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A large number of well-preserved chancelloriid scleritomes from the Guanshan biota, early Cambrian of Yunnan, China, are described as a new species, Allonnia tenuis n. sp., and provide solid evidence for the original appearance of these enigmatic animals, based on specimens compacted laterally and top-down. With the assistance of a flexible integument, chancelloriids, especially Allonnia from early and middle Cambrian, may have had the ability to partially or completely expand and contract the body, which might have played an important role in feeding. A new metazoan with single-element spines, Nidelric gaoloufangensis n. sp., is also described. Preservation and affinity are discussed. Detailed comparison of the morphology of the body and spines of this metazoan indicate that it shares many similarities with chancelloriids, of which it may be an unusual form.
The planktonic medusiform taxon Pararotadiscus guizhouensis (Zhao and Zhu, 1994) is one of the most abundant components of the Kaili Biota. Many specimens are in direct association with other taxa, including trilobites, brachiopods, hyolithids, echinoderms, and algae, as well as the trace fossil Gordia. Four types of interrelationships between P. guizhouensis and associated fossils are recognized: symbiosis, co-burial, attachment of benthic taxa on P. guizhouensis carcasses, and scavenging of P. guizhouensis carcasses. These associations of P. guizhouensis within the Kaili Biota are unique among occurrences of medusiform fossils in Burgess Shale-type biotas worldwide and provide important insights concerning ecological complexity in the Kaili Biota and in Cambrian marine communities in general.
Pilophyllia Ge and Yu, 1974 represents a major group of distinctive amplexoid corals in the Silurian, whose taxonomic relationships, species composition, and evolutionary trends remain contentious. A critical revision of type material and new specimens of several species (and subspecies) assigned to Pilophyllia, including the type species P. involuta Ge and Yu, 1974, provides solutions to some of these problems. Pilophyllia is revised to include only those forms characterized by a distinct peripheral stereozone and amplexoid major septa with club-shaped rhabdacanths set in thick lamellar stereomes. Other species, previously referred to Pilophyllia but having generally short septa with wedge-shaped rhabdacanths, are transferred herein to the new genus Neopilophyllia Wang. Both genera, together with other Silurian amplexoid rugosan genera such as Amplexoides, are referred to the new family Amplexoididae Wang, which is thought to be evolutionarily unrelated to the much younger (Devonian to early Carboniferous) amplexoid rugosan family Amplexidae Chapman, 1893. The first appearance of Neopilophyllia n. gen. in the middle Telychian, much later than that of Pilophyllia in the late Rhuddanian, probably marks a significant stage during the evolution of Silurian amplexoid corals.
Altaethyrella tarimensis, a new species of rhynchonellide brachiopod, is described from the late Katian (Late Ordovician) Hadabulaktag Formation in the Kuruktag region of Xinjiang, Northwest China on the northeastern edge of the Tarim Basin. Serial sections of the shell clearly show no dorsal median septum or septalium in the dorsal valve, and no spiralia or atrypide-style crura. Like other species of the genus, A. tarimensis n. sp. exhibits a high degree of intraspecific variation, including variations in shell shape and size, number of ribs in the sulcus at the anterior, and degree of asymmetry. The discovery of Altaethyrella in Tarim has important paleogeographic implications, indicating a close relationship between the Late Ordovician brachiopod faunas of Tarim and those of the Kazakh terranes and North and South China paleoplates, supporting a recently published paleogeographic projection that places Tarim near the Chu-Ili terrane during the Late Ordovician. The abundant large biconvex shells of A. tarimensis n. sp. would have provided a firm substrate for encrusting filter feeders like bryozoans to establish on the Kuruktag Platform.
