Triassic Tetrapods from Antarctica: Evidence for Continental Drift

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Science  18 Sep 1970:
Vol. 169, Issue 3951, pp. 1197-1201
DOI: 10.1126/science.169.3951.1197


During the austral summer of 1969-1970 bones of Lower Triassic vertebrates were excavated from coarse quartzose sandstones forming stream channel deposits of the Fremouw Formation at Coalsack Bluff, in the Transantarctic Mountains of Antarctica. This is the first assemblage of fossil tetrapods of significant geologic age to be found on the Antarctic Continent. The fossils include labyrinthodont amphibians, presumed thecodont reptiles, and therapsid reptiles, including the definitive genus, Lystrosaurus. This genus is typical of the Lower Triassic of southern Africa, and is also found in India and China. Lystrosaurus and associated vertebrates found in Antarctica were land-living animals: therefore their presence on the South Polar Continent would seem to indicate the contiguity of Antarctica, Africa, and India in Early Triassic times.

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