An Investigation into Predation, Mortality and Taphonomic Bias inthe Population Distribution of Neptunea contraria from theRed Crag of East Anglia

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för geovetenskaper

Abstract: Predation is a key factor in evolutionary dynamics. It disrupts the potential of fossilisation in prey items and is poorly recorded in the fossil record; failed predation in conical marine gastropods is recorded in scars. Quantifying the scar distribution and collection and taphonomic biases present in the fossil record of the gastropod Neptunea contraria, of the Red Crag Formation, Gelasian, Pleistocene, UK is necessary to approach this dynamic. Neptunea contraria is highly abundant in the Red Crag Formation which is easily accessed. The size and scarring on a large number (450+) of individuals was collected, recorded and measured from pre-existing and new material. The size distribution of Neptunea contraria is non-normal and is enriched in larger individuals, the scar distribution – expected to be Poisson – is not so. Taphonomic and Collection bias had a large influence over the size and scar distributions of Neptunea contraria. Material from the same localities shows very different size distributions. The lack of Poisson distribution suggests different rates of unsuccessful predation over life history of Neptunea contraria, assuming the data is valid.

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