The "Continental Intercalaire" deposits of southern Tunisia preserve one of the most diverse Early Cretaceous vertebrate fauna from Africa, consisting of elasmobranchs, actinopterygians, sarcopterygians, turtles, crocodyliforms, pterosaurs, and non-avian dinosaurs. Vertebrate remains representative of both marine and fluvial environments have been historically referred to a specific bonebed within the Chenini Member, which crops out extensively in the Tataouine region. A stratigraphic revision of the mainly siliciclastic deposits of the Douiret and the Aïn El Guettar formations in the area based on new sedimentological and paleontological data is presented. Data collected indicate the presence of multiple fossil-bearing strata encompassing the stratigraphic interval from the Berriasian to the Albian and document faunal variation through time as well as major environmental and climatic changes. Detailed sedimentological analysis combined with biostratigraphic correlation performed at a basin scale indicate lateral facies variability within each formation as a result of tectonically and climatically driven zonations within the Tataouine Basin in the Early Cretaceous. Furthermore, proposed stratigraphic correlations indicate that vertebrate remains previously referred to the fluvial Chenini Member (and in particular theropod and sauropod dinosaurs) are instead representative of a transgressive deposit which mark the base of the overlying Oum ed Diab Member.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth-Surface Processes