A possible bridge between Adria and Africa: New palaeobiogeographic and stratigraphic constraints on the Mesozoic palaeogeography of the Central Mediterranean area
Dinosaur records in central and southern Italy testify to the occurrence of a diverse dinosaur fauna on the Apennine and Apulian carbonate platforms at least from the Tithonian to the Santonian. Most of the palaeogeographic reconstructions show these domains as topographically isolated areas, separated by deep pelagic basins and far from emerged continental areas. Thus, they hardly justify the long-lasting occurrence of these terrestrial vertebrates. Recent studies on the Mesozoic Panormide Carbonate Platform (western Sicily) yielded important stratigraphical and palaeontological data, which provide evidence for a convincing explanation of this unresolved problem. The recent discovery of a theropod bone in mid-Cretaceous peritidal levels of the Panormide Platform as well as the anomalous subsidence of this palaeogeographic domain, strongly support the existence of a crustal sector (filtering bridge) which connected Africa to Adria.