AVIAN FORAGING ON AN INTERTIDAL MUDFLAT SUCCESSION IN THE EOCENE TANJUNG FORMATION, ASEM ASEM BASIN, SOUTH KALIMANTAN, INDONESIAN BORNEO

J. P. Zonneveld, Y. Zaim, Y. Rizal, A. Aswan, R. L. Ciochon, T. Smith, J. Head, P. Wilf, J. I. Bloch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Moderately diverse trace fossil assemblages occur in the Eocene Tambak Member of the Tanjung Formation, in the Asem Asem Basin on the southern coast of South Kalimantan. These assemblages are fundamental for establishing depositional models and paleoecological reconstructions for southern Kalimantan during the Eocene and contribute substantially to the otherwise poorly documented fossil record of birds in Island Southeast Asia. Extensive forest cover has precluded previous ichnological analyses in the study area. The traces discussed herein were discovered in newly exposed outcrops in the basal part of the Wahana Baratama coal mine, on the Kalimantan coast of the Java Sea. The Tambak assemblage includes both vertebrate and invertebrate trace fossils. Invertebrate traces observed in this study include Arenicolites, Cylindrichnus, Diplocraterion, Palaeophycus, Planolites, Psilonichnus, Siphonichnus, Skolithos, Thalassinoides, Taenidium, and Trichichnus. Vertebrate-derived trace fossils include nine avian footprint ichnogenera (Aquatilavipes, Archaeornithipus, Ardeipeda, Aviadactyla, cf. Avipeda, cf. Fuscinapeda, cf. Ludicharadripodiscus, and two unnamed forms). A variety of shallow, circular to cylindrical pits and horizontal, singular to paired horizontal grooves preserved in concave epirelief are interpreted as avian feeding and foraging traces. These traces likely represent the activities of small to medium-sized shorebirds and waterbirds like those of living sandpipers, plovers, cranes, egrets, and herons. The pits and grooves are interpreted as foraging traces and occur interspersed with both avian trackways and invertebrate traces. The trace fossils occur preferentially in heterolithic successions with lenticular to flaser bedding, herringbone ripple stratification, and common reactivation surfaces, indicating that the study interval was deposited in a tidally influenced setting. Avian trackways, desiccation cracks, and common rooting indicate that the succession was prone to both subaqueous inundation and periodic subaerial exposure. We infer that the Tambak mixed vertebrate-invertebrate trace fossil association occurred on channel-margin intertidal flats in a tide-influenced estuarine setting. The occurrence of a moderately diverse avian footprint and foraging trace assemblage in the Tambak Member of the Tanjung Formation illustrates that shorebirds and waterbirds have been using wetlands in what is now Kalimantan for their food resources since at least the late Eocene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-96
Number of pages30
JournalPalaios
Volume39
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Palaeontology

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