A new approach for investigating spatial relationships of ichnofossils: a case study of Ediacaran-Cambrian animal traces

dc.contributor.authorMitchell, Emily G.en
dc.contributor.authorEvans, Scott D.en
dc.contributor.authorChen, Zheen
dc.contributor.authorXiao, Shuhaien
dc.date.accessioned2022-06-10T13:57:45Zen
dc.date.available2022-06-10T13:57:45Zen
dc.date.issued2022-05-19en
dc.description.abstractTrace fossils record foraging behaviors, the search for resources in patchy environments, of animals in the rock record. Quantification of the strength, density, and nature of foraging behaviors enables the investigation of how these may have changed through time. Here, we present a novel approach to explore such patterns using spatial point process analyses to quantify the scale and strength of ichnofossil spatial distributions on horizontal bedding planes. To demonstrate the utility of this approach, we use two samples from the terminal Ediacaran Shibantan Member in South China (between 551 and 543 Ma) and the early Cambrian Nagaur Sandstone in northwestern India (between 539 and 509 Ma). We find that ichnotaxa on both surfaces exhibited significant nonhomogeneous lateral patterns, with distinct levels of heterogeneity exhibited by different types of trace fossils. In the Shibantan, two ichnotaxa show evidence for mutual positive aggregation over a shared resource, suggesting the ability to focus on optimal resource areas. Trace fossils from the Nagaur Sandstone exhibit more sophisticated foraging behavior, with greater niche differentiation. Critically, mark correlation functions highlight significant spatial autocorrelation of trace fossil orientations, demonstrating the greater ability of these Cambrian tracemakers to focus on optimal patches. Despite potential limitations, these analyses hint at changes in the development and optimization of foraging at the Ediacaran/Cambrian transition and highlight the potential of spatial point process analysis to tease apart subtle differences in behavior in the trace fossil record.en
dc.description.notesWe thank M. Sharma and D. Pandey for field guidance and discussion on the Nagaur fossils, X. Yuan and C. Zhou for discussion on the Shibantan fossils, and two anonymous reviewers for constructive criticism. This work was funded by a UKRI grant (NE/S014756/1) to E.G.M. For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising. S.D.E. was funded by an Agouron Institute Geobiology fellowship, S.X. by the National Science Foundation (EAR-2021207), and Z.C. by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41921002). The authors declare no competing financial interests.en
dc.description.sponsorshipUKRI grant [NE/S014756/1]; Agouron Institute Geobiology fellowship; National Science Foundation [EAR-2021207]; National Natural Science Foundation of China [41921002]en
dc.description.versionPublished versionen
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdfen
dc.identifier.doihttps://doi.org/10.1017/pab.2022.16en
dc.identifier.eissn1938-5331en
dc.identifier.issn0094-8373en
dc.identifier.otherPII S0094837322000161en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10919/110599en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherCambridge University Pressen
dc.rightsCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 Internationalen
dc.rights.urihttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/en
dc.subjectflight search patternsen
dc.subjectYangtze gorges areaen
dc.subjectmicrobial matsen
dc.subjectlevy flighten
dc.subjectforaging patternsen
dc.subjectheritage siteen
dc.subjectfossilen
dc.subjectheterogeneityen
dc.subjectinformationen
dc.subjectinsightsen
dc.titleA new approach for investigating spatial relationships of ichnofossils: a case study of Ediacaran-Cambrian animal tracesen
dc.title.serialPaleobiologyen
dc.typeArticle - Refereeden
dc.type.dcmitypeTexten
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