Earth and Planetary Sciences ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-15-2023


The complex vertebrate ecosystem of the Late Triassic has not yet been fully understood, largely due to oversimplification of hypothesized trophic hierarchies and limited preservation of direct evidence of faunal interaction. Paleocommunity reconstruction attempts can also fall victim to taphonomic biases, time-averaging inaccuracies, and non-analogue paleoecologies. Utilizing a combination of PAIRS analysis and NMDS ordination, we highlight vertebrate faunal relationships within the Adamanian and Revueltian faunachrons of Petrified Forest National Park, assess the likelihood that these patterns have ecological rather than preservational drivers, and examine how these potential interactions may have been impacted by the Adamanian-Revueltian turnover event. We are able to infer hypothetical predator-prey relationships and indicate possible paleofaunal structure stability across the Adamanian-Revueltian boundary. Analyses also suggest a “mosaic” of vertebrate taxa interactions separated on a semi-aquatic-terrestrial gradient rather than a series of segregated paleofaunas. The influence of taphonomic biases on the interpretation of faunal structure appears minimal.

Degree Name

Earth and Planetary Sciences

Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Corinne Myers

Second Committee Member

Dr. Jason Moore

Third Committee Member

Dr. Peter Fawcett




paleoecology, Late Triassic, statistical analysis, Petrified Forest National Park

Document Type