La Venta (Colombia)
- This article is about the fossil site in Colombia. For the archeological site in Mexico, see La Venta.
La Venta is a settlement between the modern Tolima Department and Huila Department, Colombia. Nearby, one of the richest Neogene fossil assemblages in the whole of South America is known. It provides a glimpse of how life in the region was like before the main wave of the Great American Interchange.
The fossils occur in Middle Miocene rocks of the Villavieja Formation and La Victoria Formation. The La Venta fauna contained ancient species of animal genera and families still alive today, as well as some entirely extinct prehistoric lineages. These animals lived some 13.8 to 12 million years ago in the Laventan age, which was named after La Venta. At that time, the climate of the region was wetter than today and there was much forest of trees similar (and probably related) to the sapino (Goupia glabra) of our time.
List of fauna
- Freshwaters fishes, including remains of fishes of the families like Anostomidae, Osteoglossidae (arapaimas), Characidae, Pimelodidae, Callichthyidae, Ariidae, Doradidae, Loricariidae, Cichlidae and the river stingrays Potamotrygonidae.
- A fossil of an anuran amphibian was classified in the current species Rhinella marina (cane toad).
- Freshwater turtles like Podocnemis pritchardi, Podocnemis medemi and Chelus colombiana, along the terrestrial tortoise Geochelone hesterna.
- Anilid snakes (Colombophis) and the primitive anaconda Eunectes stirtoni.
- A lizard, Paradracaena colombiana.
- Several types of crocodylomorphs: perhaps the earliest record of the extant Broad-snouted Caiman, possibly the prehistoric Caiman lutescens. Also a species of the giant caiman Purussaurus, P. neivensis, the bizarre Mourasuchus, the mysterious species Balanerodus logimus, the gharial Gryposuchus colombianus, a false-gharial crocodile Charactosuchus fieldsi and the terrestrial sebecid Langstonia.
- Several types of birds, like the cuculiform Hoazinoides magdalenae, the jacamar Galbula hylochoreutes, the limpkin Aramus paludigrus and a non-named species of Anhinga.
- Prehistoric armadillos, like Anadasypus hondanus, Nanoastegotherium prostatum and Pedrolypeutes praecursor. Also there is a Pampatheriidae, Scirrotherium.
- Several fossils of glyptodonts, including two species of Boreostemma, B. gigantea and B. acostae (formerly including in the genus Asterostemma), and the genus Neoglyptatelus.
- An anteater, Neotamandua borealis.
- Sloths, like the big Pseudoprepotherium, and small genera like Brievabradys, Neonematherium and Huilabradys.
- A prehistoric manatee, Potamosiren.
- Several kinds of New World monkeys (Platyrrhini), like the species Cebupithecia sarmientoi, Stirtonia victoriae and S. tatacoensis, Aotus dindensis, Nuciruptor rubricae,Mohanamico, Lagonimico, Patasola and Neosaimiri.
- Bats (Chiroptera), like the living species of fisher bat Noctilio albiventris and Thyroptera lavali along with extinct species like Potamops mascahehenes, Notonycteris magdalenensis, Notonycteris sucharadeus, Palynephyllum antimaster and Molossus colombiensis.
- Rodents like Scleromys shurmanni, Scleromys colombianus, Olenopsis aequatorialis y Neoreomys huilensis.
- Many species of native hoofed mammals (meridiungulates): great animals like Granastrapotherium snorki, Xenastrapotherium kraglievichi (Astrapotheria), Huilatherium pluriplicatum and Pericotoxodon platygnathus (Toxodonta), and species from medium to smalls sizes like Miocochilius anomopodus (Typotheria), Megadolodus, Prolicaphrium, Villarroelia and an unnamed species of Theosodon (Litopterna).
- Marsupials like the possums Thylamys minutus, T. colombianus and Marmosa laventicus, the Paucituberculata Pithiculites chenche, Hondathentes and Palaeothentes and the monito de monte Pachybiotherium minor.
- Several kinds of omnivore and carnivore metatheres that belong to the order Sparassodonta, like the primitive Hondadelphys, the saber-toothed Anachlysictis (family Thylacosmilidae), Lycopsis longirostris, a medium-sized member of the family Prothylacinidae along with its bigger relative, Dukecynus magnus.
- S. E. Hirschfeld, and L. G. Marshall. Revised faunal list of the La Venta fauna (Friasian-Miocene) of Colombia, South America. Journal of Paleontology; May 1976; v. 50; no. 3; p. 433-436.
- Richard F. Kay and Richard H. Madden, 1997. Paleogeography and Paleoecology. Chapter 30 of Vertebrate Paleontology in the Neotropics. The Miocene Fauna of La Venta, Colombia. Edited by Richard F. Kay, Richard H. Madden, Richard L. Cifelli, and John J. Flynn. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington and London.
- Estes, Richard and Richard Wassersurg (1963). A Miocene toad from Colombia, South America. Breviora, 193:1-13, December 5.
- T. Setoguchi and A. L. Rosenberger (April 1987). "A fossil owl monkey from La Venta, Colombia". Nature 22: 692–694. PMID 3561511.
- Meldrum, DJ; Kay, RF. (September 1997). "Nuciruptor rubricae, a new pitheciin seed predator from the Miocene of Colombia". Am J Phys Anthropol 102: 407–427. doi:10.1002/(sici)1096-8644(199703)102:3<407::aid-ajpa8>3.0.co;2-r. PMID 9098507.
- Czaplewski N.J., Masanaru T., T. M. Naeher., N. Shigehara, and T. Setoguchi: Additional bats from the middle Miocene La Venta fauna of Colombia. Revista de la Academia Colombiana de Ciencias 27 (103): 263-282, 2003. ISSN 0370-3908.