Structure and Development of the Greenland-Scotland Ridge

Volume 8 of the series Nato Conference Series pp 351-399

Cenozoic Paleogeography of North Atlantic Land Bridges

  • Malcolm C. McKennaAffiliated withDepartment of Vertebrate Paleontology, The American Museum of Natural HistoryDepartment of Geology, Columbia University

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This paper attempts to synthesize vertebrate paleontological evidence and recently acquired knowledge of the geological history of terrestrial connections across the northern North Atlantic area. In 1975 I published a survey of this subject (McKenna, 1975) but it is appropriate here to bring the synthesis up to date in view of recent geophysical work and in view of further paleontological exploration in the Arctic and elsewhere. As Alfred Wegener (1929) was well aware, the world has had but one history; for that reason geological evidence and biological evidence each provide constraints on any proposed solutions to the ancient geography of an area such as the northern end of the North Atlantic. Although I hope to bring the subject up to date, I intend also to speculate on potential vertebrate paleontological field work that might yield new evidence concerning the details of timing and position of Tertiary land connections between now separated areas.