First record of Late Miocene Dendrophyllia de Blainville, 1830 (Scleractinia: Dendrophylliidae) in Taiwan

  • First record of Dendrophyllia fossils in Taiwan
  • Specimens from this study can be dated back to the Late Miocene
  • Insights on the local marine paleoenvironment interpreted from combination of fossil assemblages

The recently exposed outcrops along the Dahan River in Shulin, northern Taiwan revealed diverse and abundant marine fossils including molluscs, shark and ray teeth, sand dollars, and otoliths from a wide range of fish taxa. In addition, numerous small and fragile fossil scleractinians were found and identified here as Dendrophyllia sp., from the mainly azooxanthellate (90%) dendrophylliid family. Lithology of the outcrops are mainly composed of grey sandstones from the Tapu Formation (Late Miocene), overlying on a layer of basaltic tuff. The absolute ageof the boundary between the Tapu Formation and the underlying Nanchuang Formation is 8 Ma, which provides indications on the maximum age possible for the scleractinian fossils found in this study. Back then, the marine ecosystem in which the sampled Dendropyllia specimens grew was probably a turbid shallow coastal environment with muddy to sandy bottom, likely at the vicinity of a river estuary, as suggested by the combined presence of previously reportedfish otoliths. To our knowledge, this is the first record of Dendrophyllia fossils from Taiwan.

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