Marine Fossils

  • Teresita Aguilar
Part of the Monographiae Biologicae book series (MOBI, volume 86)

The geological and tectonic evolution of the southern Central American isthmus resulted in the establishment of different marine and continental biotopes along its distinct stages of development during the last 200 Ma (million years ago).Geological, geographical, and ecological conditions in these biotopes subsequently varied from deep oceanic up to continental environments. From Early Jurassic to Late Cretaceous, the fossil record was almost exclusively made of pelagic organisms — mainly radiolarians and foraminiferans — deposited in deep oceanic basins. During the Late Cretaceous, the first carbonate platforms with bioconstructions of rudists were installed; they were similar to Campanian-Maastrichtian faunas from Mexico and the Caribbean. The mass extinction at the terminal Cretaceous affected several invertebrate groups, among them ammonites, rudists, inoceramids, nerineids, and trigonids. With the exception of some shallow reef-like carbonate platforms of Paleocene age, the fossil record was poor until the Early Eocene, mainly because of a deepening of the sedimentary basins. Widely spread carbonate platforms were present again in the Mid—Late Eocene, and corals and mollusks were the most abundant fossils. There was a predominance of shallow marine environments during the Miocene—Early Pliocene, therefore the fossil record presents a higher diversity and abundance of marine invertebrates, especially mollusks (120 species of bivalves and 100 species of gastropods recognized). Ichnofossils, traces of animals are in some cases the only record of organisms without mineralized skeletons, and are quite valuable for paleoenvironmental reconstructions. The continental bridge between North and South America was set about 3.5 Ma, starting a process of both extinction and diversification of marine invertebrates because of the separation of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

Keywords

Cretaceous Sponge Jurassic Miocene Pleistocene 

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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teresita Aguilar
    • 1
  1. 1.Escuela Centroamericana de Geología and CIMAR;Universidad de Costa Rica. Apdo.San JoséCosta Rica

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