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[dinosaur] K-Pg impact winter in New Jersey + Triassic hothouse + Carboniferous tetrapod tracks + more

Ben Creisler

Some recent (and not so recent) mainly non-dino papers that may be of interest:

Johan Vellekoop, Selen Esmeray-Senlet, Kenneth G. Miller, James V. Browning, Appy Sluijs, Bas van de Schootbrugge, Jaap S. Sinninghe Damsté, and Henk Brinkhuis (2016)
Evidence for Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary bolide "impact winter" conditions from New Jersey, USA.
Geology (advance online publication)

Abrupt and short-lived "impact winter" conditions have commonly been implicated as the main mechanism leading to the mass extinction at the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary (ca. 66 Ma), marking the end of the reign of the non-avian dinosaurs. However, so far only limited evidence has been available for such a climatic perturbation. Here we perform high-resolution TEX86 organic paleothermometry on three shallow cores from the New Jersey paleoshelf, (northeastern USA) to assess the impact-provoked climatic perturbations immediately following the K-Pg impact and to place these short-term events in the context of long-term climate evolution. We provide evidence of impact-provoked, severe climatic cooling immediately following the K-Pg impact. This so-called "impact winter" occurred superimposed on a long-term cooling trend that followed a warm phase in the latest Cretaceous.


Mingsong Li, Chunju Huang, Linda Hinnov, James Ogg, Zhong-Qiang Chen, and Yang Zhang (2016)
Obliquity-forced climate during the Early Triassic hothouse in China.
Geology (advance online publication)

The start of the Mesozoic Era is marked by roughly 5 m.y. of Earth system upheavals, including unstable biotic recovery, repeated global warming, ocean anoxia, and perturbations in the global carbon cycle. Intervals between crises were comparably hospitable to life. The causes of these upheavals are unknown, but are thought to be linked to recurrent Siberian volcanism. Here, two marine sedimentary successions at Chaohu and Daxiakou (South China) are evaluated for paleoclimate change from astronomical forcing. In these sections, gamma-ray variations indicative of terrestrial weathering reveal enhanced obliquity cycling over prolonged intervals, characterized by a 32.8 k.y. periodicity with strong 1.2 m.y. modulations. These suggest a 22 h length of day and 1.2 m.y. interaction between the orbital inclinations of Earth and Mars. Comparing the 1.2 m.y. obliquity modulation cycles in these sections with Early Triassic records of global sea level, temperature, redox, and biotic evolution suggests that long-term astronomical forcing was involved in the repeated climatic and biotic upheavals that took place throughout the Early Triassic.


Matthew R. Stimson, Randall F. Miller, Spencer G. Lucas, Adrian F. Park & Steven J. Hinds (2016) 
Redescription of tetrapod trackways from the Mississippian Mabou Group, Lepreau Falls, New Brunswick, Canada.
Atlantic Geology 52:  1--19
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4138/atlgeol.2016.001

Red-bed strata exposed at Lepreau Falls, southern New Brunswick, were originally interpreted as belonging to the Triassic Lepreau Formation. Poorly preserved tetrapod trackways within the strata were previously assigned to two ichnospecies; one to a new Triassic ichnospecies, Isocampe lepreauense Sarjeant and Stringer, and the other to Rhynchosauroides cf. R. franconicus (Heller). Both were attributed to reptiles. Subsequent mapping of the rocks and reassignment of the exposed strata at Lepreau Falls to the Mississippian Mabou Group prompted our re-examination of the trackway fossils. Isocampe lepreauense was described from a specimen block preserving three trackways and the original description was based on erroneous interpretation of extramorphological digit drags. Rhynchosauroides cf. R. franconicus was a tentative assignment in a letter accompanying a cast in the New Brunswick Museum, but was never formally published. We redescribe and re-interpret all the trackways as gait variations produced by temnospondyls, and most closely resemble the Carboniferous ichnotaxon Matthewichnus.


