Extinction and Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction from Cretaceous to Quaternary

Strategic Area:

The general aim is the research on palaeontology, chronostratigraphy and palaeoenvironments of the last 100 million years, with emphasis on extinction bioevents and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of the Cretaceous, Tertiary and Quaternary, based on high resolution samplings and microfossils (foraminifers) and macromammals studies.

Research Lines:

Micropaleontology, foraminifers, extinction, evolution, palaeoecology, palaeoclimatology, biostratigraphy, chronostratigraphy, Cretaceous, Tertiary. Contributors to this line of research (E. Molina, I. Arenillas, J.A. Arz, L. Alegret, R. Fenero, I. Pérez and C.A Sánchez) are specialist in Micropaleontology of foraminifers, three in planktic and three in small benthic foraminifera. The results of this line of research are applied to the solution of geological problems (biostratigraphy, cronostratigraphy and palaeoenvironments) and biological problems (paleoecology, extinction and evolution) during the Cretaceous and Tertiary. They collaborate with other researcher (A. Meléndez) expert in complementary aspects of Stratigraphy, Sedimentology and Paleomagnetism. Sections in several European, American and African countries are studied, as well as deep-sea drilling sites (DSDP-ODP). The most relevant results refer to extinction and evolution models, causes of the events, and the definition of stage boundary stratotypes of Upper Cretaceous, Paleogene and Lower Neogene.

Mammals, palaeodiversity, extinction, biomechanics, evolution, biochronology, palaeoecology, palaeoclimatology, palaeogeography, Tertiary. This line of research is mainly supported by B. Azanza, who is specialist in Vertebrate Paleontology (mammals). The precise aims are: (1) Prospection, identification and excavation of sites. (2) Models of site formation. (3) Sistematics and evolutionary studies of fossil mammals. (4) Functional morphology of teeth and diet inference. (5) Diversity patterns and faunal turnovers along the last 18 million years. (6) Improve the Neogene biochronology (7) Palaeoecological, Palaeobiogeographical and Palaeclimatological studies based on fossil mammals, to analyse and evaluate the global change impact in the Mediterranean terrestrial ecosystems.


The group origin dates back to 1979 when the responsible, Eustoquio Molina Martínez, got his Ph.D degree and moved to the University of Zaragoza to carry out research on Micropaleontology. Since then, he advised the doctoral thesis of the majority of the group members. One of these thesis was advised in collaboration with Alfonso Meléndez Hevia, who holds a Senior Lecturer position on Stratigraphy and Sedimentology in our Department. The subgroup of Macromammals was created more recently, led by Beatriz Azanza Asensio.

Facilities and equipment:

Fully equiped facilities for micropaleontologic sample preparation and study of microfossils.

Technological Offer/Services:

Although the group mainly develops basic research and popularization, we can provide dating services of micropaleontologic samples, as well as reconstruct palaeoenvironments of the sediments that contain these fossils.


Dr. Eustoquio Molina Martínez
Responsable del Grupo

Dpto. Ciencias de la Tierra

Facultad de Ciencias