Tuesday, December 13, 2011
World's First Super Predator had Remarkable Vision
New fossil discoveries from Kangaroo Island, Australia reveal a fascinating truth: the world's first super predator, the metre-long Anomalocaris had excellent eye-sight. The eyes of this 500 million-year-old marine creature were discovered, exceptionally preserved, and have been able to tell scientists that this apex predator had highly acute vision, on par with that of living insects and crustaceans.
Even without its eyes, the Anomalocaris was a fearsome predator. At the top of its food chain, a large body, giant grasping claws at the front of its head and sharp teeth made it quite a force to behold. More fossils of its excrement, full of trilobites, bolster the fact that this thing was a killing machine. With this new discovery, another piece of the puzzle is placed.
The stalked eyes, multi-faceted as in flies or crabs, are incredibly large. Up to 3 cm in length and containing over 16,000 lenses, they are numbered among the largest to have ever existed. These eyes confirm the close relation this creature had to arthropods, and that this visual organ made an early appearance in evolutionary history. In fact, it even appeared before the exoskeleton or locomotive legs.