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The Fossil Lagerstätte at Vallecillo, North-Eastern Mexico: Pelagic Plattenkalks related to Cenomanian-Turonian Boundary Anoxia

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  • Jura-Museum
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... A series of 32 small limestone quarries is exposed in the region north of Múzquiz, northwest of Coahuila, relatively near the border with the USA, between Múzquiz and Río Bravo (Fig. 1). The quarries consist of limestones and marls of Cenomanian to Campanian ages, mainly from the upper Turonian to lower Coniacian Austin Group (Fig. 2E), preserving planktic foraminifera, gastropods, ammonoids, inoceramid bivalves, crustaceans, fishes, marine reptiles, pterosaurs, birds (Ichthyornis Marsh, 1872) , fishes preserved into ammonites living chambers (Nyborg et al., 2014) and plant remains, (Blanco-Piñón et al., 2004, 2006Nyborg et al., 2005;Stinnesbeck et al., 2005;Vega et al., 2007b), deposited in an open marine environment with depths of more than 100 m (Fig. 3). Rocks from El Rosario quarry that include the crustacean assemblage is latest Turonian to early Coniacian (Harries et al., 1996;Vega et al., 2007b;Ifrim et al., 2014Ifrim et al., , 2019Walaszczyk et al., 2021). ...
... Lower to middle Turonian platy limestones at Vallecillo quarries, northeast of Monterrey, Nuevo Léon (Fig. 1), represent Konservat-Lagerstätten deposits, which correspond to the informal Vallecillo member of the Turonian Agua Nueva Formation (Ifrim, 2006) (Fig. 2F), in the aftermath of OAE 2 (Blanco-Piñón, 2003;Ifrim et al., 2005;Ifrim, 2006Ifrim, , 2015Ifrim et al., 2011;Núñez-Useche et al., 2014) (Fig. 3). Well-preserved sarcopterygians, actinopterygians and cartilaginous taxa indicate a marine open shelf depositional environment (Ifrim and Stinnesbeck, 2007;Ifrim et al., 2008Ifrim et al., , 2011aStinnesbeck et al., 2019Stinnesbeck et al., , 2020. ...
... Lower to middle Turonian platy limestones at Vallecillo quarries, northeast of Monterrey, Nuevo Léon (Fig. 1), represent Konservat-Lagerstätten deposits, which correspond to the informal Vallecillo member of the Turonian Agua Nueva Formation (Ifrim, 2006) (Fig. 2F), in the aftermath of OAE 2 (Blanco-Piñón, 2003;Ifrim et al., 2005;Ifrim, 2006Ifrim, , 2015Ifrim et al., 2011;Núñez-Useche et al., 2014) (Fig. 3). Well-preserved sarcopterygians, actinopterygians and cartilaginous taxa indicate a marine open shelf depositional environment (Ifrim and Stinnesbeck, 2007;Ifrim et al., 2008Ifrim et al., , 2011aStinnesbeck et al., 2019Stinnesbeck et al., , 2020. ...
Article
The Crustacea preserved in Cretaceous plattenkalk deposits from Mexico is revisited. New findings include isopods, palinurid lobsters, and crabs. Based on new material available, descriptions of previously reported species are extended. High diversity and abundance of Peracarida from the upper Aptian Sierra Madre El Espinal quarries (Chiapas) are synthesized, along with detailed images of a previously described palinurid species. The famous laminar red limestone quarries of the upper Albian Tlayúa Formation, Tepexi de Rodríguez (Puebla), yielded a new lobster and a pagurid, and nearly 100 complimentary crab specimens of Tepexicarcinus Feldmann, Vega, Applegate and Bishop, 1998, offer more information on its morphology and ontogeny. Arthropoda from the upper Albian El Doctor Formation, Muhi quarries (Hidalgo), include three new incomplete lobsters, an additional specimen of the penaeid Aeger hidalguensis Feldmann et al.2007 (whose morphology is compared with the A. tipularis () from the Upper Jurassic of Germany), and new specimens of an enigmatic Thylacocephala. From the Cenomanian Siera Madre Formation, El Chango quarries Chiapas, we illustrate shrimp, a poorly preserved phyllosoma larva, and a new brachyuran crab. The diverse and abundant crustaceans from the Turonian–Cenomanian El Rosario quarry (Múzquiz, Coahuila) are revisited, with preliminary interpretations of previously reported raninoids.
