Paucipodia inermis Pair, Lobopodians from Chengjiang
"velvet worms with legs"

Name: Phylum Lobopodia, Paucipodia inermis

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

Size: 33 mm and 15 mm long on 53 mm by 27 mm matrix

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

Paucipodia inermisLobopodians are small marine and terrestrial animals commonly called “velvet worms” or “worms with legs”. While all Recent forms are terrestrial, most fossil Lobopodians are marine, and are known primarily from the Cambrian. Six named Paucipodia inermisgenera, each with a single species, are known from the Chengjiang Maotianshan Shale, making the site the primary source of specimens.

Paucipodia inermis shown here as a pair is most unusual, and very rare. It was described from but four incomplete specimens, and was given the generic name Paucipodia (few feet) because it was believed to have three less pairs of legs than other Lobopodians. Subsequent specimens show pairs of legs. In addition, each leg has curved claws that are believed to have helped the animal crawl on other organisms; some have been found in close association with Eldonia, supporting this conjecture. Paucipodia resembles Aysheaia from the younger Burgess Shale.

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