Anthracomedusa turnbulli

Anthracomedusa -- 300 Million Years Old

The "medusa" in the name of this fossil is an additional clue to its identity. A medusa, or jellyfish, is part of the life cycle of just one major group of animals, the cnidarians. But can we make a more specific identification of this Mystery Fossil?
There are three subgroups within the cnidarians that have medusae, cubozoans, hydrozoans, and scyphozoans. But the members of only one of these cnidarian subgroups possess anything like what is shown here to the right . . . the remarkable eye of a medusa. It is the box jellies, or cubozoans, that have eyes with biconvex lenses, not so unlike those in our own heads. As their common name implies, box jellies have a square shaped bell, to which four clumps of tentacles are attached. You can see three such clumps in the Anthracomedusa Mystery Fossil above. The Eye of a medusa!

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