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Permian scorpions from the Petrified Forest of Chemnitz, Germany
Biological Sciences Faculty Research
  • Jason A. Dunlop
  • David A. Legg
  • Paul L. Selden
  • Victor Fet, Marshall University
  • Joerg W. Schneider
  • Ronny Rößler
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
4-7-2016
Abstract
Background: Paleozoic scorpions (Arachnida: Scorpiones) have been widely documented from the Carboniferous Period; which hosts a remarkable assemblage of more than sixty species including both putative stem- and crown-group fossils. By contrast the succeeding Permian Period is almost completely devoid of records, which are currently restricted to a trace fossil from the early Permian of New Mexico, USA and some limb fragments from the late Permian of the Vologda Region, Russia. Results: ?Opsieobuthus tungeri sp. nov. from the Petrified Forest of Chemnitz, Germany represents the first complete body fossils of scorpions from the Permian. Explosive volcanism preserved these remarkable specimens in situ as part of the palaeosol horizon and bedrock of the Petrified Forest, immediately beneath the Zeisigwald tuff horizon. This dates to the early Permian (Sakmarian) or ca. 291 Ma. Intriguingly, the specimens were obtained from a palaeosol horizon with a compacted network of different-sized woody roots and thus have been preserved in situ in their likely life position, even within their original burrows. Differences in the structure of the comb-like pectines in the two fossils offer evidence for sexual dimorphism, and permit further inferences about the ecology and perhaps even the reproductive biology of these animals. Conclusions: As putative members of a Coal Measures genus, these fossils suggest that at least some Carboniferous scorpion lineages extended their range further into the Permian. This contributes towards a picture of scorpion evolution in which both basal and derived (orthostern) forms coexisted for quite some time; probably from the end of the Carboniferous through to at least the mid Triassic.
Comments

The copy of record is available from the publisher at https://bmcevolbiol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12862-016-0634-z © 2016 Dunlop et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Citation Information
Dunlop, J. A., D. A. Legg, P. A. Selden, V. Fet, J. W. Schneider & R. Rößler. 2016. Permian scorpions from the Petrified Forest of Chemnitz, Germany. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 16(1), 1-16.