Monster Shrimp May Have Been A 'Softie' - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Monster Shrimp May Have Been A 'Softie'

MSN - The great, car-sized predatory "shrimp" that was master of Earth's seas a half billion years ago may have been unable to eat anything harder than baby food.

Several lines of evidence along with a new 3-D model of the way the mouth parts of Anomalocaris worked show that the infamous carnivore could not crack the hard shells of trilobites and other protected critters of the Cambrian seas.

"The mouth parts appear soft and bendable in (fossil) specimens," said paleontologist James "Whitey" Hagadorn of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. "That struck me as kind of funny."

Soft mouth parts don't jive with the now standard interpretation of Anomalocaris being a predator that wolfed down trilobites and anything else it could catch. That got Hagadorn wondering: "Is it possible that Anomalocaris didn't eat trilobites?" he asked.

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