Parapaleomerus, An Extremely Rare Arthropod from Chengjiang

Name: Parapaleomerus sinensis

Phylum Arthropoda

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

Size: 28 mm long and 17 mm across on a 38 mm by 31 mm matrix

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

Parapaleomerus sinensisThis exceptionally rare arthropod is known as Parapaleomerus sinensis. The species was known fromParapaleomerus only THREE examples as of the publication of Hou’s book in 2004. Parapaleomerus is similar to Paleomerus (hence the name), and may indeed be the same genus. Paleomerus is regarded by some researchers as a basal chelicerate. Parapaleomerus sinensis has morphological characteristics similar to Burgess Shale and Marjum Formation (Utah) arachnomorphs Emeraldella and Molaria, but does not possess the long telson of those taxa. Since only the shell is known, the appendages in the artist’s rendering above are conjecture.

click fossil images to enlarge

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