Carpoid Fossil with Extraordinary Preservation
Mitrata: Rhenocystis latipedunculata
Time: Lower Devonian Seigenian/Emsian Stage
mm by 8 mm with 25 mm “tail” on a 135 by 190 mm matrix
Site: Hunsruck Slate, Bundenbach Germany
is a well preserved specimen of a anomalocystoid mitrate carpoid
known as Rhenocystis latipedunculata. The term mitrate derives from
the carpoid’s shape which is similar to a bishop’s mitre.
The Hunsruck slate is famous for its fossils, many of which have
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.
carpoid body was supported by a skeleton of calcitic plates like
those found in modern Echinoderms. 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.
click fossil pictures