MP9: Chapter 3: Tonganoxichnus: A Revision of the Ichnogenus with New Material from Massachusetts

From Ichnology: Papers From Ichnia III
by J.S. Benner, R.J. Knecht and M.S. Engel.

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This chapter is from GAC's Miscellaneous Publication 9: "Ichnology: Papers from Ichnia III" editted by Dr. Duncan McIlroy. To purchase the entire book on disc, please see the Miscellaneous Publications section of our bookstore at

Based on new trace fossil material from the Late Carboniferous (Westphalian B–C) Wamsutta Formation of southeastern Massachusetts, USA, a revision of the ichnogenus Tonganoxichnus and related trace fossils is deemed warranted. Close inspection of differences in the bodily impressions left by archaeognathan tracemakers in terrestrial environments revealed that details of the abdominal impressions of Wamsutta Formation specimens are distinct from those Tonganoxichnus previously discovered, and the location and orientation of abdominal appendage impressions are utilized as new ichnotaxobases for the ichnogenus; this results in the erection of a new ichnospecies T. attleboroensis. Recognition that the behaviour and morphology, represented by T. ottawensis, is distinct and recurrent in the geologic record, results in a new taxonomic combination for those specimens under the new ichnogenus Cardinichnus (C. ottawensis) and a new ichnospecies from the Wamsutta Formation, C. giberti. Tonganoxichnus apacheensis is regarded as a poorly preserved full body impression or ‘body mould’ of an insect that does not preserve key features of the ichnogenus, and we suggest that it be removed from the ichnological nomenclature. Recognition of the diversity within the Tonganoxichnus group of trace fossils provides a better understanding of late Paleozoic archaeognathan diversity and behaviour.

Electronic Access - 13 pages (May 2015)
Geological Association of Canada

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