Yunnanozoon lividum (Yunnan + Greek ζῷον zôion, lividum; "livid animal of Yunnan") is an extinct species from the Lower Cambrian, Chengjiang biota of Yunnan province, China. It is thought of as a deuterostome suspected of being either a hemichordate[1] or chordate,[2]

Temporal range: Cambrian Series 2
Yunnanozoon Alone.png
Artist's restoration of Yunnanozoon as a chordate.
Scientific classification

Dzik, 1995
Binomial name
Yunnanozoon lividum
Chen et al., 1995

Yunnanozoon is similar to the form Haikouella,[3] which is almost certainly a chordate. Still, there are anatomical differences from Haikouella, including a smaller stomach and much larger (1 mm) pharyngeal teeth. It is by no means certain whether Yunannozoon possessed features such as a heart, gills, etc., which are seen in well-preserved specimens of Haikouella. Yunnanozoon somewhat resembles the Middle Cambrian Pikaia from the Burgess shale of British Columbia in Canada. Thirteen pairs of symmetrically arranged gonads have been identified, as have possible gill slits. However, some authors think that Yunnanozoon is closely related to the chordate Haikouella and that Yunnanozoon is probably a chordate rather than a hemichordate. A close relationship between Yunnanozoon and the taxon Vetulicolia has also been proposed.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Shu, D., Zhang, X. and Chen, L. 1996. Reinterpretation of Yunnanozoon as the earliest known hemichordate, Nature. 380:428–430 (4 April 1996). [1] – accessed 3 December 2005
  2. ^ J. J. Sepkoski. 2002. A compendium of fossil marine animal genera. Bulletins of American Paleontology 363:1–560
  3. ^ Chen (2009). "The sudden appearance of diverse animal body plansduring the Cambrian explosion". The International Journal of Developmental Biology. 53 (5–6): 733–751. doi:10.1387/ijdb.072513cj. PMID 19557680.

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