An historical crab that lived through the dinosaur age was so unusual, paleontologists are calling it the platypus of the crab world. This newly found critter — named Callichimaera perplexa, which implies “perplexing lovely chimera” — had a hodgepodge of physique elements. That title references the legendary chimera from Greek mythology, which had a lion’s head, a goat’s physique and a snake’s tail.

However not like the mythological model, this weird chimera really existed: It had the mouth of a shrimp, the claws of a contemporary frog crab, the shell of a lobster and the paddle-like appendages of a sea scorpion, the researchers discovered. Its eyes had been so big that it might be like a human with soccer ball-measurement peepers, stated research lead researcher Javier Luque, a postdoctoral fellow in paleontology at Yale College and the College of Alberta in Canada. “[It had] enormous, huge eyes,” Luque informed Reside Science. “They’re like Little Pink Using Hood [when she asks the wolf], ‘What huge eyes you’ve gotten. What do you utilize them for?'”

On this case, C. perplexa possible used its giant eyes, to not point out its highly effective claws, to hunt tiny crustaceans, akin to comma shrimp. “We do not assume they had been filter feeders,” Luque stated. “We expect they had been truly lively predators.”

Luque made the primary discovery of C. perplexa stays in 2005 whereas trying to find fossils as an undergraduate pupil in Pesca, a city excessive within the Colombian Andes Mountains. “They have been leggy-wanting issues,” he stated. “It regarded like a crab, however I believed it was extra like a spider.”

After a lot examine, he discovered that the critter was a bizarre, quarter-dimension crab that lived about 95 million to 90 million years in the past, throughout the Cretaceous period. Inside a number of years, he heard tales of comparable fossil crabs found in Wyoming and Morocco. Quickly, he had greater than 70 specimens of this tiny crustacean, together with infants, adults, men and women.

Provided that these crabs had been present in such completely different locations and environments, they had been doubtless extremely adaptable, Luque mentioned. C. perplexa is so extraordinary, it kinds a wholly new department of the evolutionary tree for crabs, he added.