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Keywords:

  • Chemosynthetic communities;
  • deep sea;
  • ecology;
  • evolution;
  • shipworms;
  • wood-fall

Sunken wood (wood-fall) in the deep sea today is colonized and consumed by diverse invertebrate communities that show phylogenetic relationships to the chemotrophic fauna on whale carcasses, hydrothermal vents and hydrocarbon seeps. Here we document Late Cretaceous examples of wood-fall communities from deep-water sediments of the Yezo Group on Hokkaido, Japan, consisting of provannid, skeneiform, and patelliform gastropods, and thyasirid and nuculanid bivalves. These species are similar or identical to those found on plesiosaur bones and at hydrocarbon seeps in the same sediments, showing that many members of the modern chemotrophic deep-sea fauna colonized this range of habitats at least since Late Cretaceous time. We also document for the first time faecal chimneys in boreholes in these wood fragments, which were presumably built by xylophagain bivalves.