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Abstract:

Numerical ages have been derived from the 87Sr/86Sr values of well-preserved rudist shells from localities in Salento (S Italy)and Lefkas (Ionian Islands, Greece). Samples are from the platform margin (Salento) and from the toe of slope (Lefkas) of the former Apuliancarbonate platform. Rudists from both localities yielded a latest Maastrichtian age (66.4 Ma), and their rudist associations are the mostspecies-rich so far reported from the Mediterranean region so close to the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-P) boundary. The abundance of large-size recumbent morphotypes of a taxon similar to Pseudosabinia is remarkable. Generally, the latest Maastrichtian rudist morphotypes ofthe Caribbean and of the Mediterranean region are very similar, although the faunas are highly endemic on the genus level. When comparedto the Turonian-Campanian, the increased abundance of aragonite in the shells of the dominant rudist taxa, and the higher abundance ofother originally aragonitic skeletal components, is discussed with respect to the major-ion composition of Cretaceous seawater. The nowwell-documented existence of species-rich rudist associations on both sides of the Atlantic argues for a catastrophic rather than a gradualextinction of the group.

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