The ichnofossil assemblage of the lower Eocene Willwood Formation consists of at least nine distinct endichnia that are preserved in full relief. Four forms (three ichnogenera and four ichnospecies) are new and represent fodinichnia and domichnia of oligochaete worms, an insect or spider, an unknown vertebrate (probably a mammal), and domichnia of an unidentified organism. Other potential trace makers of the ichnofauna include insects, mollusks, and decapods. In contrast to an Egyptian Oligocene fluvial ichnofauna produced largely by animals that burrowed in stream channel deposits, the Willwood assemblage is principally of flood-plain origin. Though the ichnofauna occurs in a variety of paleosol types, most of the fossils are restricted in distribution to specific sediment and soil types and, within paleosols, to specific identifiable horizons. This attribute will make them valuable indiced of paleoenvironment once they are better known in other ancient alluvial sequences. The environment suggested by the Willwood trace fossils (damp, but not wet soils with fluctuating water tables) is consistent with the warm temperate to subtropical (possibly monsoonal) conditions that are interpreted for the Willwood Formation by independent evidence of body fossils and paleopedology. ?? 1983.
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Ichnofossils of the alluvial Willwood Formation (lower Eocene), Bighorn Basin, northwest Wyoming, U.S.A