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Magnetostratigraphic dating of the late Miocene Baogeda Ula Formation and associated fauna in central Inner Mongolia, northern China


Detailed understanding to the evolution of Neogene land mammals in East Asia and its intercontinental correlation has been impeded by the absence of an integrated biochronological system of this region. The numerous and diverse records of Neogene vertebrate fossils preserved in Inner Mongolia of northern China play a key role in the establishment of an independent biochronological framework in East Asia. However, most of these faunas are poorly constrained by independent chronological controls due to the scattered distribution of fossil localities and insufficient exposure of the fossiliferous strata. Additionally, age estimates by mammalian evolution and correlation often have uncertainties greater than ~1–2 million years. Here we present new magnetostratigraphic results of the Baogeda Ula Fauna, which was generally assigned an early Baodean Age (Late Miocene), or equivalent to the European MN12 zone (middle Turolian). Hipparion remains and associated vertebrate fossils were excavated from the upper part of the fluvio-lacustrine Baogeda Ula Formation near Abaga Banner, central Inner Mongolia of northern China. At least two layers of basalt sheet flows can be observed on top of the Baogeda Ula Formation. Our magnetostratigraphy, aided by published biochronology data and K–Ar ages of the lower basalt layer suggests that the Baogeda Ula Fauna consisting of three fossiliferous horizons can be placed within chron C4n.1n with an age range of 7.642–7.528 Ma. Thus, the Baogeda Ula Fauna becomes the first and only Baodean assemblage that is constrained by both magnetostratigraphy and radiometric ages, offering an anchoring point for future biochronological correlations.

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