|“||This is Anomalocaris, Earth's first super predator.||„|
|— Allen, describing Anomalocaris|
in New Safari
Anomalocaris (name meaning "Abnormal Shrimp") is a genus of anomalocaridid that originated during the Cambrian Era in what is now North America, Asia, and Australia. Measuring two meters long, this bizarre, primitive arthropod-like sea animal is described as the worlds "original super-predator".
In the Series 1 episode "New Safari," four Anomalocaris were brought back to the park from Cambrian China, 530 million years ago. They currently reside in the Primeval Aquarium exhibit in separate tanks.
Facts[edit | edit source]
Era & Discovery[edit | edit source]
Anomalocaris lived in North America, Asia, and Australia during the Late Cambrian Era, from 535 – 520 million years ago. It was the apex predator of its time. Since their discovery in 1892, the evidence for Anomalocaris originally comes from the Burgess Shales Formation of Canada, and more recently from Australia and China.
Physical Attributes[edit | edit source]
Anomalocaris was a primitive shrimp-like arthropod. As the world's very first super predators, these mighty, spineless monsters were truly gigantic compared with the other animals that it shared its world with, measuring 6 feet (2 m) long and they owed their success to a monumental, evolutionary landmark: their compound eyes.
Its eyes were positioned upon stalks and the eyes were black and compound, like modern insects. Anomalocaris' eyes were compound with around 30 thousand lenses. Despite their complexity, its eyes were not unique as many other Cambrian creatures possessed them, including Anomalocaris' prey.
It was the forerunner of all the groups of arthropods; from arachnids to insects. This arthropod had two long appendages protruding from its head and had many flexible lobes running down the sides of its body. Whenever they got into fights with one another, their rigid armor would split if it was ever bent too far. In its time, Anomalocaris was the king of the seas, and the only other creature on the planet that any given Anomalocaris would fear would have been just another Anomalocaris.
Behavior & Traits[edit | edit source]
Anomalocaris was one of the most successful animals of the Cambrian period; it had a worldwide distribution and survived over 20 million years. They would swim above the ocean floor, find prey, and shred it in three rings of teeth. Anomalocaris is known to have eaten trilobites, as indicated by bite marks in his prey of the right size and shape; trilobite remnants in Anomalocaris droppings also have been found.
Anomalocaris were predators that killed their prey by forcing it through its disk-shaped mouth. Since most of the animals it preyed upon were arthropods, its mouth was strong and was able to crush the toughest carapace. Once done so, Anomalocaris would feed on the soft innards.
Anomalocaris was a highly territorial and aggressive animal. During their time, there was competition everywhere in their crowded waters and even these mighty creatures defenses were constantly put to the test, causing them to fight other Anomalocaris. Once two of the same species came into contact, they would attack each other by holding onto its back to try to split the armor. Once the armor is penetrated, the loser would retreat. If the wound was open, it would leave the Anomalocaris prone to attack by miniscule predators like Haikouichthys.