COMPARISON OF NON-LETHAL PREDATORY TRACES IN RECENT AND FOSSIL SAND DOLLARS
Non-lethal marginal traces were identified in the live-collected specimens. Fossil echinoid tests were screened for similar morphological traces and interpreted as non-lethal predatory traces if matching the morphological characteristics of modern traces. There appears to be species selectivity in both Recent and fossil specimens, where traces are more frequently observed on flatter sand dollars (Encope spp.) and rare on Clypeaster spp.
We aim to expand this study by carrying out an Elliptical Fourier Analysis using both live-collected and fossil echinoids, an approach that should allow for a more rigorous comparison of trace morphology between fossil and Recent echinoids. The results should enhance our ability to recognize non-lethal predatory traces in fossil and subfossil echinoid tests and, ultimately, help us to develop a novel proxy for studying the fossil record of non-lethal predation on echinoids. This study is part of a larger project, which aims to improve our understanding of non-lethal predation and the relationship between the predators causing the traces and their echinoid prey.