Using microCT Javier Ortega-Hernández and Yu Liu, Professor of Paleobiology, Yunnan University, China discovered Xiaocaris luoi, a new species of fuxianhuiid, an important group of early branching arthropods that are central to discussions concerning the early evolution of this phylum. Xiaocaris luoi, represents the smallest known fuxianhuiid, its trunk legs bore strong spines that are otherwise unknown for other close species, and suggests a cryptic radiation of these arthropods during the early Cambrian.
The study published in BMC Evolutionary Biology demonstrates that even specimens that appear to be poorly preserved and indistinct can preserve diagnostic features, suggesting that the biodiversity in Chengjiang may be even greater than currently understood based on traditional descriptions from conventional preparation tools.
Image: Jianshania furcatus, from the Ercaicun section of Haikou, Cambrian (Stage 3) Chengjiang biota. a Part of holotype (Hz-f-6-307a), complete specimen preserved in dorsal–ventral aspect, photographed under cross-polarized light. See also , Plate 7, Fig. 4. b Counterpart of holotype (Hz-f-6-307b), photographed under cross-polarized light