The Turgai Sea, also known as the Turgay Sea, Turgai Strait, Obik Sea or West Siberian Sea, was a large shallow body of salt water (an epicontinental or epeiric sea
) during the Mesozoic
through Cenozoic Era
s. It extended north of the present-day Caspian Sea
to the "paleo-Arctic" region, and was in existence from the Middle Jurassic
, approximately 160 to 29 million years ago.
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."
The division of the Eurasia
n landmass by the Turgai Sea had the effect of isolating animal populations.
One of the better known groups are the ceratopsia
s during the Cretaceous Period
, which were restricted to Asia and western North America that were connected for much of the 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