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The ecological segregation of large, multicellular eukaryotes in the Ediacaran in response to competitive feeding results in the evolution of novel morphological adaptations such as sturdy stems to elevate above lower-tier feeding guilds. Culmofrons plumosa n. gen. n. sp. lived attached to the ocean floor and probably fed osmotrophically from dissolved organic nutrients in the water column. Competition for nutrients with specialized lower-tiered organisms resulted in the evolution of a specialized non-feeding structure, drastically expanding the functional morphospace available to Ediacaran rangeomorphs. The first appearance of a cylindrical macroscopic stem in C. plumosa in the Briscal Formation of the Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve marks a significant departure from the modular repetitive branching typical of the Rangeomorpha, and exemplifies the importance of nutrient acquisition in early ecosystem engineering.
Nine agnostoid species from late Cambrian (Paibian: Steptoean) boulders from the Cow Head Group in western Newfoundland fall into three biostratigraphically distinct faunas. The Glyptagnostus reticulatus Fauna contains only the eponymous species and correlates with the lower part of the Paibian and the basal Steptoean of North America. The “Innitagnostus” inexpectans Fauna is more diverse and likely correlates into part of the lower Steptoean Aphelaspis Zone of western North America. The youngest fauna, the Acmarhachis kindlei n. sp. Fauna, also includes species of Homagnostus and Pseudagnostus, as well as a second new species of Acmarhachis, A. whittingtoni. It probably correlates with the Dunderbergia Zone (mid-Pabian and mid-Steptoean) of the western United States. The Laurentian species Acmarhachis typicalisResser (1938) and A. acuta (Kobayashi, 1938) are evaluated from restudy of type material, and types of “Innitagnostus” inexpectans (Kobayashi, 1938) from British Columbia are also reillustrated.
A brachiopod fauna of late Bathonian age recovered from the Kehailia Formation from Gebel Engabashi in northern Sinai consists of six species (two rhynchonellids and four terebratulids) referred to six genera, of which one genus and two species are new: Globirhynchia sphaerica (Cooper, 1989) new combination, Daghanirhynchia angulocostataCooper, 1989, Ectyphoria sinaiensis new species, Cooperithyris circularis new genus and species, and new material: Avonothyris species A, and Ptyctothyris species A. The brachiopods described herein comprise a fauna located at the northern part of the Indo–African Faunal Realm within the Jurassic Ethiopian Province. They extend the geographic distribution of those taxa that show great affinity with the Jurassic brachiopod fauna of Saudi Arabia described by Cooper (1989). Differentiation of the endemic faunas that is so characteristic of many of these Ethiopian Province faunas is becoming more well-defined.
The trilobite Reedops is documented from strata probably corresponding to the middle part of the Talacasto Formation in the Sierra de las Minitas, at the northernmost extent of the Precordillera in La Rioja Province, northwestern Argentina. The specimens resemble the type species of the genus, R. bronni, indicating a Pragian (Early Devonian) age for the strata, and suggesting the occurrence at this time of faunal exchange between the Old World Realm, particularly the Bohemian area, and the Malvinokaffric Realm. The taxon represents the first Early Devonian macrofaunal element in the Malvinokaffric Realm with global biostratigraphical significance.
Examination of ontogenetic changes in the septal angle of Late Cretaceous ammonoids (ten species representing seven superfamilies and four suborders) reveals four patterns: 1) a single abrupt change in septal angle; 2) two abrupt changes in septal angle; 3) cyclic fluctuations in septal angle throughout ontogeny; and 4) an almost constant septal angle throughout ontogeny. These various septal-angle patterns in Late Cretaceous ammonoids are in contrast with modern and fossil nautiloids, which have the common pattern displaying a single abrupt change in septal angles. Although the abrupt change of septal angles in nautiloids corresponds with the hatching event from the egg, change of septal angles in the examined ammonoids is hypothesized to correspond not to hatching but to the change from a planktic to a nektobenthic habit demarcated by the post-embryonic stage. Therefore, the variable patterns of septal angles within ammonoids suggest a diverse set of early life histories.
Truncatoflabellum has been considered a free-living genus that exhibits both sexual and asexual phases; divided lower coralla (anthocauli) are specialized for asexual reproduction by transverse division through a decalcification process, whereas the upper coralla (anthocyathi) only undertake sexual reproduction, in a life-cycle strategy that includes a distinct alternation of generations. However, little evidence has been presented to support this idea of its life cycle. We elucidate the life mode of Truncatoflabellum by identifying key fossil characters (e.g., multiple rejuvenations and decalcification records just beneath lateral spines) and statistically analyzing the size distributions of over 500 individual coralla. Results of those morphological and biometric analyses clearly indicate alternation of generations in the life cycle of Truncatoflabellum.
