Skip to main content

First report of a larval shell repair scar on a lingulate brachiopod: evidence of durophagous predation in the Cambrian pelagic realm?

  • Rebecca L. Freeman (a1) and James F. Miller (a2)

A dorsal valve of an Upper Cambrian lingulate brachiopod exhibits a repair scar on the anterior lateral edge of its larval shell. This species is characterized by an abrupt change in ornamentation from larval to postlarval growth. Shell material secreted in the injured area after the damage occurred exhibits ornamentation that is characteristic of postlarval growth, although equivalent growth exhibits characteristics of the larval stage. A break in the edge of the shell is visible, and the growth lines of the larval and postlarval shell were distorted until the broken area was filled in. Damage to the surface of the shell is interpreted to have been caused by the same event. Modern lingulate brachiopod larvae are planktotrophic and are interpreted to have been so throughout their long geologic history. Therefore, an environmental cause of shell damage seems unlikely and the injuries are interpreted to have been caused by an unknown durophagous predator. This specimen offers evidence that lingulate brachiopod larvae were able to survive shell breakage and repair their shells.

Hide All
Alexander, K. R. 1986. Resistance to and repair of shell breakage induced by durophages in Late Ordovician brachiopods. Journal of Paleontology, 60:273285.
An, T.-X., Zhang, F., Xiang, W., Zhang, Y., Xu, X., Zhang, H., Jiang, D., Yang, C., Lin, L., Cui, Z., and Yang, X. 1983. The conodonts of north China and the adjacent regions. Science Publishing Company, Beijing, 223 p. (In Chinese).
Babcock, L. E. 1993. Trilobite malformations and the fossil record of behavioral asymmetry. Journal of Paleontology, 67:217229.
Babcock, L. E. 2003. Trilobites in Paleozoic predator-prey systems, and their role in reorganization of Early Paleozoic ecosystems, p. 5592. In Kelley, P. H., Kowalewski, M., and Hansen, T. A. (eds.), Predator-Prey Interactions in the Fossil Record. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York.
Babcock, L. E. and Robison, R. A. 1988. Taxonomy and paleobiology of some Middle Cambrian Scenella (Cnidaria) and hyolithids (Mollusca) from Western North America. The University of Kansas Palaeontological Contributions Paper, 121:122.
Bengtson, S. 1968. The problematic genus Mobergella from the Lower Cambrian of the Baltic area. Lethaia, 1:325351.
Berkyová, S., Fryda, J., and Lukeš, P. 2007. Unsuccessful predation on Middle Paleozoic plankton: shell injury and anomalies in Devonian dacryocanarid tentaculites. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 52:407412.
Boyajian, G. E. and Thayer, C. W. 1995. Clam calamity: a Recent supratidal storm-deposit as an analog for fossil shell beds. PALAIOS, 10:484489.
Brett, C. E. and Walker, S. E. 2002. Predators and predation in Paleozoic marine environments, p. 93118. In Kowalewski, M. and Kelley, P. H. (eds.), The Fossil Record of Predation. The Paleontological Society Papers, 8.
Brock, G. A. and Holmer, L. E. 2004. Early Ordovician lingulate brachiopods from the Emanuel Formation, Canning Basin, Western Australia. Memoirs of the Association of Australasian Palaeontologists, 30:113132.
Bruton, D. L. 2001. A death assemblage of priapulid worms from the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale. Lethaia, 34:163167.
Cadée, G. C. 1999. Shell damage and shell repair in the Antarctic limpet Nacella concinna from King George Island. Journal of Sea Research, 41:149161.
Cadée, G. C., Walker, S. E., and Flessa, K. W. 1997. Gastropod shell repair in the intertidal of Bahía la Choya (N. Gulf of California). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 136:6778.
Collette, J. H. and Hagadorn, J. W. 2010. Early evolution of phyllocarid arthropods: phylogeny and systematic of Cambrian-Devonian archaeostracans. Journal of Paleontology, 84:795820.
Conway Morris, S. and Bengtson, S. 1994. Cambrian predators: possible evidence from boreholes. Journal of Paleontology, 68:123.
