[Annelida] Fwd: Late Ordovician "worm"

Geoff Read via annelida%40net.bio.net (by g.read from niwa.co.nz)
Tue Oct 31 14:19:22 EST 2006

Replies with taxa id suggestions to the list and to Markus Martin would 
be good.


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	Late Ordovician "worm"
Date: 	Sun, 29 Oct 2006 22:48:19 -0500
From: 	markus martin <brge.com from hotmail.com>
To: 	<g.read from niwa.co.nz>

Dear Geoff,

My name is Markus Martin.  I'm a vocational paleontologist currently
excavating a conservation deposit of Late Ordovician shale in Northern
New York.  Most of my work centers on arthropods(trilobites) which are
pyritized with preserved soft tissues and internal organs.  However,
I've come across several of these little "worms", for lack of better
terminology.  These specimens are incredibly preserved with fantastic
detail, but all in all, no idea what they are!  I do some joint
research with Yale University and have passed specimens along.  Everyone
is at a loss of where to place these pesky little worms.  I'm going to
do a micro-ct scan if I ever get time which may shed some light.

I'm hoping you, or someone you know may be able to help!  All specimens
are 9mm-20mm and coiled.  In the attached photo, note the stiff chord
running the length of the specimen, as well as what appears to be the
fanning out of the presumed tail region, and a strange attachment
resembling a tube which sticks out a bit.  The environment was benthic,
90-180 meters depth, nearly anoxic and sulfur rich.  I'm great with
arthropods, not so good in this category!

Markus Martin
brge.com from hotmail.com

Markus later added:
This 3D pyritized fossil of a soft tissue organism is about as good as 
it gets for 443 million years old.  I don't expect anyone to shout a 
species name, but a few ideas would be a huge help.  The deep water, 
nearly anoxic, benthic environment is a presumed one based on 
classically accepted theories of similar conservation deposits. 
However, the fauna coming out of these new shale beds suggest a much 
shallower higher energy ecosystem.  There is the possibility that 
organisms such as this "worm" were transported from a shallower region 
during a massive storm surge.

The nature of the pyrite crystals themselves are framboidal(like little 
raspberries), which may suggest that there were sulfate reducing 
bacteria living in or on the organism and were active upon burial.  This 
relationship could be chemoautotrophic in nature, if that occurs with 
annelids or nematodes as it does in some arthropods it could help in 
identification.  This was an unexpected find and probably the most 
important one this year for us!  Thanks for your help!

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