Pseudoplanktonic lifestyle of the Triassic crinoid Traumatocrinus from Southwest China



Colonies of Traumatocrinus (Echinodermata, Crinoidea) attached to driftwood from the lower Upper Triassic (Carnian) Xiaowa Formation of the Guanling area (Guizhou, Southwest China) document a pseudoplanktonic lifestyle for this specialized offshoot of the otherwise benthic Middle Triassic Encrinidae. After the end-Carnian decline of Traumatocrinus, its ecological niche was subsumed in Norian by genera derived from another benthic family (Holocrinidae) with convergent morphological modifications. After the Toarcian (Lower Jurassic), this niche disappeared, possibly due to the emergence of wood-boring bivalves.