Primitive Archisaccophyllia Chengjiang Sea Anemone Pair

Archisaccophyllia kunmingensis

Phylum Cnidaria

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

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Archisaccophyllia fossil is 10 mm and 15 mm long on a 60 mm by 40 mm matrix.

Fossil Site: Chengjiang Maotianshan Shale, Quiongzhusi Section, Yu’anshan Member, Heilinpu Formation, Mafang Village, Anning, Kunming, Yunnan Province, China

Fossil Code: CJF1237

Price: Sold

Archisaccophyllia kunmingensisDescription: This is an example of the incredible diversity of early life known from the Chengjiang Biota. The diversity of soft-tissue fossils is astonishing: algae, medusiforms, sponges, priapulids, annelid-like worms, echinoderms, arthropods (including trilobites), hemichordates, chordates, and the first agnathan fish make up just a small fraction of the total. Numerous problematic forms are known as well, some of which Archisaccophylliamay have represented failed attempts at diversity that did not persist to the present day. The original describers believe it is an early Cnidaian, a sea anemone much like those to come later. The striated stem and rounded base are indeed evocative of such an assignment. This specimen is known as Archisaccophyllia kunmingensis, and differs from Xianguangia by virtue of less tentacles (typically 12 vs 16) and a more flexible body. Indeed while both have been considered Cnidarians, the describers of this taxon feel Xianguagia is not an actinarian. Archisaccophyllia seemed to be a gregarious animal; a single colony of 15 m2 was found to possess over 350 individuals. This example shows two of these colonial animals.

Reference: Lethaia, Vol 38 pp 193-203 (2005).

Also see: Chengjiang Biota Chengjiang Fossils

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