Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Bulletin 2 - 2003


Fish otoliths from the Paleocene of Denmark

Werner Schwarzhans

The microscopic otoliths (granule of calcium carbonate in vertebrate inner ear) are becoming important for biostratigraphical evaluations in the Cenozoic of Europe. Recently, Denmark has proven to be an important area for the investigation of otoliths.

This bulletin presents a comprehensive account on Paleocene otoliths from eastern Denmark and recorded from respectively the Fakse Quarry (Danian), Gemmas Allé (Selandian) Sundkrogen (Selandian), Kongedybet (Selandian) and Vestre Gasværk (Selandian). The Selandian locations are all in the vicinity of Copenhagen, Denmark, but today they are covered. The described otolith material from these localities is therefore obtained from older collections.

The study describes and reinterprets the classic works of Koken (1891) and Roedel (1930) and new otolith based genera and species are introduced. The evolutionary history of the taxa is investigated and the palaeoecological significance and the palaeobiographical distribution are evaluated. The potential stratigraphical value of the taxa is investigated. Affinities to other otolith bearing locations in Europe and Greenland are discussed.


Schwarzhans, W. 2003: Fish otoliths from the Paleocene of Denmark Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Bulletin 2, 94 pp.

Fish otoliths are described from the Lower Paleocene (Danian) and Middle Paleocene (Selandian) from Sjælland in Denmark. A total of 44 species are described, 23 as newly established and nine in open nomenclature. Twelve species (including seven new species) have been obtained from the Danian poorly consolidated coral limestone at Fakse and 39 species (including 19 new species) from the Selandian at localities near Copenhagen.

Both stages have previously been poorly known for otoliths in the North Sea Basin, and are described from only two previous publications, i.e. Koken in 1885 from the Selandian of Copenhagen and Roedel in 1930 who described otoliths from erratic ice age boulders in north-east Germany. The original material of both workers has been revised in this bulletin.

Otoliths are well known elsewhere in the North Sea Basin since Upper Paleocene (Thanetian) times and are described from the London Basin and from Belgium. Palaeographic, palaeoecological and biostratigraphic implications of the otolith findings in the Paleocene of the North Sea Basin are discussed.

Two new genera and 23 new species are introduced and described. The new taxa are: Genartina hauniensis n. sp., genus Anguillidarum semisphaeroides n. sp., Conger illaesus n. sp., Rhechias angulosus n. sp., genus Clupeidarum rectiventralis n. sp., genus Salmonidarum n. sp., Protargentinolithus procerus n. sp., Argentina longistrostris n. sp., Aulopus tortus n. sp., genus Myctophidarum schnetleri n. sp., genus ?Percopsiformorum enigmaticus n. sp., Palaeogadus sinangulatus n. sp., Molvia palaeomorpha n. sp., Protocolliolus amorphus n. sp., Coryphaenoides amager n. sp., Hymenocephalus rosenkrantzi n. sp., genus Bythitidarm rasmussenae n. sp., genus Veliferidarum harderi n. sp., genus Zeiformorum janni n. sp., Centroberyx fragilis n. sp., Scorpaena corallophilus n. sp., genus Gempylidarum merus n. sp. and Ostracion pergravis n. sp.

Author's address

Ahrensburger Weg 103, D-22359 Hamburg, Germany, wwschwarz

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