Stable isotopes, niche partitioning and the paucity of elasmosaur remains in the Maastrichtian type area

Anne S. Schulp, Renée Janssen, Remy R. Van Baal, John W M Jagt, Eric W A Mulder, Hubert B. Vonhof

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Remains of elasmosaurid plesiosaurs are exceedingly rare in the type-Maastrichtian strata (Late Cretaceous, southeast Netherlands and northeast Belgium), in stark contrast to relatively common skeletal remains of mosasaurs. Here, we present an analysis of δ13C stable isotope values for tooth enamel of two elasmosaur teeth from the type Maastrichtian. The δ13C signal is a proxy for foraging area, trophic level and diving behaviour, the net value of which in these rare elasmosaurs turns out to be not noticeably different from that for the much commoner mosasaurs in the type Maastrichtian. Therefore, the rarity of elasmosaurs in the area probably reflects a primary near-absence of such reptiles during the latest Cretaceous, rather than a taphonomic artefact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-33
Number of pages5
JournalNetherlands Journal of Geosciences - Geologie en Mijnbouw
Volume96
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

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niche partitioning
Maastrichtian
stable isotope
tooth
Cretaceous
diving behavior
skeletal remains
enamel
rarity
reptile
trophic level
artifact

Keywords

  • Elasmosaurs
  • Late Cretaceous
  • Mosasaurs
  • northwest Europe
  • Plesiosaurs
  • δC

Cite this

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abstract = "Remains of elasmosaurid plesiosaurs are exceedingly rare in the type-Maastrichtian strata (Late Cretaceous, southeast Netherlands and northeast Belgium), in stark contrast to relatively common skeletal remains of mosasaurs. Here, we present an analysis of δ13C stable isotope values for tooth enamel of two elasmosaur teeth from the type Maastrichtian. The δ13C signal is a proxy for foraging area, trophic level and diving behaviour, the net value of which in these rare elasmosaurs turns out to be not noticeably different from that for the much commoner mosasaurs in the type Maastrichtian. Therefore, the rarity of elasmosaurs in the area probably reflects a primary near-absence of such reptiles during the latest Cretaceous, rather than a taphonomic artefact.",
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Stable isotopes, niche partitioning and the paucity of elasmosaur remains in the Maastrichtian type area. / Schulp, Anne S.; Janssen, Renée; Van Baal, Remy R.; Jagt, John W M; Mulder, Eric W A; Vonhof, Hubert B.

In: Netherlands Journal of Geosciences - Geologie en Mijnbouw, Vol. 96, No. 1, 01.03.2017, p. 29-33.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Janssen, Renée

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AB - Remains of elasmosaurid plesiosaurs are exceedingly rare in the type-Maastrichtian strata (Late Cretaceous, southeast Netherlands and northeast Belgium), in stark contrast to relatively common skeletal remains of mosasaurs. Here, we present an analysis of δ13C stable isotope values for tooth enamel of two elasmosaur teeth from the type Maastrichtian. The δ13C signal is a proxy for foraging area, trophic level and diving behaviour, the net value of which in these rare elasmosaurs turns out to be not noticeably different from that for the much commoner mosasaurs in the type Maastrichtian. Therefore, the rarity of elasmosaurs in the area probably reflects a primary near-absence of such reptiles during the latest Cretaceous, rather than a taphonomic artefact.

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