Coprolites in mid-Cambrian (Series 2-3) Burgess Shale-type deposits of Nevada and Utah and their ecological implications

 

Authors: Kimmig J, Strotz LC

Published in: Bulletin of Geosciences, volume 92, issue 3; pages: 297 - 309; Received 8 March 2017; Accepted in revised form 13 June 2017; Online 3 August 2017

Keywords: coprolites, Spence Shale, Pioche Formation, Cambrian, ichnology, burrows, Burgess Shale-type deposit,

full text (PDF, 3.42 MB)

Export to RIS

 

Abstract

Five types of coprolites, represented by 40 specimens from the Cambrian (Series 2-3) Burgess Shale-type deposits in the Pioche Shale of Nevada and the Spence Shale of Utah, are described. They are preserved in finely laminated deep-water calcareous mudstones. Round to ellipsoid features 13–42 mm in diameter consisting of black carbon film and variable amounts of skeletal fragments are interpreted as coprolites that were originally deposited in a burrow. Two kinds of elongated coprolites are also preserved and either consist of small pellets or skeletal debris. The pellets are typically 0.5 to 2mmacross and have a round to ellipsoid outline. Two different types of pellet-filled burrows are also present. The presence of organic tissue and skeletal fragments in some coprolites provides direct evidence of predatory or scavenging activity, and may advance understanding of the food chain in these Cambrian deposits

References

ALDRIDGE, R.J., GABBOTT, S.E., SIVETER, L.J. & THERON, J.N. 2006. Bromalites from the Soom Shale Lagerstätte (Upper Ordovician) of South Africa: palaeoecological and palaeobiological implications. Palaeontology 49, 857-871.View article

BENGTSON, S. 2002. Origins and early evolution of predation. Paleontological Society Papers 8, 289-317.

BLAU, J., GRÜN, B. & JAGT, J.W.M. 1997. New Maastrichtian crustacean microcoprolites from the Maastrichtian type area. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie, Monatshefte 1997, 1-11.

BRIGGS, D.E.G., LIEBERMAN, B.S., HENDRICKS, J.R., HALGEDAHL, S.L. & JARRARD, R.D. 2008. Middle Cambrian arthropods from Utah. Journal of Paleontology 82, 238-254.View article

BUATOIS, L.A. & MÁNGANO, M.G. 2011. Ichnology. Organism-Substrate Interactions in Space and Time. 358 pp. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.View article

BUDD, G.E. 2013. At the origin of animals: the revolutionary Cambrian fossil record. Current Genomics 14, 344-354.View article

CHATTERTON, B.D.E., JOHANSON, Z. & SUTHERLAND, G. 1994. Form of the trilobite digestive system: Alimentary structures in Pterocephalia. Journal of Paleontology 69, 294-305.View article

CHEN, M. & CHEN, Y. 1980. Note on a possible coprolites from the lowest Cambrian strata of Yangtze Gorge. Scientia Geologica Sinica 10, 406-407.

CONWAY MORRIS, S. & PEEL, J.S. 2010. New palaeoscolecidan worms from the Lower Cambrian: Sirius Passet, Latham Shale and Kinzers Shale. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 55, 141-156.View article

CONWAY MORRIS, S. & ROBISON, R.A. 1986. Middle Cambrian priapulids and other soft-bodied fossils from Utah and Spain. The University of Kansas Paleontological Contributions 117, 1-22.

CONWAY MORRIS, S. & ROBISON, R.A. 1988. More soft-bodied animals and algae from the Middle Cambrian of Utah and British Columbia. The University of Kansas Paleontological Contributions 122, 1-48.

CONWAY MORRIS, S., SELDEN, P.A., GUNTHER, G., JAMISON, P.G. & ROBISON, R.A. 2015. New records of Burgess Shale-type taxa from the middle Cambrian of Utah. Journal of Paleontology 89, 411-423.View article

DALEY, A.C., PATTERSON, J.R., EDGECOMBE, G.D., GARCÍABELLIDO, D.C. & JAGO, J.B. 2013. New anatomical information on Anomalocaris from the Cambrian Emu Bay Shale of South Australia and a reassessment of its inferred predatory habits. Palaeontology 56, 971-990.

EISERHARDT, K.H., KOCH, L. & EISERHARDT, W.L. 2001. Revision des ichnotaxon Tomaculum Groom, 1902. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie, Abhandlungen 221, 235-358.

