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A new species of carcineretid crab, Carcineretesplanetarius, is described from the Upper Cretaceous (lower Maastrichtian) Barton Creek Dolomite at Albion Island, Belize. The age is based on the stratigraphic range of associated nerineid gastropods and correlation with nannoplankton, benthic foraminifera, and the other known congeneric species of crab found in Jamaica. Confirmation of this age aids in constraining the timing of ejecta deposits of the Chicxulub impact found at the top of Barton Creek Dolomite exposed on Albion Island. Paleoenvironmental and paleoecological analyses suggest that these crabs were swimmers in lagoonal settings, capable of burrowing a few centimeters into the mud for protection.
Wetland research in northern Belize provides the earliest evidence for development of agriculture in the Maya Lowlands. Pollen data confirm the introduction of maize and manioc before 3000 B.C. Dramatic deforestation, beginning ca. 2500 B.C. and intensifying in wetland environments ca. 1500-1300 B.C., marks an expansion of agriculture, which occurred in the context of a mixed foraging economy. By 1000 B.C. a rise in groundwater levels led farmers to construct drainage ditches coeval with the emergence of Maya complex society ca. 1000-400 B.C. Field manipulations often involved minor modifications of natural hummocks. Canal systems are not as extensive in northern Belize as previously reported, nor is there evidence of artificially raised planting platforms. By the Classic period, wetland fields were flooded and mostly abandoned.
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