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The enigmatic metazoan Yuyuanozoon magnificissimi from the early Cambrian Chengjiang Biota, Yunnan Province, South China

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 July 2018

Yujing Li
Affiliation:
Yunnan Key Laboratory for Palaeobiology, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China 〈yl@mail.ynu.edu.cn〉, 〈cong@ynu.edu.cn〉, 〈xghou@ynu.edu.cn〉 School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK 〈mri@leicester.ac.uk〉, 〈sg21@leicester.ac.uk〉 MEC International Joint Laboratory for Palaeobiology & Palaeoenvironment, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China
Mark Williams
Affiliation:
School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK 〈mri@leicester.ac.uk〉, 〈sg21@leicester.ac.uk〉 MEC International Joint Laboratory for Palaeobiology & Palaeoenvironment, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China
Sarah E. Gabbott*
Affiliation:
School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK 〈mri@leicester.ac.uk〉, 〈sg21@leicester.ac.uk〉 MEC International Joint Laboratory for Palaeobiology & Palaeoenvironment, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China
Ailin Chen
Affiliation:
Yunnan Key Laboratory for Palaeobiology, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China 〈yl@mail.ynu.edu.cn〉, 〈cong@ynu.edu.cn〉, 〈xghou@ynu.edu.cn〉 MEC International Joint Laboratory for Palaeobiology & Palaeoenvironment, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China Research Center of Paleobiology, Yuxi Normal University, Yuxi 653100, China 〈ailinchen@yxnu.net〉
Peiyun Cong
Affiliation:
Yunnan Key Laboratory for Palaeobiology, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China 〈yl@mail.ynu.edu.cn〉, 〈cong@ynu.edu.cn〉, 〈xghou@ynu.edu.cn〉 MEC International Joint Laboratory for Palaeobiology & Palaeoenvironment, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China Department of Earth Sciences, The Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, UK
Xianguang Hou*
Affiliation:
Yunnan Key Laboratory for Palaeobiology, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China 〈yl@mail.ynu.edu.cn〉, 〈cong@ynu.edu.cn〉, 〈xghou@ynu.edu.cn〉 MEC International Joint Laboratory for Palaeobiology & Palaeoenvironment, Yunnan University, Kunming 650091, China
*
*Corresponding authors
*Corresponding authors

Abstract

Vetulicolians are a group of exclusively Cambrian animals characterized by an anterior section with lateral pouches and a posterior section that appears segmented. The precise phylogenetic affinity of vetulicolians is debated because there is a lack of consensus regarding the interpretation of their anatomical features. Their disparate morphology might even cause one to question whether this is a monophyletic taxon. In total, there are 15 species grouped into three families included in vetulicolians. Here we focus on new specimens of Yuyuanozoon magnificissimi Chen, Feng, and Zhu in Chen et al., 2003, a species that was first described from only a single specimen from the Chengjiang Biota (Cambrian Series 2, Stage 3, Eoredlichia-Wutingaspis trilobite Biozone), Yunnan Province, China. The species is notable in being exceptionally large (up to 20 cm long). Morphological observations on the new specimens clarify the nature of the wide circular opening at the presumed anterior end of the animal and the cowl-shaped lateral openings within this anterior section. Taphonomic observations identify wrinkles in the anterior section and twists in the posterior segmented section. In particular, the shape of the anterior opening of Yuyuanozoon magnificissimi suggests significant differences from other vetulicolians. Taxonomic reappraisal of Y. magnificissimi indicates that it belongs within the family Didazoonidae, as that is presently defined.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © 2018, The Paleontological Society 

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