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Nature. 2005 Aug 18;436(7053):1013-5.

Silurian brachiopods with soft-tissue preservation.

Author information

1
Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, UK. m.sutton@imperial.ac.uk

Abstract

'Articulated' rhynchonelliformean brachiopods are abundant shelly fossils, but the direct fossil record of their soft parts was hitherto confined to a single pyritized trace possibly representing a lophophore. Anatomical knowledge of extinct rhynchonelliformeans relies heavily on analogies to extant species; these analogies are untested for stem-group clades. The Silurian Herefordshire (UK) Konservat-Lagerst├Ątte (about 425 Myr bp) yields exceptionally preserved three-dimensional fossils that provide unrivalled insights into the palaeobiology of a variety of invertebrates. The fossils are preserved as calcitic void in-fills in carbonate concretions within a volcaniclastic horizon, and are reconstructed digitally. Here we describe a stem-group rhynchonelliformean specimen from this deposit; it most probably belongs in the order Orthida. A robust ridged pedicle with distal rootlets is preserved, together with a lophophore and other soft-tissue structures. The pedicle morphology is novel, urging caution in inferring stem-group rhynchonelliformean anatomy from that of crown-group species. Smaller brachiopods are attached to the specimen; these include a probable atrypide, with pedicle and marginal setae preserved.

PMID:
16107847
DOI:
10.1038/nature03846
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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