Radiodonts were cosmopolitan and diverse stem-euarthropods that have been generally regarded as the apex Cambrian predators. Four major groups have been distinguished including tamisiocaridids, primarily based on the endite features of the frontal appendages. Anomalocaris saron Hou, Bergström and Ahlberg, 1995, one of the most well-known radiodonts in the Chengjiang Lagerstätte, is generally treated as a member of the Family Anomalocarididae. New anatomical evidence reported here, allied with the data of microcomputed tomography (CT) shows that the endites in A. saron are paired, much longer than the height of associated podomeres, and furnished with multiple slender distal auxiliary spines. These new observations allow us to reassign A. saron to a new genus, Houcaris gen. nov., and strongly support its tamisiocaridid affinities rather than anomalocaridid as previously suggested. Houcaris saron, thus, represents the first tamisiocaridid species known from South China, as well as the oldest tamisiocaridid in the fossil record (Cambrian Stage 3). Our occurrence data, coupled with other distribution of tamisiocaridids, demonstrate that this group is restricted to the early Cambrian (Series 2), and occur across South China, Laurentia and eastern Gondwana within tropics/subtropics belt, indicating a possible climatic control on their distribution. Moreover, these tamisiocaridid records documented in several Konservat Lagerstätten suggest an ecological preference to shallow water environment with well-oxygenated sea bottom conditions.
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We are grateful to Meirong Cheng, Cong Liu, Shu Chai and Juanping Zhai at the Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Early Life and Environments for joining in the fieldwork and the technical assistance. We deeply appreciate the editor-in-chief Mike Reich (SNSB-BSPG Munich) and one anonymous reviewer for their thoughtful and constructive comments which greatly improved this manuscript. We also would like to thank Hao Yun for discussion. Special thanks go to Daowen Lv and Xi Liu (Northwest University Museum) for their contribution to the reconstruction artwork, and Jie Sun and Yifei Sun for scanning the fossils. This research was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (41930319, 41772011, 41720104002, 41890844, 41621003), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDB26000000), and 111 Project (D17013).
Handling editor: Mike Reich.
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Wu, Y., Fu, D., Ma, J. et al. Houcaris gen. nov. from the early Cambrian (Stage 3) Chengjiang Lagerstätte expanded the palaeogeographical distribution of tamisiocaridids (Panarthropoda: Radiodonta). PalZ 95, 209–221 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12542-020-00545-4