Arthropod appendages from the Weeks Formation Konservat-Lagerstätte: new occurrences of anomalocaridids in the Cambrian of Utah, USA

 

Authors: Lerosey-Aubril R, Hegna TA, Babcock LE, Bonino E, Kier C

Published in: Bulletin of Geosciences, volume 89, issue 2; pages: 269 - 282; Received 19 April 2013; Accepted in revised form 5 September 2013; Online 4 March 2014

Keywords: Arthropoda, Anomalocarididae, Weeks Formation, Konservat-Lagerstätte, Cambrian, Guzhangian,

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Abstract

The Guzhangian Weeks Formation (House Range, Utah, USA) contains a virtually unstudied but diverse assemblage of "soft-bodied" organisms. This fauna includes several enigmatic appendages of arthropods that are described in this contribution. Six appendages (two isolated and four paired appendages) are interpreted as frontal appendages of a probably new species of Anomalocaris. They are characterized by a slender morphology, 14 podomeres, ventral spines alternating in size, up to three auxiliary spines per ventral spine, and only two dorsal spines. Another isolated appendage is also tentatively assigned to Anomalocaris, but it exhibits a more robust morphology, a stronger distal tapering, and apparently simple ventral spines, suggesting that it may represent a distinct taxon. These frontal appendages represent the youngest occurrence of anomalocaridids in Laurentia and demonstrate the persistence of older, Burgess Shale-type taxa in the Weeks Formation. An assemblage of four antenniform and six robust and heavily-armed appendages is also described. These are interpreted as the serially arranged, anterior appendages of a single individual of an undetermined arthropod species. This association of three pairs of robust, spiny appendages with two pairs of antenniform structures in a Cambrian arthropod is unique.

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