Those of you who get a bit weirded out by spiders and other arthropods would probably have a coronary if an Anomalocaris were to swim in your direction. The animals were about a meter long, and shaped as a flattened oval, a bit like a modern flounder. That's about the only similarity with a fish, though. Instead of fins, the Anomalocarids propelled themselves through the water using a series of elongated paddle-like structures running down both edges of the body. In front, a pair of appendages could shovel prey into a circular mouth located on its underside.
And then there were the large, bulging eyes, springing from each side of the animal's head. Until now, we could only guess at what the eyes looked like, but some spectacular, 515 million-year-old fossils from Australia have now shown that they had a huge number of small lenses, arranged much like those in modern insects and other arthropods. The finding suggests that the compound eyes evolved right at the origin of this branch of the evolutionary tree, long before the sorts of hard exoskeletons we now consider typical of arthropods.