Stunning Bundenbach Carpoid with Marvelous Preservation

Name: Mitrata: Dalejocystis (Mitrocystites) styloideus

Age: Lower Devonian Seigenian/Emsian Stage

Size (25.4mm=1 inch): 12 mm by 8 mm with 15 mm “tail” on a 135 by 120 mm matrix

Location: Hunsruck Slate, Bundenbach Germany

Bundenbach Carpoid fossilDescription: Well-preserved example of a mitrate carpoid known as Dalejocystis (Mitrocystites) styloideus. The term mitrate derives from the carpoid’s shape that is similar to a bishop’s mitre. The Hunsruck slate is famous Dalejocystis carpoidfor its fossils, many of which have pyritization present. Rapid burial and pyritization was what led to the many wonderful examples of early Devonian life from the region. The mudstones were metamorphosed into slate during the Carboniferous. The slate was quarried for roofing tiles, and the quarrymen would save the fossils for later sale. Now that the quarries are no longer open, future supplies of these wonderfully preserved benthic organisms will only come from existing collections. A skeleton of calcitic plates like those found in modern Echinoderms supported the carpoid body. They had a spiny “tail” by which they are thought to have pushed their way through the muddy bottom. Some believe that a carpoid may have been the common ancestor between Echinoderms and Vertebrates. It is important to note the carpoids differ from ALL other animals, living and extinct, in that many are completely asymmetrical. This enigmatic fossil is rarely so well prepared (this one was done by Wouter Sudkamp). Notice the fine details and the pyrite highlights, making this a spectacular example.

click fossil pictures to enlarge

Fossil Museum Navigation:
Geological Time Paleobiology Geological History Tree of Life
Fossil Sites Fossils Evolution Fossil Record Museum Fossils