Skip to main content Accessibility help

Early Ordovician Dounans Limestone fauna, Highland Border Complex, Scotland

  • J. Keith Ingham (a1), Gordon B. Curry (a2) and Alwyn Williams (a3)


A diverse, but sparsely distributed silicified fauna of over 30 taxa has been recovered from 7·5 tonnes of acid-etched Lower Ordovician Dounans Limestone from the Highland Border Complex, near Aberfoyle. The 13 trilobite taxa obtained include 3 new formally named species: Distazeris adoceta, Punka aetholiciocorus and Ischyrotoma stubblefieldi. Other elements, representing Carolinites, Illaenus, Goniotelina, Sycophantia, Kawina, Heliomeroides, Strotactinus, Ectenonotus, Ceratocephala and an indeterminate bathyurelline are described under open nomenclature although at least 4 are also probably new and 2 more may be conspecific with previously described species. The brachiopods include representatives of Archaeorthis, Nothorthis, Orthidium, ?Camerella, Idiostrophia, Orthambonites and 4 other indeterminate stocks. Gastropods tentatively assigned to Murchisonia, Subulites, Straparollina, Maclurites and Cyrtodiscus are described, as are bryozoans, an orthocone, crinoids, and Incertae sedis.

This profoundly North American fauna is Late Canadian ( = mid Arenig) in age and equates with the Cassinian Stage: it is key evidence in showing that the Highland Border rocks are not part of the Dalradian Supergroup whose earliest deformations and metamorphism predate the Ordovician. The field relationships of the limestone, together with evidence from derived clasts in Middle Ordovician and Devonian sequences near Girvan in SW Scotland and at Stonehaven in eastern Scotland suggest that it forms part of a widespread sub-Old Red Sandstone carbonate sequence of Early Ordovician age beneath the northern Midland Valley.



Hide All
Andreeva, O. N. 1960. New species of ancient plants and invertebrates of the USSR, Part I (in Russian). In Markowskii, B. P. (ed.). Moscow.
Anstey, R. L. & Perry, T. G. 1972. Eden Shale bryozoans: A numerical study (Ordovician, Ohio Valley). PUBL MICHIGAN STATE UNIV MUS PAL SER 1 (1).
Balashov, et al. 1968. Field atlas of Ordovician faunas north-east USSR (in Russian). MINIST GEOL RSFSR MAGADAN.
Barnes, C. R., Norford, B. S. & Skevington, D. 1981. The Ordovician System in Canada. Correlation chart and explanatory notes. IUGS PUBL 8.
Barton, D. C. 1916. A revision of the Cheirurinae with notes on their evolution. WASHINGTON UNIV STUD SER 4 3, 101–52.
Billings, E. 1859. On some new genera and species of brachiopoda from the Silurian and Devonian rocks of Canada. CAN NAT GEOL 4, 1131.
Billings, E. 18611865. Palaeozoic fossils: v. 1. Containing descriptions and figures of new or little known species of organic remains from the Silurian rocks. GEOL SURV CAN, pp. 124 (Nov. 1861), 25–56 (Jan. 1862), 57–168 (Jun. 1862), 169–394 (Feb. 1865), 395–426 (Oct. 1865).
Bluck, B. J. 1983. Role of the Midland Valley of Scotland in the Caledonian orogeny. TRANS R SOC EDINBURGH EARTH SCI 74, 119–36.
Bockelie, J. F. 1984. The Diploporita of the Oslo region, Norway. PALAEONTOLOGY, 27, 168.
Bradley, J. H. 1925. Trilobites of the Beekmantown in the Phillipsburg region of Quebec. CAN FIELD NAT 39, 59.
Burmeister, H. 1843. Der Organisation der Trilobiten. Berlin.
Chatterton, B. D. E. 1980. Ontogenetic studies of Middle Ordovician trilobites from the Esbataottine Formation, Mackenzie Mountains, Canada. PALAEONTOGRAPHICA ABT A 171, 174.
