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[dinosaur] Cretaceous Period: Biotic Diversity and Biogeography (free pdf)




Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com



The following bulletin of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science from last year (2016) is now posted in open access and can be downloaded. Note that a few of these papers have already been mentioned on the DML.

Ashu Khosla and Spencer G. Lucas eds. (2016)

Cretaceous Period: Biotic Diversity and Biogeography

New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science Bulletin 71

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http://econtent.unm.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/bulletins/id/6146/rec/77


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Dino-related content (mainly):


Alexander O. Averianov, Igor G. Danilov, Pavel P. Skutschas, Ivan T. Kuzmin, Hans-Dieter Sues, and Gareth Dyke (2016)

The Late Cretaceous vertebrate assemblages of western Kazakhstan.

Khosla, A. and Lucas, S.G., eds. Cretaceous Period: Biotic Diversity and Biogeography. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 71: 5-17

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Late Cretaceous vertebrates are known from the Turonian Zhirkindek and Santonian Bostobe formations in the western Kazakhstan region northeast of the Aral Sea. The Zhirkindek vertebrate assemblage resembles that known from the Turonian Bissekty Formation of the Kyzylkum Desert, Uzbekistan, because of the presence of the rhinobatoid ray Myledaphus tritus that has unsculptured teeth and the prevalence of gars (Lepisosteidae). The latter apparently became locally extinct during the Coniacian. The Santonian Bostobe and Yalovach (Tajikistan) formations are similar in that they share the presence of the more derived rhinobatoid, Myledaphus glickmani, that has sculptured teeth. The Zhirkindek assemblage is also noteworthy for the presence of basal neoceratopsians, whereas the basal ceratopsid or stem-ceratopsid Turanoceratops tardabilis is present in the Bissekty Formation and possibly in the Santonian Bostobe and Syuk Syuk formations of southern Kazakhstan. The ornithopods from the Bostobe Formation, the basal hadrosauroid Batyrosaurus rozhdestvenskyi and the basal lambeosaurine Aralosaurus tuberiferus, are more derived than the basal hadrosauroid Levnesovia transoxiana known from the Bissekty Formation. The mammalian assemblage of the Bostobe Formation is dominated by zhelestid stemplacentals also similar to those from the Bissekty Formation.Â


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Eric Buffetaut and Delphine Angst (2016)

The giant flightless bird Gargantuavis philoinos from the Late Cretaceous of southwestern Europe: A review.

Khosla, A. and Lucas, S.G., eds. Cretaceous Period: Biotic Diversity and Biogeography. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 71: 45-50

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The giant flightless bird Gargantuavis philoinos Buffetaut and Le Loeuff, 1998, is currently known from five nonmarine localities of late Campanian-early Maastrichtian age in southern France and northwestern Spain. Available skeletal material includes a cervical vertebra, several pelves (including synsacra and ilia) and a femur. A revised diagnosis is proposed. Although osteological and histological characters clearly indicate the avian nature of Gargantuavis, its systematic position within Aves remains uncertain; it may be a basal ornithurine. Gargantuavis philoinos apparently reached the size of a cassowary or ostrich and is the largest bird hitherto reported from the Cretaceous. Its broad pelvis suggests graviportal locomotion. Histological evidence indicates that after an early phase of rapid growth, a cyclical growth pattern set in. This may be linked to the insular environment with marked seasonality in which Gargantuavis lived. This giant bird is known only from the Ibero-Armorican island of the Late Cretaceous European archipelago and seems to have been endemic to it. Its place in the local ecosystems, in which predatory dinosaurs were present, is uncertain.


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Angela D. Buscalioni and Francisco Josà Poyato-Ariza (2016)

Las Hoyas: A unique Cretaceous ecosystem.

