|Support type:||Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate|
|Effective date (Start):||September 01, 2013|
|Effective date (End):||August 31, 2015|
|Field of knowledge:||Biological Sciences - Zoology - Paleozoology|
|Principal Investigator:||Max Cardoso Langer|
|Grantee:||Simone D'Orazi Porchetti|
|Home Institution:||Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil|
Traces of an elusive life hide behind the fossils dunes of an ancient desert, known in lithostratigraphic terms as the Botucatu Formation. This desert was a very extensive (over a million of square kilometres) sea of sand that came to an end at the beginning of the Cretaceous Period. The thick coverage of the Serra Geral basalts sealed its original framework of dunes. Albeit devoid of body-fossils and pollens, the Botucatu Formation is otherwise rich in fossil tracks and traces of vertebrate and invertebrate origins. Notwithstanding this abundant record, the datation of the Botucatu Formation is still debated, potentially spanning from the Late Triassic to the Early Cretaceous, depending on the authors and on the approach. The climatic setting at the time of the Botucatu desert in another issue that is prone to refinement. Indeed, despite a dominant warm and dry climate, seasonality or repeated periods of humidity might have occurred. Not least, the ichnotaxonomy of the Botucatu tracks is as yet open to improvements. Aim of this project is therefore to reconsider the entire (vertebrate and invertebrate) ichnological record in ichnotaxonomic, paleozoological and paleoecological terms. Ichnofaunal composition, distribution and abundance will be evaluated with statistical tools and compared to similar assemblage globally. Cutting-edge methodologies (GPS, GIS, photogrammetry) will be adopted in order to generate a virtual database of this record, open, easy-to-share and improvable. Trackmaker attribution will rely on a synapomorphy-based approach aside to the Extant Phylogenetic Bracket (EPB) paradigm. A global revision of the track record of derived synapsid is envisaged, adopting the Botucatu record as point of reference. We foresee a strong contribution to the comprehension of fossil life in the Botucatu desert, with emphasis on a better constrained age definition of this Formation, and potentially with a more refined definition of the paleoclimatic setting. Ultimately, this project aims to reenforce the importance of the Botucatu biota as paradigmatic for the comprehension of fossil desert paleoecology.