A reassessment of Dawsonia Nicholson: linguliform brachiopods, crustacean tail-pieces and a problematicum rather than graptolite ovarian vesicles

Page, A. A. and Wilby, P. R. and Mellish, C. J. T. and Williams, M. and Zalasiewicz, J. A. (2008) A reassessment of Dawsonia Nicholson: linguliform brachiopods, crustacean tail-pieces and a problematicum rather than graptolite ovarian vesicles. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh: Earth Sciences, 99 (3-4). pp. 251-266. DOI 10.1017/S175569100900704X

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Abstract

Though little is known of the graptoloid reproductive mechanism, graptolites with putatively sac-like appendages, supposedly ovarian vesicles, have been known from the Moffat Shales Group, Southern Uplands, Scotland, for over 150 years. Locally, these co-occur with isolated, two-dimensional, discoidal or ovato-triangular fossils. In the 1870s, Nicholson interpreted these isolated fossils as being graptoloid ‘egg-sacs’ detached from their parent and existing as free-swimming bodies. He assigned them to his genus Dawsonia, though the name was pre-occupied by a trilobite, and named four species: D. campanulata, D. acuminata, D. rotunda and D. tenuistriata. A reassessment of Nicholson’s type material from the Silurian of Moffatdale, Scotland, and from the Ordovician Lévis Formation of Quebec, Canada, shows that Dawsonia Nicholson comprises the inarticulate brachiopods Acrosaccus? rotundus, Paterula? tenuistriata and Discotreta cf. levisensis, the tail-piece of the crustacean Caryocaris acuminata and the problematic fossil D. campanulata. Though D. campanulata resembles sac-like graptolite appendages, morphometric analysis reveals the similarity to be superficial and the systematic position of this taxon remains uncertain. There is no definite evidence of either D. campanulata or sac-like graptoloid appendages having had a reproductive function.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 08AREP IA56 2008 P
Subjects: 04 - Palaeobiology
Divisions: 04 - Palaeobiology
Journal or Publication Title: Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh: Earth Sciences
Volume: 99
Page Range: pp. 251-266
Identification Number: 10.1017/S175569100900704X
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2009 13:03
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 10:08
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/572

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