In the early 20thcentury, Belgian naturalists reported Paleocene and Eocene sharks, the bothremydid pleurodiran turtleTaphosphrys(formerlyBantuchelys), and a neosuchian and the dyrosaurid crocodyliformCongosaurusfrom coastal outcrops near Landana in the northern province of Cabinda, Angola. In 1935, rare and fragmentary mammals were reported from strata at Malembo Point, south of Landana, and originally considered to be Miocene in age. Subsequent re-identification of the mammal fossils suggested that the Malembo deposits are Lower Oligocene based on the presence of an arsinoithere and hyracoids. An anthropoid canine, originally identified as a carnivore incisor, was also recognized. In four recent expeditions to Cabinda, Projecto PaleoAngola has traced and measured the stratigraphy between Landana and Malembo Point and sampled these deposits for pollen, stable isotopes, detrital zircons, paleomagnetic stratigraphy, and for U/Pb dating of bones, teeth, and coprolites. Although the faunas from all Cabinda localities are dominated by sharks and rays, new discoveries from Landana include a complete cheloniid cryptodire turtle skull, a small snake vertebra, and a bird bone. Discoveries from the Malembo level include a narrow-snouted crocodyliform similar toCongosaurusandEuthecodon, an arsinoithere anterior tooth, an upper molar similar to that of the ptolemaiidanKelba, an unidentified mammalian incisor, and a large primate-like premolar. Recent biostratigraphic advances in East Africa and the new fossil discoveries in Cabinda suggest similarity to late Oligocene faunas in Ethiopia and Kenya, although the large primate-like premolar is unique. To this day, the fossil localities of Malembo provide the only coastal, low latitude, low elevation record of West African Cenozoic terrestrial mammals.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2013|