Whale trace

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It is renowned for its exceptional preservation and abundance of vertebrate fossils, including a rich assemblage of whales and dolphins Cetacea. Here, we integrate taphonomic data on marine vertebrate fossils, gathered through 16 different localities.

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Our observations range from the taxonomic distribution, articulation, completeness, disposition and orientation of skeletons, to the presence of bite marks, associations whale trace shark teeth and macro-invertebrates, bone and soft tissue preservation, and the formation of attendant carbonate concretions and sedimentary structures.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licensewhich permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Data Availability: All relevant data are within the paper and its S1 Table files.

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The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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Introduction Fossils of Cenozoic marine vertebrates have prompted taphonomic research and speculation since the Renaissance [ 1 ]. Recent studies have explored many aspects of their preservation, including the biostratinomic signature of ancient whale trace strandings whale trace 2 ], the origin of bonebeds [ 3 ], the factors controlling taphonomic gradients across onshore-offshore transects [ 4 ], the impact of habitat preferences [ 5 ] and sea-level changes [ whale trace ] on vertebrate preservation, uttar pradesh btc 2021 trace and body fossils of vertebrate [ 7 ] and invertebrate [ 8 ] scavengers, and the onset of complex whale-fall communities [ 9 ].

Rules of behavior Rules of behavior In order to respect all the animals present in the International Sanctuary of Cetaceans, the first regulation that we have given is that of not disturbing them, following these fundamental rules: 1 do not hinder the normal movement of cetaceans, modify their behavior or commit actions that potentially cause a reaction 2 not chasing the cetaceans, or heading on them directly: once spotted, trace routes to let them approach our boat 3 not react to the presence of cetaceans with sudden changes of course or speed, which could confuse or disorient them 4 avoid moving close to cetaceans with calves unless they choose to approach our boat There are also three small rules that we ask passengers to follow: a avoid sudden movements from one side of the ship to the other b do not make noises that may annoy or scare the animals shout, whistle, run, clap, etc. Participants are also provided with information on how to report sightings, to allow everyone to become a whale watcher and therefore an "active part" of whale trace research phase.

The Pisco Formation, exposed in the Ica Desert of southern coastal Peru, is a globally significant fossil deposit known for its outstanding assemblage of Miocene sharks and rays, bony fishes, marine turtles and crocodiles, seabirds, cetaceans, and pinnipeds [ 10 — 21 ].

Four decades of research on these specimens have unveiled an unusual quality and quantity of palaeontological information, thus qualifying the Pisco Formation as a Fossil-Lagerstätte as per the original definition by Seilacher [ 22 ] [ 142324 ].

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In particular, exceptionally preserved soft tissues [ 12 — 142526 ], bone proteins [ 27 ], and digestive tract contents [ 28 — 30 ] imply the existence of a true Konservat-Lagerstätte sensu Seilacher [ 22 ] and Allison [ 31 ].

Previous analyses of the taphonomic history of the Pisco assemblage focused mainly on baleen whales, and provided relatively little systematic, chronological, or palaeoenvironmental detail on the investigated specimens [ 12 — 143334 ].

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More recently, a multidisciplinary team of palaeontologists, stratigraphers, sedimentologists, micropalaeontologists, and mineral scientists conducted a multi-year investigation of the taphonomic processes at play during the deposition of the Pisco Formation. Results from this programme include detailed censuses of key localities [ 171835 ], their contextualisation into a comprehensive chronostratigraphic and palaeoenvironmental framework [ 1936 — 38 ], detailed investigations of exceptionally preserved specimens [ 252628 — 30 ], and preliminary insights into early diagenetic processes [ 23243940 ].

Here, we provide a synoptic overview and new interpretation of published and whale trace taphonomic data on vertebrate fossils, gathered during 15 field campaigns involving 16 different localities.

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By synthesising insights from a variety of disciplines, we propose a new model for the formation of this exceptionally rich deposit, which in turn may help to elucidate the preservational mechanisms behind Fossil-Lagerstätten elsewhere.

Geological and stratigraphic settings The Peruvian forearc system comprises an inner set of shelf basins and a seaward set of slope basins separated by a whale trace, trench-parallel structural ridge, the Outer Shelf High [ 41 ].

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An additional structural ridge, the Upper-Slope Ridge, bounds the offshore outer basins on their southwestern side Fig 1.