Architecture and function of the lophophore in the problematic brachiopod Heliomedusa orienta (Early Cambrian, South China)
2009 (English)In: Geobios, ISSN 0016-6995, E-ISSN 1777-5728, Vol. 42, no 5, 649-661 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The detailed structure of the lophophore is a key diagnostic character in the definition of higher brachiopod taxa. The problematic Heliomedusa orienta Sun and Hou, from the Lower Cambrian Chengjiang Lagerstatte of Yunnan, southwestern China, has a well-preserved lophophore, which is unlike that of any known extant or extinct brachiopods. Based on a comparative study of lophophore disposition in H. orienta and the extant discinid Pelagodiscus atlanticus, the in- and excurrent pattern and shell orientation of H. orienta are described and discussed. Reconstructions of lophophore shape and function are based on numerous specimens and comparison with P. atlanticus. The lophophore is composed of a pair of lophophoral arms that freely arch posteriorly rather than coiling anteriorly as commonly seen in fossil and recent lingulids. The lophophore is attached to the dorsal lobe of the mantle; it has neither calcareous nor chitinous supporting structures, and is disposed symmetrically on either side of the valve midline. The mouth can be inferred to be located at the base of the two brachial tubes, slightly posterior to the anterodorsal projection of the body wall. The lophophoral arms bear laterofrontal tentacles with a double row of cilia along their lateral edge, as in extant lingulid brachiopods. The main brachial axes are also ciliated, which presumably facilitated transport of mucous-bound nutrient particles to the mouth. The unique organization of the lophophore in Heliomedusa is not like any known fossil and living brachiopods. This clearly demonstrates that H. orienta is not a member of any crown group. It is here considered as a member of the brachiopod stem group, which challenges recent interpretations of a close discinid affinity. (C) 2009 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 42, no 5, 649-661 p.
Early Cambrian, Stem-group brachiopod, Heliomedusa, Lophophore, Lifestyle, Discinid
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-127458DOI: 10.1016/j.geobios.2009.04.001ISI: 000271101100008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-127458DiVA: diva2:330132