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A new vertebrate continental assemblage from the Tortonian of Venezuela


Carrillo-Briceño, Jorge D; Reyes-Cespedes, Andrés E; Salas-Gismondi, Rodolfo; Sánchez, Rodolfo (2018). A new vertebrate continental assemblage from the Tortonian of Venezuela. Swiss Journal of Palaeontology:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

A wide variety of aquatic vertebrates from fluvio-lacustrine facies of northern South America (Colombia and Venezuela) have been used as unequivocal evidence to support hydrographic connections between western Amazonia and the Proto-Caribbean Sea during the Miocene. By the end of the Miocene, changes in the major hydrographic systems of the region produced losses of habitats and a regional faunal turnover, as has been documented in the geological record of the Urumaco region. Here, we report a new Tortonian aquatic and terrestrial vertebrate assemblage from two localities of the Caujarao Formation (El Muaco Member) in western Venezuela. The vertebrate assemblage includes a gharial (cf. Gryposuchus pachakamue), alligatorid crocodylians (Purussaurus and Alligatoridae indet.), a freshwater turtle (Chelus sp.), snakes (cf. Eunectes sp.), serrasalmids and pimelodids and thorny catfishes, a rodent (Potamarchus sp.), pampatheres (Scirrotherium sp.), sloths, as well as plant remains (coal and amber). Although the Caujarao Formation has been referred to as a fully marine environment, the new assemblage reported here suggests a freshwater input to the coastal area. Taxonomic and biogeographic affinities between the Muaco Member community and that reported from the Miocene proto-Amazonian systems are indicative of the persistence of ecological and hydrographic continuity at minimum until the end of the Miocene in at least an area of northwestern South America.
Keywords Neogene Miocene Caujarao Formation Orinoco River Biogeography

Abstract

A wide variety of aquatic vertebrates from fluvio-lacustrine facies of northern South America (Colombia and Venezuela) have been used as unequivocal evidence to support hydrographic connections between western Amazonia and the Proto-Caribbean Sea during the Miocene. By the end of the Miocene, changes in the major hydrographic systems of the region produced losses of habitats and a regional faunal turnover, as has been documented in the geological record of the Urumaco region. Here, we report a new Tortonian aquatic and terrestrial vertebrate assemblage from two localities of the Caujarao Formation (El Muaco Member) in western Venezuela. The vertebrate assemblage includes a gharial (cf. Gryposuchus pachakamue), alligatorid crocodylians (Purussaurus and Alligatoridae indet.), a freshwater turtle (Chelus sp.), snakes (cf. Eunectes sp.), serrasalmids and pimelodids and thorny catfishes, a rodent (Potamarchus sp.), pampatheres (Scirrotherium sp.), sloths, as well as plant remains (coal and amber). Although the Caujarao Formation has been referred to as a fully marine environment, the new assemblage reported here suggests a freshwater input to the coastal area. Taxonomic and biogeographic affinities between the Muaco Member community and that reported from the Miocene proto-Amazonian systems are indicative of the persistence of ecological and hydrographic continuity at minimum until the end of the Miocene in at least an area of northwestern South America.
Keywords Neogene Miocene Caujarao Formation Orinoco River Biogeography

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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
Uncontrolled Keywords:Palaeontology
Language:English
Date:18 December 2018
Deposited On:08 Jan 2019 16:07
Last Modified:09 Jan 2019 08:40
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1664-2376
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s13358-018-0180-y

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