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  1. Three-dimensional models reveal how the mechanics of exoskeletal enrolment changed during the development of a model organism for insights into ancient arthropod development, the 429-million-year-old trilobite Aulacopleura koninckii. Changes in the number, size and allocation of segments within the trunk, coupled with the need to maintain effective exoskeletal shielding of soft tissue during enrolment, necessitated a transition in enrolment style about the onset of mature growth. During an earlier growth phase, enrolment was sphaeroidal, with the venter of the trunk fitting exactly against that of the head. In later growth, if lateral exoskeletal encapsulation was to be maintained trunk length proportions did not permit such exact fitting, requiring an alternative, non-sphaeoridal enrolment style. Our study favours the adoption of a posture in later growth in which the posterior trunk extended beyond the front of the head. This change in enrolment accommodated a pattern of notable variation in the number of mature trunk segments, well known to characterize the development of this species. It suggests how an animal whose early segmental development was remarkably precisely controlled was able to realize the marked variation in mature segment number that was related, apparently, to life in a physically challenging, reduced oxygen setting.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 14, 2024
  2. The Steptoean Positive Carbon Isotope Excursion (SPICE) event at ca. 497−494 Ma was a major carbon-cycle perturbation of the late Cambrian that coincided with rapid diversity changes among trilobites. Several scenarios (e.g., climatic/oceanic cooling and seawater anoxia) have been proposed to account for an extinction of trilobites at the onset of SPICE, but the exact mechanism remains unclear. Here, we present a chemostratigraphic study of carbonate carbon and carbonate-associated sulfate sulfur isotopes (δ13Ccarb and δ34SCAS) and elemental redox proxies (UEF, MoEF, and Corg/P), augmented by secular trilobite diversity data, from both upper slope (Wangcun) and lower slope (Duibian) successions from the Jiangnan Slope, South China, spanning the Drumian to lower Jiangshanian. Redox data indicate locally/regionally well-oxygenated conditions throughout the SPICE event in both study sections except for low-oxygen (hypoxic) conditions within the rising limb of the SPICE (early-middle Paibian) at Duibian. As in coeval sections globally, the reported δ13Ccarb and δ34SCAS profiles exhibit first-order coupling throughout the SPICE event, reflecting co-burial of organic matter and pyrite controlled by globally integrated marine productivity, organic preservation rates, and shelf hypoxia. Increasing δ34SCAS in the “Early SPICE” interval (late Guzhangian) suggests that significant environmental change (e.g., global-oceanic hypoxia) was under way before themore »global carbon cycle was markedly affected. Assessment of trilobite range data within a high-resolution biostratigraphic framework for the middle-late Cambrian facilitated re-evaluation of the relationship of the SPICE to contemporaneous biodiversity changes. Trilobite diversity in South China declined during the Early SPICE (corresponding to the End-Marjuman Biomere Extinction, or EMBE, of Laurentia) and at the termination of the SPICE (corresponding to the End-Steptoean Biomere Extinction, or ESBE, of Laurentia), consistent with biotic patterns from other cratons. We infer that oxygen minimum zone and/or shelf hypoxia expanded as a result of locally enhanced productivity due to intensified upwelling following climatic cooling, and that expanded hypoxia played a major role in the EMBE at the onset of SPICE. During the SPICE event, global-ocean ventilation promoted marine biotic recovery, but termination of SPICE-related cooling in the late Paibian may have reduced global-ocean circulation, triggering further redox changes that precipitated the ESBE. Major changes in both marine environmental conditions and trilobite diversity during the late Guzhangian demonstrate that the SPICE event began earlier than the Guzhangian-Paibian boundary, as previously proposed.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 12, 2024
  3. Abstract Orientated carbonate (calcite twinning strains; n = 78 with 2414 twin measurements) and quartzites (finite strains; n = 15) were collected around Gondwana to study the deformational history associated with the amalgamation of the supercontinent. The Buzios orogen (545–500 Ma), within interior Gondwana, records the high-grade collisional orogen between the São Francisco Craton (Brazil) and the Congo–Angola Craton (Angola and Namibia), and twinning strains in calc-silicates record a SE–NW shortening fabric parallel to the thrust transport. Along Gondwana's southern margin, the Saldanian–Ross–Delamerian orogen (590–480 Ma) is marked by a regional unconformity that cuts into deformed Neoproterozoic–Ordovician sedimentary rocks and associated intrusions. Cambrian carbonate is preserved in the central part of the southern Gondwana margin, namely in the Kango Inlier of the Cape Fold Belt and the Ellsworth, Pensacola and Transantarctic mountains. Paleozoic carbonate is not preserved in the Ventana Mountains in Argentina, in the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas or in Tasmania. Twinning strains in these Cambrian carbonate strata and synorogenic veins record a complex, overprinted deformation history with no stable foreland strain reference. The Kurgiakh orogen (490 Ma) along Gondwana's northern margin is also defined by a regional Ordovician unconformity throughout the Himalaya; these rocks record a