Sclerite fusion in the problematic early Cambrian spine-like fossil Stoibostrombus from South Australia

 

Authors: Skovsted CB, Brock GA, Topper TP

Published in: Bulletin of Geosciences, volume 86, issue 3; pages: 651 - 658; Received 15 October 2010; Accepted in revised form 17 April 2011; Online 14 July 2011

Keywords: Early Cambrian, South Australia, scleritome, Ecdysozoa, Palaeoscolecida,

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Abstract

New collections of the problematic spine like fossil Stoibostrombus crenulatus Conway Morris and Bengtson from the Mt. Scott Range and Wilkawillina Gorge in the central Flinders Ranges, South Australia contain fused sclerite composites. In each fused specimen the spines are merged along their lateral margins and the orientation of the spines is almost identical. These new specimens confirm that Stoibostrombus spines were dermal sclerites, arranged in lateral pairs or transverse rows. The nature of the animal secreting the spines remains elusive, but available evidence suggest that it was an ecdysozoan animal, possibly a palaeoscolecid worm.

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