An early isocrinid sea lily from the middle to late Anisian boundary (Middle Triassic) of south-west China – evidence for a far-east Tethyan origin of the family Isocrinidae



Abstract:  The isocrinid sea lily Tyrolecrinus wugangi sp. nov. from uppermost middle to lowermost upper Anisian (lower Middle Triassic) strata of Leidapo near Qingyan, Guizhou Province, south-west China, provides new data on the early phylogeny of the order Isocrinida. The new species is the earliest unequivocal representative of the family Isocrinidae. It predates all other known species of the genus Tyrolecrinus that come from upper Ladinian to Rhaetian strata and also all other known taxa of the Isocrinidae. Nevertheless, its stem is of fully developed isocrinid type and is characteristic of the genus, with consistently synostosial, rarely cryptosymplectial, distal nodal articular facets. These findings indicate that the Isocrinidae evolved prior to the late middle Anisian in the far-eastern part of the Palaeotethys ocean, perhaps in the region forming today’s south-west China, and spread to various other regions later in the Middle and Late Triassic. The genus Tyrolecrinus is revised and the new genus Bakonycrinus gen. nov. is erected.