Scavengers

Scavengers - Digital image of the Burgess Shale community-01
Seafloor teeming with life – as seen from end of the Dive sequence – with diverse sponges and algae of various shapes, sizes and colors. Tiny particles (white cloud) sink through the water towards the bottom.

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Camera moves above Leanchoilia, an arthropod with distinctive frontal appendages equipped with long and thin whip-like extensions, while another arthropod, Marrella, swims ahead.

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Leanchoilia digs through the surface of the mud in search of carcasses, before being chased by a much larger arthropod with a mineralized dorsal shield, a trilobite named Olenoides. Olenoides is also searching for food, probing through the mud with its powerful legs, leaving a trail of muddy water in its wake.

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The trilobite continues its search, moving quickly towards a carcass of Sidneyia. Several other scavenging arthropods have already been attracted to the decaying body, including the five-eyed Opabinia, and a number of smaller forms such as Burgessia, with its spiny tail and flat, dorsal shield bearing a V-shaped notch at the back, and Yohoia featuring mantis-like appendages. Priapulid worms, particularly the tube-dwelling Selkirkia, are also feasting on the carcass.

Burgessia and Opabinia are forced to move away at least temporarily, leaving Olenoides in charge of the prize. Opabinia swims back on the other side, hoping to avoid detection while it grabs leftover bits and pieces of the carcass.

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A pair of translucent discoidal animals can be seen nearby resting on the surface of the mud. These are called Eldonia, and despite their apparent passivity, the animals are actively feeding on particulate matter oozing from the Sidneyia carcass, using powerful tentacles below their body to draw in the food.

End of sequence.
Total length = 30 sec.