Vendian Animals: Spriggina

from the Ediacara Hills of Australia

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The striking Vendian fossil Spriggina (shown here) and its close relative Marywadea make up the Sprigginida, a clade of soft-bodied organisms that are restricted to the Precambrian. Spriggina is known largely from the Ediacara Hills of south Australia, near Adelaide. The organism had a crescent-shaped head and numerous segments tapering to the posterior end; it is only about three centimeters long.

Spriggina was described as an annelid (segmented worm), but it now appears to be related to the arthropods, although Spriggina had no hard parts, and it is unclear exactly what kind of appendages it had. Compare it to our pictures of trilobites and see what you think!

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