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The post-embryonic ontogeny of the early Cambrian trilobite Estaingia bilobata from South Australia: trunk development and phylogenetic implications

Citation

Holmes, James; John, Paterson; García-Bellido, Diego (2020), The post-embryonic ontogeny of the early Cambrian trilobite Estaingia bilobata from South Australia: trunk development and phylogenetic implications, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.66t1g1jzh

Abstract

Trilobites are one of the most diverse and abundant fossil groups from the early Palaeozoic, and as such are useful for answering important questions about early animal evolution, including developmental processes. Ontogenetic information for a large number of trilobite species has been published, but cases where multiple articulated specimens are known across the full range of developmental stages are rare. The early Cambrian (Series 2, Stage 4) Emu Bay Shale biota from Kangaroo Island (South Australia) is numerically dominated by trilobites, particularly articulated specimens of the ellipsocephaloid Estaingia bilobata, which are present in densities of >600 individuals per square metre on certain bedding planes. Here we describe the essentially complete post-embryonic ontogenetic series of E. bilobata from the Emu Bay Shale, and investigate patterns of growth relating to articulation and segmentation in this early Cambrian arthropod. Estaingia bilobata exhibits the hypoprotomeric mode of growth, with the epimorphic phase (the cessation of trunk segment generation) reached prior to the onset of the holaspid period. The meraspid pygidium had an extended equilibrium period where anterior segment release into the thorax was matched by sub-terminal segment generation. Previously undocumented morphological features of E. bilobata, including the hypostome and bispinose pleural tips in holaspides, are also described. The growth characteristics and morphological features of E. bilobata documented herein strengthen close phylogenetic relationships between the Estaingiidae, Ellipsocephalidae and Xystriduridae.

Methods

This dataset contains cranidial length and width measurements and instar data for meraspid specimens of the trilobite Estaingia bilobata from the Cambrian Series 2 (Stage 4) Emu Bay Shale from Kangaroo Island, South Australia. It also contains calculations of average per moult growth rates (AGR) referred to in the paper.

Funding

Australian Research Council, Award: LP0774959

Australian Research Council, Award: FT130101329

Australian Research Council, Award: FT120100770

Australian Research Council, Award: FT120100770