Saurav Dutta, Devapriya Chattopadhyay
PALAIOS 37 (3), 73-87, (28 March 2022) https://doi.org/10.2110/palo.2020.040
Tectonic changes have influenced the evolution of the marine community by changing the land and seaway configuration through time. Two such events during the Oligo-Miocene—the closure of the Tethyan seaway due to development of the Gomphotherium Landbridge leading to separation of the Arabian Sea from proto-Mediterranean Sea (∼ 19 Ma) and significant uplift of the Tibetan Plateau marking the initiation of the monsoon (∼ 16 Ma)—represent a classic case of tectonic shift influencing the regional environment of the Indian subcontinent. We investigated the taxonomic and body-size related response of the shallow marine fauna to this regional change using bivalves from 11 time-constrained shellbeds of the Kutch Basin (western India) from three formations—Maniyara Fort (Chattian), Khari Nadi (Aquitanian) and Chhasra (Burdigalian-Langian) representing a time span of ∼ 9 Ma (24.4–15 Ma).
Our collection of over 2000 individuals represents a total of 15 families and 61 morphospecies. The fossils are predominantly calcitic in nature and families of aragonitic composition are often preserved as molds indicating a potential negative effect of diagenesis. The taphonomic nature, however, does not vary substantially across shellbeds and hence, less likely produced a temporal pattern. The five most abundant species, Ostrea latimarginata, Ostrea angulata, Talochlamys articulata, Anomia primaeva, and Placuna lamellata occur in all the formations. The species composition of the Maniyara Fort Formation is substantially different from those of the younger formations, implying the possible effect of biogeographic separation. The absence of proto-Mediterranean taxa in Oligocene shellbeds supports limited faunal exchange between the Mediterranean-Iranian Province (MIP) and the western Indian Province (WIP) as early as ∼ 24.4 Ma (Chattian). Faunal exchange, however, continued between the WIP and the adjacent Eastern African-Arabian Province (EAAP). Formation-specific evenness shows a monotonic decrease from the Maniyara Fort to the Chhasra Formation. However, shellbed-specific analyses of diversity and body size do not show a strong directional trend through time and supports the stasis model. Although it is difficult to rule out the negative influence of taphonomy on the diversity of the studied fauna, the Oligo-Miocene marine bivalve fauna of the Kutch Basin demonstrates little or no influence of the Tethyan closure and Himalayan upliftment on the diversity through time.