Guangweicaris spinatus, New Arthropod from Guanshan Fauna

Guangweicaris spinatus

Phylum Arthropoda, Class and Order Incertae sedis, Family Guangweicarididae

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

Size: 40 mm

Fossil Site: Guanshan Fauna, Lower most part of Wulongqing Formation, Gangtoucun Village, Kunming City, Yunnan Province, China - Near and similar to the Chengjiang Biota

Guangweicaris spinatus  arthropodThis unusual arthropod is known as Guangweicaris spinatus. The genus was described early this year from some 100 specimens discovered in April 2006, and comes from what has been termed the “Guanshan Guangweicaris Fauna”, found in the Wulongqing Formation. The Guanshan Fauna shares many genera with the slightly older Chengjiang Biota, but differs at the species level. With the discovery of the Chengjiang Biota in 1984 a window on the Cambiain Explosion in China was opened.

The fauna has only been studied for since 2001, so many more unusual taxa are probably yet to be discovered. The species name spinatus derives from the spines present on the tergites and abdomen. Its precise placement as to Class and Order remain uncertain until more specimens with soft parts and appendages preserved can be found.

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