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The Neogene tropical America fish assemblage and the paleobiogeography of the Caribbean region

  • Orangel Antonio Aguilera Socorro
  • Maria Inês Feijó Ramos
  • Eduardo Tavares Paes
  • Sue Anne Regina Ferreira Costa
  • Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra
Article

Abstract

This first analysis of the marine fish fossil record in the Caribbean region during the Neogene is based on comprehensive new faunal compilation lists at the generic level from basins of nine Central and South American countries during Miocene and Pliocene times. Joint ordination and classification techniques were used to analyze data comprising 236 genera and 346 species. Principal Component Analyses were used to calculate covariance and variance between localities. We identified four subprovinces, representing four different patterns. The subprovince of Venezuela shows distinct and unique features since the Neogene in the diversity of ecosystems represented. The Antillean subprovince has a western orientation and is composed of Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and the Trinidad islands. The third subprovince combines Panama and Ecuador. It reflects the Pacific faunal influence into the proto-Caribbean and a characteristic benthopelagic fauna. The fourth subprovince is Costarican. Its nektonic fish fauna reflects the overprinting impact over the proto-Caribbean fish fauna mostly due to local paleoenvironmental changes (neritic, estuarine and deep water assemblages), whereby the overall composition of genera is largely not affected (except few lamnids, such as the giant-toothed white sharks and the wide-toothed mako shark). The results of the analyses are concordant with previous ones based on invertebrates and identified regions in need of study (e.g., Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Brazil).

Keywords

Neogene Caribbean Gatunian Province Teleostean Elasmobranch 

Notes

Acknowlegdments

Specimens in the Museum of Natural History of Belgian, Museum of Natural History of Basel, Smithsonian Natural History Museum, Museum Emilio Goeldi and Francisco de Miranda University collections were kindly made available for study by Dirk Nolf, Walter Etter, Robert Purdy, Heloísa Moraes dos Santos and Julio Reyes, respectively. The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panamá, the Palaeontological Institute and the Museum of the University of Zurich, Switzerland, the Museum Emilio Goeldi, Brazil, the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) from Brazil provided funding for fieldtrips, study and museum visits. We wish to acknowledge Anthony Coates and Jeremy Jackson for the invitation to work under the scope of the Panama Paleontology Project, and to Carlos Jaramillo for support with stratigraphical research in Venezuela. Werner Schwarzhans helped us with the fossil fish review from Ecuador and Venezuela and reviewed an earlier version of the manuscript. We thank Aaron O’Dea, Jorge Carillo and Félix Rodriguez for discussion of ideas, and Loïc Costeur, Torsten Scheyer, Bernie Landau and Lionel Cavin for useful suggestions.

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© Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz (SCNAT) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Orangel Antonio Aguilera Socorro
    • 1
  • Maria Inês Feijó Ramos
    • 1
  • Eduardo Tavares Paes
    • 2
  • Sue Anne Regina Ferreira Costa
    • 1
  • Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra
    • 3
  1. 1.Departamento de GeociênciasMuseu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Coordenação de Ciências da Terra e Ecologia, CCTEBelémBrazil
  2. 2.Instituto Socioambiental e dos Recursos HídricosUniversidade Federal Rural da AmazôniaBelémBrazil
  3. 3.Paläontologisches Institut und MuseumUniversität ZürichZurichSwitzerland

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