The Famennian vertebrate fauna of Strud (Namur Basin, Belgium) with special focus on early tetrapod evolution and paleoecology

The study of the paleoenvironment of the Strud quarry beds (Late Famennian) is primordial because their formation took place during the earliest phase of tetrapod evolution (i.e. after their emergence around 400 million year ago and before their terrestrialisation at the beginning of the Carboniferous 40 m.y. later). Evolutionary, ecological and biogeographical processes having led to tetrapod emergence and terrestrialisation are poorly known. Faunal and environmental interactions must have been major driving forces for the transition from water to land. In order to understand the fish-tetrapod transition and the later terrestrialisation of tetrapods, on which this project focuses, it is absolutely necessary to require a high-resolution investigation of this faunal-paleoenvironmental context. The characteristics of the Strud quarry, with its outstanding diversified rich fauna and flora, may help in understanding this context. It will also enable to determine the extent and mode of the faunal exchanges between Euramerica and Gondwana during late Devonian times, known as the “Great Devonian Interchange”. 

Objectives

  1. identify the faunal and floral content of the tetrapod-bearing beds at Strud on the basis of previously collected material (e.g. the large vertebrate material from Strud present in the RBINS collection) and newly excavated material;
  2. assess an accurate and consisting age dating of these beds;
  3. reconstruct the Strud paleoenvironment and paleoclimatic conditions through sedimentological analysis of the different paleosoil-estuarine cycles and interpretation of the macrobiota, the palynological and the taphonomical data;
  4. compare the Strud environment with that of other Devonian tetrapod-bearing sites, using data collected in points (1), (2) and (3), in order to unravel the paleoecological influences on the origin of tetrapods;
  5. gain a better understanding of the distribution of the Late Devonian vertebrate taxa worldwide, known as the “Great Devonian Interchange”, in order to confirm or refute the existing theories on the position of the supercontinents Euramerica and Gondwana.

Related publications

  • Olive, S. , Prestianni, C. & Dupret, V. A new species of Groenlandaspis Heintz, 1932 (Placodermi, Arthrodira) from the Famennian (Late Devonian) of Belgium. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 35, e935389-1 - e935389-11 (2015).
  • Garrouste, R. et al. Garrouste et al. reply to Hörnschemeyer et al. Nature 494, (2013).
  • Olive S. (ed.). The Devonian antiarch (Placodermi, Vertebrata) fauna from Belgium: new data, new taxa and new paleogeographical considerations. (2013).
  • Garrouste, R. et al. A complete insect from the Late Devonian period. Nature 488, 82-85 (2012).
Other member(s)
E. Poty (coordinator, ULiège)
G. Clément (co-promotor, MNHN, Paris)
P. Gerrienne (ULiège)
G. Clément
P. Janvier
D. Goujet
H. Lelièvre
P. Guériau
A. & P. Nel
R. Garrouste
C. d’Haes
P. Grandcolas (MNHN, Paris)
D. Janjou (BRGM)
S. Régnault (Mus. Hist. Nat. Nantes)
A. Blieck & C. Derycke (Univ. Lille)
V. Dupret & L. Lagebro (Univ. Uppsala)
A. Ivanov (Univ. St Petersburg)
O. Lebedev (Inst. Paleont., Moscow)
E. Luksevics (Univ Lettonia)
I. Zuppins (Mus. Lettonia)
M.S. Engel (Univ. Kansas, USA)
Funding
Action 2-Doctorate FWI – WI/36/K03, POD Scientific Policy
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