The Lower Ordovician Fezouata Konservat-Lagerstatte from Morocco: Age, environment and evolutionary perspectives

Abstract : The Lower Ordovician Fezouata Konservat-Lagerstatte from southern Morocco has been one of the major palaeontological discoveries of the last decade. It provides a unique insight into one of the most critical periods in the evolution of marine life: the Cambrian-Ordovician transition. However, its potential for deciphering key trends in animal diversification was hitherto largely limited by major uncertainties concerning its stratigraphic position, age and environmental setting. Based on extensive fieldwork, fossil evidence, and facies recognition, our study provides clarification on these three crucial issues. Exceptional preservation is limited to two intervals within the Fezouata Shale. Graptolites indicate a late Tremadocian age for the Fezouata Konservat-Lagerstatte as a whole, which is supported by biostratigraphical evidence provided by acritarchs. Sedimentological features and reconstructed patterns of relative sea-level changes indicate relatively shallow-water environmental conditions, under distal storm influence, in an offshore to lower shoreface siliciclastic ramp setting. The Fezouata Biota represents a unique and exceptional window into the palaeobiodiversity in open-marine conditions, thus contrasting with the other Ordovician Konservat-Lagerstatten presently known. In our analyses of this new set of data, we pave the way for accurate temporal, faunal and environmental comparisons with other Lower Palaeozoic Konservat-Lagerstatten, and unlock the full potential of the Fezouata Biota to better understand the processes and scenarios of early animal radiations. (C) 2015 International Association for Gondwana Research. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Emmanuel L. O. Martin, Bernard Pittet, Juan-Carlos Gutierrez-Marco, Jean Vannier, Khadija El Hariri, et al.. The Lower Ordovician Fezouata Konservat-Lagerstatte from Morocco: Age, environment and evolutionary perspectives. Gondwana Research, 2016, 34, pp.274-283. ⟨10.1016/j.gr.2015.03.009⟩. ⟨hal-02331131⟩

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