Khosla, A. and Lucas, S.G., eds. Cretaceous Period: Biotic Diversity and Biogeography. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 71: 51-63

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ÂThe Konservat-LagerstÃtte of Las Hoyas, from the Barremian of Cuenca, in central Spain, has provided a large amount of data whose integration reveals the uniqueness of this locality. Evidence provided by sedimentology, taphonomy, and paleobiology indicates that the paleoenvironment of Las Hoyas corresponds to that of a freshwater carbonatic lentic ecosystem without any marine influence, regulated by a seasonal subtropical climate, in a lacustrine to palustrine wetland subsystem. Las Hoyas has recorded a wide array of species of diverse plant and animal taxa. At present the biodiversity count comprises 118 families and 201 species. Its fossil record has provided the finest temporal adjustment for many groups, and the oldest records of aquatic angiosperms, nemestrinine nectar-feeding dipterans, gonorynchiform teleostean fishes, xenoanuran pipids, tapejarid pterosaurs, gobiosuchid crocodyliforms, and gobiconodontid eutriconodont mammals. The multiple occurrences of closely related taxa of plants (Atopochara), insects (Allopteridae) and tetrapods (Tapejaridae) shared by the biotas from Las Hoyas and Jehol suggest that the Early Cretaceous widespread distribution of these groups was due to dispersive processes that took place from west to east during the Early Cretaceous. The record of Las Hoyas is a frozen window into a very specific paleoecosystem that can serve as a reference for comparison with other Cretaceous assemblages and biotas.

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D. Castanera, I. DÃaz-MartÃnez, M. Moreno-Azanza, J.I. Canudo, and J.M. Gasca (2016)

An overview of the Lower Cretaceous dinosaur tracksites from the Mirambel Formation in the Iberian Range (NE Spain).

Khosla, A. and Lucas, S.G., eds. Cretaceous Period: Biotic Diversity and Biogeography. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 71: 65-74

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Up to now, the ichnological vertebrate record from the Barremian Mirambel Formation (NE Spain) has remained completely unknown despite the fact that osteological findings have been reported in recent years. Here we provide an overview of 11 new dinosaur tracksites found during a fieldwork campaign in the year 2011. The majority of these tracksites (seven) preserve small- to medium-sized tridactyl tracks here assigned to indeterminate theropods. Only one footprint presents enough characters to classify it as Megalosauripus isp. Ornithopod tracks identified as Caririchnium isp. and Iguanodontipodidae indet. and sauropod tracks are recorded at two tracksites. The footprints are preserved in a variety of paleoenvironmental conditions and thus display different kinds of preservation (true tracks, shallow undertracks, natural casts and undertrack casts). The ichnological record from the Mirambel Formation seems to be theropod dominated. This is a clear discrepancy with the osteological record identified in this formation, which shows a predominance of ornithopod dinosaurs.

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Sebastian G. Dalman and Spencer G. Lucas (2016)

Tyrannosaurid teeth from the Claggett Formation of the Elk basin, Late Cretaceous of western North America.

Khosla, A. and Lucas, S.G., eds. Cretaceous Period: Biotic Diversity and Biogeography. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 71: 83-89

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Seven isolated teeth of tyrannosaurid theropods from the Claggett Formation of the Elk Basin in Montana-Wyoming are described. The Claggett Formation is an early middle Campanian marine clastic unit found throughout much of the northern Great Plains. Overall morphologies of the isolated teeth closely resemble the teeth of tyrannosaurine tyrannosaurids from the younger Upper Cretaceous terrestrial deposits of Alberta and Montana. The presence of isolated tyrannosaurid teeth in the Claggett Formation marks one of the earliest occurrences of these iconic theropods in western North America and adds to the previous assumption of the origin of Tyrannosauridae in this continent. Further, the teeth provide new information about dental morphologic variation in tyrannosaurids. The presence of tyrannosaurid teeth in a marine deposit is significant and may represent a rare phenomenon, though numerous skeletons and isolated bones of other dinosaurs have been recovered previously from Upper Cretaceous marine deposits in North America.

