Unusual Arthropod from Chengjiang Biota
"Part and Counterpart"
Time: Early Cambrian (~525 million years ago)
mm long on a 35 mm by 25 mm matrix pair
Site: Chengjiang Maotianshan Shales - Quiongzhusi Section, Yu’anshan
Member, Heilinpu Formation, Mafang Village, Haikou County, Yunnan Province,
This unusual arthropod is known as Fuxianhuia protensa. The species
is known from several hundred examples, with this one a part/counterpart
pair . 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.
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 is still under
debate, with some considering it a basal euarthropod. The discoverer
of the Chengjiang Biota and a coworker erected a new family and
a new superclass called Proschizoramia which was characterized as
a group at any early stage in the evolution of arthropods with biramous
limbs. As a positive/negative pair, it is a highly desirable specimen.
The taxon is unknown outside the Chengjiang Biota.
fossil pictures to enlarge
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