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The terrestrial feeding trace Edaphichnium lumbricatum is known from the Triassic to the Pleistocene and is characterized by tubular burrows with ellipsoidal fecal pellets, indicating substrate feeding by earthworms or other invertebrates. We describe 11 specimens attributable to Edaphichnium isp. from Egg Mountain, a terrestrial locality with a diverse fossil assemblage from the Upper Cretaceous Two Medicine Formation in Montana, USA, and assess their paleoenvironmental and paleoecological implications. These ichnofossils were recovered from a 1.5 meter stratigraphic succession comprised of calcareous siltstones and limestones with abundant fossil insect pupal cases, representing well-drained paleosols. Although burrows are not always present, three recurring arrangements of Edaphichnium isp. fecal pellets are identified: linearly arranged pellets, horizon-confined pellets, and pellets in clusters dispersed vertically and horizontally throughout the matrix. Two color patterns (light and dark pellets) are also distinguished. Pellets are fine-grained and have a consistently ellipsoidal shape (length:diameter of 1.57), with maximum lengths ranging from 1.9–6.7 mm (mean 4.1 mm) and maximum diameters ranging from 1.0–4.1 mm (mean 2.6 mm). Geochemical analyses indicate pellets are comprised of varying proportions of calcite, plagioclase, and quartz, and are enriched in phosphorus relative to the sedimentary host matrix. Possible trace makers include chafer or other coleopteran larvae, millipedes, and earthworms, suggesting a range of capable trace makers of Edaphichnium-like fecal pellets. Edaphichnium isp. at specific stratigraphic horizons suggests increased organic content in the subsurface, potentially connected to depositional hiatuses. Edaphichnium isp. adds a secondary component to the Celliforma ichnofacies known from Egg Mountain and surrounding strata, and to the array of nesting, feeding, and dwelling traces of wasps, beetles, other invertebrates, mammals, and dinosaurs from the locality.
Gastropod drillholes on prey shells provide an opportunity to test the importance of predation in an evolutionary context. Although records of drilling predation are widespread across the Phanerozoic, the temporal distribution and relative importance of this mode of predation is still controversial. Further, some studies indicate a decline of drilling predation in the Mesozoic but other studies do not. In this study, we present a new dataset of gastropod drilling predation on Kimmeridgian and Tithonian bivalves of Kutch, India. Our study suggests that drilling was one of the prevailing modes of predation in the Upper Jurassic of Kutch with strongly variable intensities, ranging from 2% in the Kimmeridgian Seebachia to 26% in the Tithonian Pinna. A significant, albeit small, increase in drilling intensity from the Kimmeridgian to the Tithonian assemblages is associated with a change in relative sea-level and depositional environment. The morphology of drillholes and recent discovery of body fossils from the same stratigraphic units suggest naticid gastropods as the most likely drillers. A literature survey, along with previously collected specimen from the Jurassic of Kutch, reveals a more complex history of drilling predation than previously assumed.
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