Friday, September 12, 2014

That must've hurt!

Trilobite tail with a huge bite out of the left side. The critter lived! The bite's partly healed. It's Asaphiscus wheeleri, from the Cambrian Wheeler Shale of western Utah. This is one of my favorites of trilobites I collected from the Wheeler (when I was working on my dissertation on another rock unit out there) because it shows action.

Who attacked a trilobite? The only known candidate is this guy:

This is Anomalocaris, which means weird shrimp. Critter wasn't shrimp, and it was the top predator in the Cambrian. It was a foot long or more and its prey, Cambrian trilobites, were mostly 2 inches or shorter. I am sure it also preyed on softbodied creatures, many of which were preserved at the famous Burgess Shale locality in western Canada.

I don't know who drew this beautiful picture of Anomalocaris or I would give credit here.

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