No revisions of this alga have been published since its original description by Walcott (1919) and its affinities remain uncertain.
Bosworthia – from Mount Bosworth (2,769 m) on the British Columbia-Alberta border, in Yoho and Banff National Parks. Named in 1904 after George Morris Bosworth, the Canadian Pacific Railway freight traffic manager from 1896-1901.
simulans – from the Latin simulans, “make like” or “imitate”. The name refers to the repeated shape of the subdividing branches.
Burgess Shale and vicinity: Bosworthia gyges Walcott, 1919.
Other deposits: none.
The Walcott Quarry on Fossil Ridge.
Bosworthia 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.
This alga is composed of a long flexible central thallus, from which long and relatively thick branches emerge. These branches may further subdivide into smaller branches and narrow along their length. Walcott (1919) described B. gyges as having more rigid branches than B. simulans. He hypothesized that there was probably a central stem and attachment structure that would have allowed the alga to attach to the seafloor although this structure has not yet been observed in the fossils. Bosworthia has been described from fragments only (up to 8 cm in length) and the complete size is unknown.
Bosworthia represents less than 0.04% of the Walcott Quarry community (Caron and Jackson, 2008).
The mode of life of this alga is uncertain. Its structure suggests it was attached to the sea floor within the photic zone, rather than being free floating.
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.