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Humble origins for a successful strategy: complete enrolment in early Cambrian olenellid trilobites
Ortega-Hernández, J.; Esteve, J.; Butterfield, N.J. (2013). Humble origins for a successful strategy: complete enrolment in early Cambrian olenellid trilobites. Biol. Lett. 9(5): 5 pp. hdl.handle.net/10.1098/rsbl.2013.0679
In: Biology Letters. Royal Society Publishing: London. ISSN 1744-9561, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine
Author keywords
    Mummaspis Mural formation Lower Dyeran functional morphology

Authors  Top 
  • Ortega-Hernández, J.
  • Esteve, J.
  • Butterfield, N.J.

Abstract
    Trilobites are typified by the behavioural and morphological ability to enrol their bodies, most probably as a defence mechanism against adverse environmental conditions or predators. Although most trilobites could enrol at least partially, there is uncertainty about whether olenellids—among the most phylogenetically and stratigraphically basal representatives—could perform this behaviour because of their poorly caudalized trunk and scarcity of coaptative devices. Here, we report complete—but not encapsulating—enrolment for the olenellid genus Mummaspis from the early Cambrian Mural Formation in Alberta, the earliest direct evidence of this strategy in the fossil record of polymerid trilobites. Complete enrolment in olenellids was achieved through a combination of ancestral morphological features, and thus provides new information on the character polarity associated with this key trilobite adaptation.

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