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Mariela Soledad FernÃndez (2016)

Important contributions of the South American record to the understanding of dinosaur reproduction.

Khosla, A. and Lucas, S.G., eds. Cretaceous Period: Biotic Diversity and Biogeography. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 71: 91-105

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South American fossil eggs display a very rich record in the Cretaceous, which permits an understanding of dinosaur reproduction. In this paper I review all dinosaur ootaxa described at the moment and discuss their relationships and geographical distribution. Macro characters of eggshells were studied and interpreted as a possible source of paleobiological knowledge, whereas several other macro characters are questioned or discussed. Three megaloolithid oospecies have been described for North Patagonia, and they have been compared with worldwide materials revealing the Gondwana distribution. Two fusioolithid eggshells were described, and one of them, Fusioolithis baghensis, was synonymized with Indian, French and Spanish materials, indicating that this widespread oospecies was laid by titanosaurs because they share the same features as the Auca Mahuevo eggs. Faveoloolithid eggs have been compared from La Rioja, La Pampa, Uruguay and Patagonia, reflecting that one kind of dinosaur was reproducing in all Argentina and Uruguay with this kind of eggshell. Theropod eggs have been described from RÃo Negro province, and ornithothoracean eggs have been compared from NeuquÃn city with those of Brazil, and apparently the same group was reproducing in both areas during the Late Cretaceous.

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Matthew C. Herne, Alan M. Tait and Steven W. Salisbury (2016)

Sedimentological reappraisal of the Leaellynasaura amicagraphica (Dinosauria, Ornithopoda) holotype locality in the Lower Cretaceous of Victoria, Australia, with taphonomic implications for the taxon.Â

Khosla, A. and Lucas, S.G., eds. Cretaceous Period: Biotic Diversity and Biogeography. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 71: 121-147

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The holotype individual of the small-bodied ornithopod dinosaur, Leaellynasaura amicagraphica from Dinosaur Cove in the Lower Cretaceous of Victoria, southeastern Australia, traditionally comprises the holotype, a left-side cheek fragment of a juvenile (MV P185991), and three other specimens: a cranial table (P185990) and a partial postcranium (P185992, P185993), discovered at the same site and at about the same time as the holotype. The latter three specimens have significantly contributed to the systematics of Leaellynasauria amicagraphica and anatomical arguments for its status as a âdinosaur of darkness,â pre-adapted to existence in the Antarctic polar circle. The original attribution of the scattered material (cranial table and partial postcranium) to the Leaellynasaura amicagraphica holotype was based on the assumption that the sizes of the specimens were comparable, and the interpretation of the facies in which these associated fossils accumulated as a quiet-water deposit, such as an oxbow lake, billabong or pond. The inferred low-energy depositional conditions were used to suggest that associated material, other than that attributable to the holotype, was unlikely to be present in the facies hosting the holotype individual. However, a detailed sedimentological study supporting the interpretation of a quiet-water deposit hosting the Dinosaur Cove material is lacking, and the presence of a larger second partial ornithopod postcranium (P186047) in the same deposit, seems contradictory to arguments that all of the scattered associated skeletal specimens from this site are attributable to the Leaellynasaura amicagraphica holotype. Our revised sedimentological investigation indicates that all vertebrate remains from the Leaellynasaura amicagraphica holotype locality were deposited under active hydraulic flow on a migrating point bar in a meandering river. We term the host deposit the âTunnel Sandstone.â As a result of this new interpretation, we regard the total vertebrate fossil assemblage from this site as time-averaged, and interpret the associated ornithopod remains as an allochthonous accumulation of up to four separate individuals, some potentially with unknown taxonomic affinities. Without unequivocal anatomical evidence of skeletal association, we regard the traditional attribution of the scattered cranial table and partial postcranium to the Leaellynasaura amicagraphica holotype as inadequately supported. We consider the referral of any specimen to Leaellynasaura amicagraphica should contain features that are compliant with those features on the holotype cheek fragment or other conclusively referred specimens.

