The Paleozoic and Mesozoic vertebrate record of Venezuela: An overview, summary of previous discoveries and report of a mosasaur from the La Luna Formation (Cretaceous)

  • Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra
  • Winand Brinkmann
  • Roberto Lozsán
Article

Abstract

Most reports of Paleozoic and Mesozoic vertebrates from Venezuela are anecdotical, with few detailed descriptions of mostly ‘fish’ groups. Synapsids (e.g., mammals) are totally unknown, and dinosaurs are only reported from the La Quinta Formation. At least 14 formally recognized geological formations contain fossil vertebrates, most from the Central and Western parts of the country. In the Devonian there is a significant contrast between the vertebrates of Venezuela and Colombia and those of more southern parts of South America. Marine reptiles are present in a few localities in western Venezuela, and are very fragmentary, with one exception. A mosasaur from the Cretaceous La Luna Formation, reported here for the first time, is the most complete vertebrate (tetrapod) from the Cretaceous of Venezuela, and includes a partial skull and a few postcranial remains.

Keywords

fish reptile La Luna South America biogeography 

Kurzfassung

Berichte über paläozoische und mesozoische Wirbeltiere von Venezuela sind weitgehend anekdotisch, mit der Ausnahme von wenigen ausführlichen Beschreibungen, die meistens ‘Fischgruppen’ betreffen. Synapsiden (z.B. Mammalier) sind völlig unbekannt und Dinosaurier sind nur aus der La Quinta Formation nachgewiesen. Mindestens 14 formell anerkannte geologische Formationen haben fossile Wirbeltiere geliefert, meistens aus den zentralen und westlichen Landesteilen. Im Devonium fällt zwischen den Wirbeltieren aus Venezuela und Kolumbien sowie jenen aus südlicheren Regionen Südamerikas ein wesentlicher Gegensatz auf. Marine Reptilien sind aus wenigen Lokalitäten von Westvenezuela nachgewiesen. Diese Funde sind mit einer Ausnahme sehr fragmentarisch. Über einen Mosasaurier aus der kretazischen La Luna Formation wird hier erstmals berichtet. Dabei handelt es sich um das vollständigste Wirbeltier (Tetrapode) aus der Kreide von Venezuela. Das Material umfasst einen unvollständigen Schädel und wenige postcraniale Reste.

Schlüsselwörter

Fische Reptilia La Luna Südamerika Biogeographie 

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Copyright information

© E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra
    • 1
  • Winand Brinkmann
    • 1
  • Roberto Lozsán
    • 2
  1. 1.Paläontologisches Institut und MuseumUniversität ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.BarquisimetoVenezuela

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