Friday, February 11, 2011

Fish in the Santana Formation of Brazil

Fish remains of remarkable state of preservation and beauty have been found in calcareous concretions in the Santana Formation of north-east Brazil. The fossil-bearing concretions occur in the Araripe Basin at various localities at the boundary between Ceara, Pernambuco, and Piaui provinces. The strata containing the fish concretions lie at the base of the Araripe Plateau and are of Cretaceous age (Aptina-Albain, about 100 million years). At that time, Africa and South America were starting to rift apart and the South Atlantic was opening up in a narrow shallow sea. It is thought that salinity changes may have been responsible for the mass deaths of the marine fish fauna. The fish shown here has a length of 43 cm. Photos by P.Stacher.

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