Didontogaster cordylina Mazon Creek Polychaete Worm Fossil

Name: Didontogaster cordylina

Phylum: Annelida; Class Polychaeta

Geological Time: Pennsylvanian (~300 m.y.a.)

Size: 35 mm long on a 40 mm by 30 mm and 23 mm by 35 mm nodule pair

Fossil Site: Mazon Creek, Pit 11, Francis Creek shale, Morris, Illinois

Polychaete Worm FossilThe Polychaeta (Bristleworms) have a diverse representation in the Mazon Creek Lagerstätte. The segmented bodies of the Polychaeta have paired lobes called parapodia which have a function in locomotion or respiration. The parapodia bear numerous bristles that are the source of the name of the class (Polychaeta means many bristles). The polychaetes are thought to be paraphyletic, meaning they share a common ancestor. This Didontogaster is thought to have been a predatory species, as are many modern-day bristleworms. Its generic name means “two tooth stomach”, in reference to a pair of jaws that the worm had.

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