Anomalocaris is believed to be one of the very first large predators on the planet. There is still some debate about whether protective shell structures came before predation. What is clear though is that hardened body parts and predators both suddenly appeared at around the same time during the Cambrian period.

Anomalocaris is believed to be one of the very first large predators on the planet. There is still some debate about whether protective shell structures came before predation. What is clear though is that hardened body parts and predators both suddenly appeared at around the same time during the Cambrian period.

Ammonites are thought to have been predacious and would have been adept at gliding across seabeds using their arms and tentacles to grab prey as it passed by.  A formidable beak would have made short work of anything caught in this manner. If attacked themselves they could pull back into the hardened shell and close down a leathery mantle. This dual ability to hunt and protect themselves proved very effective as ammonites survived for over 300 million years.

Ammonites are thought to have been predacious and would have been adept at gliding across seabeds using their arms and tentacles to grab prey as it passed by. A formidable beak would have made short work of anything caught in this manner. If attacked themselves they could pull back into the hardened shell and close down a leathery mantle. This dual ability to hunt and protect themselves proved very effective as ammonites survived for over 300 million years.

With their semicircular head shields and broad paddle-like hind legs, Eurypteridae were some of the most distinctive creatures to roam the ancient shallow seas and they are presumed to have been predacious.    Like other arthropods before it Eurypterus had excellent sight with large crescent shaped compound eyes that would have given it a wide field of vision.

With their semicircular head shields and broad paddle-like hind legs, Eurypteridae were some of the most distinctive creatures to roam the ancient shallow seas and they are presumed to have been predacious. Like other arthropods before it Eurypterus had excellent sight with large crescent shaped compound eyes that would have given it a wide field of vision.

Trilobites had remarkable compound eyes made up of thousands of hexagonal calcite cells. These cells acted as individual lenses and were very durable with some even able to polarize light. It is presumed that many trilobites had excellent vision. There are indications that a few trilobite species even developed forward depth of vision which has added to the speculation that some trilobites evolved into agile hunters that swam in search of prey.

Trilobite the Palaeozoic arthropod

Eurypterus was multi-segmented and would have been quite flexible with a sharply spined tail (telson). Its distinctive broad hind legs may have allowed for some limited crawling or upward leverage motion but they would have been much more useful as swimming appendages enabling the Eurypteridae to row or aquaplane through the water column.

Eurypterus was multi-segmented and would have been quite flexible with a sharply spined tail (telson). Its distinctive broad hind legs may have allowed for some limited crawling or upward leverage motion but they would have been much more useful as swimming appendages enabling the Eurypteridae to row or aquaplane through the water column.

The Silurian Period (444 - 416 mya) was the time of the great sea scorpion arthropods.  Other marine arthropods such as trilobites had existed right across the globe in huge numbers for millions of years, with some possibly even moving up onto dry land, but now the Eurypteridae would become the dominant lifeform.

The Silurian Period - 416 mya) was the time of the great sea scorpion arthropods. With its semicircular head shield and broad paddle-like hind legs, Eurypterus was one of the most distinctive creatures to roam the ancient shallow seas.

First discovered in the Burgess Shale of Canada it was originally thought to be three different creatures. Later discoveries revealed that the separate parts actually belonged to one large creature and it became clear that Anomalocaris was probably an highly manoeuvrable arthropod with excellent vision and an ability to attack and hold on to prey.

First discovered in the Burgess Shale of Canada it was originally thought to be three different creatures. Later discoveries revealed that the separate parts actually belonged to one large creature and it became clear that Anomalocaris was probably an highly manoeuvrable arthropod with excellent vision and an ability to attack and hold on to prey.

An extinct marine arthropod of the genus Anomalocaris that evolved during the Cambrian period (540 - 480 mya). Anomalocaris is believed to have been one of the very first large predators on the planet.  Paleozoo represents a collection of anatomical models that looks at the structure of some of the earliest forms of life known to have existed on the planet.

An extinct marine arthropod of the genus Anomalocaris that evolved during the Cambrian period (540 - 480 mya). Anomalocaris is believed to have been one of the very first large predators on the planet. Paleozoo represents a collection of anatomical models that looks at the structure of some of the earliest forms of life known to have existed on the planet.

Remarkably intact fossil specimens of the Gogo Fish, along with other placodermi, have been discovered in the Gogo formation of Western Australia. Fossil remains are typically flattened in form due to geological pressure over time but the Gogo remains were uniquely encased within limestone nodules.  After careful dissolving of the surrounding limestone fully intact specimens have emerged.  This has allowed for a much greater understanding of the anatomical structure of placodermi.

Remarkably intact fossil specimens of the Gogo Fish, along with other placodermi, have been discovered in the Gogo formation of Western Australia. Fossil remains are typically flattened in form due to geological pressure over time but the Gogo remains were uniquely encased within limestone nodules. After careful dissolving of the surrounding limestone fully intact specimens have emerged. This has allowed for a much greater understanding of the anatomical structure of placodermi.

It has been speculated that the armoured bite of the more predatory placoderms evolved as an effective means of cracking through the shelled defences of the plentiful arthropods. It has been noted that at around the same evolutionary time trilobites began to appear with a profusion of spines, possibly as a counter defence to the predatory placoderms.

It has been speculated that the armoured bite of the more predatory placoderms evolved as an effective means of cracking through the shelled defences of the plentiful arthropods. It has been noted that at around the same evolutionary time trilobites began to appear with a profusion of spines, possibly as a counter defence to the predatory placoderms.

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