New multipodomerous appendages of stem-group euarthropods from the Cambrian (Stage 4) Guanshan Konservat-Lagerstätte.
Stem-group euarthropods are important for understanding the early evolutionary and ecological history of the most species-rich animal phylum on Earth. Of particular interest are fossil taxa that occupy a phylogenetic position immediately crownwards of radiodonts, for this part of the euarthropod tree is associated with the appearance of several morphological features that characterize extant members of the group. Here, we report two new euarthropods from the Cambrian Stage 4 Guanshan Biota of South China. The fuxianhuiid Alacaris? sp. is represented by isolated appendages composed of a gnathobasic protopodite and an endite-bearing endopod of at least 20 podomeres. This material represents the youngest occurrence of the family Chengjiangocarididae, and its first record outside the Chengjiang and Xiaoshiba biotas. We also describe Lihuacaris ferox gen. et sp. nov. based on well-preserved and robust isolated appendages. Lihuacaris ferox exhibits an atypical combination of characters including an enlarged rectangular base, 11 endite-bearing podomeres and a hypertrophied distal element bearing 8-10 curved spines. Alacaris? sp. appendages display adaptations for macrophagy. Lihuacaris ferox appendages resemble the frontal appendages of radiodonts, as well as the post-oral endopods of chengjiangocaridid fuxianhuids and other deuteropods with well-documented raptorial/predatory habits. Lihuacaris ferox contributes towards the record of endemic biodiversity in the Guanshan Biota.
Funder: Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
Funder: Herchel Smith Postdoctoral Fellowship