The vertebrates of the Jurassic Daohugou Biota of northeastern China

  • Sullivan C
  • Wang Y
  • Hone D
 et al. 
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ABSTRACT The Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota of northeastern China has become famous over the last two decades as a source of feathered avialan and non-avialan theropods, preserved alongside an array of other fossil vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants. Still more recently, a rich assemblage referred to in this paper as the Daohugou Biota has begun to emerge from Jurassic strata in the same region. Like their counterparts from the Jehol Biota, Daohugou Biota vertebrate specimens are typically preserved in fine-grained lacustrine beds and often retain feathers and other soft-tissue features. At present, 30 vertebrate taxa (five salamanders, one anuran, two lizards, 13 pterosaurs, five dinosaurs, and four mammals) are known from the Daohugou Biota, which was first recognized at the Daohugou locality in Inner Mongolia. The presence of the salamander Chunerpeton tianyiensis, proposed in this paper as an index fossil for the Daohugou Biota, links the Daohugou locality to five other fossil-producing areas in the provinces of Hebei and Liaoning. The strata containing the Daohugou Biota are close to the Middle--Upper Jurassic boundary and belong at least partly to the regionally widespread Tiaojishan Formation. In general, the vertebrate fauna of the Daohugou Biota is strikingly different from that of the Jehol Biota, although paravian dinosaurs, anurognathid pterosaurs, and salamanders with cryptobranchid and hynobiid affinities occur in both. Nevertheless, the Daohugou Biota and the Jehol Biota are two successive Lagerst{ä}tte assemblages that collectively offer a taphonomically consistent window into the Mesozoic life of northeast Asia over a significant span of geologic time.

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  • Corwin Sullivan

  • Yuan Wang

  • David W.E. Hone

  • Yuanqing Wang

  • Xing Xu

  • Fucheng Zhang

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