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An enigmatic large discoidal fossil from the Pennsylvanian of County Clare, Ireland

Murray, John; MacGabhann, Breandán A.; Doyle, Eamon; Mángano, M. Gabriela; Tyrrell, Shane; Harper, David A.T.

An enigmatic large discoidal fossil from the Pennsylvanian of County Clare, Ireland Thumbnail


John Murray

Breandán A. MacGabhann

Eamon Doyle

M. Gabriela Mángano

Shane Tyrrell

David A.T. Harper


A rare and unusual large solitary discoidal fossil has been discovered on a paving slab quarried from the cyclothems of the Central Clare Group (Kinderscoutian, Pennsylvanian, Carboniferous), western Ireland. The fossil impression consists of a smooth raised inner discoidal area, surrounded by a slightly lower relief outer ring, ca. 130–135 mm in diameter, with eight prominent equidistant ovoid raised nodes towards the outermost margin. The octoradial body plan of this enigmatic specimen suggests a cnidarian connection and, as it is preserved as a positive hyporelief cast, it is tentatively interpreted as the resting trace of a large benthic anemone, which was either partially or fully infaunal. The discoidal fossil is interesting palaeoecologically; it occurs within the well-known Liscannor flagstone, which consists of thinly bedded, fine-grained sandstone that is extensively covered by prominent, sinuous to meandering, horizontal grazing trails attributed to Psammichnites plummeri. This sedimentary facies likely represents mouth-bar sedimentation on a delta front of a river-dominated delta. The discoidal impression occurs on a portion of the slab where these trace fossils are relatively scarce. Uncertainty surrounds the classification and interpretation of the disc due to its relatively simple morphological form, coupled with a lack of unequivocally diagnostic features — a problem commonly encountered in studies of discoidal fossils from both the Ediacaran and the Phanerozoic.


Murray, J., MacGabhann, B. A., Doyle, E., Mángano, M. G., Tyrrell, S., & Harper, D. A. (2023). An enigmatic large discoidal fossil from the Pennsylvanian of County Clare, Ireland. Palaeoworld,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 9, 2023
Online Publication Date Jan 16, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Jul 3, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jul 3, 2023
Journal Palaeoworld
Print ISSN 1871-174X
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed


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