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Naturwissenschaften. 2012 Jun;99(6):501-4. doi: 10.1007/s00114-012-0910-8. Epub 2012 Apr 5.

The oral cone of Anomalocaris is not a classic ''peytoia''.

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1
Department of Palaeontology, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, UK. A.Daley@nhm.ac.uk

Abstract

The Cambro-Ordovician anomalocaridids are large ecdysozoans commonly regarded as ancestors of the arthropods and apex predators. Predation is indicated partly by the presence of an unusual "peytoia"-type oral cone, which is a tetraradial outer ring of 32 plates, four of which are enlarged and in perpendicular arrangement. This oral cone morphology was considered a highly consistent and defining characteristic of well-known Burgess Shale taxa. It is here shown that Anomalocaris has a different oral cone, with only three large plates and a variable number of smaller and medium plates. Its functional morphology suggests that suction, rather than biting, was used for food ingestion, and that anomalocaridids in general employed a range of different scavenging and predatory feeding strategies. Removing anomalocaridids from the position of highly specialized trilobite predators forces a reconsideration of the ecological structure of the earliest marine animal communities in the Cambrian.

PMID:
22476406
DOI:
10.1007/s00114-012-0910-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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