Burgess Shale Naraoia compacta

Naraoia compacta

Phylum Arthropoda, Order Naraoiidae

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

Size: Fossil is 24 mm long X 13 mm wide

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

Naraoia compactaDescription: Naraoia compacta is an arthropod found in the Burgess Shale Fauna of British Columbia. It is the only taxon from the region known from both single and multiple examples that presumably succumbed together. It was presumably a benthic organism that made a living walking on the seafloor, using its limbs to sir up the bottom Soft Bodied Trilobite sediment It is the type species of a genus also found in deposits in Utah and Nevada. An older species C. spinosa and the closely-related Misszhouia longicaudata are known from the Chengjiang Biota of China. It has a non-calcified exoskeleton, hence the appellation “soft-bodied trilobite”. This one shows wrinkles in the exoskeleton indicative of its soft nature. This wonderful example shows incredible detail for a specimen more than a half billion years of age. Naraoia compacta is also quite rare in the Stephen Formation: for each 1000 Burgess specimens only 3 are Naraoia.

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