Thursday, December 8, 2011

Anomalocaris a Predator with compound eyes on stalks terrorised the Cambrian oceans - 7th Dec 2011

The remains of a pair of ancient compound eyes that belonged to the world's first super predator have been discovered by fossil hunters in Australia.

Anomalocaris was a soft-bodied marine animal that patrolled the oceans more than half a billion years ago. Adults grew to a metre long and had eyes on stalks.

The creature also had grasping claws and teeth-like serrations in its mouth that it used to capture and feed on other marine animals. The fossilised excrement of the predator suggests it may have crunched up trilobites, which were up to 25cm long.

Researchers uncovered the fossilised eyes in 515m-year-old rock layers on Kangaroo island, in South Australia. Alongside, they found remains of the animal's claws and the swimming flaps that ran down the length of its body.

Each eye was about three centimetres across and contained more than 16,000 separate lenses, enough to give the creature remarkable vision to support its predatory lifestyle. Read More