Here is the Titanokorys, the monster terror of the seas of 500 million years ago-

from Paolo Virtuani

Found in Canada. Half a meter long: it was a giant compared to the animals that lived then. It was a primitive arthropod, related (distantly) to insects and crustaceans

In the seas of the Cambrian, about 500 million years ago, a monster was prowling. It was only half a meter long, but compared to the other animals that existed in those remote times it was a giant. This is the Titanokorys gainesi, recently discovered in the Canadian Rockies in a field of Marble Canyon, in Kootenay National Park, which has already returned extraordinary fossils of the lower Cambrian. It was extracted by a team led by Professor Jean-Bernard Caron of the Royal Ontario Museum. The description of the specimen was published in the specialized magazine Royal Society Open Science


The Titanokorys (whose name in Greek means titanic helmet and was named after Prof. Robert Gaines, forerunner of paleontological studies at that site) was part of the order of Radiodont, extinct 400 million years ago, which belonged to arthropods (which includes also modern insects and crustaceans). The size of this animal is absolutely stunning, says Caron, it is one of the largest animals to have lived in the Cambrian.

Primitive arthropod

According to the scientists who studied it, Titanokorys was a primitive arthropod. He possessed multifaceted eyes (like today’s insects), many teeth, a pair of thorny claws, and a series of structures that allowed him to swim. This animal belongs to a subgroup of Radiodons characterized by an incredibly long head covered with a carapace that could take on different shapes, explains Joe Moysiuk, co-author of the study. We still don’t know for sure what the reasons are for the enormous size of the carapace of these arthropods, but they could be linked to evolutionary adaptation. Titanokorys, like many other extinct species, were bizarre and enigmatic animals.

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September 8, 2021 (change September 8, 2021 | 16:31)


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