Rare Luolishania longicruris Lobopodians from Maotianshan Shales

Luolishania longicruris

Phylum Lobopodia

Geological Time: Early Cambrian (~525 million years ago)

Size: 12 mm long each

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

Luolishania LobopodiansDescription: 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 Luolishania longicrurisof 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 Lobopodians are small marine and terrestrial animals termed colloquially “velvet worms” or “worms with legs”.Luolishania longicruris Lobopodian 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.

Also see: Chengjiang Biota List Chengjiang Fossils

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Luolishania Lobopodians Luolishania longicruris Luolishania longicruris Lobopodian
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