Abstract

Palaeacmaea typica, the type species of the genus, and P. irvingi, the only other Late Cambrian taxon considered congeneric are redescribed herein. Their morphology suggests that they are neither Monoplacophora, where they are currently assigned, nor are they Mollusca. Specimens of P. irvingi demonstrate considerable variation in shape, interpreted as distortion of a flexible integument, of essentially no thickness. A neotype is designated for P. irvingi; it is interpreted as a medusiform fossil, possibly a cnidarian. Only the holotype of P. typica is known, but it shows comparable features. The genus and the family Palaeacmaeide are placed in Phylum Incertae Sedis. Four Ordovician species previously assigned to palaeacmaea, show none of the characteristics noted, and they are tentatively reassigned to other genera.

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