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A late Cretaceous elasmosaurid of the Tethys Sea margins (southern Negev, Israel), and its palaeogeographic reconstruction

  • R. Rabinovich (a1), H. Ginat (a2), M. Schudack (a3), U. Schudack (a3), S. Ashckenazi-Polivoda (a2) and G. Rogolsky (a2)...

Recent research on the late Cretaceous (Santonian), Menuha Formation of the southern Negev, Israel, has revealed several unconformities in its exposures, spatial changes in its lithofacies, agglomerations of its carbonate concretions and nodules at a variety of localities. At Menuha Ridge Site 20, portions of a new elasmosaurid skeleton were found within deposits of laminated bio-micritic muddy limestone with thin phosphatic layers. The sediments are rich in microfossils – foraminifera and ostracods preserved in the carbonate mud. Planktic foraminifera species (e.g. Dicarinella asymetrica, D. concavata, Sigalia decoratissima carpatica) appear as well as species indicative of opportunistic life strategies typical of a forming upwelling system in the region. Marine ostracods (e.g. Brachycythere angulata, Cythereis rosenfeldi evoluta) and many echinoid spines suggest an open marine environment. Using a multidisciplinary approach, we offer here a reconstruction of the micro-regional palaeogeography along a segment of the ancient shoreline of the Tethys Sea during the Santonian, and explain the environmental conditions under which the various fauna lived. This new elasmosaurid is examined in light of the above and compared with evidence from the adjacent areas along the margins of the southern Tethys Sea.

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      A late Cretaceous elasmosaurid of the Tethys Sea margins (southern Negev, Israel), and its palaeogeographic reconstruction
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      A late Cretaceous elasmosaurid of the Tethys Sea margins (southern Negev, Israel), and its palaeogeographic reconstruction
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      A late Cretaceous elasmosaurid of the Tethys Sea margins (southern Negev, Israel), and its palaeogeographic reconstruction
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