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La Venta: A Miocene Mammalian Community from Colombia

  • Thomas Defler
Chapter
Part of the Topics in Geobiology book series (TGBI, volume 42)

Abstract

This is a description of the well-known Colombian La Venta fauna. La Venta is the most detailed tropical faunal assemblage known for South America. Although it is located on the upper Magdalena River, at the time that it existed, it was peripheral to the great Amazonian wetlands to the east: unlike today there was no Eastern Cordillera barrier. This fauna is represented by about 72 species of mammals from the richest deposits (the Monkey Beds) and is dated from about 11.8–13.5 million years ago (the Laventan SALMA), so it really represents a tropical community from a very narrow time window. The La Venta habitat was an open riparian-savanna with gallery forests, so mammals from several different habitats illustrate both forest and savanna mammals. Compared to previous chapters, this is a fairly modern fauna, yet no elements of the north are yet to be found, and the mix is rather different than that found in the high latitudes further south. It is notable that many species and genera of mammals from La Venta have also been found in tropical central Peru, suggesting that a band of similar habitat west of the Amazonian wetlands was continuous from northern Colombia to southern Peru at least during the Laventan SALMA.

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Defler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyNational University of Colombia, BogotaBogotaColombia

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