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Rare armor-plated creature discovered in Canada's capital
Date:3/16/2010

o Museum, in exchange for a promise that I'd someday publish his discovery."

It was not until 2008 that Rudkin's hunch was confirmed, when a team of palaeontologists, including Jakob Vinther, decribed new machaeridian fossils from remote mountain localities in Morocco, revealing their relationship to annelid worms. Rudkin and Vinther agreed to work together to interpret the Ottawa specimen, and it is the results of that collaboration that are published in the current Palaeontology.

Plumulitid machaeridians look like modern bristleworms, with stout walking limbs bearing long bundles of bristles, but on their back they carried a set of mineralized plates. According to Vinther, "the plates themselves were rigid, but they could move relative to one other, providing plumulitids with a protective body armour very similar to the flexible metal armour invented by humans 450 million years later. Machaeridian body armour is unique among annelids, and probably helped them to succeed as ubiquitous components of marine ecosystems for more than 200 million years."

With the publication of this paper Rudkin is finally able to make good on his promise "It's great to be able to acknowledge the collector", says Rudkin, but there is a twist to this tale: the man who found the specimen has now gone missing. "Regrettably, I lost contact with James and numerous enquiries as to his whereabouts have come up empty. I hope he somehow gets wind of all this."


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Contact: David Rudkin
davidru@rom.on.ca
416-586-5592
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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