the possible onychophoran Aysheaia

Mystery Fossil #44

Aysheaia, a fossil from the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale of British Columbia, looks much like modern onychophorans and is believed to be an early marine ancestor of this group of animals. Most people are unfamiliar with onychophorans as they are native to forest regions of South America, Africa, the Caribbean, and Oceania—and on top of that, they’re shy. But these odd creatures, often called “velvet worms,” are interesting because they may be related to arthropods and can give us an idea of what the ancestors of the arthropods may have been like. Find out more about onychophorans here.


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