My favourite extinct monster is anomalocaris. Creatures during the Cambrian period were so strange looking. Which makes them interesting! Anomalocaris was basically a gigantic brine shrimp with an appetite for anything smaller than itself. Which was everything, because it was the largest animal in the world when it was alive!

Guess I just always found it fascinating that half a billon years ago, Earth was essentially an alien planet. Things couldโ€™ve ended up very differently...

Follow

So probably the weirdest Cambrian creature was this little beast. It's called Opabinia.

About the size of a mouse, and probably a relative of anomalocaris. Opabinia is mostly unlike any other creature we've ever found on Earth. Five eyes and an odd little trunk with a grabby thing on the end. In an incredibly bizarre form of convergent evolution, it probably used this appendage to eat in much the same way an elephant uses its trunk!

ยท 3 ยท 64 ยท 88

Funnily, the closest living relative of opabinia is probably the tardigrade.

Tardigrades are tiny, near-microscopic invertebrates which are found all over the world. They're also famous for being incredibly resilient, being able to survive things which would kill most other animals instantly โ€“ including extremes of temperature and pressure, dehydration, air deprivation, and radiation exposure. In experiments, they've even survived brief exposure to space.

@InvaderXan
LOVE tardigrades! Even before Star Trek gave them their deserved moment in the spotlight.

ST: DISCO spoilers? Season 1 Show more

ST: DISCO spoilers? Season 1 Show more

ST: DISCO spoilers? Season 1 Show more

ST: DISCO spoilers? Season 1 Show more

@daylight
All in time, friend. Whatever you can, whenever you can. I'm just... excitable, I guess. :P

@InvaderXan
The tardigrade is sort of the mascot of Amsterdam's excellent museum (zoo?) of microbes, Micropia.

micropia.nl/en/

@anne
OMG thereโ€™s a zoo of microbes?? ๐Ÿ˜ฎโœจ

@InvaderXan
It's excellent - most of the exhibits are stereo microscopes looking at live cultures prepared in the lab (you can watch). The microscopes are servo-controlled so the public can follow microbes around and focus up and down but can't wreck the machine.

@anne Oh, thatโ€™s delightful. I need to visit this place!

@InvaderXan
Next to the zoo and about two blocks from the botanical garden.

@g
Lovely little things. I really wonder what they were actually like!

@wu_lee
Oh, interesting. Late Carboniferous. Interesting little beastie, I hadn't heard of it before!

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Sunbeam City ๐ŸŒป

Sunbeam City is a Libertarian Socialist solarpunk instance. It is ran democratically by a cooperative of like-minded individuals.