We describe a new shark fauna from Canada's westernmost Arctic island, Banks Island, Northwest Territories, based upon thousands of shark teeth recovered from lower—middle Eocene sediments of the Cyclic Member (Eureka Sound Formation) on northern Banks Island, Northwest Territories (∼74°N latitude). Based upon palynology, the sediments preserving the shark teeth are late early to middle Eocene in age and likely span the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO). The low-diversity faunal assemblage is dominated by the sand tiger sharks Striatolamia and Carcharias, but also includes relatively rare teeth of the carcharhinid Physogaleus (extinct relative of sharpnose and tiger sharks) and very rare teeth of the odontaspidid Odontaspis winkleri. We also report the occurrence of the ray Myliobatis. Based upon analogy with extant Carcharias taurus and Myliobatis, the presence of Carcharias and Myliobatis on northern Banks Island corroborates the relatively warm sea surface temperatures estimated by others for the Eocene Arctic Ocean. We hypothesize that the low diversity of the Banks Island shark fauna, in comparison with other early Eocene brackish, shallow-marine chondrichthyan assemblages such as the Abbey Wood (U.K.) fauna, is probably due to environmental factors, including reduced salinity.
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