Opabinia Fossil

  • Canada ( Burgess Shale )
  • Opabinia regalis Walcott, 1912

Opabinia is an extinct species of animal from the Cambrian. His only known representative is Opabinia regalis and was first described in 1912 by its discoverer Charles Walcott. So far, less than 20 well-preserved specimens of Opabinia were found in the excavations of the Mittelkambriums in the Burgess Shale in British Columbia, Canada.


The animal was segmented and had a soft unverkalktes exoskeleton. The segments were connected to each other not through the skin. The body length varied between 40 and 70 millimeters. The head was five fully functioning eyes that gave the wearer a field of vision of almost 360 °. It is believed that it was compound eyes at those eyes. Another unique feature was the flexible trunk of about one third of the total length of the body. At the end of the snout was a gripping apparatus. It is believed that the animal with the help of the proboscis catch prey and could make her mouth underneath the snout. The mouth in turn was directed backwards on the underside of the head.

The body consisted of 15 body segments. In these segments, there were a number of gills and paired lateral lobe-shaped extensions, which should serve the locomotion. The lobe-shaped extensions of the last three segments showed a different arrangement and formed the tail of the animal.


Opabinia looked like just a few other animals of his age with his segmented body and the paired lateral lobe-shaped appendages. Together with Anomalocaris Opabinia is therefore summarized in the Dinocarida class.