The first Cambrian rhynchonelliformean brachiopods are described from the Precordillera mountain belt of west-central Argentina, including the new species Wimanella mollensis and Nisusia ancauchensis. Other forms are Diraphora cf. D. borealis (Walcott), Diraphora sp., and an indeterminate bohemiellid. Brachiopods come from the lowermost part of the Precordilleran Cambrian succession (El Estero and Soldano Members of the La Laja Formation, Cerro Totora Formation) and from the Ancaucha olistolith within the Los Sombreros olistostrome. The associated trilobites constrain the fossiliferous levels to the Bonnia-Olenellus, Poliella denticulata and Ehmaniella biozones. A re-assessment of paleobiogeographic affinities of lower and early middle Cambrian rhynchonelliform brachiopods using cluster analysis supports the existence of a widespread warm-water Tropical Realm—to which the described Precordilleran faunas belong—and a more restricted ‘Mediterranean’ Realm developed on the temperate, mixed clastic-carbonate platforms.
Fossil echinoderms are a rich source of information concerning biotic interactions. In this study we analyzed the premortem encrustation of the highly specialized Middle Devonian rugose corals Aspasmophyllum crinophilum and ?“Adradosia” sp. on camerate crinoid stems. Aspasmophyllum infested living crinoid stems by sclerenchymal outgrowth that formed a skeletal ring but ?“Adradosia” sp. encrusted the stems rapidly, without building a ring. These coral-crinoid biocoenoses indicate a settlement advantage for the rugose corals within densely populated communities of the lower Givetian. The corals could be interpreted as large epizoozoans that benefited as secondary tierers reaching relatively high tiering levels. It also suggests the ability for the affected crinoids to repel the coral by overgrowing the corallite with a local increased stereomic growth. Because the crinoid axial canals are not penetrated, the corals cannot be considered as predators or parasites of crinoids. Therefore, the described biocoenosis is interpreted as commensalism. The species A. crinophilum is redescribed, and a neotype is defined, because of the loss of the initial types. Two types of ichnofossils can be attributed to the premortem encrustation of both corals. They are described as Ostiocavichnus n. ichnogen. and are attributed to the stereomic response of the infested hosts. These swellings are characterized as either elliptical (Ostiocavichnus ovalis n. ichnogen. n. ichnosp. due to the assumed reaction of A. crinophilum) or subcircular concavities (O. rotundatus n. ichnogen. n. ichnosp. due to the reaction of ?“Adradosia sp.”).
A new species of the temnospondyl tetrapod, Sclerocephalus stambergi n. sp., is described from the early Permian deposits of the Boskovice Basin in Moravia (Czech Republic). The length of the skull of the only known specimen is about 50 mm. Characters including the well-ossified quadrate, septomaxilla and scapulocoracoid, presence of the maxilla-nasal suture and a free posterolateral margin of the supratemporal suggest an early adult age. This new species of Sclerocephalus is distinguished from the others on the basis of the following characters: nasal and maxillary processes of the premaxilla of equal width; absence of the alary process of the premaxilla; distinct pointed process on the lacrimal between the maxilla and jugal; narrow interclavicle; and very peculiar tabular presenting a quadrangular, plate-like process extending from its posterolateral portion, an almost right angle between its lateral and posterior margins, and a long posteromedial process. The new species represents the smallest and possibly the most basal Sclerocephalus species. The specimen described here sheds new light on the anatomy and taxonomy of Sclerocephalus. It completes the biodiversity of the tetrapod fauna from the Boskovice Basin, and our knowledge on the evolution of the European Paleozoic temnospondyls.
Twenty four species of Cancellariidae belonging to eleven genera occurring in the Neogene Bocas del Toro assemblages, Caribbean Panama, are discussed and figured. The following seven species are described as new: Cancellaria pilula n. sp., Cancellaria isabelae n. sp., Cancellaria stri n. sp., Cancellaria axelolssoni n. sp., Massyla corpulenta n. sp., Aphera trophis n. sp., Admetula valientensis n. sp. The cancellarid genus CharcolleriaOlsson, 1942 is considered a synonym of MassylaH. Adams and A. Adams, 1854. Of the 24 species present in the Bocas del Toro, 12 are known also to occur elsewhere in the tropical American Neogene. This level of endemism is high, but not as high as that reported from other Tropical American Neogene assemblages, probably due to the very central geographic location within the Gatunian Province of the Bocas assemblages.
