An aggregation of juvenile Youngina from the Beaufort Group, Karoo Basin, South Africa
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Smith, Roger M. H.
Susan, E. Evans
Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research
An assemblage of five fully-articulated juvenile skeletons of Youngina has been recovered from the Late Permian strata of the south-western Karoo Basin. These 12-cm-long skeletons are not only the first articulated juveniles of this taxon, but also the oldest yet found in the Karoo Basin. They are preserved in overbank mudrocks of the Hoedemaker Member (Beaufort Group, Adelaide Subgroup) on the farm Leeukloof 43 in the Beaufort West district. Although they are estimated to be some three million years older than previously described Youngina, these specimens show no significant skeletal differences. The high degree of articulation and the spatial arrangement of these skeletons in a dish-shaped hollow is compelling evidence for them having huddled together within an underground burrow. Taphonomic analysis of associated fossils indicates that this was probably a mechanism to reduce water loss during drought on the ancient Karoo floodplains .
Youngina, juvenile aggregation.