Hangenberg Black Shale with cymaclymeniid ammonoids in the terminal Devonian of South China

  • Meiqiong Zhang
  • R. Thomas Becker
  • Xueping Ma
  • Yubo Zhang
  • Pu Zong
Original Paper


The Hangenberg Crisis at the end of the Devonian is marked by a sudden global mass extinction (main Hangenberg Event), which was especially severe for ammonoids. Among the order Clymeniida, only the cymaclymeniids survived for a short time. We report the first discovery of Postclymenia cf. evoluta in South China in equivalents of the Hangenberg Black Shale (the regional Changshun Shale) at the Jiarantang section in Guizhou. The South China plate was far away and completely different from the Euramerica continent, where the Hangenberg Event/Crisis was first recognised. The presence of similar ammonoids as in contemporaneous beds of the Rhenish Massif, Germany, suggests close faunal relationship through the Palaeotethys Ocean. It agrees with a sudden spread of opportunistic extinction survivors with the initial Hangenberg Transgression. The regional facies and faunal succession at Jiarantang confirms previous concepts of a eustatically driven, significant transgressive-regressive couplet in the lower/middle crisis interval. The near-global distribution of cymaclymeniid survivors shows that their extinction at the end of the extended crisis interval must have been caused by a so far neglected, small-scale global extinction event in the open marine realm.


Hangenberg Crisis Changshun Shale Ammonoids Guizhou Famennian 



This paper benefited from various topical discussions with Hou Hongfei (Institute of Geology, CAGS) and Liao Weihua (Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology). Yin Bao’an (Guangxi Regional Geological Survey) and Tan Zhengxiu (Hunan Regional Geological Survey) were helpful during our fieldwork. Sven Hartenfels (WWU Münster) commented on the conodonts. This manuscript benefited from comments by Dieter Korn (Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin) and two other anonymous reviewers. The support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant 41290260) is also acknowledged.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest:

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meiqiong Zhang
    • 1
  • R. Thomas Becker
    • 2
  • Xueping Ma
    • 1
  • Yubo Zhang
    • 1
  • Pu Zong
    • 3
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Orogenic Belts and Crustal Evolution, School of Earth and Space SciencesPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institut für Geologie und PaläontologieWestfälische Wilhelms-UniversitätMünsterGermany
  3. 3.Institute of GeologyChinese Academy of Geological SciencesBeijingChina

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