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TitleNautilus and Allonautilus in the Nanaimo Group, and in the modern oceans
 
AuthorWard, P; Haggart, J; Ross, R; Trask, P; Beard, G
Source12th British Columbia Paleontological Symposium, 2018, Courtenay, abstracts; 2018 p. 10-11
Image
Year2018
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20180183
PublisherBritish Columbia Paleontological Alliance
Documentbook
Lang.English
Mediapaper; digital
File formatpdf
Subjectspaleontology; stratigraphy; geochemistry; Nature and Environment; Recent; Neogene; Miocene; Paleogene; Eocene; marine organisms; fossils; systematic paleontology; taxonomy; paleotemperatures; marine environments; isotopic studies; isotopes; nitrogen; fossil morphology; Nanaimo Group; Cephalopods; Nautilus; Allonautilus; Cretaceous - Tertiary Boundary; Biology; Animals; Phanerozoic; Cenozoic; Quaternary; Tertiary; Mesozoic; Cretaceous
Illustrationspaleontological drawings
ProgramGSC Pacific Division
Released2018 08 01
AbstractThere is a long held fallacy that the nautiloid cephalopods passed through the K/Pg transition without major effect. This is far from true. The vast majority of taxa and individuals of the Late Cretaceous are ornamented. Not a single ornamented nautilid survived the transition, nor was there a new ornamented species of any genus until Allonautilus perforatus.
What we now know is that there are seven living nautiloid species in two genera: Nautilus pompilius, N. macromphalus, N. stenomphalus, N. belauensis, and the three new species (still in definition), from Samoa, Fiji, and Vanuatu (Ward et al., in prep.) A second fallacy about Nautilus (for most of the 20th Century) was that it had no fossil record. The definition of N. praepompilius Shimansky changed that: the taxon ranges back at least to the Turonian of California, and possibly the Cenomanian of Australia. Here we show three new species of Nautilus, all from the Nanaimo Group but oddly absent from California. All are ribbed.
There has also been a discovery of what might be the only known fossil of Allonautilus Ward and Saunders 1997, also from the Nanaimo Group.
The exquisite shell preservation of many Nanaimo nautilids has allowed paleotemperature analyses, and, for the first time, accurate Nitrogen isotope analyses. These data demonstrate that Nautilus and all other known Cretaceous through Paleogene nautilids were shallow water carnivores. Only Aturia lived in cooler water in the Cenozoic. Aturia, common from the Eocene until its late Miocene extinction, also had jaws with piranha-like teeth, and attained a maximum shell size at least twice that of the largest known Nautilus individual (~250mm).
Presumably, Nautilus and Allonautilus took the dive to a new, deep-water habitat to escape shell-breaking predators in the Miocene, and still live today on cool fore-reef slopes in environments that rarely fossilize. Nautiluses now show Nitrogen isotope values of 7-8 in captivity, where they are fed frequently. In nature, however, their values are typically less than 10 to 12, which are comparable to giant squids and grizzly bears - and from animals that are starving.
Our new video evidence indicates a major extinction of the remaining and very rare nautiluses across the Pacific is taking place due to the removal of deep-water fish by humans, an event that has produced an explosion of deep-water octopus, the major current predator of Nautilus as evidenced by shell borings, elliptical in shape. Can such borings be found in the hundreds of specimens of Nanaimo nautilids in current collections?
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
This is an abstract of a talk to be presented at a scientific meeting dealing with paleontology of British Columbia. In their talk, the authors will describe new species of the marine cephalopod mollusk genera Nautilus and Allonautilus, from the Cretaceous sedimentary rocks of southeastern Vancouver Island, approximately 75-80 million years old. The species have links with modern descendants which still live in the southwest Pacific Ocean. The authors will also present data useful for interpreting the ecology of these ancient cephalopod mollusks.
GEOSCAN ID311140

 
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