15 June 2005

The land snail family Enidae in Anatolia 5: seeking answers from paleogeography

The conclusion from the previous post is that there are 3 elements in the Anatolian biogeography of the Enidae: north-northwestern, east-northeastern and southern. Assuming that the present day distributions more or less reflect past ranges (see the cautionary note at the end of last post), I will now turn to paleogeography of Anatolia to try to understand these distributions.

The first map shows what Europe, northern Africa and the Middle East may have looked like about 15 million years ago1. Turkey and the Black Sea north of it are more or less recognizable, except that the Aegean Sea hasn’t opened yet.

Now, let’s go 50 million years further back.

Back then, there wasn’t an area recognizable as “Turkey”. However, we do see several land masses where Turkey will eventually be. There is a southern land and a group of northern lands. These all get together during the following 30 millions years to form the present day Turkey.

Therefore, it seems that the roughly northern and southern groupings of the present day Turkish Enidae have their origins in the distributions of land masses 65 million years ago. Of course, the ancestors of the present day enids could be much older than that.

1. Maps were created using the ODSN Plate Tectonic Reconstruction Service.

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