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A fish assemblage from an early Miocene horizon from Jabal Zaltan, Libya


Argyriou, Thodoris; Cook, Todd D; Muftah, Ahmed M; Pavlakis, Paris; Boaz, Noel T; Murray, Alison M (2016). A fish assemblage from an early Miocene horizon from Jabal Zaltan, Libya. Journal of African Earth Sciences, 102:86-101.

Abstract

Recent excavations and prospecting in the early to middle Miocene deposits of the Maradah Formation in Jabal Zaltan, Libya, yielded a diverse fish assemblage coming from an early Miocene locality. The material described here includes more than 18 marine and freshwater taxa most of which were previously unreported from the area. Jabal Zaltan is one of the very few early Miocene Afroarabian fossil sites that produced such a diverse fish sample. Therefore, the fossils described here provide a unique insight into the composition of the early Miocene fish faunas from the northern African coast; a critical time period for faunas of the continent, as contact with Eurasia ended 100 million years of African isolation. In addition, the Jabal Zaltan fossils help consolidate the validity of Galeocerdo mayumbensis and extend its geographic range to include the Tethys. The Maradah deposits also host the first occurrences of two genera (Pteromylaeus, Distichodus) in the fossil record. The fish finds support the presumed depositional environment that of tropical shallow estuarine to deltaic conditions, and the freshwater fishes document the presence of a modern-type Nilosudanian fauna containing elements with both African and Asian affinities. The Jabal Zaltan ichthyofauna, with its diversity of taxa, has the potential to become a key reference fauna for future studies of early Miocene African fishes.

Abstract

Recent excavations and prospecting in the early to middle Miocene deposits of the Maradah Formation in Jabal Zaltan, Libya, yielded a diverse fish assemblage coming from an early Miocene locality. The material described here includes more than 18 marine and freshwater taxa most of which were previously unreported from the area. Jabal Zaltan is one of the very few early Miocene Afroarabian fossil sites that produced such a diverse fish sample. Therefore, the fossils described here provide a unique insight into the composition of the early Miocene fish faunas from the northern African coast; a critical time period for faunas of the continent, as contact with Eurasia ended 100 million years of African isolation. In addition, the Jabal Zaltan fossils help consolidate the validity of Galeocerdo mayumbensis and extend its geographic range to include the Tethys. The Maradah deposits also host the first occurrences of two genera (Pteromylaeus, Distichodus) in the fossil record. The fish finds support the presumed depositional environment that of tropical shallow estuarine to deltaic conditions, and the freshwater fishes document the presence of a modern-type Nilosudanian fauna containing elements with both African and Asian affinities. The Jabal Zaltan ichthyofauna, with its diversity of taxa, has the potential to become a key reference fauna for future studies of early Miocene African fishes.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:17 Oct 2016 10:23
Last Modified:25 Nov 2016 11:35
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1464-343X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2014.11.008

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