Leanchoilia illecebrosa Arthropod from Chengjiang

Leanchoilia illecebrosa (Chengjiang)

Phylum Arthropoda

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

Size: 12 mm long on a 30 mm by 26 mm matrix pair

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

Leanchoilia illecebrosaDescription: This unusual arthropod is known as Leanchoilia. The taxon is known from a number of locations The diversity of soft-tissue fossils is astonishing: algae, medusiforms, sponges, priapulids, annelid-like worms, echinoderms, arthropods (including Leanchoilia illecebrosatrilobites), 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.

LeanchoiliaThis specimen is a member of the “great appendage arthropods” known as the opabinids after Opabinia from the Burgess Shale Fauna. Other members from Chengjiang are Jianfengia and Alalcomenaeus (see my other offerings for examples). The exceptional detail of the appendages are readily apparent in this fine specimen, and are indicative of the fact that this was a strong swimmer. This is an exceptional juvenile specimen, preserved here as a part/counterpart pair.

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