Asteroidea (Echinodermata) from the Oxfordian (Late Jurassic) of Savigna, Départment du Jura, France

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    The asteroid fauna from the Late Oxfordian marls (bifurcatus Zone, stenocycloides Subzone) of Savigna includes 11 taxa, distributed between 8 families, of which 1 (Plumasteridae) is new. A goniasterid of distinctive morphology, Hessaster longimarginalis, is described as new, as is an asteriid, Savignasterias villieri. The material was recovered by surface picking and processing over 1,000 kg of sediment, and includes 28 partial individuals and approximately 2,000 isolated ossicles in excellent preservation, which show fine details of the stereom architecture and additionally allow ontogenetic changes to be described. Detailed comparison with extant asteroids enables diverse ossicle types to be assigned precisely to individual taxa. The phylogenetic relationships of individual fossil species with living taxa are determined using characters derived from numerous skeletal elements, and it is shown that the benthopectinid and pterasterid species present in the Savigna fauna are basal to their respective families. In comparison with other assemblages collected from Jurassic clay facies, the Savigna asteroid fauna is unusually diverse. Importantly, the fauna includes elements typical of present day deep sea environments (bathyal and abyssal), living abundantly in Oxfordian shelf seas of about 50 m depth.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)69-89
    Number of pages21
    JournalSwiss Journal of Palaeontology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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