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Myoscolex ateles



M. ateles was originally described as a polychete worm. However, recent work has cast doubt on this. Myoscolex represents a different style of preservation than other elements of the Emu Bay Shale fauna. Here preservation is via calcium phosphate (apatite), not calcium carbonate. What is actually preserved are the muscle blocks, still separated by segmental boundaries. This is the oldest instance of muscle tissue preservation yet recorded. In this specimen anterior is to the right.


Originally though to be a polychete worm, it now appears that Myoscolex was an arthropod, possibly similar to Opabinia. Note two round eyes upper left of head and long bar composed of two overlapping eyes on lower left of head.

Last modified: April 3rd. 1998