The Granton Shrimp Bed is a fossil-bearing deposit exposed on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh, in Scotland. It is classified as a Konservat-Lagerstätten because of the exceptional quality of preservation of the fossils and is dominated by crustaceans; the deposit dates back to the Lower Carboniferous, some 359 to 323 million years ago.
A fossil is any preserved remains, impression, or trace of any once-living thing from a past geological age. Examples include bones, shells, exoskeletons, stone imprints of animals or microbes, objects preserved in amber, hair, petrified wood, oil, coal, and DNA remnants. The totality of fossils is known as the fossil record.
The Firth of Forth is the estuary (firth) of several Scottish rivers including the River Forth. It meets the North Sea with Fife on the north coast and Lothian on the south. It was known as Bodotria in Roman times. In the Norse sagas it was known as the Myrkvifiörd. An early Welsh name is Merin Iodeo, or the "Sea of Iudeu".
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian, it is located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth's southern shore.
The Granton Shrimp Bed is located on the south shore of the Firth of Forth about 3 km (2 mi) from the centre of Edinburgh. It consists of a layer of dolomitic limestone surrounded by Dinantian mud shales which were formed as a result of the deposit of material in either a delta plain setting or in an inter-distributary bay, where sedimentation occurred because of flood-generated incursions.
Dolostone or dolomitic rock is a sedimentary carbonate rock that contains a high percentage of the mineral dolomite, CaMg(CO3)2. In old USGS publications, it was referred to as magnesian limestone, a term now reserved for magnesium-deficient dolostones or magnesium-rich limestones. Technically, dolostone has a stoichiometric ratio of nearly equal amounts of magnesium and calcium. Most dolostones formed as a magnesium replacement of limestone or lime mud prior to lithification. It is resistant to erosion and can either contain bedded layers or be unbedded. It is less soluble than limestone in weakly acidic groundwater, but it can still develop solution features over time. Dolostone can act as an oil and natural gas reservoir.
Dinantian is the name of a series or epoch from the Lower Carboniferous system in Europe. It can stand for a series of rocks in Europe or the time span in which they were deposited.
A river delta is a landform that forms from deposition of sediment that is carried by a river as the flow leaves its mouth and enters slower-moving or stagnant water. This occurs where a river enters an ocean, sea, estuary, lake, reservoir, or another river that cannot carry away the supplied sediment. The size and shape of a delta is controlled by the balance between watershed processes that supply sediment, and receiving basin processes that redistribute, sequester, and export that sediment. The size, geometry, and location of the receiving basin also plays an important role in delta evolution. River deltas are important in human civilization, as they are major agricultural production centers and population centers. They can provide coastline defense and can impact drinking water supply. They are also ecologically important, with different species' assemblages depending on their landscape position.
The shrimp bed resulted from the periodic inundations of marine water into stagnant lagoons, each incursion leaving a lamina of limestone rich in the fossils of soft-bodied marine invertebrates and other animals. These conditions of fluctuating salinity seem to have created a suitable habitat for an assemblage of shrimp-like crustaceans, fish, bellerophonts, conchostracans and ostracods. The sudden changes in salinity caused mass mortalities of this fauna, and also brought marine species such as orthocone cephalopods, polychaete worms and conodonts, which are also found fossilised here.
A lagoon is a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by barrier islands or reefs. Lagoons are commonly divided into coastal lagoons and atoll lagoons. They have also been identified as occurring on mixed-sand and gravel coastlines. There is an overlap between bodies of water classified as coastal lagoons and bodies of water classified as estuaries. Lagoons are common coastal features around many parts of the world.
Bellerophontoidea,, common name "bellerophonts", is a superfamily of extinct planospirally-coiled globose molluscs. This superfamily is generally included within the Gastropoda, but may instead be a group of monoplacophorans. The taxon first appeared late in the Cambrian and continued until late in the Triassic.
Clam shrimp are a taxon of bivalved branchiopod crustaceans that resemble the unrelated bivalved molluscs. They are extant, and known from the fossil record, from at least the Devonian period and perhaps before. They were originally classified in a single order Conchostraca, which later proved to be paraphyletic, being separated into three different orders: Cyclestherida, Laevicaudata, and Spinicaudata.
