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hajar | profile | all galleries >> Palaeogalleries >> Early Ordovician Fauna of Morocco tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Early Ordovician Fauna of Morocco

This is a selection of specimens from the Early Ordovician (ca 488472million years ago) Fezouata Biota of southeastern Morocco.

The fossils are preserved in iron oxyhydroxides after early diagenetic pyrite and tiny limonitized framboids are scattered in the mudstone. Some elements of the fauna are comparable with the Cambrian Burgess Shale fauna (sponges, marellomorphs, anomalocaridids), whereas others (starfish, horseshoe crabs, graptolites) are new.

I put this group together in late 2007 and early 2008, starting with the beautiful xiphosuran, which was the first example of this form I had come across (and still, six years later, the best individual example I have seen). I approached Peter van Roy to collaborate on the description in January 2008 and, with patience, a manuscript may yet be seen.
Pirania auraeum, a complete 13 mm non-lithistid demosponge Somasteroid indet (possibly related to Chinianaster), 2 cm Cornute stylophoran, 2 cm Cornute stylophoran, 2 cm Cornute stylophoran, 2 cm in Ubagh's position
Cornute stylophoran, 2 cm in Ubagh's position Cornute stylophoran (possibly Thoralicystis), 2 cm Rhopalocystis destombesi , 5 cm crown of an eocrinoid Rhopalocystis destombesi , 5 cm crown of an eocrinoid Xiphosurid, 45 mm
Xiphosurid, counterpart Drawing of the Moroccan xiphosurid made in January 2008. Xiphosurid, 45 mm Xiphosurid, 45 mm Xiphosurid, 45 mm
Xiphosurid, 45 mm Undescribed synziphosuran arthropod, 8 mm long, Lower Ordovician, Morocco. This one shows the limbs extending beyond the prosoma Undescribed synziphosuran arthropod, 6 mm long, Lower Ordovician, Morocco Undescribed synziphosuran arthropod, 6 mm long, Lower Ordovician, Morocco Odontopleurid trilobite with traces of limbs
Furca sp (short spine form), 25 mm Eocrinoid, possibly related to rhipidocystids, individuals are 5 to 8 mm long Eocrinoid, possibly related to rhipidocystids, individuals are 5 to 8 mm long 5 cm Plumulites tafennaensis, machaeridian worm, Late Ordovician; Late Caradocian; Lr Ktaoua Fm. Micissi, Er Rachida, Morocco. 5 cm Plumulites tafennaensis, machaeridian worm, Late Ordovician; Late Caradocian; Lr Ktaoua Fm. Micissi, Er Rachida, Morocco.