Creature from the Black Lagoon

Looking like something from a Hollywood alien film, and with one end like an elephant’s trunk, and no clear indication of whether this was the head or tail end, this strange fossilized ‘worm-like animal with legs’ lived in the ancient seas of South China.  The animal is part of a bonanza of some 250 different fossil organisms that are preserved, uniquely, with their soft anatomy including brains, guts and hairy legs.  Mummified in rock for more than 500 million years, these fossils are a high fidelity record of one of Earth’s earliest animal-rich ecosystems.


(image credited to those working on the Chengjiang biota – Prof Mark Williams, Prof David Siveter, Derek Siveter at Oxford, and Prof Sarah Gabbott)

Professor Mark Williams Geology

Mark Williams 1065

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