New specimens of Cyclocystoides scammaphoris (Echinodermata) from the Upper Ordovician rocks of the American midcontinent with implications for cyclocystoid functional morphology

Dennis R Kolata, Terry Frank, Asa Kaplan, Thomas E Guensburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

New specimens of Cyclocystoides scammaphoris Smith and Paul, 1982, are here reported from the Upper Ordovician Platteville Formation of northern Illinois, Plattin and Decorah groups of east-central Missouri, and Lebanon Limestone of central Tennessee. These fossils reveal skeletal details that provide insight into the anatomy of cyclocystoids. Of particular significance is a network of channels that likely originate near the center of the central disk and extend along the oral side of the radial plates, bifurcating distally two or three times before entering the radial facets on the proximal surface of each marginal ossicle. From here, the network enters a series of facet canals that extend upward through each marginal ossicle, exiting in a linear row of pores. The canals are very similar in size and distribution to the nerve canals in living echinoderms. The axes of the canals, which number up to 500 in some specimens, and those of the radial ducts project proximally away from the oral surface at an elevation angle of about 25°, apparently forming a network that could have converged within the upper part of the body cavity. This origin and function are made clear by the connection between the channel on each radial plate and the radial facet canal pores within each marginal ossicle.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)639-651
JournalJournal of Paleontology
Volume97
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2023

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