Tulips in the rocks.
Artist's conception of what the living creatures would have looked like.
in the Canadian Rockies are famous for showing us some of the creepiest evolutionary dead-ends
. 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.