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Nizar Ibrahim, Cristiano dal Sasso, Simone Maganuco, Matteo Fabbri, David M. Martill, Eric Gorscak and Matthew C. Lamanna (2016)

Evidence of a derived titanosaurian (Dinosauria, Sauropoda) in the "Kem Kem Beds" of Morocco, with comments on sauropod paleoecology in the Cretaceous of Africa.

Khosla, A. and Lucas, S.G., eds. Cretaceous Period: Biotic Diversity and Biogeography. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 71: 149-159

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A well preserved middle caudal vertebra from middle Cretaceous (?Albianâlower Cenomanian) deposits informally known as the âKem Kem bedsâ exposed in the Gara Sbaa region of Morocco is attributed to a large-bodied titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur. It represents one of the best-preserved and most complete skeletal elements reported for this sauropod group from the Kem Kem sequence. The vertebra is generally similar to middle caudals of the lithostrotian titanosaur Baurutitan britoi from the Upper Cretaceous Bauru Group of Brazil, but differs in several respects, such as: (1) a transversely compressed (as opposed to more square in posterior view) centrum; (2) a taller, anteroposteriorly longer, and more anteriorly positioned neural spine; and (3) prezygapophyses that are subtriangular in lateral view. It represents an animal that likely attained a very large body size (possibly over 25 m in total length), considerably larger than the diplodocoid Rebbachisaurus garasbae, the only named sauropod from the Kem Kem assemblage. Additional, selected specimens from the Kem Kem beds are described, with some probably referable to Titanosauria. In the Kem Kem sequence, sauropod fossils are far less common than those of predatory dinosaurs, which include several coeval, multi-ton taxa. This was likely due to an abundance of potential aquatic prey as well as complex niche partitioning among sympatric theropods, pterosaurs, and crocodyliforms. Nevertheless, some predators, such as the giant theropod Carcharodontosaurus saharicus, likely preyed on sauropods. The taxon represented by the new vertebra (and possibly other isolated remains from the Kem Kem region) and the giant Egyptian titanosaurian Paralititan stromeri rank among the largest known sauropods. Most other North African Cretaceous sauropods appear to have reached only modest adult body sizes; this could, however, be an artifact of the limited number of fossils and uncertainty in the ontogenetic stages represented by most specimens. The morphology of the Kem Kem vertebra suggests that the taxon it represents may have been more closely related to South American and/or European titanosaurians than to other members of this clade from sub-Saharan Africa.

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Vivesh V. Kapur and Ashu Khosla (2016)

Late Cretaceous terrestrial biota from India with special reference to vertebrates and their implications for biogeographic connections.

Khosla, A. and Lucas, S.G., eds. Cretaceous Period: Biotic Diversity and Biogeography. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 71: 161-172

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The biogeographic affinities of the Indian plate during its northward movement are at present intensely debated, especially in the context of strong geophysical evidence pointing towards an isolated Indian Subcontinent during the Late Cretaceous (~90 to ~65 Ma). It is difficult to conceive of the possibility of a direct land route for the exchange of vertebrates (mainly of large size, e.g., dinosaurs) between India and its surrounding landmasses, particularly at ~65 Ma. In this context, the terrestrial vertebrate fauna from the Late Cretaceous Deccan volcanoassociated sedimentary deposits (infra- and intertrappean sediments) of India has been the focus of study by paleontologists and paleobiogeographers alike for many years. Fragmentary remains of a number of vertebrate taxa have been described from the Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) of India, including frogs, lizards, turtles, snakes, dinosaurs and mammals, and this fauna bafflingly points to an admixture of Gondwanan, Laurasian and endemic elements. Phylogenetic data in a paleogeographic context have raised the possibility of biotic exchanges between India and Madagascar during the Late Cretaceous. Although the size of the animal should have been a limiting factor (favoring the small animals), during such a trans-oceanic exchange (as postulated earlier for the exchange of fauna between India and Asia via the Kohistan Dras volcanic arc system), crossing over vast marine barriers was not propitious, except for the large-sized vertebrates (particularly dinosaurs). So, a direct terrestrial route (particularly in the north of India) is a lesser possibility, and the distribution of these giant vertebrates should be viewed in terms of a âPan-Gondwananâ model. Nevertheless, the paucity of complete fossil specimens from the Cretaceous interval of erstwhile Gondwanaland, including the Indian Subcontinent, is the first obstacle that needs to be overcome for further inferences.

