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Keywords:

  • Coelo-scleritophora;
  • Halkieriidae;
  • Siphogonuchitidae Mollusca;
  • Aplacophora;
  • Polyplacophora;
  • spicule;
  • shell;
  • bio-mineralization;
  • evolution;
  • Cambrian

The recent discovery of large shells. growing by accretion, in the scleritome of the coeloscleritophoran Halkieria Poulsen, 1967, prompts the reconsideration of a number of cap-shaped shells in the Lower Cambrian. The scaly shells of Maikhanella Zhegallo, 1982. from Mongolia provide a good starting point, mce they occur together with spicules of siphogonuchitid type and appear to be composed of merged spicules. The shells are phosphatired and consist of two main elements: spicules, typically filled with phosphate. and an intermediate matrix. The associated loose spicules belong to forms that have served as the basis for erection of the genera Siphogonuchites Qian. 1977, and Lopochites Qian, 1977. Maikhanella is prohdbly a junior synonym of one or both of the latter two genera, but taxonomic revision is suspended until the type material of these siphogonuchitid genera has been restudied. and all three genera are left as sciotaxa. Various cap-shaped shells and plates in the Chinese Meishucunian are reinterpreted as shells belonging to coeloscleritophornn scleritoines. Maikhanella shells were formed through the embedding of spicules in secondary calcareous shell zubstance. The skeletogenesis has several similarities with that of molluscs, and together with the polyplacophoran-like features of the Halkieria scleritome this forces a reconsideration of the phylogenetic relationships between coeloscleritophorans and molluscs