Oligocene fossil assemblages from Lake Nanning (Yongning Formation; Nanning Basin, Guangxi Province, SE China): Biodiversity and evolutionary implications

TitleOligocene fossil assemblages from Lake Nanning (Yongning Formation; Nanning Basin, Guangxi Province, SE China): Biodiversity and evolutionary implications
TypeJournal Article
Year2018
Author(s)Ying, T., Shaw, D. and Schneider, S.
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Volume505
Pagination100-119
URLhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2018.05.033
People Links Simon Schneider
Keywords long-lived lakes endemic lake radiation Viviparidae Unionidae palynology

Abstract

Sediments of the long-lived Lake Nanning in southern China (Guangxi Province) have yielded rich and diversified fossil biota of Oligocene age. The history of research on these fossils is documented herein, and revised lists of the flora and fauna recorded from Lake Nanning are provided. Based on newly collected data, the mollusc fauna and palynology of the lake sediments are assessed. Gastropods (Viviparidae, Stenothyridae), bivalves (Unionidae), ostracods and fish have successfully radiated in Lake Nanning, and developed a variety of endemic species. Shell thickening, spines, carinae, nodes and restricted apertures in bivalves and gastropods are interpreted as armour to prevent predation by giant shell crushing carp. Four different, successive macro-mollusc associations are documented, and can likely be used for relative dating of the lake sediments. Palynomorph assemblages from different lake stages are dominated by cool temperate conifer pollen and freshwater algae. The new findings suggest that the sediments of the Yongning Formation were deposited during or after Eocene–Oligocene cooling and are Oligocene in age. This also supports the biostratigraphy based on rare mammal finds. The fossils of Lake Nanning are outstandingly well preserved and provide a great opportunity to study endemic lake radiations. Besides, the lake sediments are one of the most important Oligocene climate archives of the region.