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14 Type-Cincinnatian Trace Fossils: Tracks, Trails, and Burrows

Richard Arnold Davis Indiana University Press ePub

Figure 14.1. A. Repichnia of the trilobite Isotelus, Asaphoidichnus trifidum Miller, CMC IP 37569, Edenian, Kope Formation, Cincinnati, Ohio, × 1. B. Repichnia of the trilobite Cryptolithus, similar to Cruziana, CMC IP 37622, horizon and locality unknown, × 1. C. Trilobite trail, intermediate between Rusophycus and Cruziana, Maysvillian, Corryville Formation, Clermont Co., Ohio (from Osgood [1970, plate 66, figure 3]), × 0.8. D. Paschichnia, ?Paleodictyon, CMC IP 17431, Edenian, Kope Formation, Cincinnati, Ohio, × 3. E. Fodinichnia or domichnia, the “turkey track,” Trichophycus venosum Miller, CMC IP 37575, Campbell Co., Kentucky, × 0.4. From Osgood (1970, plate 60, figure 7). C, E reprinted by permission of the Paleontological Research Institution.

 

The Cincinnatian is renowned for its abundance of well-preserved shells and skeletons of Ordovician marine invertebrates, and because these fossils represent the remains of long-dead organisms, at first glance one would not expect them to yield much information about the activity and behavior of these animals during life. Of course, we can deduce a great deal about the life habits of Ordovician animals directly from the morphology of shells and skeletons (body fossils) by comparisons to their living relatives, but a vast range of evidence about ancient behavior also comes from a completely different source, namely the trace fossils that are both abundant and diverse in Cincinnatian strata.

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Appendix 1. Resources: Where to go for more information

Richard Arnold Davis Indiana University Press ePub

 

Paleontology textbooks

There are many textbooks in paleontology, but we restrict the following list to some of the most recent as well as one older, classic work.

Fossil Invertebrates (Boardman et al. 1987)

Principles of Paleontology, 3rd ed. (Foote and Miller 2007)

Invertebrate Fossils (Moore et al. 1952)

Invertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution, 4th ed. (Clarkson 1998)

Publications of Geological Surveys

Ohio Fossils (La Rocque and Marple 1955)

Fossils of Ohio (Feldmann and Hackathorn 1996)

Exploring the Geology of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Region, 2nd ed. (Potter 2007)

Locally published books

Encyclopedic works

Cincinnati Fossils (Davis 1985, 1992) and its predecessors (Caster et al. 1955, 1961)

Index Fossils of North America (Shimer and Shrock 1944) Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology

Internet websites

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4 Rocks, Fossils, and Time

Richard Arnold Davis Indiana University Press ePub

Figure 4.1. Cincinnatian stratigraphic nomenclature from 1955 through 1986. From Davis and Cuffey (1998). From Schumacher (1984, figure 2), courtesy of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Geological Survey. This chart shows stratigraphic subdivisions of the Cincinnatian Series proposed by different researchers for different parts of the Cincinnati Arch region. Subdivisions in the Caster et al. (1955) column were based largely on differences in fossil content. Broader subdivisions such as those of the Brown and Lineback (1966), Hatfield (1968), Gray (1972), Peck (1966), and Lee (1974) columns were based on general characteristics of the rocks (lithology) and bedding. Hay (1981) and Tobin (1986) used both lithologic as well as paleontologic aspects. In the Hatfield column, the vertical lines indicate parts of the section excluded from his study. Units separated by jagged lines indicate lateral changes in rock characteristics (facies).

 

Fossils in many collections and museum exhibits are often impressive for finely preserved detail and even beauty, because they have undergone painstaking preparation by which every trace of the stony matrix has been removed. However, a fossil so isolated from its embedding matrix also loses much of its significance as a means by which to understand when and how it lived. Only through investigation of the fossil in the rock can we attain a clear understanding of the significance of the abundant Ordovician fossils of the Cincinnati Arch region, or any fossils for that matter. In this chapter we will explore the nature of the rocks in which Cincinnatian fossils are found, the means by which they are subdivided, and the applications of this study to understanding the environments in which they were formed and to determining their geologic age.

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7 Bryozoans: “Twigs” And “Bones”

Richard Arnold Davis Indiana University Press ePub

Figure 7.1. A. Fragments of bryozoan colonies are the most abundant fossils in the type-Cincinnatian. Parvohallopora ramosa (d’Orbigny), CMC IP 27957, Bellevue Limestone, Cincinnati, Ohio. Scale in mm. B. Surface of bryozoan colony showing minute openings (zooecia) on the left and a cross-section through a broken surface on the right. Each of the openings leads to a tube that was home to a tiny, individual animal. Trepostome bryozoan, Monticulipora mammulata d’Orbigny, CMC IP 51107, Bellevue Limestone. Cincinnati, Ohio. Diameter of individual openings (zooecia) about 0.2 mm.

 

The rocks in the Cincinnati region are loaded with fossils. Visitors to the area commonly are struck by all the “things” in the rock that look like small twigs, or, with a stretch of the imagination, small pieces of bones (Figure 7.1A). They are the most common fossils in the bedrock of the area. Indeed, if you were to pick up a fossil in the Cincinnati region at random, chances are that it would be one of these objects. But they are neither twigs nor bones. They are, in fact, the remains of a group of organisms called bryozoans (Plates 3D, E).

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2 Science in the Hinterland: The Cincinnati School Of Paleontology

Richard Arnold Davis Indiana University Press ePub

Figure 2.1. Members of the Cincinnati School of Paleontology who were amateur paleontologists: A. U. P. James, publisher and owner of the James Book Store. B. S. A. Miller, attorney. C. Charles Faber, realtor. D. C. B. Dyer, who, after he retired as a maker of soap and candles, devoted himself to fossil collecting. Photograph of Dyer from an old album in the possession of Richard Arnold Davis (© Richard Arnold Davis); all others from the Department of Geology, University of Cincinnati.

 

The rocks beneath and around Cincinnati were deposited in an interval of time universally called the Ordovician Period. This time unit was proposed formally in 1879. In the second half of the nineteenth century, beginning even before the Ordovician Period was named, there was in the region of Cincinnati, Ohio, a group of paleontologists who have been called the “Cincinnati School of Paleontology.” There is no single, definitive list of the members of the Cincinnati School, and different authors have included different people as members, depending on the purposes of their compilations. Nor is there a definitive list of iron-clad criteria as to who should be considered a member and who should not. Nonetheless, the individuals included in the body of this chapter have a number of characteristics in common.

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