Wiwaxia corrugata, a Burgess Shale mollusc, British Columbia, Canada - ROM2007_9581_1

Burgess Shale fossil, Wiwaxia corrugata

Wiwaxia corrugata, a Burgess Shale mollusc, British Columbia, Canada

    • Attributes
    • Objects
    • Taxonomy
    • KingdomAnimalia
    • PhylumMollusca
    • ClassUnranked clade halwaxiids
    • GenusWiwaxia
    • SpecificEpithetcorrugata
Object number: ROMIP56950B-13020
Not on view
DescriptionWiwaxia is a slug-like animal from the Middle Cambrian, Burgess Shale. It was covered in hundreds of plates, which would have functioned like armour against predators. Hundreds of complete specimens have been recovered from the Burgess Shale Walcott Quarry, and this genus has also been found in China and other Cambrian localities across the world. The affinity of this animal has fueled an ongoing debate since it was first described in 1899. Hypotheses have ranged from some sort of annelid worm to a mollusc. Most recently, new specimens from the ROM’s collection have shown that the mouth apparatus is almost identical to the one found in the animal Odontogriphus. Together with Odontogriphus, Wiwaxia probably represents an early stage in the evolution of molluscs, a group known today by animals such as clams and snails. Both animals were most likely grazers and lived at the bottom of the sea.
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