|ROMIP 51212, a largely complete specimen of Anomalocaris canadensis.|
|Life restoration of Anomalocaris canadensis.|
(8 more unnamed species)
It is best known from the type species A. canadensis, found in the Stephen Formation (particularly the Burgess Shale) of British Columbia, Canada. The species A. daleyae is known from the somewhat older Emu Bay Shale of Australia. Other remains are known from China and the United States. Originally, several fossilized parts discovered separately (the mouth, frontal appendages and trunk) were thought to be three separate creatures, a misapprehension corrected by Harry B. Whittington and Derek Briggs in a 1985 journal article.
Like other radiodonts, Anomalocaris had swimming flaps running along its body, large compound eyes, and a single pair of segmented, "frontal appendages", which in Anomalocaris were used to grasp prey. Measuring up to 38 cm (1.25 ft) long excluding frontal appendages and tail fan, A. canadensis is one of the largest animals of the Cambrian, and thought to be one of the earliest examples of an apex predator, though others have been found in older Cambrian lagerstätten deposits.
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