... The site is well known for the abundance of well-preserved fishes, including sarcopterygians, actinopterygians and cartilaginous taxa (Blanco-Pine on 2003;Giersch 2014;Stinnesbeck et al., 2019Stinnesbeck et al., , 2020Vullo et al., 2021). The faunal assemblage indicates that Vallecillo was an open marine ecosystem dominated by fast swimming predators (Ifrim 2006;Giersch 2014;Stinnesbeck et al., 2020). The isopod discussed here from Vallecillo is associated with the pachyrhizodont fish Goulmimichthys roberti and is interpreted as parasitic to this host. ...
... Shallow quarries to the south of Vallecillo yield yellow to light grey platy limestone assigned to the Agua Nueva Formation (Cenomanian-Turonian); these lithologies are extracted at Vallecillo for flagstones, floors and walls. The limestone contains a diverse vertebrate and invertebrate faunal assemblage representing a mixture of elements from the western Gulf of Mexico, the Western Interior Seaway, the Tethys, and endemic species (Ifrim 2006;Giersch 2014). The most common fish species are Rhynchodercetis yovanovitchi, Tselfatia formosa and the pycnodont Nursallia gutturosum (Ifrim 2006;Giersch 2014;Stinnesbeck et al., 2019), but the pachyrhizodont Goulmimichthys roberti (Blanco and Cavin 2003) is also frequent (Stinnesbeck et al., 2020). ...
... The limestone contains a diverse vertebrate and invertebrate faunal assemblage representing a mixture of elements from the western Gulf of Mexico, the Western Interior Seaway, the Tethys, and endemic species (Ifrim 2006;Giersch 2014). The most common fish species are Rhynchodercetis yovanovitchi, Tselfatia formosa and the pycnodont Nursallia gutturosum (Ifrim 2006;Giersch 2014;Stinnesbeck et al., 2019), but the pachyrhizodont Goulmimichthys roberti (Blanco and Cavin 2003) is also frequent (Stinnesbeck et al., 2020). The only crustacean previously documented from Vallecillo is the sessile cirriped Stramentum that grew on ammonite shells of Pseudaspidoceras flexuosum (Fig. 1B) and cf. ...
Article
The platy limestone (plattenkalk) deposit of Vallecillo in northeastern Mexico is widely known for its well preserved and diverse fish and marine reptilian assemblage dated to the early-middle Turonian (Late Cretaceous). A single specimen of the pachyrhizodont G. roberti revealed the first Cretaceous isopod (Crustacea, Arthropoda) attached to a fish host. Preservation allows for the interpretation of the entire body and most appendages. A parasitic lifestyle of the isopod is inferred based on the specimen’s morphology including claw-like dactyli, but is also inferred based on the anoxic bottom conditions variously interpreted for the Vallecillo plattenkalk deposit, which excluded scavengers. The individual is here referred to the family Cymothoidae and described as Mothocya vallecillae n.sp..
... This relative abundance contrasts to the apparent scarcity of coleoid cephalopods reported so far from marine fossil lagerst€ atten of late Early to Late Cretaceous age (Albian to Santonian) in northeastern and central Mexico. In these fossil sites, lithologies are dominated by laminated platy limestone and intercalated marl, which are best characterized as plattenkalk (Ifrim, 2006;. In northeastern Mexico, these deposits crop out in an area of >15,000 square km and were formed under oxygen-deficient conditions of an open shelf along the passive continental margin of the Paleogulf of Mexico (e.g., Ifrim, 2006;Ifrim et al., , 2011a. ...
... In these fossil sites, lithologies are dominated by laminated platy limestone and intercalated marl, which are best characterized as plattenkalk (Ifrim, 2006;. In northeastern Mexico, these deposits crop out in an area of >15,000 square km and were formed under oxygen-deficient conditions of an open shelf along the passive continental margin of the Paleogulf of Mexico (e.g., Ifrim, 2006;Ifrim et al., , 2011a. Even though marine vertebrates are abundant, diverse and well preserved in these fossil lagerst€ atten, the findings of coleoids have been markedly rare. ...
... The Vallecillo limestone is assigned to the uppermost Cenomanian e lower to middle Turonian, based on planktonic foraminifers, inoceramids and ammonites (Ifrim andStinnesbeck, 2007, 2008). It was deposited under oxygen-deficient conditions of an open shelf hundreds of kilometres from the coast, along the passive continental margin of the Paleogulf of Mexico and its intersection with the Western Interior Seaway (e.g., . ...
