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Abstract

The Mesozoic biotas of Scandinavia have been studied for nearly two centuries. However, the last 15 years have witnessed an explosive advance in research, most notably on the richly fossiliferous Triassic (Olenekian–Carnian) and Jurassic (Tithonian) Lagerstätten of the Norwegian Arctic Svalbard archipelago, Late Cretaceous (Campanian) Kristianstad Basin and Vomb Trough of Skåne in southern Sweden, and the UNESCO heritage site at Stevns Klint in Denmark – the latter constituting one of the most complete Cretaceous–Palaeogene (Maastrichtian–Danian) boundary sections known globally. Other internationally significant deposits include earliest (Induan) and latest Triassic (Norian–Rhaetian) strata from the Danish autonomous territory of Greenland, and the Early Jurassic (Sinemurian–Pliensbachian) to Early Cretaceous (Berriasian) rocks of southern Sweden and the Danish Baltic island of Bornholm, respectively. Marine palaeocommunities are especially well documented, and comprise prolific benthic macroinvertebrates, together with pelagic cephalopods, chondrichthyans, actinopterygians and aquatic amniotes (ichthyopterygians, sauropterygians and mosasauroids). Terrestrial plant remains (lycophytes, sphenophytes, ferns, pteridosperms, cycadophytes, bennettitaleans and ginkgoes), including exceptionally well-preserved carbonized flowers, are also world famous, and are occasionally associated with faunal traces such as temnospondyl amphibian bones and dinosaurian footprints. While this collective documented record is substantial, much still awaits discovery. Thus, Scandinavia and its Arctic territories represent some of the most exciting prospects for future insights into the spectacular history of Mesozoic life and environments.

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