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Revision of lyracystid eocrinoids from the Middle Cambrian of South China and Western Laurentia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 July 2015

James Sprinkle
1Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712-0254 USA,
Ronald L. Parsley
2Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana 70118 USA,
Yuanlong Zhao
3Institute of Paleontology and Biomineralization, School of Resources and Environment, Guizhou University, Guiyang, China 550003,
Jin Peng
3Institute of Paleontology and Biomineralization, School of Resources and Environment, Guizhou University, Guiyang, China 550003,


The Middle Cambrian eocrinoid genera Lyracystis Sprinkle and Collins, 2006, from western Laurentia and Balangicystis Parsley and Zhao, 2006, from South China, described in the same year, have turned out to be closely related genera assigned to the Family Lyracystidae. Both have erect, lyre-shaped, arm-like, brachiolebearing, feeding appendages, here termed exothecal ambulacra, that are not homologous to crinoid arms. They also have a long, multiplated stalk to elevate the theca and feeding appendages well above the sea floor, making them among the highest tiered echinoderm suspension feeders known from the Middle Cambrian. The long stalk was either inserted a short distance into the muddy sediment, or attached to rare skeletal fragments lying on the sea floor. Both genera seem well adapted to quiet-water or slow-current conditions in deeper water (150-200 m) on the outer shelf or upper slope of their respective continents.

Research Article
Copyright © The Paleontological Society 

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