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Abstract

Although a diverse range of aquatic vertebrates are documented from the Upper Cretaceous (mid-Campanian) marine strata of the Kristianstad Basin in southern Sweden, only chondrichthyans and marine amniotes have been described in detail to date. In contrast, coeval actinopterygians are virtually unreported, yet their remains are extremely abundant at most sampled localities. A comprehensive assessment of these fossils has identified the first Late Cretaceous actinopterygian fauna from the Fennoscandian Shield, incorporating indeterminate lepisosteids, the durophagous pycnodontid Anomoeodus subclavatus, the predatory pachycormid Protosphyraena sp., a large ichthyodectid, pachyrhizodontids resembling Pachyrhizodus, the enchodontid Enchodus cf. gladiolus and indeterminate small teleosts. These taxa are diagnosed mainly from isolated teeth and scales, implying substantial taphonomic loss prior to burial. Moreover, the prolific recovery of actinopterygian skeletal remnants in recent excavations suggests that historical collecting biases, rather than ecological paucity, have contributed to their under-representation in the Swedish Cretaceous record. Palaeobiogeographically, the Kristianstad Basin actinopterygians show compositional resemblance to assemblages from the Northern European Platform and the Western Interior Seaway of North America, advocating distributional communication across the Boreal proto-Atlantic Ocean.

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