Articles | Volume 21, issue 2
Research article
25 Jan 2024
Research article |  | 25 Jan 2024

Stable oxygen isotopes of crocodilian tooth enamel allow tracking Plio-Pleistocene evolution of freshwater environments and climate in the Shungura Formation (Turkana Depression, Ethiopia)

Axelle Gardin, Emmanuelle Pucéat, Géraldine Garcia, Jean-Renaud Boisserie, Adélaïde Euriat, Michael M. Joachimski, Alexis Nutz, Mathieu Schuster, and Olga Otero

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Cited articles

Abbate, E., Bruni, P., and Sagri, M.: Geology of Ethiopia: A Review and Geomorphological Perspectives, in: Landscapes and Landforms of Ethiopia, edited by: Billi, P., Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, 33–64,, 2015. 
Altman, P. L. and Dittmer, D. S.: Biology Data Book, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Bethesda, MD, 2123 pp., ISBN 0-913822-08-6, 1972. 
Amiot, R., Lécuyer, C., Escarguel, G., Billon-Bruyat, J.-P., Buffetaut, E., Langlois, C., Martin, S., Martineau, F., and Mazin, J.-M.: Oxygen isotope fractionation between crocodilian phosphate and water, Palaeogeogr. Palaeocl., 243, 412–420,, 2007. 
Amiot, R., Göhlich, U. B., Lécuyer, C., de Muizon, C., Cappetta, H., Fourel, F., Héran, M.-A., and Martineau, F.: Oxygen isotope compositions of phosphate from Middle Miocene–Early Pliocene marine vertebrates of Peru, Palaeogeogr. Palaeocl., 264, 85–92,, 2008. 
Amiot, R., Buffetaut, E., Lécuyer, C., Wang, X., Boudad, L., Ding, Z., Fourel, F., Hutt, S., Martineau, F., Medeiros, M. A., Mo, J., Simon, L., Suteethorn, V., Sweetman, S., Tong, H., Zhang, F., and Zhou, Z.: Oxygen isotope evidence for semi-aquatic habits among spinosaurid theropods, Geology, 38, 139–142,, 2010a. 
Short summary
We introduce a novel approach using stable oxygen isotopes from crocodilian fossil teeth to unravel palaeohydrological changes in past continental contexts. Applying it to the Plio-Pleistocene Ethiopian Shungura Formation, we found a significant increase in δ18O in the last 3 million years, likely due to monsoonal shifts and reduced rainfall, and that the local diversity of waterbodies (lakes, rivers, ponds) became restricted.
Final-revised paper