mix of layer-parallelmore »and layer-normal twinning strains with a likely Himalayan (40 Ma) strain overprint and no autochthonous foreland strain site. Conversely, the Gondwanide orogen (250 Ma) along Gondwana's southern margin has three foreland (autochthonous) sites for comparison with 59 allochthonous thrust-belt strain analyses. From west to east, these include: finite strains from Devonian quartzite preserve a layer-parallel shortening (LPS) strain rotated clockwise in the Ventana Mountains of Argentina; frontal (calcite twins) and internal (quartzite strains) samples in the Cape Fold Belt preserve a LPS fabric that is rotated clockwise from the autochthonous north–south horizontal shortening in the foreland strain site; Falkland Devonian quartzite shows the same clockwise rotation of the LPS fabric; and Permian limestone and veins in Tasmania record a thrust transport-parallel LPS fabric. Early amalgamation of Gondwana (Ordovician) is preserved by local layer-parallel and layer-normal strain without evidence of far-field deformation, whereas the Gondwanide orogen (Permian) is dominated by layer-parallel shortening, locally rotated by dextral shear along the margin, that propagated across the supercontinent.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 17, 2023
  4. The field collections made from Burma (Myanmar) by the Geological Survey of India, and described by F.R.C. Reed more than a century ago, still provide the only ‘ground truthing’ for an important region of the Ordovician marginal terranes fringing Gondwana. A revision of these faunas is overdue, particularly as it is likely that further collections cannot be made in the northern Shan State in the near future. The specimens, stored in the Geological Survey of India collections in Kolkata, cannot be loaned. Sixteen species are fully revised herein; another twelve species are left under open nomenclature because of inadequacies in the material. Several of Reed’s species subsequently became type species of genera that have proved to be widespread: Birmanites Sheng, 1934, Encrinurella Reed, 1915, Neseuretinus Dean, 1967, and Pliomerina Chugaeva, 1956. Reed’s Ordovician trilobite collections came from two main areas: northern Shan State (Myanmar), and westernmost Yunnan (China). The Burmese (Myanmar) collections are from the Upper Ordovician (Katian) while Yunnan specimens are from the Middle Ordovician (Darriwilian), though Upper Ordovician trilobites also occur in the area. Both collections are predominantly from clastic strata. Based on a small new Katian collection from Pupiao, we report Neseuretinus birmanicus (Reed, 1906) in commonmore »between the northern part of the Shan State and western Yunnan. A few genera (Dionide Barrande, 1847, Phorocephala Lu, 1957, Lonchodomas Angelin, 1854, Nileus Dalman, 1827) are distributed worldwide, and include pelagic (Phorocephala) or deeper benthic (Dionide) taxa. The palaeogeographic comparisons offered by the other taxa are mostly peri-Gondwanan and extend from southwest China westwards (present geography) as far as the Iberian Pennsula. Birmanites is the type genus of a subfamily (Birmanitinae Kobayashi, 1960, revived herein) widely distributed over Ordovician Gondwana, and absent from Laurentia, Baltica and North China/Siberia. Mioptychopyge Zhou, Dean, Yuan & Zhou, 1998, probably belongs with the same group and is otherwise known from South China. Parillaenus Jaanusson, 1954, is also peripheral Gondwanan, as is Prionocheilus Rouault, 1847. The Reedocalymeninae Kobayashi, 1951 (Neseuretinus, Reedocalymene Kobayashi, 1951) are similarly diagnostic of peri–Gondwanan sites. However, some genera (Pliomerina, Encrinurella, Ovalocephalus Koroleva, 1959) have been associated with other oriental and Australian occurrences in particular, with ‘outliers’ in certain terranes in Kazakhstan, i.e. palaeotropical Gondwana.« less
  5. Abstract Acritarch biostratigraphic and δ 13 C chemostratigraphic data from the Krol A Formation in the Solan area (Lesser Himalaya, northern India) are integrated to aid inter-basinal correlation of early–middle Ediacaran strata. We identified a prominent negative δ 13 C excursion (likely equivalent to EN2 in the lower Doushantuo Formation in the Yangtze Gorges area of South China), over a dozen species of acanthomorphs (including two new species— Cavaspina tiwariae Xiao n. sp., Dictyotidium grazhdankinii Xiao n. sp.), and numerous other microfossils from an interval in the Krol A Formation. Most microfossil taxa from the Krol A and the underlying Infra-Krol formations are also present in the Doushantuo Formation. Infra-Krol acanthomorphs support a correlation with the earliest Doushantuo biozone: the Appendisphaera grandis - Weissiella grandistella - Tianzhushania spinosa Assemblage Zone. Krol A microfossils indicate a correlation with the second or (more likely, when δ 13 C data are considered) the third biozone in the lower Doushantuo Formation (i.e., the Tanarium tuberosum - Schizofusa zangwenlongii or Tanarium conoideum - Cavaspina basiconica Assemblage Zone). The association of acanthomorphs with EN2 in the Krol Formation fills a critical gap in South China where chert nodules, and thus acanthomorphs, are rare in the EN2more »interval. Like many other Ediacaran acanthomorphs assemblages, Krol A and Doushantuo acanthomorphs are distributed in low paleolatitudes, and they may represent a distinct paleobiogeographic province in east Gondwana. The Indian data affirm the stratigraphic significance of acanthomorphs and δ 13 C, clarify key issues of lower Ediacaran bio- and chemostratigraphic correlation, and strengthen the basis for the study of Ediacaran eukaryote evolution and paleobiogeography. UUID: .« less
