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Isotopic analysis of Micropogonias furnieri otoliths were used to get insight into palaeoceanographic conditions in the Guanabara Bay and Saquarema Lagoon, Rio de Janeiro state (RJ), located on the southeastern coast of Brazil, under upwelling influence of the Cabo Frio system. Archaeological otoliths come from two Holocene shellmounds (or sambaquis): Galeão and Beirada. For the first time, radiocarbon analysis using high accuracy techniques were performed at Galeão. Age range was determined to be between 5820 and 4980 cal BP, which extends the chronology of human settlement in the Guanabara Bay. Micro-samples of the otoliths were collected sequentially from the core to the edge, to provide continuous δ18O and δ13C isotopic profiles over the lifetime of the individual fish. Derived-δ18Ooto palaeotemperature estimates vary according to seasonality, resulting in a palaeoceanographic variation between 8 to 31°C for Guanabara Bay and 8 and 28°C for the Saquarema Lagoon. Our data indicate that whitemouth croakers were captured during the Middle Holocene from the Guanabara Bay and Saguarema Lagoon and resided in cooler temperatures compared to temperatures of current conditions.
The spider crabs Willinachoides santanai n. gen. n. sp. from the early-middle Miocene of north Brazil and Paradasygyius rodriguezi n. sp. from the late Miocene of Venezuela are described and illustrated. Additionally, Eoinachoides senni Van Straelen, 1933, from the late Oligocene–early Miocene of Venezuela, is redescribed based on photographs of the holotype, and the diagnosis of Eoinachoides latispinosus Carriol, Muizon, and Secretan, 1987, from the late Miocene of Peru, is emended also on the basis of photographs of the holotype. The past distribution points to a Tethyan background for the current amphi-American Inachoididae, with the oldest fossil species known from the early Eocene Tethyan regions (Pakistan and Italy), and from the late Eocene–late Pliocene of the Americas. The high number of monotypic genera in Inachoididae could be the result of rapid dispersion followed by diversification during the Neogene of the tropical America, facilitated by global and regional events (e.g., eustatic sea level changes, the Mi-1 Oligocene-Miocene boundary global cooling, the global warming period of the Middle Miocene Climate maximum, closure of the Panama Isthmus, and marine incursions into the Amazon Basin). The shoaling and final closure of the Central American Seaway are thought to have critically affected the evolution of the inachoidids and shaped their current distribution patterns.
The radiocarbon (14C) chronology of hunter-fisher-gatherers’ archaeological settlements along the Brazilian coast is usually based on mollusk shells, charcoal from hearths, and eventually human bones. However, fish otoliths are found in several archaeological contexts and may represent a reliable option as a chronological record. In this work, we compare the 14C dates of whitemouth croakers (Micropogonias furnieri) otoliths with dates obtained from other materials (shell and charcoal), collected from shellmounds on the coast of Rio de Janeiro, with the aim of improving the accuracy in the 14C dating of Brazilian shellmounds, strengthening the comprehension of the native populations’ occupational trends and the coeval palaeoceanographic context. Based on x-ray diffraction results for archaeological otoliths, their geochemical composition indicates minimal diagenesis effect over time even under burial conditions in the studied sites. The comparison between otolith dates and dates obtained from other proxies revealed similar results but with decreased deviations in otolith dates in all of the studied sites.
Considering the impact of coastal dynamics on the radiocarbon (14C) marine reservoir effect (MRE), upwelling has the potential of enhancing marine influence, usually 14C depleted. Freshwater input can contribute either to increased reservoir offsets, when dead carbon from rock weathering is available, but also towards an atmospheric 14C signal, when the presence of terrestrial organic matter from catchment prevails. An overview of the MRE studies based on shellmounds on the coast of Rio de Janeiro reveals a pattern of negative local corrections for Saquarema and Rio das Ostras but positive values for Cabo Frio island, suggesting the presence of cold upwelling waters in Cabo Frio at 1.6–1.2 cal kBP. New results for a shellmound on the Ilha Grande island, in the western portion of the Rio de Janeiro coast, revealed a negative value at about 3 ka. We discuss distribution of MRE values and temporal variability in the region and their relation to ocean dynamics, continental input and the choice of marine organisms used for ∆R determination. A comparison of local reservoir offsets for the Saquarema region obtained from fish otolith and mollusk shells revealed similar ΔR distributions, showing that both materials can be equally used.
