The Cambrian predator-Anomalocaris

By | May 2, 2021
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Anomalocaris which ruled the oceans during the Cambrian era is an extinct genus of anomalocarids, which are thought to be closely related to the arthropods,on the basis of its jointed body(But without doubt it belonged to ecdysozoa which includes moulting and some segmented animals) .Since the days of Joseph Frederick Whiteaves in 1892 when he for the first time described Anomalocaris as a separate crustacean-like creature due to its resemblance to the tail of a lobster or shrimp ,It continued to mislead palaeontologists. It took some time for the scientists to solve the jig saw puzzle and realize that different fossils obtained were actually represented a single, enormous creature not three different creatures as previously believed.The misconception was mainly due to exhibition of unique features by Anomacolaris which one can normally associate with different phyla ,which are described below:

*The pineapple ring mouth was thought to be a jellyfish (Peytoia)
*The large lobed body a sponge
*The grasping appendages the tail of a crustacean.

Its believed that because of relative size and carnivorous habit they gained more importance than any other predators or animals of Cambarian era and i believe it could be good subject for a Science fiction movie like Jurassic park.Anomalocaris preyed on a number of creatures living in the Cambrian seas, such as trilobites and due to its size and specialization, it can be considered as one of the first superpredators on this planet.

Anomalocaris, along with the anomalocarid family died out after the Mid-Cambrian Period which could be explained by emergence of more super predators or some climatic factors. Stephen Jay Gould cites Anomalocaris as one of the fossilized extinct species he believed to be evidence of a much more diverse set phyla that existed in the Cambrian era (discussed in his book Wonderful Life).

Reading Resources:

The Anomalocaris Jigsaw


Web page on Anomalocaris

Wonderful Life by Stephen Jay Gould