airplanes | animals | architecture | art | auto | boats | famous | cool ads | funny pics | food | futurism | gadgets | history | japan
military | music | nature | photo | russia | sci-fi | signs | space | sports | steampunk | technology | trains | travel | vintage | weird

The Burgess Shale Monsters


Really bizarre monsters lived on Earth during the Cambrian Period. Stranger than many sci-fi aliens, in fact.

Discovered in 1909, in Canada's Rocky Mountains (Yoho National Park), the Burgess Shale contains tens of thousands of well-preserved fossils, some so bizarre, that they have no modern equivalent, leaving scientists guessing about how they were related to the rest of the animal world. The animals in the shale lived on or near the seabed and were victims of underwater avalanches, which trapped them almost instantly in fine-grained mud. Because the mud was soft and contained very little oxygen, it preserved its victims remarkably well.

The Anomalocaris, or the "Unusual Shrimp", depicted on the images above, (source: The Anomalocaris Homepage) was over one meter long. It swam by rippling flaps along its sides, and it attacked its prey with a pair of fearsome mouthparts that looked like legs. However, its real mouth was disk-shaped and had an entirely science-fictional ring of teeth, used to crush hard-bodied prey. (see image below)

Ottoia was a soft-bodied burrowing worm with a spike-tipped proboscis that could be extended like a trunk. When the trunk made contact with anything edible, it was swallowed whole.
Stranger still is a mystery animal, called Opabinia (see image below). It had five eyes, a body divided into segments and a bizarre claw-tipped snout like a vacuum cleaner...

and Wiwaxia was like an armored cushion that cruised across the seabed:

But strangest of all was a totally whacked-out creature, appropriately called Hallucigenia.The original fossil showed what seemed to be two rows of spiny legs and a set of short tentacles attached to a wormlike body without an obvious head. This Hieronymous Bosch nightmare originally has been reconstructed as walking on its spines and its soft tentacles waiving above it. This is how the mysterious monster appeared in publications at the time:

However, since then further fossils have shown that researchers had mistakenly put the animal upside down. Hallucigenia did walk on sort-of legs, after all.

UPDATE: November 29, 2006

Something strangely resembling the Anomalocaris was caught recently off the southern coast of Australia. Check out this link for the photo and discussion of what it could possibly be!..

Permanent Link...Digg!


The Last Victorian Leviathan Steam Ship

An Iron Monster, framed in a cloud of billowing white sails

DRB Feel-Good
DRB Feel-Good Issue #24

Loads of cool and rare imagery

DRB Time-Slice:
Infinite Music & "Oud" Masterpieces

Unique melody for every day of the year!

"Dark Roasted Blend" - All Kinds of Weird and Wonderful Things, Discovered Daily!"

DRB is a top-ranked and respected source for the best in art, travel and fascinating technology, with a highly visual presentation. Our in-depth articles in many categories make DRB a highly visual online magazine, bringing you quality entertainment every time you open your "feed" reader or visit our site - About DRB

Connect with us and become part of DRB on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus; make sure to subscribe to our updates.



Anonymous koshka said...

Truly weird stuff- however, if you think about it, do coral reef creatures which are alive today look any less weird? And since we haven't done much undersea exploration, who knows what sort of bizarre beasts lurk in the darkness of the deep still?

Anonymous Kona said...

Pretty interesting, those Hallucigenia remind me of sea urchins. Nice link.

Anonymous Stellarsteph said...

I think you mean the Wiwaxia remind you of sea urchins. The Hallucigenia is below that, and walked on its legs ;)

Anonymous kona said...

Ooops! You're right. Hehe.

Anonymous eilirj said...

Five eyes and a vacuum cleaner snout? Useful for cleaning under the sofa.

Anonymous Azur2 said...

These creatures are so cool...
However, Wiwaxia is nowadays considered an early polyplacophoran; Hallucigenia is related to present-day velvet worms and tardigrades; the sea scorpion is a pretty direct ancestor to todays land-living scorpions; and the reconstruction of Wiwaxia and Anomalocaris is a bit wrong - it is today known that they had biramous branching legs, and were early arthropods.

These are still wondrous creatures, just not quite as enigmatic as this blog (and Gould's book "Wonderful Life") suggests.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Don't miss: The Ultimate Guide to NEW SF&F Writers!
Fiction Reviews: Classic Cyberpunk: Extreme Fiction
Short Fiction Reviews: Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" (with pics)
New Fiction Reviews: The Surreal Office


DRB Time-Slice: 1930 Design:
Golden Telephone For Pope Pius

You needed to kneel to speak with Pope Pius XII by phone

Colorful South American Buses, Part 2

If you are braving some of the riskiest roads, you might as well have a colorful ride!