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Asher J. Lichtig and Spencer G. Lucas (2016)

Cretaceous nonmarine turtle biostratigraphy and evolutionary events.

Khosla, A. and Lucas, S.G., eds. Cretaceous Period: Biotic Diversity and Biogeography. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 71: 185-194

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A biostratigraphic organization of the Cretaceous nonmarine turtle record provides valuable insight into turtle evolutionary events. Five biostratigraphic datums based on Cretaceous turtle distribution are identified: Barremian, Aptian/Albian, Albian/Cenomanian, Turonian, Santonian/Campanian and the K/T boundary. The Barremian encompasses the lowest occurrences of Lindholemydidae, Dortokidae, Podocnemoidea, Nanhsiungchelydae, and Trionychidae, marking a major increase in turtle diversity. The Aptian/Albian datum is marked by the lowest occurrences of Bothremydidae and Baenidae. The Albian/Cenomanian datum is the highest occurrence of Xinjiangchelyidae, Araripemydidae, and Euraxemydidae. The Turonian datum is marked by the first occurrence of Macrobaenidae and Chelydridae in North America. The Santonian/Campanian datum is marked by the lowest occurrence of Compsemydidae. Further, this is the highest occurrence of Sinemydidae. The K/Pg datum is marked by the highest occurrences of Nanhsiungchelydae, Kallokibotionidae, and Solemydidae. The dispersal of bothremydids to South America and Africa is hypothesized to be the result of a lowering of global sea level. This may also explain the immigration of trionychoideans into North America at a similar time. Further, macrobaenid appearance in North America also falls within the temporal uncertainty of the bothremydid and trionychoidean migrations, so these may represent one event.Â

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Spencer G. Lucas, Robert M. Sullivan, Asher J. Lichtig, Sebastian E. Dalman and Steven E. Jasinski (2016)

Late Cretaceous dinosaur biogeography and endemism in the Western Interior basin, North America: A critical reevaluation.

Khosla, A. and Lucas, S.G., eds. Cretaceous Period: Biotic Diversity and Biogeography. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 71: 195-213

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ÂNorth-south provinciality among Campanian and/or Maastrichtian vertebrates, especially dinosaurs, in the Western Interior basin of North America (specifically, between West Texas and southern Alberta, Canada) has been accepted by many vertebrate paleontologists for about 30 years. However, a critical review indicates that the case for provinciality based on non-dinosaurian vertebrates is weak to nonexistent, and that the case based on dinosaurs is problematic, resting solely on a few taxa of dinosaurs, most notably the chasmosaurine ceratopsids, which have also been used to identify extreme dinosaur endemism. Paleobiogeographic provinces can be rejected because of: (1) problems and biases in sampling; (2) the lack of topographic barriers in the Western Interior basin that would divide provinces; (3) the lack of significant climatic or vegetational differences and/or gradients to provincialize vertebrates; (4) how taxonomic (largely cladotaxonomic) decisions have been intimately involved in the perception of endemism and provinciality; (5) how the demonstrable diachroneity of most fossil assemblages undermines the ability to include them in biogeographic analyses; and (6) how the non-uniformitarian conclusions of those who argue for dinosaur provinciality and endemism undermine their own arguments. Not only do we demonstrate the biological and geological implausibility of dinosaur-based biogeographic provinces and high degrees of endemism in the Western Interior basin during the Late Cretaceous, but the arguments and analyses that have been marshalled to support such concepts are questionable. Consequently, there is no compelling evidence that there was any discrete biogeographic separation of the Campanian (or Maastrichtian) dinosaur-dominated vertebrate assemblages from north to south beteen Texas and Alberta in the Western Interior basin. Also, there is no compelling evidence of high degrees of dinosaur endemism in the Western Interior basin during the Campanian.



