Ancient Anomalocarids had compound eyes with 16k lenses

I can only imagine how violent it was to live in ancient times where the giant dinosaurs and sea creatures roamed the Earth's oceans and landmasses. One of the creepiest of the sea creatures I have seen is this big creature called an Anomalocarids that had gigantic pear shaped eyes. Apparently, scientist could only guess at what the eyes of the animal looked like until recently when a very well preserved fossil of the eyes was found.

The fossil was of just the animal's eyes and was so well preserved that not only could the shape of the eyes be determined, but also microscopic examination revealed much more about how well the animal could see. The super close up image of the eyes revealed that the predator had 16,000 individual lenses. The fossil that shed light on the subject of the Anomalocarids' eyes are about 515-million years old and were discovered in Australia.

The team also noted very clear similarities in the visual system of the Anomalocarids and modern arthropods that suggests a clear link between the two groups. This ancient animal was about a meter long and paddled though the water with appendages on its sides. The long things in front of the face were used to grab prey and cram it into a mouth on the underside of the animal.

[via Wired]