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A new post-early Cambrian archaeocyath from Antarctica

  • Rachel A. Wood (a1), Kevin R. Evans (a2) and Andrey Yu. Zhuravlev (a3)

Abstract

A new species of archaeocyath sponge, Dictyocyathus neptunensis, is described from the lower third of the Nelson Limestone of the Neptune Range, Antarctica. Based on the presence of the trilobites Nelsonia schesis and Amphoton oatesi, these strata are interpreted to be mid- to late middle Cambrian in age. D. neptunensis shows a branching, low integration modular form and a very simple skeletal type. Such an organization is predicted from known morphological trends within the early Cambrian Archaeocyatha. Specimens are not in life position, and probably form part of a storm deposit. The absence of Dictyocyathus from latest early Cambrian (Toyonian) strata worldwide suggests a convergent nature for this highly simplified skeletal type in archaeocyaths.

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