Paläontologische Zeitschrift

, Volume 82, Issue 2, pp 204–208 | Cite as

Giant-toothed white sharks and cetacean trophic interaction from the Pliocene Caribbean Paraguaná Formation

  • Orangel A. Aguilera
  • Luís García
  • Mario A. Cozzuol
Article

Abstract

The role of the extinct giant-toothed white sharkCarcharodon megalodon (Agassiz) in the Caribbean Neogene is discussed based on new evidence of predation on cetaceans from the Lower Pliocene Paraguaná Formation in Venezuela. Large sharks have occupied the highest trophic level in the marine environment. However, based on the recovery of a giant white shark tooth piercing a cetacean lumbar vertebra, the predator-prey relationship is discussed under the hypothesis of initial shark attack, subsequent floating transport of the cetacean carcass, and scavenging prior to deposition on the bottom. The scarce Caribbean fossil records of both giant-toothed sharks and cetaceans suggest that these species were transients during the Pliocene on the Venezuelan coast.

Keywords

Cetaceans sharks predation scavenging Pliocene Caribbean 

Kurzfassung

Die Rolle des ausgestorbenen RiesenweißhaiesCarcharodon megalodon (AGASSIZ) im Neogen der Karibik wird anhand eines neuen Predationsbefundes aus der unter-pliozänen Paraguaná-Formation in Venezuela diskutiert. Große Haie haben die höchste trophische Ebene im marinen Milieu besetzt. Hier wird ein Zahn eines Riesenweißhaies dokumentiert, der noch in einem Lumbarwirbel eines Wales steckt, was für ein Räuber-Beute-Verhältnis spricht. Die Befunde sprechen für einen Angriff des Räubers, gefolgt von Transport des Walkadavers, Aasfressen und schließlich Ablagerung am Boden des Meeres. Riesenweißhaie und Cetaceen waren im Pliozän in den Küstenregionen von Venezuela vorhanden.

Schlüsselwörter

Cetacea Haie Räuber Aasfresser Pliozän Karibik 

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Copyright information

© E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Orangel A. Aguilera
    • 1
  • Luís García
    • 2
  • Mario A. Cozzuol
    • 3
  1. 1.Centra de Investigaciones en Ciencias BásicasUniversidad Nacional Experimental Francisco de MirandaEstado FalcónVenezuela
  2. 2.Volunteer Associated with the Universidad Nacional Experimental Francisco de MirandaVenezuela
  3. 3.Universidade Federal de Minas GeraisBelo Horizonte, MGBrazil

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