Odontogriphus omalus from the Burgess Shale, British Columbia, Canada - ROM2008_10046_1


Odontogriphus omalus from the Burgess Shale, British Columbia, Canada

    • Attributes
    • Objects
    • Taxonomy
    • KingdomAnimalia
    • PhylumMollusca
    • ClassUnranked clade halwaxiids
    • GenusOdontogriphus
    • SpecificEpithetomalus
Object number: ROMIP57720B-9115
Not on view
DescriptionOdontogriphus was regarded as one of the most mysterious animals from the Burgess Shale. The first interpretation of this creature was based on a single, poorly preserved specimen, and the morphology and affinity of this species remained unclear. However, the discovery of close to 200 specimens by ROM expeditions over the past 15 years has led to a thorough re-description of this animal. The specimen displayed here exhibits the ovoid body with the anterior towards the top of the image. The mouth is represented by a chevron-like structure (X-shape), and is positioned at equal distances from the front edges of the animal. It contains a mouth apparatus called a radula, made up of short rows of small tooth-like elements - a typical feature of the mollusca group. Behind the mouth on its underside, it had a muscular, broad foot situated between a series of simple gill-like structures, which are represented by the darker areas running parallel to the outline of the body. Odontogriphus lived on the bottom of the sea and probably grazed on bacteria and small algae. Thanks to its radula, foot, and gills this animal can be recognized as a primitive member of the molluscs. Contrary to modern molluscs, which include squids and land snails, Odontogriphus did not have a shell. Odontogriphus is related to Wiwaxia another enigmatic fossil from the Burgess Shale.
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