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Middle Cambrian Jellyfish Image 1
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Middle Cambrian Jellyfish (Image 1)

July 8, 2010
Middle Cambrian Jellyfish (Image 1) A Middle Cambrian jellyfish from Millard County, Utah, possibly related to the modern jellyfish family Narcomedusae within the Class Hydrozoa. The discovery of this group of exceptionally well-preserved medusozoan fossils from the Middle Cambrian is the oldest record of definitive fossilized Cnidarian medusae, or jellyfish, thus far. All jellyfish are members of the phylum Cnidaria, which also includes animals such as corals, sea anemones and the fresh water animal Hydra. Many circular shaped impressions on sedimentary rocks have been attributed to jellyfish, but these fossils from Utah show a different style of preservation that reveals amazing details such as tentacles and various organ structures. This research was supported by two grants. The first, supported by the Sedimentary Geology and Paleobiology program in the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Geosciences, was to investigate the evolutionary and paleontological significance of a new Burgess Shale-type fossil deposit from the Middle Cambrian of Utah (EAR 05-18976, awarded to Bruce Lieberman); and the second, an Assembling the Tree of Life project to investigate evolutionary relationships within the phylum Cndiaria (grant EF 05-31779, awarded to Paul Cartwright). For complete information about this research, see the story in the on-line journal PLoS one, "Exceptionally Preserved Jellyfishes from the Middle Cambrian." (Date of Image: 2007) [Image 1 of 3 related images. See Image 2.]


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