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New Burgess Shale-type Fauna Unearthed in Wales Preserves Diverse Marine Life from 462 Million Years Ago

Research Press Release

Nature Ecology & Evolution

May 2, 2023

Palaeontology: Welsh fossils preserve diverse marine life from 462 million years ago

An extremely well-preserved 462-million-year-old (Middle Ordovician) marine fauna assemblage was discovered at the Castle Bank Quarry in Wales, UK, a paper reporting on it.Nature Ecology & Evolutionwill be published in

Burgess Shale-type deposits (named after the site in Canada where fossils of the species were first found) preserve soft tissues such as internal organs and are important for understanding animal evolution. Such deposits are usually confined to the Cambrian period (541-485 million years ago), although a few, such as the Fezouata biota in Morocco, are found in the Lower Ordovician (485 million years ago). 10,000 to 470,000,000 years ago). The new fauna of the Ordovician is not directly comparable to earlier ones, and the ecological developments that followed are difficult to trace.

Joseph Botting and colleagues report a new Burgess shale-type fauna from about 462 million years ago (middle Ordovician) from the Castlebank Quarry in Wales. The Castlebank fauna is generally a diverse community of small (1-5 mm long) marine organisms, preserving soft tissues such as the digestive system, and neural tissues such as the eyes, optic nerves, and brain. There are many things. Among the organisms found are helminths, starfish, sponges, crustaceans, and extinct arthropods similar to the Cambrian opabinia and megachaela, now surviving into the Ordovician. It is shown that

According to the research team, an international effort involving the study of Castlebank’s fauna, supported by a crowdfunding scheme to purchase microscope equipment, has identified more than 170 species to date, with more to come. It is hoped that many taxa will be identified. The authors conclude that the Castlebank fauna offers new perspectives on the early evolution of Ordovician fauna and the transition of fauna from the Cambrian to beyond.


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