The Permo-Triassic transition is recorded well in Tanzania and our groups has found many new species, particularly archosaur reptiles. We have shown that the fauna, just a few thousands of kilometers away on the same continent, can be very different.
Collaborators: Christian Sidor, Ken Angielczyk, Roger Smith, Seb Steyer, Lind Tsuji, Tanzanian government
~270 to ~235 mya Middle Permian to Middle Triassic
Why? Our work in Zambia compliments that of our work in Tanzania. Particularly, the Middle Permian and the Late Permian ourcrops are much better and they preserve more fossils. The Middle Triassic deposits contain a more aquatic fauna, but also contains similar forms to the reptiles of the same age in Tanzania.
Importance: Zambia has a better record and more complete remains of Permian fossils prior to the 'Great Dying'. The number, quality, and abundance of Permian fossils is absolutely astounding and will provide important data for decades
Collaborators: Christian Sidor, Ken Angielczyk, Roger Smith, Seb Steyer, Brandon Peecook, Zambia government
Age: ~235 to ~170, Late Triassic to Middle Jurassic
Why? The island of Madagascar has a completely unique fauna and flora today, but the establishment of the 'oddness' is not well bounded. The Triassic vertebrate record is relatively newly discovered and work there has discovered a number of important stem mammals and stem archosaurs.
Importance: Few Triassic to Jurassic rock sequences that contain terrestrial fossils are known and the sequence in Madagascar is just starting to be discovered. The vertebrates from this time are a curious mix of oddballs and forms that are well known from other places.
Collaborators: John Flynn, Andy Wyss, Christian Kammerer
Age: ~230 mya, Late Triassic
Why? Early dinosaur evolution
Importance: This area records the oldest dinosaurs from Africa and are some of the oldest dinosaurs in the world!
Collaborators: Christopher Griffin
Age: ~270 to ~240, Permian to Triassic
Why? The expedition is scheduled for October 2019!
Importance: This area, like Tanzania and Zambia, records the Permo-Triassic transition. New finds await!
Collaborators: Ricardo Araújo