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Ichthyosaur carcass-fall community from Jurassic Posidonia Shale of Germany

Ben Creisler

A new paper:

Daniel G. Dick (2015)
An ichthyosaur carcass-fall community from the Posidonia Shale
(Toarcian) of Germany.
PALAIOS 30(5): 353-361
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2110/palo.2014.095pg(s) 353–361

The possibility that large marine reptiles and other Mesozoic
vertebrates produced nekton-fall communities similar to those of
modern cetaceans is presently receiving increased attention in the
literature. The author describes a rare ichthyosaur carcass-fall
community from the Posidonia Shale (lower Toarcian) of Germany, which
provides insights into the role played by large marine vertebrates in
determining regional benthic ecology during this period. It is
demonstrated here that, while more important than previously thought,
there is little evidence to suggest that ichthyosaur carcasses played
a substantial role in structuring the benthic ecology of the European
Toarcian epeiric sea. In general, within the shallow waters of the
Posidonia Shale, conditions conducive to the creation of carcass-fall
communities were rare, and when present, resulted in localized
magnification of background taxa and higher local biodiversity, rather
than a unique community of epibiont organisms. The community which
developed is ecologically similar to modern whale-fall communities,
but differs in important ways, particularly with regard to the
presence/absence of the chemosynthetic faunas which are most
intensively described in the literature.