Rare Corynetis brevis Priapulid Worm Fossil from Chengjiang

Name: Priapulida; Corynetis brevis

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

Size (25.4mm=1 inch): 24 mm long (if straightened) on a 37 mm by 30 mm matrix

Fossil Site: Chengjiang Biota - Quiongzhusi Section, Yu’anshan Member, Heilinpu Formation, Mafang, Anning, Kunming, Yunnan Province, China

Corynetis brevis Priapulid Worm Fossil from ChengjiangDescription: This is an example of the priapulid worm Corynetis brevis. The species is known from very few specimens, with the taxon named after, Maotianshan (Mao Tian Hill), site of the discovery of the Chengjiang Biota by Hou Xian-guang in 1984. The intestine is often preserved as a dark film, indicative of its deposit-feeding lifestyle. 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 may have represented failed attempts at diversity that did not persist to the present day. The species derives its name from its small size; this one is the largest I have seen to date. The fine example preserved here in exquisite detail makes this a highly unique specimen of life from 525 million years ago.

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