The earliest record of terrestrial animals in Gondwana: A scorpion from the Famennian (Late Devonian) Witpoort Formation of South Africa

R. W. Gess

Abstract


The new genus and species, Gondwanascorpio emzantsiensis, are described in Scorpiones incertae se­dis on the basis of fragments from the Famennian (Late Devonian) Waterloo Farm locality near Grahams­town, Eastern Cape, South Africa. This finding adds to the sparse record of Late Devonian scorpion taxa and provides the first evidence of Palaeozoic scorpions from Gondwana. Material includes a complete chela with associated pa­tella as well as a telson with associated metasomal segment V, resembling those of the Mesoscorpionina. This is the first record of a scorpion occurring at high latitudes. Its close resemblance to con­temporary taxa from Laurasia and China is consistent with evidence from the type locality for increasingly uni­form terrestrial ecosystems by the end of the Devonian, characterised by cosmopolitan plant genera such as the pro­gymnosperm tree Archaeopteris. In part, this may reflect increasing proximity between Lau-rasia and Gond­wana towards the end of the Devonian. These specimens also provide the earliest record of terrestrial animals in Gondwana.

To cite this paper: Gess, R.W. 2013. The earliest record of terrestrial animals in Gondwana: A scorpion from the Famennian (Late Devonian) Witpoort Formation of South Africa. African Invertebrates 54 (2): 373–379.

Published electronically: 28 August 2013
urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:3AB38140-A23F-45A6-9CF0-E470A21A950B


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