Abstract

The Cambrian Stage 4 upper Bastion Formation of Albert Heim Bjerge and CH Ostenfeld Nunatak, NE Greenland, yielded 34 excellently preserved sclerites of Lapworthella schodackensis among other small shelly fossils. Lapworthellids have been interpreted as members of the camenellans, a basal tommotiid group. Little is known about this group although the morphological and ultrastructural features of their sclerites allow a potential reconstruction of a lophophorate body plan. The exquisite material from Greenland provides significant new data for the revision of the species taxonomy, but also for the comprehension of the scleritome structure of lapworthellids and the mode of formation of their sclerites. Two morphotypes of L. schodackensis sclerites are identified: one with a simple apex, occurring in sinistral and dextral forms; and one bilaterally symmetrical sclerite with two apices. All bear a similar ornamentation constructed of repeated growth sets consisting of a reticulate inter-rib groove with tubercles, a densely denticulate rib and a striated sub-rib area. The new data on the ornamentation and observations of the laminar shell microstructure of L. schodackensis enable us to improve the reconstruction of growth in lapworthellids. Finally, the morphological features of the two types of sclerites provide new information for the reconstruction of the bilaterally symmetrical multi-component lapworthellid scleritome with evidence of the fusion of adjacent sclerites during early ontogeny.

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