Exceptional Lobopodian Cardiodictyon catenulum from Chengjiang Biota
With Preserved Head and Legs

Cardiodictyon catenulum

Superphlum Lophotrochozoa; Phylum Lobopodia

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

Size: Cardiodictyon: 26 mm long

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


Lobopodian Cardiodictyon catenulum from Chengjiang BiotaThe Lobopodians are small marine and terrestrial animals colloquially called “velvet worms” or “worms with legs”. While all Recent forms are terrestrial, most fossil Lobopodian Cardiodictyon catenulumLobopodians are marine, and are known primarily from the Cambrian. Six named genera, each with a single species, are known from the Chengjiang Biota, making it the richest source of fossils of the type on Earth. This is one of the most striking, and quite rare. As of 2004, well less than 100 specimens were known. A complete Cardiodictyon possesses 23 – 25 angular paired sclerites, each pair of which is associated with a pair of legs. Each leg has curved claws that are thought to have served the creature as an adaptation for crawling on other organisms. Cardiodictyon is most closely related to Aysheaia from the younger Burgess Shale, and is unknown outside of Yunnan Province. This fine example has incredible detail, with most of the myriapod - like legs clearly evidence. The animals head is similarly well preserved.

Also see: Living fossils

click fossil pictures to enlarge

Fossil Museum Navigation:
Geological Time Paleobiology Geological History Tree of Life
Fossil Sites Fossils Evolution Fossil Record Museum Fossils