Triassic Amphibian from Antarctica

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Science  02 Aug 1968:
Vol. 161, Issue 3840, pp. 460-462
DOI: 10.1126/science.161.3840.460


A fossil bone fragment—the first record of tetrapod life from Antarctica—was found near Graphite Peak in the upper Beardmore Glacier area (85°3.3'S; 172°19'E). The fragment was embedded in a pebbly quartzose sandstone, probably of fluvial origin, in the lower part of the Triassic Fremouw Formation (as yet undefined), which contains Dicroidium in the upper part. The fossil horizon is only 76 meters, stratigraphically, above the Glossopteris-bearing Buckley Formation, a coal-bearing sequence of Permian age. The bone fragment is the back portion of a left mandibular ramus of a labyrinthodont amphibian. This identification is based on the characteristic labyrinthodont external surface sculpturing, with indications of "mucous grooves," as well as on other osteological features.

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