The Emu Bay Shale Konservat-Lagerstätte (Cambrian Series 2, Stage 4) on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, is the source of two new non-biomineralized artiopodan arthropods. Squamacula buckorum n. sp. is the first record outside of China of a genus otherwise known only from its type species, S. clypeata, from the Chengjiang biota. The Australian species displays the long cephalic doublure and spiniform exopod setae that are apomorphic for this genus, provides new information on the alimentary tract and midgut glands (the latter preserved as three-dimensional, permineralized structures), and indicates interspecific variability in trunk segment numbers. The distribution of Squamacula strengthens the biogeographic connections between early Cambrian “Burgess Shale-type” biotas of Australia and South China. Australimicola spriggi n. gen. n. sp. represents a monotypic genus resolved in a cladistic analysis of Cambro-Ordovician artiopodans as most closely related to or within Conciliterga (a clade containing Helmetia, Kuamaia, Kwanyinaspis, Rhombicalvaria, Saperion, Skioldia, and Tegopelte). Compared with other members of this clade from Chengjiang and the Burgess Shale, the new genus is diagnosed by an elongate trunk with 23 thoracic tergites having spatulate pleural tips and a small pygidium possessing a single, elongate pair of pleural spines, with specimens also showing a hypostome attached to an anterior (or prehypostomal) sclerite, antennae, short endopods, an annulated alimentary tract, and a series of three-dimensional, permineralized midgut glands. An alternative relationship between Australimicola and the Early Ordovician–Early Devonian Cheloniellida explains the shared anterior flexure of trunk pleurae but forces dubious homologies in other characters, such as dorsally-articulated furcae versus spines.
A conspicuous silicified microfossil, Frankbaronia polyspora n. gen. n. sp., occurs in plant litter and as an inhabitant of microbial mats from the Lower Devonian Rhynie chert, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Specimens are elongate-cylindrical, oval, or spherical, thin-walled, and may possess conical or column-like surface projections. Most specimens occur isolated, some are arranged in pairs or short chains. Each specimen contains several small spheres, each in turn with a (sub)centric opaque inclusion. Immature specimens indicate that ontogenesis in this fossil includes the formation of a single centric body of opaque material that subsequently is apportioned among the developing small spheres. Frankbaronia polyspora is quite similar in size and morphology to the oogonia containing oospores seen in certain extant members of the Peronosporomycetes. The Rhynie chert is known to contain the oldest fossil evidence of the Peronosporomycetes but only a single form (Hassiella monospora) has previously been documented. The discovery of a second putative representative of this group of organisms proves that this paleoecosystem is still an important source of new information on the paleodiversity of microbial life.
The Moncure microvertebrate locality in the Cumnock Formation, Sanford sub-basin, North Carolina, dramatically increases the known Late Triassic age vertebrate assemblage from the Deep River Basin. The ∼50,000 recovered microvertebrate fossils include osteichthyans, amphibians, and numerous lepidosauromorph, archosauriform, and synapsid amniotes. Actinopterygian fossils consist of thousands of scales, teeth, skull, and lower jaw fragments, principally of redfieldiids and semionotids. Non-tetrapod sarcopterygians include the dipnoan Arganodus sp., the first record of lungfish in the Newark Supergroup. Temnospondyls are comparatively rare but the preserved centra, teeth, and skull fragments probably represent small (juvenile) metoposaurids. Two fragmentary teeth are assigned to the unusual reptile Colognathus obscurus (Case). Poorly preserved but intriguing records include acrodont and pleurodont jaw fragments tentatively assigned to lepidosaurs. Among the archosauriform teeth is a taxon distinct from R. callenderi that we assign to Revueltosaurus olseni new combination, a morphotype best assigned to cf. Galtonia, the first Newark Supergroup record of Crosbysaurus sp., and several other archosauriform tooth morphotypes, as well as grooved teeth assigned to the recently named species Uatchitodon schneideri. Synapsids represented by molariform teeth include both “traversodontids” assigned to aff. Boreogomphodon and the “dromatheriid” Microconodon. These records are biogeographically important, with many new records for the Cumnock Formation and/or the Newark Supergroup. In particular, Colognathus, Crosbysaurus, and Uatchitodon are known from basins of Adamanian age in the southwestern U.S.A. These new records include microvertebrate taxa more typical of non-Newark basins (abundant archosauriforms, temnospondyls, lungfish) as well as more typical Newark osteichthyans and synapsid-rich faunal elements.