The discovery of the Chengjiang Biota by Hou Xian-guang in 1984
resulted in a clear window on what is known as the Cambrian Explosion.
The diversity of soft-tissue fossils is astonishing: algae, medusiforms,
priapulids, annelid-like worms, echinoderms, arthropods (including
trilobites), hemichordates, chordates, and the first agnathan
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.
Lobopodians are small marine and terrestrial animals termed colloquially
“velvet worms” or “worms with legs”. While
all Recent forms are terrestrial, most fossil
Lobopodians are marine, and are known primarily from the Cambrian.
Six named genera, each with a single species, are known from the
Chengjiang Biota, making it the richest source of fossils of the
type on Earth.. This is one of the most striking, and quite rare
of the Lobopodia; as of 2004, only SIX examples were known. A complete
specimen is thought to be 15 mm, so this one is typical. Each leg
bears curved claws which are thought to have served the creature
as an adaptation to crawling on other organisms. It has been found
in association with sponges. It is most closely related to Xenusion
from the Early Cambrian of Germany, and is unknown outside of Yunnan
Province. This fine example has incredible detail, with the long
legs in clear evidence.
Biota List Chengjiang