  6. Patzkowsky, M. (Ed.)
    Abstract A short stratigraphic interval near Bulin in western Hunan (China) yields multiple specimens of the ~514-Myr-old oryctocarine trilobite Oryctocarella duyunensis . Size data obtained from these specimens indicate that, from meraspid degree 1 onward, degrees represent successive instars. Meraspid growth persisted until a terminal stage was reached, providing the first example of determinate growth in trilobites and, notably, in an early Cambrian species. The sample contains three varieties of such terminal stages, recognized as holaspids, with 9, 10, or 11 thoracic segments, respectively. During the meraspid phase, growth rates were not constant in this species. The pattern of growth seen in the Bulin assemblage differs modestly from that reported in the same species from two other localities, attesting to microevolutionary variation in developmental patterns among these collections.
  7. Abstract Later Cambrian and earliest Ordovician trilobites and brachiopods spanning eight horizons from five localities within the Sông Mã, Hàm Rồng and Đông Sơn formations of the Thanh Hóa province of Việt Nam, constrain the age and faunal affinities of rocks within the Sông Đà terrane, one of several suture/fault-bounded units situated between South China to the north and Indochina to the south. ‘Ghost-like’ preservation in dolomite coupled with tectonic deformation leaves many of the fossils poorly preserved, and poor exposure precludes collecting within continuously exposed stratigraphic successions. Cambrian carbonate facies pass conformably into Lower Ordovician carbonate-rich strata that also include minor siliciclastic facies, and the recovered fauna spans several uppermost Cambrian and Lower Ordovician biozones. The fauna is of equatorial Gondwanan affinity, and comparable to that from South China, North China, Sibumasu and Australia. A new species of Miaolingian ‘ptychopariid’ trilobite, Kaotaia xuanensis , is described. Detrital zircon samples from Cambrian–Ordovician rocks of the North Việt Nam and Sông Đà terranes, and from Palaeozoic samples from the Trường Sơn sector of Indochina immediately to the south, contain a predominance of ages spanning the Neoproterozoic period and have a typical equatorial Gondwanan signature. We associate the Cambrian and Tremadocian ofmore »the Sông Đà terrane with areas immediately to the north of it, including the North Việt Nam terrane and the southern parts of Yunnan and Guangxi provinces of China.« less
  8. Abstract Abundant articulated specimens of the oryctocarine trilobite Oryctocarella duyunensis from the lower Cambrian (Stage 4, Series 2) Balang Formation at the Bulin section in western Hunan Province, South China, permit the description of all meraspid degrees. The maximum number of thoracic segments observed in this collection is 11. Meraspid growth was accompanied by progressive and gradual change in overall form, and this animal showed an homonymously segmented trunk with variation in the number of pygidial segments during ontogeny. Such variation permits a variety of plausible explanations, but a model of successive instars defined by the number of thoracic segments, and in suborder by the number of pygidial segments, is highly unlikely to explain the growth pattern because it would result in the loss of trunk segments between some instars. Degree-based ontogenetic staging is compatible with the variation observed.
  9. Abstract

    A late Mesoproterozoic detrital zircon (DZ) age population, which was previously considered diagnostic of a link between the Lhasa terrane and northwest Australia, occurs in other Gondwanan components, thus obscuring the paleogeographic position of the Lhasa terrane in Gondwana. Here we compiled large‐n(n ≥ 300) DZ U‐Pb data from the Lhasa terrane and potential source regions in various proposed reconstructions, and attempted to synthesize the Lhasa DZ age spectra through DZ mixing modeling. Our modeling results support the Permo‐Carboniferous Lhasa terrane having received sediment from NW Australia (mainly the Perth basin) rather than India or Africa. This, in combination with stratigraphic and paleontological evidence from the northern margin of eastern Gondwana positions the Paleozoic Lhasa terrane adjacent to the boundary between Australia and India. This study suggests that the DZ mixing modeling method based on large‐nDZ data can be used effectively for constraining paleogeographic reconstruction of continents.

    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 31, 2023