BIZARRE Muesum Odaraia alata Burgess Shale Arthropod

Odaraia alata

Phylum Arthropoda, Family Odariidae

Geological Time: Early Cambrian, (~520 million years ago)

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Fossil is 76 mm overall including eyes, body 33 mm deep on a 135 mm by 63 mm matrix

Fossil Site: Stephen Formation, Burgess Shale, Burgess Pass, British Columbia, Canada

Fossil Code: JH40

Price: $16,495.00


Odaraia alata FossilDescription: One of the most unusual of Burgess Shale arthropods is Odaraia alata. It had an enormous pair of eyes which presumably allowed it to locate prey items and avoid predators. The tubular shelled body, which was open on both ends, would have allowed it to capture floating prey items. It was an active swimmer as attested by the flukes in the telson. It is thought to have swum upside-down as shown in the photographs in order to minimize drag. The restoration shows it in the upright posture simply to make it easier to see. As in all Burgess specimens, this one has a reflective plane. When held at the Odaraia Artproper angle, the reflective surface is seen as in the photographs. What makes this one unusual is the fact that the eyes themselves are roughly twice as bright as the body. This wonderful example shows incredible detail for a specimen more than a HALF BILLION years of age. Notice in addition to the eyes the outline of the tubular shell, the vertical tail fluke, and the hint of the limbs with. Coming from the famous Burgess Shale Fauna, this is a highly-desirable member which will make a fine addition to any collection of Cambrian Explosion fossils. It is also quite rare: for each 1000 Burgess specimens only 6 are Odaraia based upon a recent census of material housed in museum collections; even fewer are as complete as this excellent example. Since the location is now a World Heritage site only specimens from old collections such as this are available. I have never seen an example available commercially before.

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