ENGLISH, A.M. & BABCOCK, L.E. 2010. Census of the Indian Springs Lagerstätte, Poleta Formation (Cambrian), western Nevada, USA. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 295, 236-244.View article

ERIKSSON, M.E. & TERFELT, F. 2007. Anomalous facies and ancient faeces in the latest middle Cambrian of Sweden. Lethaia 40, 69-84.View article

ERIKSSON, M.E., LINDGREN, J., CHIN, K. & MÅNSBY, U. 2011. Coprolite morphotypes from the Upper Cretaceous of Sweden: novel views on an ancient ecosystem and implications for coprolite taphonomy. Lethaia 44, 455-468.View article

FATKA, O., BUDIL, P. & GRIGAR, L. 2015. A unique case of healed injury in a Cambrian trilobite. Annales de Paléontologie 101, 295-299.View article

FIORELLI, L.E., EZCURRA, M.D., HECHENLEITNER, E.M., ARGANARAZ, E., TABORDA, J.R.A., TROTTEYN, M.J., BACZKO, M.B. VON & DESOJO, J.B. 2013. The oldest known communal latrines provide evidence of gregarism in Triassic megaherbivores. Scientific Reports 3, 3348.View article

FORTEY, R.A. & OWENS, R.M. 1999. Feeding habits in trilobites. Palaeontology 42, 429-465.View article

GARSON, D.E., GAINES, R.R., DROSER, M.L., LIDDELL, W.D. & SAPPENFIELD, A. 2012. Dynamic palaeoredox and exceptional preservation in the Cambrian Spence Shale of Utah. Lethaia 45, 164-177.View article

GROOM, T. 1902. The sequence of the Cambrian and associated beds of the Malvern Hills. The Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 58, 89-149.View article

HAMMERSBURG, S.R., HASIOTIS, S.T., ROBISON, R.A., GUNTHER, L., GUNTHER, V. & JAMISON, P. 2013. The ichnotaxonomy of the Cambrian Spence Shale of Utah: Preliminary results. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs 45, 328.

HOLLOCHER, K. & HOLLOCHER, T.C. 2012. Early processes in the fossilization of terrestrial feces to coprolites, and microstructure preservation. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Bulletin 57, 79-91.

HU, S.X., ZHU, M.Y., STEINER, M., LUO, H.L., ZHAO, F.C. & QI, L. 2010. Biodiversity and taphonomy window of the early Cambrian Guanshan biota, eastern Yunnan. Science China - Earth Sciences 53, 1765-1773.View article

HUGHES, N.C. 2001. Ecologic evolution of Cambrian trilobites, 370-403. In ZHURAVLEV, A.Y. & RIDING, R. (eds) The Ecology of the Cambrian Radiation. Columbia University Press, New York.

HUNT, A.P. 1992. Late Pennsylvanian coprolites from the Kinney Brick Quarry, central New Mexico with notes on the classification and utility of coprolites. New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Bulletin 138, 221-229.

IZUMI, K. & YOSHIZAWA, K. 2016. Star-shaped trace fossil and Phymatoderma from Neogene deep-sea deposits in central Japan: probable echiuran feeding and fecal traces. Journal of Paleontology 90, 1169-1180.View article

KIMMIG, J. & PRATT, B.R. 2015. Soft-bodied biota from the middle Cambrian (Drumian) Rockslide Formation, Mackenzie Mountains, northwestern Canada. Journal of Paleontology 89, 51-71.View article

KIMMIG, J. & PRATT, B.R. 2016. Depositional environment and taphonomy of the middle Cambrian (Drumian) Ravens Throat River Lagerstätte, Rockslide Formation, northwestern Canada. Lethaia 49, 150-169.View article

KIMMIG, J., STROTZ, L.C. & LIEBERMAN, B.S. (in press). The stalked filter feeder Siphusauctum lloydguntheri n. sp. from the middle Cambrian (Series 3: Stage 5) Spence Shale of Utah: Its biological affinities and taphonomy. Journal of Paleontology.

