Putative Echinoderm Fossil Cotyledion from Chengjiang Biota

Name: Echinodermata (?); Cotyledion tylodes

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

Size (25.4mm=1 inch): 15 mm long, 5 mm across on a 40 mm by 29 mm matrixx

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

Cotyledion tylodes chengjiang While some researchers place this Chengjiang fossil in the Problematica, others believe it is an early echinoderm much like the crinoids that flourished later in the Paleozoic. The calyx-like cap and stem are indeed evocative of such an assignment, perhaps more than some sort of convergent evolution. Whatever the correct assignment, this is a most taxon is a most unusual member of the Chengjiang biota.

click fossil pictures to enlarge

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