Ancient Tulip-like Creatures Discovered in the Burgess Shale

By Veronique Greenwood | January 20, 2012 3:22 pm

spacing is important
Tulips in the rocks.

tulips
Artist’s conception of what the living creatures would have looked like.

The Burgess Shale fossil beds in the Canadian Rockies are famous for showing us some of the creepiest evolutionary dead-ends to ever grace the planet. They conjure up underwater scenes of many-legged spiky creatures scuttling beneath gigantic spider shrimp, but a recent find in the Burgess Shale suggests a more pastoral landscape: fields of waving tulip-shaped creatures, each about 8 inches high.

These newly discovered filter feeders, named Siphusauctum gregarium by their discoverers, have been found in clumps of over 65, and appear to have fed by sucking water through their bodies and extracting food particles.

Images courtesy of Royal Ontario Museum and Marianne Collins.

[via ScienceDaily]

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World
  • Joshus

    Perhaps a common ancestor for plants and animals.

  • Paul

    No, the plant/animal separation occurred long before the time of these fossils.

  • fintin

    Just when it seems like it’s getting old, a new paleontological discovery hooks me back in!

  • Booger

    They look like early echinoderms to me, realted to sand dollars, sea biscuits, crinoids and other species in that group. They are clearly animals.

  • John Kwok

    Yes, Booger, I agree, probably more like early precursors to blastoids and crinoids.

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