Rhenocystis Bundenbach Carpoid Fossil

with Extraordinary Preservation

Rhenocystis latipedunculata

Phylum Echinodermata, Extinct Mitrate Stem Group (Subphylum Homalozoa, Class Stylophora

Geological Time: Lower Devonian Seigenian/Emsian Stage

Size: 29 mm by 8 mm with 25 mm “tail” on a 135 by 190 mm matrix

Fossil Site: Hunsruck Slate, Bundenbach Germany

Rhenocystis Bundenbach CarpoidRhenocystis latipedunculata is usually classified as an anomalocystoid mitrate carpoid, with the term mitrate deriving from the carpoid’s shape having resemblance to a bishop’s mitre. The carpoid's body itself was supported by an external skeleton of calcitic plates similar to those found in extant echinoderms. They possessed a spiny tail they are thought to have used to push through the soft, muddy sea bottom. WhileBundenbach Carpoid these animals remain enigmatic, one theory posits that a carpoid might be the common ancestor of echinoderms and vertebrates; this theory is based, in part, on the a unique metazoan trait of some carpoids, complete body plan asymmetry, which is not shared with any other animal, living and extinct.

The Hunsruck slate is famous for its fossils, many of which have pyritization present, and this specimen is an exceptionally well preserved specimen. The sites superb preservation is attributed to rapid burial and subsequent pyritization, leading to extraordinary and beautiful fossil of early Devonian life from Bundenbach area. The fossil bearing mudstones were metamorphosed during the Carboniferous into the beautiful black slate. These slate were quarried to make roofing tiles, and the quarry workers would set aside the fossils for sale. As the quarries are no longer open, future Bundenbach fossils will only be coming from present collections.

Also see: Carpoid Evolution Discussion about carpoid asymmetry with Castericystis vali Cambrian carpoid

click fossil pictures to enlarge

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