Burgess Shale Marrella splendens

Marella splendens

Phylum Arthropoda, Order Marrellomorpha

Geologic Time: Early Cambrian (~520 million years ago)

Size: 10 mm long by 12 mm wide on a 26 mm by 40 mm matrix

Fossil Site: Burgess Shale, Stephen Formation, Burgess Pass, British Columbia, Canada

Burgess Shale Marrella splendensMarella splendens was discovered by Charles Doolittle Walcott and given the informal field name “lace crab”. The strange head shield possesses twp pair of large curving spines. An anterior pair project out to the sides, and a posterior pair extends toward the rear the entire length of the body. The numerous body segments possess identical biramous appendages with feathery filaments that were used in respiration. Marella ostensibly was a benthic animal that made a living by swimming just above the seafloor. This wonderful example shows all the major features of the taxon in incredible detail. It is an exemplar for the famous Burgess Shale Fauna, and the Cambrian Explosion fossils.

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