Museum Quality Chengjiang Biota Arthropod Clypecaris pteroidea

Clypecaris pteroidea

Phylum Arthropoda

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

Size (25.4mm=1 inch): 13 mm long by 6 mm wide on a 75 mm by 63 mm matrix

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

Clypecaris pteroideaDescription: This unusual arthropod is known as Clypecaris pteroidea The species is known mostly from the thin-shelled carapace. This one is quite exceptional in that the antennae, gut trace and limbs posterior to the carapace are all present.

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 systematic position of this taxon has undergone several revisions. It was established as the sole member of the Family Clypercarididae, and was originally known from only one specimen. Those from Chengjiang have often been called Ercaicunia multinodosa, but some scientists believe that to be a junior synonym of Clypecaris while others place Clypecaris as a separate genus. It differs from the more common genus Waptia in having a higher number of body segments. Whatever the exact statsu of this taxon, this is a most exceptional example.

Also see: Chengjiang Biota

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