The book focuses on geological history as the critical factor in determining the present biodiversity and landscapes of Amazonia. The different driving mechanisms for landscape evolution are explored by reviewing the history of the Amazonian Craton, the associated sedimentary basins, and the role of mountain uplift and climate change. This book provdes an insight into the Meso- and Cenozoic record of Amazonia that was characterized by fluvial and long-lived lake systems and a highly diverse flora and fauna. This fauna includes giants such as the ca. 12 m long caiman Purussaurus, but also a varied fish fauna and fragile molluscs, whilst fossil pollen and spores form relics of ancestral swamps and rainforests.
Finally, a review the molecular datasets of the modern Amazonian rainforest and aquatic ecosystem, discussing the possible relations between the origin of Amazonian species diversity and the palaeogeographic, palaeoclimatic and palaeoenvironmental evolution of northern South America. The multidisciplinary approach in evaluating the history of Amazonia has resulted in a comprehensive volume that provides novel insights into the evolution of this region.
Carina Hoorn is a paleoecologist who studied geology and holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and an MSc in Science Communication (Imperial College, London). Currently she is liaised to the University of Amsterdam and her main research interests are Amazonia, the Himalayas, Tibet, and the coastal lagoons of Oman. Frank Wesselingh is a molluscan palaeontologist who studied geology at the Vrije Universiteit (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and holds a PhD from the University of Turku (Finland). Frank works at Naturalis, the Natural History Museum in Leiden (The Netherlands), and his research interests are fossil molluscan faunas of long-lived lakes, the North Sea Basin and the Indo-West Pacific.