Antrimpos speciosus - Object of the Month

Katie, Assistant Curator. Lapworth Museum of Geology, talks about her choice of the Object of the Month.

Title: Antrimpos speciosus - Lapworth Museum of Geology - Object of the Month

Duration: 2.18 mins

Speaker Names (if given): S1 Katie, Assistant Curator. Lapworth Museum of Geology

S1 My name’s Katie, I work here at the Lapworth Museum as Assistant Curator. I'm here to show you this exceptionally preserved shrimp, Antrimpos. It's very well preserved in that you can see all of its appendages which you wouldn't usually see. So, you've got all of the legs and antennae that are all preserved here for you. 

It's from the Solnhofen Limestone in Germany. It's from the Jurassic, so it's about 150 million years old, and it was preserved in limestone so it would have been shallow water, warm conditions - much like a shrimp would live today in the sea. The shrimp would have had a benthic mode of life, so it would have lived on the sea floor eating plants and other little animals that it could have eaten but, in turn, it would have also been predated on by fish and marine reptiles, that kind of thing much like in modern day ecosystems. 

It's likely that this has been preserved in a lagoon environment so basically in the lagoon the evaporation rate would have been very high producing a very inhospitable environment. So, when the shrimp was swept into the lagoon the hyper saline, high salt, conditions, coupled with the anoxic, low oxygen, environment would have meant that there were no predators or scavengers to eat the shrimp after it had died. It would have sunk to the bottom very quickly and been buried by sediment and this is what has resulted in the exceptional preservation of the shrimp that you see before you.