Kimberella – an early mollusc?

(kim-burr-el-a)

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Model of Kimberella.
Image: Benjamin Healley
Source: Museum Victoria

Fossil cast of Kimberella.
Image: Benjamin Healley
Source: Museum Victoria

Ediacaran

HOW BIG IT WAS

Kimberella relative size depiction as described below
The 'shell' was up to 15 cm long, 5–7 cm wide, and was probably up to 3–4 cm high.

Known initially from the Ediacara Hills in South Australia, where the first specimens were found in the 1940s, fossils of this animal have since been discovered near the White Sea in northern Russia. Kimberella is the first known bilatarian – an animal with a front end and a back end – but beyond that it’s not clear what sort of animal it was. It has some features similar to a group of molluscs called monoplacophorans. It lived on the sea floor. Its shell was probably stiff, yet flexible, and was not mineralised.

WHERE IT WAS FOUND

kimberella map

This fossil of Kimberella was discovered in South Australia.

RELATED OBJECTS

Other objects from the Ediacaran

Charnia TribrachidiumSprigginaParvancorinaDickinsonia
Photograph of a yellow plastic Tyranasaurus Rex