A xandarellid artiopodan from Morocco – a middle Cambrian link between soft-bodied euarthropod communities in North Africa and South China
journal contributionposted on 08.03.2017, 15:42 by Javier Ortega-Hernández, Abdelfattah Azizi, Thomas W. Hearing, Thomas H. P. Harvey, Gregory D. Edgecombe, Ahmid Hafid, Khadija El Hariri
Xandarellida is a well-defined clade of Lower Palaeozoic non-biomineralized artiopodans that is exclusively known from the early Cambrian (Stage 3) Chengjiang biota of South China. Here we describe a new member of this group, Xandarella mauretanica sp. nov., from the middle Cambrian (Stage 5) Tatelt Formation of Morocco, making this the first non-trilobite Cambrian euarthropod known from North Africa. X. mauretanica sp. nov. represents the youngest occurrence of Xandarellida - extending its stratigraphic range by approximately 10 million years - and expands the palaeobiogeographic distribution of the group to the high southern palaeolatitudes of West Gondwana. The new species provides insights into the lightly sclerotized ventral anatomy of Xandarellida, and offers stratigraphically older evidence for a palaeobiogeographic connection between Burgess Shale-type euarthropod communities in North Africa and South China, relative to the (Tremadocian) Fezouata biota.