Conway Morris, S. and Chapman, A. J. 1997. Mobergellans from the Lower Cambrian of Mongolia, Sweden, and the United States: molluscs or opercula of incertae sedis? Journal of Paleontology, 71:968984.
Conway Morris, S. and Robison, R. A. 1988. More soft-bodied animals and algae from the Middle Cambrian of Utah and British Columbia. The University of Kansas Paleontological Contributions Paper, 122:148.
Conway Morris, S. and Whittington, H. B. 1979. The animals of the Burgess Shale. Scientific American, 241:122133.
Dall, W. H. 1870. A revision of the Terebratulidae and Lingulidae. American Journal of Conchology, 6:88168.
Evans, K. R. 1992. Marocella: Antarctic specimens of an enigmatic Cambrian animal. Journal of Paleontology, 66:558562.
Freeman, G. and Lundelius, J. W. 1999. Changes in the timing of mantle formation and larval life history traits in linguliform and craniiform brachiopods. Lethaia, 32:197217.
Garstang, W. 1928. Origin and evolution of larval forms. Nature, 122:366.
Geyer, G. 1986. Mittelkambrische mollusken aus Marokko und Spanien. Senckenbergiana Lethaea, 67:55118.
Grassi, B. 1881. Intorno ai chetognati. Reale Istituto Lombardo di Scienze e Lettere, Series 2, 14:199213.
Hansen, B., Bjornsen, P. K., and Hansen, P. J. 1994. The size ratio between planktic predators and their prey. Limnology and Oceanography, 39:395403.
Hickman, C. S. 2001. Evolution and development of gastropod larval shell morphology: experimental evidence for mechanical defense and repair. Evolution and Development, 3:1823.
Holmer, L. E. 1989. Middle Ordovician phosphatic inarticulate brachiopods from Västergotland and Dalarna, Sweden. Fossils and Strata, 26:1172.
Hu, S., Steiner, M., Zhu, M., Erdtmann, B.-D., Lu, H., Chen, L., and Weber, B. 2007. Diverse pelagic predators from the Chengjiang Lagerstätte and the establishment of modern-style pelagic ecosystems in the early Cambrian. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 254:307316.
King, W. 1846. Remarks on certain genera belonging to the class Palliobranchiata. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 1, 18:2642, 83–94.
Menke, C. T. 1828. Synopsis methodica molluscorum generum omnium et specierum earum quae in Museo Menkeano Adservantur. Pyrmonti, 91 p.
Mergl, M. 1997. Obolid brachiopods with burrowing structures in the Lower Ordovician of Bohemia. Bulletin of the Czech Geological Survey, 72:127139.
Miller, J. F., Evans, K. R., Loch, J. D., Ethington, R. L., Stitt, J. H., Holmer, L. E., and Popov, L. E. 2003. Stratigraphy of the Sauk III interval (Cambrian–Ordovician), Ibex area, western Millard County, Utah and central Texas. Brigham Young University Geology Studies, 47:23118, plus CD-ROM.
Miller, R. H. and Sundberg, F. A. 1984. Boring Late Cambrian organisms. Lethaia, 17:185190.
Paine, R. T. 1963. Ecology of the brachiopod Glottidia pyramidata . Ecological Monographs, 33:187213.
Peel, J. S. 2003. A problematic cap-shaped metazoan from the Lower Cambrian of Estonia. GFF, 125:157161.
Popov, L. and Gorjansky, V. 1994. First record of Upper Cambrian from the eastern White Sea coast: new evidence from obolids (Brachiopoda). GFF, 116:3135.
Pratt, B. R. 1998. Probable predation on Upper Cambrian trilobites and its relevance for the extinction of soft-bodied Burgess Shale-type organisms. Lethaia, 31:7388.
Purtilo, D. T. 1978. A Survey of Human Diseases. Addison-Wesley, Menlo Park, California, 453 p.
Rees, M. N. 1986. A fault-controlled trough through a carbonate platform: the Middle Cambrian House Range Embayment. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 97:10541069.
