Abstract

Shumardiid trilobites had a small, unique morphology, and formed a key constituent in trilobite faunas during the Cambrian–Ordovician. Because of their unusual morphology, they have been the subject of research s, into various aspects such as their life habit, functional morphology, evolutionary origin and ontogeny. Originally, a flat, adult-like protaspid morphology was suggested for shumardiids, but subsequently a bulbous protaspid morphology interpreted to be associated with metamorphosis was also suggested for this unique trilobite group. This article documents the ontogeny of the two co-occurring shumardiid trilobites, Akoldinioidia latus Park and Kihm and Koldinioidia choii Park and Kihm, from the middle Furongian Hwajeol Formation, Taebaeksan Basin, Korea. Interestingly, protaspides of the two shumardiids have a bulbous morphology. Given the stratigraphic occurrences of the two shumardiids, it can be inferred that commutavi protaspis appeared quite early in the shumardiid evolution. The co-occurrence of the two closely related trilobites is reminiscent of sexual dimorphism, although further evidence is required to prove it. The appearance of metamorphosis-undergoing protaspides in the Furongian shumardiids may have been due to the onset of increasing ecological pressure in the early phase of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event.

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