Banffia confusa Enigmatic Vetucolia Fossil from Chengjiang Biota

Banffia confusa

Phylum Vetulicolia

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

Size: 60 mm long on a 105 mm by 60 mm matrix

Fossil Site: Chengjiang Maotianshan shales, Quiongzhusi Section, Yu’anshan Member, Heilinpu Formation, Haiyi Village, Anning, Yunnan Province, China

BanffiaThis unusual fossil is Banffia confusa, a member of the Vetulicolians, an enigmatic group that some scientists place in their own phylum (Phylum Vetulicolia). The Vetulicolians are thought to have been swimmers (notice the fine segmentation) that either were filter feeders or detritivores. One researcher places them with the Urochordates, giving them strong affinity with the Phylum Chordata. At present, there is no agreement as to their systematic placement.

This species is found only within the Chengjiang Biota, though the genus also is found in the Burgess Shale of British Columbia, Canada, as indicated by the place name (Banff in Canada) used to name the genus by Charles Doolittle Walcott in 1911.

Related interest: Chengjiang Biota, Chengjiang Fossils, Cambrian Explosion

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