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Volume 35 Issue 3
Jun 2024
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Zhongwu Lan, Rong Cao, Shujing Zhang. Taphonomy and Paleoecology of Lycoptera: A Case Study from the Lower Jehol Group in Western Liaoning, Northeastern China. Journal of Earth Science, 2024, 35(3): 737-746. doi: 10.1007/s12583-023-1922-1
Citation: Zhongwu Lan, Rong Cao, Shujing Zhang. Taphonomy and Paleoecology of Lycoptera: A Case Study from the Lower Jehol Group in Western Liaoning, Northeastern China. Journal of Earth Science, 2024, 35(3): 737-746. doi: 10.1007/s12583-023-1922-1

Taphonomy and Paleoecology of Lycoptera: A Case Study from the Lower Jehol Group in Western Liaoning, Northeastern China

doi: 10.1007/s12583-023-1922-1
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  • Corresponding author: Zhongwu Lan,
  • Received Date: 07 Feb 2023
  • Accepted Date: 10 Aug 2023
  • Issue Publish Date: 30 Jun 2024
  • Taphonomy and paleoecology (biological behavior) of the Early Cretaceous fish fossils are poorly described. This study reports for the first time a detailed taphonomical and paleoecological study on Lycoptera in the Mesozoic strata of western Liaoning Province, NE China. The XRD analysis shows that gismondine is the dominant clay minerals that could have contributed to the preservation of Lycoptera fossils and microbial mat fragments in the fossil-bearing horizon. Gismondine may have formed under volcanism-related hydrothermal regime that was transformed from crystal and lithic fragments. The μ-XRF imaging analysis shows a dominant chemical composition of Al, Si, P, S, Rh, K, Ca, Ti, C, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, among which P, Ca, C and S are enriched in the fish skeleton in comparison to the matrix. This suggests a dominant apatite composition for the fish skeleton. Hydrothermal influence did not smear off these organic signals probably because of protection of gismondine. The coexistance of C and S with Ni is assumed to represent recovered primary productivity following volcanic explosions and toxic gas emissions. The head of juvenile fish stays close to the body of adult fish. Pending further discoveries, such phenomenon is interpreted to suggest that adult fish actively protected juvenile fish in the presence of environmental pressures such as anoxia and deterioration of water quality induced by volcanism. Ocean acidification and hypoxia in association with volcanism created a harmful environment causing mass extinction of fish. The adult Lycoptera protected their juveniles by its body at the moment before death. Such biological behavior will be increasingly reported given the wide occurrence of Lycoptera in Mesozoic strata.


  • Conflict of Interest
    The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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