Ercaicunia multinodosa Rare Arthropod from Chengjiang BiotA

With Preserved Antennae

Ercaicunia multinodosa

Phylum Arthropoda

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

Size: 8 mm long

Fossil Site: Chengjiang Maotianshan Shales, Quiongzhusi Section, Yu’anshan Member, Heilinpu Formation, Anning, Chengjiang County, Yunnan Province, China.

Ercaicunia multinodosaDescription: This unusual arthropod is known as Ercaicunia multinodosa. The species is known mostly from the thin-shelled carapace, with this one coming from the most famous location of all, Maotianshan (Mao Tian Hill), site of the discovery of the Chengjiang Biota by Hou Xian-guang in 1984. 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.Ercaicunia

The systematic position of this taxon has undergone several revisions. It was established as the sole member of the Family Clypercarididae, and was originally known from only one specimen. Those from Chengjiang have been called Ercaicunia multinodosa, but some scientists believe that to be a junior synonym of Clypecaris. It differs from the more common genus Waptia in having a higher number of body segments. While the species is known from other Lower Cambrian locations such as Haikou, those from the Chengjiang Biota are rare, and are known to show the best soft part preservation (notice the gut line,segmentation, and most rare of all: antennae), making it a highly desirable specimen of a rare taxon.

click fossil images to enlarge


l Fossil Mall Home l Fossils Science Section l