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Ceticarids by NocturnalSea Ceticarids by NocturnalSea
With the discovery of Schinderhannes bartelsi, we now know that the anomalocarids (formerly only found in the Cambrian Period) were around at least until the Devonian. Unfortunately, anomalocarids’ relatively soft bodies mean their fossils are rarely found, meaning we have yet to fully appreciate their true diversity and abundance.
Here I’ve imagined a hypothetical group of filter-feeding anomalocarids called Ceticarids (since they fill an ecological niche similar to that of modern day baleen whales). In this taxon are two subgroups:
Lagganiamorphs have retained all their lateral fins and closely resemble their namesake, Laggania cambria.
The example shown here is Dolichopterus pelagicus, an open-ocean species similar to the modern-day manta ray.
Schinderhannimorphs, on the other hand, have lost most of the lateral fins save for the first and last pair, giving them a rather fish-like appearance.
The example here is Cetimimus heliophilus, which swims near the surface like a basking shark. With Cetimimus, the tail spine of its Schinderhannes-like ancestor has been modified into a strong tail fluke similar to that of a humpback whale. The head and front fins of C. heliophilus are covered with callosities, rough patches of skin infested with “sea lice” (in this case, highly-modified trilobites). Here’s a more detailed description of some of the critters living on the Whale-Mimic: [link]
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:iconevlwns:
EVLWNS Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2014
In case you didn't already know, an update to your fine work: Tamisiocaris, a filter-feeding anomalocarid had its discovery announced a few months ago.

Art imitating life imitating art, I guess.

Right on.
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:iconnocturnalsea:
NocturnalSea Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
hehe, oh I know about Tamisiocaris.  Jakob Vintner actually contacted me before the paper came out.  A colleague of his saw my more detailed Ceticaris design: nocturnalsea.deviantart.com/ar… in the All Your Yesterdays book and thought the coincidence was pretty neat.  They even named the taxonomic group, Cetiocarids, after my critter. :)
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:iconthagirion:
Thagirion Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Ooh, I did not know this! Lovely job on them.
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:iconriorex1:
Riorex1 Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Fantastic!
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:iconsaxophlutist:
Saxophlutist Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love it when speculative biology covers cambrian taxa! Imma watch you now.
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:iconnocturnalsea:
NocturnalSea Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Sweet! Thanks.
Also, who else does Cambrian speculative biology? I'd love to see their stuff.
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:iconmindslave24-7:
Mindslave24-7 Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Yay! :w00t:
Yes, where were the the planktivores of the early seas?
Something had to eat all those floating pelagic trilobites. And if they were the zooplankton of their day, what ate them?
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:iconkauijumatt:
KauijuMatt Featured By Owner May 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I love it.
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:iconcultistofvertigo:
cultistofvertigo Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011
Woah.

woah. woah. woah.

WOAH.

wait, hold on... woah...

Anomalocarids... from the DEVONIAN?

I think the DC event just replaced the KT as the biggest crime against nature of all time.
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:iconnocturnalsea:
NocturnalSea Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
I know. If only they'd held on just a bit longer...
But then again, who's to say they DIDN'T? Anomalocarids rarely fossilize since they're soft-bodied, so how do we know they didn't survive until later periods....maybe even into the mesozoic!
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:iconindigomagpie:
indigomagpie Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2011
:-) Do we have solid evidence that they're extinct, and not swimming round hydrothermal vents somewhere?
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:iconnocturnalsea:
NocturnalSea Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
that would be pretty awesome.
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:iconwindguru:
WindGuru Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2011   Writer
Very ingenious! I love anomalocarids :3.
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:iconnocturnalsea:
NocturnalSea Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
thanks
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:iconindigomagpie:
indigomagpie Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2011
Fun! How big are they?
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:iconnocturnalsea:
NocturnalSea Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks. I'd say they're about the size of a basking shark. Living on a diet of abundant plankton allows animals to grow to tremendous sizes. Just look at the blue whale.
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:iconpristichampsus:
Pristichampsus Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2014  Professional General Artist
There is an undescribed oral disk from Australia that is indicative of a truly enormous anomalocarid. No one is currently trying to describe it, which is a shame, but I've seen it in the vaults at the South Australian Museum.

