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We describe here the early Spathian (Early Triassic) Paris Biota decapod fauna from the western USA basin. This fauna contains two taxa of Aegeridae (Dendobranchiata), namely Anisaeger longirostrus n. sp. and Aeger sp. that are the oldest known representatives of their family, thus extending its temporal range by 5 Myr back into the Early Triassic. This fauna also includes two representatives of Glypheida (Pleocyemata) with Litogaster turnbullensis and Pemphix krumenackeri n. sp., confirming for the former and extending for the latter the temporal ranges of their respective superfamilies back to the Early Triassic. Overall, the Paris Biota decapods are some of the oldest known representatives of Decapoda, filling in an important gap in the evolutionary history of this group, especially during the Triassic that marks the early diversification of this clade. Additionally, we compile and provide overviews for all known Triassic decapods, which leads to the revision of four species of Middle and Late Triassic Aegeridae, and to a revised family assignment of a Middle Triassic Glypheida. Based on this refined dataset, we also investigate decapod diversity throughout the Triassic. We show that the apparent increase in decapod taxonomic richness is probably driven by the heterogeneity of the fossil record and/or sampling effort, and that the decapod alpha diversity is actually relatively high as soon as the Early Triassic and remains rather stable throughout the Triassic.
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.
A recent excavation yielded 118 large tridactyl footprints in the Lower Jurassic Dolomitic Formation of the Causses Basin, at Mongisty in southern France. Most of the tracks are ascribed to Eubrontes giganteus Hitchcock, 1845. They are preserved on a surface of 53 m2 and form parallel rows with a preferential orientation towards the north. Such an abundance and density of E. giganteus is observed for the first time in the Early Jurassic from the Causses Basin. Sedimentological and ichnotaphonomical analyses show that the footprints were made at different time intervals, thus excluding the passage of a large group. In contrast to all other tracksites from the Dolomitic Formation, where tracks are preserved in fine-grained sediments corresponding to low-energy depositional palaeoenvironments, the tracks from Mongisty are preserved in coarse-grained sediment which is a matrix- to clast-supported breccia. Clasts consist of angular to sub-rounded, millimetric to centimetric-scale (up to 2 cm), poorly sorted, randomly oriented, homogeneous dolostone intraclasts floating in a dolomudstone matrix. Sedimentological analysis shows that the depositional environments of Mongisty varied from subtidal to intertidal/supratidal settings in a large and protected flat marsh. The lithology of the track-bearing surfaces indicates that the mudflat of the Causses Basin was sporadically affected by large mud flows that reworked and redeposited mudstone intraclasts coming from the erosion of upstream, dry and partially lithified mud beds. Throughout the world, this type of preservation of dinosaur tracks in tidal matrix- to clast-supported breccias remains rare.
Sediments deposited from the Permian–Triassic boundary (~252 Ma) until the end-Smithian (Early Triassic; c. 250.7 Ma) in the Sonoma Foreland Basin show marked thickness variations between its southern (up to c. 250 m thick) and northern (up to c. 550 m thick) parts. This basin formed as a flexural response to the emplacement of the Golconda Allochthon during the Sonoma orogeny. Using a high-resolution backstripping approach, a numerical model and sediment thickness to obtain a quantitative subsidence analysis, we discuss the controlling factor(s) responsible for spatial variations in thickness. We show that sedimentary overload is not sufficient to explain the significant discrepancy observed in the sedimentary record of the basin. We argue that the inherited rheological properties of the basement terranes and spatial heterogeneity of the allochthon are of paramount importance in controlling the subsidence and thickness spatial distribution across the Sonoma Foreland Basin.
Gladius-bearing coleoids are rare in the fossil record. For the Cretaceous period, these cephalopods are mainly recorded in a few Lagerstätten in Lebanon (Haqel, Hajoula, En Nammoura, and Sahel Aalma). Here, we study 16 specimens of gladius-bearing coleoids from these Upper Cretaceous Lebanese Lagerstätten to investigate their taxonomic diversity. Besides two species that were already reported (Dorateuthis syriaca and Glyphiteuthis libanotica), one new species is identified in the Cenomanian site of Hajoula: Rachiteuthis acutali n. sp., as well as another form of Glyphiteuthis from En Nammoura. Several studied specimens exhibit well-preserved soft-part characters. Among them, we document for the first time two transverse rows of sessile suckers in D. syriaca and we confirm the absence of tentacles, as well as the presence of a crop in this species. This strongly supports the phylogenetic proximity of D. syriaca with modern vampyropods rather than with modern decabrachians. In turn, the similarity in gladius morphology between this taxon and modern squids is regarded as convergent.
In Timpoweap Canyon near Hurricane (Utah, USA), spectacular outcrop conditions of Early Triassic rocks document the geometric relationships between a massive Smithian fenestral-microbial unit and underlying, lateral and overlying sedimentary units. This allows us to reconstruct the evolution of depositional environments and high-frequency relative sea-level fluctuations in the studied area. Depositional environments evolved from a coastal plain with continental deposits to peritidal settings with fenestral-microbial limestones, which are overlain by intertidal to shallow subtidal marine bioclastic limestones. This transgressive trend of a large-scale depositional sequence marks a long-term sea-level rise that is identified worldwide after the Permian–Triassic boundary. The fenestral-microbial sediments were deposited at the transition between continental settings (with terrigenous deposits) and shallow subtidal marine environments (with bioturbated and bioclastic limestones). Such a lateral zonation questions the interpretation of microbial deposits as anachronistic and disaster facies in the western USA basin. The depositional setting may have triggered the distribution of microbial deposits and contemporaneous marine biota. The fenestral-microbial unit is truncated by an erosional surface reflecting a drop in relative sea level at the scale of a medium depositional sequence. The local inherited topography allowed the recording of small-scale sequences characterized by clinoforms and short-distance lateral facies changes. Stratal stacking pattern and surface geometries allow the reconstruction of relative sea-level fluctuations and tracking of shoreline migrations. The stacking pattern of these small-scale sequences and the amplitude of corresponding high-frequency sea-level fluctuations are consistent with climatic control. Large- and medium-scale sequences suggest a regional tectonic control.
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