História das Descobertas - History of Discoveries

Discoveries, regarding synapsids in the Metangula Graben, began when M. Domingos Rocha, who was part of a geological mapping project led by A. Borges (Geological and Mines Services) collect the first synapsid remains from Mozambique in 1949.  This early mapping in search of coal and other natural resources provided a basis for understanding the geology of the region and a preliminary glance of the vertebrate fossils found there.  The 1949 and 1954 fossil collections were sent to S. H. Haughton in South Africa, who wrote a preliminary note on the material and briefly referred to it in a broader article (Haughton 1963). This collection, now at deposited in the Bernard Price Institute, was partially studied by Latimer & Rubidge (1995), who identified tooth replacement patterns in Endothiodon sp. The 1961 collection was studied by Antunes (1975), who described skull elements of Endothiodon and an unidentified gorgonopsian. Borges et al. (1953) characterized the geological sequence of the lower portion of the basin as the “Lunho Series,” which was later correlated with the South African Tropidostoma Assemblage Zone (Teixeira & Gonçalves 1959, Antunes 1975); late Permian (sensu Rubidge et al. 1995).

A second wave of geological exploration was done by the Direcção Nacional de Geologia, led by J. Verniers from 1977 to 1980. The four year project resulted in a detailed knowledge of the stratigraphy and economical potential of the basin (Verniers et al. 1989), however without any significant insights on the vertebrate paleontology. 


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