Schinderhannes Bartelsi - Significance


The organism allows the classification of early arthropods to be resolved, to some degree. The organism is classified basally to the true arthropods, but is closer to that group than Anomalocaris. By analogy, Schinderhannes could be thought of as an 'aunt' to the arthropods, and Anomalocaris a 'great-aunt'. This suggests that the anomalocaridid group is in fact paraphyletic—that is, that the arthropods are descended from anomalocaridids. It also seems to suggest that the biramous limb of arthropods arose through fusion of anomalocaridid lateral lobes and gills. The fossil has other implications—it shows that the group of early arthropods with short 'great appendages' are not a natural grouping.

The organism's discovery was most significant because of the huge range extension of the anomalocaridids it caused: the group was only previously known from lagerstatte of the lower-to-middle Cambrian, 100 million years before. This underlined the utility of lagerstatte like the Hunsrück slate: these exceptionally preserved fossil horizons may be the only available opportunity to observe non-mineralised forms.

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