Anomalocaris was a strange-looking sea creature that lived over 500 million years ago. It was one of the largest and fiercest predators of its time, swimming through ancient oceans in search of prey.


Despite not being a dinosaur, Anomalocaris played an important role in prehistoric ecosystems long before dinosaurs appeared. This unusual animal had a disk-shaped mouth, two large eyes on stalks, and a pair of spiky appendages at the front of its body for catching food. Its name means “abnormal shrimp” because when it was first discovered, scientists thought its parts belonged to different animals!

Anomalocaris was an early arthropod, related to modern-day insects, spiders, and crustaceans. It swam using flaps along its body, almost like a prehistoric stingray. These flaps helped it glide through the water, sneaking up on smaller sea creatures to eat.


Imagine finding puzzle pieces from different sets all mixed up. That’s what happened when scientists first discovered Anomalocaris fossils! They found the spiky arms and thought they were shrimp tails. The round mouth was mistaken for a jellyfish. It took years before researchers realized all these strange parts belonged to one amazing creature!

Fun Fact

Did you know that Anomalocaris had some of the earliest complex eyes in the animal kingdom? Its large, stalked eyes were made up of thousands of tiny lenses, giving it excellent vision for hunting in the ancient seas. It’s like having a pair of super-powerful binoculars attached to your head!

People Also Ask

  • How big was Anomalocaris?
  • When did Anomalocaris live?
  • What did Anomalocaris eat?

How big was Anomalocaris? Anomalocaris was huge for its time! Some species could grow up to 3 feet (1 meter) long, which made them giants compared to most other sea creatures during the Cambrian period.

When did Anomalocaris live? Anomalocaris lived during the Cambrian period, about 540 to 485 million years ago. This was long before dinosaurs, when life in the oceans was just starting to become diverse and complex.

What did Anomalocaris eat? Anomalocaris was a predator that probably ate anything it could catch! Its diet likely included trilobites, worms, and other soft-bodied creatures that lived in the ancient seas. It used its spiky front appendages to grab prey and bring it to its disk-shaped mouth.