A fossilised sea creature dating back 520 million years has been discovered in the sedimentary rocks of China, and catch this, its brain is still preserved!
The creature dates to the Cambrian period (543 – 493 million years ago) of our earth’s history, a time when the algae and jellyfish like creatures that once occupied the seas, evolved into more complex creatures. This newest fossil found had compound eyes, a hard shell like body and two claws for grabbing prey.
It falls into the family of anomalocaridids – the top predators of this very prehistoric sea at the time. Palaeontologists have fossils from this family before, but not as well preserved as this critter! The nervous system and part of its brain are still perfectly preserved, giving scientists a better idea of these prehistoric creatures.
The fossil has been given the name Lyrarapax unguispinus and was approximately 15cm long. Based on its brain, it’s been linked to a group known as the velvet worms.
The anomalocaridids went extinct 251 million years ago.