Abstract

The Cambrian-Ordovician Diversity Plateau, between the Cambrian Explosion and the Ordovician Radiation, is punctuated by a series of well-documented Laurentian trilobite extinction events. These events define the bounding surfaces of trilobite ‘biomeres’ that correspond to North American stages, including those of the Sunwaptan and Skullrockian. Trilobites show a consistent pattern of recovery across these boundaries, and commonly each extinction and replacement of taxa is interpreted as a single event as changing environmental conditions spurred shoreward migration of shelf or oceanic faunas that displaced established cratonic faunas. Linguliform brachiopods are also abundant in strata of this interval, and we investigate their stratigraphic distribution across the Sunwaptan–Skullrockian Stage boundary in Texas through high-resolution stratigraphic sampling of subtidal sediments. We document complete genus- and species-level turnover of the linguliform brachiopod fauna coincident with trilobite extinction events, suggesting that these brachiopods were affected by the same factors that affected trilobites. The Skullrockian replacement fauna was cosmopolitan, with ties to Gondwana and Kazakhstan and to the Laurentian shelf environment. The timing of appearances of taxa suggests that the faunal migration onto the Laurentian shelf came from elsewhere during a transgression. The disappearance of the Sunwaptan fauna and the arrival of the Skullrockian fauna are distinct events. We suggest that ‘biomere’ events may be complex, and the cause of the extinction is not necessarily the same event that facilitates the appearance of a replacement fauna. We describe one new species, Schizambon langei.

UUID: http://zoobank.org/f6a5c11f-cd3d-4c16-b184-d808d3a5285f

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