Fossils of the Santana and Crato Formations

Palaeontological Association Field Guide to Fossils No 5

By David M Martill

Most PalAss guides, making up its wonderful library of guides to fossils, are about UK fossils. This is the only one that concentrates solely on non-UK geological formations.

It is about two formations found in northeast Brazil and so is a complete departure from the usual format. However, this does not detract from its quality and the beautiful fossils that it covers are extremely well-known and widely available commercially.

The Araripe Basin of northeast Brazil contains not one, but two fossil lagerstatten, that is, the Santana and Crato Formations, both from the late Lower Cretaceous age (Aptian-Albian). They produced diverse and excellently preserved angiosperms, gymnosperms, insects, crustaceans, and fishes and tetrapods. They also including the giant pterosaurs for which author, David Martill, has made his name.

The sedimentology of the Araripe Basin is varied and reflects a dynamic basin influenced by regional and global sea level changes, as well as climatic changes related to the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean and the breakup of Gondwana.

Fossils of the Santana and Crato Formations not only summarises the fossil flora and fauna of the Araripe Basin, but is also an attempt to place the fossils in a tectonic, sedimentological and paleoecological context. In particular, it provides an introduction to the geology, structure and stratigraphy, and to the palaeontology of both formations. It then provides five field itineraries and a list of references, along with appendices covering the flora and fauna of both formations, useful addresses and maps.

Given the popularity of the fossils from these formations, this guide is interesting if you want to know more about them.

Fossils of the Santana and Crato Formations: Guide no 5, by David M Martill, The Palaeontological Association, London (1993), 158 pages (paperback), ISBN: 0901702463

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