• Ammonoidea;
  • Early Cretaceous;
  • Giumal Formation;
  • Himalaya;
  • India


Knowledge of the Early Cretaceous ammonoids of the NW-Himalayas was poor until recent discoveries. Intense sampling from the Giumal Formation exposed near the village of Chikkim (Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India) led to the recognition of a new Early Cretaceous ammonoid fauna. The succession consists of arenitic sandstone interbedded with shale that was deposited by turbidity currents on an unstable shelf in the Early Cretaceous. Ammonoids have been obtained only from sandstone beds in the lower one-third and close to the top of the c. 350-m-thick section. Eight new ammonoid taxa (1 genus and 7 species) are described: Sinzovia franki sp. nov. (rare), Giumaliceras giumaliense gen. et sp. nov. (abundant), Giumaliceras bhargavai gen. et sp. nov. (rare), Neocomites (Eristavites) platycostatiformis sp. nov. (rare), Cleoniceras oberhauseri sp. nov. (abundant), Australiceras himalayense sp. nov. (rare) and Deshayesites fuchsi sp. nov. (rare). Sinzovia and Deshayesites are reported for the first time from the Tethyan Himalaya. According to the biostratigraphic relevance of some ammonoid taxa described here, the age of the Giumal Formation can be constrained from Berriasian (Giumaliceras assemblage) to Aptian (Cleoniceras assemblage). The discovery of the new fauna substantiates the significance of the Giumal Formation around Chikkim and facilitates comparison with faunal assemblages from other regions in the Tethys Ocean and beyond.