The Granton Shrimp Bed was first brought to the attention of the scientific community by D. Tait in 1923.He stated that a common crustacean fossilised in the bed was Tealliocaris , but that there were other species there new to science. One of these, the commonest shrimp in this community, was subsequently described by F.R. Schram in 1979 as Waterstonella grantonensis , named for Dr. Charles Waterstone, keeper of geology at the Royal Scottish Museum, and the location where it was found. The shrimp bed is also important because it was the first place to provide evidence of the structure of conodonts; this is because these animals were soft-bodied, and only their teeth were suited for preservation under normal conditions. Other unique soft-bodied animals were also found in the bed. The small number of fossils with shells were not decalcified, and the lack of bioturbation suggests that the sediment was largely lacking in oxygen. The exceptional state of preservation suggests that the assemblage of fossils is likely to represent the original community and not just some elements of it.
Tealliocaris is an extinct genus of pygocephalomorphans from the Carboniferous.
Frederick Robert Schram is an American palaeontologist and carcinologist. He received his B.S. in biology from Loyola University Chicago in 1965, and a Ph.D. on palaeozoology from the University of Chicago in 1968 .
Waterstonella grantonensis is a species of fossil crustacean so distinct from other crustaceans that it has been placed in its own genus, Waterstonella, family, Waterstonellidae, and order, Waterstonellidea. It is named after Dr. Charles Waterstone, keeper of geology at the Royal Scottish Museum, while the specific epithet commemorates the location where the fossil was found, the Granton shrimp beds, near Edinburgh.
The Burgess Shale is a fossil-bearing deposit exposed in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia, Canada. It is famous for the exceptional preservation of the soft parts of its fossils. Atold, it is one of the earliest fossil beds containing soft-part imprints.
The Maotianshan Shales are a series of Early Cambrian deposits in the Chiungchussu Formation, famous for their Konservat Lagerstätten, deposits known for the exceptional preservation of fossilized organisms or traces. The Maotianshan Shales form one of some forty Cambrian fossil locations worldwide exhibiting exquisite preservation of rarely preserved, non-mineralized soft tissue, comparable to the fossils of the Burgess Shale. They take their name from Maotianshan Hill in Chengjiang County, Yunnan Province, China.
A Lagerstätte is a sedimentary deposit that exhibits extraordinary fossils with exceptional preservation—sometimes including preserved soft tissues. These formations may have resulted from carcass burial in an anoxic environment with minimal bacteria, thus delaying the decomposition of both gross and fine biological features until long after a durable impression was created in the surrounding matrix. Lagerstätten span geological time from the Neoproterozoic era to the present. Worldwide, some of the best examples of near-perfect fossilization are the Cambrian Maotianshan shales and Burgess Shale, the Devonian Hunsrück Slates and Gogo Formation, the Carboniferous Mazon Creek, the Jurassic Solnhofen limestone, the Cretaceous Santana, Yixian and Tanis formations, and the Eocene Green River Formation.
Hamilton Quarry is a Late Carboniferous lagerstätte near Hamilton, Kansas, United States. It has a diverse assemblage of unusually well-preserved marine, euryhaline, freshwater, flying, and terrestrial fossils. This extraordinary mix of fossils suggests it was once an estuary. This type of Lagerstätte is considered a Konservat-Lagerstätte, due to the quality the preservation of soft tissue.
The Rhynie chert is an Early Devonian sedimentary deposit exhibiting extraordinary fossil detail or completeness. It is exposed near the village of Rhynie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland; a second unit, the Windyfield chert, is located some 700 m away. The Rhynie chert contains exceptionally preserved plant, fungus, lichen and animal material preserved in place by an overlying volcanic deposit. The bulk of the fossil bed consists of primitive plants, along with arthropods, lichens, algae and fungi.
The Mazon Creek fossil beds are a conservation lagerstätte found near Morris, in Grundy County, Illinois. The fossils are preserved in ironstone concretions, formed approximatelyin the mid-Pennsylvanian epoch of the Carboniferous period. These concretions frequently preserve both hard and soft tissues of animal and plant materials, as well as many soft-bodied organisms that do not normally fossilize. The quality, quantity and diversity of fossils in the area, known since the mid-nineteenth century, make the Mazon Creek lagerstätte important to paleontologists, in attempting to reconstruct the paleoecology of the sites. The locality was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1997.
