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Department of Paleobiology

Leanchoilia superlata (an arthropod)


This fossil is very common in the Raymond Quarry, which lies not very far above Walcott's Burgess Shale site. Consequently, the extra wealth of material facilitated this detailed reconstruction (shown in this beautiful drawing by Marianne Collins). Prominent are large, frontal appendages with long extended whiplike extensions. Since Leanchoilia was apparently blind (no eye-like structures have yet been found), these appendages helped locate food and keep Leanchoilia informed about its surroundings. Its usual size was about two inches. Generally classed as an arthropod (which is a very large group), Leanchoilia is placed among the arachnomorph (i. e., spider-like) subgroup, along with chelicerates, like present day scorpions and extinct trilobites.

  • Leanchoilia
  • This photograph shows at least one clear, feathery limb along the body, plus the thin, triple lobster-like claws, although the whiplike appendages are obscured.

Leanchoilia superlata (LEE-an-COY-lee-ah sue-PER-lah-tah). After Leanchoil, a railroad station 17 miles SW of Field + superlata (L.)= the utmost degree.)

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