Article: Campanian crustacean burrow system from Israel with brood and nursery chambers representing communal organization
Phosphorite-filled crustacean burrows associated with a Campanian-age omission surface in the north-western Negev are described. The phosphatic burrow casts weather out displaying scratches (bioglyphs) and two types of local swellings (chambers), which are flattened normal to the course of the burrow. The more abundant chamber type is a flattened spheroid (diameter 45-50 mm) or a flattened, highly prolate ellipsoid of larger dimensions, with bioglyphs. The other type is a flattened spheroid (diameter 45 mm), gently rounded on the upper side and flat on the base. Rings of elevations on the cast (representing moats) form interconnected circlets, each capped by about eight rounded hemispherical tubercles (4 X 4 mm) (pits on original), the whole forming a discrete network. The first type of chamber may have hosted the young (nursery chamber) and/or stored food. The second type of cast replicates a chamber with a pitted floor, which may have formed a brood chamber for 60-70 spherical eggs, each about 3 mm in diameter. Brood chambers in crustacean burrow systems were previously suspected, but only at burrow terminations. The interpreted K-type breeding strategy, brood care and associated functions require a high degree of social organization, none of which has been observed in extant crustaceans, but all occur within social insects.