Article: The enigmatic Early Cambrian Salanygolina-A stem group of rhynchonelliform chileate brachiopods?
New material of the enigmatic brachiopod Salanygolina obliqua Ushatinskaya from the Early Cambrian of Mongolia shows that it has a colleplax– a triangular plate – in the umbonal perforation, which is enlarged by resorption. This structure is otherwise only known from the equally enigmatic Palaeozoic orders Chileida and Dictyonellida (Rhynchonelliformea, Chileata). The colleplax in Salanygolina is here considered to be homologous with that of the chileates. Salanygolina is also provided with a ridge-like pseudodeltidium, which is another chileate feature. Other characters of Salanygolina, like the radial arrangement of adductor muscle scars and postero-medially placed internal oblique muscles are characteristic of chileates, but also found in the paterinates. In contrast, mixoperipheral dorsal valves with low rudimentary interareas are well known in paterinates, but not yet recorded from chileates. Thus, Salanygolina shows a mosaic combination of morphologic characters, known both from the paterinates and chileates, indicating that it may represent a stem group of the rhynchonelliform chileate brachiopods. The laminar phosphatic secondary shell of Salanygolina is composed of closely packed and nearly identical hexagonal prisms, oriented with their long axis normal to the laminae in a honeycomb pattern. The prism walls appear to have originally been composed of organic membranes and might represent precursors of the organic sheaths of calcite fibers that are typical of calcitic shells with a fibrous microstructure.