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Restudy of some Ordovician–Silurian boundary graptolites from Anticosti Island, Canada, and their biostratigraphic significance



Michael J. Melchin [], Department of Earth Sciences, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada B2G 2W5; manuscript received on 06/06/07, manuscript accepted on 05/09/07.


The Ellis Bay Formation on Anticosti Island has long been recognized for the biostratigraphic importance of its latest Ordovician conodont, palynomorph, and shelly fossil assemblages. However, a sparse record of graptolites has made it difficult to correlate these assemblages with the graptolite biozonation. Restudy of some previously described and examination of newly collected normalograptid specimens from the Ellis Bay and lower Becscie formations, however, shows that biostratigraphically important taxa are present and these species provide important constraints on the age of the strata. Normalograptus parvulus and N. minor have been identified in the upper half of the Ellis Bay Formation, suggesting that these strata are late Hirnantian in age (N. persculptus Biozone). Normalograptus imperfectus and Normalograptus sp. aff. N. acceptus occur in the basal beds of the Becscie Formation, indicating that these strata are earliest Silurian. These graptolite data support the hypothesis that the positive carbon isotope excursion seen in the uppermost strata of the Ellis Bay Formation is isochronous with that seen in the Hirnantian strata at Dob's Linn, Scotland, and does not span much of the lower to mid-Hirnantian, as is the case in Arctic Canada and Nevada, USA. inline image Anticosti Island, Hirnantian, graptolites, Ordovician, Silurian.