2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM


DONOVAN, Stephen K., Department of Palaeontology, National Natuurhistorisch Museum, Darwinweg 2, Postbus 9517, Leiden, NL-2300 RA, LEWIS, David N., Department of Palaeontology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, England, FEARNHEAD, Fiona E., School of Earth Sciences, Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet Street, Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 7HX, England and WIDDISON, Rosanne E., 15, Manor Close, Notton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF4 2NH, donovan@naturalis.nnm.nl

After the Lower Carboniferous, the greatest diversity of crinoids in the Paleozoic of the British Isles is undoubtedly in the Silurian, yet the only comprehensive account of this fauna remains unpublished. W.H.C. Ramsbottom, better known for his work on Carboniferous stratigraphy, studied the Ordovician and Silurian crinoids of the British Isles for his Ph.D. (University of London, 1954). His monograph of the Ordovician crinoids appeared in 1961, yet only a fraction of his Silurian work was published as separate papers during the 1950s and early 1960s. The lack of a single monographic reference or comprehensive field guide to the Silurian crinoids is the most obvious gap in the literature of the British and Irish echinoderms.

More recent studies have filled in some of the ‘gaps' in Ramsbottom's data and re-examined some of his systematic studies. Most particularly, the Llandovery crinoids, and their recovery after the end Ordovician extinction, have received renewed attention, such as those from the Rhuddanian of southwest Wales and Brower's description of the Telychian fauna from the Pentland Hills. There are still well-preserved specimens in museums awaiting adequate description and new specimens are being discovered in the field, yet perhaps the greatest untapped potential lies in the undescribed accumulations of disarticulated ossicles (F.E.F., research in progress).

The diverse and justly famous crinoids of the Much Wenlock Limestone Formation of the Dudley area were described mainly during the 19th and early 20th century, yet there is no comprehensive guide to this fauna. However, R.E.W. has revised most groups (excluding disparids) for her Ph.D. (University of Birmingham, 2001), which is awaiting publication. Although Ramsbottom did publish an account of the Ludlow crinoids, this failed to include description of locally abundant Scyphocrinites accumulations.

We consider two developments desirable. S.K.D. and D.N.L. have written a pocket guide to the British Silurian Echinodermata (although we still have to find a publisher!). However, a monographic study is a must and remains the long term goal of the authors, building on the legacy of Ramsbottom's original study.