Original paper

Critical remarks on the discussion concerning the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary

Voigt, Ehrhard

Newsletters on Stratigraphy Volume 10 Number 2 (1981), p. 92 - 114

58 references

published: Oct 13, 1981

DOI: 10.1127/nos/10/1981/92

BibTeX file

ArtNo. ESP026001002006, Price: 29.00 €

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In contrast to the current practice of assigning the Danian to the Tertiary as "Lower Paleocene" arguments are presented in favour of a Cretaceous affiliation. Although it is easy to draw a boundary below the Danian because of the faunal break at the end of the Maastrichtian, the extinction of numerous characteristic Mesozoic fossils at the end of the Maastrichtian is more gradual as often maintained, the quantity of alleged genuine Tertiary taxa recorded now already in the Maastrichtian is steedily augmented. The same is true of many taxa common in both stages. The beginning of a new era should be documented by the appearence of new important taxa rather than by negative arguments such as the extinction of Mesozoic faunal elements during the Maastrichtian. The faunistic character of the Danian is more transitional between the Cretaceous and the Tertiary than genuine Tertiary as shown by the fact that most typical Tertiary taxa above the generic level did not appear before the true Paleocene sensu strictu (excluding the Danian) or Eocene. The Danian is shown to be the least creative stage between Maastrichtian and Paleocene-Eocene and the faunal change relative to the Maastrichtian takes place mostly only on species or genus level. Even if important reasons may justify the change of stratigraphical boundaries, the stability of the stratigraphic system should have priority over other factors. It is the condition for any successful work in paleontological and stratigraphical research since it guarantees economical work and avoidance of misunderstandings as explained below in detail.


Lower PaleoceneMesozoic fossilsPaleocene-Eocene