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Unique stalked filter feeder from 500 million years ago may remain an enigma

first find of mid-Cambrian species/Julien Kimmig, KU News Service

A tulip-shaped feeder. From ScienceDaily:

“This was the earliest specimen of a stalked filter feeder that has been found in North America,” said lead author Julien Kimmig, collections manager for Invertebrate Paleontology at the Biodiversity Institute. “This animal lived in soft sediment and anchored into the sediment. The upper part of the tulip was the organism itself. It had a stem attached to the ground and an upper part, called the calyx, that had everything from the digestive tract to the feeding mechanism. It was fairly primitive and weird.”

“The Spence Shale gives us soft-tissue preservation, so we get a much more complete biota in these environments,” he said. “This gives us a better idea of what the early world was like in the Cambrian. It’s amazing to see what groups of animals had already appeared over 500 million years ago, like arthropods, worms, the first vertebrate animals — nearly every animal that we have around today has a relative that already lived during those times in the Cambrian.”

“It is enigmatic because we don’t have anything living that is exactly like it,” he said. “What is fascinating about this animal is we can clearly relate it to animals existing in the Cambrian and then we just don’t find it anymore. It’s just fascinating to see how evolution works. Sometimes it creates something — and it just doesn’t work out. We have some lineages like worms that lived long before the Cambrian and haven’t changed in appearance or behavior, then we have things that were around for a couple of million years and just disappeared because they were chance victims of mass extinctions.” Paper. (public access) – Julien Kimmig, Luke C. Strotz, Bruce S. Lieberman. The stalked filter feeder Siphusauctum lloydguntheri n. sp. from the middle Cambrian (Series 3, Stage 5) Spence Shale of Utah: its biological affinities and taphonomy. Journal of Paleontology, 2017; 91 (05): 902 DOI: 10.1017/jpa.2017.57 More.

Perhaps the story will acquire different nuances if many more specimens turn up. Meanwhile:

See also: Cambrian explosion: “Tulip animal” had unique feeding system


Earliest animals (so far): “bizarre frond-shaped organisms which lived 580-550 million years ago” Back then, animals were their own plants?

Kimmig: “It is enigmatic because we don’t have anything living that is exactly like it.”
I guess that, due to the out-of-place qualifier "exactly", the modern day primitive sea tulip — also a filter feeder, stem attached to the ground and so forth — won’t do. Origenes
'soft tissue' preservation in that shale strata, so even if over 5778-1656=4122 years old, no more than 10k and per RCCF framework calibrates to under 5k most likely an Early 1656 Mabul impacts /global flood year strata, Pearlman
Not sure why they're calling it weird.... Stalked and anchored filter feeder is pretty much the default ocean-bottom invertebrate. polistra

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