The Herefordshire Lagerstätte (c. 430 Ma) from the UK is a rare example of soft-tissue preservation in the Silurian. It yields a wide range of invertebrates in unparalleled three-dimensional detail, dominated by arthropods and sponges. The fossils are exceptionally preserved as calcitic void infills in early diagenetic carbonate concretions within a volcaniclastic (bentonite) horizon. The Lagerstätte occurs in an outer shelf/upper slope setting in the Welsh Basin, which was located on Avalonia in the southern subtropics. The specimens are investigated by serial grinding, digital photography and rendering in the round as ‘virtual fossils’ by computer. The fossils contribute much to our understanding of the palaeobiology and early history of the groups represented. They are important in demonstrating unusual character combinations that illuminate relationships; in calibrating molecular clocks; in variously linking with taxa in both earlier and later Paleozoic Lagerstätten; and in providing evidence of the early evolution of crown-group representatives of several groups.

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