Chatterton, B. D. E. & Ludvigsen, R. 1976. Silicified Middle Ordovician trilobites from the South Nahanni River area, District of Mackenzie, Canada. PALAEONTOGRAPHICA ABT A 154, 1106.
Chugaeva, M. N., Ivanova, V. A., Oradovskaya, M. M. & Yakovlev, V. N. 1973. Biostratigraphy of the lower part of the Ordovician in the North-east of the USSR, and biogeography of the uppermost Lower Ordovician (in Russian). TRUD GEOL INST MOSCOW 213, 1304.
Chugaeva, M. N., Rozman, Kh. S. & Ivanova, V. A. 1964. Comparative biostratigraphy of Ordovician deposits in the North-East USSR (in Russian). TRUD GEOL INST LENINGRAD 106, 1226.
Cooper, G. A. 1956. Chazyan and related brachiopods. SMITHSONIAN MISC COLLECTIONS 127 (I, II).
Curry, G. B. 1986. Fossils and tectonics along the Highland Boundary Fault in Scotland. J GEOL SOC LONDON 143, (in press).
Curry, G. B., Bluck, B. J., Burton, C. J., Ingham, J. K., Siveter, D. J. & Williams, A. 1984. Age, evolution and tectonic history of the Highland Border Complex, Scotland. TRANS R SOC EDINBURGH EARTH SCI 75, 113–33.
Curry, G. B., Ingham, J. K.Bluck, B. J. & Williams, A. 1982. The significance of a reliable Ordovician age for some Highland Border rocks in Central Scotland. J GEOL SOC LONDON 139, 451–4.
Curry, G. B. & Williams, A. 1984. Lower Ordovician brachiopods from the Ben Suardal Limestone Formation (Durness Group) of Skye, western Scotland. TRANS R SOC EDINBURGH EARTH SCI 75, 301–10.
Dalman, J. W. 1827. Om Palaeaderna eller de såkallade Trilobiterna. K SVENSK VETENSK HANDL 1, 226–94.
Davidson, T. 1853. A monograph of the British fossil Brachiopods—vol. 1. PALAEONTOGR SOC [MONOGR], 1136.
Demeter, E. J. 1973. Lower Ordovician pliomerids from western Utah. BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIV GEOL STUD 20, 3765.
Evitt, W. R. 1951. Some Middle Ordovician trilobites of the families Cheiruridae, Harpidae and Lichidae. J PALEONT 25, 587616.
Flower, R. H. 1964. The nautiloid order Ellesmeroceratidae (Cephalopoda). MEM NEW MEXICO BUR MINES MINER RESOUR 12.
Fortey, R. A. 1975a. Early Ordovician trilobite communities. FOSSILS AND STRATA 4, 339–60.
Fortey, R. A. 1975b. The Ordovician trilobites of Spitzbergen II. Asaphidae, Nileidae, Raphiophoridae and Telephinidae of the Valhallfonna Formation. NORSK POLARINST SKR 162.
Fortey, R. A. 1979a. Early Ordovician trilobites from the Catoche Formation (St Georges Group), western Newfoundland. BULL GEOL SURV CAN 321, 61114.
Fortey, R. A. 1979b. The Ordovician of Spitzbergen, and its relevance to the base of the Middle Ordovician in North America. In Wones, D. R. (ed.) The Caledonides in the U.S.A., 3340, Blacksburg, Virginia: I.G.C.P.
Fortey, R. A. 1980. The Ordovician trilobites of Spitzbergen III. Remaining trilobites of the Valhallfonna Formation. NORSK POLARINST SKR 171.
Fortey, R. A. & Barnes, C. R. 1977. Early Ordovician conodont and trilobite communities of Spitzbergen: influence on biogeography. ALCHERINGA 1, 297309.
Hall, J. & Clarke, J. M. 1892. An introduction to the study of the genera of Palaeozoic Brachiopods. NEW YORK GEOL SURV PALAEONT 8, 1367.
Hall, J. & Clarke, J. M. 1894. An introduction to the study of the Brachiopoda intended as a handbook for the use of students. 13TH ANN REP NEW YORK STATE GEOL FOR 1893 2, 751943.
