Estuarine fish and tetrapod evolution: insights from a Late Devonian (Famennian) Gondwanan estuarine lake and a southern African Holocene equivalent

  title={Estuarine fish and tetrapod evolution: insights from a Late Devonian (Famennian) Gondwanan estuarine lake and a southern African Holocene equivalent},
  author={Robert W. Gess and Alan K. Whitfield},
  journal={Biological Reviews},
The Waterloo Farm lagerstätte in South Africa provides a uniquely well‐preserved record of a Latest Devonian estuarine ecosystem. Ecological evidence from it is reviewed, contextualised, and compared with that available from the analogous Swartvlei estuarine lake, with a particular emphasis on their piscean inhabitants. Although the taxonomic affinities of the estuarine species are temporally very different, the overall patterns of utilisation prove to be remarkably congruent, with similar… 


A formerly unknown fossil-bearing locality in the lower part of the Witpoort Formation (Witteberg Group, Cape Supergroup) is described from the Eastern Cape (South Africa). Uniquely for these

Coombs Hill: A Late Devonian fossil locality in the Witpoort Formation (Witteberg Group, South Africa)

FUNDING: DSI/NRF Centre of Excellence in Palaeosciences, DSI/NRF African Origins Platform, National Research Foundation (South Africa), the Palaeontological Scientific Trust (PAST), the Millennium

The early diversification of ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii): hypotheses, challenges and future prospects

Actinopterygii are the most speciose living vertebrate clade, and study of fossil members during their Palaeozoic rise to dominance has a long history of descriptive work. Although research interest

Spatial distribution of zooplankton in response to ecological dynamics in tropical shallow lake: insight from Lake Malombe, Malawi

Abstract This study assessed zooplankton density and Chl-a amount to understand their spatial and seasonal variation in Lake Malombe. Samples were collected for analysis during the hot, dry season

Do species display characteristic intraspecific levels of patchiness in a given habitat type? The case of intertidal seagrass macrobenthos

  • R. Barnes
  • Environmental Science
    Marine Biology
  • 2020
Of the 36 species investigated, the two most abundant and widespread both in Queensland and in South Africa displayed significant or near-significant uniformity of levels of local patchiness, whilst five showed significantly uniform mean crowding and ten significantly uniform unoccupancy.

Skeletal and soft tissue completeness of the acanthodian fossil record

Acanthodians are a poorly understood paraphyletic grade of extinct Palaeozoic fishes. They play an increasingly prominent role in our understanding of vertebrate evolution as part of the



The Earliest Record of Terrestrial Animals in Gondwana: A Scorpion from the Famennian (Late Devonian) Witpoort Formation of South Africa

  • R. Gess
  • Geography, Environmental Science
  • 2013
The new genus and species, Gondwanascorpio emzantsiensis, are described on the basis of fragments from the Famennian (Late Devonian) Waterloo Farm locality near Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, South Africa, providing the first evidence of Palaeozoic scorpions from Gondwana.

Life-history styles of fishes in South African estuaries

  • A. Whitfield
  • Environmental Science
    Environmental Biology of Fishes
  • 2004
A detailed comparison of the life-history styles of the estuarine teleost Gilchristella aestuaria and the marine fishMugil cephalus is used to illustrate the contrasting manner in which these two species have succeeded in exploiting South African estuaries.

High latitude Gondwanan famennian biodiversity patterns : evidence from the South African Witpoort Formation (Cape Supergroup, Witteberg Group)

  • R. Gess
  • Environmental Science, Geography
  • 2012
Reassessment of the stratigraphic position of the Waterloo Farm black shale from Grahamstown, South Africa, revealed that it is situated in the uppermost Witpoort Formation, as opposed to the middle

Stratigraphy and depositional environments of the Late Famennian (Late Devonian) of Southern Belgium and characterization of the Strud locality

Abstract The Famennian (Upper Devonian, c. 372 to 359 Ma) strata of Belgium have recently received much attention after the discoveries of early tetrapod remains and outstandingly preserved

A fish and tetrapod fauna from Romer's Gap preserved in Scottish Tournaisian floodplain deposits

The end‐Devonian mass extinction has been framed as a turning point in vertebrate evolution, enabling the radiation of tetrapods, chondrichthyans and actinopterygians. Until very recently ‘Romer's

Euryhaline ecology of early tetrapods revealed by stable isotopes

An approach using multiple stable isotopes reveals that early tetrapods of the Devonian period were euryhaline animals that inhabited aquatic environments of highly variable salinity.

High-latitude Chondrichthyans from the Late Devonian (Famennian) Witpoort formation of South Africa

Abstract New material from the Late Devonian Witpoort Formation (Witteberg Group, Cape Supergroup) of Waterloo Farm (Grahamstown, South Africa) includes teeth, spines, and rare endoskeletal remains