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Amphibian swimming traces from the Lower Permian of southern New Mexico

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Fossilised traces of swimming amphibians, assigned to Batrachichnus delicatulus and Serpentichnus robledoensis igen. et isp. nov., are described from the Lower Permian of the Robledo Mountains, southern New Mexico. The B. delicatulus specimen is interpreted as a trackway of a small ‘amphibian’ (temnospondyl, nectridean, microsaur or juvenile embolomere) swimming straight ahead. S. robledoensis consists of repeated pes imprints separated by discontinuous, L-shaped imprints (body traces). It is interpreted as a trackway of an ‘amphibian’ swimming in a similar manner to the motion of a side-winding snake. The producer of S. robledoensis is more distinctive than in B. delicatulus, and is suggestive of the lysorophian Brachydectes. This is the first locomotory trace to be assigned to this ‘amphibian’ group.
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Keywords: Lower Permian; New Mexico; Tetrapoda; amphibian; swimming; trace fossil

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Bristol, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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