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New fossil assemblages from the Early Ordovician Fezouata Biota

Saleh, Farid; Vaucher, Romain; Vidal, Muriel; Hariri, Khadija El; Laibl, Lukáš; Daley, Allison C.; Gutiérrez-Marco, Juan Carlos; Candela, Yves; Harper, David A.T.; Ortega-Hernández, Javier; Ma, Xiaoya; Rida, Ariba; Vizcaïno, Daniel; Lefebvre, Bertrand

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Farid Saleh

Romain Vaucher

Muriel Vidal

Khadija El Hariri

Lukáš Laibl

Allison C. Daley

Juan Carlos Gutiérrez-Marco

Yves Candela

Javier Ortega-Hernández

Xiaoya Ma

Ariba Rida

Daniel Vizcaïno

Bertrand Lefebvre


The Fezouata Biota (Morocco) is a unique Early Ordovician fossil assemblage. The discovery of this biota revolutionized our understanding of Earth’s early animal diversifications—the Cambrian Explosion and the Ordovician Radiation—by suggesting an evolutionary continuum between both events. Herein, we describe Taichoute, a new fossil locality from the Fezouata Shale. This locality extends the temporal distribution of fossil preservation from this formation into the upper Floian, while also expanding the range of depositional environments to more distal parts of the shelf. In Taichoute, most animals were transported by density flows, unlike the in-situ preservation of animals recovered in previously investigated Fezouata sites. Taichoute is dominated by three-dimensionally preserved, and heavily sclerotized fragments of large euarthropods—possibly representing nektobenthic/nektic bivalved taxa and/or hurdiid radiodonts. Resolving whether this dominance reflects a legitimate aspect of the original ecosystem or a preservational bias requires an in-depth assessment of the environmental conditions at this site. Nevertheless, Taichoute provides novel preservational and palaeontological insights during a key evolutionary transition in the history of life on Earth.


Saleh, F., Vaucher, R., Vidal, M., Hariri, K. E., Laibl, L., Daley, A. C., …Lefebvre, B. (2022). New fossil assemblages from the Early Ordovician Fezouata Biota. Scientific Reports, 12(1), Article 20773.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 23, 2022
Online Publication Date Dec 13, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Feb 20, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 20, 2023
Journal Scientific Reports
Publisher Nature Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 1
Article Number 20773


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