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The boredom of belemnites: endoliths in belemnite guards from the Cretaceous Speeton Clay



Paul D. Taylor

Earth Sciences Department, Natural History Museum.


Tuesday 12 November- 4pm

Earth Sciences Seminar Room  (Basement, WEB 05, the previous Mineralogy Seminar Room)



The Early Cretaceous Speeton Clay Formation is renowned for its rich and diverse belemnite fauna. During October 2009 and March 2011 NHM field parties collected numerous examples of Speeton belemnites from the coastal exposures of the Speeton Clay south of Filey in East Yorkshire. These collections have been used in a research project, undertaken jointly with Consuelo Sendino and Museum volunteer Jane Barnbrook, on the previously unstudied biota of boring organisms that infested dead belemnite guards lying on the Cretaceous sea floor.


At least 15 ichnotaxa of borings can be recognized, ranging from brachiopod pedicle attachment traces (Podichnus), to rosette-like traces believed to have been made by foraminifera (Semidendrina), and putative fungal microborings (Orthogonum and Saccomorpha). The study of these endoliths can provide evidence for palaeoenvironmental conditions on the sea floor during deposition of the Speeton Clay.


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