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[dinosaur] Archosaur digestive physiology + Chicxulub impact record on Gorgonilla Island, Colombia

Ben Creisler

Recent papers:

Free pdf:

Piotr Bajdek â(2018)
Comparative digestive physiology of archosaurs with notes on bird origins.Â
PeerJ Preprints 6:e26902v1
doi:Â https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.26902v1

It is widely accepted that birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs, and few paleontologists disagree preferring a more ancient split of the avian and dinosaur lineages. The difference in digestive physiology between members of the theropod and crocodile lineages, documented by fossil feces and gut contents, offers an opportunity to test these phylogenetic hypotheses. Birds share with crocodiles the functional gizzard that contains swallowed stones and where gastric pellets are formed before regurgitation, as well as a mechanism that prevents the passage of indigestible residues into the intestine. Both these adaptations are missing in unquestionable theropod groups (compsognathids, tyrannosaurids, allosaurids, coelophysids). The theropod ancestry of birds implies reappearance and strong development of a specific stomach functionality that either had been already lost in the theropod dinosaurs or was never present in their lineage. Coprolites of early archosaurs contain undigested bones, which suggests a short digestion time and higher metabolic rates than in extant crocodiles. Early archosaurs were similar to birds, but not to dinosaurs, in all these aspects of physiology.


Paul R. Renne, Ignacio Arenillas, Josà A. Arz, Vivi Vajda, Vicente Gilabert & Hermann D. BermÃdez (2018)
Multi-proxy record of the Chicxulub impact at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary from Gorgonilla Island, Colombia.Â
Geology (advance online publication)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1130/G40224.1

A 40 m stratigraphic section at Gorgonilla Island, Colombia, provides a unique deep-marine, low-latitude, Southern Hemisphere record of events related to the end-Cretaceous Chicxulub impact and the global Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary (KPB). The KPB is marked by a 20-mm-thick, densely packed spherule bed as defined by planktic foraminifera, in contrast to complex relationships found in high-energy, impact-proximal sites in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean basins. The absence of basal Danian foraminiferal Zone P0 may indicate a possible hiatus of <10 ka immediately above the spherule bed, but is most probably an artifact of deposition below the calcite compensation depth as suggested by the nearly complete absence of calcareous fossils for 20 m below the Zone PÎ. A weighted mean 40Ar/39Ar age of 66.051 Â 0.031 Ma for 25 fresh glassy spherules unequivocally establishes both their derivation from Chicxulub, and the association between the impact and the KPB. The spherule bed, and Maastrichtian strata below it, display soft-sediment deformation features consistent with strong seismic motion, suggesting that seismic activity in the immediate aftermath of the Chicxulub impact continued for weeks. We discovered a fern-spike immediately above the spherule bed, representing the first record of this pioneer vegetation from the South American continent, and from a low-latitude (tropical) environment.