Havlicek, V. 1949. Orthoidea a Clitambonidea z ceského tremadoku (Orthoidea and Clitambonidea of the Bohemian Tremadoc). SB ST GEOL UST CSL REPUB 16, 93144.
Hawle, I. & Corda, A. J. C. 1847. Prodrom einer Monographie der böhmischen Trilobiten. Prague.
Henderson, W. G. & Robertson, A. H. F. 1982. The Highland Border rocks and their relation to marginal basin development in the Scottish Caledonides. J GEOL SOC LONDON 139, 433–50.
Hintze, L. F. 1953. Lower Ordovician trilobites from western Utah and eastern Nevada. BULL UTAH GEOL MINERAL SURV 48 (FOR 1952), 1249.
Holliday, S. 1942. Ordovician trilobites from Nevada. J PALEONT 16, 471–8.
Hupé, P. 1953. Classification des trilobites. ANN PALEONT 39, 61168 (1–110).
Huxley, T. H. 1896. An introduction to the classification of animals. London: John Churchill.
Ikin, N. P. & Harmon, R. S. 1984. Tectonic history of the ophiolitic rocks of the Highland Border fracture zone, Scotland: stable isotope evidence from rock-fluid interactions during obduction. TECTONOPHYSICS 106, 3148.
Jaanusson, V. 1954. Zur Morphologie und Taxonomie der Illaeniden. ARK MINERAL GEOL 1, 545–83.
Jehu, T. J. & Campbell, R. 1917. The Highland Border rocks of the Aberfoyle district. TRANS R SOC EDINBURGH 52, 175212.
Johnson, M. R. W. & Harris, A. L. 1967. Dalradian-?Arenig relations in part of the Highland Border, Scotland, and their significance in the chronology of the Caledonian orogeny. SCOTT J GEOL 3, 116.
Kobayashi, T. 1940. Lower Ordovician fossils from Caroline Creek, near Latrobe, Mersey River district, Tasmania. PAP PROC R SOC TASMANIA (for 1939), 6776.
Lane, P. D. 1971. British Cheiruridae (Trilobita). PALAEONTOGR SOC [MONOGR].
Logan, W. E. 1863. Geology of Canada. Geological Survey of Canada, Report of progress from its commencement to 1863. Montreal: Geological Survey of Canada.
Lu, Yen-Hao. 1975. Ordovician trilobite faunas of central and southwestern China. PAL SINICA N S Bll, 1463.
Ludvigsen, R. 1978a. Towards an Ordovician trilobite biostratigraphy of southern Ontario. MICHIGAN BASIN GEOL SOC SPEC PAP 3, 7384.
Ludvigsen, R. 1978b. Middle Ordovician trilobite biofacies, southern Mackenzie Mountains. In Stelck, C. R. & Chatterton, B. D. E. [eds] Western and Arctic Canadian biostratigraphy. GEOL ASSOC CAN, SPEC PAP 18.
Ludvigsen, R. 1979a. Fossils of Ontario. Part 1: the trilobites. LIFE SCI MISC PUB ROY ONTARIO MUS.
Ludvigsen, R. 1979b. Lower Ordovician trilobites from the Oxford Formation, eastern Ontario. CAN J EARTH SCI 16, 859–65.
Ludvigsen, R. 1979c. A trilobite zonation of Middle Ordovician rocks, southwestern District of Mackenzie. BULL GEOL SURV CAN 312, 199.
Marek, L. 1952. Contribution to the stratigraphy and fauna of the uppermost part of the Králuv Dvur Shales (Ashgillian). SB USTRED UST GEOL 19, 429–55.
Miller, S. A. 1889. North American Geology and Paleontology. Cincinnati.
Moore, R. C. [ed.]. 1959. Treatise on invertebrate paleontology. Part O, Arthropoda 1. Kansas: Geological Society of America and University of Kansas Press.
Öpik, A. A. 1937. Trilobiten aus Estland. ACTA COMMENTAT UNIV TARTUENSIS A MATH PHYS MED 32, 1163.
