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Proc Biol Sci. 2007 Sep 22;274(1623):2223-9.

A Silurian 'marrellomorph' arthropod.

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Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PR, UK.


Xylokorys chledophilia, a new arthropod with three-dimensionally preserved soft tissues, is described from the Herefordshire (Silurian) Lagerstätte of England. The head and trunk are covered by a relatively featureless ovoid carapace, which comprises a domed central part and a flange-like border. The head bears five pairs of appendages. The first is uniramous, with dorsal and ventral projections distally. Appendages two to four are biramous and each endopod terminates in two projections. Appendage five is possibly biramous. The hypostome is very long and subrectangular in outline. There are approximately 35 pairs of biramous trunk appendages. Each exopod comprises a long slender shaft bearing numerous fine filaments; each endopod comprises a ribbon-like shaft bearing paddle-like endites. Morphological comparisons and cladistic analyses of X. chledophilia indicate affinity with Vachonisia rogeri from the Lower Devonian Hunsrück Slate, within the marrellomorphs, but assignment to Marrellomorpha is provisional pending revision of other members of this clade. Xylokorys is the first 'marrellomorph' to be reported from the Silurian. It is interpreted as a benthic particle filter feeder, which may also have consumed prey items.

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