Abstract

The amaltheids are restricted temporally to the late Pliensbachian and geographically to the northern part of the northern hemisphere. Amaltheus stokesi is the only species that occurs in all areas of North America where amaltheids are found. The craton north of the Canada–U.S.A. border yields the most diverse amaltheid fauna, including six of the seven taxa known in North America. On Quesnellia and Stikinia, there are no endemic amaltheids, and diversity is low; A. stokesi increases in abundance northwards where, in Stikinia, A. margaritatus makes rare appearances. Wrangellia, with its rich Pliensbachian Tethyan and east Pacific faunas, is almost devoid of amaltheids, but its amaltheid fauna does include two specimens of A. viligaensis, an eastern Russian species that is unknown elsewhere in North America. Cratonal amaltheid faunas have more in common with those of northwest Europe than eastern Eurasia, suggesting that the Arctic and northern North Atlantic constituted the main dispersal route. Paleobiogeographic patterns on the major allochthonous terranes argue against terrane rotation and in support of post-Pliensbachian northward displacement relative to the North American craton. In addition, the presence of western Pacific faunal elements on Wrangellia suggests a more significant longitudinal displacement relative to the craton for this terrane compared to that for Quesnellia and Stikinia. The Chilliwack terrane of southwestern British Columbia is a Pliensbachian paleobiogeographic anomaly.

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