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MatÃas J. Motta, Alexis M. Aranciaga Rolando, SebastiÃn Rozadilla, Federico E. AgnolÃn, NicolÃs R. Chimento, Federico BrissÃn Egli and Fernando E. Novas (2016)

New theropod fauna from the Upper Cretaceous (Huincul Formation) of northwestern Patagonia, Argentina.

Khosla, A. and Lucas, S.G., eds. Cretaceous Period: Biotic Diversity and Biogeography. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 71: 231-253

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The present contribution describes theropod remains coming from the Huincul Formation (NeuquÃn Group; Cenomanian-Turonian; Upper Cretaceous) at a single locality located in northwestern RÃo Negro province, Patagonia, Argentina. This theropod association is composed of abelisauroids, two different-sized carcharodontosaurid allosauroids, a coelurosaur of uncertain relationships, a megaraptoran tyrannosauroid, and a possible unenlagiid paravian. Two new theropod genera and species are here described. The new carcharodontosaurid is based on an isolated postorbital bone bearing a unique prominence above the orbital brow. The new megaraptoran of uncertain affinities is described on the basis of a partially articulated tail and sacral vertebra. A new taxon is characterized by having notably elongate and highly pneumatic sacral and caudal vertebrae. It shows a large number of similarities with the African taxa Deltadromeus and Baharisaurus. These genera probably constitute a still poorly known clade of megaraptoran tyrannosauroids different from the Megaraptoridae. These findings support that Patagonia is a key place for understanding theropod evolution in Gondwana.

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Omkar Verma, Ashu Khosla, Francisco J. Goin and Jasdeep Kaur (2016)

Historical biogeography of the Late Cretaceous vertebrates of India: Comparison of geophysical and paleontological data.

Khosla, A. and Lucas, S.G., eds. Cretaceous Period: Biotic Diversity and Biogeography. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 71: 317-330

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The Cretaceous was a special time for the Indian plate as it was separated from Gondwana landmasses and started its northward journey across the Tethys Sea towards the Equator. The northward movement of this plate implied shifting latitudes and climate belts, until it finally collided with Asia during the early Cenozoic. Geophysical data and plate tectonic models show that after splitting from Gondwana, the Indian plate remained as an isolated continent for more than 45 Ma during the Cretaceous; thus, it predicts a remarkable biotic endemism for the continent. Paleontological data on the Cretaceous vertebrates of India is best known for Maastrichtian time; in turn, the pre-Maastrichtian record is very poorâit contains very few fossils of fishes and marine reptiles. The Maastrichtian fossil record comprises vertebrates of Gondwana and Laurasian affinities and some endemic, ancient lineages as well. In order to explain the presence of vertebrates of multiple affinities in the Late Cretaceous of India, various biogeographic models have been proposed. The latter include extinctions, endemism, vicariance, dispersal (sweepstakes, filters and corridors), "Noahâs Ark," "Docked Noahâs Ark," "Viking Funeral Ship" and "land spans," thus accounting for the biotic implications of the Cretaceous northward drifting of the Indian plate. The current paleontological data suggest the existence of both southern and northern biotic dispersals/connections, however, geophysical data instead favor a biotic endemism for the Indian plate during the Late Cretaceous. Here, an attempt has been made to document the consistencies between geophysical and paleontological data, in order to understand the biogeography of the Late Cretaceous vertebrates of India.

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