Sunday, November 11, 2012


Today's animal is one of the older ones that we've talked about. Older than Dinosaurs, older even than the existence of land animals. Yochelcionella is the name from a genus of now-extinct  Molluscs that lived during the Cambrian over 520 million years ago.

About a dozen species have been identified from fossils, and they have a very wide distribution. Remember, back 500 million years ago, the world looked like a very different place! Remains have been found in places like China, Australia, Greenland, Canada, Spain, and Antarctica!

Members of the genus can all be identified by their interesting shells. They are very high cones, with little spouts sticking out of them. Scientists tend to agree that these spouts were used for respiration. Because only the shells are found, they are usually reconstructed to look similar to a Snail. Like just almost all animals during this time period, the Yochelcionella species lived underwater.

Perhaps my favorite little fact about these guys is that one species, Y. daleki, is named after the murderous Daleks from the long running British Sci-Fi  series, Doctor Who. The little spout on the Mollusc does kind of bear a resemblance to the Dalek arms...

Status : Extinct for around 525 million years
Location : All over the world
Classification : Phylum : Mollusca -- Class : †Helcionelloida -- Order : †Helcionelliformes
Family : †Yochelcionellidae -- Genus : †Yochelcionella

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