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Behavioural asymmetry in Devonian trilobites


Rui-wen Zong , Yiming Gong


The cephalon of the trilobite Phacopidae was usually separated from the thorax during moulting, and abandoned near the trunk. We statistically evaluated the distribution pattern of the cephala of Omegops cornelius, and found that near 70% of the total cephala were displaced on the right side, from the Upper Devonian deposits of the western Junggar in Northwest China. Omegops cornelius might have actively pushed the cephalon to the right of its body during moulting, indicating their preference to move counterclockwise. This preferred movement direction manifested the behavioural asymmetry in trilobites. A different type of asymmetry has been observed in Phacopidae Plagiolaria nandanensis from the Lower Devonian of Guangxi in South China, where about 67% of the cephala were found on the left side of the trilobite trunks. So the behavioural asymmetry may be diverse (or opposite) in different species of trilobites, and the reasons for the asymmetric moulting and movement patterns of the above two trilobites are likely related to their body structures, or their living environments. These new materials provide evidence for studying the origin and evolution of behavioural asymmetry.

Keywords: Omegops; Plagiolaria; Moulting; Behavioural asymmetry; Devonian

DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.04.003

READ IT HERE: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018216308586

Lurdes Fonseca

Assistant Professor and Researcher at University of Lisbon
Sociologist (PhD), Paleontologist (Researcher in Micropaleontology), Majors in Sociology and Biology, Minor in Geology. Main interests in Paleontology: Microfossils, Molecular fossils, Paleobiology and Paleoecology. (read more about me)