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Waputikia ramosa

A rare and delicate alga with fine ramifications

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Taxonomy

Kingdom:

Plantae (algae)

Phylum:

Rhodophyta?

Class:

Non applicable

Affinity:

No revisions of this alga have been published since its original description by Walcott (1919) and its affinities remain uncertain.

Species name:

Waputikia ramosa

Described by:

Walcott

Description date:

1919

Etymology:

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.

Type Specimens:

Syntypes –USNM35409, 35410, 35411 in the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA.

Other species:

Burgess Shale and vicinity: none.

Other deposits: none.

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Age

Period:

Middle Cambrian, Bathyuriscus-Elrathina Zone (approximately 505 million years ago).

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Localities

Principal localities:

The Walcott Quarry on Fossil Ridge.

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History of Research

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.

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Description

Morphology:

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.

Abundance:

Waputikia is very rare and represents only 0.02% of the Walcott Quarry community (Caron and Jackson, 2008).

Maximum size:

60 mm

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Ecology

Life habits:

Epibenthic, sessile

Feeding strategies:

Primary producer

Ecological Interpretations:

No attachment structure for this alga has been preserved but it probably lived attached to the sea floor.

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References

Bibliography:

CARON, J.-B. AND D. A. JACKSON. 2008. Paleoecology of the Greater Phyllopod Bed community, Burgess Shale. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 258: 222-256.

WALCOTT, C. 1919. Cambrian Geology and Paleontology IV. Middle Cambrian Algae. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, 67(5): 217-260.

Other links:

None

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