Lower Cambrian helcionelloid macromolluscs from South Australia

Sarah M. Jacquet*, Glenn A. Brock

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Citations (Scopus)


    Early Cambrian univalve molluscs are predominantly represented by microscopic forms (body length of 1–3 mm), preserved mainly as phosphatised internal moulds with limited definable features. Macromolluscs (≥ 5 mm) are generally rare, occur in low abundance and are poorly preserved, often lacking apical features and ornament which hinders taxonomic assessment. New and previously undescribed material from lower Cambrian Hawker Group carbonates of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia includes four new taxa, Minastirithella silivreni gen. et sp. nov., Galeacalvus coronarius gen. et sp. nov., Helcionella histosia sp. nov., and Ilsanella enallaxa sp. nov. Three-dimensional silicified shell material preserved with intact apices offers new insight into protoconch morphology, growth habit (isometric vs. allometric) and developmental mode. This material supports previous suggestions that some micromollusc taxa may in fact be early ontogenetic stages (juveniles) of larger macroscopic taxa; such that the millimetric size range of helcionelloids conforms to the dimensions of earliest apical portion in some macromolluscs documented herein. However, taphonomic limitations associated with phosphatisation show that the morphology (especially height vs. width) of the apex can greatly influence the probability of steinkern formation and preservation potential for both micro- and macro-scale helcionelloids. Artificial inflation in the appearance of millimetric helcionelloids with an optimal morphology for phosphatisation is thus directly linked to taphonomic biases in the fossil record.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)333-358
    Number of pages26
    JournalGondwana Research
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


    • Mollusca
    • Macroscopic
    • Ontogeny
    • Taphonomy
    • Distribution


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