Public Release: 

Newly discovered ancient arthropod lived hundreds of millions of years ago

Wiley

The Burgess Shale Formation, in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia, is one of the most famous fossil locations in the world. A recent Palaeontology study introduces a 508 million year old (middle Cambrian) arthropod--called Yawunik kootenayi--from exceptionally preserved specimens of the new Marble Canyon locality within the Burgess Shale Formation.

Its frontal appendage--the "megacheiran great appendage"--is remarkably adorned with teeth, emphasizing an advanced predatory function. The appendage also had long hair-like flagella at the end that likely served a sensory function.

"Yawunik illustrates unique attributes in the early evolution of the most successful group of animals on Earth - the arthropods. It shows that the combination of functions on a single, frontal-most appendage was a type of strategy selected for before the grasping and sensory roles were ensured by different head limbs," said lead author and PhD candite Cédric Aria.

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