Article
The Turonian plattenkalk of Vallecillo (Mexico) yielded two large-sized gladiuses of octobrachian coleoids. The specimens determined as Boreopeltis ifrimae sp. nov. are both classified as members of the suborder Prototeuthina and represent the first coleoids from the Turonian of Mexico. Belemnoid coleoids are still unknown from Late Cretaceous localities in Mexico. Boreopeltis ifrimae sp. nov. is the youngest representative of its genus. The occurrence of Boreopeltis in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico suggests a worldwide distribution in cold to warm temperate waters. The gladius (mantle) length of both specimens is remarkable and measures 470mm, respectively. A general trend towards large and very large-sized coleoids is identified during the Late Cretaceous and began in the Turonian, as indicated by taxa from the southern Western Interior and the northern Gulf of Mexico. This gradual increase in octobrachian body sizes may reflect a commencing escalation in the arms race between coleoids, fishes, and marine reptilians.
... Near Vallecillo, located approximately 100 km north of Monterrey in north-eastern Mexico (Fig. 1), lower to middle Turonian (Upper Cretaceous) platy limestone yields well-preserved fishes including sarcopterygians, actinopterygians and cartilaginous taxa which indicate a marine open shelf depositional environment (Blanco-Piñón, 2003;Ifrim, 2006;Ifrim and Stinnesbeck, 2007;Ifrim et al., 2011b;Giersch, 2014). Rhynchodercetis yovanovitchi, Tselfatia formosa and Nursallia gutturosum are the most common fish species at Vallecillo (Ifrim, 2006;Ifrim et al., 2005;Ifrim and Stinnesbeck, 2007;Giersch et al., 2008;Giersch, 2014;Stinnesbeck et al., 2019). ...
... Near Vallecillo, located approximately 100 km north of Monterrey in north-eastern Mexico (Fig. 1), lower to middle Turonian (Upper Cretaceous) platy limestone yields well-preserved fishes including sarcopterygians, actinopterygians and cartilaginous taxa which indicate a marine open shelf depositional environment (Blanco-Piñón, 2003;Ifrim, 2006;Ifrim and Stinnesbeck, 2007;Ifrim et al., 2011b;Giersch, 2014). Rhynchodercetis yovanovitchi, Tselfatia formosa and Nursallia gutturosum are the most common fish species at Vallecillo (Ifrim, 2006;Ifrim et al., 2005;Ifrim and Stinnesbeck, 2007;Giersch et al., 2008;Giersch, 2014;Stinnesbeck et al., 2019). Nevertheless, pachyrhizodonts are also common and represented by at least three taxa (Pachyrhizodus caninus, Tingitanichthys heterodon and Goulmimichthys roberti). ...
... Nevertheless, pachyrhizodonts are also common and represented by at least three taxa (Pachyrhizodus caninus, Tingitanichthys heterodon and Goulmimichthys roberti). A random surface collection by Ifrim (2006) revealed the pachyrhizodont Goulmimichthys roberti to be the third-most frequent species after T. formosa (31%) and N. gutturosum (29%), comprising about 9% of the Vallecillo fish fauna. ...
Article
Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian-Santonian) platy limestone deposits in northeastern Mexico contain diverse assemblages of fossil fishes including the pachyrhizodont Goulmimichthys roberti. A review of 177 individuals from new localities in the Múzquiz area of northern Coahuila and from Vallecillo (early-middle Turonian) of Nuevo León reveals an unimodal size distribution of the taxon and dominance of 250 to 450 mm long individuals at Vallecillo, while smaller (younger) and larger-sized specimens are markedly rare. Size distribution is similar in the Múzquiz localities. The taxon thus migrated into pelagic environments (e.g. Vallecillo) when maturity was reached. Carcass flotation is excluded for the material due to the abundance of complete and articulated specimens. The taphonomical decay analysis of G. roberti allows for a differentiation of four preservational stages and evidences environmental differences between Vallecillo and the Múzquiz area. Goulmimichthys roberti occupied a wider stratigraphic range and ecosystem variety than previously known, including both pelagic and shallow shelf settings.
... Several small quarries in the area expose a 7 m thick sequence of yellow to light grey platy marl and limestone with layers of a few tens of mm thickness, and internal lamination at a millimetrical scale. Bioturbation is nearly absent (Ifrim 2006;Giersch et al. 2008). The unit forms part of the Upper Cretaceous Agua Nueva Formation and is assigned to the latest Cenomanian-middle Turonian (Late Cretaceous) based on ammonites and inoceramids (Ifrim andStinnesbeck 2007, 2008). ...
