A NEW SUITE OF LATE TRIASSIC FISH MICROFOSSILS FROM THE NORIAN STAGE (LATE TRIASSIC) IN SOUTHLAND, NEW ZEALAND AND A MORPHOMETRIC ANALYSIS OF DIETARY PREFERENCE
Bulk samples collected from Southland (South Island), New Zealand, were analyzed for vertebrate microfossils. To facilitate comparison with other Late Triassic dental assemblages, teeth were initially assigned to dietary niches using a morphological character matrix for Early Mesozoic vertebrate predators based on published literature and previous work.
A suite of teeth never before described from the Triassic in New Zealand was discovered during this process, including several palate fragments containing “hockey puck”-shaped teeth, hemispherical teeth, and striated, blunt cones. Some characteristics for determining diet, such as tip angle and shape described by length/width measurements, proved inadequate for analysis of the more rounded and palate-like morphologies. Morphometric comparison using landmarks and semi-landmarks allows for greater precision and flexibility when comparing morphotypes of vertebrate microfossil teeth from New Zealand and other Late Triassic localities.