The study and application of ichnology, or trace fossils, have evolved substantially since trace fossils were first recognized (as such) in the late 19th century. Trace fossils were, in fact, initially interpreted as fossilized remains of marine algae (i.e. fucoids). This notion was not dispelled until A.G. Nathorst (1881) reinterpreted several fucoids — for example Chondrites, Zoophycos, and Palaeophycus — as the burrows of marine invertebrates. Both during the “age of fucoids” and for several decades thereafter, trace fossils were collected with the aim of determining diversities and temporal ranges of ichnofossil types, and the use of...

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