Abstract

Acritarch assemblages are reported for the first time from the Cambrian of Comley, Shropshire, England, a historically important area for British Cambrian biostratigraphy. Three assemblages are described from the Furongian Shoot Rough Road Shales. Horizons within the Shoot Rough Road Shales have in the past yielded Parabolina spinulosa and Orusia lenticularis indicative of the Parabolina spinulosa trilobite Zone. Two distinct microfloras are identified, one is characterized by the common occurrence of Trunculumarium revinium and diacrodian taxa, the other, by an absence of T. revinium and a general paucity of diacrodians but with a significant presence of Scalenadiacrodium comleyense gen. et sp. nov. The microfloras are compared with trilobite-controlled Furongian sequences in eastern Newfoundland and the Nuneaton area, England and are found to support the P. spinulosa Zone assignment for the Shoot Rough Road Shales. The microfloras are also compared with those from localities lacking direct P. spinulosa Zone trilobite control, principally the Ardennes and the East European Platform. Acritarch based recognition of the two trilobite subzones of the P. spinulosa Zone remains problematic, but independent subdivision of the zonal interval based on acritarchs is supported. A new acritarch genus Scalenadiacrodium gen. nov. and a new species S. comleyense sp. nov. are described.

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