Field of Science

Two New Triassic Trace Fossil Papers in Ichnos.

The second paper has the shortest abstract I've ever seen, so it must not be saying too much.

Voight, S., D. Hoppe. 2010. and Mass Occurrence of Penetrative Trace Fossils in Triassic Lake Deposits (Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia). Ichnos 17:1-11.

Abstract - Bioturbation and the breakdown of organic detritus by burrowing macro-invertebrates are key factors for the energy flow in recent freshwater ecosystems due to the acceleration of nutrient cycling. According to the current state of knowledge, food webs similar to those of modern lakes were not operating until the Late Mesozoic, when a well-established freshwater infauna evolved. Here we describe laterally extended networks of irregularly branched burrows that constitute the most common ichnofossils in lacustrine deposits of the Middle to Late Triassic Madygen Formation, SW Kyrgyzstan. The shallow penetrative trace fossils give evidence that exploitation of lake-bottom sediments by benthic invertebrates was already in place in the Early Mesozoic. Architecture and size of the fossil burrows indicate deposit-feeding, worm-like trace makers of similar morphology and behavior to extant oligochaetes or aquatic insect larvae. Maximum intensity of bioturbation is recorded in mudstones of the transitional sublittoral to profundal lake zone, which usually represent the thermocline/chemocline level in modern stratified lakes. Taking into account the low-oxygen tolerance of many recent oligochaetes and insect larvae, we propose that ecospace utilization of deep-water lacustrine settings was originally impelled by two factors: the exploitation of additional food resources and the avoidance of predation by carnivorous animals from well-aerated lake zones. Spatial restriction of the described fossil traces could offer a basic approach to subdivide the Mermia ichnofacies.

Hubert, J. F., and J. A. Dutcher. 2010. Scoyenia Escape Burrows in Fluvial Pebbly Sand: Upper Triassic Sugarloaf Arkose, Deerfield Rift Basin, Massachusetts, USA. Ichnos 17-20-24.

Abstract - Late Triassic larvae of an insect, probably a beetle, moved diagonally upwards though fluvial pebbly sand along a thin mud layer, constructing Scoyenia burrows in the Sugarloaf Arkose, Deerfield rift basin, Massachusetts. They may have been escaping a temporary rise of the water table in the monsoonal dry season.

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