Article: New jellyfish taxa from the Upper Jurassic lithographic limestones of Cerin (France): taphonomy
Christian Gaillard, Jacqueline Goy, Paul Bernier, Jean Paul Bourseau, Jean Claude Gall, Georges Barale, Eric Buffetaut and Sylvie Wenz
Abundant well-preserved jellyfish impressions are described from the Cerin Lagerstatte (Ain, eastern France). The enclosing sediments are lithographic limestones deposited in a Late Kimmeridgian lagoon lying on an emergent reef complex. Two new taxa of Scyphozoa are proposed: Paraurelia cerinensis gen. et sp. nov. (abundant) and Paraurelia sp. A (rare), and two new taxa of Cubozoa: Bipedalia cerinensis gen. et sp. nov. (rare) and Paracarybdea lithographica gen. et sp. nov. (very rare). Rapid covering by a microbial mat helped the preservation of the animals. Many specimens of Paraurelia cerinensis are deformed by slippage down the palaeoslope, which characterizes the margin of the lagoon. Their resultant morphology and their orientation clearly indicate the downslope direction. Tentacles of Bipedalia cerinensis and Paracarybdea lithographica are also orientated according to the palaeoslope. The jellyfish were probably dead individuals occasionally introduced into the Cerin lagoon. However, another hypothesis may be considered with reference to the model of the present-day jellyfish lakes in Palau (Caroline Islands, Western Pacific). Jellyfish could have lived in the more oxygenated upper layer of water of the Cerin lagoon that allowed pelagic life. This situation could have corresponded to short periods of easier communication between the open sea and the lagoon. Jellyfish are only found in the lower beds of the lithographic limestones and their distribution illustrates the supposed evolution of the Cerin lagoon. Initially, it was deep, mainly flooded, with possibly autochthonous jellyfish and allochthonous animals indicating clear marine influence. Later, the lagoon shallowed and its sediments often emerged with marginal marine burrows and plants indicating increasing terrestrial influence.