KLOSS, T.J., DORNBOS, S.Q. & CHEN, J.Y. 2015a. Substrate adaptations of sessile benthic metazoans during the Cambrian radiation. Paleobiology 41, 342-352.View article

KLOSS, T.J., DORNBOS, S.Q., CHEN, J.Y., MCHENRY, L.J. & MARENCO, P.J. 2015b. High-resolution geochemical evidence for oxic bottom waters in three Cambrian Burgess Shale-type deposits. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 440, 90-95.View article

LACHAT, J. & HAAG-WACKERNAGEL, D. 2016. Novel mobbing strategies of a fish population against a sessile annelid predator. Scientific Reports 6, 33187.View article

LEGG, D.A. & PATES, S. 2017. A restudy of Utahcaris orion (Euarthropoda) from the Spence Shale (Middle Cambrian, Utah, USA). Geological Magazine 154, 181-186.View article

LEROSEY-AUBRIL, R., HEGNA, T.A., KIER, C., BONINO, E., HABERSETZER, J. & CARRÉ, M. 2012. Controls on gut phosphatization: the trilobites from the Weeks Formation Lagerstätte (Cambrian; Utah). PLoS ONE 7, e32934.View article

LIDDELL, W.D., WRIGHT, S.H., & BRETT, C.E. 1997. Sequence stratigraphy and paleoecology of the Middle Cambrian Spence Shale in northern Utah and southern Idaho. Brigham Young University Geology Studies 42, 59-78.

LIEBERMAN, B.S. 2003. A new soft-bodied fauna: The Pioche Formation of Nevada. Journal of Paleontology 77, 674-690.View article

LIEBERMAN, B.S., KURKEWICZ, R., SHINOGLE, H., KIMMIG, J. & MACGABHANN, B.A. 2017. Disc-shaped fossils resembling porpitids (Cnidaria: Hydrozoa) from the early Cambrian (Series 2: Stage 4) of western U.S.A. PeerJ 5, e3312.View article

LIN, J.P., ZHAO, Y.L., RAHMAN, I.A., XIAO, S. & WANG, Y. 2010. Bioturbation in Burgess Shale-type Lagerstätten - Case study of trace fossil-body fossil association from the Kaili Biota (Cambrian Series 3), Guizhou, China. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 292, 245-256.View article

LIU, A.G., KENCHINGTON, C.G. & MITCHELL, E.G. 2015. Remarkable insights into the paleoecology of the Avalonian Ediacaran macrobiota. Gondwana Research 27, 1355-1380.View article

MARENCO, K.N. & BOTTJER, D.J. 2008. The importance of Planolites in the Cambrian substrate revolution. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 258, 189-199.View article

MARTIN, E.L.O., LEROSEY-AUBRIL, R. & VANNIER, J. 2016. Palaeoscolecid worms from the Lower Ordovician Fezouata Lagerstätte, Morocco: palaeoecological and palaeogeographical implications. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 460, 130-141.View article

MCMAHON, S. TARHAN, L. & BRIGGS, D.E.G. 2017. Decay of the sea anemone Metridium (Actiniaria): Implications for the preservation of soft-bodied diploblast-grade animals. Palaios 32, 388-395.View article

MIKULÁŠ, R. 1995. Trace fossils from the Paseky Shale (Early Cambrian, Czech Republic). Journal of the Czech Geological Society 40, 37-54.

MOORE, R.A. & LIEBERMAN, B.S. 2009. Preservation of early and Middle Cambrian soft-bodied arthropods from the Pioche Shale, Nevada, USA. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 277, 57-62.View article

NEDIN, C. 1999. Anomalocaris predation on nonmineralized and mineralized trilobites. Geology 27, 987-990.View article

NICHOLSON, H.A. 1873. Contributions to the study of the errant annelids of the older Palaeozoic rocks. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 21, 288-290.View article

PEEL, J.S. 2015. Bromalites from the Cambrian (Series 2 and 3) of North Greenland. GFF 137, 181-194.View article

PEEL, J.S. 2017. Mineralized gutfills from the Sirius Passet Lagerstätte (Cambrian Series 2) of North Greenland. GFF 139, 83-91.View article

PICKERILL, R.K., & NARBONNE, G.M. 1995. Composite and compound ichnotaxa: a case example from the Ordovician of Qué- bec, eastern Canada, Ichnos 4, 53-69.View article

RIGBY, J.K. 1983. Sponges of the Middle Cambrian Marjum Limestone from the House Range and Drum Mountains of western Millard County, Utah. Journal of Paleontology 57, 240-270.

ROBISON, R.A. 1969. Annelids from the middle Cambrian Spence Shale of Utah. Journal of Paleontology 43, 1169-1173.

ROBISON, R. A. 1991. Middle Cambrian biotic diversity: examples from four Utah lagerstätten, 77-98. In SIMONETTA, A. &

CONWAY MORRIS, S. (eds) The Early Evolution of Metazoa and the Significance of Problematic Taxa. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

ROBISON, R.A., BABCOCK, L.E. & GUNTHER, V.G. 2015. Exceptional Cambrian fossils from Utah. A window into the age of trilobites. Utah Geological Survey Miscellaneous Publication 15-1, 1-97.

