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Did stalked echinoderms bioerode calcareous substrates? A possible boring crinoid attachment structure in a stromatoporoid from the early Silurian (Telychian) of Estonia


A crinoid attachment structure has been found with its radices extending into the skeleton of a stromatoporoid (Clathrodictyon variolare) from the Adavere Regional Stage of Estonia (early Silurian, Telychian). This boring made by a crinoid is provisionally assigned to the ichnogenus Podichnus. The crinoid likely used chemical means for boring into the calcareous substrate. It is not known how common this phenomenon is in crinoids. Cutting into the calcareous substrate increases the crinoid’s contact with its substrate and makes the crinoid attachment much firmer than simple encrustation. Such firm attachment would have had adaptive value for crinoids and this strategy would be particularly advantageous in high-energy, turbulent settings such as biostromes and bioherms.

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This research was funded by the Estonian Research Council, grant number PRG836, and the Paleontological Society Sepkoski Grant 2021. We are grateful to J. Jeon from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, for valuable comments on stromatoporoids and J.H. Nebelsick, University of Tübingen, for discussion of echinoderm bioerosion; and G. Baranov, Department of Geology, Tallinn University of Technology for photographing the specimen. This paper is a contribution to the IGCP project 653 ‘The Onset of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event’. We are grateful to journal reviewers Dr. Steve Donovan (Swinton, Manchester, UK), Dr. Radek Mikuláš (Institute of Geology of the Czech Academy of Sciences) and Dr. James R. Thomka (State University of New York at Plattsburgh) for their constructive comments on the manuscript.

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Vinn, O., Ausich, W.I., Wilson, M.A. et al. Did stalked echinoderms bioerode calcareous substrates? A possible boring crinoid attachment structure in a stromatoporoid from the early Silurian (Telychian) of Estonia. PalZ 97, 37–41 (2023).

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