CIE Spotlight: First record of the trace fossil Protovirgularia from the Middle Permian of southeastern Gondwana (southern Sydney Basin, Australia)

Authors & 

SourceAlcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology 

Brief summary of the paper: This study reports the first examples of well-preserved chevronate trails referable to Protovirgularia longespicata De Stefani, 1885 from the early Middle Permian (Roadian) upper Wandrawandian Siltstone of the southern Sydney Basin, southeastern Australia. The highly meandering trace with closely spaced, papillate chevrons is interpreted to have been produced by the locomotion-feeding behaviour of certain protobranch bivalves in an offshore environment. The dense trails occurring on the upper bedding planes of pebbly siltstone may represent a gregarious lifestyle, where junior and senior individuals of the trace-maker bivalves coexisted while moving within sediments. The Wandrawandian Protovirgularia also represents the first known occurrence of this ichnotaxon from a glaciomarine environment in the Permian eastern Gondwana. The global record of Protovirgularia occurrences suggests that these trails had a wide environmental distribution since the Cambrian, and there is no obvious difference in the environmental distribution of Protovirgularia after the Permian‒Triassic transition.