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El Breal de Orocual (Pleistocene to of Venezuela)

Where: Monagas, Venezuela (9.8° N, 63.3° W: paleocoordinates 9.8° N, 63.1° W)

• coordinate stated in text

• local area-level geographic resolution

When: Mesa Formation, Early/Lower Pleistocene to Early/Lower Pleistocene (2.6 - 0.1 Ma)

• The Mesa Formation is early to middle Pleistocene age, based on thermoluminescence dates of 0.5 to 1.0 Ma (Carbón et al., 1992).

•Ruiz-Ramoni et al. 2017: El Breal de Orocual locality ORS-16 pit has been dated biochronologically to the Late Pliocene e Early Pleistocene based on the taxa Chapalmatherium sp., Pachyarmatherium leiseyi, and Smilodon gracilis (Rincon et al., 2009, 2011).

•Rincón et al. 2009: The deposit appears to be emplaced within the Mesa Formation, the age of which is assumed to be Pleistocene based on its stratigraphic position with respect to the Pliocene Las Piedras Formation (González de Juana, et al., 1980:713).

• formation-level stratigraphic resolution

Environment/lithology: terrestrial; tar and tar

• The faunal assemblage suggests that the El Breal de Orocual paleoenvironment was similar to that of the Venezuelan llanos today: an extensive savanna with rivers and patches of gallery forest (Rincón,et al., 2007, 2009).

•Ruiz-Ramoni et al. 2017: The fauna from ORS-16 consists of 25 mammal taxa including birds, testudines, and a crocodilian, as well as Cebus. All of these taxa indicate that the region was an extensive savanna with water bodies, and patches of gallery forest (Rincon et al., 2007, 2009, 2011; Fortier and Rincon, 2013). The presence of a capuchin monkey, very probably arboreal, supports this paleoecological reconstruction.

• This deposit has been interpreted as a tar seep deposit lying in the Mesa Formation (Hackley et al., 2006), a unit that consists of fluvio-deltaic strata.

•Rincón et al. 2009: The bones and sediments were clearly impregnated with asphalt at some time in the past, but no fluid asphalt is present in the deposit today. Solidified asphalt blocks are exposed in cross section in the wall of the trench in several places. These blocks are surrounded by a weathered corona of badly degraded wood, and appear to represent hollow cavities within logs or branches that were filled with asphalt that could not escape when the rest of the deposit was drained.

Size classes: macrofossils, mesofossils

Collection methods: Museum repositories: OR (El Breal de Orocual collection, hosted in Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cient ́ıficas, Caracas, Venezuela)

Primary reference: A. D. Rincón, F. J. Prevosti, and G. E. Parra. 2011. New saber-toothed cat records (Felidae: Machairodontinae) for the Pleistocene of Venezuela, and the Great American Biotic Interchange. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 31(2):468-478 [C. Jaramillo/C. Suarez-Gomez] more details

Purpose of describing collection: taxonomic analysis

PaleoDB collection 144977: authorized by Carlos Jaramillo, entered by Catalina Suarez-Gomez on 24.05.2013, edited by Philip Mannion and Grace Varnham

Creative Commons license: CC BY (attribution)