Previous Research

The Glamorgan Fissure fills of South Wales, United Kingdom, have yielded a number of important Late Triassic and Early Jurassic vertebrate specimens since commercial and scientific excavations began in the 1930s. Some of the earliest mammals have been described from localities in this area including the Morganucodonta, an order that ultimately achieved a worldwide distribution and high taxonomic diversity through the Late Triassic to Early Jurassic. Morganucodon is incomparably the best-known taxon from this order due to extensive study of the enormous collections from the Glamorgan fissure fills.

The mammalian component of the fissure fauna was originally thought to contain two main species, Morganucodon and Kuehneotherium. Much of this was made up of dental and mandible fragments. After studying the material for a number of years by teams from University College and Cambridge, a huge range of morphological and size variation was noted. This led some authors to hypothesize that multiple Morganucodon and Kuehneotherium species may have been present.

Research for my master's degree involved uncovering the taxonomic diversity of Morganucodon from the Glamorgan fissure fills. Although a number of authors had hypothesized that more than one species of Morganucodon may exist there was, as yet, no conclusive evidence to support this other than researches noting the large size range and morphological diversity of the dentition. After measuring a large number of teeth from two main quarries I confirmed previous suspicions, there were indeed multiple species of Morganucodon with a unique morphotype unique to each quarry.

The picture below is of Morganucodon watsoni from one of the quarries studied (Pontalun 3). The tooth is a probable lower first molar.

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