This study documents the early post-embryonic developmental stages (protaspides and early meraspides) of the Cambrian trilobite Ellipsostrenua granulosa (Ahlberg, 1984) from the Gärdsjön Formation of Jämtland, Sweden. The early protaspid stage is characterized by a circular outline of the exoskeleton, two pairs of fixigenal spines, a short preglabellar field, a genal swelling, and prominent bacullae. The late protaspid stage differs only in having the trunk portion discernible. Early meraspid cranidia are sub-rectangular with prominent palpebral lobes, a wide anterior margin, a proportionally long anterior branch of the facial suture, and intergenal spines. Meraspid pygidia tentatively assigned to this species possess comparatively long macrospines. Small hypostomes associated with E. granulosa bear at least four pairs of marginal spines. A comparison of the early developmental stages of E. granulosa with some other species of Ellipsocephalidae and with species of the closely related Estaingiidae reveals several similarities. The conservative morphology of the early protaspid stage with only two pairs of fixigenal spines, the timing of the development of the trunk portion, and the presence of genal swellings and prominent bacullae could be phylogenetically informative. The range of size variation of the early protaspid stages in two families may be related either to taxonomical differences between Ellipsocephalidae and Estaingiidae, or to environmental differences in various paleogeographic settings.
A new genus and species of the Elcanidae (Orthoptera, Elcanoidea), Cascadelcana virginiana n. gen. n. sp., is described based on a forewing specimen from the Upper Triassic (Norian) Cow Branch Formation in the Solite Quarry Lagerstätte near the North Carolina-Virginia boundary, USA. It is distinguished from other elcanid species by its RP+MA1 with six branches, M with two branches before stem MA1 fused with RP, and short CuA almost vertical against the posterior margin. This fossil represents the earliest definitive record of the family Elcanidae and the first orthopteran described from the Triassic of North America. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) analyses show that the veins and a pterostigma-like structure on the wing of C. virginiana n. gen. n. sp. are preserved as carbonaceous compressions. The presence of a pterostigma-like structure in elcanids indicates that they may have evolved a particular flight mechanism distinct from those of other orthopterans.
Fossil insects from the Triassic-Jurassic boundary of England could provide an important resource for investigating the severity of extinction events in the terrestrial realm of the uppermost Triassic. However, the fossil record is poorly understood for this period even though there are abundant historical collections. Many of these collections are still in need of taxonomic revision before they can be used to reconstruct past entomofaunas and make inferences about diversity change through time. This paper is part of a larger project to revise the taxonomy of insects across the Triassic-Jurassic boundary of England to better understand changes in insect diversity through the Triassic-Jurassic boundary and associated extinction period. Herein, the damsel-dragonfly family Liassophlebiidae Tillyard, 1925 is revised and an additional specimen from the Early Jurassic of Antarctica is included. Rossiphlebia new genus is erected for Liassophlebia jacksoni Zeuner, 1962; L. batheri Tillyard, 1925 is considered nomen dubium and another specimen originally attributed to L. batheri is identified as L. withersi Tillyard, 1925. Liassophlebia (?) clavigaster Tillyard, 1925 and L. (?) hopei (Brodie, 1845) are considered incertae sedis at the generic level. Liassophlebia gigantea Zeuner, 1962 is based on a fragmentary specimen but has several unique key characteristics. We redescribe it in Anglophlebia new genus and tentatively in Anglophlebiidae new family in Heterophlebioptera. Also discussed are L. magnifica Tillyard, 1925, L. withersi, and L. pseudomagnifica Whalley, 1985, which are redescribed with updated figures. Caraphlebia antarctica Carpenter, 1969 was originally described from the Early Jurassic of Antarctica as being closely related to Liassophlebia; it is herein confirmed in Selenothemistidae Handlirsch, 1939.
Sinothemis difficilis new genus new species, youngest and first accurate Chinese representative of the small family Selenothemistidae, is described and illustrated. It is closely related to the genus Turanothemis, known from the Karatau outcrop in Kazakhstan. The genus Caraphlebia, known from the Middle Jurassic of Antarctica, seems to strongly differ from the other representatives of this family and may belong to another family. The fossil was collected from the Upper Jurassic (157.3 ± 1.5 Ma; near Oxfordian/Kimmeridgian boundary) Guancaishan locality, Jianping County, Western Liaoning, NE China. It belongs to the late assemblage of the Yanliao biota, while the early assemblage is represented by the putatively close damsel-dragonfly Paraliassophlebia from the Jiulongshan Formation of northern Hebei Province.
