Swiss Journal of Palaeontology

, Volume 134, Issue 1, pp 1–4 | Cite as

Preface: La Guajira, Colombia: a new window into the Cenozoic neotropical biodiversity and the Great American Biotic Interchange

  • C. Jaramillo
  • F. Moreno
  • A. J. W. Hendy
  • Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra
  • Daniel Marty


Over the past four years, we have conducted extensive fieldwork in the Cocinetas Basin of La Guajira Peninsula, including geological mapping, stratigraphic descriptions, and exhaustive paleontological collection of plants, microfossils, and marine and terrestrial invertebrates and vertebrates. Moreno et al. (Swiss J Paleontol 134: 1–39, 2015) provide an overview of these efforts, including a revised Neogene stratigraphy for Cocinetas Basin and redefined (Jimol and Castilletes formations) and newly named (Ware Formation) lithostratigraphic units. Hendy et al. (Swiss J Paleontol 134, 2015) utilize the extensive invertebrate fossil record of the basin to develop paleoenvironmental interpretations and a chronostratigraphic framework buttressed by 87Sr/86Sr isotopic analyses and biostratigraphy. This geological exploration highlights the tremendously diverse and important fossil assemblages throughout the Jimol, Castilletes and Ware formations. These new fossil data will be of great value for future paleobiogeographic, paleogeographic, paleooceanographic and paleoenvironmental interpretations. Already, the faunal and floral fossil record of Cocinetas Basin indicates that once the humid ecosystem of the Neogene underwent drastic climatic changes over the last two million years.


La Guajira Neogene Neotropics Paleontology Great American Biotic Interchange (GABI) 


