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Saturday, January 8, 2022

Ancestors of Living Creatures Edition: Cambrian

Ancestors of Living Creatures Edition Cambrian
Ancestors of Living Creatures Edition Cambrian

Continuation of my further discussion from my previous article, now we are very far from Archean. The Cambrian Age is the first period of the Paleozoic era which began about 541 to 488 million years ago. So if yesterday what I wrote was usually billions of years ago, now it has advanced millions.

Cambria is the Latin name for the country of Wales, where this period is studied. Many found fossils of metamorphic rocks there, which are estimated to be around 500 million years old.

After the formation of the crust in the previous period, the earth is currently in a stage of development, distribution, and movement and 80% of the earth's surface is still covered with water.

My little explanation of the early Cambrian period, the land was still in one continent called Rodinia. Continue to break into several parts like the map image above. The lower part which later became Antarctica and its surroundings we often hear as Gondwana. Then near the equator, North America was called Laurentia, Europe was called Baltica, and Siberia was still Siberia.

The land there is very barren. Temperatures can be very hot and can be very cold, still unstable. Plus, the oxygen is still mediocre and arguably quite impossible to start life.

According to experts, the only ones that might survive are the Archaebacteria class. The proof, even now you yourself may have heard, is that there are bacteria whose habitat is in extreme places such as in non-oxygenated lakes to volcanic craters.

So how's the sea? Yes. Apart from these bacteria, 99% of living things today live and thrive in water. Again MVPs are cyanobacteria. Even though they have evolved into different forms, they still produce a lot of oxygen to support marine life.

As a result, various multicellular animals emerged, mainly Arthropods and some other vertebrates. This creature has a unique shape, definitely different from most creatures today. The following describes some of the species. These are not all, only a few are chosen to be the topic of this era.



Anomalocaris is a type of shrimp Arthropod which is the most ferocious predator in the oceans at that time, and is also the first predator on earth.

Although no bigger than my dog ​​the Bulldog, in Cambrian times Anomalocaris was the largest animal. Anomalocaris is the ruler, also the top of the food chain in the Cambrian sea. The eyes are compound, and when enlarged they look like the eyes of a fly or dragonfly. Its mouth is in the shape of two claws. When eating, these claws will shrivel and the prey will be crushed to pieces.



Trilobites are a very large group of arthropods, found only in every corner of the oceans and a total of 25,000 species have been discovered. And of the many species, the shape is more or less the same as all cockroaches.

Because of their shape and number, fossil connoisseurs call them insects. Believe it or not, the Trilobites are the blueprints of 600 beasts in the future.

Meanwhile, in the Cambrian marine food chain, the position of this creature is opposite to Anomalocaris, at the very bottom. To take cover, the Trilobite rolls up its body, because the exoskeleton is only on the top while the bottom of the body is quite soft.



Vertebrates! One of the first chordates on earth, Haikouishthys. Haikouishthys belongs to the jawless fish, Agnatha. Jawfish themselves were only common in the Devonian period, which I will discuss in my next article. This Haikouichthys class is rare nowadays. All that is known is the Lamprey fish, the others are already extinct.

We must thank Haikouichthys and his family, because 70% of all living things on earth exist because of this one creature. Even if it's only as big as your thumb. Uniquely, Haikouichthys has 6 to 9 gills on each side. So in total, Haikouishthys has 12 to 18 gills.



Not an ancestor anymore, this one creature is one of the species that still lives from the Cambrian era until now. Little information Jellyfish haven't evolved much in 500 million years. And until now, Jellyfish can still live in all oceans, both on the surface to the deep sea.

Even though a jellyfish's body is soft and transparent like that, a jellyfish can be considered a creature that was created perfect from the start, right?

The tentacles of this jellyfish will sting on direct contact. Moreover, the shock was not like scattered electricity. So the rumor that jellyfish are beach predators is a hoax.

Jellyfish also vary in size. Some have diameters ranging from 1 cm to two meters. If counted hundreds of tentacles, the length can reach 36 meters.



Trilobites rival in abundance in the Cambrian Sea, Marrella. If you say it's similar to Trilobite, it's possible. But in my opinion, Marrella is cooler, more edgy.

Marrella herself had also been classified in the Trilobite family, but ended up having a family of her own. No, don't imagine that Marrella's case is the same as that of an adopted child in a drama movies.

Marrella is still arguably the ancestor of Arthropods too. The unique part of Marrella is the location of the breathing apparatus, namely on the legs. In addition, Marrella's legs and other body parts can emit colorful rays of light. In essence, Marrella is cooler than Trilobite.

Cambrian Explosion

The peculiarity of the Cambrian period is the existence of an event where the emergence of various living things very quickly, the name is the Cambrian Explosion.

These creatures appeared and evolved in a very short time. Because of that, experts and scientists were confused, how did the sudden appearance of various animals like that happen?

The Cambrian Period ended with the extinction of many species. Even some species of Trilobites became extinct after the start of the Ordovician. This event occurs because of the depletion of oxygen caused by a decrease in temperature in the deep sea.

It can be concluded that many animals that live in the deep sea cannot adapt and eventually die en masse. In addition, if you think that the Cambrian ocean is very beautiful because of its unspoiled diversity (not destroyed by dirty human hands), you are wrong.

Today, the ocean is still hard rock, muddy, and the sand is limestone. These plants are still dominated by coral whose shape is still monotonous. Of course it will be boring to see, especially for you underwater diving lovers

In addition, although the animal is not a threat, the seawater itself has high levels of acid, which can threaten your life.

Land is also no less deadly, as the ozone layer that has not been fully formed will immediately burn your body. So, I just want to remind you, if you have a time machine, the choice to go back to Cambrian (or even Archean) is a bad choice, believe me!

That's all I wrote about the Cambrian. Our next article will move on to the Ordovician Age. Share this article to support my writing about the series of prehistoric editions.