We initially waxed hyperbole about some enormous super predator, but me and my friend who works there now think that a filter feeder is more likely.
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:iconnocturnalsea:
NocturnalSea Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh wow-- I wish someone would write up a paper on that.  I always love finding out about new anomalocarids.  I bet there was a fair number of large filter-feeders throughout the lineage.  As more and more fossils are uncovered, we're finding that the group was really diverse.  I'll bet there was actually an even bigger variety than we realize-- bottom-dwelling wobbegong analogs, large, fast open-ocean Thresher-shark analogs, bioluminescent deep-sea hunters, etc etc.  

Assuming opabinia is an anomalocarid-- or at least a close relative-- there's probably also an as-yet undiscovered lineage of "trunked" anomalocarids too, whose great appendages fused in order to allow it to chase animals down their burrows. 
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:iconpristichampsus:
Pristichampsus Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2014  Professional General Artist
The diversity we already see in things like appendages indicates that they were quite varied, I'm sure they'll continue to surprise us.

I really agree with you, it would be good if it was written up, but I guess it happens with a lot of museum's untold treasure, that they wait patiently to be described. There is the possibility that it had a proportionately large oral disk, in which case it would still be very large.

As far as Opabinia goes, I agree that it is some sort of anomalocarid. Myoscolex is probably a southern-hemisphere relative of Opabinia.
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:iconindigomagpie:
indigomagpie Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2011
Hmm, is it pedantic to ask how their circulation works :-) ?
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:iconnocturnalsea:
NocturnalSea Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Not at all. Ral anomalocarids appear to have had gills along their ventral side, so my hypothetical variations would have them too. I hadn't really thought about where to put them when I created these pictures, but I'd imagine the gills would be under protective flaps to keep them from getting damaged while the animal glides through the water. Since anomalocarids were probably arthropods, they most likely would have had an open hemocoel through which blood would circulate.
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:iconindigomagpie:
indigomagpie Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2011
Wouldn't a haemocoel in such a large creature be vulnerable to massive blood loss if they were injured?
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:iconnocturnalsea:
NocturnalSea Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Hmmm.. I suppose it would. Although, arthropod blood is capable of clotting, so a puncture or a relatively small cut could be plugged quickly. They'd probably be in trouble if something took a good bite out of them, but theoretically they'd be so large that most predators would leave them alone. And since they live in the open ocean, there'd be little danger of them accidentally brushing against something sharp.
It might just be easier to say they're not quite as big as a basking shark (perhaps the size of a tuna), so thee's not as much of a problem with blood loss.
Then again, gigantic arthropods aren't completely impossible. Just look at Arthropleura or Jaekelopterus.
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:iconthomastapir:
thomastapir Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011
Freakin' awesome, per usual...I'm a sucker for anything with orca-style countershading, and the repurposing of the jointed anomalocarid forelimbs into baleen-like strainers is probably the most imaginative take I've ever seen on an alternate macrofaunal invertebrate filter-feeding apparatus. Nicely done!
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:iconpalaeorigamipete:
palaeorigamipete Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
wow! i had no idea about these two! =)
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:iconpalaeorigamipete:
palaeorigamipete Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
oops! they're hypothetical =P i still love them! =)
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:iconnocturnalsea:
NocturnalSea Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
thanks! I'm glad you like them.
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:iconpalaeorigamipete:
palaeorigamipete Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I do!
Can you give me an insight in anomalocarid segmentation? i mean, some reconstructions show a one piece dorsal part with the lateral lobes (with visible segmentation on the ventral side between them) and some show dorsal segmentation as well. I'd just want to know your personal opinion, because i see these two show both of the possible "bauplans" ;-)
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:iconnocturnalsea:
NocturnalSea Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Overall, anomalocarids appear to have had a smooth, one-piece dorsal surface, although a few unusual specimens such as Schinderhannes bartelsi and Opabinia (which is now thought to be a close relative of anomalocarids, if not a full member of the group) do have back segmentation.
Overall, I'd say you probably want to make your anomalocarids with smooth backs, unless you want to do Opabinia or Schinderhannes.
In case you haven't seen it, Sam Gon has an excellant anomalocaris website: [link] that's where I got a lot of the information for my anomalocarid group piece.
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:iconpalaeorigamipete:
palaeorigamipete Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! You know, I am really thinking of making anomalocaris! =) though, with making it smooth-backed, it's gonna be harder... =P
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:iconnocturnalsea:
NocturnalSea Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
The smooth dorsal surface was probably like the carapce of a lobster-- one big piece covering several internal segments.
For my Cetimimus, I imagined that some species had lost the dorsal carapce and reverted back to external segmentation.
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:iconcybershot:
cybershot Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2011
Nice job!
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