Palaeontology: A little Kraken wakes

  title={Palaeontology: A little Kraken wakes},
  author={Stefan Bengtson},
  • S. Bengtson
  • Published 1 May 2010
  • Environmental Science
  • Nature
Fossils from the famed Burgess Shale continue to deliver fresh perspectives on a dramatic episode in evolutionary time. The latest revelations bear on the early history of cephalopod molluscs. The 505-million-year-old Burgess Shales of British Columbia are justifiably famous for the exquisite preservation of their fossils — and the extreme oddity of many of them, such as Anomalocaris and Hallucigenia, which for many years defied classification, and formed the basis of Stephen Jay Gould's book… 
5 Citations

Nectocaridid ecology, diversity, and affinity: early origin of a cephalopod-like body plan

The morphology of the tentacles and fins are revised, and mouthparts and phosphatized gills are described for the first time, and a mathematical analysis supports the presence of the earliest known camera-type eyes, and fluid mechanical considerations suggest that the funnel is optimized for efficient jet propulsion in a low Reynolds number flow regime.

Complexity and diversity of eyes in Early Cambrian ecosystems

The specimen represents the oldest microanatomical evidence confirming the occurrence of highly developed vision in the early Cambrian, over 2,000 ommatidia in each eye, and supports the hypothesis that the origin and evolution of ‘good vision' was a key trait that promoted preferential diversification and formed the foundation of modern benthic ecosystems in theEarly Cambrian ocean.

Pandora’s Pithos

An epidemic of Cambrian Explosion (CE) virus, a “phylagen” that was able to infect and reconfigure metazoan morphogenetic fields and genomic kernels, caused the geologically simultaneous appearance of numerous animal phyla at the base of the Cambrian.

Exceptionally well‐preserved isolated eyes from Cambrian ‘Orsten’ fossil assemblages of Sweden

Six tiny, isolated, three-dimensionally preserved compound eyes are described from 'Orsten' limestone nodules dated to the Cambrian Alum Shale Formation of Sweden, showing growth in overall size and addition of new ommatidia was noticed.



Primitive soft-bodied cephalopods from the Cambrian

This work reinterpretes the problematic Middle Cambrian animal Nectocaris pteryx as a primitive (that is, stem-group), non-mineralized cephalopod, based on new material from the Burgess Shale, and indicates that primitive cepinghalopods lacked a mineralized shell, were hyperbenthic, and were presumably carnivorous.

A soft-bodied mollusc with radula from the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale

Odontogriphus omalus is interpreted to be members of an early stem-group mollusc lineage that probably originated in the Neoproterozoic Ediacaran Period, providing support for the retention of a biomat-based grazing community from the late Precambrian Period until at least the Middle Cambrian.

The bearing of the new Late Cambrian monoplacophoran genus Knightoconus upon the origin of the Cephalopoda

Hypothetical reconstructions of molluscan anatomy support the notion that cephalopods may have been derived directly from a hypseloconid having a high, slightly curved, multiseptate, bilaterally symmetrical shell, by the subsequent development of a siphuncle.

Misadventures in the Burgess Shale

One hundred years after Charles Doolittle Walcott found a wealth of Cambrian fossils in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Desmond Collins reflects on the bumpy road of their classification.

New observations on airborne jet propulsion (flight) in squid, with a review of previous reports

New observations of flying behaviour in a species of squid previously thought to be too heavy for long-distance flight are reported as well as an observation of squid flight from a geographic area in which such behaviour has not previously been reported.

Neues Jb

  • Geol. Paläont. MH 12,
  • 1976