The Australian palaeoherpetological renaissance: a review of Australian pelaeoherpetology, 1990–93
P. M. A. Willis, 1993. "The Australian palaeoherpetological renaissance: a review of Australian pelaeoherpetology, 1990–93", Herpetology in Australia: A Diverse Discipline, Daniel Lunney, Danielle Ayers
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Interest in Australian palaeoherpetology has steadily increased since the late 1960s. This has led to an explosion of publications during the last four years. Recent research into Australian labyrinthodonts has been concerned with the ontogeny and phylogeny of Triassic labyrinthodonts from the Arcadia Formation and the description of the world’s youngest labyrinthodont from early Cretaceous deposits in southern Victoria. Many new fossil frogs have been described from Australia, principally from early to mid Miocene sites at Riversleigh, northeastern Queensland, and various Pleistocene cave deposits but also from the mid Miocene Bullock Creek locality in the northern Territory and the Plio-Pleistocene Floraville Downs deposit in northern Queensland. New turtle material has been recovered from Cretaceous sites on southern Victoria, northwestern New South Wales and central Queensland, Eocene sites in southeastern and eastern Queensland, Miocene and Pleistocene sites at Riversleigh as well as Miocene deposits at Bullock Creek, probable Pliocene sites in South Australia and central north Queensland and Pleistocene sites in Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales. Significant new finds of plesiosaurs have been described from Cretaceous sites in South Australia, Victoria, north Queensland and Western Australia. New ichthyosaur material has been collected from Queensland and Western Australia. Crocodilians have been reported from many Australian sites, notably Eocene sites in southeastern and eastern Queensland, Miocene sites in northeastern Queensland, northeastern and central Northern Territory and South Australia, Pliocene deposits in northern Queensland and Pleistocene deposits in the Lake Eyre Basin, northern and northwestern Queensland. These recent descriptions of crocodilian material have led to a reassessment of their phylogenetic significance and the erection of a new subfamily, the Mekosuchinae, to accommodate the extinct crocodilians from Australia. Pterosaurs have been collected from Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria. Dinosaur fossils have been collected from Dinosaur Cove and the Strzelecki Ranges in southern Victoria as well as central north Queensland and Western Australia. Dinosaur finds from Australia have important implications for dinosaurian biology, distribution and temporal range. Lacertilians (including snakes) have been described from many Eocene, Miocene, Pliocene and Pleistocene sites in Queensland. Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales. Recent discoveries in New South Wales may indicate the first co-occurence of “megaherps” and people in Australia. The revival of interest in palaeoherpetology in Australia has created a vital and enthusiastic research community whose activities should continue for the forseeable future. The product of this research effort should be a more complete understanding of the history of vertebrates in Australia.