Middle Cambrian echinoderm remains from the Henson Gletscher Formation of North Greenland
2012 (English)In: GFF, ISSN 1103-5897, Vol. 134, no 3, 173-200 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
A Middle Cambrian (Series 3, Stage 5) echinoderm assemblage is described from the uppermost part of the Henson Gletscher Formation based on disarticulated material. This represents the first detailed echinoderm report from the Cambrian of North Greenland and one of the most diverse for that time. Recovered ossicles include a morphotype continuum between various biserial (brachiolar) and uniserial ("brachial") plates from pelmatozoan feeding appendages along with thecal insertion plates, pelmatozoan holomeric and the oldest known polymeric stem elements and holdfasts. Ambulacral flooring plates from two different edrioasteroids are also described. This assemblage illustrates a high plasticity and disparity in early echinoderm stem and feeding appendages, thereby placing stress on the usual definitions of blastozoans and crinozoans, generally considered as two pelmatozoan subphyla. Along with previous studies, it also raises the question as to how early echinoderms responded to the Agronomic Revolution (Substrate Revolution). Echinoderm remains first appear during Cambrian Series 2, Stage 3, well after the Substrate Revolution had affected the first few centimetres of substrate used by this low-level tiering animals to stabilize themselves. Contrary to previous ideas, it is suggested that echinoderms evolved quickly and in a nonlinear way in response to the abrupt establishment of a mosaic of substrate types during the early Cambrian. Finally, this study highlights the primary importance of disarticulated elements in the elucidation of the early evolution, diversity and disparity of the earliest echinoderms. Such elements are much more common and always appear earlier in the geological record than the complete articulated specimens on which echinoderm studies generally focus despite the taphonomic biases which often characterize their preservation.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 134, no 3, 173-200 p.
Cambrian, echinoderms, ecology, evolution, diversity, Greenland
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-183928DOI: 10.1080/11035897.2012.721003ISI: 000309123300002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-183928DiVA: diva2:565314