Vetulicola rectangulata

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Vetulicola rectangulata
Temporal range: Cambrian Stage 3
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Vetulicolia
Family: Vetulicolidae
Genus: Vetulicola
Species: V. rectangulata
Binomial name
Vetulicola rectangulata
Luo and Hou, 1999

Vetulicola rectangulata ("Rectangular ancient dweller") is a species of small, Early Cambrian deuterostome animals from the Chengjiang biota of China.


Like V. cuneata, V. rectangulata has a body composed of two distinct parts of approximately equal length. The anterior part is oval to rectangular in shape, enclosed by a carapace-like structure of four rigid cuticular plates fused together, with a small mouth at the front end: there is a keel-like extension of the body wall on the top and belly. Unlike in V. cuneata, the mouth region does not protrude out. The tail-like posterior section is slender, strongly cuticularised and placed dorsally. Paired openings connecting the pharynx to the outside run down the sides. These features are interpreted as possible primitive gill slits. Vetulicola rectangulata could be up to 7 cm long, and up to 4 cm in height (most specimens being 3.6 cm high).


It is assumed that V. rectangulata spent most or all of its time swimming in the water column. Sediment found within the gut suggest that it was a deposit-feeder, possibly swimming to and from favorable feeding sites. At least one specimen has an individual of the putative entoproct, Cotyledion tyloides[1] attached to the terminal segment of the tail.


  • Butterfield, Nicholas J. 2003. Exceptional Fossil Preservation and the Cambrian Explosion. Integrative and Comparative Biology. 43(1):166-177. [1] - URL retrieved June 22, 2006
  • Dominguez, Patricio and Jefferies, Richard. 2003. Fossil evidence on the origin of appendicularians. International Urochordate Meeting 2003. Abstract at [2] - URL retrieved June 22, 2006
  • LUO, Huilin, FU, Xiaoping, HU, Shixue, LI, Yong, CHEN, Liangzhong, YOU, Ting and LIU, Qi. 2005. New Vetulicoliids from the Lower Cambrian Guanshan Fauna, Kunming. Abstract at [3] - URL retrieved June 30, 2008
  • Shu, D.-G., Conway Morris, S., Han, J., Chen, L., Zhang, X.-L., Zhang, Z.-F., Liu, H.-Q., Li, Y., and Liu, J.-N. 2001. Primitive Deuterostomes from the Chengjiang Lagerstätte (Lower Cambrian, China), Nature, 414:419-424. (November 11, 2001). Abstract at [4]. - URL retrieved June 30, 2008
  • Shu, Degan. 2003. A paleontological perspective of vertebrate origin. Chinese Science Bulletin, Vol. 48 No. 8 725-735. April, 2003. Abstract at [5] - URL retrieved June 30, 2008

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