Trilobite taphonomy and ecology in Upper Ordovician carbonate buildups in Dalarna, Sweden

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Abstract

A major ecological grouping of the trilobites in the Upper Ordovician Boda Limestone buildups in Dalarna is outlined, based primarily on the modes of occurrences in the Jutjärn quarry. The so-called pockets are analysed with regard to their trilobite contents and distribution within a carbonate buildup. The pockets are of two general types. One consists of narrow opened fissures along bedding planes. The matrix of these may contain either of the peculiar blind Isocolus sjoegreni or Ityophorus undulatus, both of which appear to have been cavernous species, possibly belonging to the Bathyuracea (or Leiostegiacea). In addition, small proetids used the fissures for moulting. The other kind of pocket is a cavity largely filled with sediment from the surface of the buildup. The size is considerable, in rare cases up to many tens of cubic metres. Although the buildups housed about 90 trilobite species, each of these pockets is dominated by one or two out of seven large species. Of these, six are illaenids, the seventh the illaenid-like cheirurid Holotrachelus punctillosus. Usually only pygidia and cranidia are found. These species may have lived gregariously around the rims of the cavities. The remaining species, about 85% of the trilobite fauna, appear to have lived on the surface of the buildups. The largest group is the proetids with some 20 species (in addition to those known from pockets). Cheirurinids and lichids contribute with some 15 species each, and there are six odontopleurids. The distinctness of the ‘community’ is indicated by the circumstance that only three species are shared with contemporaneous level-bottom faunas in Sweden.

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