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First record of a xiphosuran trackway (Kouphichnium isp.) from the Jurassic of India

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Abstract

A 44 cm long trackway from the Kimmeridgian-Tithonian of the western Kachchh Basin represents the first evidence of the occurrence of members of the order Xiphosura in the Jurassic of India. The track consists of the imprints of the legs and the tail spine of a 36–44 cm long limulid and can be assigned to the ichnogenus Kouphichnium Nopsca, 1923. It was formed in a soft, silty to fine sandy substrate below the storm wave-base and preserved as a hyporelief at the base of a thin sandstone bed deposited by storm-induced currents. Eight different types of xiphosuran behaviour are known to be preserved as trace fossils: “swimming”, running, walking, crawling, mating, dying, ploughing, and resting. The present trackway from the Jurassic of India represents crawling, i.e., comparatively slow locomotion (Repichnia).

Kurzfassung

Eine 44 cm lange Spur aus dem Kimmeridgium–Tithonium des westlichen Kachchh-Beckens ist der erste Nachweis von Xiphosuren im Jura Indiens. Die Spur besteht aus Abdrücken der Beine und des Schwanzstachels eines 36 bis 44 cm langen Limuliden und kann der Spurengattung Kouphichnium Nopsca, 1923 zugeordnet werden. Sie wurde auf einem weichen, siltig bis feinsandigen Substrat unterhalb der Sturmwellenbasis angelegt und ist als Hyporelief an der Basis einer dünnen Sandsteinschicht erhalten, welche aufgrund von sturminduzierten Strömungen abgelagert wurde. Acht verschiedene Verhaltensmuster von Xiphosuren sind als Spurenfossilien bekannt: “schwimmen”, rennen, gehen, kriechen, sich paaren, sterben, pflügen und ruhen. Die vorliegende Spur aus dem Jura Indiens spiegelt Kriechen, eine vergleichsweise langsame Fortbewegung (Repichnia), wider.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank Mr. P. H. Bhatti, Valsamma Fürsich, and Jyotsana Rai for support during the field work in Kachchh. Manja Hethke is thanked for sharing important references. Matthias Alberti gratefully acknowledges financial support by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Two anonymous reviewers and the editor Mike Reich are thanked for their constructive comments.

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Alberti, M., Fürsich, F.T. & Pandey, D.K. First record of a xiphosuran trackway (Kouphichnium isp.) from the Jurassic of India. PalZ 91, 113–126 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12542-016-0331-7

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