Diminutive Ornate Micromitra Burgess Shale Brachiopod

Micromitra burgessensis

Phylum Brachiopoda, Order Paterinata, Family Paterinatidae

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

Size (25.4mm=1 inch): 1.5 mm long

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

Micromitra burgessensisDThis small brachipod is known as Micromitra burgessensisa, a member of the inarticulate brachiopods Paterinidae They are a small group of linguliforms that seem to be only distantly related to other brachiopods. Several have been found attached to other organisms like the sponge Pirania, indicative of an epibenthic lifestyle which some researchers believe may have been a symbiotic relationship. Note the ornate decoration to the shell, a distinctive feature of the taxon.

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