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Sinha et al., 2021

Global controls on phosphatization of fossils during the toarcian oceanic anoxic event

Sinha, S., Muscente, A. D., Schiffbauer, J. D., Williams, M., Schweigert, G., Martindale, R. C.
AjakiriScientific Reports
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Konservat-Lagerstätten—deposits with exceptionally preserved fossils—vary in abundance across geographic and stratigraphic space due to paleoenvironmental heterogeneity. While oceanic anoxic events (OAEs) may have promoted preservation of marine lagerstätten, the environmental controls on their taphonomy remain unclear. Here, we provide new data on the mineralization of fossils in three Lower Jurassic Lagerstätten—Strawberry Bank (UK), Ya Ha Tinda (Canada), and Posidonia Shale (Germany) —and test the hypothesis that they were preserved under similar conditions. Biostratigraphy indicates that all three Lagerstätten were deposited during the Toarcian OAE (TOAE), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) show that each deposit contains a variety of taxa preserved as phosphatized skeletons and tissues. Thus, despite their geographic and paleoenvironmental differences, all of these Lagerstätten were deposited in settings conducive to phosphatization, indicating that the TOAE fostered exceptional preservation in marine settings around the world. Phosphatization may have been fueled by phosphate delivery from climatically-driven sea level change and continental weathering, with anoxic basins acting as phosphorus traps.

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