Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hallucigenia sparsa

I'm having to make all of this clay because I was really dumb and let my 6 year old Grolleg porcelain dry out. Sketches are done, made some porcelain, guess I'm really ready to get started. 

goal for the week 6 hrs
make more clay
Start making parts of the figure with the Anubis mask
get a little more modeling clay for the sphinx figure sculpt


Hallucigenia sparsa was a tiny (about 1 inch long) middle Cambrian invertebrate that was found in the Burgess Shale of British Columbia. I was discovered in 1979 by Conway Morris and dubbed Hallucigenia because it was so oddly put together. Morris depicted the animal as having a double row of spines that it walked on and a single row of feeding tentacles along its back. See the linked picture below. Critics pointed out to Morris that there were no known animals that walked on spines but Morris pointed out that he had found only a single row of tentacles on the animals back and these would not have made effective legs. In the late 1980's a dentist that had become a paleontologist named Lars Ramskold got permission from the curator of the Walcott Collection to excavate for a second set of tentacles to see if they could have acted as legs. This permission was very odd as this fossil was exceptionally rare and it was amazing that they would allow this sort of excavation which would damage it. Lars excavated and found the second set of legs, they then were able to flip the creature over and the little hooked tentacle legs were like other animals they had seen before in the line of ancestors of the velvet worms. Some of the ancestors of the velvet worms also had spines.

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