A Stem Group Brachiopod From The Lower Cambrian: Support For A Micrina (Halkieriid) Ancestry



The shell structure of the Lower Cambrian Mickwitzia, a bilaterally symmetrical bivalve hitherto doubtfully assigned to the Brachiopoda, confirms that the genus shares characters with linguliform brachiopods. The columnar lamination of its organophosphatic shell is homologous with that characterizing acrotretides. The shell, however, is also pervaded by striated apatitic tubes indistinguishable from those permeating the sclerites of the problematic organophosphatic, laminar–shelled Micrina which is close to Halkieria. No crown group brachiopods have such tubes that are presumed to have contained setae. The presence of both these features in the Mickwitzia shell suggests that the stock is a stem group brachiopod with a halkieriid ancestry.