THE WAUKESHA BIOTA: AN UNUSUAL GLIMPSE OF LIFE ON A SILURIAN CARBONATE PLATFORM
Biomineralizing animals common in the Waukesha Biota include trilobites, conulariids, and Sphenothallus (holdfasts). Echinoderms, cephalopods, brachiopods, gastropods, bivalves, bryozoans, and corals, which are normally common in Silurian shelf lithofacies, are extremely rare or unknown. Non-biomineralizing or lightly skeletized arthropods, worms, and graptolites are common. Chordates and lobopods are present.
The Waukesha Lagerstätte could be considered as providing a skewed view of biodiversity in the Silurian. However, its existence was the result of specific taphonomic processes related to localized and unusual depositional conditions. Many of the taxa in this biota are represented by similar organisms in other less well-known Silurian Lagerstätten. Instead of a skewed view, the Waukesha Biota provides evidence of what was likely the true diversity found in Silurian shallow shelf environments of Laurentia.