A review of the reptile and amphibian assemblages from the Stormberg of southern Africa, with special emphasis on the footprints and the age of the Stormberg

Olsen, Paul E.
Galton, Peter M.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research
The Molteno, Elliot, and Clarens formations comprise the continental Stormberg Group of the Karoo Basin of South Africa and Lesotho. The Molteno Formation contains a well preserved macro- and microfloral assemblage but apparently no vertebrates; the Elliot and Clarens formations contain abundant vertebrates but virtually no floral remains. The vertebrate taxa represented by skeletal remains are listed and divided into two assemblages - the lower Stormberg (lower Elliot) and upper Stormberg (upper Elliot and Clarens) assemblages. The abundant, diagnosable footprint taxa are revised and their names reduced to eight genera. These ichnotaxa also fall into two biostratigraphic zones that parallel the skeletal assemblages. Comparison of the faunal assemblages with those of the European type section strongly suggests that the lower Stormberg assemblage is Late Triassic (Carnian- Norian) in age while the upper Stormberg assemblage is Early Jurassic (Hettangian-Pliens- bachian) in age. Comparisons with other continental assemblages from other areas suggest that the upper Stormberg (upper Elliot and Clarens formations) assemblage broadly correlates with the upper Newark Supergroup of eastern North America, the Glen Canyon of the southwestern United States, and the lower Lufeng Series of China- all thought to be of Early Jurassic age on the basis of floral and/or radiometric evidence. Based on these correlations, previously published paleobiogeographic maps are revised; these show a shift from Late Triassic floral and faunal provinciality to Early Jurassic homogeneity. This shift was synchronous with a widening of the equatorial arid zone.
Molteno Formation, Elliot Formation, Clarens Formation, Karoo Basin, South Africa, Lesotho, vertebrate fossils, footprint taxa, ichnotaxa, Newark Supergroup, Glen Canyon Group