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Hermit arthropods 500 million years ago?

James W. Hagadorn and Adolf Seilacher
Hermit arthropods 500 million years ago?
Geology (Boulder) (April 2009) 37 (4): 295-298


Cambrian intertidal sandstones of North America record early excursions of large animals onto tidal flats, where continuous microbial films served as preservational agents for surface tracks. Whereas biomineralized fossils are rare in such lithofacies, trace fossils from the Late Cambrian Elk Mound Group of Wisconsin illustrate how some arthropods might have managed to withstand the vicissitudes of subaerial exposure--by using foreign shells like hermit crabs. This behavior is suggested by trackways (Protichnites eremita isp. nov.), which have "tail" impressions that are obliquely segmented and always shingled to the left side. These anomalous impressions are best explained by a dextrally coiled shell intermittently touching the sediment. However, unlike in modern hermit crabs, this shell was too small to house the whole animal. It probably served only to provide a humid chamber that reduced desiccation of the animal's abdominal gills. The dorsal flexure of the tail, in connection with dextral shell coiling, resulted in left-hand shingling of the touch marks.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 37
Serial Issue: 4
Title: Hermit arthropods 500 million years ago?
Affiliation: Amherst College, Department of Geology, Amherst, MA, United States
Pages: 295-298
Published: 200904
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 44
Accession Number: 2009-041038
Categories: Invertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Annotation: Includes appendix; with GSA Data Repository Item 2009077
Illustration Description: illus.
N44°45'00" - N44°45'00", W89°40'00" - W89°40'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Yale University, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 200922
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