Rasetti, F. 1946. Early Upper Cambrian trilobites from western Gaspé. J PALEONT 20, 442–62.
Rasetti, F. 1954. Phylogeny of the Cambrian trilobite family Catillicephalidae and the ontogeny of Welleraspis. J PALEONT 28, 599612.
Raymond, P. E. 1905. The trilobites of the Chazy Limestone. ANN CARNEGIE MUS 3, 328–86.
Raymond, P. E. 1913. Some changes in the names of genera of trilobites. OTTAWA NAT 26, 137–42.
Raymond, P. E. 1920. Some new Ordovician trilobites. BULL MUS COMP ZOOL HARVARD 64, 271–96.
Raymond, P. E. 1924. New Upper Cambrian and Lower Ordovician trilobites from Vermont. PROC BOSTON SOC NAT HIST 37, 389466.
Raymond, P. E. 1925. Some trilobites of the Lower Middle Ordovician of eastern North America. BULL MUS COMP ZOOL HARVARD 67, 3180.
Raymond, P. E. 1937. Upper Cambrian and Lower Ordovician Trilobita and Ostracoda from Vermont. BULL GEOL SOC AM 48, 10791146.
Raymond, P. E. 1938. Supplement to BULL GEOL SOC AM 48, p. xv.
Reed, F. R. C. 1909. Palaeontological appendix. In Gardiner, C. I. & Reynolds, S. H. On the igneous and associated sedimentary rocks of the Tourmakeady district (County Mayo), Q J GEOL SOC LONDON 65, 141–52.
Reed, F. R. C. 1910. Palaeontological notes. In Gardiner, C. I. & Reynolds, S. H. The igneous and associated sedimentary rocks of the Glensaul district (County Galway). Q J GEOL SOC LONDON 66, 271–8.
Reed, F. R. C. 1945. Revision of certain Lower Ordovician faunas from Ireland. 1. Trilobites. GEOL MAG 82, 5566.
Richter, R. & Richter, E. 1917. Über die Einteilung der Familie Acidaspidae und über einiger ihrer devonischen Vertreter. CENTRALBL MINERAL GEOL PALAEONTOL JAHRG 1917, 462–72.
Ross, R. J. Jr., 1951. Stratigraphy of the Garden City Formation in north-eastern Utah, and its trilobite faunas. BULL PEABODY MUS NAT HIST 6, 1161.
Ross, R. J. Jr., 1953. Additional Garden City (Early Ordovician) trilobites. J PALEONT 27, 633–46.
Ross, R. J. Jr., 1967. Some Middle Ordovician brachiopods and trilobites from the Basin Ranges, western United States, with stratigraphic sections A, North of Pyramid Peak, Calif., by R. J. Ross, Jr., and B, In Specter Range, Nev., by Harley Barnes. U S GEOL SURV PROF PAPER 523–D, 143.
Ross, R. J. Jr., 1972. Fossils from the Ordovician bioherm at Meiklejohn Peak, Nevada. U S GEOL SURV PROF PAPER 685, 147.
Ross, R. J. Jr. et al. , 1982. The Ordovician System in the United States. Correlation chart and explanatory notes. IUGS PUBL 12.
Ross, R. J. Jr., & Ingham, J. K. 1970. Distribution of the Toquima–Table Head (Middle Ordovician Whiterock) Faunal Realm in the northern hemisphere. BULL GEOL SOC AM 81, 393408.
Rushton, A. W. A. & Tripp, R. P. 1979. A fossiliferous lower Canadian (Tremadoc) boulder from the Benan Conglomerate of the Girvan district. SCOTT J GEOL 15, 321–7.
Schuchert, C. & Cooper, G. A. 1931. Synopsis of the brachiopod genera of the suborders Orthoidea and Pentameroidea, with notes on the Telotremata. AM J SCI 22, 241–51.
Schuchert, C. & Cooper, G. A. 1932. Brachiopod genera of the suborders Orthoidea and Pentameroidea. PEABODY MUS NAT HIST MEM 4 (1) 1270.
