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Is the Fossil Record of Complex Animal Behaviour a Stratigraphical Analogue for the Anthropocene?

TitleIs the Fossil Record of Complex Animal Behaviour a Stratigraphical Analogue for the Anthropocene?
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsWilliams, M, Zalasiewicz, JA, Waters, CN, Landing, E
EditorWaters, NN, Zalasiewicz, JA, Williams, M, Ellis, MA, Snelling, AM
Book TitleA Stratigraphical Basis for the Anthropocene
Series TitleSpecial Publications
Series Volume395
Pagination143-148
PublisherGeological Society of London
CityLondon
Keywordsgeology, paleontology
Abstract

The base of the Cambrian System is recognized by a characteristic (marine) trace fossil suite assigned to the Treptichnus pedum Biozone, which signals increasing complexity of animal behaviour and demarcates the Cambrian from the (older) Ediacaran System (Proterozoic Eonathem). Ichnotaxa of the T. pedum Biozone are not the earliest trace fossils, and are preceded in the latest Proterozoic by a progressive increase in the diversity of trace-producing organisms and the communities they comprised, the structural and behavioural complexity of the trace fossils, and even the depth of burrowing in sediments. Parallels can be drawn with the increasing complexity of subsurface structures associated with human cities, which also reflect evolution of an increasingly complex community. Before the nineteenth century, these structures were limited and simple, but beginning with the development of London in the mid-nineteenth century as the world's first megacity, subsurface structures have become increasingly complex, reflecting the technology-driven behaviour of twentieth- and twenty-first-century humans.

URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1144/SP395.8
DOI10.1144/SP395.8