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!
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!
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 – including extremes of temperature and pressure, dehydration, air deprivation, and radiation exposure. In experiments, they've even survived brief exposure to space.
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, that’s delightful. I need to visit this place!
Next to the zoo and about two blocks from the botanical garden.
Sunbeam City is a Libertarian Socialist solarpunk instance. It is ran democratically by a cooperative of like-minded individuals.