Weird Wonder: Anomalocaris

Another animal fossil found in both Canada's Burgess shale and China's Changjieng site is Anomalocaris. It was the largest predator of the time and in the Changjieng beds fossils of more than one metre long have been found

Like fossil trees of later periods, Anomalocaris fossils were disarticulated. The different parts were given their own separate names. In Anomalocaris' case, the grasping parts were thought to be shrimp-like creatures. Early workers took the unique irising mouth for a jellyfish.

Interestingly, this unique mouth fits scars on trilobite shells perfectly. In animated Burgess shale TV programs, Anomalocaris is referred to as "the terror of the Trilobites".

Detail from painting by Christopher A. Klein and photo, both from National Geographic, October, 1993