ASGP (2015), vol. 85: 453–455


Richard G. BROMLEY (1) & Kurt S. S. NIELSEN (2)

1) Rønnevej 97 3720 Aakirkeby, Denmark
2) Lyshøjalle 15 2500 Valby Copenhagen, Denmark; e-mail: knieslen at

Bromley, R. G. & Nielsen, K. S. S., 2015. Bioerosional ichnotaxa and the fossilization barrier. Annales Societatis Geologorum Poloniae, 85: 453–455.

Abstract: For the establishment of a new ichnogenus or ichnospecies, the type material shall be fossil, not unfossilized material. This is not always possible, because the transition between the two states, the fossilization barrier, is extremely vague defined. In most fossil material, this is not a problem. However, in the case of bioerosion structures (borings, rasping traces, attachment scars in hard substrates), the problem is serious. For example, when does a sponge boring in an oyster shell be come fossilized? The question arises when Recent and sub-Recent materials are considered. Two examples are discussed. (1) Microborings are described and named in foraminifera dredged from the sea floor. In this material, it is not possible to distinguish between “fossilized” and “unfossilized” foraminifera. Bioturbation and other processes may have mixed recently dead, Pleistocene and older foraminifera in the sea-floor sediments. (2) Small, characteristic borings are made by slipper limpets in pagurized gastropod shells. The structures would constitute a new ichnospecies of Oichnus, but these borings have not been found in “fossilized material” and the borings therefore remain nameless. Because bioerosion structures constitute “ready-made fossils”, it is suggested that the onset of fossilization be equated with the death of the bioeroding tracemaker.

Manuscript received 21 October 2014; accepted 11 September 2015