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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

Fossil snakes (Squamata, Serpentes) from the tar pits of Venezuela: taxonomic, palaeoenvironmental, and palaeobiogeographical implications for the North of South America during the Cenozoic/Quaternary boundary

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Onary, Silvio [1] ; Rincon, Ascanio D. [2] ; Hsiou, Annie S. [1]
Total Authors: 3
[1] Univ Sao Paulo, Fac Filosofia Ciencias & Letras Ribeirao Preto, Lab Paleontol Ribeirao Preto, Dept Biol, Ribeirao Preto, SP - Brazil
[2] Inst Venezolano Invest Cient, Lab Paleontol, Ctr Ecol, Caracas - Venezuela
Total Affiliations: 2
Document type: Journal article
Source: PeerJ; v. 6, AUG 14 2018.
Web of Science Citations: 0

Background. Tar seep deposits in South America historically are well-known for their rich record of fossil mammals, contrasting with only a few formal reports of reptile remains. Here we report a new snake fauna recovered from two tar pits from Venezuela. The fossil remains come from two localities: (a) El Breal de Orocual, which comprises an inactive tar seep estimated to be Plio/Pleistocene in age; and (b) Mene de Inciarte, an active surface asphalt deposit with an absolute age dating to the late Pleistocene. Methods. The taxonomic identity of all specimens was assessed via consultation of the relevant literature and comparison with extant specimens. The taxonomic assignments are supported by detailed anatomical description. Results. The Mene de Inciarte snake fauna comprises vertebral remains identified as the genus Epicrates sp. (Boidae), indeterminate viperids, and several isolated vertebrae attributable to ``Colubridae{''} (Colubroidea, sensu Zaher et al., 2009). Amongst the vertebral assemblage at El Breal de Orocual, one specimen is assigned to the genus Corallus sp. (Boidae), another to cf. Micrurus (Elapidae), and several others to ``Colubrids{''} (Colubroides, sensu Zaher et al., 2009) and the Viperidae family. Conclusions. These new records provide valuable insight into the diversity of snakes in the north of South America during the Neogene/Quaternary boundary. The snake fauna of El Breal de Orocual and Mene de Inciarte demonstrates the presence of Boidae, Viperidae, ``colubrids{''}, and the oldest South American record of Elapidae. The presence of Corallus, Epicrates, and viperids corroborates the mosaic palaeoenvironmental conditions of El Breal de Orocual. The presence of Colubroides within both deposits sheds light on the palaeobiogeographical pattern of caenophidians snake colonization of South America and is consistent with the hypothesis of two episodes of dispersion of Colubroides to the continent. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 17/00845-1 - Origins and macroevolution of Booidea (Squamata, Serpentes) using phylogenetic and ancestral area reconstruction analysis
Grantee:Silvio Yuji Onary Alves
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
FAPESP's process: 11/14080-0 - Cretaceous and Tertiary (Paleogene/Neogene) Squamates (Reptilia, Lepidosauria) from the Bauru, Aiuruoca and Acre basins: systematics, evolution and palaeoenvironments
Grantee:Annie Schmaltz Hsiou
Support type: Research Grants - Young Investigators Grants