A Silurian mystery - Continue the investigation

We’re halfway through the case now. Time to sum up.

Close-up of wenlock limestone slab showing many fragments of broken bryozoans, brachiopods and a small piece of crinoid stem

From our observations we have learned :

  • Most of the fossils are broken.
  • None of the fossils seem to be in the position they lived in, and are piled up on top of each other and part buried in the mud.

Palaeontologists describe groups of broken and overturned fossils all jumbled together in as a “death assemblage”. Something serious has happened to this group of creatures.

There are still some important questions to try to answer which might help us to understand this death assemblage of fossil reef organisms better. These will give us our list of deductions as they will be impossible to prove.

Here are some further questions to consider:

  • How did the skeletons and shells of the animals get broken up?
  • Were they broken and buried where they lived, or have they been moved?
  • Did they all live together in the same part of the reef or have they been moved from different places?
  • Were they already dead when they were moved?

Have a think about these questions, then continue to the next page to consider some examples of how we might explain what we have seen.

Four key questions

Wenlock Creatures