Abstract

There are few body fossil biotas known from early Paleozoic accretionary shorelines, and very few examples of Ordovician soft-bodied assemblages. This study documents two recently discovered biotas from separate sedimentary basins in Manitoba, Canada, that provide unique information about tropical shoreline communities shortly before the Late Ordovician extinction event. Each site represents a distinct depositional environment, but they share biotic elements, including eurypterids, xiphosurids, and large problematic tubes. The William Lake biota, representing more restricted conditions, includes jellyfish that are among the best hydromedusan body fossils known. Rocks at the Airport Cove site, deposited under more open circulation, contain scolecodonts and noncalcified algae. These biotas have some parallels with the recently described Middle Ordovician Winneshiek Lagerstätte, but are also similar to some Late Silurian assemblages. Considered together, early Paleozoic marginal marine deposits are a rich but as yet poorly known source of paleobiodiversity data.

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