Matthew R. Stimson, Randall F. Miller & Spencer G. Lucas (2016)
Reassessment of vertebrate ichnotaxa from the Upper Carboniferous 'Fern Ledges', Lancaster Formation, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.
Atlantic Geology 52: 21 - 35

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4138/atlgeol.2016.002

Vertebrate ichnotaxa described by George Frederic Matthew in 1910 from the Upper Carboniferous (Lower Pennsylvanian) ‘Fern Ledges’ of Saint John, New Brunswick, were dismissed as dubious trackways by previous authors. Thus, three new ichnospecies Matthew described appeared in the 1975 Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology as “unrecognized or unrecognizable” and were mostly forgotten by vertebrate ichnologists. These traces include Hylopus (?) variabilis, Nanopus (?) vetustus and Bipezia bilobata. One ichnospecies, Hylopus (?) variabilis, here is retained as a valid tetrapod footprint ichnotaxon and reassigned to the ichnogenus Limnopus as a new combination, together with other poorly preserved specimens Matthew labeled, but never described. Nanopus (?) vetustus and Bipezia bilobata named by Matthew in the same paper, have been reexamined and remain as nomina dubia.


Patrick R. Getty (2016)
Megapezia longipes Willard and Cleaves 1930 from the Pennsylvanian Rhode Island Formation of Massachusetts: ichnotaxonomic status.
Atlantic Geology 52: 119 - 124
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4138/atlgeol.2016.006

The type and only specimen of the ichnospecies Megapezia longipes, from the Pennsylvanian Rhode Island Formation of Plainville, Massachusetts, consists of two poorly defined tracks, one made by a manus and the other by a pes, rather than a single pedal imprint. Whereas the type species of Megapezia, Megapezia pineoi, has tetradactyl pedal imprints, the pes imprint of Megapezia longipes is pentadactyl, a feature that precludes assignment to this ichnogenus. Rather, the tracks share two characteristics with the ichnogenus Matthewichnus, namely elongate digits II and III on the manus, and a pes imprint oriented anterolaterally to the manus imprint, and are thus tentatively reassigned to that ichnogenus. Cf. Matthewichnus longipes is retained as a separate ichnospecies pending the collection of additional ma-terial that can be compared with other species within the ichnogenus. With the tentative reassignment of the Plainville tracks to Matthewichnus, Megapezia becomes monospecific and is no longer recorded in New England. The tracks are the first known occurrence of Matthewichnus from this region.


Free pdf:

Jennifer A. M. Graves (2016)
De novo sex chromosomes and drastic rearrangements may have posed reproductive barriers between monotremes, marsupials and placental mammals.
BioEssays (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1002/bies.201600019

Comparative mapping and sequencing show that turnover of sex determining genes and chromosomes, and sex chromosome rearrangements, accompany speciation in many vertebrates. Here I review the evidence and propose that the evolution of therian mammals was precipitated by evolution of the male-determining SRY gene, defining a novel XY sex chromosome pair, and interposing a reproductive barrier with the ancestral population of synapsid reptiles 190 million years ago (MYA). Divergence was reinforced by multiple translocations in monotreme sex chromosomes, the first of which supplied a novel sex determining gene. A sex chromosome-autosome fusion may have separated eutherians (placental mammals) from marsupials 160 MYA. Another burst of sex chromosome change and speciation is occurring in rodents, precipitated by the degradation of the Y. And although primates have a more stable Y chromosome, it may be just a matter of time before the same fate overtakes our own lineage.


Alexander Gehler, Philip D. Gingerich, and Andreas Pack (2016)
Temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration estimates through the PETM using triple oxygen isotope analysis of mammalian bioapatite.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (advance online publication)
doi: 10.1073/pnas.1518116113 


Our data suggest that the sudden rise in atmospheric temperature during the Paleocene–Eocene transition was not accompanied by highly elevated carbon dioxide concentrations >~2,500 ppm. Instead, the low 13C/12C isotope ratios during the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum were most likely caused by a significant contribution of methane to the atmosphere. We present data applying a newly developed partial pressure of CO2 proxy.


The Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) is a remarkable climatic and environmental event that occurred 56 Ma ago and has importance for understanding possible future climate change. The Paleocene–Eocene transition is marked by a rapid temperature rise contemporaneous with a large negative carbon isotope excursion (CIE). Both the temperature and the isotopic excursion are well-documented by terrestrial and marine proxies. The CIE was the result of a massive release of carbon into the atmosphere. However, the carbon source and quantities of CO2 and CH4 greenhouse gases that contributed to global warming are poorly constrained and highly debated. Here we combine an established oxygen isotope paleothermometer with a newly developed triple oxygen isotope paleo-CO2 barometer. We attempt to quantify the source of greenhouse gases released during the Paleocene–Eocene transition by analyzing bioapatite of terrestrial mammals. Our results are consistent with previous estimates of PETM temperature change and suggest that not only CO2 but also massive release of seabed methane was the driver for CIE and PETM.