Hallucigenia facts for kids
Temporal range: Cambrian Stage 3–Middle Cambrian
|Fossil of Hallucigenia from the Burgess shale|
Conway Morris, 1977
Hallucigenia is an extinct genus of animal found as fossils in the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale formation of British Columbia, Canada. Another species is found in the Lower Cambrian Maotianshan shale of China.
Unlike its contemporary Aysheaia, Hallucigenia has very little resemblance to modern Onychophora. The elongated, and clawed legs bear little resemblance to the paired annulated legs of the Onychophora. It is unknown what the spines were made of and how much 'protection' they offered. It is not easy to explain why 30 or more specimens — each thought to have seven pairs of rather long, flexible legs — do not show even one example of paired legs. But at least this reconstruction of the animal can plausibly walk, and the spines serve a reasonable purpose. A picture of this reconstruction as well as a photograph of an actual fossil can be seen on the Geological Survey of Canada's website.
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Hallucigenia Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.