A major challenge in studying past climatic and biotic changes in the tropics is the scarcity of well-sampled fossil sites. The fossil site of La Venta in Colombia records one of the most fossil-rich faunas of tropical South America and offers an exceptional opportunity to study the effect of the Miocene climatic and environmental changes in the evolution of tropical diversity. La Venta represents an ancient tropical forest with a highly diverse community of land and freshwater vertebrates to the point that it has been used to define the Laventan age. La Venta has been studied for a century but the last major collecting efforts were done several decades ago. Recently, geological and paleontological research has been carried out by interdisciplinary groups of researchers together with the local community. The joint efforts resulted in the establishment of a new local natural history museum (Museo de Historia Natural La Tatacoa). This thematic issue presents the most recent advances on the stratigraphy of La Venta, and palaeobiology of several vertebrate lineages including native ungulates, rodents, metatherians, turtles, squamates and fresh-water fishes, as well as the collaborative process in the development of the museum’s educational and outreach activities. A century after the first paleontological expedition, La Venta’s fossil record continues to illuminate the evolution of the vast tropical biodiversity.
Edwin-Alberto CADENA & Rubén Dario VANEGAS127-138, Published on 23 February 2023, art. 45 (3)