December 1996
Vol. 25, Fasc. 2-4
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Print ISSN: 0031-0247
Online ISSN: 2274-0333
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PalaeovertebrataVol. 25, Fasc. 2-4:261-277. 1996
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Preliminary evolution of paleosols and implications for interpreting vertebrate fossil assemblages, Kuldana formation, Northern Pakistan
Andres Aslan and J. G. M. Thewissen
Keywords: Eocene; Kuldana Formation; Pakistan; Paleosols; Pedogenic Carbonate; taphonomy; Time Averaging; Vertebrate Fossils

Cite this article: Aslan A., Thewissen J. G. M., 1996. Preliminary evolution of paleosols and implications for interpreting vertebrate fossil assemblages, Kuldana formation, Northern Pakistan. Palaeovertebrata 25 (2-4): 261-277.


Paleosols and the taphonomy of vertebrate fossils in the Eocene Kuldana Formation of northern Pakistan provide important information on the preservation and time-averaging of fossil assemblages. Morphologic, mineralogic, and chemical data as well as comparisons with Quaternary soils suggest that Kuldana paleosols formed under generally dry and oxidizing conditions over time intervals of less than 100 000 years and perhaps as short as 1000 years. The distribution of carbonate in Kuldana paleosols further indicates that the upper half of the profiles were acidic whereas the lower halves were alkaline. Vertebrate fossils are rare in Kuldana paleosols and occur primarily in well-cemented sandstones and conglomerates with abundant micritic and iron-stained nodules that were reworked from floodplain soils. The scarcity of vertebrate remains in Kuldana paleosols probably reflects a combination of acidic, dry, and oxidizing conditions in the upper half of the profiles and rapid floodplain sedimentation. Comparisons between the taphonomic characteristics of Kuldana channel fossil assemblages and bone accumulations in modem rivers provide a basis for estimating the length of time represented by Kuldana fossils from several important localities. Vertebrate fossil assemblages from Barbora Banda are characterized by a low-diversity paleofauna, partially articulated skeletons, and bones that are sorted by size and shape. Comparison with bone accumulations in modern rivers suggests that the fossils from Barbora Banda accumulated in 1 to 10 years. Vertebrate fossils from the Lower Kuldana in the Kala Chitta Hills region, typified by locality H-GSP 62, are characterized by a high-diversity paleofauna and generally random and unsorted fossil bone distributions, which suggest that the fossils from these localities represent longer time intervals than the Barbora Banda fossils. Based on the time estimates for Kuldana paleosol development, fossil assemblages in Kuldana channel deposits in the Kala Chitta Hills region probably represent time intervals of about 1000 years. 

Published in Vol. 25, Fasc. 2-4 (1996)