Variable pedicle morphology in a population of the Recent brachiopod Terebratulina septentrionalis

Curry, G.B. (1981) Variable pedicle morphology in a population of the Recent brachiopod Terebratulina septentrionalis. Lethaia, 14(1), pp. 9-20. (doi: 10.1111/j.1502-3931.1981.tb01068.x)

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Extremely variable pedicle morphology is described in a large sample of the Recent articulate brachiopod Terebratulina septentrionalis (Couthouy) from off the coast of Nova Scotia. The majority of these specimens were attached to the shells of living or dead scaphopods by a dense network of pedicle rootlets. Other brachiopods had been lying on the sea-floor anchored solely by the weight of sediment enmeshed within the bush-like network of pedicle rootlets. Some brachiopod larvae had settled on the exposed pedicle rootlets of adults, presumably because of the scarcity of other suitable substrate. Such a mode of life is thought ‘to indicate that these brachiopods could survive a further reduction in the available substrate and it is suggested that, should such conditions persist, changes in hard-part morphology would enable descendants of the species to adopt a predominantly free-lying mode of life. Likely morphological adaptions are suggested, based on examples from the fossil record. This evolutionary trend, from attached to free-lying and perhaps vice versa, has occurred many times in the history of the Phylum Brachiopoda, and it is suggested that the mode of life of this T. septentrionalis population provides an important insight into at least one of the possible evolutionary pathways which bring about such transformation

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Curry, Professor Gordon
Authors: Curry, G.B.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Lethaia
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
ISSN (Online):1502-3931
Published Online:09 October 2007

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