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The ichnogenus Thalassinoides: burrows produced by crustaceans from the Middle Jurassic, Makhtesh Qatan, southern Israel.

An ichnotaxon (plural ichnotaxa) is defined by the artifact.


  • Overview 1
  • Etymology 2
  • Naming 3
  • History 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Ichnotaxa are names used to identify and distinguish Linnaean taxonomy. These are known as ichnogenera and ichnospecies, respectively. "Ichnogenus" and "ichnospecies" are commonly abbreviated as "igen." and "isp.". The binomial names of ichnospecies and their genera are to be written in italics.

Most researchers classify trace fossils only as far as the ichnogenus rank, based upon trace fossils that resemble each other in morphology but have subtle differences. Some authors have constructed detailed hierarchies up to ichnosuperclass, recognizing such fine detail as to identify ichnosuperorder and ichnoinfraclass, but such attempts are controversial.


Ichnotaxa comes from the Greek ίχνος, ichnos meaning track and ταξις, taxis meaning ordering.[1]


Due to the chaotic nature of trace fossil classification, several ichnogenera hold names normally affiliated with animal body fossils or plant fossils. For example, many ichnogenera are named with the suffix -phycus due to misidentification as algae.[2]

Edward Hitchcock was the first to use the now common -ichnus suffix in 1858, with Cochlichnus.[2]


Due to trace fossils' history of being difficult to classify, there have been several attempts to enforce consistency in the naming of ichnotaxa.

In 1961, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature ruled that most trace fossil taxa named after 1930 would be no longer available.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Definition of 'ichno' at
  2. ^ a b Häntzschel, Walter (1975). Moore, Raymond C., ed. Miscellanea: Supplement 1, Trace Fossils and Problematica. Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology. Geological Society of America.  
  3. ^ Donovan, Stephen K., ed. (1994). The Palaeobiology of Trace Fossils. John Wiley & Sons.  

External links

  • Comments on the draft proposal to amend the Code with respect to trace fossils
  • Trace Fossils - Kansas University Catalogue of Ichnotaxa

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