Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

, Volume 93, Issue 4, pp 441–457 | Cite as

Mesozoic salamanders and albanerpetontids of Middle Asia, Kazakhstan, and Siberia

  • Pavel P. Skutschas


Mesozoic terrestrial deposits containing diverse vertebrate assemblages are widely distributed in Siberia (central and eastern part of Russia), Middle Asia (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), and Kazakhstan. Twelve formations of Middle Jurassic (Bathonian) to Late Cretaceous (Campanian) age in the region contain salamanders (six in Middle Asia, two in Siberia and four in Kazakhstan). In contrast to the situation in Euramerica, albanerpetontids are extremely rare in the Mesozoic of Asia, where their fossil record is limited to the Khodzhakul (Cenomanian) and Bissekty (Turonian) formations, both in Uzbekistan. Salamanders in Siberia are known from the Bathonian Itat Formation in the Krasnoyarsk Region (the stem salamander Urupia monstrosa and two undescribed taxa—a new stem salamander and a possible crown-group salamander) and from the Aptian–Albian Ilek Formation in Kemerovo Province and the Krasnoyarsk Region (the crown-group salamander Kiyatriton leshchinskiyi and Caudata indet.). In the Jurassic of Middle Asia, the stem salamanders Kokartus honorarius and Karauridae indet. are known from the Bathonian–Callovian Balabansai Formation in Kyrgyzstan. Younger records in Middle Asia are restricted to only two Late Cretaceous genera of crown-group salamanders: the possible cryptobranchoid Nesovtriton in the Bissekty Formation (Turonian) and the cryptobranchid Eoscapherpeton in the Khodzhakul, Dzharakuduk, Bissekty, and Aitym formations (collectively Cenomanian–Campanian) in Uzbekistan and the Yalovach Formation (Santonian) in Tajikistan. In Kazakhstan, salamanders are known from the Kimmeridgian Karabastau Formation (the stem salamander Karaurus sharovi), the Turonian Zhirkindek Formation (Caudata indet.), the Santonian–Campanian Bostobe Formation (the cryptobranchid Eoscapherpeton, the possible proteid “Bishara backa” and Caudata indet.) and the Campanian Darbasa Formation (the cryptobranchid Eoscapherpeton). Cenomanian–Campanian vertebrate assemblages in Middle Asia and Kazakhstan are characterised by dominance of the cryptobranchid Eoscapherpeton.


Mesozoic Caudata Albanerpetontidae Middle Asia Kazakhstan Siberia 



I thank all the members of expeditions in Middle Asia, Kazakhstan and Siberia for their help. I am grateful to: J. D. Gardner (Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller, Canada) for organising the symposium “Insights from the Fossil Record into the Evolution of Extant Amphibians and Reptiles” at the Seventh World Congress of Herpetology in Vancouver, Canada, and for his invitations to visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum and to contribute this issue; to the Royal Tyrrell Museum Cooperating Society (Drumheller, Canada) for providing financial support for my visit to the Royal Tyrrell Museum; to A. O. Averianov (Zoological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia) for reading and providing helpful comments on an early version of this paper; and to J. D. Gardner (Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller, Canada) and A. R. Milner (Natural History Museum, London, UK) for reviewing the submitted version of this paper. My studies of Mesozoic salamanders have been funded by the following agencies and grants: the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) grant MA 1643/14-1 and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (project 11-04-91331-NNIO) for studies of Siberian Middle Jurassic salamanders; a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship and a Return Fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation (Germany) for study of Kokartus; a Return Fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation(Germany) and the Paleontological Society International Research Program (Sepkoski Grants 2010) (USA) for studies of Middle Asian Late Cretaceous salamanders.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Vertebrate Zoology Department, Biology Faculty Saint Petersburg State UniversitySaint PetersburgRussian Federation

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