Burgess Shale Priapulid Ottoia

Ottoia prolifica

Phylum Priapulida, Family Ottoidae

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

Size: 40 mm long by 6 mm wide

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

Ottoia prolificaThis is a member of the Burgess Shale priapulid fauna known as Ottoia prolofica. It is divided into an anterior proboscis and a posterior trunk region. The proboscis is seen here everted, with the hook-like spines which it presumably used to capture prey Priapulid Wormshowing. It is known to be a carnivore as examples have been found with several members of the hyolithid Haplophrentis found in the gut. It is sometimes found in a U-shaped orientation, presumably in its life pose (see artist’s rendering). It is not believed to be closely related to any other priapulid, and thus has been assigned to its own family, the Ottoidae.

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