Abstract

Precise biostratigraphic constraints on the age of the Tal Group are restricted to (1) a basal level correlative with the Anabarites trisulcatus–Protohertzina anabarica Assemblage Zone of southwest China, (2) a level near the boundary of the lower and upper parts of the Tal Group correlative with the early Tsanglangpuan Stage (Drepanuroides Zone), and (3) an interval low in the upper part of the Tal Group correlative with later in the Tsanglangpuan Stage (Palaeolenus Zone). These correlations are based on small shelly fossil and trilobite taxa. Other chronostratigraphic constraints include the marked negative δ13C isotopic excursion coincident with the transition from the Krol Group to the Tal Group. This excursion is used as a proxy for the Precambrian–Cambrian boundary in several sections worldwide and, if applied to the Lesser Himalaya, indicates that the boundary is at or just above the base of the Tal Group. The upper parts of the Tal Group may be of middle or late Cambrian age and might form proximal equivalents of sections in the Zanskar–Spiti region of the Tethyan Himalaya. Both faunal content and lithological succession are comparable to southwest China, furthering recent arguments for close geographic proximity between the Himalaya and the Yangtze block during late Neoproterozoic and early Cambrian time. Trilobites from the uppermost parts of the Sankholi Formation from the Nigali Dhar syncline are described and referred to three taxa, one of which, Drepanopyge gopeni, is a new species. They are the oldest trilobites yet described from the Himalaya.

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