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An enigmatic large discoidal fossil from the pennsylvanian of county clare, Ireland

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posted on 2024-03-08, 12:53 authored by John MurrayJohn Murray, Breandan Anraoi MacGabhannBreandan Anraoi MacGabhann, Eamon Doyle, M. Gabriela Mangano, Shane Tyrrell, David A.T. Harper

A rare and unusual large solitary discoidal fossil has been discovered on a paving slab quarried from the cyclothems of the Central Clare Group (Kinderscoutian, Pennsylvanian, Carboniferous), western Ireland. The fossil impression consists of a smooth raised inner discoidal area, surrounded by a slightly lower relief outer ring, ca. 130–135 mm in diameter, with eight prominent equidistant ovoid raised nodes towards the outermost margin. The octoradial body plan of this enigmatic specimen suggests a cnidarian connection and, as it is preserved as a positive hyporelief cast, it is tentatively interpreted as the resting trace of a large benthic anemone, which was either partially or fully infaunal. The discoidal fossil is interesting palaeoecologically; it occurs within the well-known Liscannor flag-stone, which consists of thinly bedded, fine-grained sandstone that is extensively covered by prominent, sinuous to meandering, horizontal grazing trails attributed to Psammichnites plummeri. This sedimentary facies likely represents mouth-bar sedimentation on a delta front of a river-dominated delta. The discoidal impression occurs on a portion of the slab where these trace fossils are relatively scarce. Uncertainty surrounds the classification and interpretation of the disc due to its relatively simple morphological form, coupled with a lack of unequivocally diagnostic features — a problem commonly encountered in studies of discoidal fossils from both the Ediacaran and the Phanerozoic



Palaeoworld 33(1), pp.105-118



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Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Discovery Grants 311727-15/20

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