The Emu Bay Shale is a geological formation in Emu Bay, South Australia, containing a major Konservat-Lagerstätten. It is one of two in the world containing Redlichiidan trilobites. The Emu Bay Shale is dated as Cambrian Series 2, Stage 4, correlated with the upper Botomian Stage of the Lower Cambrian.
Granton is a district in the north of Edinburgh, Scotland. Granton forms part of Edinburgh's waterfront along the Firth of Forth and is, historically, an industrial area having a large harbour. Granton is part of Edinburgh's large scale waterfront regeneration programme.
The Burgess Shale of British Columbia is famous for its exceptional preservation of mid-Cambrian organisms. Around 40 other sites have been discovered of a similar age, with soft tissues preserved in a similar, though not identical, fashion. Additional sites with a similar form of preservation are known from the Ediacaran and Ordovician periods.
A number of assemblages bear fossil assemblages similar in character to that of the Burgess Shale. While many are also preserved in a similar fashion to the Burgess Shale, the term "Burgess Shale type fauna" covers assemblages based on taxonomic criteria only.
The Wheeler Shale is a Cambrian (c. 507 Ma) fossil locality world famous for prolific agnostid and Elrathia kingii trilobite remains and represents a Konzentrat-Lagerstätten. Varied soft bodied organisms are locally preserved, a fauna and preservation style normally associated with the more famous Burgess Shale. As such, the Wheeler Shale also represents a Konservat-Lagerstätten.
The fossils of the Burgess Shale, like the Burgess Shale itself, formed around 505 million years ago in the Mid Cambrian period. They were discovered in Canada in 1886, and Charles Doolittle Walcott collected over 60,000 specimens in a series of field trips up from 1909 to 1924. After a period of neglect from the 1930s to the early 1960s, new excavations and re-examinations of Walcott's collection continue to discover new species, and statistical analysis suggests discoveries will continue for the foreseeable future. Stephen Jay Gould's book Wonderful Life describes the history of discovery up to the early 1980s, although his analysis of the implications for evolution has been contested.
The Walcott–Rust quarry is an excellent example of an obrution Lagerstätte. Unique preservation of trilobite appendages resulted from early consolidation (cementation) of the surrounding rock, followed by spar filling of the interior cavity within the appendages. The presence of so many well preserved trilobites in one location alone qualifies the beds as an exceptional trilobite site, but the beds are further distinguished as the source of the first trilobites for which appendages were definitively described.
Prioniodontida, also known as the "complex conodonts", is a large clade of conodonts that includes two major evolutionary grades; the Prioniodinina and the Ozarkodinina. It includes many of the more famous conodonts, such as the giant ordovician Promissum (Prioniodinina) from the Soom Shale and the Carboniferous specimens from the Granton Shrimp bed (Ozarkodinina). They are euconodonts, in that their elements are composed of two layers; the crown and the basal body, and are assumed to be a clade.
Aciculopoda is an extinct prawn which existed in what is now Oklahoma approximately. It was described in 2010 on the basis of a single fossil from Oklahoma. The single species, Aciculopoda mapesi, was named by Rodney Feldmann and Carrie Schweitzer in honour of Royal Mapes, a paleontologist who discovered the type specimen. It is only the third unambiguous fossil decapod from before the Mesozoic.
A dark stain is often associated with fossils of the Burgess Shale, representing decay fluids that were squashed out of the organism during the taphonomic process.
The Mangrullo Formation is a Lower Permian (Artinskian) fossil locality in northeastern Uruguay. Some authors alternatively group it together with the Paso Aguiar Formation and the Fraile Muerto Formation as the three subdivisions of the Melo Formation, in which case it is referred to as the Mangrullo Member. Like the correlated formations of Irati and Whitehill, it is known for its abundant mesosaur fossils. It also contains the oldest known Konservat-Lagerstätte in South America, as well as the oldest known fossils of amniote embryos.
Lecthaylus is a genus of fossil sipunculid worms that lived between the Cambrian and the Lower Carboniferous periods.
The Welden Limestone is a geologic formation in Oklahoma. It preserves fossils dating back to the Carboniferous period. It is restricted to the Lawrence Uplift of southern Oklahoma. In this region, the Welden Limestone is the only carbonate unit deposited during the span of time from Late Devonian to the Pennsylvanian.