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New fossils of an ancient ocean predator named “Timorebestia” or “terror beasts” have been discovered by researchers from the University of Bristol and other institutions. The fossils date back to the Early Cambrian period over 500 million years ago.

Timorebestia grew over 30cm long, had fins and antennae, and a large jaw structure for feeding. At the time, they were some of the biggest swimming predators around. Previously, scientists thought arthropods were the main predators, but this find shows the ecosystems were more complex.

The researchers found fossilized remains of other arthropods called Isoxys inside Timorebestia’s digestive system, indicating they were part of the food chain. Timorebestia seems to have been a top predator, similar to modern day sharks and seals.

Fossil of Timorebestia koprii—the largest known specimen, almost 30 cm or 12 inches long. image credid: Dr Jakob Vinther

Timorebestia is an early ancestor of today’s arrow worms or chaetognaths which are much smaller ocean predators. The fossils help trace the evolution of jawed predators and the features of ancient aquatic ecosystems.

Dr Jakob Vinther at the Sirius Passet locality in 2017 showing the largest specimen of Timorebestia after it was found. image credit: Dr Jakob Vinther

More fossils were found showing distinct nervous systems that support the evolutionary links between Timorebestia, arrow worms, and other worm-like creatures. The discoverers say this is just the beginning, and they expect to find more unusual fossils that reveal insights into the earliest animal life.

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Brandon Grimes
Brandon Grimes is a seasoned paranormal journalist known for his relentless pursuit of the unexplained. With an insatiable curiosity and a keen eye for detail, he has dedicated his career to uncovering the mysteries that lie beyond the realms of conventional understanding. Brandon's approach to paranormal journalism is characterized by a healthy blend of skepticism and open-mindedness. He firmly believes in critically examining the evidence, challenging assumptions, and presenting the truth to his readers. His methodical research and commitment to unbiased reporting have earned him the respect of both believers and skeptics alike. Throughout his career, Brandon has traveled to countless haunted locations, delving deep into the dark underbelly of the paranormal world. He has interviewed witnesses, experts, and even those who claim to possess supernatural abilities, always striving to bring forth stories that would otherwise remain hidden in the shadows.

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