Huge Ottoia Priapulid Worm Fossil

Part and Counterpart

Ottoia (Priapulid Worm)

Class Archaeopriapulida, Family Ottoiidae

Geological Time: Middle Cambrian

Size: The Ottoia would be approximately 3 1/2” if outstretched), on a 9 x 3 ½” plate

Fossil Site: Marjum Formation, House Range, Utah

Fossil Code: PFO438

Price: $900.00

OttoiaDescription: Of great delight to the specialist collector are the rare Middle Cambrian finds of soft-bodied animals discovered in the Marjum and Wheeler Formations located in the House Range, Utah. (These are the equivalent of the world famous Burgess Shale soft-bodied fauna.) The fossils are best preserved in “Sponge Gully” and the “Marjum Flats” sections of the House Range. They are famous for their excellent preservation and unusual red, yellow and tan colors. When found, the fossil is often equally well preserved on both sides. This specimen is a case in point. It is approximately 98% complete, showing fine detail.

Ottoia is divided into an anterior proboscis and a posterior trunk region. The proboscis is seen here everted, with the scalids (hook-like spines), which it presumably used to capture prey showing. It is known to be a carnivore as examples have been found with several members of the hyolithid Haplophrentis found in the gut. It is sometimes found in a U-shaped orientation, presumably in its life pose (see artist’s rendering). It is not believed to be closely related to any other priapulid, and thus has been assigned to its own family, the Ottoidae. Described by Walcoot in 1911, it is well known from Canada's Burgess Shale.

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