The tetrapod fossil record from the uppermost maastrichtian of the ibero-armorican island: An integrative review based on the outcrops of the western tremp syncline (aragón, huesca province, NE Spain)

Manuel Pérez-Pueyo, Penélope Cruzado-Caballero, Miguel Moreno-Azanza, Bernat Vila, Diego Castanera, José Manuel Gasca, Eduardo Puértolas-Pascual, Beatriz Bádenas, José Ignacio Canudo

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Abstract

The South-Pyrenean Basin (northeastern Spain) has yielded a rich and diverse record of Upper Cretaceous (uppermost Campanian-uppermost Maastrichtian) vertebrate fossils, including the remains of some of the last European dinosaurs prior to the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction event. In this work, we update and characterize the vertebrate fossil record of the Arén Sandstone and Tremp formations in the Western Tremp Syncline, which is located in the Aragonese area of the Southern Pyrenees. The transitional and continental successions of these sedimentary units are dated to the late Maastrichtian, and exploration of their outcrops has led to the discovery of numerous fossil remains (bones, eggshells, and tracks) of dinosaurs, including hadrosauroids, sauropods, and theropods, along with other tetrapods such as crocodylomorphs, testudines, pterosaurs, squamates, and amphibians. In particular, this fossil record contains some of the youngest lambeosaurine hadrosaurids (Arenysaurus and Blasisaurus) and Mesozoic crocodylomorphs (Arenysuchus and Agaresuchus subjuniperus) in Europe, complementing the lower Maastrichtian fossil sites of the Eastern Tremp Syncline. In addition, faunal comparison with the fossil record of Haţeg island reveals the great change in the dinosaur assemblages resulting from the arrival of lambeosaurine hadrosaurids on the Ibero-Armorican island, whereas those on Haţeg remained stable. In the light of its paleontological richness, its stratigraphic continuity, and its calibration within the last few hundred thousand years of the Cretaceous, the Western Tremp Syncline is one of the best places in Europe to study the latest vertebrate assemblages of the European Archipelago before the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number162
Number of pages38
JournalGeosciences (Switzerland)
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Ibero-armorican island
  • Late maastrichtian
  • Southern pyrenees
  • Tetrapods
  • Western tremp syncline

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