Last week the first paper from the TW:eed Project was published, on the tetrapods of Horton Bluff, Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia fossils are the same age as specimens from the Scottish Borders, from the period known as Romer’d Gap. The paper is the first to show that Romer’s Gap may not be a not a true gap in the tetrapod fossil record, but it may be instead caused by biases in fossil collection.
Tetrapod femur (leg) bones illustrated in the publication
The Blue Beach fauna includes some tetrapods clearly similar to some of the Late Devonian forms, as well as animals more similar to those that appear later in the Carboniferous. This means that some tetrapods survived the end Devonian mass extinction event. This study is the first to illuminate what tetrapod communities looked like in the early Carboniferous and is a great first result for the TW:eed Project.
The lead author on the paper is Jason Anderson from the University of Calgary, along with Tim Smithson and Jenny Clack, and Canadian colleagues Chris Mansky and Taran Meyer. The article is called ‘A Diverse Tetrapod Fauna at the Base of 'Romer'sGap'’ and is published in the journal PLOS ONE, which is online and open access, clicking the link with the article title to view it. You can read more about the results of the study on the TW:eed website, and see a video of the field site.
Until next time