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Vertebrate assemblage comparison for Jehol Group (China) and Wealden Group (Britain)

Ben Creisler

A new paper:

Steven C. Sweetman (2015)
A comparison of Barremian–early Aptian vertebrate assemblages from the
Jehol Group, north-east China and the Wealden Group, southern Britain:
the value of microvertebrate studies in adverse preservational
Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1007/s12549-015-0217-9

Vertebrates are a highly significant component of the Jehol Biota of
northern Hebei, western Liaoning, and southeastern Inner Mongolia.
Furthermore, Jehol vertebrate fossils from these areas are remarkable
for their abundance and diversity, and for their taphonomy which has
resulted in the preservation of large numbers of complete skeletons
and of soft tissues including the feathers of birds and nonavian
dinosaurs. In contrast, and also for taphonomic reasons, skeletons are
extremely rare in the approximately coeval (Barremian–earliest Aptian)
Lower Cretaceous Wealden Group of the Isle of Wight, southern England,
UK. However, collection of isolated macro-remains over a period of
almost 200 years has demonstrated that the Wealden Group, and in
particular the Barremian Wessex Formation, contains Europe’s most
diverse dinosaur assemblage. This assemblage, until the relatively
recent discovery of China’s feathered nonavian dinosaurs and birds,
appeared to be of comparable diversity to that of the Jehol Biota.
Isolation of microvertebrate remains in an ongoing study commenced in
2002 has demonstrated that not only is the Wealden Group dinosaur
assemblage more diverse than apparent from macro-remains and that it
includes birds but also that it includes a high diversity of other
aquatic, amphibious and terrestrial vertebrates. It is, therefore, now
possible to make meaningful comparisons between the Jehol Biota and
that of the Wealden Group of the Isle of Wight. Similarities and
marked differences are apparent that reflect geographical separation,
palaeoenvironmental factors and the remarkably small outcrop area
available for the Wealden Group.