Testing the Usefulness of the Surface Collecting Method in a Vertebrate Microfossil Site from the Barremian of Spain (Los Menires, Mirambel Formation)

José M. Gasca, Jara Parrilla-Bel, Miguel Moreno-Azanza, Pablo Navarro-Lorbés, José I. Canudo

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Abstract

Surface collecting is the first and sometimes the only type of sampling carried out in many fossiliferous localities, including vertebrate microfossil assemblages. Nevertheless, it is rare to test how representative these surface-collected samples are of the palaeobiocoenosis. A first approach to the palaeontological analysis of Los Menires, a Barremian vertebrate microfossil assemblage, is here performed while testing the usefulness of the surface collection method. New fossil material obtained by surface collection is described, and the resulting data are compared with those obtained by screen-washing. The fossil assemblage of Los Menires is dominated by parautochthonous remains of freshwater aquatic and semiaquatic organisms—i.e., charophytes, ostracods, bivalves, gastropods, testudinatans, crocodylomorphs, lissamphibians, and osteichthyans—although parautochthonous remains of terrestrial vertebrates—i.e., dinosaurs, lacertilians, and mammaliforms—are also present. The accumulation of vertebrate hard parts in Los Menires took place in a low-energy, shallow-water, depositional environment within the alluvial-lacustrine system represented by the Mirambel Formation. Sampling test results indicate that surface collection is effective in recognizing the main fossil groups present in an assemblage. Yet, it is not suitable for capturing delicate and tiny fossils nor for recognizing the abundance of eggshells. In contrast, it can generate an overrepresentation of other hard components such as coprolites or ornithopod teeth.
Original languageEnglish
Article number135
Number of pages18
JournalDiversity
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Ladruñán anticline
  • lower Cretaceous
  • Maestrazgo basin
  • Mesozoic vertebrates
  • microfossil vertebrate assemblages
  • palaeobiodiversity
  • sampling methods
  • shallow lacustrine
  • Teruel province

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