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Three mechanisms which act to disturb foraminiferal biostratigraphy are discussed. These are downcore sediment smearing during the coring process, sediment reworking and associated redeposition, and bioturbation. All three mechanisms, when viewed in cores which span the Lateglacial-early Holocene unconformity of the Hebridean Shelf, N.W. Scotland, make otherwise sharp faunal boundaries appear gradational. Associated with the disturbances, so-called species group “tails” are recognized. Careful sub-sampling of sediment cores is recommended and the merits of combined percent frequency and concentration data discussed.

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