The tropical region of South America has been long perceived as a hotspot of biodiversity. Many groups of organisms have their greatest diversity in tropical latitudes. Although the position of continents and temperatures in what is today the northern Neotropics has certainly changed across geological time, this region is the likely place of origin of several vertebrate groups. However, most of what we know about vertebrate evolution in South America comes from high latitude regions, south of the tropics. This book will help to address that imbalance.
Urumaco and Venezuelan Paleontology represents a synthesis of the paleontological record of Venezuela, summarizing the most important areas and issues and including new discoveries on stratigraphy, paleobotany, fossil invertebrates and vertebrates. Besides providing a critical summary of the record of groups including decapods, fishes, crocodiles, turtles, rodents, armadillos and ungulates, several chapters introduce new information on distribution and paleobiology of groups not previously studied in this part of the world.
Given its position in the northern neotropics, close to the Panamanian land bridge, Venezuela is a key location for understanding faunal exchanges between the Americas in the recent geological past. The book reviews the recent paleobotanical and vertebrate fossil record of the region, provides an understanding of Pleistocene climatic change and biogeography for the last few thousand years, and integrates new information with summaries of many works about Venezuelan geology and paleontology published in Spanish.
“This critical summary reviews the recent paleobotanical and vertebrate fossil record of Venezuela, providing an understanding of Pleistocene climatic change and biogeography for the last few thousand years, and integrating new information with summaries of Spanish language works on Venezuelan geology and paleontology.”
“This book will be interesting for everyone who explores palaeontology, stratigraphy, palaeogeography, general geology, and biogeography of the northern part of South America. 2011”
— Zentralblatt fur Geologie und Palaontologies
“Overall, Urumaco and Venezuelan Paleontology is an excellent synthesis and overview of Venezuelan palaeontology, aimed primarily at vertebrate palaeontologists, but providing information that will benefit other areas of research too. ”
— Newsletter Palaeontology Dept., Natural History Museum, London
“[T]his worthwhile edited volume is a must for any scholar of South American vertebrates, fossil or modern. ”
— The Quarterly Review of Biology
“This volume is a necessary and important contribution to our understanding of a diverse fossil assemblage from a region of the world that is sorely in need of further paleontological investigation. ”
— Journal of Mammalian Evolution
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Table of Contents
1. Venezuelan Geography and Biodiversity: A Brief Introduction / Cathy Villalba and Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra
2. A Short History of the Study of Venezuelan Vertebrate Fossils / Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra
3. The Fossil Vertebrate Record of Venezuela of the Last 65 Million Years / Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra, Orangel A. Aguilera, Rodolfo Sánchez, and Alfredo A. Carlini
4. Paleoenvironmental Trends in Venezuela during the Last Glacial Cycle / Valentí Rull, Mark B. Abbott, Teresa Vegas-Vilarrúbia, Maximiliano Bezada, Encarni Montoya, Sandra Nogué, and Catalina González
5. The Guayana Highlands as a Natural Laboratory for the Biogeographical and Evolutionary Study of the Neotropical Flora / Valentí Rull
6. Mesozoic and Cenozoic Decapod Crustaceans from Venezuela and Related Trace-Fossil Assemblages / Orangel A. Aguilera, Dione Rodrigues de Aguilera, Francisco J. Vega, and Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra
7. Venezuelan Caribbean and Orinocoan Neogene Fish / Orangel A. Aguilera and John Lundberg
8. Stratigraphy and Sedimentary Environments of Miocene Shallow to Marginal Marine Deposits in the Urumaco Trough, Falcón Basin, Western Venezuela / Luis I. Quiroz and Carlos A. Jaramillo
9. Fossil Turtles from the Northern Neotropics: The Urumaco Sequence Fauna and Finds from Other Localities in Venezuela and Colombia / Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra and Torsten M. Scheyer
10. Fossil Crocodylians from Venezuela in the Context of South American Faunas / Torsten M. Scheyer and Jorge W. Moreno-Bernal
11. Fossil Rodents from the Late Miocene Urumaco and Middle Miocene Cumaca Formations, Venezuela / Inés Horovitz, Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra, M. Guiomar Vucetich, and Orangel A. Aguilera
12. An Introduction to Cingulate Evolution and Their Evolutionary History during the Great American Biotic Interchange: Biogeographical Clues from Venezuela / Alfredo A. Carlini and Alfredo E. Zurita
13. The South American Native Ungulates of the Urumaco Form
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