FERNANDEZ Diana Elizabeth
Xiphosurid trackways in a Lower Cretaceous tidal flat in Patagonia: Palaeoecological implications and the involvement of microbial mats in trace-fossil preservation
FERNÁNDEZ, DIANA E.; PAZOS, PABLO J.
PALAEOGEOGRAPHY PALAEOCLIMATOLOGY PALAEOECOLOGY
ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Lugar: Amsterdam; Año: 2013 vol. 375 p. 16 - 29
Lower Cretaceous trackways assignable to xiphosurids were recently found in tidally influenced marginal-marine deposits of the Agrio Formation (Patagonia, Argentina). The aim of this paper is to describe these trace fossils in detail, discuss their conditions of preservation, make palaeoecological and taphonomic inferences from them, and analyse the importance of their palaeogeographic location. These trace fossils are assigned to Kouphichnium, and five track morphotypes are established. Microbially induced sedimentary structures (MISS) are associated with the trackways. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) studies document the involvement of microbial mats in the preservation of the trackways by the presence of cyanobacteria-like filament sheaths. The microbial mats enabled preservation of the tracks by binding and biostabilisation of the sediment surface. The mostly likely producers of the trackways are from the subfamily Limulinae. The studied surface could represent a high-tide mating ground associated with a very shallow water deposit on a warm Cretaceous tidal flat. These records are the first convincingly documented trackways produced by xiphosurids in the Early Cretaceous worldwide and the second fossil record of this group from the Cretaceous in the Southern Hemisphere.