Palaeoecological significance of a new Griesbachian (Early Triassic) gastropod assemblage from Oman



A new Early Triassic (Griesbachian) gastropod fauna from the Al Jil Formation of Oman is described. Early Triassic faunas from elsewhere (e.g. the Italian Dolomites and the western USA) are typically of low diversity and high dominance, usually attributed to environmental stress in the immediate aftermath of the end-Permian mass extinction event. The new Oman fauna has, by contrast, relatively high diversity, low dominance and a more even spread of individuals between taxa. It is the most diverse Griesbachian fauna known to date. This is attributed to the favourable (i.e. well-oxygenated) conditions under which the fauna lived. This uncharacteristic Griesbachian gastropod fauna demonstrates that, in the absence of oceanic anoxia, biotic recovery after the end-Permian extinction event may occur surprisingly quickly (within one conodont zone). The fauna is also partially silicified, which has increased its preservation potential relative to other Griesbachian gastropod assemblages. However, only one reappearing Lazarus genus is present in the Oman fauna. This suggests that there was some other control on the abundance of Lazarus genera at this time, other than the absence of silicified faunas as previously suggested.