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Early arthropod fossil

Early arthropod fossil

E442/0574

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Credit

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

Caption

Early arthropod fossil from the 500 million-year- old Burgess Shale rocks. This is a section through a feeding arm of Anomalocaris canadensis, a marine arthropod that is now extinct. The arm is the dark area. The sharp points are spikes to catch prey. This large animal reached a length of around 180 centimetres, and it was a formidable predator. The Burgess Shale rocks, found in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, were formed by avalanches of fine mud that preserved soft tissue details rarely found in the fossil record. This allowed them to record the Cambrian Explosion, the evolution of an extremely diverse array of invertebrate animals from which today's animals evolved.

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