Multispecies shark feeding in the Trans-Saharan Seaway: evidence from Late Cretaceous dyrosaurid (Crocodyliformes) fossils from northeastern Mali

Hill, Robert V., Roberts, Eric M., Tapanila, Leif, Bouaré, M.L., Sissoko, Famory, and O'Leary, Maureen A. (2015) Multispecies shark feeding in the Trans-Saharan Seaway: evidence from Late Cretaceous dyrosaurid (Crocodyliformes) fossils from northeastern Mali. Palaios, 30 (7). pp. 589-596.

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Abstract

Feeding traces help to characterize trophic interactions of ancient ecosystems. In rare cases, they may also provide information that is not otherwise represented by body fossils in a particular paleoenvironment. Here, we describe a diverse suite of surficial bone modifications preserved on dyrosaurid crocodyliform bones. These new fossils come from extensive Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) bone and coprolite-dominated phosphate conglomerates from deposits of the Trans-Saharan Seaway in northern Mali. Five specimens have bite traces indicative of feeding by at least two species of neoselachian sharks. Features of some traces suggest they were not made in a fatal attack, but after the dyrosaurids had died, and therefore represent instances of scavenging. Other traces may be attributed to predation or early scavenging. In addition to the shark bite traces, one specimen bears minute, crescent-shaped traces that we tentatively attribute to invertebrate activity. Importantly, the traces described here document the presence of species for which body fossils have not yet been discovered.

Item ID: 43651
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1938-5323
Funders: LSB Leakey Foundation, National Geographic Society (NGS), National Science Foundation (NSF), New York Institute of Technology
Projects and Grants: NSF-EAR 0622359
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2016 22:37
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040308 Palaeontology (incl Palynology) @ 50%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0403 Geology > 040310 Sedimentology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 100%
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