Iconic Fossils of Eastern North America
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In the Miocene and Pliocene fossil shell beds of the eastern United States, the single most spectacular molluscan species radiation is seen in the ecphora shells (the Tribe Ecphorini). These bizarrely shaped gastropods, with their distinctive ribbed shell sculpture, represent a separate branch of the Subfamily Ocenebridae, Family Muricidae. Characteristically, these muricid gastropods are heavily ornamented with spiral ribs and cords and are considered some of the most beautiful and interesting groups of fossil mollusks found along the Atlantic Coastal Plain and Floridian Peninsula. The ecphoras are greatly sought after by fossil collectors.
The ecphora faunas, and their individual species and subspecies, are illustrated and described in detail, along with photographs of ecphora-bearing geological units and in-situ specimens. The authors list the 67 known species and subspecies that are recognized as valid, arranged by the eight genera and five subgenera that encompass these taxa.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments. Introduction: The Ecphoras: Eastern North America’s Iconic Fossils. Systematics and Classification of the Ecphoras. Ecphoras as Stratigraphic Index Fossils. The Siphonate and Rapaniform Ecphoras. The genus trisecphora petuch, 1988 and its subgenera. The genus ecphora conrad, 1843 and its subgenera. The genus planecphora petuch, 2004. The genus globecphora petuch, 1994. The genus latecphora petuch, 1988. References. Systematic index. Index of ecphora-bearing geologic units. About the authors.
Edward J. Petuch was born in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1949. Raised in a Navy family, he spent many of his childhood years collecting living and fossil shells in such varied localities as Chesapeake Bay, California, Puerto Rico, and Wisconsin. His early interests in malacology and oceanography eventually led to BA and MS degrees in zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. During his MS thesis research, Petuch concentrated on the molluscan biogeography of West Africa, traveling extensively in the Canary Islands, Western Sahara, Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, and Cameroons. During this time, he also conducted research on the molluscan ecology of both coasts of Mexico and the Great Barrier Reef of Belize. Continuing his education, Petuch studied marine biogeography and malacology under Gilbert Voss and Donald Moore at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Miami, where he received a full scholarship. During this time, his doctoral dissertation research involved intensive field work in Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Barbados, the Grenadines, and Brazil, where he often went to sea with the local shrimpers for weeks at a time. After receiving his PhD in oceanography in 1980, Petuch was invited to conduct two years of postdoctoral research, funded by the National Science Foundation, with Geerat Vermeij at the University of Maryland. While there, he also held a research associateship with the Department of Paleobiology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, under the sponsorship of Thomas Waller, and conducted field work in the Plio-Pleistocene fossil beds of Florida and North Carolina and the Miocene fossil beds of Maryland and Virginia. Petuch has also collected and studied living mollusks in Australia, Papua-New Guinea, Fijis, French Polynesia, Japan, the Bahamas, Nicaragua, and Uruguay. This research has led to the publication of over 350 scientific papers and the discovery and description of almost 2,000 new species of mollusks and almost 200 new genera. His previous 24 books are well-known reference texts in the malacological and paleontological communities. Currently, Petuch is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Geosciences, Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida where, for thirty years, he taught undergraduate classes in oceanography, paleontology, and physical geology, and graduate classes in paleoecology and paleoceanography.
David P. Berschauer was born in Rockville Center, New York, in 1964, and spent his youth collecting shells in such varied localities as New York, Florida, California, Washington, Mexico, and throughout the Caribbean. His early interests in natural history, malacology, and marine biology eventually led to a BS in biology at the University of California-Irvine, an advanced marine invertebrate zoology course at Washington State University’s Friday Harbor Marine Lab, and studies towards the pursuit of a graduate degree in marine biology at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. While still a college undergraduate, Berschauer performed field biology research, published a number of research papers and gave scientific presentations at national conferences. He subsequently witched career paths and attended Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, California, earning his Juris Doctorate in 1991. Although having developed a legal career spanning over thirty years and being licensed in both California and Georgia, he has kept malacology as a lifetime avocation and has put together a sizeable research collection and personal museum of molluscan specimens. Over his entire professional life, Berschauer continued to pursue his passion for marine biology, and collecting and studying marine organisms. In his spare time, he has developed and published a relational database software program to aid in the organization and maintenance of a systematic collection. Although originally designed for malacology, the program is applicable to entomology and other aspects of systematic zoology. Berschauer is an active member of the San Diego Shell Club, is a Museum Associate with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County ("LACM") Malacology Department, and is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, The Festivus. He is also well known for his natural history and shell photography, with a multitude of high-quality examples seen throughout this book. Besides being the author of many important scientific papers on molluscan systematics, Berschauer has described and named over 100 new species of gastropods and is also the co-author of several recent books on mollusks.