G. F. Matthew originally described Wiwaxia corrugata from an isolated spine (one of the spikes on its back) in 1899 (Matthew 1899). He acquired the specimen from Byron E. Walker (Morris 1985). Matthew, however, classified the animal as a new species of hyolithid from the genus Orthotheca and named it O. corrugata (Morris 1985). It was only when Charles Dolittle Walcott discovered more specimens of Wiwaxia from the Burgess Shale was the animal reclassified as Wiwaxia corrugata (Walcott 1911; Morris 1985). Walcott noted no affinity of Wiwaxia to orthothecids or hyolithids, thus justifying it being placed in a new genus (Morris 1985).
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