First xiphosuran traceway in the middle Muschelkalk facies (Middle Triassic) of the Catalan Basin (NE Iberian Peninsula)


In the last decade, the first ichnoassamblages from the middle Muschelkalk facies (upper Anisian–middle Ladinian) of the Catalan Basin (NE Iberian Peninsula) have been discovered. Herein, the first xiphosuran trace fossils are described from the locality of Penya Rubí, a newly discovered ichnosite from the Catalan Basin. The finding opens a window into peri-Tethys ecosystems with coastal influence. The traceway is referred to the ichnogenus Kouphichnium, a locomotion trace attributed to xiphosurans. The traceway preserves telson grooves and different imprint morphologies from the various appendages. The traceway pattern and arrangement of the different traces suggest a crawling locomotion style. The sedimentology suggests a coastal zone with areas influenced by tides (intertidal flat). The morphological variations of the ichnites are correlated to substrate rheology, the locomotion of the tracemaker and environmental conditions.

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