Large Kuamaia lata Chengjiang Arthropod Fossil

Kuamaia lata

Phylum Arthropoda

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

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Fossil is 57 mm long and 35 mm across on a 72 mm by 85 mm matrix

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

Code: CJF940

Price: $595.00 - sold


Kuamaia lataDescription: This unusual arthropod is known as Kuamai lata. The species is known from some 100 examples as of 2004, some of which show many exquisite details. With the discovery of the Chengjiang Biota in 1984 a window on the Cambrain Explosion in China was opened. 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 areknown as well, some of which may have represented failed attempts at diversity that did notKuamaia persist to the present day.

The taxon has a relatively wide and flat dorsal exoskeleton (hence the generic name) which is differentiated into a head shield, a thorax, and a pygidium. It bears some resemblance to the younger Burgess Shale genus Hemetia, which has led some to place them in the Helmetidae along with several other similar arthropods. The body shape suggests that Kuamaia was a benthic animal which was possibly carnivorous. The species is only known from the Chengjiang Biota. This one shows the segmentation clearly, and the eyespots are visible. While there is a repaired crack, it is nevertheless a fine example of the type, and is one of the larger specimens I have come across.

Also see: Chengjiang Biota Fauna List Chengjiang Fossils

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