Late Cretaceous-Cenozoic history of the Lake Baikal depression and formation of its unique biodiversity

  • V. D. MatsEmail author
  • D. Yu. Shcherbakov
  • I. M. Efimova


Independent methods of geological and molecular-biological chronologies have made it possible to define generally corresponding stages in the geological and biological evolution of the environments and communities of Lake Baikal since the Late Cretaceous, i.e., during the last 70 myr. All the abiotic elements drastically changed during geological evolution, with destruction of existing and formation of new natural complexes. Nevertheless, some specific zones retained relicts of former settings. The resulting present-day natural complex includes elements of different ages and geneses. Similar to different natural zones of the present-day Earth, which are populated by different biocoenoses, stages in the development of abiotic elements are also characterized by different faunal and floral assemblages. Some taxa were replaced by others, and the resulting aqueous biota of Lake Baikal includes different-age and ecologically different elements. The oldest groups of Baikal organisms appeared approximately 70 Ma ago, although the largest proportion of the lake biota started forming 4–3 Ma ago in response to the most drastic changes in the abiotic elements of the environment. The youngest taxa appeared 1.8 to 0.15 Ma ago, i.e., during the period when superdeep lake environments and mountainous glaciations were developing. The chronological coincidence of main stages in development of abiotic and biotic elements of the nature indicates their relationships. Particular transformations of abiotic elements and the probable mechanism of their influence on the evolution of living communities are also considered.


Lake Baikal Late Cretaceous-Cenozoic paleogeography molecular biology abiotic and biotic factors biodiversity 


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. D. Mats
    • 1
    Email author
  • D. Yu. Shcherbakov
    • 2
  • I. M. Efimova
    • 3
  1. 1.CarmielIsrael
  2. 2.Limnological Institute, Siberian BranchRussian Academy of SciencesIrkutskRussia
  3. 3.Institute of the Earth’s Crust (IZK), Siberian BranchRussian Academy of SciencesIrkutskRussia

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