Vertical-to-inclined, cylindrical trace fossils that occur in the Upper Triassic Chinle and Dolores Formations on the Colorado Plateau are interpreted to be the casts of lungfish burrows based on their morphologic similarity to previously identified lungfish burrows. The casts were formed by passive siliciclastic and carbonate sedimentation into apparently abandoned lungfish burrows. Locally, the burrow fillings are overwhelmingly abundant, and many intersect and have destroyed former burrow fillings. Bioturbation has contributed to the mottled coloration and the knobby-weathering texture of the rocks. The burrow-fillings occur ubiquitously in three lithofacies, deposited in a continental environment that included fluvial channels and floodplains, sand sheets and playa mudflats, and lacustrine basins, marshes, and deltas. The widespread occurrence of the lungfish burrows in the Chinle and Dolores Formations attests to the extensive habitat that supported lungfish in the Late Triassic. Analogy with the environments that support modern lungfish populations suggests that the Late Triassic climate in the study area provided sufficient moisture to support large populations of lungfish and that this climate was probably punctuated by seasonally dry periods. -from Authors
Additional Publication Details
Lungfish burrows in the Upper Triassic Chinle and Dolores Formations, Colorado Plateau ( USA).