One of the best records of late Palaeozoic ecosystems, the Mazon Creek Lagerstätte is world famous for its striking flora and fauna preserved within siderite concretions. Distinct from other late Carboniferous concretionary Lagerstätten due to the remarkable fidelity of soft-tissues and pigments that are frequently preserved, the Mazon Creek has seen a revival in investigations during the last ten years using modern palaeontological techniques. However, many of these modern investigations build upon a literature that incorrectly interprets the palaeoenvironment of the Mazon Creek and the separate biotas: there is a lack of evidence to support a distinct freshwater fauna. Here, we present a detailed overview of the Mazon Creek Lagerstätte, including the palaeoenvironmental conditions, organisms present, and the complex taphonomic processes involved in fossil formation. Investigation into the formation of siderite concretions and the complex taphonomic processes controlling soft-bodied preservation are still ongoing but are reviewed in detail.
Scientific editing by Philip Donoghue