Well-Preserved Eocrinoid From The Kaili Biota
Cambrian Explosion Echinoderm

Name: Echinodermata; Eocrinidae; Sinoeocrinus sp. (Chengjiang)

Age: Early to Middle Cambrian

Size (25.4mm=1 inch): 25 mm long by 8 mm wide on a 50 mm by 52 mm matrix

Location: Kaili Formation, Taijiang County, Guizhou, China

Sinoeocrinus EocrinoidDescription: The Kaili Biota of Guiznou Province China, like the fantastic Chengjiang and Burgess Shale Fauna, preserve some the of the earliest radiations of complex life known on the planet. The formation is some 220 m in thickness and spans the late Early to Early Middle Cambrian. The Kaili Fauna includes both soft-bodied and skeletonized animals, and is dominated by trilobites. There are also a number of eocrinoid Echinoderms, with two members of the gogiid genus Sinoeocrinus predominating. Some 3000 specimens comprising two species are known worldwide. The Echinoderms remained a modest component of the Cambrian biota until favorable environmental shifts allowed for a rapid radiation. Many seem to have had no holdfast to anchor them to the substrate. When hard substrates became more common, the eocrinoids were able to exploit their advantage. The rapid rise of the echinoderms that occurred during the Ordovician included the appearance of the first true crinoids. This eocrinoid is one of the basal progenitors of that Echinoderm radiation. The presence of Burgess Shale–like fauna over a large part of southwestern China shows that the faunal community was quite cosmopolitan in nature, indicating that preservation was more of a factor in finding these concentrations of animals than was the existence of isolated communities suitable for harboring these myriad life forms.

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