The Cretaceous Tetori biota in Japan and its evolutionary significance for terrestrial ecosystems in Asia

Cretaceous Research

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DOI: 10.1016/j.cretres.2005.11.006



Cretaceous nonmarine deposits are widely distributed on the Asian continent and include various kinds of zoo- and phyto-assemblages. The Tetori Group is one of the most important Mesozoic terrestrial deposits in East Asia, and for this reason its geology, stratigraphy, and biota have been studied intensively by our group for more than a decade. We present the main results herein. We confirm that formations as lithostratigraphic units are the best geological correlation tools for the Tetori Group and the best tools for a geological mapping of the group. Although subgroups have previously been used for correlation, proper designation and evaluation of subgroups is required if they are to be used effectively, and we show that previous geological correlation of the Tetori Group has been confused by inappropriate definition of these subgroups. We located fossil localities including reported zoo- and phyto-assemblages in the framework of formations correlated by our stratigraphy. The occurrence of zoo-assemblages was probably controlled by environments (i.e., most are in situ), but phyto-assemblages were mostly transported and rapidly buried by high-energy river systems. Although two distinct dinosaur faunas and four floras have been named for the zoo- and phyto-assemblages in the Tetori Group, in reality there is only one Tetori Dinosaur Fauna and one Tetori Flora, as proved by careful correlation. Two types of zoo-assemblages co-occur in the Tetori Group: vertebrate species whose ancestors flourished in the Jurassic (as found in China), and their descendants from the Late Cretaceous. As the latter modern type of assemblage is more abundant than the former, changeable environments at the continental margin probably accelerated evolution of more modern species. We can employ nonmarine molluscan species as geological correlation tools in some cases, i.e., when their taxon ranges are well-confirmed by independent evidence. However, because freshwater molluscan species and terrestrial vertebrate species had many opportunities to move to optimum habitat as environments changed through time on the Cretaceous Asian continent, their correlation potential is uncertain. Many nonmarine molluscan species from the Japanese and Chinese Cretaceous had their stratigraphic occurrences controlled by changing environments. ?? 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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The Cretaceous Tetori biota in Japan and its evolutionary significance for terrestrial ecosystems in Asia
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Cretaceous Research
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