A fish assemblage from an early Miocene horizon from Jabal Zaltan, Libya

Thodoris Argyriou, Todd D. Cook, Ahmed M. Muftah, Paris Pavlakis, Noel T. Boaz, Alison M. Murray

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24 Scopus citations


Recent excavations and prospecting in the early to middle Miocene deposits of the Maradah Formation in Jabal Zaltan, Libya, yielded a diverse fish assemblage coming from an early Miocene locality. The material described here includes more than 18 marine and freshwater taxa most of which were previously unreported from the area. Jabal Zaltan is one of the very few early Miocene Afroarabian fossil sites that produced such a diverse fish sample. Therefore, the fossils described here provide a unique insight into the composition of the early Miocene fish faunas from the northern African coast; a critical time period for faunas of the continent, as contact with Eurasia ended 100 million years of African isolation. In addition, the Jabal Zaltan fossils help consolidate the validity of Galeocerdo mayumbensis and extend its geographic range to include the Tethys. The Maradah deposits also host the first occurrences of two genera (. Pteromylaeus, Distichodus) in the fossil record. The fish finds support the presumed depositional environment that of tropical shallow estuarine to deltaic conditions, and the freshwater fishes document the presence of a modern-type Nilosudanian fauna containing elements with both African and Asian affinities. The Jabal Zaltan ichthyofauna, with its diversity of taxa, has the potential to become a key reference fauna for future studies of early Miocene African fishes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-101
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of African Earth Sciences
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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