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Progress in describing Ordovician siliceous biodiversity from the Southern Uplands (Scotland, U.K.)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 November 2011

Taniel Danelian
Taniel Danelian, Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Edinburgh, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JW,U.K. (present address: Laboratoire de Micropaléontologie, Département de Géologie Sédimentaire, UPMC, C.1054. T. 15-25, 4E, 4 place Jussieu, 75252, Paris, Cedex 05, France); e-mail:
James D. Floyd
James D. Floyd, British Geological Survey, Murchison House, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3LA, U.K.;



Leaching of Ordovician cherts from the Southern Uplands using dilute hydrofluoric acid has yielded numerous radiolaria, sponge spicules and a few conodonts. Although many of the radiolaria have suffered intense recrystallisation, it nevertheless proved possible to extract for SEM examination some examples with exquisitely preserved micro-structure. Despite this, the radiolaria have not proved sufficient, on their own, to answer the outstanding biostratigraphical question of one continuous or two separate episodes (Arenig and Llanvirn/Caradoc) of chert sedimentation in the Southern Uplands. This is partly because the biostratigraphy of Lower Palaeozoic radiolaria is still quite poorly known. A new radiolarian species, Protoceratoiciskum clarksoni Danelian, has been identified and described from cherts in the Crawford area. In addition, the distinctive sponge species Konyrium varium Nazarov & Popov, has also been found for the first time in Southern Uplands cherts. This new occurrence, in deep-water sediments, suggests a much wider habitat for this unusual sponge. Amongst the few conodont elements extracted, one can be identified as probably belonging to the genus Periodon.

Research Article
Copyright © Royal Society of Edinburgh 2000

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