Fossil worm adds head to its spiny appearance | Science News

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How Bizarre

Fossil worm adds head to its spiny appearance

New details about ancient creature give hints to evolution of some animals’ teeth

By
1:00pm, June 24, 2015
Hallucigenia sparsa, illustrated

OUT OF A DREAM  Hallucigenia sparsa (illustrated) finally has a head, thanks to a new analysis of fossils.

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Whether it’s upside down or right side up, Hallucigenia sparsa looks like it wriggled right out of a nightmare. And giving the wormlike creepy-crawly a head hasn’t helped.

An analysis of 508-million-year-old H. sparsa fossils from the Burgess Shale in Canada revealed that the 10- to 50-millimeter-long critter had a small pair of simple eyes set atop a narrow head. Below the head was a long neck that protruded from a tubular body sporting 10 sets of dangly appendages and seven pairs of spines. Platelike structures

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