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Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 16, issue 1
Biogeosciences, 16, 33-56, 2019
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-16-33-2019
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Biogeosciences, 16, 33-56, 2019
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-16-33-2019
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 08 Jan 2019

Research article | 08 Jan 2019

Neogene Caribbean elasmobranchs: diversity, paleoecology and paleoenvironmental significance of the Cocinetas Basin assemblage (Guajira Peninsula, Colombia)

Jorge Domingo Carrillo-Briceño1,2, Zoneibe Luz3, Austin Hendy4, László Kocsis5, Orangel Aguilera6, and Torsten Vennemann3 Jorge Domingo Carrillo-Briceño et al.
  • 1Palaeontological Institute and Museum, University of Zurich, Karl-Schmid-Strasse 4, 8006 Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Av. Gorgas, Ed. 235, 0843-03092 Balboa, Ancón, Panama
  • 3Institut des Dynamiques de la Surface Terrestre, Université de Lausanne, Rue de la Mouline, 1015 Lausanne, France
  • 4Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, 900 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90007, USA
  • 5Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Faculty of Science, Geology Group, Jalan Tungku, BE 1410, Brunei Darussalam
  • 6Departamento de Biologia Marinha, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, 24020-150 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Abstract. The Cocinetas Basin is located on the eastern flank of the Guajira Peninsula, northern Colombia (southern Caribbean). During the late Oligocene through the Pliocene, much of the basin was submerged. The extensive deposits in this area suggest a transition from a shallow marine to a fluvio-deltaic system, with a rich record of invertebrate and vertebrate fauna. The elasmobranch assemblages of the early Miocene to the late Pliocene succession in the Cocinetas Basin (Jimol, Castilletes and Ware formations, as well as the Patsúa Valley) are described for the first time. The assemblages include at least 30 taxa of sharks (Squaliformes, Pristiophoriformes, Orectolobiformes, Lamniformes and Carcharhiniformes) and batoids (Rhinopristiformes and Myliobatiformes), of which 24 taxa are reported from the Colombian Neogene for the first time. Paleoecological interpretations are based on the feeding ecology and on estimates of the paleohydrology (relative salinity, temperature) using stable isotope compositions of oxygen in the bioapatite of shark teeth. The isotopic composition of the studied specimens corroborates paleoenvironmental settings for the studied units that were previously estimated based on the sedimentology and biology of the taxa. These Neogene elasmobranch assemblages from the Cocinetas Basin provide new insights into the diversity the sharks and rays inhabiting the coastal and estuarine environments of the northwestern margin of South America, both during the existence of the gateway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and following its closure.

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By combining taxonomy and geochemistry, we corroborated the described paleoenvironments from a Neogene fossiliferous deposit of South America. Shark teeth specimens were used for taxonomic identification and as proxies for geochemical analyses. With a multidisciplinary approach we refined the understanding about the paleoenvironmental setting and the paleoecological characteristics of the studied groups, in our case, for the bull shark and its incursions into brackish waters.
By combining taxonomy and geochemistry, we corroborated the described paleoenvironments from a...
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