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Fossil arthropod

Fossil arthropod

E442/0554

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Credit

ALAN SIRULNIKOFF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ALAN SIRULNIKOFF / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Fossil Anomalocaris sp. arthropod limb from the Middle Cambrian Era, 500 million years ago, found in the Burgess Shale. This is one of a pair of segmented grasping limbs from the front of this large swimming predator. The spines were used to grasp prey, for example trilobites, which were passed to a circular mouth under the head (not seen). It had two large eyes and an elongated body with pairs of swimming lobes along the sides. The animal was originally incorrectly identified as a strange shrimp because only fossils of the limbs had been found. The first complete specimen was described in 1981. The Burgess Shale fossil beds are in British Columbia, Canada.

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