Opabinia had five stalked eyes on its head.
Opabinia Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Opabinia regalis
Opabinia Physical Characteristics
Opabinia Distribition

Among things researching planet’s old fossils has actually exposed is that the world had some quite weird animals countless years earlier. Opabinia is among such unusual- looking animals that swam the planet’s seas 500 million years earlier. Uncovered from Canada’s Citizen Shale, this old arthropod had a strange appearance; it appeared like something you would certainly see in an unusual sci- fi motion picture. In spite of being such a fascinating- looking animal, several aspects of the Opabinia have actually continued to be a secret as a result of the minimal fossils offered.

Summary & Dimension

Opabinia was a strange- looking arthropod that lived throughout the Cambrian regarding 505 million years earlier. The species was called after Opabin Pass. A mountain pass in between Mt. Hungabee and Mt. Biddle, situated in British Columbia. The animal was a slim, soft- bodied arthropod with a complete size of regarding 2.8 inches (7 centimeters). Usually, its body is separated right into a head, a fractional trunk, and a follower- like tail. The absence of mineralized shield implied researchers generated various analyses of just how the animal may have looked.

Among one of the most strange functions of Opabinia is its eyes. It had 5 eyes, and all were tracked and sharp upwards. 2 eyes were longer and situated in the direction of the rear of the head, with a much shorter one in between them. The continuing to be 2 were sited around the center of the head.

The animal’s mouth inhabited an odd placement under its head and dealt with backwards. A hollow proboscis was likewise connected right in the front of the mouth. The size of this framework is a 3rd of the overall body’s size. This appendage was lengthy and adaptable adequate to get to the mouth of the microorganism easily. It was striated and had a side claw- like kind at the suggestion with 5 spinal columns with inwards forecast.

Opabinia had reciprocal proportion, and its text components were fractional. There were 15 sectors, each with sets of wattles dealing with in an outward direction and down. They were overlapped in such a fashion that the back side of each covered the coming before sets. The tail was cone-shaped fit and had 3 “follower” blades that overlapped each various other, producing a V- designed perception. The microorganism’s respiration was by means of combined dorsal expansions that acted as gills attached to the base of the flaps.

Animated picture of opabinia
Opabinia is a tiny aquatic animal that lived around 508 million years earlier throughout the Cambrian perio d.

Nobu Tamura (http://spinops.blogspot.com)/ CC BY 3.0 – – Permit

Diet – What Did Opabinia Eat?

Many analyses of this animal’s behaviors recommend that Opabinia was a predator. Nonetheless, the lack of jaw- like frameworks and teeth in the fossils suggests it possibly preyed on little and soft- bodied animals. Opabinia’s diet probably consisted of smaller sized invertebrates that resided in the exact same environment. The animal recorded its target with its claw- like proboscis and passed them to its mouth for food digestion. It had a combined digestive tract diverticula, which would certainly have boosted the effectiveness of food digestion.

Environment – When and Where It Lived

Opabinia lived throughout the Cambrian Duration. The team endured on the seafloor for a couple of million years prior to going extinct. Researchers on behalf of the “no legs” concept recommended that they crept on their wattles on the ancient seafloor. Some professionals thought that Opabinia might swim gradually by waving its wattles.

Risks and Predators

We understand extremely little regarding Opabinia’s way of life and behaviors. Although the majority of professionals concur that this animal was probably a killer, we do not recognize adequate regarding its location in the food web or whether it dealt with substantial dangers from various other animals. Nonetheless, Opabinia lived throughout a duration when the planet undertook fast, extreme adjustments that may have endangered its presence. For example, the interment of the Citizen Shale microorganisms recommends that a landslide or a debris- packed existing hidden them promptly. Cases such as this may have been extremely unusual in the harmful Cambrian sea.

Discoveries and Fossils – Where It Was Found

Paleontologists discovered Opabinia in Cambrian fossil down payments that go back to roughly 505 million years earlier. Charles Doolittle Walcott uncovered 11 Opabinia fossils in 1911. It was initially seen in the Citizen Shale down payments of British Columbia, Canada. The website of Opabinia’s exploration is renowned for its bountiful down payments of unusual Cambrian animals. Harry B. Whittington uncovered a lot more well- managed Opabinia fossils in 1966.

Opabinia demonstrated how hard it is to acquire realities from soft- bodied animals maintained in fossil documents. Because they generally map fossils, it leaves a great deal of presumptions and disagreements to be discussed. This species had no shield or recognizable exoskeletons. Therefore their bodies had actually been squashed at their interment and fossilization. The interior functions just look like markings inside the larger rundown of the fossils. A lot more fossils have actually been discovered throughout the years, yet these verified hard to research because of their inadequate state of conservation.

Termination – When Did It Pass away Out?

This strange animal probably ended up being extinct throughout the Permian- Triassic mass termination. The termination took place greater than 250 million years earlier. The occasion considered planet’s greatest termination erased greater than 90% of life in the world.

Similar Animals to Opabinia

Similar animals to Opabinia Include:

  • Anomalocaris – A team of sea arthropods with similar gill blades, tracked eyes, and tracked appendages. They were larger than Opabinia (1.25 feet long), with well- created claws for capturing target.
  • Wiwaxia – A team of Cambrian aquatic animals characterized by spiky, much shorter, slim bodies of around 2 inches. It was oblong and had rows of spinal columns leaving its back.
  • Utaurora – A species extremely similar to Opabinia in morphology yet had a lot more comprehensive blades covering the back of each flap. Like Opabinia, this animal likewise had a tail follower made up of 7 sets of blades.


  1. Royal Society Publishing, Available here: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rstb.2014.0313
  2. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opabinia
  3. The New York Times, Available here: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/08/science/opabinia-fossil.html

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