Taphonomy And Biological Affinity Of Three-Dimensionally Phosphatized Bromalites From The Middle Ordovician Winneshiek Lagerstätte, Northeastern Iowa, USA


The Winneshiek Lagerst¨atte occurs within an Ordovician meteorite impact structure beneath part of the city of Decorah, Iowa. The Lagerst¨atte has yielded an atypical marine fauna including phyllocarid crustaceans, eurypterids, conodonts, linguloid brachiopods, and jawless fish. Associated with these taxa are vermiform fossils: elongate, morphologically variable, and often three-dimensionally preserved bromalites of uncertain organisms. The preservational state of these bromalites is significantly different from that of other components of the Winneshiek biota. Here we present a compositional and microstructural analysis of the vermiform fossils in order to elucidate their taphonomy and biological affinities. The majority of studied specimens are preserved three-dimensionally and composed of calcium phosphate, while a minority are preserved as carbonaceous compressions. Winneshiek bromalites exhibit important similarities to examples documented from both older and younger sediments. They provide independent evidence of predation in the Winneshiek assemblage during the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event.



0403 Geology, 0602 Ecology, 0603 Evolutionary Biology, Paleontology