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GEOREF RECORD

Neoichnology of armadillos; keys for the paleoecological and behavioral interpretation of fossil tetrapod burrows

M. Cristina Cardonatto and Ricardo Nestor Melchor
Neoichnology of armadillos; keys for the paleoecological and behavioral interpretation of fossil tetrapod burrows
Palaios (February 2023) 38 (2): 57-75

Abstract

This study is based on the analysis of burrow casts of three species of armadillos from central Argentina: Chaetophractus villosus, Chaetophractus vellerosus, and Zaedyus pichiy (Chlamyphoridae: Euphractinae). The aim of this work was to identify key ichnologic signatures of Euphractinae armadillo burrows for application to the paleoecological and behavioral interpretation of fossil examples. A total of 15 active burrows from different biogeographic provinces were casted with polyurethane foam and then excavated. About two hundred uncasted burrows and foraging pits were also measured at the same localities. Euphractinae burrows are clearly distinguished from Chlamyphorinae burrows by its filling, surface ornamentation, and size. It is suggested that fossil armadillo (Euphractinae) burrows would be characterized by a single ramp with one entrance and massive or laminated fill, horizontal diameter larger than 100 mm, strongly marked sets of three claw traces that are arranged oblique to the ramp axis, and absence of feces or plant remains. The distinctive surface ornamentation present in the casted burrows is tentatively linked to a particular excavation mechanism involving rotation of the body along the antero-posterior axis. Burrow systems with a chamber are interpreted as permanent burrows, whereas those lacking chamber are considered as temporary/shelter burrows. Armadillo burrow systems (either temporary or permanent) are longer, less inclined, and have lower relative diameter indices (RDI) than armadillo foraging pits. Euphractinae burrows are linked to producers with solitary, fossorial, opportunistic omnivorous habits that excavate several burrows during their lives. They are left open after abandonment, and preferably located in xeric shrub lands and grasslands. The described morphological features of the burrows systems can be useful for the interpretation of fossil (post-Eocene) burrows.


ISSN: 0883-1351
EISSN: 1938-5323
Serial Title: Palaios
Serial Volume: 38
Serial Issue: 2
Title: Neoichnology of armadillos; keys for the paleoecological and behavioral interpretation of fossil tetrapod burrows
Affiliation: Universidad Nacional de La Pampa, Departamento de Geologia, La Pampa, Argentina
Pages: 57-75
Published: 202302
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society for Sedimentary Geology, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 85
Accession Number: 2023-018764
Categories: Vertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 4 plates, 3 tables, sketch map
S37°00'00" - S35°00'00", W65°30'00" - W64°00'00"
S38°00'00" - S37°00'00", W67°30'00" - W66°00'00"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2023, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), Tulsa, OK, United States
Update Code: 2023
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