Massive Titanokorys gainesi fossil discovered in the Canadian Rockies

Paleontologists from the Royal Ontario Museum have discovered a fossilized creature from the Cambrian period that is one of the largest creatures ever discovered from that ancient era. The creature, which was named Titanokorys gainesi, had an estimated total length of half a meter at a time when most sea creatures were barely the size of a pinky finger. The creature was discovered in the Kootenay National Park in the Canadian Rockies.

The rocks where it was discovered are a half billion years old. Titanokorys gainesi is one of the biggest animals from the Cambrian period ever discovered. It belongs to a group of primitive arthropods called radiodonts. The creature had multifaceted eyes, which is common to radiodonts.

It also had a mouth with lots of teeth shaped like a pineapple slice and a pair of claws below its head used for capturing prey. It swam in the ocean using flaps along its body for propulsion. Titanokorys gainesi belongs to a subgroup of radiodonts known as hurdiids which are known for having an extremely long head covered by a carapace.

Within that group, the carapace was known to take on many different shapes. One of the key visual elements of creatures of this sort is their gigantic heads which would have made them look like nothing more than a head swimming in the ocean. Scientists say the creatures fed on the seafloor using their front limbs that looked like stacked rakes to bring anything captured to their mouth.

The massive dorsal carapace is believed to have been used as a plow. The fossilized remains scientists studied were collected in the Marble Canyon area of the national park by successive expeditions from the museum. This particular area is rich in fossils and was discovered less than ten years ago.