Misc. Groups
 
 
               
                           
   

 

 

This assemblage of taxa has been grouped together from the rarer and less-understood fossils from the Trenton Group of West Canada Creek. One species of Conchopeltis , three species of conularids, one machaeridian genus, and nine species of graptolites are included in this group. These specimens are not related, although the affinities of Conchopeltis and conularids are still in debate.

Many of these creatures have a history of uncertainty surrounding their placement in the taxonomic hierarchy. One such fossil is Conchopeltis alternata , first described by C. D. Walcott in 1876 and found only in the limestones of Trenton Falls , NY . As discussed by Oliver (1984) Conchopeltis has been linked to gastropods, conularids, and cnidarians (corals, anemones, jellyfish, etc.) at different times over the hundred or so years since its discovery. The unusually large conularid Metaconularia papillata, described by James Hall in 1847, is also a species unique to the Trenton of New York. Conularids are long thought to be related to the cnidaria, yet their classification is still unclear. The machaeridia, another strange and little-known group of organisms, is found in the Trenton as well. It is still uncertain where machaeridians fit into modern classifications. Some paleontologists have attempted to place them with echinoderms, and more recently with tommotiids, a group with early Cambrian origins that have sclerites (hollow calcium carbonate scales or plates).

Graptolites are the most studied and well-known of this section's miscellaneous group of fossils. The graptolithina have been classified as part of the phylum Hemichordata. Examples of graptolites are rarely found in the West Canada Creek strata, which was a shallow marine environment during the Ordovician. They are far more common in rocks nearby like the Utica Shale. At one time, the area was a calmer and deeper ocean deposit, more hospitable for their planktonic lifestyle.

 

   
     
 
 
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© 2004 President and Fellows of Harvard College
Specimen of Orthograptus quadrimucronatus, MCZ 146946 Specimen of Metaconularia papillata, MCZ 114218 Specimen of Conchopeltis alternata, MCZ 107280 Specimen of Plumulites sp., MCZ 145747