And in invertebrate news…

11 02 2009

Good tidings and well-wishes!

It’s no secret that invertebrate paleontology, I’m sad to say, rarely receives its due publicity when compared to the findings of those of us who work with chordates. To try to assist, however modestly, in the effort to confront this unfortunate phenomenon, I’ve decided to include the occasional invertebrate posting on my wee corner of the blogosphere.

To start everything off, here’s a new discovery which is sure to pique the interest of any aficionado of spineless creatures (with the possible exception of the “People” magazine staff). Invertebrate paleontology lovers are undoubtedly familiar with Anomalocaris, a close relative of modern arthropods which lived during the mid-Cambrian period (around 520 million years ago) and was one of the many products of the ‘Cambrian explosion’: a mammoth increase in the planet’s biodiversity which began around ten million years earlier. In a world populated by creatures which were measured in a matter of centimeters or smaller, this beast was a true giant, reaching three meters in length and almost certainly filled the role of ‘top predator’ of its time.

A recent discovery has revealed that Anomalocaris had a (much smaller) descendant which lived during the Devonian, some 100 million years later! The new creature is called Schinderhannes bartelsi. For more information, visit the post on PZ Myers’ incomparable blog.

May the fossil record continue to enchant us all!

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