Fossil worm

Fossil worm

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This image is part of the feature Burgess Shale Centenary

Credit: ALAN SIRULNIKOFF/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Fossil worm (Ottoia sp.) from the Burgess Shale area. This priapulid worm lived in the Middle Cambrian era, over 500 million years ago. This worm lived in U-shaped burrows in sediment on the seabed. It hunted for prey with an extended proboscis (lower left). It was carnivorous and swallowed its prey head first. Gut contents of fossils have also shown that it was cannibalistic, like modern-day priapulid worms. Ottoia sp. were 2.5 to 15 centimetres long. This worm is abundant in the Burgess Shale fossil bed in Field, British Columbia, Canada. The Burgess Shale is important because many soft-bodied animals were trapped and became fossilized in mud in the deep-sea.

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Keywords: ancient, animal, animals, british columbia, burgess shale bed, burrow, canada, canadian, cannibal, field, fossil invertebrate, fossilized, fossils, invertebrates, marine, middle cambrian, ottoia sp., palaeontology, paleontology, predator, preserved, priapulid, probocis, substrate, underwater, worm

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