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Article: Small carbonaceous fossils (SCFs) from the Terreneuvian (lower Cambrian) of Baltica

Palaeontology Cover Image - Volume 61 Part 3
Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 61
Part: 3
Publication Date: May 2018
Page(s): 417 439
Author(s): Ben J. Slater, Thomas H. P. Harvey, and Nicholas J. Butterfield
Addition Information

How to Cite

SLATER, B.J., HARVEY, T.H.P., BUTTERFIELD, N.J. 2018. Small carbonaceous fossils (SCFs) from the Terreneuvian (lower Cambrian) of Baltica. Palaeontology, 61, 3, 417-439. DOI: 10.1111/pala.12350

Author Information

  • Ben J. Slater - Department of Earth Sciences University of Cambridge Cambridge UK
  • Thomas H. P. Harvey - School of Geography, Geology & the Environment University of Leicester Leicester UK
  • Nicholas J. Butterfield - Department of Earth Sciences University of Cambridge Cambridge UK

Publication History

  • Issue published online: 19 April 2018
  • Manuscript Accepted: 08 December 2017
  • Manuscript Received: 28 September 2017

Funded By

Natural Environmental Research Council. Grant Number: NE/K005251/1

Online Version Hosted By

Wiley Online Library (Open Access)
Get Article: Wiley Online Library [Open Access]


We describe a new assemblage of small carbonaceous fossils (SCFs) from diagenetically minimally altered clays and siltstones of Terreneuvian age from the Lontova and Voosi formations of Estonia, Lithuania and Russia. This is the first detailed account of an SCF assemblage from the Terreneuvian and includes a number of previously undocumented Cambrian organisms. Recognizably bilaterian‐derived SCFs include abundant protoconodonts (total‐group Chaetognatha), and distinctive cuticular spines of scalidophoran worms. Alongside these metazoan remains are a range of protistan‐grade fossils, including Retiranus balticus gen. et sp. nov., a distinctive funnel‐shaped or sheet‐like problematicum characterized by terminal or marginal vesicles, and Lontohystrichosphaera grandis gen. et sp. nov., a large (100–550 μm) ornamented vesicular microfossil. Together these data offer a fundamentally enriched view of Terreneuvian life in the epicratonic seas of Baltica, from an episode where records of non‐biomineralized life are currently sparse. Even so, the recovered assemblages contain a lower diversity of metazoans than SCF biotas from younger (Stage 4) Baltic successions that represent broadly equivalent environments, echoing the diversification signal recorded in the coeval shelly and trace‐fossil records. Close comparison to the biostratigraphical signal from Fortunian small shelly fossils supports a late Fortunian age for most of the Lontova/Voosi succession, rather than a younger (wholly Stage 2) range.

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