Predation in the Paleozoic: Gastropod-Like Drillholes in Devonian Brachiopods

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  29 Nov 1985:
Vol. 230, Issue 4729, pp. 1033-1035
DOI: 10.1126/science.230.4729.1033


Middle Devonian articulate brachiopods (Ludlowville and Moscow Formations, Hamilton Group, New York) have external tapered holes with a central boss that are indistinguishable from drillholes of naticid gastropods that are known from the Triassic and later. Drillholes are specific to prey (ribbed shells were avoided) and specific to sites on prey. Healed drillholes suggest penetration of live prey. As many as 44 percent of the preferred prey are drilled, indicating a level of predation that has been reported only from post-Paleozoic strata.