Abstract

The Drumian Wheeler Formation preserves one of the most diverse exceptionally preserved faunas of the Cambrian period. Here we describe Messorocaris magna gen. et sp. nov., a new non-biomineralizing arthropod from this formation tentatively assigned to the family Sanctacarididae. The new taxon exhibits a vaulted axial region, and wide pleural regions forming sickle-shaped lateral extensions in the trunk, a character particularly distinctive within the Sanctacarididae. This description provides an opportunity to stress the fact that the ‘Wheeler fauna’ encompasses two distinct assemblages, as confirmed by similarity analysis. These contemporaneous faunas lived at different bathymetries, and should be treated as separate entities.

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