Signs of predation in the Middle Jurassic of south-central Poland: evidence from echinoderm taphonomy





Michał Zatoń[] and Mariusz A. Salamon [], Faculty of Earth Sciences, University of Silesia, Będzińska 60 Street, PL 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland; Loïc Villier [], Centre de Sédimentologie-Paléontologie, Université de Provence, Place Victor Hugo, 13331 Marseille, France.


Distinct faunal aggregates are described from the Middle Jurassic (uppermost Bajocian/lowermost Bathonian and Middle Bathonian) clay deposits of Częstochowa area, south-central Poland. These aggregates are composed of molluscs (scaphopods, gastropods, bivalves, ammonites and belemnites), articulate brachiopods and echinoderms (asteroids, crinoids and echinoids). A large percentage of the fossils, especially bivalves, are fragmented, but some fossils are complete. Although most of the fossils are crushed and fragmented, they are still identifiable to at least the genus level. Thorough statistical analysis of taphonomic features indicates that the preservation of asteroid marginal plates is distinct from the ossicles derived from the host clays. The high frequency of bite marks and the good state of preservation suggest that the accumulations are the products of predation activities and most probably are the effect of regurgitation. Taking into account the rich and diverse fauna, the predator was a bottom-feeding generalist. Possible predators include palaeospinacid sharks, a tooth of which was collected from the same bedding surface, but not associated with regurgitated remains. Although the bite marks on the asteroid ossicles point to sharks as potential producers of regurgitates, other vertebrates, like durophagous pycnodontiform fish, cannot be excluded.