Fossilized Burrows Tell an Environmental Tale – #365papers – 2018 – 28

King, Gates, Gingras, Zanno, and Pemberton, 2018, Transgressive erosion expressed as a Glossifungites-bearing woodground: An example from the Blackhawk Formation, Utah: Palaios, v. 22, p. 29-35.

What’s it about?

Animals living in the ground leave traces of their burrows and feeding habits. These traces are called ichnofossils, and speak volumes about the environment in which the organisms lived. In this paper, the authors talk about an ichnofossil called Glossifungites, which are U- or tongue-shaped burrows that were later filled with sediment. The authors discuss how Glossifungites, along side two other trace fossils called Thalassinoides and Teredolites, indicate a region that was eroded off during transgression of an ocean (the movement of the shoreline inland, potentially due to sea level rising).

Why does it matter?

In order to understand Earth’s history, we must be able to correctly interpret the environment in which rocks were deposited. This paper provides a better way to use trace fossils for environmental interpretation.

Why did I read this?

I don’t know… Ichnofossils sounded interesting to me when I chose the paper. Tracks and traces can tell us a lot about an environment. It’s not my area of expertise, so I took this paper as an opportunity to learn more.

Published by paleololigo

Scientist (Paleontology, Geochemistry, Geology); Writer (Speculative and Science Fiction, plus technical and non-technical Science); Mom to great boy on the Autism spectrum; possessor of too many hobbies.

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