Back to search
Mángano et al., 2024

Jurassic paleosurfaces with fecal mounds reveal the last supper of arenicolid worms

Mángano, M. G., Buatois, L. A., Piñuela, L., Volkenborn, N., Rodríguez-Tovar, F. J., García-Ramos, J. C.
JournalScientific Reports
Typearticle in journal


Exceptional paleosurfaces preserving fecal casting mounds occur in the Upper Jurassic Lastres Formation of Spain. As in modern shorelines, these biogenic structures are associated with straight to sinuous-crested ripples showing the interplay of biological and physical processes in a low-energy marine environment. These trace fossils display characteristics, distribution, and densities like those of modern arenicolid populations (approximately 35 specimens per m²). Under close examination, these fecal casting mounds are morphologically undistinguishable from those produced by recent arenicolids (e.g. Arenicola marina, Abarenicola pacifica), providing evidence of the presence of these polychaetes in the Late Jurassic. As their modern counterparts, fossil arenicolids very likely modified their environment generating a seabed topography and impacting ancient benthic communities, sediment characteristics, and sediment biogeochemistry. Although the presence of oxic microhabitats and biogeochemical processes cannot be accurately measured in the fossil record, comparison with the work of modern populations allows to make inferences on sediment reworking and bioirrigation potential. In addition, association with grazing trails supports the idea of fertilization and modulation of food resources to other species. These paleosurfaces underscore the significance of high-fidelity snapshots in the fossil record (true substrates) to reconstruct past ecologies and sediment biogeochemistry. A new ichnotaxon, Cumulusichnus asturiensis n. igen. and n. isp., is defined.

Last change: 10.1.2024
KIKNATARCSARVTÜ Loodusmuuseumi geokogudEesti Loodusmuuseumi geoloogia osakond
All materials in the portal are for free usage according to CC BY-SA , unless indiated otherwise.
Portal is part of natianal research infrastructure and geoscience data platform SARV, hosted by TalTech.
Open Book icon by Icons8.