Navigation Links
Earth's first great predator wasn't
Date:11/1/2010

Boulder, CO, USA - The meters-long, carnivorous "shrimp" from hell that once ruled the seas of Earth a half billion years ago may have been a real softy, it turns out. A new 3-D modeling of the mouth parts of the Anomalocaris, along with evidence that these parts were not hard like teeth, but flexible, shows that the famed predator could not have been munching on the hard shells of trilobites and other such creatures of the early seas.

What's more, there is no evidence from fossilized stomach contents or feces that Anomalocaris' ate anything hard enough to leave a fossilized trace. In fact it was this lack of fossil evidence backing any dietary preference right alongside other animals that do show fragments of what they ate in their gullets which inspired the investigation, said paleontologist James "Whitey" Hagadorn of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

Hagadorn will be presenting his team's discoveries about Anomalocaris on Monday, Nov. 1, at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver.

"It was supposed to roam around the Cambrian seas gobbling up trilobites and everything else," said Hagadorn. But the pineapple-like whorl of mouth parts and the associated whisker-like appendages of Anomalocaris all appear to have been bendable, in the fossil remains, he said. They are not mineralized like the exoskeletons of the trilobites they were supposedly eating.

His suspicions prompted Hagadorn to develop a 3-D, finite element analysis model of the Anomalocaris mouth. This allowed for testing just how the mouth worked and how much force it could create in other words, how strong a bite it had. The model turned up some surprises.

"It couldn't even close its mouth," said Hagadorn. And there was no practical way these mouth parts could create the force needed to break open a modern lobster shell nor a shrimp shell, which were used as analogues for a trilobite carapace in the model.

Another interesting discovery made along the way came from studying more than 400 Anomalocaris mouths. In none of them did Hagadorn find any signs of wear. That's strange because if they were genuine teeth there would be chips, scratches and other signs they were being used to munch on hard-shelled animals.

The model, gut contents, feces and wear all suggest Anomalocaris was not a trilobite eater. But they fail to help explain what this impressive beast from the Cambrian was eating.

"Maybe it ingested things and then spit them out," Hagadorn speculated. Another possibility is that it somehow broke down the food it was eating into very fine particles before ingesting it. At this point the only thing that appears certain is that the famed biggest predator of the early Cambrian is more mysterious than ever.


'/>"/>

Contact: Christa Stratton
cstratton@geosociety.org
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Immune system assassins tricks visualised for the first time
2. Scripps Research team watches formation of cells protein factories for first time
3. Found: First complete remains of early sauropod dinosaur
4. Science never seen before is focus of first scientific conference on gigapixel imaging
5. Scientist Tim Flannery is first Austrailian to receive Joseph Leidy Award
6. Researchers develop first implanted device to treat balance disorder
7. Singapore scientists first to perform genome-wide study of human stem cells
8. Singapore hosts first Decade of the Mind conference in Asia
9. Image of mosquitos heart wins first place in Nikons Small World photomicrography competition
10. Team completes world-first ocean observatory
11. First babies born from genetic screening study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/20/2016)... 20, 2016  VoiceIt is excited to announce ... By working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass ... and VoicePass take slightly different approaches to voice ... security and usability. ... new partnership. "This marketing and technology ...
(Date:5/9/2016)... , UAE, May 9, 2016 ... when it comes to expanding freedom for high net ... Even in today,s globally connected world, there is ... conferencing system could ever duplicate sealing your deal with ... obtaining second passports by taking advantage of citizenship via ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... April 28, 2016 First quarter 2016:   ... 966% compared with the first quarter of 2015 The ... 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin was 40% (-13) ... Cash flow from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) ... guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 A person commits a ... crime scene to track the criminal down. An ... Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has increasingly ... support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Lawrence, MA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 ... ... the Peel Plate® YM (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research ... test platform of microbial tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition that asks ... systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams at the ... York City . The teams, chosen ... MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong summit. Keynote ... of architecture and design, and Suzanne Lee , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for electronics hardware design ... Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to bring together inventors ... and brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s physical representation of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: