A tiny, fortunate creature that managed to survive in the Cambrian fauna of Burgess Shale, which featured the dreadful predator *Anomalocaris* among others. The delicate *Pikaia gracilens* takes centre stage in Stephen Jay Gould’s Wonderful Life (1989, p. 323):
Wind the tape of life back to Burgess times and let it play again. If *Pikaia* does not survive in the replay, we are wiped out of future history – all of us, from shark to robin to orangutan.
Well, Gould was a bit dramatic here. As it turned out, primitive fishies were already around in China and even in the Canadian Burgess Shale. But our beloved *Pikaia* definitely had spine!
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