Peduncular attached secondary tiering acrotretoid brachiopods from the Chengjiang fauna: Implications for the ecological expansion of brachiopods during the Cambrian explosion
2012 (English)In: Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, ISSN 0031-0182, E-ISSN 1872-616X, Vol. 323-325, 60-67 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Brachiopods are usually thought to contribute little to the tiering complexity from the Paleozoic to the Recent, mainly due to the fact that their recent representatives live primarily in lower tiers directly above or below the water-sediment interface. Here we present the first and oldest record of varied levels of secondary tiering in minute brachiopods attached by exceptionally preserved thread-like pedicles around the branched fronds of the algae-like Malongitubus kuangshanensis Hu, 2005. The specimens illustrated herein were recovered from the Chengjiang fauna (Series 2, Stage 3) in the Lower Cambrian Heilinpu Formation at the Kuangshan section in Malong County, Yunnan Province, southern China. The micro-morphology and oval outline of the attached brachiopods demonstrate that they can be assigned to acrotretoid brachiopods (Linguliformea, Lingulata, Acrotretoidea), described here as Kuangshanotreta malungensis gen. et sp. nov. This is the first report on the occurrence of acrotretoid brachiopods in the Lower Cambrian muddy deposits from southern China. The posterior margins of the Kuangshanotreta shells are invariably either in direct contact with, or directed towards, and then in situ attached to the algal frond of M. kuangshanensis, indicating a secondary tiering in the ecological structure of Early Cambrian brachiopods. The acrotretoid Kuangshanotreta/algae malongitubus association represents both the first and oldest evidence into the enigmatic paleoecology of the diverse acrotretoid linguliformean stock that comprises an important component of the Cambrian evolutionary fauna, and sheds light on medium-high levels of secondary tiering (+5 to +10 cm) Cambrian soft substrate suspension-feeding communities. When compared to other Chengjiang brachiopods, the miniature morphology and concomitant weight reduction of the shell of K. malungensis may be a good adaption to a suspended epifaunal tiering life style. We infer that the diversification of micromorphic and miniaturized acrotretoids that occurred from the Middle Cambrian to Early Ordovician may be the result of the increased availability of habitable surfaces provided by high levels of tiering in new types of ecological spaces.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 323-325, 60-67 p.
Cambrian, Brachiopods, Lingulata, Acrotretoidea, Epifauna, Secondary tiering
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-174009DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.01.027ISI: 000302524000005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-174009DiVA: diva2:526100