Ancient Indian Triassic amphibians, new research


This 2016 video says about itself:

INDIAN METOPOSAURID AMPHIBIANS: MORPHOMETRY, TAXONOMY AND DISPERSAL

by Sanjukta Chakravorti

Recorded at XIV Annual Meeting of the European Association of Vertebrate Palaeontologists, Teylers Museum, Haarlem, Netherlands.

From the University of Bonn in Germany:

Fossil growth reveals insights into the climate

Researchers examined bones of the puzzling Panthasaurus maleriensis

September 8, 2020

Panthasaurus maleriensis lived about 225 million years ago in what is now India. It is an ancestor of today’s amphibians and has been considered the most puzzling representative of the Metoposauridae. Paleontologists from the universities of Bonn (Germany) and Opole (Poland) examined the fossil’s bone tissue and compared it with other representatives of the family also dating from the Triassic. They discovered phases of slower and faster growth in the bone, which apparently depended on the climate. The results have now been published in the journal PeerJ.

Temnospondyli belong to the ancestors of today’s amphibians. This group of animals became extinct about 120 million years ago in the Early Cretaceous. The Temnospondyli also include the Metoposauridae, a fossil group that lived exclusively in the Late Triassic about 225 million years ago. Remains of these ancestors are present on almost every continent. In Europe, they are found mainly in Poland, Portugal and also in southern Germany.

Panthasaurus maleriensis, the most puzzling representative of the Metoposauridae to date, lived in what is now India, near the town of Boyapally. “Until now, there were hardly any investigation opportunities because the fossils were very difficult to access,” explains Elzbieta Teschner from the University of Opole, who is working on her doctorate in paleontology in the research group of Prof. Dr. Martin Sander at the University of Bonn. Researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Opole, together with colleagues from the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata (India), have now examined the tissue of fossil bones of a metoposaur from the Southern Hemisphere for the first time. The amphibian, which resembled a crocodile, could grow up to three meters in length.

Valuable insight into the bone interior

“The investigated taxon is called Panthasaurus maleriensis and was found in the Maleri Formation in Central India,” notes Teschner with regard to the name. So far, the fossil has only been examined morphologically on the basis of its external shape. “Histology as the study of tissues, on the other hand, provides us with a valuable insight into the bone interior,” says Dr. Dorota Konietzko-Meier from the Institute for Geosciences at the University of Bonn. The histological findings can be used to draw conclusions about age, habitat and even climate during the animal’s lifetime.

The histological examinations revealed that the young animals had very rapid bone growth and that this growth decreased with age. The Indian site where the bones were found provides evidence of both young and adult animals, in contrast to Krasiejów (south-western Poland), where only young animals were found. Geological and geochemical data show that the Late Triassic consisted of alternating dry and rainy periods, as in the present monsoon climate of India. “This sequence is also reflected in the material examined,” says Teschner. “There are phases of rapid growth, known as zones, and a slowdown, known as annulus.” Normally, one can still observe stagnation lines in the bones, which develop during unfavorable phases of life, for example during very hot or very cold seasons.

In Panthasaurus maleriensis, however, growth never comes to a complete cessation. In comparison: the Polish Metoposaurus krasiejowensis shows the same alternation of zones and annuli in one life cycle and no stagnation lines, whereas the Moroccan representative of the metoposaurs Dutuitosaurus ouazzoui shows stagnation lines — that is, a complete stop in growth — in each life cycle.

The different growth phases in the bones allow for a comparison of climatic conditions. This means that the climate in the Late Triassic would have been milder in Central India than in Morocco, but not as mild as in the area that today belongs to Poland. Sander: “Fossil bones therefore offer a window into the prehistoric past.”

Wildfire disasters in the USA


This 11 September 2020 United States TV video is called ‘Everything Is A Total Loss’: Entire Towns Devastated By Oregon Wildfires | NBC News NOW.

Ten percent of Oregon’s population ordered to evacuate as wildfires continue to ravage the US west coast. By David Fitzgerald, 11 September 2020. At least fourteen people have died in the latest outbreak: a one-year-old boy in Washington, three people in Oregon, and ten in California, and the death toll is expected to rise.

NIGHTMARE IN OREGON: 500,000 EVACUATE Stunned residents of the small Oregon town of Phoenix walked through a scene of devastation after one of the state’s many wildfires wiped out much of their community. By Thursday evening, the number of Oregon residents evacuated statewide because of fires had climbed to an estimated 10% of the state’s 4.2 million population. Some firefighters in Clackamas County were told to disengage because of dangerous fire activity as two large fires in the area were believed to be merging. Across Oregon, California and Washington, many towns have been destroyed. [AP]

10 DEAD IN MASSIVE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE A Northern California wildfire became the state’s deadliest of the year Thursday when authorities announced seven more deaths, bringing the total to 10 and the unnerving prospect the toll would climb as searchers looked for 16 missing people. Among those unaccounted for are Sandy Butler and her husband, who called their son to say they were going to try to escape the flames by finding shelter in a pond. [AP]