DRB Time-Slice: 1966 Vehicles: Latin America Buses

"Psychedelic-Style" Mercedes-Benz LO 1112 Bus

Knock Three Times: Esoteric Door Knockers & Door Handles

Most intricate, bizarre, fascinating designs

The Majesty of Orion Nebula

Ferocious stellar winds, causing gravitational collapse

Just Horsing Around (Funny Pics)

Solarium for Horses, and more

Japanese Umbrellas: Rainbow Variations

Japanese sky melts down... in color

"Pale Memory" Traumatic Explosion

Stunning Photo-Realistic (and Wildly Surreal) Paintings by Jeremy Geddes

Creative (and Weird) Basketball Hoops

Exercise Anywhere! Make your hoop out of anything!

Quantum Shot #881
Fascinating Maps:
Origins of Important Historical Figures in Europe

Europe Seen Through a Temporal Telescope: 1400-1950

DRB Pic-of-the-Day
Pic-of-the-Day: Feather Sea Star

"Flowers of the Coral Seas"

DRB Feel-Good
DRB Feel-Good Issue #20

Loads of cool and rare imagery

Futuristic "Sofil" 1953 Vehicle

Marvelous bus designed by Felix Aublet

More Lovely Micro Cars

Small is Timeless!

DRB Pic-of-the-Day: Thunder Robot Army

Plus a bunch of Freddie-Ford auto robots

Adorable Bubble-Cars

Great Things Come in Small Packages

These Glorious Three-Wheeled Microcars

Jellybean Three-Wheelers! (Who Needs an Extra Wheel?)

Japan Robot Restaurant: Totally Over-the-Top!

Probably the craziest restaurant in the entire world

Nightmare Playgrounds, Part 2
Nightmare Playgrounds, Part 1

Seriously disturbing sculptures, meant for kids

Nightmare Playgrounds, Part 3

When trapped in a nightmare, enjoy a kiddie-slide!

Cars with Propellers, Part 2

Futuristic "Pillbug", built in 1936 in Germany

DRB Pic-of-the-Day: Shire on Earth

Found! The secret hideout of hobbits

Cars with Propellers, Part 1

Essential steampunk transportation

FULL ARCHIVES (with previews, fast loading):

Sep-Oct 2014 -- July-Aug 2014 --
June 2014 -- May 2014 -- April 2014 -- Feb-March 2014 --
January 2014 -- Oct-Dec 2013 -- September 2013 --
August 2013 -- July 2013 -- May-June 2013 -- April 2013 --
March 2013 -- February 2013 -- Dec-Jan 2013 --
November 2012 -- October 2012 -- September 2012 --
August 2012 -- July 2012 -- June 2012 -- May 2012 -- April 2012 --
March 2012 -- February 2012 -- Dec-Jan 2012 --
November 2011 -- October 2011 -- September 2011 --
August 2011 -- July 2011 -- June 2011 --
May 2011 -- April 2011 -- March 2011 --
February 2011 -- January 2011 -- December 2010 --
November 2010 -- October 2010 -- September 2010 --
August 2010 - July 2010 -- June 2010 --
May 2010 -- April 2010 -- March 2010 --
Winter 2009-2010 -- Oct-Nov 2009 -- September 2009 --
August 2009 -- June-July 2009 -- May 2009 --
April 2009 -- March 2009 -- February 2009 --
January 2009 -- December 2008 -- November 2008 --
October 2008 -- September 2008 -- August 2008 --
July 2008 -- June 2008 -- May 2008 --
April 2008 -- March 2008 -- February 2008 --
January 2008 -- Dec, 2007 -- November 2007 --
October 2007 -- September 2007 -- August 2007 --
July 2007 -- June 2007 -- May 2007 --
April 2007 -- March 2007 -- February 2007 --
January 2007 -- December 2006 -- November 2006 --
October 2006 -- Link Latte Issues -- Biscotti Issues

airplanes | animals | architecture | art | auto | boats | books | cool ads | funny pics | famous | futurism | food
gadgets | health | history | humour | japan | internet | link latte | military | music | nature | photo | russia | steampunk
sci-fi & fantasy | signs | space | sports | technology | trains | travel | vintage | weird

Cool Ads
Extreme Weather
Funny Pics
Link Latte
Oops Accidents
Science Fiction

UE Abandoned

Avi Abrams
Rachel Abrams
M. Christian
Simon Rose
Paul Schilperoord
Scott Seegert
Constantine vonHoffman

Send us your topic ideas, site suggestions, rants or sweet unpublished poetry. We love to hear from you.

Samsung Galaxy Case friendly.