Research progress on the Early Triassic Chaohu Fauna of Anhui Province, South China: composition, stratigraphic distribution and paleoecological significance
Fossils of the Chaohu Fauna are mainly distributed in the Middle and Upper Member of the Nanlinghu Formation (Olenekian, Lower Triassic) in Chaohu and its adjacent regions, Anhui Province. The Chaohu Fauna is characterized by abundant well-preserved Chaohusaurus along with sauropterygians, ichthyosauriforms, fish, and groups of marine invertebrates. The study on the Chaohu Fauna started initially in the 1970s. Recently, comprehensive research on the new material of Chaohu Fauna has provided new evidence for the rapid recovery of the Triassic marine ecosystem after the end Permian mass extinction. This paper reviews the progress on the Chaohu Fauna regarding the geological setting, research history, composition of the fossil assemblage, bio- and chronostratigraphy, and stable isotopic geochemistry, and provides a brief discussion on the community paleoecology. This work is significant in promoting the establishment of the National Geopark of Chaohu Fauna, science popularization and education, and tourism development.