Hyolithid Linevitus billingsi Pair from Chengjiang

Name: Hyolitha; Linevitus billingsi (Chengjiang)

Age: Early Cambrian (~525 million years ago)

Size (25.4mm=1 inch): 22 mm long, 5 mm wide and 25 mm long, 5 mm wide on a 51 mm by 23 mm matrix

Location: Quiongzhusi Section, Yu’anshan Member, Heilinpu Formation, Yuxi, Chengjiang County, Yunnan Province, China

Linevitus billingsiDescription: The discovery of the Chengjiang Biota by Hou Xian-guang in 1984 brought to light an exceptional largerstatte of the time known as the Cambrian Explosion. 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. Hyolithid Chengjiang

This is a member of the Hyolitha, a phylum with problematic affinities, thought to be related to the mollusks. They are thought to have lived on the substrate, resting on the flatter side of the shell for stability. The two stabilizing structures are termed the Helens (named by C.D Walcott of Burgess Shale fame for his daughter). While Hyolthids are a common fossil of the Chengjiang Biota, many have not been described. This one is a member of the genus Linevitus. Notice that the pair of shells are aligned, possibly indicating orientation by the turbidity current that carried them to their death.

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