Decay and composition of the hemichordate Rhabdopleura: implications for the taphonomy of graptolites

Briggs, Derek E. G. and Kear, Amanda J. and Baas, Marianne and de Leeuw, Jan W. and Rigby, Susan (1995) Decay and composition of the hemichordate Rhabdopleura: implications for the taphonomy of graptolites. Lethaia, 28 (1). pp. 15-23. ISSN 0024-1164

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

Although the graptolites lacked biomineralised tissue, their skeletons are abundantly preserved in deeper-water mudstones. Decay experiments and observations on the closely related living hemichordate Rhabdopleura demonstrate that the periderm and stolon are highly resistant to decay, remaining intact for mouths, whereas the zooids are unrecognizable within days. Curie-point-gas-chromatography (Py-GC) and Curie-point-gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry (Pt-GC-MS) of the periderm of Rhabdopleura confirms that proteinaceous organic matter is a major constituent. Ultrastructurally preserved graptolite periderm, on the other hand, is a highly altered kerogen-like substance rich in aliphatic biomacromolecules. The composition of the preserved graptolite periderm reflects diagenetic replacement by components probably mainly derived from algal cell walls. -from Authors

Keywords:decay experiment, graptolite, hemichordate, Rhabdopleura, taphonomy
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C180 Ecology
C Biological Sciences > C182 Evolution
Divisions:Professional services > Vice Chancellors Office
ID Code:20124
Deposited On:27 Jan 2016 19:45

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