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Proc Biol Sci. 2004 Aug 7;271 Suppl 5:S277-80.

Direct evidence for predation on trilobites in the Cambrian.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy (LPS), Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Science, Nanjing 210008, China. myzhu@nigpas.ac.cn

Abstract

A fossil arthropod similar to Fuxianhuia and displaying an exceptionally well-preserved alimentary canal with in situ gut contents is reported from the lower Middle Cambrian (ca. 510 Myr ago) of South China. Three-dimensionally preserved, paired phosphatic nodules, arranged in series along both sides of the gut and containing spherical bacteria, probably represent serial digestive glands. The gut is filled with fragments of the eodiscoid trilobite, Pagetia. The well-developed digestive glands and the fragmentary trilobite remains suggest (i) that the arthropod was a durophagous, possibly selective predator, and (ii) that small trilobites such as eodiscoids were a major food source in Cambrian marine ecosystems. This fossil association augments the small number of previously described associations providing more or less direct evidence of predator-prey relationships in Cambrian epibenthic communities.

PMID:
15503993
PMCID:
PMC1810081
DOI:
10.1098/rsbl.2004.0194
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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