New trigonoid bivalves from the Albian (Early Cretaceous) of Alexander Island, Antarctic Peninsula: systematics, paleoecology, and austral Cretaceous paleobiogeography
Newly discovered trigonioid bivalves are systematically described from the Late Albian of the Fossil Bluff Group of Alexander Island, Antarctic Peninsula. The fauna includes Nototrigonia (Nototrigonia) ponticula Skwarko, N. (Callitrigonia) offsetensis n. sp., Eselaevitrigonia macdonaldi n. sp., Pterotrigonia (Pisotrigonia) capricornia (Skwarko), and Pacitrigonia praenuntians n. sp. It represents the first Albian trigonioid fauna described from the Antarctic. It is also the first published record of the Nototrigoniinae (excluding Pacitrigonia) outside Australasia. Paleoecologically, this fauna represents the shallowest and highest energy molluscan assemblage from the Fossil Bluff Group and occurs near the base of a significant transgressive unit, the Mars Glacier Member of the Neptune Glacier Formation. The paleogeography of Austral Cretaceous trigonioids is reviewed. Endemic centers are identified in India–east Africa, southern South America, and Australasia. Only one trigonioid genus, Pacitrigonia, had its origin in the Antarctic. During the earliest Cretaceous, cosmopolitan trigonioid genera occurred in Antarctica. In the mid-Cretaceous faunal similarity of Antarctica with Australasia was strong, and in the latest Cretaceous affinity with southern South America increased.