The presence of the bivalve mollusks Astarte (Tridonta) borealis Schumacher and A. (T.) hopkinsi new species, in uppermost Miocene or lower Pliocene strata of the Milky River Formation on the Alaska Peninsula, southwestern Alaska, signals the earliest opening of Bering Strait. These species migrated from the Arctic Ocean into the North Pacific when the Bering Strait first flooded and, along with co-occurring marine diatoms, are primary evidence for the earliest opening of the strait, in the latest Miocene or early Pliocene. These paleogeographically important Alaskan Astarte have been cited in this context, but have not been previously illustrated or discussed.
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