Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh

Research Article

The Late Triassic (Norian) Adamanian–Revueltian tetrapod faunal transition in the Chinle Formation of Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

William G. Parkera1a2 and Jeffrey W. Martza2

a1 Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, C1100, Austin, TX 78712, USA Email:

a2 Division of Resource Management, Petrified Forest National Park, Box 2217, Petrified Forest, AZ 86028, USA


Recent stratigraphic revisions of the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation of Petrified Forest National Park, in conjunction with precise and accurate documentation of fossil tetrapod occurrences, clarified the local biostratigraphy, with regional and global implications. A significant overlap between Adamanian and Revueltian faunas is rejected, as is the validity of the Lamyan sub-land vertebrate faunachron. The Adamanian–Revueltian boundary can be precisely placed within the lower Jim Camp Wash beds of the Sonsela Member and thus does not occur at the hypothesised Tr-4 unconformity. This mid-Norian faunal turnover, may coincide with a floral turnover, based on palynology studies and also on sedimentological evidence of increasing aridity. Available age constraints bracketing the turnover horizon are consistent with the age of the Manicouagan impact event. The rise of dinosaurs in western North America did not correspond to the Adamanian–Revueltian transition, and overall dinosauromorph diversity seems to have remained at a constant level across it. The paucity of detailed Late Triassic vertebrate biostratigraphic data and radioisotopic dates makes it currently impossible to either support or reject the existence of globally synchronous Late Triassic extinctions for tetrapods.

Key Words:

  • Biochronology;
  • biostratigraphy;
  • extinction;
  • Manicouagan;
  • Sonsela Member