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Knaust, 2024

The trace fossil Thalassinoides paradoxicus Kennedy, 1967 revisited from its type locality (Albian-Cenomanian chalk, SE England)

Knaust, D.
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Typearticle in journal


The trace fossil Thalassinoides includes ichnospecies that have been recognised for a long time and widely used in the interpretation of depositional systems. Despite its broad occurrence, the ichnotaxonomic status of this important ichnogenus is far from being unmistakable, which in turn hampers its application in palaeoenvironmental reconstructions. One of the most common ichnospecies is Thalassinoides paradoxicus, originally described from the Paradoxica Bed of the Lower Chalk in the Hunstanton Cliff in SE England. To demarcate this characteristic form from similar ichnospecies, T. paradoxicus is reexamined and described from its type locality. It is characterised by an ‘irregular, very extensive horizontal burrow network, occurring at several levels, connected by vertical shafts’ (Kennedy), but its morphological variability also includes a range of significant architectural elements as well as burrow portions with a laminated wall, scratches and pellets. A series of colonisation events along omission surfaces can be reconstructed based on the occurrence of several burrow generations. T. paradoxicus is an important constituent of shallow-marine environments and subtle variations in morphology may help to constrain facies interpretations. Based on modern analogues and finds of body fossils within their burrows, decapod crustaceans (foremost callianassid shrimp) are known producers of T. paradoxicus from the Mesozoic onwards, whereas older records can be attributed to other malacostracans but also trilobites

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