Chengjiang Archisaccophyllia Primitive Sea Anemone with Lingulella

Archisaccophyllia kunmingensis

Phylum Cnidaria

Lingulella chengiangensis

Phylum Brachiopoda

Geological Time: Early Cambrian (~525 million years ago

Size (25.4mm=1 inch): Archisaccophyllia: 16 mm long, 5 mm across Lingulella 26 mm long, 4 mm across on a 110 mm by 55 mm matrix

Fossil Site: Chengjiang Maotianshan Shales - Quiongzhusi Section, Yu’anshan Member, Heilinpu Formation, Mafang Village, Anning, Kunming, Yunnan Province, China

Archisaccophyllia kunmingensisDescription: This is an example of the incredible diversity of early life known from the Chengjiang Biota. 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 mayLingulella have represented failed attempts at diversity that did not persist to the present day.

ArchisaccophylliaThe original describers believe it is an early Cnidaian, a sea anemone much like those to come later. The striated stem and rounded base are indeed evocative of such an assignment. This specimen is known as Archisaccophyllia kunmingensis, and differs from Xianguangia by virtue of less tentacles (typically 12 vs 16) and a more flexible body. Indeed while both have been considered Cnidarians, the describers of this taxon feel Xianguagia is not an actinarian. Archisaccophyllia seemed to be a gregarious animal; a single colony of 15 m2 was found to posess over 350 individuals. This specimen is found in association with a Lingullela brachiopod.

Reference: Lethaia, Vol 38 pp 193-203 (2005).

Also see: Chengjiang Biota List Chengjiang Fossils

click fossil pictures to enlarge

Archisaccophyllia kunmingensis
Lingulella chengiangensis
Archisaccophyllia kunmingensis
Lingulella chengiangensis

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