A killer proto-shrimp with a funny hat

This lovely critter is Hurdia victoria, which terrorized Cambrian seas 500 million years ago. Since being fossilized squished Hurdia into paleo-roadkill, scientists have only just reconstructed it from bits and pieces of the Burgess shale already in museum collections.

Hurdia, a primitive arthropod, was pretty monstrous for the time – up to a foot and a half long. It had a toothy circular jaw with little claws, compound eyes and a giant head carapace. Scientists think it might have lurked along the ocean floor, using its monstrous head to funnel trilobites to their doom.

For more Cambrian freakitude, check out the UC Berkeley’s Meet the Cambrian Critters. I adore their slightly cheesy yet completely awesome flash animations.

Thanks, J.P.!

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2 Responses to A killer proto-shrimp with a funny hat

  1. Irradiatus says:

    How perfect that you posted this today as I am right in the middle of (finally) getting around to reading “Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History” by Gould.

    Very nice.

  2. Oh! That’s amazing! Built like a tank.

    Terrific illustration too.

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