Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Subphylum Cephalochordata
Class  ???
Order  ???
Family Pikaiidae
Genus Pikaia
1st Species Pikaia gracilens
Other attributes
Time Range 508-505 mya
Location Canada
Name Meaning Animal from Pika Peak
Physical Dimensions 3.8 centimeters long
Dietary Classification  ??? (presumed detritivore)

Pikaia is a pikaiid cephalochordate from the Cambrian Stage 3 of Canada. It was named in 1911 by Charles D. Walcott. It was an early chordate, and it resembled a few modern marine organisms.


In terms of physiology, Pikaia resembled a lancelet. It had a long, worm-like body, a small, worm-like head, and a tail fin on its posterior end. Its body would have been covered in smooth skin.


Pikaia's diet remains unknown, although some may speculate that it was a detritivore, sucking up pieces of organic debris suspended in the water.


Pikaia swam much like an eel, moving its tail from side to side to propel it through the water. However, this swimming method was by no means efficient, and it was a slow swimmer. An interesting theory about Pikaia was that it was a detritivore, filtering organic particles from the water as it swam along. As well as this, despite its worm-like appearance, it had a head distinct from the body, similar to another early vertebrate, Haikouichthys.

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