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      Early Jurassic palaeopolar marine reptiles of Siberia

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      Geological Magazine
      Cambridge University Press (CUP)

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          Abstract

          Marine reptile occurrences are rare in the Lower Jurassic Series outside of Europe. Here we describe diverse marine reptile faunas from the Lower Jurassic Series (Pliensbachian and Toarcian stages, including the Toarcian–Aalenian boundary interval) of Eastern Siberia. The taxonomic composition of Toarcian marine reptile assemblages of Siberia highlight their cosmopolitan nature, with the presence of taxa previously known nearly exclusively from coeval strata of Europe, such as ichthyosaurians Temnodontosaurus and Stenopterygius, microcleidid plesiosaurians (including the genus Microcleidus), rhomaleosaurids and basal pliosaurids. The palaeogeographic reconstruction places these faunas to the palaeopolar region, north of the 80th northern parallel and up to the palaeo north pole (upper value within the 95% confidence interval for some of the localities). The materials include remains of both mature and juvenile (or even infant, judging by their very small size and poor ossification) animals, indicating a possibility that these polar seas may serve as a breeding area. The diversity and abundance of plesiosaurians and ichthyosaurians, along with a lack of thalattosuchian remains (considering their wide distribution elsewhere at low latitudes), is an additional argument that plesiosaurians and neoichthyosaurians were able to live and reproduce in a polar environment. There is no certainty whether these animals lived in polar seas permanently, or whether they were taking seasonal migrations. However, given the polar night conditions at high latitudes, the latter seems more plausible, and both these scenarios are further indirect evidence that these groups likely had a high metabolism.

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          Phanerozoic polar wander, palaeogeography and dynamics

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            A Paleolatitude Calculator for Paleoclimate Studies

            Realistic appraisal of paleoclimatic information obtained from a particular location requires accurate knowledge of its paleolatitude defined relative to the Earth’s spin-axis. This is crucial to, among others, correctly assess the amount of solar energy received at a location at the moment of sediment deposition. The paleolatitude of an arbitrary location can in principle be reconstructed from tectonic plate reconstructions that (1) restore the relative motions between plates based on (marine) magnetic anomalies, and (2) reconstruct all plates relative to the spin axis using a paleomagnetic reference frame based on a global apparent polar wander path. Whereas many studies do employ high-quality relative plate reconstructions, the necessity of using a paleomagnetic reference frame for climate studies rather than a mantle reference frame appears under-appreciated. In this paper, we briefly summarize the theory of plate tectonic reconstructions and their reference frames tailored towards applications of paleoclimate reconstruction, and show that using a mantle reference frame, which defines plate positions relative to the mantle, instead of a paleomagnetic reference frame may introduce errors in paleolatitude of more than 15° (>1500 km). This is because mantle reference frames cannot constrain, or are specifically corrected for the effects of true polar wander. We used the latest, state-of-the-art plate reconstructions to build a global plate circuit, and developed an online, user-friendly paleolatitude calculator for the last 200 million years by placing this plate circuit in three widely used global apparent polar wander paths. As a novelty, this calculator adds error bars to paleolatitude estimates that can be incorporated in climate modeling. The calculator is available at www.paleolatitude.org. We illustrate the use of the paleolatitude calculator by showing how an apparent wide spread in Eocene sea surface temperatures of southern high latitudes may be in part explained by a much wider paleolatitudinal distribution of sites than previously assumed.
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              Fidelity and over-wintering of sea turtles.

              While fidelity to breeding sites is well demonstrated in marine turtles, emerging knowledge of migratory routes and key foraging sites is of limited conservation value unless levels of fidelity can be established. We tracked green (Chelonia mydas, n=10) and loggerhead (Caretta caretta, n=10) turtles during their post-nesting migration from the island of Cyprus to their foraging grounds. After intervals of 2-5 years, five of these females were recaptured at the nesting beach and tracked for a second migration. All five used highly similar migratory routes to return to the same foraging and over-wintering areas. None of the females visited other foraging habitats over the study period (units lasted on average 305 days; maximum, 1356 days), moving only to deeper waters during the winter months where they demonstrated extremely long resting dives of up to 10.2h (the longest breath-holding dive recorded for a marine vertebrate). High levels of fidelity and the relatively discrete nature of the home ranges demonstrate that protection of key migratory pathways, foraging and over-wintering sites can serve as an important tool for the future conservation of marine turtles.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
                Journal
                Geological Magazine
                Geol. Mag.
                Cambridge University Press (CUP)
                0016-7568
                1469-5081
                July 2021
                December 28 2020
                July 2021
                : 158
                : 7
                : 1305-1322
                Article
                10.1017/S0016756820001351
                cb9fc262-7ec0-413c-8aa5-6d1e73934bc7
                © 2021

                https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms

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