Temporal range: 535–520Ma
|An artist's concept of Myllokunmingia fengjiaoa.|
It is among the oldest possible craniates, found in the lower Cambrian Chengjiang ( ). It appears to have a skull and skeletal structures made of cartilage. There is no sign of mineralization of the skeletal elements (biomineralization).
The holotype was found in the Yuanshan member of the Qiongzhusi Formation in the Eoredlichia Zone near Haikou at Ercaicun, Kunming City, Yunnan, China. The animal has a distinct head and trunk with a forward sail-like (1.5 mm) dorsal fin and a ventral fin fold (probably paired) further back. The head has five or six gill pouches with hemibranchs. There are 25 segments (myomeres) with rearward chevrons in the trunk. There is a notochord, a pharynx and digestive tract that may run all the way to the rear tip of the animal. The mouth cannot be clearly identified. There may be a pericardic cavity. There are no fin radials. There is only one specimen, which has the tip of the tail buried in sediment.
Only one species is known – Myllokunmingia fengjiaoa (Shu, Zhang & Han).
- Shu, D-G.; Luo, H-L.; Conway Morris, S.; Zhang, X-L.; Hu, S-X.; Chen, L.; Han, J.; Zhu, M. et al. (1999). Nature 402 (6757): 42. Bibcode:1999Natur.402...42S. doi:10.1038/46965.
- Donoghue, P.C.J.; Purnell, M.A. (2005). "Genome duplication, extinction and vertebrate evolution". Trends in Ecology & Evolution 20 (6): 312–319. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2005.04.008. PMID 16701387.
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