Thursday, July 7, 2011

Creature Feature: Anomalocaris.

As you may have noticed, the authoress of these entries has a strange sense of cute. Planaria? Cute. Baby ball pythons? Cute (and velvety). Malaria vampires? Cute.

This thing? Cuuuuute!
Quick, someone scribble a heart in Paint above its head!

No doubt some of you are probably screaming and/or going "AAAAAHH, WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?" The authoress thinks it's one of the cutest things ever.

In all seriousness, the shrimplike creature above has been extinct for a loooong time. Its name is Anomalocaris, and it was all over the world's Cambrian oceans. At three feet long from head to tail fin, it was the largest predator to evolve at that point.

This puts king crab legs to shame...and it's not a leg.

We did not know exactly what Anomalocaris was for the longest time. It started when we found those two long feelers and thought that they were prehistoric jumbo shrimp. Then they found an independent ring-mouth and called that an ancient, toothy jellyfish. The body was also discovered near the mouth, but deemed a sea sponge. It was not until 1985 that someone put all the pieces together into the weird-cute shrimpy creature we know today.

Anomalocaris ate the ever-popular trilobites. Exactly how they ate trilobites is unclear. One would guess that simple biting would do it (and dents on some trilobite shells agree), but certain scientists say that the mouthparts of Anomalocaris could not break the trilobites' shells. The appendages in front of the mouth are thought to have helped crack open the little buggers instead. The actual mouth of Anomalocaris looks more suited to eating soft-bodied creatures like jellyfish.


The lobe-fins on Anomalocaris allowed it to move swiftly through the water. They may look awkward, but they are actually quite hydrodynamic, moving the whole creature along like a very shrimpy stingray or flatfish.

See? CUTE.

What? Stingrays can be cute...


  1. And it is cute. Weird and not cuddly cute.

  2. As the artist who created this image you are using in this post

    I request you either list me as the creator of the image and back link to my page please (as outlined in the creative commons on my page) OR you may please remove my picture.

    I'm sorry to have to make this request, but it is really is the most straight forward kindness you can do for us artists/image creators on the web. Without our pictures your site would lose a lot of its appeal. So please in the future consider returning us a tiny part of the favour, of borrowing our many many hours of work to make the images you borrow. Let people know who we are, and where they can track us down should they want to actually pay us for our time and effort.


    Craig Dylke