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Konservat-Lagerstatten from the Upper Jurassic lithographic limestone of the Causse Mejean (Lozere, southern France): palaeontological and palaeoenvironmental synthesis

Abstract : Since the 1980s, the Upper Jurassic lithographic limestone of the Causse Mejean (southern France) has been known by local naturalists to yield fossils. However, until the beginning of the 21st century, this plattenkalk remained largely undersampled and scientifically underestimated. Here, we present the results of two decades of prospection and sampling in the Drigas and the Nivoliers quarries. We provide the first palaeontological inventory of the fossil flora, the fauna and the ichnofauna for these localities. The fossil assemblages show the co-occurrence of marine and terrestrial organisms. Marine organisms include algae, bivalves, brachiopods, cephalopods (ammonites, belemnites and coleoids such as Trachyteuthis), echinoderms, decapod crustaceans (ghost shrimps, penaeoid shrimps and glypheoid lobsters) and fishes (including several actinopterygians and a coelacanth). Terrestrial organisms consist of plant remains (conifers, bennettitaleans, pteridosperms) and a single rhynchocephalian (Kallimodon cerinensis). Ichnofossils comprise traces of marine invertebrates (e.g. limulid trackways, ammonite touch mark) as well as coprolites and regurgitalites. Given the exquisite preservation of these fossils, the two quarries can be considered as Konservat-Lagerstatten. Both lithological features and fossil content suggest a calm, protected and shallow-marine environment such as a lagoon partially or occasionally open to the sea. Most fossils are allochthonous to parautochthonous and document diverse ecological habitats. Similarly to other famous Upper Jurassic plattenkalks of western Europe such as Solnhofen, Cerin or Canjuers, the Causse Mejean is a key landmark for our understanding of coastal/lagoonal palaeoecosystems during the Kimmeridgian-Tithonian interval.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, January 18, 2022 - 10:54:44 AM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 9:25:49 AM

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Jean-David Moreau, Romain Vullo, Sylvain Charbonnier, Romain Jattiot, Vincent Trincal, et al.. Konservat-Lagerstatten from the Upper Jurassic lithographic limestone of the Causse Mejean (Lozere, southern France): palaeontological and palaeoenvironmental synthesis. Geological Magazine, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2022, 159 (5), pp.761-781. ⟨10.1017/S0016756821001382⟩. ⟨insu-03531292⟩

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