Robson, S. P. and Pratt, B. R. 2007. Predation of late Marjuman (Cambrian) linguliformean brachiopods from the Deadwood Formation of South Dakota, USA. Lethaia, 40:1932.
Savazzi, E. 1986. Burrowing sculptures and life habits in Paleozoic lingulacean brachiopods. Paleobiology, 12:4663.
Schmidt, F. 1888. Über ein neuentdeckte unterkambrische fauna. Memoires de l'Academie Imperiales des Sciences de St. Petersbourg, 7:129.
Seilacher, A. 1973a. Biostratinomy: the sedimentology of biologically standardized particles, p. 159177. In Ginsberg, R. N. (ed.), Evolving Concepts in Sedimentology, Vol. 21. Johns Hopkins Studies in Geology, Baltimore.
Seilacher, A. 1973b. Fabricational noise in adaptive morphology. Systematic Zoology, 22:451465.
Signor, P. W. and Brett, C. E. 1984. The Mid-Paleozoic precursor to the Mesozoic marine revolution. Paleobiology, 10:229245.
Signor, P. W. and Vermeij, G. J. 1994. The plankton and the benthos: origins and early history of an evolving relationship. Paleobiology, 20:297319.
Skovsted, C. B., Brock, G. A., Lindström, A., Peel, J. S., Paterson, J. R., and Fuller, M. K. 2007. Early Cambrian record of failed durophagy and shell repair in an epibenthic mollusk. Biology Letters, 3:314317.
Szaniawski, H. 2002. New evidence for the protoconodont origin of chaetognaths. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 47:405419.
Terazaki, M. 2000. Feeding of carnivorous zooplankton, chaetognaths in the Pacific, p. 257276. In Handa, N., Tanoue, E., and Hama, T. (eds.), Dynamics and Characterization of Marine Organic Matter. Klewer Academic Press, Dordrecht.
Ushatinskaya, G. T. 2001. Brachiopods, p. 201216. In Zhuravlev, A. Y. and Riding, R. (eds.), The Ecology of the Cambrian Radiation. Columbia University Press, New York.
Vannier, J. and Chen, J.-Y. 2000. The Early Cambrian colonization of pelagic niches exemplified by Isoxys (Arthropoda). Lethaia, 33:295311.
Vannier, J. and Chen, J.-Y. 2005. Early Cambrian food chain: new evidence from fossil aggregates in the Maotianshan Shale Biota, SW China. PALAIOS, 20:326.
Vannier, J., Steiner, M., Renvoisé, E., Hu, S.-X., and Casanova, J.-P. 2007. Early Cambrian origin of modern food webs: evidence from predator arrow worms. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 274:627633.
Vermeij, G. J. 1987. Evolution and escalation. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. 527 p.
Waagen, W. 1885. Salt Range fossils, Vol. I, Part 4. Productus limestone fossils, Brachiopoda. Memoirs of the Geological Survey of India, Paleontologia Indica (series 13), facs., 5:729770, pl. 82–86.
Walcott, C. D. 1908. Cambrian geology and paleontology, no. 3-Cambrian Brachiopoda, descriptions of new genera and species. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, 53:53165, pl. 7-12.
Waloszek, D. 2003. The ‘Orsten’ window—a three-dimensionally preserved Upper Cambrian meiofauna and its contribution to our understanding of the evolution of Arthropoda. Paleonontological Research, 7:7188.
Williams, A. and Holmer, L. E. 1992. Ornamentation and shell structure of acrotretoid brachiopods. Palaeontology, 35:657692.
Yochelson, E. L. and Gil Cid, D. 1984. Re-evaluation of the systematic position of Scenella . Lethaia, 17:331340.
Zuschin, M., Stachowitsch, M., and Stanton, R. J. 2003. Patterns and processes of shell fragmentation in modern and ancient environments. Earth Science Reviews, 63:3382.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Paleontology
  • ISSN: 0022-3360
  • EISSN: 1937-2337
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-paleontology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 5 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 66 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 15th August 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.