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Carnets Geol., formerly known as "Carnets de Geologie - Notebooks on Geology", is an open-access journal published electronically, which has been established to provide a means of presenting papers in the field of sedimentology, stratigraphy, and paleontology, but submissions on other subjects will be considered for publication.

Current Issue

Vol. 21 No. 10 (2021)
					View Vol. 21 No. 10 (2021)

Another thermophilic "Miocene survivor" from the Italian Pliocene: A geologically young occurrence of the pelagic eagle ray Aetobatus in the Euro-Mediterranean region.-  Aetobatus (Myliobatiformes: Aetobatidae) is a living genus of eagle rays that occurs in shallow-marine, tropical and subtropical environments of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Nowadays, Aetobatus does not inhabit the cool- to warm-temperate European and Mediterranean waters, though it is known from this broad region by virtue of several fossil teeth ranging chronostratigraphically from the lower Palaeogene to the upper Neogene. The present paper reports on a fossil aetobatid tooth discovered in mid-Pliocene (upper Zanclean to lower Piacenzian, 3.82-3.19 Ma) marine deposits exposed in the vicinities of Certaldo (Tuscany, Italy) and identified as belonging to †Aetobatus cf. cappettai. This specimen comprises the youngest occurrence of Aetobatus along the coasts of mainland Europe; furthermore, together with previous finds from roughly coeval deposits of Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain), it represents the most recent record of this genus in the whole Euro-Mediterranean region. In light of the environmental preferences of extant Aetobatus spp., our discovery suggests palaeoenvironmental conditions favourable to the persistence of tropical/subtropical taxa of "Miocene survivors" along the Pliocene coasts of Tuscany. In addition, it raises the question of whether or not the Messinian Salinity Crisis really resulted in the complete collapse of the Mediterranean marine biota and in the subsequent recolonisation of the Mediterranean Basin from the adjoining Atlantic waters and/or scattered marginal intrabasinal refugia at the beginning of the Pliocene. The possibility of Aetobatus recolonising the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez Canal in the near future is discussed.

Published: 2021-08-29

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