New paper on predatory drill holes in Cambrian/Ordovician brachiopods (northern Estonia and northwest Russia)

Once again I’m proud to be on Olev Vinn’s team with this new article on predatory drill holes in Cambrian and Ordovician brachiopods. Predation in the fossil record is always interesting, especially in the early Paleozoic. Here is the abstract with explanatory links added:

Rare Oichnus simplex drill holes occur in mature obolid shells from the Cambrian/Ordovician boundary beds of northern Estonia (Iru and Ülgase) and the uppermost Cambrian of NW Russia (Lava River). The drill holes are significantly more common in the central rather than the marginal regions of the obolid valves. Drilling predators attacked Ungula ingrica in the Kallavere Formation and Ungula convexa in the Ladoga Formation. Failed predatory attacks on obolids were relatively common in the latest Cambrian-earliest Tremadocian of Estonia. Presumably drilling predators at Lava River and Iru differed from those at the Ülgase as indicated by significant differences in drill hole sizes at these locations. Most likely some types of worms preyed on obolids in the latest Cambrian-earliest Tremadocian of Estonia and latest Cambrian of NW Russia. The predation rate (6% to 9%) of studied obolids indicates that they likely had an epibenthic life mode. In addition to Oichnus drill holes in the obolids, there are also common pseudoborings caused by mineral dissolution.

Top image: Single complete Oichnus in Ungula convexa from Lava River, NW Russia, Ladoga Formation, Furongian.


Vinn, O., Holmer, L.E., Wilson, M.A., Isakar, M. and Toom, U. 2021. Possible drill holes and pseudoborings in obolid shells from the Cambrian/Ordovician boundary beds of Estonia and the uppermost Cambrian of NW Russia. Historical Biology (DOI: 10.1080/08912963.2021.1878355).

About Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a Professor of Geology at The College of Wooster. He specializes in invertebrate paleontology, carbonate sedimentology, and stratigraphy. He also is an expert on pseudoscience, especially creationism.
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