Article: New Carboniferous brachiopods from the eastern Great Basin, Nevada, USA: implications for loop ontogeny and evolution in Late Palaeozoic terebratuloids
Terebratuloid brachiopods from two localities in the eastern Great Basin, Nevada, USA, include the new taxa Cryptacanthia savagei sp. nov., Fletcherithyris infrequens sp. nov., Cryptonella simplex sp. nov., and Albelenina alvarezi gen. et sp. nov. The faunas are considered to be mid Desmoinesian (late Moscovian) in age. The brachiopods were found associated in clusters, and many of the specimens are well preserved. Records of Pennsylvanian terebratuloid brachiopods are uncommon, and these faunas have enabled an understanding of internal features previously unknown or poorly understood. Systematic analyses of the faunas have generated some new concepts on the ontogeny and evolution of the loop in Late Palaeozoic terebratuloids. From ontogenetic analyses, it is inferred that the stage of loop development may be the most important aspect in taxonomic classification. Analyses of loop evolution suggest the possibility of a transition from a teloform stage to long-flanged deltiform and deltiform stages. These transitions may be possible through reduction in length of the descending lamellae of the crura by resorption of calcium carbonate or posteroventral folding of flanges. Subsequently, these changes in loop morphology are retained by paedomorphosis within long-term evolutionary processes.