Among other zooarchaeological remains, terrestrial snails’ shells from the Thaumastus and Megalobulimus genera are found in some Brazilian shellmounds, presenting a potential substitute for charcoal in radiocarbon dating analyses, as reliable representatives of the atmospheric carbon isotopic ratio. In this paper, we present statistically similar results of both charcoal and land snails samples from the same archaeological contexts in three settlements on the coast of Rio de Janeiro. The Manitiba I shellmound results range from 4.2 to 3.7 ka cal BP (95.4%), contemporary with the Saquarema shellmound, occupied during the period from 4.3 to 3.6 ka cal BP (95.4%). For the Usiminas shellmound, two groups of samples revealed different periods of time for two occupational layers from 2.3 to 2.1 ka cal BP (95.4%) and from 1.6 and 1.3 ka cal BP (95.4%). A model constraining each group of samples to within a single phase has a general agreement of 97% with only two outliers out of 22 dates, yielding minimum individual agreement of 74% and 7% posterior outlier probability for Saquarema shells. These are good examples of sites in which the occupation chronology can be successfully obtained by the radiocarbon dating of land snails.
We report the discovery of an extremely rich, previously undescribed Caribbean late Miocene to early Pliocene ichthyofauna represented by one hundred forty species of elasmobranchs and teleosteans from the Cubagua Formation, northeastern Venezuela. The fauna exhibits significant ecological differences compared with common neritic Caribbean Neogene assemblages. The bathymetric distributions of taxa, based on living counterparts, ranges from 0 to 100 m depth. The exceptional co-occurrence of deep water (epipelagic, mesopelagic and benthopelagic), and shallow water (neritic) taxa is best interpreted as the consequence of ocean upwelling in the proximity to the deep-water Cariaco Trench. Patterns of predator and prey are established and corroborate upwelling. Special remarks are made regarding previously unknown late Miocene to early Pliocene Caribbean ichthyofaunas, the absence or rarity of reported fossil taxa in the Recent Caribbean fauna, and a paleo- upwelling indicator (Lampadena jacksoni new species).
Two new Neogene South American croakers of the genus Plagioscion (Perciformes, Sciaenidae) from marine sediments, Plagioscion marinus and Plagioscion urumacoensis, are described. These are otoliths from the lower Miocene Castillo, Cantaure and upper Miocene Urumaco Formations of the Neogene Venezuelan basin, respectively. An additional undetermined fossil species of Plagioscion was also collected from the upper Miocene to lower Pliocene Cubagua Formation. Using the function total fish length = 13.7187 + 50.8399 ∗ Ln otolith size, the total length of P. marinus n. sp. is inferred to be from 6.05 to 38.1 cm, and for the specimens of P. urumacoensis n. sp. it is 63.3 cm. The length distribution of the fossil species overlaps the length distribution of the living freshwater species.
The goliath grouper (family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephelinae) inhabits tropical and subtropical waters. The Epinephelinae serranids are comprised of about 159 species in 15 genera (Heemstra and Randall, 1993) and are represented in all oceans. According to Heemstra and Randall (1993) the goliath grouper Epinephelus itajara (Lichtenstein, 1822) occurs in the eastern Atlantic Ocean from Florida to Brazil, throughout the Gulf of Mexico and in the Caribbean Sea, in the western Atlantic Ocean from Senegal to the Congo, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of California to Peru. The maximum size is about 250 cm total length and they can exceed 320 kg in weight. The grouper Epinephelus lanceolatus (Bloch, 1790) occurs throughout the Indo-Pacific region, from the Red Sea to Algoa Bay, South Africa, and eastward to the Hawaiian and Pitcairn Islands, and in the western Pacific Ocean from southern Japan to Australia in the south. The maximum size is about 231 cm total length (Schultz, 1966) and 400 kg in weight (Fourmanoir and Laboute, 1976). These two species are the largest serranids in the world. Sadovy and Eklund (1999) noted that males reach a maximum age of 26 and females 37 years in a population of E. itajara.
The Saquarema archaeological site, on the Atlantic coast of the Rio de Janeiro State, is one of many shellmounds built on the Brazilian coast by hunter-gatherer populations during the Holocene. We used archaeological material from this site with the aim of evaluating the marine reservoir effect (MRE) in the region. Radiocarbon ages of 45 marine and 6 terrestrial samples from this shellmound provided data for assessing the MRE and the influences of freshwater and seasonal coastal marine upwelling in this specific locality. Samples of charcoal, fish otoliths, and mollusk shells were analyzed and the 14C dates were modeled in the OxCal platform to determine the marine reservoir correction. The result obtained is R = 265 ± 70 14C yr and the offset ΔR was found to be –140 ± 66 14C yr. To support the accuracy of this value for correcting conventional 14C marine ages, taxonomic analyses of the samples were performed.
Shellmounds are archaeological sites found across the Brazilian coast and form an important record of the human occupation of this area during the Holocene. The presence of both terrestrial and marine remains within the same archaeological context enables the comparison of different carbon reservoirs. There is only a small number of similar studies for the coast of south-southeastern Brazil. Previous work was based on the analysis of pre-bomb shells from museum collections and paired charcoal/marine shells from archaeological sites. This article assesses the potential use of terrestrial shells as representative of atmospheric carbon reservoir in the calculation of the marine reservoir effect (MRE) of the southeastern Brazilian coast. The presence of both terrestrial and marine shells over several archaeological layers represents a great potential for calculating reservoir corrections and their temporal variation.
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