Tetrapod biodiversity through the Permo-Triassic Beaufort Group (Karoo Supergroup) of South Africa

Date
2008-08-15T12:47:03Z
Authors
Nicolas, Merrill Victoria Mary
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Abstract
A B S T R A C T The rocks of the Beaufort Group of South Africa record a remarkably complete depositional sequence incorporating a rich fossil tetrapod succession from the mid-Permian to mid-Triassic. This represents one of the best preserved ecological assemblages of pre-mammalian terrestrial tetrapods documenting the stem lineages of both mammals and dinosaurs. For more than a century large collections of fossils from the Beaufort Group have been built up at various museums in South Africa. With the co-operation of all the South African museums curating collections of Karoo fossils, a single standardised database has been compiled for the fossils collected from the Beaufort Group as well as a GIS system incorporating all the South African databases of fossil records. Major problems which had to be overcome related largely to the non-standardised nature of different databases, locality, and taxonomic information. Particularly problematic was entering ambiguous and vague locality information onto the GIS database, so that it would still be useful for qualitative evaluation. The created GIS database is a useful analytical tool, but requires streamlining to make it accessible to all users. Completion of the foundation phase of the GIS database has highlighted problems which need to be addressed in the future to make the database an effective tool for research purposes.
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Keywords
biodiversity , Beaufort Group , Permo-Triassic
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