Spinicaudatans (‘clam shrimps’) are small branchiopod crustaceans enclosed in a chitinous bivalved carapace that is often the only preserved element in the fossil record. However, few studies have analyzed the preservation of these carapaces, which have been found in continental facies from the Devonian to the present. The aim of this study was to contribute to a better understanding of the chemical preservation of fossil spinicaudatan carapaces, and it focused on spinicaudatan carapaces of the Cañadón Asfalto Formation from the Jurassic of Argentina. Semiquantitative energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDS) analysis provided elemental composition data that were interpreted using principal component analysis (PCA). The results showed a complex chemical mode of preservation for spinicaudatan carapaces. In some parts, EDS spectra of the specimens exhibit peaks of calcium, phosphorous, aluminum, and fluorine, representing the retention of original carapace material with some diagenetic recrystallization. Certain zones of the carapace show low-intensity peaks of the elements mentioned, while silicon and oxygen peaks (from the rock matrix) become the dominant spectral signals. These modes of preservation modify the interpretations and observations of the ornamentation of the carapace, which are used as taxonomic features. Our results suggest that specific diagenetic processes play a fundamental role in the preservation of spinicaudatans.
A diverse Permian crinoid fauna is reported from the Taiyuan Formation, Dajian Member (Asselian) at Anyang, northeastern Henan Province of the North China Craton. The specimens are well preserved, including articulated crowns and cups. The fauna contains representatives of each of the major Paleozoic crinoid clades: Cladida (including the Flexibilia), Disparida, and Camerata. Identified genera suggest a greater affinity with North American faunas than with Tethyan faunas. Four new species, Neoprotencrinus anyangensis, Ulocrinus qiaoi, Artichthyocrinus limani, and Synbathocrinus chenae, are proposed herein.
Vetulicolians are a group of exclusively Cambrian animals characterized by an anterior section with lateral pouches and a posterior section that appears segmented. The precise phylogenetic affinity of vetulicolians is debated because there is a lack of consensus regarding the interpretation of their anatomical features. Their disparate morphology might even cause one to question whether this is a monophyletic taxon. In total, there are 15 species grouped into three families included in vetulicolians. Here we focus on new specimens of Yuyuanozoon magnificissimi Chen, Feng, and Zhu in Chen et al., 2003, a species that was first described from only a single specimen from the Chengjiang Biota (Cambrian Series 2, Stage 3, Eoredlichia-Wutingaspis trilobite Biozone), Yunnan Province, China. The species is notable in being exceptionally large (up to 20 cm long). Morphological observations on the new specimens clarify the nature of the wide circular opening at the presumed anterior end of the animal and the cowl-shaped lateral openings within this anterior section. Taphonomic observations identify wrinkles in the anterior section and twists in the posterior segmented section. In particular, the shape of the anterior opening of Yuyuanozoon magnificissimi suggests significant differences from other vetulicolians. Taxonomic reappraisal of Y. magnificissimi indicates that it belongs within the family Didazoonidae, as that is presently defined.
The Texas red beds represent one of the richest series of early Permian deposits in the world. In particular, the Clear Fork Group has produced a diverse assemblage of temnospondyls, early reptiles, and synapsids. However, most of this material has been sourced from the oldest member, the Arroyo Formation, and the understanding of the paleoecosystem of the younger Vale and Choza formations is less well resolved. Here we present a previously undescribed Vale locality, the first vertebrate-bearing locality from the formation to be described in detail in several decades, from near Abilene, Texas with juvenile diplocaulids, captorhinids, abundant material of rare taxa such as Varanops and diadectids, and the first report of a recumbirostran ‘microsaur’ from the formation. This assemblage is atypical of early Permian deposits in the taxonomic and size distribution of the vertebrate fauna in comparison to other localities from the Vale Formation that preserve a greater abundance of aquatic taxa (e.g., fishes, Trimerorhachis) and synapsids (e.g., Dimetrodon). Minimal abrasion of the elements, relative articulation and association of the specimen of Varanops, and the paucity of aquatic taxa suggest an ephemeral pond deposit in which organisms were preserved essentially in situ. Our characterization of the locality also permits a revision and discussion of the vertebrate faunal assemblage of the Vale Formation.
