Abstract

Newly discovered benthic fossils and specimens illustrated in the paleontological literature indicate that drilling predators (or parasites) were present in the Permian. New field data from southern Brazil document the first drill holes ever reported for Permian bivalve mollusks. In addition, a literature review revealed drill holes in shells of articulate brachiopods from Russia, Greece, and West Texas. Holes range in size from 0.1 to 5.8 mm and are typically round, cylindrical, singular penetrations perpendicular to the valve surface. Incomplete, healed, and multiple holes are absent. Drilling frequency, a proxy for predation intensity, is very low: less than 1 percent (this estimate may be seriously affected by taphonomic and monographic biases). Literature data suggest that frequency of drilled specimens varied significantly among higher brachiopod taxa. The geography and stratigraphy of drilled specimens indicate that drilling organisms were worldwide in their occurrence and continuously present in marine ecosystems throughout the Permian. This report is consistent with other recent studies indicating that although drillers were continuously present throughout the Phanerozoic, drilling intensity was lower in the Late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic.

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