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Article: Ichnological insights into mitrate palaeobiology

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 52
Part: 1
Publication Date: January 2009
Page(s): 127 138
Author(s): Imran A. Rahman, Richard P. S. Jefferies, Wouter H. Südkamp and Ru D. A. Smith
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How to Cite

RAHMAN, I. A., JEFFERIES, R. P. S., SÃœDKAMP, W. H., SMITH, R. D. A. 2009. Ichnological insights into mitrate palaeobiology. Palaeontology52, 1, 127–138.

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Mitrates are a controversial group of extinct deuterostomes; there is little agreement over their affinities, functional morphology or even the orientation of their upper and lower surfaces. Four slabs of slate from the Lower Devonian Hunsrück Slate (Bundenbach, Germany) are here described, showing trace fossils (Vadichnites transversus igen. et isp. nov.) associated with the mitrate Rhenocystis latipedunculata. These new findings clearly demonstrate that the mitrate appendage was used in locomotion and that this movement took place appendage-first. Such a functional interpretation suggests that mitrates were oriented with the flat body surface upwards in life and argues against a phylogenetic position in the echinoderm crown-group.
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