Name: Jianfengia multisegmentalis
Cambrian Qiongzhusi Section, Yu'anshan Member, Heilinpu Formation
(~525 million years ago)
Size (25.4mm=1 inch):
25 mm long on a 50 mm by 55 mm and 30 mm by 50 mm matrix
Maotianshan Hill, Yuxi, Chengjiang County,
Yunnan Province, China
This unusual arthropod is known as Jianfengia multisegmentalis.
The species is known from very few examples (Hou's most recent book
states about TEN), with this one 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.
specimen is a member of the "great appendage arthropods"
known as the opabinids after Opabinia from the Burgess Shale Fauna.
Jianfengia was the most primitive of the opabinids. Other members
from Chengjiang are Alalcomeaeus and Leanchoilia. The pointed endopods
are thought to have been poorly suited for walking; perhaps this
one swam just above the seafloor in a search for prey. The taxon
is unknown outside the Chengjiang Biota. This is a truly exceptional
specimen, one that few will ever be able to hold in a collection,
whether private or that of a museum.