Abstract

An abundance of scorpion cuticles from Westphalian (Upper Carboniferous) coals of Yorkshire is described, and other records of arthropod cuticles in coals are reviewed. The absence of cuticles assignable to arthropod groups other than scorpions is thought to be due to preferential preservation of the unique exocuticle of scorpions; it alone is preserved and appears to retain an organic nature. The cuticle is recovered from all the lithotypes of humic bituminous coals although it is most common in coals rich in inertinite macerals. From the present study it is uncertain whether the scorpions were aquatic or terrestrial. The recognition of arthropod cuticle as a coal maceral could aid environmental interpretations. The abundance of arthropod cuticle in the coals studied indicates its potential use in correlation and in determining the thermal maturity of sediments.

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