Behind the scenes of Mark Anders’ “The Biggest Lobster in World”
The Mark Anders Channel responded to news about the fossilized remains of a giant prehistoric lobster by creating a video describing the discovery, it’s significance, and the fortunate circumstances leading up to Moroccan Mohammed Ben Moula’s ground breaking fossil find. See video below or read transcript for more details. Full banner here.
We modeled the lobster in a computer sculpting program called ZBrush and rendered it in a animation program called 3D Studio Max. A location in San Diego County doubled as Morocco for the purposes of our fossil discovery dramatization.
Our giant lobster artwork was a tribute to monster movie posters from the 1950s and more specifically it spoofed Roger Corman’s 1957 Attack of the Crab Monsters.
In our search for 1950s monster movie reference we saw a still from 1958’s Fiend Without a Face which showed a creature that resembled the “facehugger” from the Alien(1979) movies complete with a spine-like tail used for gripping throats.
“Fiend’s” version had an brain with antennas for a head but the similarities were obvious. However, for whatever reason, Wikipedia’s Fiend Without a Face page makes no note regarding the resemblance, at least as this is being written, although a smattering of blogs have mentioned it. The Alien facehugger’s head, however, resembles a crustacean instead of a cerebrum and has the addition of what appear to be testicle-shaped lungs. There is a lot of not so subtle sexual imagery in H. R. Giger’s design work in Alien. Giger died on 12 May 2014 as a result of a fall.
The video below is our documentation on the discovery of Aegirocassis Benmoulae, the biggest lobster in the world.
The Biggest Lobster in the World Transcript
Harry Callahan: The biggest lobster in the world has been discovered, Aegirocassis Benmoulae. This creature existed 480 million years ago and, at the time, was the largest creature in the world.
Paul Kersey: Look, seven feet long might not seem like much but, at the time, it was twice the size of any other creature.
Harry Callahan: Scientists had been finding fossilized bits and pieces of relatives of this type of creature, now known as anomalocaridids, for decades but couldn’t make total sense of what they were dealing with. Then, in 1985, a group of researchers figured out that the parts they had thought belonged to several different species all belong to a single group- the anomalocaridids.
Paul Kersey: Anomalocaridids are large sea creatures that are the ancestors to all anthropods. Anthropods are a category of animal that include creatures like lobsters and crabs-to ants. Still, people couldn’t completely figure out these anomalocaridids. It took almost another ten years before they were even recognized as arthropods.
Harry Callahan: In 2011 thing started making sense. Prior to then, paleontologist thought that what is now known as Aegirocassis Benmoulae was a predatory animal like the majority of anomalocaridids.
Paul Kersey: Then, a local fossil collector in Morocco, Mohamed Ben Moula, discovered a fossilized appendage anatomically located near Aegirocassis Benmoulae’s mouth that proved it was a filter feeder meaning it just scooped up smaller sources of food with its mouth filter as it swam along–which was HUGE news to the paleontologist community!
Harry Callahan: Scientists were so happy with Mohammed Ben Moula’s discovery that they named the species after him–Aegirocassis Benmoulae! At the time of this creature, new species of plankton were emerging and, as a response, this creature emerged as a large plankton eating anomalocaridid. It went from predator to plankton eater.
Paul Kersey: This filter feeding evolutionary adaptation later occurred in whales and some sharks but Aegirocassis Benmoulae is the oldest example of this adaptation. This species also had two sets of ventral flaps on their backs that explain how crustraceans like shrimp and lobster ended up having limbs that have two branches. These branches are involved in everything from gas exchange to swimming, walking and grasping, and transferring sperm.
Harry Callahan: So, thank you to Moroccan Mohammed Ben Moula for discovering the fossil evidence that has allowed scientists to fill in the missing gaps in their research after all these years.