In celebration of Parallax Film’s new show Bahama Blue, premiering on Love Nature in Canada on May 6th, we’re doing things a little differently here at Dinologue this month. We’re calling it Marine May, and for our first paleontology profile we’re having a look at a fossil member of a living group:
Name: Tesnusocaris goldichi
Meaning: Tesnusocaris means “shrimp of the Tesnus”, in reference to where it was found and its segmented appearance. The species name goldichi honors S.S. Goldich, who found the fossil in 1939.
Age: Carboniferous, over 323 million years ago.
Where in the world?: The Tesnus Formation of Texas.
What sort of critter?: Tesnusocaris was a remipede, a form of worm-like crustacean.
Size: About 30 inches long.
How much of the creature’s body is known?: A complete body fossil.
Claim to fame: It wasn’t initially clear what Tesnusocaris was. The fossil, described by paleontologist H.K. Brooks in 1955, was some sort of elongated crustacean, but of a sort not seen before. The solution didn’t come until the 1980s, when living relatives of Tesnusocaris – called remipedes – were found in saltwater caves. These creatures have changed with the times – cave dwelling has rendered the living species blind – but it’s amazing that their lineage spans over 323 million years.
Brooks, H. 1955. A crustacean from the Tesnus Formation (Pennsylvanian) of Texas. Journal of Paleontology. 29, 5: 852-856.
Neiber, M., Hartke, T., Stemme, T., Bergmann, A., Iliffe, T. Koenemann, S. 2011. Global biodiversity and phylogenetic evaluation of remipedia (Crustacea). PLOS ONE. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019627