Large New Species Of Vetulicola, An Enigmatic Guanshan Biota Fossil

Vetulicola gangtoucunensis

Phylum Vetulicolia

Geological Time: Early Cambrian (~525 million years ago)

Size: 95 mm long

Fossil Site: Wulongqing Formation, Guanshan Member, Gang Tou Cun Village, Kunming, Yunnan Province, China - Just above the Chengjiang Chengjiang Maotianshan Shales

Vetulicola gangtoucunensis GuanshanDescription: This unusual fossil is a new species of Vetulicola, a member of the Vetulicolians, an enigmatic group which some scientists place in their own phylum (Phylum Vetulicolia). They are thought to have been swimmers that either were filter feeders or detritivores. One researcher places them with the Urochordates, Vetulicolagiving them strong affinity with the Phylum Chordata. At present, there is no agreement as to their systematic placement. This specimen comes from the strata immediately above the Chengjiang Boita, and is thus slightly younger, more closely contemporary with the Burgess Shale Fauna of British Columbia. This species is the third member of the genus, and was first found in 1997. The formal description did not issue until late 2006. The darkened areas are the gills. It is near complete, missing some of the abdomen where there is a repaired crack.

Also see: Chengjiang Fossils Chengjiang Biota

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