With the discovery of the Chengjiang Biota by Hou Xian-guang in
1984, a window on a new view of what has been termed the Cambrian
Explosion 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 are known as well, some of which may have represented failed
attempts at diversity that did not persist to the present day.
unusual specimen is Chengjiangocaris, a taxon known from only a
handful of specimens. It is the only genus and species in the Family
Chegjiangocaridae, and is known only form the Chengjiang Biota.
Note an artist’s rendering of the specimen as it is thought
to have appeared in life.