What an odd little beastie


I never heard of the Thylacocephala until I saw this video, and they are bizarre arthropods, now extinct, unfortunately. I learned something new!

At first I thought these were some strange planktonic creatures, but they were 20-30cm long. They were actively swimming predators that looked like some kind of remote drone submersible. They thrived from the Ordovician to the upper Cretaceous, making it kind of ridiculous that I knew nothing about them until now.

Comments

  1. says

    The Ordovician? Then they must have been the servants of Cthulhu as was written about in the Book of Eibon. More utilitarian and less amorphous than the shaggoth. Cheap labor that could be mass produced instead of grown.

  2. billringo says

    PZ,
    Isn’t it remarkable that in our pre-dotage we can still uncover not only things we didn’t know but things it seem we should have. I find those semi-precious jewels almost daily.

  3. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin has just consulted her copy of the Encyclopædia of Cheese-Hunting Mammals, and cannot find this beastie listed, from which she concludes it rarely actively hunted cheeses and probably employed others to do so on its behalf. But before she gets cranking, I manage to ask her why she is consulting a self-carved source about mammals? She explains if only a publisher would buy her manuscript, she would then be consulting a proper printed edition. Ah, Ok, says I, looking for a place of safety, as this looks like being a loonnngggg night…

  4. kingoftown says

    I see what you mean about it looking planktonic, some of the reconstructions remind me of an ostracod. I’m shocked something like this lived in the Cretaceous and I’d never heard of it; it looks more like like a Cambrian weirdo.

  5. Walter Solomon says

    Am I alone in wondering what it would taste like steamed, covered in Old Bay, and dipped in melted butter?

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