Spectacular Burgess Shale Marrella splendens

Marella splendens

Phylum Arthropoda, Order Marrellomorpha

Geologic Time: Early Cambrian (~520 million years ago)

Size (25.4m=1 inch): 17 mm long X 15 mm wide on a 55 mm by 50 mm matrix

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

Burgess Shale Marrella splendensDescription: Marella splendens was discovered by C.D. Walcott and given the informal field name of “lace crab”. The strange head shield possesses 2 pairs of large curving spines. While the anterior pair project out to the sides, the posterior pair extend rearwards the entire length of the body. The numerous body segments Marella splendenspossess identical biramous appendages whose feathery filaments were involved in respiration. It was presumably a benthic organism that made a living swimming just above the seafloor. This wonderful example shows all the major features of the taxon in incredible detail for a specimen more than a HALF BILLION years of age. 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. The dark stain projecting from the posterior of the specimen is a consequence of fluids that leaked out of the Marrella post-mortem.

click fossil pictures to enlarge



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