Thursday, December 8th, 2011
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Jeepers Creepers, Where Did The Anomalocaris Get Those Peepers?

Exciting news about Anomalocaris! Turns out that everyone's favorite super-predator from the Paleozoic era's Cambrian period had incredibly powerful underwater vision. Fossils recently discovered off of South Australia's Kangaroo Island prove that the beloved, though highly controversial three-foot-long shrimp-like creature had huge, inch-long eyes growing out of stalks on either side of its crazy, fearsome, shrimp-like head.

As Discovery's Jennifer Viegas reports,

"The fossils represent compound eyes. These are the multi-faceted kind seen in arthropods, such as flies, crabs and kin. They are perhaps the largest of their kind to have ever existed, with each eye over 1 inch in length and containing over 16,000 lenses."

I was going to end this post by noting that 16,000 lenses is likely to be even more than you'd find in Elton John's sunglasses wardrobe. But after seeing the television ad released yesterday by the Rick Perry campaign, I will instead say how badly I wished that the Anomalocaris still existed today so that it could use its circular mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth to eat Rick Perry's head.

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Werner Hedgehog (#11,170)

Compound eyes require a complex hierarchical bundling of nerves which superpose the outputs from the individual eyes in order to present the shellfish's brain with an integrated and uniform input.

Even this humble nervous system precludes the Cambrian critter from voting for Bachmann…

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