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Richest marine reptile fossil bed along Africa's South Atlantic coast is dated at 71.5 mya
Date:5/15/2014

ge of the rocks hadn't previously been assessed because Africa's South Atlantic shore noted for its puzzle-like fit with South America has few localities with well-exposed rocks of this age. Also, it has been essentially unexplored by scientific expeditions since the 1960s largely because war and unrest prevented exploration in the previous century.

The new measurements stem from the work of Projecto PaleoAngola, an international team of scientists who in recent years have explored Angola and discovered an abundance of fossils. Their discoveries include the bones of dinosaurs, whales, mosasaurs and other ancient life from what is the richest marine reptile fossil bed along the South Atlantic coast.

Strganac and his co-authors report their findings in the Journal of African Earth Sciences. The article, "Carbon isotope stratigraphy, magnetostratigraphy, and 40Ar/39AR age of the Cretaceous South Atlantic coast, Namibe Basin, Angola," is available online through open access at http://bit.ly/1v4r8xi.

"This improvement in understanding the ages of the rocks along the shore is a great first step in trying to understand the climatic and evolutionary events that accompanied the growth of this ocean," said vertebrate paleontologist Louis L. Jacobs, also a co-author on the study and co-leader of Projecto PaleoAngola. Jacobs describes Angola as "an untapped frontier" for fossil hunters.

Aids in new knowledge of climate, temperature and vegetation

Scientists have recognized since the 1960s that ancient supercontinents split apart and their remnants drifted to the current positions of today's continents over the course of millions of years. One of the results was the creation of vast new oceans. Little is known of the vertebrate life that lived during that time along the eastern and western margins of the emerging South Atlantic Ocean.

Fossils being discovered now
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Contact: Margaret Allen
mallen@smu.edu
214-768-7664
Southern Methodist University
Source:Eurekalert  

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Richest marine reptile fossil bed along Africa's South Atlantic coast is dated at 71.5 mya
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