The evolution of the earliest representatives of the genus Orbitoides: Implications for Upper Cretaceous biostratigraphy

Sergi Albrich, Gianluca Frijia, Mariano Parente, Esmeralda Caus

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19 Citations (Scopus)


The biostratigraphy of Campanian-Maastrichtian carbonate platforms is largely based on the larger foraminiferal genus Orbitoides. However, while the taxonomy and the chronostratigraphic age of the younger species of this genus are well established, there are still many controversies on the earliest species. We have restudied their morphological characters using a large collection of samples from the type-localities and from continuous sections in the southern Pyrenees. Based on these new observations, the long forgotten species O.sanctae-pelagiae is reinstated, while O.dordoniensis is considered a junior synonym. Successive populations of O.hottingeri, O.sanctae-pelagiae and O.douvillei show gradual morphological changes in time marked by an increase in the size and complexity of the macrospheric embryonal apparatus, an increase of the size of the adult specimens of both generations and the progressive appearance and development of true lateral chamberlets. The Font de les Bagasses Unit in the southern Pyrenees preserves a high-resolution archive of the evolution of the earliest Orbitoides. Strontium isotope stratigraphy indicates that the oldest species, O.hottingeri, made its first appearance in the earliest Campanian, close to the Santonian-Campanian boundary, and was replaced by O.sanctae-pelagiae at a level closely corresponding to the boundary between the Placenticeras bidorsatum and Menabites delawarensis ammonite zones. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-34
JournalCretaceous Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Biostratigraphy
  • Larger foraminifera
  • Late cretaceous
  • Orbitoides
  • Strontium isotope stratigraphy


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