The transition from Eocene to Oligocene and its implications in the terrestrial realm has been a focal target for Cenozoic climate and environment research as it is widely considered the most dramatic climatic shift of the past 50 million years. Tibetan Plateau and proximal areas have been of utmost interest since the biogeographic relationships and understanding of the depositional environments in the region have remained unsettled during and after the Eocene-Oligocene transition (EOT). This study derives a first chronostratigraphic framework for Ulantatal, a fossiliferousarea in Inner Mongolia, China. Based on paleomagnetic reversal stratigraphy and the constraints of faunal correlations, the time spanned in the strata is between ca. 35 and 27 Ma, thus exposing a long sedimentary succession ranging from the latest Eocene to late Oligocene. The lithological characteristics reveal these extensive fine-grained sediments mainly originate from eolian dust deposition, the onset of which is constrained at the latest Eocene (ca. 34.8 Ma). The presence of post “Mongolian Remodeling” fauna already in the late Eocene of Ulantatal demonstrates unequivocally that the major faunal turnover preceded the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, earlier to what has been recorded from other East Asian localities. The faunal composition predominated by rodents and lagomorphs remains strikingly stable across the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, suggesting the EOT related change in the animal communities was gradual or stepwise rather than abrupt. Moreover, the turnover into this environment dominated by small mammals can be linked with Eocene aridification of Asia, highlighting the dynamic responses of terrestrial systems to changing environment and climate associated with the EOT.
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Wasiljeff, J., Kaakinen, A., Salminen, J., & Zhang, Z. (2020). Magnetostratigraphic constraints on the fossiliferous Ulantatal sequence in Inner Mongolia, China: Implications for Asian aridification and faunal turnover before the Eocene-Oligocene boundary. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 535, 1-15. . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2020.116125