International Journal of Oceanography
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 565326, 22 pages
Research Article

Eocene (Lutetian) Shark-Rich Coastal Paleoenvironments of the Southern North Sea Basin in Europe: Biodiversity of the Marine Fürstenau Formation Including Early White and Megatooth Sharks

PaleoLogic, Nansenstraße 8, D-33790 Halle, Germany

Received 11 June 2011; Revised 14 August 2011; Accepted 29 August 2011

Academic Editor: Roberto Danovaro

Copyright © 2012 C. G. Diedrich. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Fürstenau Formation (Lutetian, Paleogene, Eocene) is based on type sections near Fürstenau in Germany (central Europe) and is built of 22 meter thick marine glauconitic and strongly bioturbated sands, clays, and a vertebrate-rich conglomerate bed. The conglomerate layer from the Early Lutetian transgression reworked Lower Cretaceous, and Paleogene marine sediments. It is dominated by pebbles from the locally mountains which must have been transported by an ancient river in a delta fan. Marine reworked Lower Cretaceous and Paleogen pebbles/fossils, were derived from the underlying deposits of northern Germany (= southern pre North Sea basin). The benthic macrofauna is cold upwelling water influenced and non-tropical, and medium divers. The vertebrate fish fauna is extremely rich in shark teeth, with about 5,000 teeth per cubic meter of gravel. The most dominant forms are teeth from sand shark ancestors Striatolamia macrota, followed by white shark ancestors Carcharodon auriculatus. Even teeth from the magatooth shark ancestor Carcharocles sokolovi are present in a moderately diverse and condensed Paleogene fish fauna that also includes rays, chimaeras, and more then 80 different bony fish. Fragmentary turtle remains are present, and few terrestrial vertebrates and even marine mammals with phocids, sirenians and possibly whales.