Shaw, A. B. 1952. Paleontology of northwestern Vermont, II. Fauna of the Upper Cambrian Rockledge Conglomerate near St. Albans. J PALEONT 26, 458–83.
Shaw, F. C. 1968. Early Middle Ordovician Chazy trilobites of New York. MEM N Y STATE MUS NAT HIST 17, 1163.
Shaw, F. C. 1974. Simpson Group (Middle Ordovician) trilobites of Oklahoma. J PALEONT 48, MEM PALAEONT SOC 6, 154.
Sun, Y. C. 1931. Ordovician Trilobites of Central and Southern China. PALAEONTOL SIN B7, 147.
Taylor, P. D. & Curry, G. B. 1985. The earliest known fenestrate bryozoan, with a short review of Lower Ordovician Bryozoa. PALAEONTOLOGY, 28, 147–58.
Tripp, R. P. 1967. Trilobites of the Upper Stinchar Limestone (Ordovician) of the Girvan district, Ayrshire. TRANS R SOC EDINBURGH 67, 4393.
Ulrich, E. O. & Cooper, G. A. 1936. New genera and species of Ozarkian and Canadian brachiopods. J PALEONT 10, 616–31.
Ulrich, E. O. & Cooper, G. A. 1938. Ozarkian and Canadian brachiopods. SPEC PAP GEOL SOC AM 13.
Wahlenberg, G. 1818. Petrificata Telluris Svecanae. NOVA ACTA R SOC SCIENT UPSALA 8 (see bibliographic appendix to Hughes C. P., Ingham J. K. & Addison R. 1975. PHIL TRANS R SOC LONDON B272, p. 604 for arguments concerning the date of publication of this paper).
Walcott, C. D. 1886. Second contribution to the studies on the Cambrian faunas of North America. BULL U S GEOL SURV 30.
Warder, J. A. 1838. New trilobites. AM J SCI 34, 377–80.
Whittington, H. B. 1953. North American Bathyuridae and Leiostegiidae (Trilobita). J PALEONT 27, 647–78.
Whittington, H. B. 1956. Silicified Middle Ordovician trilobites: The Odontopleuridae. BULL MUS COMP ZOOL HARVARD 114, 155288.
Whittington, H. B. 1963. Middle Ordovician trilobites from Lower Head, western Newfoundland. BULL MUS COMP ZOOL HARVARD 129, 1118.
Whittington, H. B. 1961. Middle Ordovician Pliomeridae (Trilobita) from Nevada, New York, Quebec, Newfoundland. J PALEONT 35, 911–22.
Whittington, H. B. 1965. Trilobites of the Ordovician Table Head Formation, western Newfoundland. BULL MUS COMP ZOOL HARVARD 132, 275442.
Whittington, H. B. 1968. Zonation and correlation of Canadian and Early Mohawkian Series. In Zen, E-An, White, W. S., Hadley, J. B. & Thompson, J. B. [eds] Studies of Appalachian Geology: Northern and Maritime, 4960. New York: Interscience—John Wiley.
Whittington, H. B. & Evitt, W. R. 1954. Silicified Middle Ordovician trilobites. MEM GEOL SOC AM 59, 1137.
Whittington, H. B. & Hughes, C. P. 1972. Ordovician geography and faunal provinces deduced from trilobite distribution. PHIL TRANS R SOC LONDON B263, 235–78.
Williams, A. 1962. The Barr and Lower Ardmillan Series (Caradoc) of the Girvan district, south-west Ayrshire, with descriptions of the Brachiopoda. MEM GEOL SOC LONDON 3.
Williams, A. & Curry, G. B. 1985. Lower Ordovician Brachiopoda from the Tourmakeady Limestone, Co. Mayo, Ireland. BULL BRIT MUS NAT HIST GEOL 38, 183269.
Young, G. E. 1973. An Ordovician (Arenigian) trilobite faunule of great diversity from the Ibex area, western Utah. BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIV GEOL STUD 20, 91115.


Early Ordovician Dounans Limestone fauna, Highland Border Complex, Scotland

  • J. Keith Ingham (a1), Gordon B. Curry (a2) and Alwyn Williams (a3)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed