Humble origins for a successful strategy: complete enrolment in early Cambrian olenellid trilobites

Ortega-Hernández, Javier and Esteve, Jorge and Butterfield, Nicholas J. (2013) Humble origins for a successful strategy: complete enrolment in early Cambrian olenellid trilobites. Biology Letters, 9 (5). p. 20130679. ISSN 1744-9561, ESSN: 1744-957X DOI

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Trilobites are typified by the behavioural and morphological ability to enrol their bodies, most probably as a defence mechanism against adverse environmental conditions or predators. Although most trilobites could enrol at least partially, there is uncertainty about whether olenellids—among the most phylogenetically and stratigraphically basal representatives—could perform this behaviour because of their poorly caudalized trunk and scarcity of coaptative devices. Here, we report complete—but not encapsulating—enrolment for the olenellid genus Mummaspis from the early Cambrian Mural Formation in Alberta, the earliest direct evidence of this strategy in the fossil record of polymerid trilobites. Complete enrolment in olenellids was achieved through a combination of ancestral morphological features, and thus provides new information on the character polarity associated with this key trilobite adaptation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2013AREP; IA66;
Subjects: 04 - Palaeobiology
Divisions: 04 - Palaeobiology
Journal or Publication Title: Biology Letters
Volume: 9
Page Range: p. 20130679
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2013 00:24
Last Modified: 23 Dec 2013 18:32

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