Flabellum cuneiforme

Phylum Cnidaria
Class Anthozoa
Order Scleractinia

(Scale bar is 1 cm)


Corals are usually present in most Paleogene limestones and some detrital rocks of the Georgia Coastal Plain, though they are often preserved as molds and are difficult to identify. In addition to occasional colonial corals, several species of solitary corals are also found. F. cuneiforme is the most common. It is known from rocks ranging from Middle Eocene to Oligocene, and so is not a very useful fossil for correlation. The specimens illustrated came from the Ocala Limestone near Leesburg.

Colonial corals are most common in the Bridgeboro Limestone, where they are reported to occur in actual ecological reefs. Large assemblages of reef corals probably are dominated by species that lived symbiotically with algae that lived in their tissues. Excess photosynthate produced by the algae provided nutriment for the corals. Obviously, the corals must have lived in water shallower than the limit of light penetration so that the algae could have photosynthesized. Solitary corals like Flabellum, which typically occurs out of such reef-like assemblages, may not have had such algal symbionts, and so its usefulness in determining water depth is uncertain. Whatever their depth distribution, corals generally prefer warm, tropical, open marine waters.


AGE: LATE EOCENE and EARLY OLIGOCENE

FORMATION: OCALA and BRIDGEBORO LIMESTONES, and RESIDUUM

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