Selkirkia elongata Priapulid Worm Fossil from Chengjiang
"fossils of the Cambrian Explosion"

Name: Selkirkia elongata (Chengjiang Maotianshan Shale)

Age: Early Cambrian (~525 million years ago)

Size (25.4mm=1 inch): 37 mm long on a 60 mm by 27 mm matrix

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

Selkirkia elongata chengjiangDescription: This unusual member of the Priapulida is known as Selkirkia elongata. This one comes 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. The priapulids are a group of non-segmented works whose modern-day examples can reach 30 cm in length, and live in both shallow and deep marine sands as carnivores. The terminal mouth bears cone-shaped projections called scalids by which the worm would snare its prey. Ther elongated tube which serves as the source of the name of the species presumably was held nearly vertically in the substrate with just the tip protruding into the water column. This taxon is only known from Chengjiang.

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