Exceptionally preserved 450-million-year-old ordovician ostracods with brood care

Curr Biol. 2014 Mar 31;24(7):801-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.02.040. Epub 2014 Mar 13.


Ostracod crustaceans are the most abundant fossil arthropods and are characterized by a long stratigraphic range. However, their soft parts are very rarely preserved, and the presence of ostracods in rocks older than the Silurian period [1-5] was hitherto based on the occurrence of their supposed shells. Pyritized ostracods that preserve limbs and in situ embryos, including an egg within an ovary and possible hatched individuals, are here described from rocks of the Upper Ordovician Katian Stage Lorraine Group of New York State, including examples from the famous Beecher's Trilobite Bed [6, 7]. This discovery extends our knowledge of the paleobiology of ostracods by some 25 million years and provides the first unequivocal demonstration of ostracods in the Ordovician period, including the oldest known myodocope, Luprisca incuba gen. et sp. nov. It also provides conclusive evidence of a developmental brood-care strategy conserved within Ostracoda for at least 450 million years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crustacea / anatomy & histology
  • Crustacea / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fossils*
  • New York
  • Reproduction