No revisions of this alga have been published since its original description by Walcott (1919) and its affinities remain uncertain.
Waputikia – from the Waputik Icefield, a glacier in Yoho National Park, east of the Burgess Shale.
ramosa – from the Latin ramosus, “full of branches,” in reference to the presence of clumps of branches.
Syntypes –USNM35409, 35410, 35411 in the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA.
Burgess Shale and vicinity: none.
Other deposits: none.
Middle Cambrian, Bathyuriscus-Elrathina Zone (approximately 505 million years ago).
The Walcott Quarry on Fossil Ridge.
Brief history of research:
This genus was described by Charles Walcott (1919) as a possible red alga. However, like all the algae from the Burgess Shale, it awaits a modern redescription.
Waputikia has a large central stem with wide branches at irregular intervals. The large branches divide dichotomously (into two), and the smaller tertiary or quaternary branches divide into much finer branches forming small terminal bush-like structures.
Waputikia is very rare and represents only 0.02% of the Walcott Quarry community (Caron and Jackson, 2008).
No attachment structure for this alga has been preserved but it probably lived attached to the sea floor.