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Anomalocaris predation on nonmineralized and mineralized trilobites

Christopher Nedin
Anomalocaris predation on nonmineralized and mineralized trilobites
Geology (Boulder) (November 1999) 27 (11): 987-990


The giant Cambrian form Anomalocaris is considered to have been a raptoral predator of trilobites. However, doubt has been raised about its ability to successfully predate on strongly biomineralized forms (durophagy). A specimen of the trilobite Naraoia from the Early Cambrian Emu Bay Shale of South Australia represents the earliest direct body fossil evidence of predation on nonbiomineralized individuals. Analysis of arthropod cuticle rheology and examination of the injuries inflicted on this specimen suggest that Anomalocaris was the predator. It appears that some anomalocaridids actively utilized their large frontal appendages to rapidly flex trilobites during predation. Comparison with predation damage from mineralized trilobites and coprolites suggests that this method of flexing allowed durophagous predation. The presence in the Early Cambrian of durophagous, nonbiomineralized predators may have important implications for the role of predation pressure in the acquisition of mineralized cuticles and the rise of enrollment in trilobites. Variation in the frontal appendages of anomalocaridids indicates that niche partitioning within the genus was well established by the late Early Cambrian.

ISSN: 0091-7613
EISSN: 1943-2682
Serial Title: Geology (Boulder)
Serial Volume: 27
Serial Issue: 11
Title: Anomalocaris predation on nonmineralized and mineralized trilobites
Author(s): Nedin, Christopher
Affiliation: University of Adelaide, Department of Geology and Geophysics, Adelaide, South Aust., Australia
Pages: 987-990
Published: 199911
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 41
Accession Number: 1999-070126
Categories: Invertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus.
S36°01'60" - S35°40'00", E136°34'00" - E138°04'00"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 199924
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