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Article: The fish trace fossil Undichna from the Cretaceous of Spain

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 42
Part: 3
Publication Date: July 1999
Page(s): 409 427
Author(s): Jordi M. De Gibert, Luís A. Buatois, María A. Fregenal-Martínez, M. Gabriela Mángano, Francisco Ortega, Francisco J. Poyato-Ariza and Sylvie Wenz
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How to Cite

DE GIBERT, J. M., BUATOIS, L. A., FREGENAL-MARTÍNEZ, M. A., MÁNGANO, M., ORTEGA, F., POYATO-ARIZA, F. J., WENZ, S. 1999. The fish trace fossil Undichna from the Cretaceous of Spain. Palaeontology42, 3, 409–427.

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The Early Cretaceous Spanish localities of El Montsec and Las Hoyas have yielded the fish trails Undichnabritannica and Undichna unisulca ichnosp. nov. respectively. The former consists of two intertwined waves, and wasprobably produced by the elopiform Ichthyemidion vidali. Undichna unisulca is characterized by having only a singlesinusoidal wave, and was most probably produced by the pycnodontiforms Eomesodon and/or Macromesodon.Reliable criteria that distinguish this ichnospecies from the putative single-waved undertrails of more complex trailsinclude the presence of hyporeliefs below undisturbed lamination and the preservation of epireliefs with lateral levees.The Spanish occurrences represent the first mention of this ichnogenus in post-Palaeozoic strata, and demonstrate thatUndichna is not restricted to the Carboniferous–Permian, as previously thought. The lacustrine depositional setting ofthe two Cretaceous localities is consistent with the known palaeoenvironmental distribution of this ichnotaxon. Thedisparity between the stratigraphical record of Undichna and the broad temporal and palaeoenvironmental distributionof fishes capable of producing similar sinusoidal structures presumably reflects a taphonomic filter. Preservation ofUndichna is favoured by: absence or scarcity of infaunal burrowers; presence of a very fine-grained, plastic,semiconsolidated substrate; low-energy bottom conditions; and relatively rapid burial with no associated erosion.Freshwater settings present these taphonomic constraints more frequently than other environments; thus preservationof Undichna is favoured in lakes, alluvial swamps and inner regions of estuaries.
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