Cambrian Animal of the Week
Anomalocaris is this week's "Cambrian Animal of the Week." Take a look here or here. This is one of the first complex animals on earth and a hero of the Cambrian Explosion, sometimes reaching a length of six feet. Gotta love this guy- or is it a girl? Made famous by making the cover of Simon Conway Morris's book Crucible of Creation, which was mentioned in my last post. You know, for a Burgess Shale fossil, that is pretty much like making the cover of the Rolling Stone.
The Smithsonian website says this:
This fearsome-looking beast is the largest known Burgess Shale animal. Some related specimens found in China reach a length of six feet! The giant limbs in front, which resemble shrimp tails, were used to capture and hold its prey. A formidable mouth on the undersurface of the head had a squared ring of sharp teeth that could close in like nippers to crack the exoskeleton of arthropods or other prey. With those large eyes and a body half flanked with a series of swimming lobes, this must have been an active, formidable predator!
For more on what this critter means to us, read here or here or here.
You may want to read an old post of mine: The New York Times Teaches the Controversy- And Nobody Got Hurt. Tell me if you think they did a good job of presenting both sides of the debate about the Cambrian Explosion.