Cambrian Explosion #36: Phylum Loricifera

Even more obscure and poorly-understood than the mud dragons, loriciferans weren’t even discovered until the 1970s. Over 40 living species of these tiny meiofaunal animals are currently known, but much like the kinorhynchs there are probably many more still to be described.

Less than 1mm long (0.04″), their most distinctive feature is the “lorica”, a stiff corset-like casing surrounding their body. They’re also the first multicellular organisms discovered able to live completely without oxygen in a deep basin in the Mediterranean Sea.

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