Studies of paleocommunities and trophic webs assume that multispecies assemblages consist of species that coexisted in the same habitat over the duration of time averaging. However, even species with similar durability can differ in age within a single fossil assemblage. Here, we tested whether skeletal remains of different phyla and trophic guilds, the most abundant infaunal bivalve shells and nektobenthic fish otoliths, differed in radiocarbon age in surficial sediments along a depth gradient from 10 to 40 m on the warm-temperate Israeli shelf, and we modeled their dynamics of taphonomic loss. We found that, in spite of the higher potential of fishes for out-of-habitat transport after death, differences in age structure within depths were smaller by almost an order of magnitude than differences between depths. Shell and otolith assemblages underwent depth-specific burial pathways independent of taxon identity, generating death assemblages with comparable time averaging, and supporting the assumption of temporal and spatial co-occurrence of mollusks and fishes.
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