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Hyolithellus in life position from the Lower Cambrian of North Greenland

  • Christian B. Skovsted (a1) (a2) and John S. Peel (a2)

Tubular specimens belonging to Hyolithellus from silty dolostones of the basal Aftenstjernesø Formation of North Greenland may represent the first occurrence of this widespread Cambrian fossil in life position. A high proportion of preserved specimens are oriented normal to bedding with the tapering end of the tube down. Occasional undulations in the growth of the tubes indicate that the animal actively adjusted its growth to achieve a vertical orientation in relation to the sediment surface. Increasing thickness of the tube wall towards the tapering end shifted the center of mass downwards and resulted in greater stability in the sediment. The tube remained open at both ends throughout ontogeny; it was most likely secreted by an annelid-grade animal which pumped water into the sediment through the tube. Hyolithellus and similar tubular fossils from the Lower Cambrian probably represent stem group annelids.

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