Large euarthropod carapaces from a high latitude Cambrian (Drumian) deposit in Spain

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Deposits preserving non-biomineralized tissues and animals provide an unrivalled opportunity to study the evolution and radiation of early animal life. Numerous sites of Cambrian age are known from North America (Laurentia) and South China (East Gondwana), which provide a high resolution picture of the fauna at low latitudes. By contrast, our knowledge of Cambrian animals from higher latitudes is relatively poor. This patchiness in our knowledge of animal life during the radiation of animals in the Cambrian period limits our ability to understand and detect palaeogeographic trends and does not provide a full appreciation of animal diversity at this time. Here we report a new middle Cambrian (Drumian) site preserving lightly sclerotized euarthropod carapaces, sponges and palaeoscolecids near the village of Mesones de Isuela in the Iberian Chains (Spain). We describe three bivalved euarthropod carapace morphs, two comparable to those described from the only other high latitude Drumian deposit, the Jince Formation (Czechia), and one distinct from previous discoveries. These new findings highlight the importance of high latitude Gondwana Konservat Lagerstatten for understanding the palaeogeographical aspect of the radiation of early animals and suggest that bivalved euarthropods at high latitudes were larger than those at lower latitudes during the Cambrian.


Peer reviewed: True

Publication status: Published

Funder: University of Cambridge; doi:

bivalved carapace, Mesones de Isuela, Euarthropoda, non-biomineralized fossils, Iberian Chains
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Royal Society Open Science
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The Royal Society
Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (PID2021-125585NB-I00)
European Regional Development Fund (E18_17R)