Fossil Feeding Pattern of a Tellinid Clam

October 24, 2004


Provided and copyright by: Dominic Maze
Summary authors & editors: Dominic Maze; H. Edward Clifton

The photo above was taken at Point Lobos in Monterey, California, at low tide. The feature shown in the photograph has long been recognized as a trace fossil made by an organism that lived within the sediment on the floor of the ancient submarine canyon and has recently been attributed to the feeding pattern of a tellinid clam. The initial description of the trace ascribed it to a fossilized marine plant, but its 3-dimensional structure and non-carbonaceous character clearly indicate otherwise. This sandstone, which is part of the Carmelo formation, formed when huge amounts of sediment and other marine material settled into a granodiorite submarine canyon, estimated to be about 80 million years old, creating the distinctive turbidites, sandstones, and mudstones of the area.

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