Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Buoyancy mechanisms limit preservation of coleoid cephalopod soft tissues in Mesozoic Lagerstätten
Authors: Clements, Thomas
Colleary, Caitlin
De Baets, Kenneth
Vinther, Jakob
First Published: 30-Dec-2016
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd for Palaeontological Association
Citation: Palaeontology, 2017, 60 (1), pp. 1-14
Abstract: Coleoid cephalopods are characterized by internalization of their shell, and are divided into the ten-armed Decabrachia (squids and cuttlefish) and the eight-armed Vampyropoda (octopuses and vampire squid). They have a rich fossil record predominantly of the limited biomineralized skeletal elements they possess: arm hooks, statoliths, mouthparts (the buccal mass) and internal shell (gladius or pen), although exquisitely preserved soft tissue coleoids are known from several Lagerstätten worldwide. Recent studies have shown that although morphological similarities between extant decabrachian gladii and fossil examples exist, no known examples of fossil decabrachians are currently known. However, molecular clock data and phylogenetic bracketing suggest that they should be present in Lagerstätten that are rich in vampyropod soft tissue fossils (i.e. Hâkel and Hâdjoula Lagerstätten, Cretaceous, Lebanon). We propose that a hitherto unknown taphonomic bias pertaining to the differing methods of buoyancy control within coleoid groups limits preservation potential. Both negatively and neutrally buoyant decabrachians use chemical buoyancy control (ammonia) whereas vampyropods do not. In the event of rapid burial in an environment conducive to exceptional preservation, ammonia dramatically decreases the ability of the decabrachian carcass to generate the required pH for authigenic calcium phosphate replacement, limiting its preservation potential. Moreover, the greater surface area and comparatively fragile dermis further decrease the potential for fossilization. This taphonomic bias may have contributed to the lack of preserved labile soft-tissues in other cephalopods groups such as the ammonoids.
ISSN: 0031-0239
eISSN: 1475-4983
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2017. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Geography

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Clements_et_al-2017-Palaeontology.pdfPublished (publisher PDF)4.89 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in LRA are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.