The Thylacocephala (from the Greek thylakos, meaning "pouch", and cephalon meaning "head") are a unique group of extinct arthropods, with possible crustacean affinities. As a class they have a short research history, having been erected in the early 1980s. They typically possess a large, laterally flattened carapace that encompasses the entire body. The compound eyes tend to be large and bulbous, and occupy a frontal notch on the carapace. They possess three pairs of large raptorial limbs, and the abdomen bears a battery of small swimming limbs. The earliest thylacocephalan fossil is thought to date from the lower Cambrian, while the class has a definite presence in Lower Silurian marine communities. As a group, the Thylacocephala survived to the Upper Cretaceous. Beyond this, there remains much uncertainty concerning fundamental aspects of the thylacocephalan anatomy, mode of life, and relationship to the Crustacea, with whom they have always been cautiously aligned.
In the Virtual Museum there are total 322 samples