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Winterswijk (The Netherlands), an exceptional early Anisian locality in the Germanic Muschelkalk
SVPCA Conference
Platform presentation (20 minutes)
*Nicole Klein
The locality of Winterswijk provides an unique situation, where especially well preserved body fossils of marine reptiles and terrestrial vertebrate tracks and track-ways, from the Lower Muschelkalk (early Anisian) were preserved in one facies. The quarry exposes a 40 m thick section of mud-cracked laminated carbonate mudstones interpreted as tidal flat facies dominated by algeal laminates. The deposits are covered by an extensive network of polygonal structures on the bedding planes, representing mudcrack polygons, indicating periodical drying of the surface. The highly unusual taphonomy may be explained by wind tides bringing in carcasses of marine reptiles, which then were scavenged upon after the tide went out by terrestrial reptiles that had specialized on this resource.
The locality is also of particular interest due to the associated or partially articulated skeletons of nothosaurs and pachypleurosaurs. Most of the classical Muschelkalk bonebeds of central Europe of Anisian and Ladinian age, are younger than Winterswijk, and had yielded mainly only isolated bones of sauropterygians. Thus studying pachypleurosaurs and nothosaurs from Winterswijk will result in new and important insights into the phylogeny and evolution of these sauropterygians.
London 2020