... Bioturbation is nearly absent (Ifrim 2006;Giersch et al. 2008). The unit forms part of the Upper Cretaceous Agua Nueva Formation and is assigned to the latest Cenomanian-middle Turonian (Late Cretaceous) based on ammonites and inoceramids (Ifrim andStinnesbeck 2007, 2008). The vertebrate faunal assemblage is dominated by fishes but also comprises marine reptilians (Blanco-Piñón et al. 2001;Blanco-Piñón 2003;Buchy et al. 2005;Ifrim 2006;Frey et al. 2017). ...
... The unit forms part of the Upper Cretaceous Agua Nueva Formation and is assigned to the latest Cenomanian-middle Turonian (Late Cretaceous) based on ammonites and inoceramids (Ifrim andStinnesbeck 2007, 2008). The vertebrate faunal assemblage is dominated by fishes but also comprises marine reptilians (Blanco-Piñón et al. 2001;Blanco-Piñón 2003;Buchy et al. 2005;Ifrim 2006;Frey et al. 2017). ...
Article
The platy limestone deposit of Vallecillo, located in north-eastern Mexico, offers a wide variety of invertebrate and vertebrate species dated to the latest Cenomanian-middle Turonian (Late Cretaceous). The deposit is known to contain well preserved fossils, e.g., fishes, in which the bones are recrystallized to calcite but soft tissue is also preserved. The fish assemblage is dominated by pelagic fast swimmers but also includes the common pycnodont Nursallia gutturosum, a discus-like and compressed fish that was likely well-suited for maneuverability. A review of 90 individuals of this taxon indicates the presence of different ontogenetic stages, from early young to old age. The size range distribution of individuals also suggests intermittent migration out of the Vallecillo area. The taphonomical decay analysis of N. gutturosum allows for a differentiation of five preservational stages. The presence of frequently complete and articulated specimens suggests a deep dwelling life style, without carcass flotation to the surface.
... Some carcasses sank to the sea bottom prior to decay, and disintegrated there out of the reach of other animals. Bite marks or broken bones were not identified among the Vallecillo vertebrate fossils, suggesting that scavenging upon carcasses at the sea-floor was uncommon or absent (32,34,39). The absence of scavengers and benthic life, with the exception of inoceramid bivalves, is explained by the anoxic conditions at the Vallecillo sea floor due to persistence of Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (33,34,38). ...
... Bite marks or broken bones were not identified among the Vallecillo vertebrate fossils, suggesting that scavenging upon carcasses at the sea-floor was uncommon or absent (32,34,39). The absence of scavengers and benthic life, with the exception of inoceramid bivalves, is explained by the anoxic conditions at the Vallecillo sea floor due to persistence of Oceanic Anoxic Event 2 (33,34,38). Apparently, carcasses were buried outside the reach of scavengers within the oxygen minimum zone. ...
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The ecomorphological diversity of extinct elasmobranchs is incompletely known. Here, we describe Aquilolamna milarcae , a bizarre probable planktivorous shark from early Late Cretaceous open marine deposits in Mexico. Aquilolamna , tentatively assigned to Lamniformes, is characterized by hypertrophied, slender pectoral fins. This previously unknown body plan represents an unexpected evolutionary experimentation with underwater flight among sharks, more than 30 million years before the rise of manta and devil rays (Mobulidae), and shows that winglike pectoral fins have evolved independently in two distantly related clades of filter-feeding elasmobranchs. This newly described group of highly specialized long-winged sharks (Aquilolamnidae) displays an aquilopelagic-like ecomorphotype and may have occupied, in late Mesozoic seas, the ecological niche filled by mobulids and other batoids after the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary.
