Taxonomy, palaeoecology and palaeobiogeography of some palaeozoic fish of Southern Gondwana

Evans, F. J. (Fiona Jocelyn) (2005-12)

Thesis (PhD)--University of Stellenbosch, 2005.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The fossiliferous Waaipoort Formation (Witteberg Group, Cape Supergroup), Ganikobis Formation (Dwyka Group, Karoo Supergroup) and Whitehill Formation (Ecca Group, Karoo Supergroup) span a protracted period interrupted by a +-45Ma glacial event. This Late Carboniferous glacial event resulted in a prolonged hiatus in sedimentation as well as significant erosion in many southern continents of Gondwana. This study demonstrates how the glacial episode affected faunal composition and changes in palaeoecology in southern Gondwana across this time period. The Waaipoort shows the highest overall faunal diversity with relatively high palaeoniscoid diversity within Ganikobis and Whitehill Formations. This study is unique in correlating Early Carboniferous - Early Permian fish fauna of South Africa and Namibia specifically, as well as other parts of southern Gondwana, and includes maps of possible fish migration routes. This study attempts to refine the body of disjointed knowledge on the taxonomy and distribution of the fish fauna surrounding this period in southern Gondwana. Three new Waaipoort taxa are recognised, and several reassigned. Earlier work on Late Carboniferous fish from Southern Africa has been updated herein to incorporate recent collections. This has allowed the recognition of up to 15 new palaeonoscoid taxa, some of which are endemic to this region. Several new taxa are recognised within the Whitehill Formation fish fauna and a new lectotype for Palaeoniscum. capensis is presented. Detailed taphonomic and sedimentological studies (with 6 lithologs) of fossil localities visited in this broad-based study verify the correlation, and impart information often lost or ignored in pure palaeontological studies on the palaeoecology or palaeoenvironment of the fauna. Systematic relationships discussed here also serve to strengthen the palaeobiogeographical correlations between the Gondwanan continents.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die fossie1draende Waaipoort Formasie (Witteberg Groep, Kaap Supergroep), Ganikobis Formasie (Dwyka Groep, Karoo Supergroep) en Whitehill Formasie (Ecca Groep, Karoo Supergroep) strek oor 'n uitgebreide tydvak wat 'n periode van vergletsering van ongeveer 45 miljoen jaar insluit. Hierdie Laat Karboon ystyd het sedimentasieprosesse lank onderbreek en beduidende erosie in baie van die suidelike kontinente van Gondwana veroorsaak. Die huidige studie toon hoe die vergletsering die faunistiese samestelling en veranderings in die paleo-ekologie van suidelike Gondwana beinvloed het. In totaal toon die Waaipoort die grootste faunistiese diversiteit, terwyl 'n relatief hoe diversiteit ook onder die Palaeoniscoidei van die Ganikobis en Whitehill Formasies voorkom. Hierdie studie is uniek insoverre dit spesifiek data oor die Vroee Karboon - Vroee Perm visfauna van Suid-Afrika en Namibie, asook ander gebiede van suidelike Gondwana korrelleer en kaarte van moontlike migrasieroetes insluit. Die navorsing poog om die groot hoeveelheid losstaande inligting oor die taksonomie en verspreiding van die visfauna in suidelike Gondwana te verwerk en te verfyn. Drie nuwe taksa is uit die Waaipoort geidentifiseer en 'n verdere aantal is geherklassifiseer. Vroeer navorsing oor die Laat Karboon-visse van Suider-Afrika is bygewerk in die lig van resente versamelings. Dit het die herkenning van tot 15 nuwe taksa onder die Palaeoniscoidei, waarvan sommige endemies aan hierdie streek is, moontlik gemaak. 'n Aantal nuwe taksa word onder die visfauna van die Whitehill Formasie aangeteken, saam met 'n nuwe lektotipe van Palaeoniscum capensis. Gedetailleerde tafonomiese en sedimentologiese analises van die vindplekke wat tydens hierdie studie ondersoek is en wat 6 vertikale profiele insluit, ondersteun hierdie korrelasie. Sodoende stel dit inligting beskikbaar wat dikwels gedurende suiwer paleontologiese studies oor die paleo-ekologie of paleo-omgewing van die fauna verlore sou gaan of geignoreer sou word. Die sistematiese verwantskappe wat hier bespreek word dien ook om die paleobiogeografiese ooreenkomste tussen die Gondwana-kontinente te versterk.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50460
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