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From sea to sand: palaeobiogeographical implications of Mesozoic-Cenozoic marine reptile assemblages from Saudi Arabia.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology.
(Museum Victoria)
2011 (English)In: The 2nd Wiman Meeting. Carl Wiman's Legacy: 100 Years of Swedish Palaeontology / [ed] Benjamin P. Kear and Michael Streng, 2011, 13-14 p.Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The record of marine reptile fossils from Saudi Arabia is sparsely documented compared to elsewhere in the Middle East. However, recent systematic surveys have uncovered tantalizing evidence of diverse assemblages from both Mesozoic (Triassic, Cretaceous) and Cenozoic (Palaeogene) strata. The stratigraphically oldest specimens come from the Middle-Upper Triassic (Anisian-Carnian) Jilh Formation, a paralic-shallow marine (tidal flat) deposit that outcrops along the eastern margin of the cratonic Arabian Shield. The Jilh Formation is rich in fragmentary vertebrate remains including ichthyosaurs (mixosaurids), a tanystropheid prolacertiform, and sauropterygians: cyamodontoid placodonts (Psephosauriscus) and nothosaurs (Nothosaurus, Simosaurus). Compositionally, this fauna closely resembles others previously reported from the Middle East and North Africa and is consistent with derivation from the ‘Sephardic Realm’ – a widespread Muschelkalk facies that characterised the northern Gondwanan shelf throughout the Middle–Late Triassic. Late Cretaceous (Campanian–Maastrichtian) marine reptile fossils from northern Saudi Arabia also show close palaeobiogeographical affinities with Middle Eastern and North African taxa. Mosasaurs (Prognathodon, indeterminate plioplatecarpines), small aquatic varanoids (Pachyvaranus), bothremydid turtles, elasmosaurid plesiosaurs and dyrosaurid crocodyliforms have all been recovered from paralic (supratidal) sediments of the Adaffa Formation in the Midyan region on the Gulf of Aqaba, and from marine shelf carbonates of the Jalamid Formation close to the Jordanian border. These units reflect a low-latitude, warm water belt that dominated the Mediterranean Tethys during the Late Cretaceous-Palaeogene. Well-preserved dyrosaurid (Rhabdognathus, Hyposaurus, Phosphatosaurus) and indeterminate bothremydid material found in the Upper Paleocene Umm Himar Formation near Makkah also demonstrate the persistence of distinctive Mediterranean Tethyan elements in the Arabian region well into the earliest Cenozoic.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. 13-14 p.
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Earth Science with specialization in Historical Geology and Palaeontology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-166593OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-166593DiVA: diva2:476935
The 2nd Wiman Meeting on Scandinavian-Baltic Palaeontology, Uppsala 27-29 nov 2011
Available from: 2012-01-12 Created: 2012-01-12 Last updated: 2013-10-22Bibliographically approved

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