Skip to comments.Fossil Fragments Reveal 500-million-year-old Monster Predato
Posted on 06/30/2009 2:38:44 PM PDT by JoeProBono
Hurdia victoria was originally described in 1912 as a crustacean-like animal. Now, researchers from Uppsala University and colleagues reveal it to be just one part of a complex and remarkable new animal that has an important story to tell about the origin of the largest group of living animals, the arthropods. The fossil fragments puzzled together come from the famous 505 million year old Burgess Shale, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in British Columbia, Canada. Uppsala researchers Allison Daley and Graham Budd at the Department of Earth Sciences, together with colleagues in Canada and Britain, describe the convoluted history and unique body construction of the newly-reconstructed Hurdia victoria, which would have been a formidable predator in its time.
Although the first fragments were described nearly one hundred years ago, they were assumed to be part of a crustacean-like animal. It was not then realised that other parts of the animal were also in collections, but had been described independently as jellyfish, sea cucumbers and other arthropods.
However, collecting expeditions from in the 1990s uncovered more complete specimens and hundreds of isolated pieces that led to the first hints that Hurdia was more than it seemed. The last piece of the puzzle was found when the best-preserved specimen turned up in the old collections at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC. This specimen was first classified as an arthropod in the 1970s and 80s, and then as an unusual specimen of the famous monster predator Anomalocaris.
(Excerpt) Read more at livescience.com ...
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This has been known for a while. The finds in the Burgess shale are marvelous. There is a convincing theory that the evolution of the eye lead to the explosion of animal forms during this period.
So, how big were these dudes?
Helen Thomas photo in 5....4....3...2...
The Hurdia victoria ranged in size from that of a large shrimp to double that length and, with eyes to see and teeth to shred its prey, it would have dominated the food chain in a period when all animal life was underwater [and very small indeed].
A foot and a half long according to what I’m reading. Not a bad size for a Canadian cockroach. Might take a whole can of Raid to put it down.
Patently unfair to show Helen's direct ancestor!
Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.
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The article talks about it being large but it doesn’t state the size. Kinda looks like a shrimp.
If the carapaces doesn’t cover soft tissue, then I supposed it is strictly for defense (or offense).
Except that Anomalocaris is over a meter long, two meters counting the tail spines, so this thing is hardly a “monster”. There are Trilobites bigger than this.
Perhaps so, but the article I googled said the largest trilobites tended to be from 30 t0 70 centimeters, quite a bit smaller.
Wikipedia says Hurdia is only 50cm