Journal article

The unique preservational environment of the Early Permian (Cisuralian) fossiliferous cave deposits of the Richards Spur locality, Oklahoma

Mark J MacDougall, Neil J Tabor, Jon Woodhead, Andrew R Daoust, Robert R Reisz



The Richards Spur locality, Oklahoma, USA, represents an Early Permian infill in a series of Ordovician limestone and dolostone karst fissures. It exhibits the most diverse terrestrial Palaeozoic community currently known, with > 40 distinct tetrapod taxa. Speleothems intimately associated with the site indicate that Richards Spur is a cave system, suggesting a preservational environment that is distinct from those of more typical Early Permian lowland deltaic/fluvial localities. Fossil material obtained from the caves is often found in disarticulation, although articulated material is not uncommon. This suggests that there were several factors that affected how animal remains became deposit..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by NSERC

Awarded by National Central University, Taiwan

Funding Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Diane Scott for the preparation of fossil material, the photographs found in the figures, and the drawings in Fig. 6. David Mazierski for the interpretive drawing of the caves in Fig. 2. Bill May and the OMNH for the loan of several specimens. We also thank Corwin Sullivan and another anonymous reviewer for their helpful reviews of the manuscript. This research was supported by a grant from the Australian Research Council to JW and grants from NSERC Discovery (RGPIN-2015-06212), National Central University, Taiwan (MOE 103G-903-2), and University of Toronto to RRR.