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IT'S ABOUT RENEWABLE RESOURCES STUPID!
Scientists unearthed 515-million-year-old fossil remains of a pair of Anomalocaris eyes. The superpredator's eyes had 32,000 lenses - all the better to stalk their prey.
Jeepers, creepers, where did the Cambrian ocean's top predator get those peepers?
Scientists from Australia and Spain have unearthed 515-million-year-old fossil remains of a pair of eyes the researchers associate with an undersea creature known as Anomalocaris.
Each of the shrimp-like animal's two pear-shaped eyes sported at least 16,000 hexagonal lenses. This would have given the 3- to 6-foot-long creatures vision as keen as the sharpest-eye insect today, the dragon fly.
Age of Trilobites
o The oldest trilobite fossils date from the Cambrian geological era, over 500 million years ago. Specimens of this age have been found in Canada, Morocco, Russia,
and the United States.
Trilobites were abundant on the earth for eons, but became extinct before the
age of dinosaurs began some 250 million years ago.
o Trilobites had a three-lobed body, which is the characteristic for which they were named. The frontal lobe or head is called the cephalon. The center lobe or body is the thorax and the tail is known as the pygidium. This segmented body was flexible enough to allow the trilobite to roll into a ball for protection against predators. As the trilobite grew, it shed its exoskeleton periodically and grew a new one in a process called molting. Most trilobite fossils are actually the impressions left by the discarded molts.
o Many different types of trilobites roamed the ancient seas. Paleontologists have identified 10 distinct orders with more than 20,000 species. This tremendous diversity is one of the main reasons trilobites are studied so extensively around the world. Some species were tiny and would have been barely visible in water. But there were also giants. The largest trilobite fossil on record measures more than 28 inches in length and was found in Canada.
o Scientists have discovered many interesting facts through the detailed study of perfectly preserved trilobite fossils. Trilobites were the first animal to develop compound eyes which are common in many insects today. According to Dr. Sam Gon, an internationally recognized trilobite expert, the eyes were very advanced and provided excellent depth of field with very little image distortion. They were also the first creatures to have multiple appendages that allowed them to move quickly along the sea floor.
o Although trilobite fossils are common in most parts of the world, some locations are recognized for yielding specimens of exceptional quality. The Burgess Shale in
of British Columbia,
Canada, has produced some of the oldest and most detailed fossils ever found.
In the United States, the House Range in western Utah and Coal County,
Oklahoma, produce some of the best trilobite specimens.