Article

The earliest ostracods: the geological evidence

Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments 04/2008; 88(1):11-21. DOI: 10.1007/BF03043974

ABSTRACT The oldest assumed ostracods appear in the fossil record from the TremadocianPaltodus deltifer conodont Biozone. Although geographically widespread these early ostracods have no obvious Cambrian antecedents. Their first
appearance at ca. 485 Ma contrasts with molecular evidence that suggests a much earlier (latest Proterozoic or Cambrian) origin
for ostracods. Some Cambrian bivalved arthropods such asAltajanella andVojbokalina, conventionally referred to the Bradoriida, have carapace morphologies that resemble Ordovician palaeocopid ostracods, though
such a relationship is unproven without soft part anatomy. Evidence from preserved soft anatomy demonstrates that Bradoriida,
such asKunmingella, and Phosphatocopida, essentially the Cambrian ‘ostracod’ record of traditional usage, belong outside the Eucrustacea. Early
Ordovician ostracods appeared first in shallow marine, oxygenated environments on shelf margins, in a similar setting to other
elements of the ‘Paleozoic fauna’. Their biodiversity was low (3 named genera and ca. 12 species), though some taxa such asNanopsis andEopilla achieved widespread dispersal between major Ordovician palaeocontinents. As bradoriids were largely extinct by the Late Cambrian,
ostracods do not appear to have directly competed with them for shallow marine environments. The rapid colonisation of these
settings by ostracods may have been facilitated by the available ecospace vacated by Bradoriida.

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