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A trigonotarbid arachnid from the Upper Silurian of Shropshire

Jason A. Dunlop
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL UK

A trigonotarbid (Arachnida: Trigonotarbida) from the oldest known terrestrial ecosystem (Silurian, Prídolí Series) of Ludford Lane, Shropshire, UK is described as Eotarbus jerami gen. et sp. nov., and is the earliest known non-scorpion arachnid. This specimen predates Rhynie Chert and Gilboa trigonotarbids which show more plesiomorphic characters, and is similar to some early Devonian trigonotarbids from Alken an der Mosel and other German localities of similar age. Eotarbus jerami is too poorly preserved to be assigned unequivocally to a family, but most closely resembles the Trigonotarbidae. Eotarbus is interpreted as a plesion and is probably sister group to all trigonotarbids with triangular carapaces lacking lateral eyes.

Palaeontology, 39, 605-614 (1996)

Author's comments:

Important: Eophrynus turned out to be a preoccupied name, belonging to an unidentifiable fossil thing from the Coal Measures just to make me even more pissed off, and so this thing will have to be renamed. It's still one of the world's oldest land animals, which is nice.
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