Article: Revision of Late Devonian (Famennian) and some Early Carboniferous (Tournaisian) crinoids and blastoids from the type Devonian area of north Devon
The crinoids and blastoids from the Pilton (Beds) Formation of the type Devonian of north Devonshire are revised. These fossils were monographed by the Rev. G. F. Whidborne in 1898, but have not been studied since that time. Recent studies on various groups of fossils from the Pilton and related rocks in North Devon confirm that the great majority of these fossils are Famennian, although three specimens from Fremington are probably Early Carboniferous (Tournaisian). We identify four blastoid taxa from a fauna that is sparse and poorly preserved; two spiraculates, one fissiculate, and one taxon unidentifiable at the ordinal level. Mesoblastus cf. M. crenulatus from the Gattendorfia Zone (Lower Carboniferous) near Fremington is the oldest known representative of this genus. The crinoid fauna is somewhat more diverse, but the preservation is equally poor. No changes are made in the flexible crinoids. Among camerate crinoids, one species is reassigned to Eumorphocrinus and one is retained in Actinocrinites. Specimens of some crinoids, such as Rhodocrinites and Megistocrinus, are so poorly preserved that certain identification was not possible. The hexacrinoid Adelocrinus, relegated to uncertainty for 150 years, is here shown to be a valid genus that is very similar to Arthroacantha, but not synonymous with it. Among the cladid crinoids, the dominant groups are those within the Superfamily Scytalocrinacea, which includes Bridgerocrinus, Sostronocrinus, and Scytalocrinus, all of which are placed in the new family Sostronocrinidae. One new species, Glossocrinus whidbornei, is named. Non-pinnulate cladids, common in older Devonian rocks, do not occur. The fauna shows considerable similarity with faunas from eastern North America and Germany. It shows less resemblance to the extensive Famennian crinoid and blastoid fauna of north-western China, despite some remarkable congruencies, especially the occurrence of very similar species of Actinocrinites in these widely separated areas.