Taphonomic Implications of a Crinoid from Echinoderm-Poor Lithofacies in the Upper Ordovician (Katian: Cincinnatian) of Northern Kentucky


  • James R. Thomka Center for Earth and Environmental Science, State University of New York at Plattsburgh, Plattsburgh, NY http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1230-8582
  • Thomas J. Malgieri Alpine Ocean Seismic Survey Inc., Hudson, NJ
  • Kailyn M. Popovich-Martin Department of Geosciences, University of Akron Akron, OH
  • Carlton E. Brett Department of Geology, University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH




Maysvillian, Grant Lake Formation, fossil transport, Anomalocrinus


Crinoids (Phylum Echinodermata) represent major components of fossil assemblages in the type Cincinnatian (Upper Ordovician: Katian) of the greater Cincinnati Arch region. However, certain shallow marine lithofacies are characterized by a nonexistent to depauperate crinoid fauna, being instead dominated by trilobites, bryozoans, mollusks, and in some layers solenoporid algae? and stromatoporoids. One such setting is represented by the Grant Lake Formation, equivalent to the upper Corryville and Mount Auburn members of the McMillan Formation of Ohio, as exposed south of Flemingsburg, Fleming County, northern Kentucky. Described herein is an articulated crinoid crown (Anomalocrinus?) from this otherwise crinoid-poor interval. This occurrence may reflect either (1) a brief interval where conditions were more amenable to occupation by crinoids, possibly corresponding to a minor flooding surface, or (2) transportation of skeletal remains from nearby, deeper offshore areas that contained crinoids in greater abundance. The second interpretation seems more likely given the absence of in situ attachment structures and rarity of disarticulated column material at the study site. This study illustrates the value of echinoderm remains in paleoenvironmental analysis, the significance of crinoidal material in taphonomic interpretation of Paleozoic argillaceous carbonate deposits, and the sensitivity of crinoid fossils as indicators of allochthony or autochthony.