SAPPENFIELD, A.D., TARHAN, L.G. & DROSER, M.L. 2017. Earth’s oldest jellyfish strandings: A unique taphonomic window or just another day at the beach? Geological Magazine 154, 859-574.View article

SCHÄFER, W. 1953. Zur Unterscheidung gleichförmiger Kot-Pillen meerischer Evertebraten. Senckenbergiana 34, 81-93.

SCHWEIGERT, G., SEEGIS, D.B., FELS, A. & LEINFELDER, R.R. 1997. New internally structured decapod microcoprolites from Germany (Late Triassic/Early Miocene), Southern Spain (Early/Middle Jurassic) and Portugal (Late Jurassic): Taxonomy, palaeoecology and evolutionary implications. Paläontologische Zeitschrift 71, 51-69.View article

SEILACHER, A. 2007. Trace Fossil Analysis. 226 pp. Springer Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York.

SELLY, T., HUNTLEY, J.W., SHELTON, K.L. & SCHIFFBAUER, J.D. 2016. Ichnofossil record of selective predation by Cambrian trilobites. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 444, 28-38.View article

SENOWBARI-DARYAN, B. & KUBE, B. 2003. The ichnogenus Palaxius (crustacean coprolite) and description of P. hydranensis n. sp. from the Upper Triassic (Norian part of “Pantokrator” limestone) of Hydra (Greece). Paläontologische Zeitschrift 77, 115-122.View article

SHEN, C., PRATT, B.R. & ZHANG, X.G. 2014. Phosphatized coprolites from the middle Cambrian (Stage 5) Duyun fauna of China. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 410, 104-112.View article

SLATER, B.J., MCLOUGHLIN, S. & HILTON, J. 2012. Animal-plant interactions in a Middle Permian permineralised peat of the Bainmedart Coal Measures, Prince Charles Mountains, Antarctica. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 363-364, 109-126.View article

SPRINKLE, J. 1973. Morphology and evolution of blastozoan echinoderms. Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Special Publication, 1-283. View article

TARHAN, L.G., JENSEN, S. & DROSER, M.L. 2011. Furrows and firmgrounds: Evidence for predation and implications for Palaeozoic substrate evolution in Rusophycus burrows from the Silurian of New York. Lethaia 45, 329-341.View article

VALENTINE, J.W. 1995. Late Precambrian bilaterians: grades and clades, 87-107. In FITCH, W.M. & AYALA, F.J. (eds) Tempo and Mode in Evolution: Genetics and Paleontology 50 Years After Simpson. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

VANNIER, J. 2012. Gut contents as direct indicators for trophic relationships in the Cambrian marine ecosystem. PLoS One 7, e52200.View article

VANNIER, J. & CHEN, J. 2005. Early Cambrian food chain: new evidence from fossil aggregates in the Maotianshan Shale biota. Palaios 20, 3-26.View article

VANNIER, J. & MARTIN, E.L.O. 2017. Worm-lobopodian assemblages from the Early Cambrian Chengjiang biota: Insight into the “pre-arthropodan ecology”? Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 468, 373-387.View article

VANNIER, J., CALANDRA, I., GAILLARD, C. & ZYLINSKA, A. 2010. Priapulid worms: pioneer horizontal burrowers at the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary. Geology 38, 711-714.View article

VANNIER, J., LIU, J., LEROSEY-AUBRIL, R., VINTHER, J. & DALEY, A. C. 2014. Sophisticated digestive systems in early arthropods. Nature Communications 5, 3641.View article

WEBER, B., HU, S., STEINER, M. & ZHAO, F.C. 2012. A diverse ichnofauna from the Cambrian Stage 4 Wulongqing Formation near Kunming (Yunnan Province, South China). Bulletin of Geosciences 87, 71-92.View article

WEBSTER, M., GAINES, R.R. & HUGHES, N.C. 2008. Microstratigraphy, trilobite biostratinomy, and depositional environment of the “Lower Cambrian” Ruin Wash Lagerstätte, Pioche Formation, Nevada. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 264, 100-122.View article

WHITTINGTON, H.B. 1985. The Burgess Shale. 151 pp. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut.

ZACAI, A., VANNIER, J. & LEROSEY-AUBRIL, R. 2016. Reconstructing the diet of a 505-million-year-old arthropod: Sidneyia inexpectans from the Burgess Shale fauna. Arthropod Structure and Development 45, 200-220.View article