Turgai Sea

Turgai Sea

The Turgai (or Turgay) Sea or Turgai Strait, also known as the West Siberian Sea, was a large shallow body of salt water (an epicontinental or epeiric sea) of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic Eras. It extended north of the present-day Caspian Sea to the "paleo-Arctic" region, and was in existence from Middle Jurassic to Oligocene times, from approximately 160 to 29 million years ago. [Briggs, John C. "Global Biogeography." Amsterdam, Elsevier Science, 1995; pp. 71, 76, 84, 88, and ff.]

The Turgai Sea was not absolutely continuous throughout this entire era, though it was a persistent and predominating feature in its region; it "fragmented southern Europe and southwestern Asia into many large islands, and separated Europe from Asia." [Duellman, William Edward. "Biology of Amphibians." Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994; p. 480.]

The division of the Eurasian landmass by the Turgai Sea had the effect of isolating animal populations. Perhaps best-known to laypeople were the horned dinosaurs called Ceratopsia of the Cretaceous Period, which were restricted to Asia and western North America (which were connected for much of this era). [Culver, Stephen J., and Peter Franklin Rawson. "Biotic Response to Global Change: The Last 145 Million Years." Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2000; p. 319.] The existence of the Turgai Sea also restricted various freshwater fish and amphibians.

The Turgai Sea derives its name from a region of modern-day Kazakhstan, with its Turgai River and Turgai Valley.

ee also

* Rheic Ocean
* Sundance Sea
* Tethys Ocean


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