March 21, 2023


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He had three eyes and a terrifying appearance.  Here is a predator from the Cambrian period

He had three eyes and a terrifying appearance. Here is a predator from the Cambrian period

Stanley Karis HerpicsBecause that is the name of this species, it inhabited our planet in the Cambrian period, about 500 million years ago. It turned out to be the first known arthropod to have a third eye.

This animal was not gigantic, because it was the size of a human hand. On the other hand, her skeleton can be intimidating, and if he were alive now, there is no doubt that he would be referred to as an alien. Three eyes, seventeen body segments, two pairs of stiff blades extending along the lower third of the body, and thorny claws.

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It is difficult to compare the described species to anything found on Earth today. It brings to mind the combination of stingrays and shrimp, although it is one of the arthropods to which stingrays, of course, do not belong. Modern representatives of this species include insects, spiders and crustaceans. On the other hand, the authors of the S. hirpex study are of the opinion that in fact there were or are more three-eyed arthropods – they simply have not yet been found.

The size of S. hirpex is similar to a human hand

The results on this topic so far have been published in columns current biology. The publication shows that 500 million years ago this species had two prominent eyes on either side of its head, each with hundreds of lenses. The third eye was in the middle and was distinguished by its size. Fossils of several individuals were found at the Canadian fossil site known as Burgess panels.

In total, as many as 268 samples were studied, and many of them, despite the passage of time, contained intact soft tissues, including the brain and even the eyes. According to Joseph Moisiuk of the University of Toronto, the large central eye connected to the lateral eyes was probably a common link among early invertebrates. Over time, there was a development of two or more eyes, which began to form pairs on successive levels.

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Another possible owner of the Three Eyes was around 520 million years old Lirarapax. Such as S. Herpics It belonged to the same group of early arthropods called radiodonts. On its forehead you can see structures similar to those in the recently analyzed specimens, which indicates that this older animal also had an extra eye. It can perform a separate function from the other two eyes that have been placed on the sides.