The worm Aysheaia, shown in both pictures grazing on sponges, is an ancestor of onychophorans, or velvet worms.

When the Burgess Shale animals were reassessed, Stephen Jay Gould made Aysheaia famous in his book "Wonderful Life". He called Aysheaia and a number of other Burgess Shale creatures "weird wonders" without any known affinities with living animals.

Since then, the research sparked by Gould's book has uncovered Aysheaia's affinities with living relatives, velvet worms.

Details of painting by D.W. Miller from American Scientist, March-April, 1997. Labels added. Painting of Aysheaia from Time Magazine, December, 1995