Planet Earth

Ancient Tulip-like Creatures Discovered in the Burgess Shale

80beatsBy Veronique GreenwoodJan 20, 2012 8:22 PM

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Tulips in the rocks.

Artist's conception of what the living creatures would have looked like.

The Burgess Shale fossil beds

in the Canadian Rockies are famous for showing us some of the creepiest evolutionary dead-ends

to ever grace the planet

. They conjure up underwater scenes

of many-legged spiky creatures

scuttling beneath gigantic spider shrimp

, but a recent find in the Burgess Shale suggests a more pastoral landscape: fields of waving tulip-shaped creatures

, each about 8 inches high. These newly discovered filter feeders, named Siphusauctum gregarium by their discoverers, have been found in clumps of over 65, and appear to have fed by sucking water through their bodies and extracting food particles.

Images courtesy of Royal Ontario Museum and Marianne Collins.

[via ScienceDaily

]

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