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Ordovician and Silurian polychaete diversity and biogeography

By
Mats E. Eriksson
Mats E. Eriksson
Department of Geology, Lund University, Sölvegatan 12, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden
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Olle Hints
Olle Hints
Institute of Geology at Tallinn University of Technology, Ehitajate tee 5, 19086 Tallinn, Estonia
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Hannelore Paxton
Hannelore Paxton
Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
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Petra Tonarová
Petra Tonarová
Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Albertov 6, 128 43 Prague 2, Czech RepublicCzech Geological Survey, Geologická 6, 152 00 Prague 5, Czech Republic
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Published:
January 01, 2013

Abstract

Eunicidan polychaetes formed a significant part of Early Palaeozoic marine invertebrate communities, as shown by the abundance and diversity of scolecodonts (polychaete jaws) in the fossil record. In this study we summarize the early radiation and biodiversity trends and discuss the palaeobiogeography of these fossils. The oldest (latest Cambrian–Early Ordovician) representatives had primitive, usually symmetrical, placognath/ctenognath type jaw apparatuses. The first more advanced taxa, possessing labidognath-type jaw apparatuses or placognath apparatuses with compound maxillae, are first recorded in the Middle Ordovician. The most significant increase in generic diversity occurred in the Darriwilian, when many common taxa appeared and diversified. The Ordovician and Silurian scolecodont occurrences allow some palaeobiogeographical units and distribution patterns to be explored and outlined. The most robust data presently at hand derive from successions in Baltica and Laurentia. That information, together with new records from other palaeocontinents, reveals a wide distribution for the most frequent and species-rich genera and families, similar to the biogeographical patterns of extant polychaetes. Like many other benthic and pelagic fossil groups, scolecodont-bearing polychaetes show an increased cosmopolitan character in the Silurian as compared with the Ordovician. Species-level endemism appears to be relatively common, inferring a potential for scolecodonts as biogeographical tools in the future.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Memoirs

Early Palaeozoic Biogeography and Palaeogeography

D. A. T. Harper
D. A. T. Harper
Durham University, UK
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T. Servais
T. Servais
CNRS–Université de Lille 1, France
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Geological Society of London
Volume
38
ISBN electronic:
9781862396425
Publication date:
January 01, 2013

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