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!

>> Buy this poster in my shop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *