ABSTRACT: A diverse assemblage of early Silurian agglutinated foraminifera is described from the transitional facies between the Qusaiba and Sharawra Formations of theQalibah Group of Saudi Arabia. The agglutinated foraminiferal assemblage consists of 73 species belonging to 24 genera, and is found in in dark graptolite-bearing claystone of Aeronian age. The assemblage is highly diverse compared with coeval early Silurian assemblages reported from Europe and North America. The assemblage is comprisedmainly of species belonging to the monothalamid genera Saccammina, Psammosphaera, Lagenammina, Thurammina, Thuramminoides, Amphitremoida, Bathysiphon, Rhabdammina, and the tubothalamid genera Hyperammina, Tolypammina and Turritellella. The new species Thuramminoides ellipsoidalis n. sp. is described herein, but many of the species left in open nomenclature are also likely to be new. The assemblage also includes rare specimens belonging to the globothalamid (lituolid) genera Ammobaculites and Simobaculites. This new finding revises our understanding of the early evolution of the multichambered globothalamid foraminifera. Although the simple multichambered with rectilinear chamber arrangement are known from the Ordovician, our new findings show that the coiled globothalamids belonging to the order Lituolida are older than previously thought, and were already present in Gondwana by about 440 Ma.
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