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Soft-bodied fossils from the roof shales of the Wigan Four Foot coal seam, Westhoughton, Lancashire, UK

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 May 1999

L. I. ANDERSON
Affiliation:
Department of Geology and Petroleum Geology, Meston Building, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB24 3UE, UK
J. A. DUNLOP
Affiliation:
Institüt für Systematische Zoologie, Museum für Naturkunde, Invalidenstrasse, D-10115, Berlin, Germany
R. M. C. EAGAR
Affiliation:
Honorary Research Associate, The Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
C. A. HORROCKS
Affiliation:
24 Lower Monton Road, Eccles, Manchester, M30 0NX, UK
H. M. WILSON
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Sciences, Keele University, Staffordshire, ST5 5BG, UK

Abstract

Exceptionally preserved fossils are described from the Westhoughton opencast coal pit near Wigan, Lancashire, UK (uppermost Westphalian A, Lower Modiolaris Chronozone, regularis faunal belt). The fossils occur within sideritic concretions in a 1.5-metre zone above the Wigan Four Foot coal seam. Arthropods dominate the fauna and include arachnids, arthropleurids, crustaceans, eurypterids, euthycarcinoids, millipedes and xiphosurans. Vertebrates are represented by a single palaeoniscid fish, numerous disarticulated scales and coprolites. Upright Sigillaria trees, massive bedded units and a general lack of trace fossils in the roof shales of the Wigan Four Foot coal seam suggest that deposition of the beds containing these concretions was relatively rapid. Discovery of similar faunas at the equivalent stratigraphic level some distance away point to regional rather than localized controls on exceptional preservation.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 1999 Cambridge University Press

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