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Hyolithellus in life position from the Lower Cambrian of North Greenland

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 July 2015

Christian B. Skovsted
1Department of Palaeozoology, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Box 50007, SE-104 05 Stockholm, Sweden, 2Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology Program, Uppsala University, Villavägen 16, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden,
John S. Peel
2Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology Program, Uppsala University, Villavägen 16, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden,


Tubular specimens belonging to Hyolithellus from silty dolostones of the basal Aftenstjernesø Formation of North Greenland may represent the first occurrence of this widespread Cambrian fossil in life position. A high proportion of preserved specimens are oriented normal to bedding with the tapering end of the tube down. Occasional undulations in the growth of the tubes indicate that the animal actively adjusted its growth to achieve a vertical orientation in relation to the sediment surface. Increasing thickness of the tube wall towards the tapering end shifted the center of mass downwards and resulted in greater stability in the sediment. The tube remained open at both ends throughout ontogeny; it was most likely secreted by an annelid-grade animal which pumped water into the sediment through the tube. Hyolithellus and similar tubular fossils from the Lower Cambrian probably represent stem group annelids.

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