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Konservat-Lagerstätten from the Upper Jurassic lithographic limestone of the Causse Méjean (Lozère, southern France): palaeontological and palaeoenvironmental synthesis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 January 2022

Jean-David Moreau*
Biogéosciences, UMR CNRS 6282, Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté, 6 boulevard Gabriel, 21000Dijon, France
Romain Vullo
Univ Rennes, CNRS, Géosciences Rennes, UMR 6118, 35000Rennes, France
Sylvain Charbonnier
Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Centre de Recherche en Paléontologie – Paris (CR2P, UMR 7207), MHNN, Sorbonne Université, CNRS, 57 rue Cuvier 75005Paris, France
Romain Jattiot
Fachbereich 5 Geowissenschaften, Universität Bremen, Klagenfurter Strasse 4, 28359Bremen, Germany
Vincent Trincal
LMDC, Université de Toulouse, INSA/UPS, 135 avenue de Rangueil, 31077Toulouse, France
Didier Néraudeau
Univ Rennes, CNRS, Géosciences Rennes, UMR 6118, 35000Rennes, France
Emmanuel Fara
Biogéosciences, UMR CNRS 6282, Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté, 6 boulevard Gabriel, 21000Dijon, France
Louis Baret
Association Paléontologique des Hauts Plateaux du Languedoc, 14 chemin des Ecureuils, 48000Mende, France
Alessandro Garassino
Department of Earth and Biological Sciences, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California, CA92350, United States of America Department of Paleontology, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC27601, United States of America
Georges Gand
Biogéosciences, UMR CNRS 6282, Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté, 6 boulevard Gabriel, 21000Dijon, France
Gérard Lafaurie
10 rue Léon Baraillé, 46100Figeac, France
Author for correspondence: Jean-David Moreau, Email:


Since the 1980s, the Upper Jurassic lithographic limestone of the Causse Méjean (southern France) has been known by local naturalists to yield fossils. However, until the beginning of the 21st century, this plattenkalk remained largely undersampled and scientifically underestimated. Here, we present the results of two decades of prospection and sampling in the Drigas and the Nivoliers quarries. We provide the first palaeontological inventory of the fossil flora, the fauna and the ichnofauna for these localities. The fossil assemblages show the co-occurrence of marine and terrestrial organisms. Marine organisms include algae, bivalves, brachiopods, cephalopods (ammonites, belemnites and coleoids such as Trachyteuthis), echinoderms, decapod crustaceans (ghost shrimps, penaeoid shrimps and glypheoid lobsters) and fishes (including several actinopterygians and a coelacanth). Terrestrial organisms consist of plant remains (conifers, bennettitaleans, pteridosperms) and a single rhynchocephalian (Kallimodon cerinensis). Ichnofossils comprise traces of marine invertebrates (e.g. limulid trackways, ammonite touch mark) as well as coprolites and regurgitalites. Given the exquisite preservation of these fossils, the two quarries can be considered as Konservat-Lagerstätten. Both lithological features and fossil content suggest a calm, protected and shallow-marine environment such as a lagoon partially or occasionally open to the sea. Most fossils are allochthonous to parautochthonous and document diverse ecological habitats. Similarly to other famous Upper Jurassic plattenkalks of western Europe such as Solnhofen, Cerin or Canjuers, the Causse Méjean is a key landmark for our understanding of coastal/lagoonal palaeoecosystems during the Kimmeridgian–Tithonian interval.

Original Article
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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