Name: Karatau
Location: South Kazakhstan
Age: Jurassic

Fauna and flora


The following animals are a selection of some of the specimens that have been found at Karatau:

INSECTS: These are different species of Aboilus (Upper Jurassic), which are similar to modern grasshoppers. Generally, wings are the only remains that are found, but occasionally a whole specimen is discovered. Males and females can be identified from the variation in the spots and bands on their front wings. Pollen has been found in the intestines of some of the intact specimens.

 Aboilus amplus insect compression (x1). The wings are the light and dark banded areas on either side of the fossil. Reproduced with permission from the Palaeontological Association, London.

SPIDER: Jurarchaea zherikhini (Upper Jurassic)
Female specimen.

CROCODILE: Karatausuchus sharovi (Upper Jurassic)
This small skeleton is almost complete and is believed to be of a juvenile. It has a very long tail, 98 jaw teeth and is 190 mm long.

SALAMANDER: Karaurus sharovi (Upper Jurassic)
This specimen is also almost complete and is 19 cm long. It is likely to be the skeleton of a juvenile as some of the bones in the skull and jaw aren't fused. This is a very early example of a salamander.

LIZARD: Sharovisaurus karatauensis (Upper Jurassic)
A lizard with a skeleton of 140 mm long.

PTEROSAURS: Sordes pilosus and Batrachognathus volans (both Upper Jurassic)
Seven specimens of Sordes pilosus have been found. It had a wingspan of 80 cm and was a fish eater. Batrachognathus volans had a wingspan of 65 cm and ate insects.

FISH: Pteroniscus and Coccolepis (Upper Jurassic)
These are the most common specimens found and the name the 'fish shales' has been given to the rocks where they occur due to their abundance.


The plant fossils from Karatau are very well preserved and abundant. They are typical of the late Jurassic and there is a dominance of conifers. The plants document the change in climate from humid in the early-middle Jurassic to arid in the late Jurassic. Coal later formed from the plant material and accumulated in huge amounts.

Some of the plant fossils found at Karatau are:

FERNS: Stachypteris, Sphenoteris, Coniopteris

CONIFERS: Brachyphyllum, Pagiophyllum

BENNETTITALES: Ptilophyllum, Otozamites
These are an extinct gymnosperm (seed bearing plant)

CYCADS: Paracycas, Nilssonia

GINGKOS: Sphenobaiera, Baierea

Index page

 Fauna and flora

 Geological setting and age


 References and links