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February 5, 2011
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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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:iconthagirion:
Thagirion Jul 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Ooh, I did not know this! Lovely job on them.
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:iconriorex1:
Riorex1 Aug 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Fantastic!
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:iconsaxophlutist:
Saxophlutist 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 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 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 May 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I love it.
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:iconcultistofvertigo:
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 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:
:-) Do we have solid evidence that they're extinct, and not swimming round hydrothermal vents somewhere?
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:iconnocturnalsea:
NocturnalSea Dec 12, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
that would be pretty awesome.
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