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The Kelso Mountains are a small, parched mountain range in the Mojave Desert.  Besides housing one of the two ghost towns of Kelso, these mountains have Early Cambrian and Late Precambrian aged shales.  The Cambrian shales house fossils of various redlichiid trilobites, echinoderms (Gogia and Helicoplacus), and cyanobacteria.  The Precambrian shales, in turn, house various “typical” ediacarans, such as proarticulatans like Dickinsonia, and charniomorphs such as Charnia.

A recent survey of Kelso ediacarans turned up three new species, two of which are confirmed as proarticulatans, one, not so much.

Reconstructed animal is about 9 millimeters

  • The first confirmed proarticulatan is Leiodickinsonia discoides.  This fingernail-esque organism has isomers much like those seen in its larger, better known relative,  Dickinsonia, though, in Leiodickinsonia, the boundaries of the isomers are smoothed over, to the point of being indistinct.
  • Reconstructed animal is 23 millimeters

    The second confirmed proarticulatan is Plusioplax verrucans, a form probably related to the White Sea Armillifera.  The isomers are large, bubble-like warts, with the rest of the surface being densely covered in tiny warts, giving the living organism an almost velvety appearance.

  • Reconstructed animal is about 19 millimeters

    The third species is  Leionotus corrugatus.  It has a strong resemblance to other proarticulatans, but, the center divide is large, and inflated.


So, “The Lost Monograph” is an art project of mine illustrating various arcane and poorly known prehistoric organisms.

I wonder if any of you out there can recognize any of them…