Morphological variability of the trace fossil Schaubcylindrichnus coronus as a response to environmental forcing


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Abstract

Schaubcylindrichnus is an important trace fossil used in the characterization of offshore and shoreface depositional environments. Our understanding of this trace has followed a winding path including the introduction of several new ichnospecies and the subsequent recent synonymization into one ichnospecies. Likewise, our understanding of the ethological interpretation of the trace fossil has evolved from gregarious headdown deposit feeders to filter feeders, until it recently was shown that the tracemaker probably was a funnel feeder. Although several ichnospecies were recently synonymized into one ichnospecies, Schaubcylindrichnus coronus, variability in the number of tubes per sheaf and abundance of nested tubes, i.e., tubes that break up older tubes, were observed between different settings. These differences were studied in close detail at Miocene outcrops in Japan and Taiwan where the trace fossil occurs copiously and therefore allows the intraspecific morphological variability to be addressed. Around 2000 specimens from Japan and Taiwan were studied. The results show a distinct tendency for higher tube numbers in the offshore facies where sediments are characterized by higher silt/mud content, suggesting that S. coronus with higher tube numbers were constructed in a calm environment allowing longer dwelling periods. The increased abundance of nested tubes in settings characterized by thin sand layers indicate that the nested tubes are a reparation response to erosional events destroying the feeding funnels at the sediment-water interface. Consequently, tube number per sheaf and abundance of nested tubes may be used to further characterize the depositional environment in shoreface to offshore facies.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Eprint ID
32322
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Löwemark, L. and Nara, M. (2013): Morphological variability of the trace fossil Schaubcylindrichnus coronus as a response to environmental forcing , Palaeontologia Electronica Vol. , Issue 1; 5A 14p;, 16 (1; 5A) .


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