Abstract

Actualistic studies in freshwater environments are scarce, limiting the interpretation of paleoenvironmental information obtained from the fossil record. The objectives of this study are to assess the taphonomic factors that affect the formation of mollusk assemblages in freshwater environments of the pampean region. Twenty sites were analyzed at regional (La Brava and Nahuel Rucá) and environmental (lentic and lotic) scales. Shells were primarily affected by loss of proteinaceous parts, fragmentation, and fine-scale surface alteration. Taphonomic differences were observed in dead shell condition related to environmental conditions and faunistic composition (thin-/thick-shelled species proportion) in spite of the dominance of one species, Heleobia parchappii. The differences were related to extrinsic (environmental) factors probably due to differential influence of organic decay, microbioerosion, and/or dissolution. However, intrinsic factors, especially those related to differential preservation and input rates of thin-/thick-shelled species, may be also biasing the compositional fidelity of death assemblages. Although the degree of taphonomic alteration across locales and environments was evident, all mollusk assemblages still preserved their biological signature from the precursor communities.

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