  1. Antoine, P. O., Roddaz, M., Brichau, S., Tejada-Lara, J., Salas-Gismondi, R., Altamirano, A., et al. (2013). Middle Miocene vertebrates from the Amazonian Madre de Dios subandean zone, Peru. Journal of South American Earth Sciences, 42, 91–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bacon, C.D., Silvestro, D., Jaramillo, C.A., Smith, B.T., Chakrabarty, P., Antonelli, A. (2015). Biological evidence supports an early and complex emergence of the Isthmus of Panama: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (v. in press).Google Scholar
  3. Coates, A. G., Collins, L. S., Aubry, M., & Berggren, W. A. (2004). The geology of the Darien, Panama, and the late Miocene-Pliocene collision of the Panama Arc with northwestern South America. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 116(11–12), 1327–1344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cozzuol, M. A. (2006). The Acre vertebrate fauna: age, diversity, and geography. Journal of South American Earth Sciences, 21(3), 185–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hendy, A.J.W., Jones, D.S., Moreno, F., Zapata, V., Jaramillo, C. (2015). Neogene molluscs, shallow-marine paleoenvironments and chronostratigraphy of the Guajira Peninsula, Colombia. Swiss Journal of Paleontology, 134 (in press).Google Scholar
  6. Jaramillo, C. A., Zavada, M., Ortiz, J., Pardo, A., & Ochoa, D. (2013). The biogeography of the araucarian dispersed pollen Cyclusphaera. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 174(3), 489–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kay, R. F., Madden, R. H., Cifelli, R. L., & Flynn, J. J. (1997). Vertebrate paleontology in the neotropics: The miocene fauna of La Venta, Colombia. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.Google Scholar
  8. Linares, O. J. (2004). Bioestratigrafía de la fauna de mamíferos de las formaciones Socorro, Urumaco y Codore (Mioceno medio-Plioceno temprano, de la región de Urumaco, Falcon, Venezuela. Paleobiología Neotropical, 1, 1–26.Google Scholar
  9. MacFadden, B. J. (2006). North American Miocene land mammals from Panama. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 26(3), 720–734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. MacFadden, B. J., & Higgins, P. (2004). Ancient ecology of 15-million-year-old browsing mammals within C3 plant communities from Panama. Oecologia, 140(1), 169–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. MacFadden, B. J., Kirby, M. X., Rincon, A., Montes, C., Moron, S., Strong, N., & Jaramillo, C. (2010). Extinct peccary “Cynorca” occidentale (Tayassuidae, Tayassuinae) from the Miocene of Panama and correlations to North America. Journal of Paleontology, 84(2), 288–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Marivaux, L., Salas-Gismondi, R., Tejada, J., Billet, G., Louterbach, M., Vink, J., et al. (2012). A platyrrhine talus from the early Miocene of Peru (Amazonian Madre de Dios Sub-Andean Zone). Journal of Human Evolution, 63(5), 696–703.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Marshall, L. G., Webb, S. D., Sepkoski, J. J., & Raup, D. M. (1982). Mammalian evolution and the Great American Interchange. Science, 215, 1351–1357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Montes, C., Bayona, G., Cardona, A., Buchs, D. M., Silva, C.A., Morón, S., Hoyos, N., Ramirez, D.A., Jaramillo, C. A., Valencia, V. (2012). Arc-continent collision and orocline formation: Closing of the Central American seaway. Journal of Geophysical Research, 117(B4), 1–25.Google Scholar
  15. Montes, C., Cardona, A., Jaramillo, C., Pardo, A., Silva, J. C., Valencia, V., Ayala, C., Pérez-Angel, L. C., Rodriguez-Parra, L. A., Ramirez, V., Niño, H. (2015). Middle Miocene closure of the Central American Seaway: Science (v. in press).Google Scholar
  16. Montes, C., Cardona, A., McFadden, R., Moron, S. E., Silva, C. A., Restrepo-Moreno, S., et al. (2012b). Evidence for middle Eocene and younger emergence in central Panama: implications for Isthmus closure. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 124(5–6), 780–799.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Moreno, J. F., Hendy, A. J. W., Quiroz, L., Hoyos, N., Jones, D. S., Zapata, V., et al. (2015). Revised Stratigraphy of Neogene strata in the Cocinetas Basin, La Guajira, Colombia. Swiss Journal of Palaeontology, 134, 1–39. doi:10.1007/s13358-015-0071-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Quiroz, L., Jaramillo, C. (2010). Stratigraphy and sedimentary environments of Miocene shallow to marginal marine deposits in the Urumaco Trough, Falcon Basin, western Venezuela. In M. Sánchez-Villagra, O. Aguilera, A. A. Carlini (Eds.), Urumaco and Venezuelan Palaeontology. The fossil record of the Northern Neotropics (pp. 153–172). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Rincon, A. F., Bloch, J. I., Suarez, C., MacFadden, B. J., & Jaramillo, C. A. (2012). New Floridatragulines (Mammalia, Camelidae) from the Early Miocene Las Cascadas Formation, Panama. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 32(2), 456–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Sánchez-Villagra, M. R. (2006). Vertebrate fossils from the Neogene of Falcon State, Venezuela: contributions on Neotropical Palaeontology. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 4(3), 211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sánchez-Villagra, M. R., & Aguilera, O. A. (2006). Neogene vertebrates from Urumaco, Falcon State, Venezuela: diversity and significance. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 4(3), 213–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sánchez-Villagra, M. R., & Clack, J. A. (2004). Fossils of the Miocene Castillo Formation, Venezuela: contributions on neotropical Paleontology. Paleontological Association, Special Papers in Palaeontology, 71, 1–112.Google Scholar
  23. Sepulchre, P., Arsouze, T., Donnadieu, Y., Dutay, J.-C., Jaramillo, C., Le Bras, J., et al. (2014). Consequences of shoaling of the Central American Seaway determined from modeling Nd isotope. Paleoceanography, 29(3), 176–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Stehli, F. G., & Webb, D. S. (1985). The great American biotic interchange. New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tejada-Lara, J., Salas-Gismondi, R., Pujos, F., Baby, P., Benammi, M., Brusset, S., De Franceschi, D., Espurt, N., Urbina, M., Antoine, P. O. (2014). Life in proto-Amazonia: middle Miocene mammals from the Fitzcarrald Arch (Peruvian Amazonia). Paleontology. (in press).Google Scholar
  26. Wallace, A. R. (1876). The geographical distribution of animals. with a study of the relations of living and extinct faunas as elucidating the past changes of the earth’s surface. London: Macmillan & Company.Google Scholar
  27. Webb, S. D. (1976). Mammalian faunal dynamics of the Great American Interchange. Paleobiology, 2(3), 220–234.Google Scholar
  28. Webb, S. D. (1991). Ecogeography and the Great American Interchange. Paleobiology, 17(3), 266–280.Google Scholar
  29. Webb, S. D. (2006). The Great American Biotic Interchange: patterns and processes. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 93(2), 245–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Whitmore, F. C., & Stewart, R. H. (1965). Miocene mammals and Central American Seaways. Science, 148(3667), 180–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Woodburne, M. O. (2010). The Great American Biotic Interchange: dispersals, tectonics, climate, sea level and holding pens. Journal of Mammalian Evolution, 17(4), 245–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz (SCNAT) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Jaramillo
    • 1
  • F. Moreno
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • A. J. W. Hendy
    • 4
    • 5
  • Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra
    • 6
  • Daniel Marty
    • 7
  1. 1.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstitutePanamaPanama
  2. 2.Corporación Geológica ARESBogotáColombia
  3. 3.University of RochesterRochesterUSA
  4. 4.Natural History Museum of Los Angeles CountyLos AngelesUSA
  5. 5.Florida Museum of Natural HistoryGainesvilleUSA
  6. 6.Paleontological Institute and MuseumUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  7. 7.Section de Paléontologie, Hôtel des HallesOffice de la CulturePorrentruySwitzerland

Personalised recommendations