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Cretaceous island life in Europe (free pdf)



Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


A new paper in open access:

Zoltan Csiki-Sava, Eric Buffetaut, Attila Ősi, Xabier
Pereda-Suberbiola & Stephen L. Brusatte (2015)
Island life in the Cretaceous -- faunal composition, biogeography,
evolution, and extinction of land-living vertebrates on the Late
Cretaceous European archipelago.
ZooKeys 469: 1-161
doi: 10.3897/zookeys.469.8439 cart
http://zookeys.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=4474


The Late Cretaceous was a time of tremendous global change, as the
final stages of the Age of Dinosaurs were shaped by climate and sea
level fluctuations and witness to marked paleogeographic and faunal
changes, before the end-Cretaceous bolide impact. The terrestrial
fossil record of Late Cretaceous Europe is becoming increasingly
better understood, based largely on intensive fieldwork over the past
two decades, promising new insights into latest Cretaceous faunal
evolution. We review the terrestrial Late Cretaceous record from
Europe and discuss its importance for understanding the
paleogeography, ecology, evolution, and extinction of land-dwelling
vertebrates. We review the major Late Cretaceous faunas from Austria,
Hungary, France, Spain, Portugal, and Romania, as well as more
fragmentary records from elsewhere in Europe. We discuss the
paleogeographic background and history of assembly of these faunas,
and argue that they are comprised of an endemic ‘core’ supplemented
with various immigration waves. These faunas lived on an island
archipelago, and we describe how this insular setting led to
ecological peculiarities such as low diversity, a preponderance of
primitive taxa, and marked changes in morphology (particularly body
size dwarfing). We conclude by discussing the importance of the
European record in understanding the end-Cretaceous extinction and
show that there is no clear evidence that dinosaurs or other groups
were undergoing long-term declines in Europe prior to the bolide
impact.