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In the current work, the Gulneri Formation (Early Turonian) is studied in three surface sections (Degala, Dokan and Azmir) from northeastern Iraq. The formation is characterized by grey to black color limestone and marly limestone in the Degala and Dokan sections, whereas in Azmir section, fissile marl and marly limestone with pale to reddish color are dominated in addition to few beds, which occasionally contain fish remains, with distinct gray color reflecting the very few amount of total organic carbon in these beds. Microfacies analysis revealed that the formation consists of three microfacies: mudstone, wackestone and packstone. The predominance of dwarfish planktonic foraminifera (Heterohilex) and thin shell filaments particularly in packstone microfacies represent Heterohelix shift event and filament event respectively. In addition to these events, fish remains, radiolarian pyritization, planktonic foraminiferal chambers elongation and glauconite are all refer to anoxic environmental conditions that may have been coincided with the Global Cenomanian-Turonian Oceanic Anoxic Event (OAE-2)
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ABSTRACT In the current work, the Gulneri Formation (Early Turonian) is studied in three surface sections (Degala, Dokan and Azmir) from northeastern Iraq. The formation is characterized by grey to black color limestone and marly limestone in the Degala and Dokan sections, whereas in Azmir section, fissile marl and marly limestone with pale to reddish color are dominated in addition to few beds, which occasionally contain fish remains, with distinct gray color reflecting the very few amount of total organic carbon in these beds. Microfacies analysis revealed that the formation consists of three microfacies: mudstone, wackestone and packstone. The predominance of dwarfish planktonic foraminifera (Heterohilex) and thin shell filaments particularly in packstone microfacies represent Heterohelix shift event and filament event respectively. In addition to these events, fish remains, radiolarian pyritization, planktonic foraminiferal chambers elongation and glauconite are all refer to anoxic environmental conditions that may have been coincided with the Global Cenomanian-Turonian Oceanic Anoxic Event (OAE-2).
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Fragments of turtle shell are known from several Upper Cretaceous formations in Mexico, including Corral de Enmedio and Packard Shale, Sonora; Aguja and Cerro del Pueblo, Coahuila; San Carlos, Chihuahua; El Gallo, Baja California; and Ocozocoautla, Chiapas. Turtles are important members of Upper Cretaceous vertebrate assemblages throughout North America and are considered a useful tool to define biogeographic patterns. The Upper Cretaceous sedimentary rocks exposed in the Aguja Formation record the final transgressive/regressive sequence of the Western Interior Cretaceous Seaway and the subsequent transition from a marine to terrestrial environment. The total area of outcrops is small compared to correlative exposures of these strata elsewhere in North America, in spite of this, numerous invertebrate and vertebrate fossils have been collected. The Aguja Formation in Texas preserves one of the southernmost well-studied Upper Cretaceous (Campanian) terrestrial vertebrate faunas in North America; contrary to what happens with the outcrops in northern Chihuahua, where the record of terrestrial vertebrates is scarce and especially those related to Testudines. Non-marine strata of the Aguja Formation do not appear to be present farther south in Mexico, and this is the reason why the Aguja fauna is relevant to documenting latitudinal variation in Campanian continental faunal associations. In this paper, the richness of Upper Cretaceous turtles collected from three localities within the Aguja Formation in Chihuahua is reviewed. Six taxa are recognized based on shell fragments with distinctive sculpture patterns: stem cryptodires, including cf. Baenidae, c.f. Denazinemys nodosa and cf. Compsemys victa, and crown group cryptodires including trionychians (trionchids and Basilemys sp.) and a kinosternoid (cf. Yelmochelys rosarioae). With the recognition of these taxa, new records are reported for the Aguja Formation (e.g. cf. Yelmochelys rosarioae) and Mexico (e.g. c.f. Denazinemys nodosa). The knowledge of Cretaceous turtle richness of the Aguja Formation and Mexico is increased and confirms the proposal of the variability richness along the North American localities. This latitudinal variability suggests that at any time turtles would have had a climatically controlled northern limit of distribution, and the richness of turtles would have decreased as this limit was reached.
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Turtles are typically important members of Late Cretaceous vertebrate assemblages throughout North America, and are considered a useful tool to define biogeographic patterns. In Mexico, Cretaceous turtles have been recorded in the states of Baja California, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Puebla, and Sonora; specifically the state of Coahuila shows so far, the highest diversity of turtles. In this paper, the diversity of Late Cretaceous turtles from the El Gallo Formation(Baja California) is reviewed. Previously, only Naomichelys speciosa was recognized in this Formation. Based on fragments with distinctive sculpture patterns four additional taxa are recognized, Compsemys victa, Basilemys sp., Trionychidae indet., and cf. Chelydridae. With the recognition of these new taxa, the knowledge of Cretaceous turtles diversity of the El Gallo Formation is increased. This assemblage is unusual compared to other North American turtle assemblages because it suggests the presence of previously unrecognized biogeographic patterns. Here we report the first record of Basilemys sp. from the Late Cretaceous of Mexico and the presence of cf. Chelydridae on the western side of Laramidia.
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