Abstract

Arthrophycus alleghaniensis is a well-known trace fossil common in the lower Silurian of the Appalachian Basin, eastern U.S.A. Despite the distinctive morphology of this trace, with few exceptions, hypotheses about the nature of the tracemaker have not extended beyond that of a long-bodied, segmented organism. A single organic compression of a long-bodied arthropod discovered in shale interbedded with sandstones containing A. alleghaniensis in the Silurian (Llandovery) Tuscarora Formation at Mann Narrows, Pennsylvania is described. The specimen preserves evidence of two trunk tagmata: an anterior tagma with tergites extending into broad, rectangular pleurae, and a posterior tagma bearing long, curved spines. Head and appendages are not preserved. The new arthropod, Pleuralata spinosa n. gen. n. sp., matches the size and general morphology required for an A. alleghaniensis tracemaker. Precise systematic affinities of this new arthropod could not be determined. This discovery supports the conclusion that the tracemakers of various Arthrophycus ichnospecies are likely poorly preserved, and presently unknown, members of the Ecdysozoa.

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