New shell material of a trionychid turtle from the Upper Cretaceous (upper Campanian) Fossil Forest Member of the Fruitland Formation of northwestern New Mexico represents a new species, Gilmoremys gettyspherensis. The material consists of right costals I–III, V, VI, and VIII, left costals V, VII, and VIII, the left half of the entoplastron, the right hypo- and xiphiplastron, and the left hyo-, hypo-, and xiphiplastron. The specimen shows great similarities to the Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) trionychid Gilmoremys lancensis (Gilmore, 1916) by having a relatively thin shell, carapacial sculpturing consisting of fine pits combined with extended sinusoidal ridges or grooves, free costal rib ends, presence of a preneural, a distally constricted costal I and distally expanded costal II, two lateral hyoplastral processes, low hyoplastral shoulders, and full midline contact of the elongate xiphiplastra, but differs by being smaller, having raised sinusoidal ridges on the carapace instead of grooves, less distally expanded costals II, and less elongate xiphiplastra. Phylogenetic analysis places Gilmoremys gettyspherensis n. sp. as sister to Gilmoremys lancensis near the base of the clade Plastomenidae. Like the majority of previously described plastomenid materials, the type specimen of Gilmoremys gettyspherensis n. sp. was collected from a mudstone horizon, suggesting a preference for ponded environments.
The Cretaceous landmass of Appalachia has preserved an understudied but nevertheless important record of dinosaurs that has recently come under some attention. In the past few years, the vertebrate faunas of several Appalachian sites have been described. One such locality, the Ellisdale site of the Cretaceous Marshalltown Formation of New Jersey, has produced hundreds of remains assignable to dinosaurs, including those of hadrosauroids of several size classes, indeterminate ornithopods, indeterminate theropods, the teeth, cranial, and appendicular elements of dromaeosaurids, ornithomimosaurians, and tyrannosauroids, and an extensive microvertebrate assemblage. The theropod dinosaur record of the Ellisdale site is currently the most extensive and diverse known from the Campanian of Appalachia. Study of the Ellisdale theropod specimens suggests that at least four or more non-avian theropod taxa are represented at the site, including tyrannosauroids, ornithomimosaurs, several different morphotypes of dromaeosaurids that are the first of that clade described from New Jersey, and indeterminate theropods. The specimens are important for increasing current knowledge about the theropod diversity of the Atlantic Coastal Plain (ACP) during the Campanian by representing the most speciose assemblage of the group during the time in the ACP as well as for shedding light on Appalachian dinosaur ecology and biogeography generally.
Bison antiquus Leidy, 1852 was one of the largest and most widely distributed megafaunal species during the Late Pleistocene in North America, giving rise to the modern plains bison in the middle Holocene. Despite the importance of the ancient bison, little is known about its feeding ecology. We employed a combination of extended mesowear, and mesowear III to infer the dietary preference and habitat use of three Mexican samples of B. antiquus. These included two northern samples—La Piedad-Santa Ana and La Cinta-Portalitos—from the Transmexican Volcanic Belt morphotectonic Province, as well as one southern sample—Viko Vijin—from the Sierra Madre del Sur morphotectonic province. We found that the northern Mexican samples were primarily nonstrict grazers, whereas the southern sample displays a pattern consistent with mixed feeding habits. This suggests variability among the diets of the bison from these samples, caused by different paleoenvironments. This evidence complements the paleoenvironmental reconstructions in the studied localities; for the northern samples, open prairies composed of patches of woodland or shrubland and, for the southern locality, a fluvial floodplain with short-lived vegetation. In both scenarios, grasses (Poaceae) were nondominant. The dietary habits of our samples of ancient bison in Mexico are the southernmost dietary inference for the species in North America and expand our knowledge of the dietary habits of B. antiquus during the Late Pleistocene.