Throw that shrimp on the barbie!
Anomalocaris, a predator extinct for 500 million years resembled a ferocious shrimp with eyes far more complex than expected, scientists announced Wednesday. However, the discovery sparked giggles at The Guardian when commentators poked fun at the shrimp-like creature that measured over 1 meter in length.
I wonder what it tasted like ? (sic) shrimp ? Bernard Rusted wrote in the first Guardian post.
The creature smacked across the Internet Wednesday, after the journal Nature published the report, as hard as the top predator may have attacked its prey half a billion years ago.
The creature had barbed grasping claws and a mouth full of tooth-like serrations, according to Nature; it terrorized the Cambrian oceans, the Guardian exclaimed, sea creatures fled from a terrifying new creature, New Scientist also added.
The conclusion came from two fossils located at Kangaroo Island in South Australia that scientists at the South Australian Museum, University of Adelaide and the University of New England carefully lodged from the earth and dusted off.
The researchers, led by John Paterson from the University of New England, found the exceedingly rare eyes among 5,000 specimens in a location known for soft tissue fossils.
The pear-shaped eyes resemble those of a bug with 16,700 individual lenses in a hexagonal grid, the scientists found.
Only a few arthropods have similar or better resolution, such as modern predatory dragonflies that can possess up to 28,000 lenses in each eye, Paterson told Discover Magazine.
The point was that sophisticated eyes existed millions of years before scientists hypothesized it would be possible.
The fossils didn't convince everybody that the eyes belonged to the giant shrimp.
The authors have difficulties in finding hard evidence for their conclusion, Jan Bergstrom, professor emeritus at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, told Discovery. It is, of course, interesting that so sophisticated eyes had developed so early on, whomever they belonged to.
Two publications also broke the strict Wednesday embargo that the journal Nature put on journalists to distribute the study: The Age, an Australian national paper and Adelaide Now, a local newspaper that reposted the story after the embargo lifted.
Though Guardian readers used the creature as a leaping point to discuss creationism, extermination and barbecues, the most recent comment read: An amazing creature indeed. Pity most of the comments so far are either 'glad it has been exterminated'' or ''wonder what it tasted like'', throw it on the barbie''.................................nice one moron's (sic).